Fill. Drink. Repeat.
Looking to load up with beer for the weekend? You could grab a sixer from a gas station or liquor store, but you’ve now got other options. Why not go straight to the source? Enjoy the original, freshest and most eco-friendly beer — from a growler.
A growler is a reusable container filled with fresh beer and taken to-go from a brewery or store. It’s simple: Walk into your local brewery, pay a deposit on the container and choose your beer. The bartender will fill the growler with fresh beer and seal the container. You’re good to go! Most growlers are made of glass, although some are now made of stainless steel, aluminum or ceramic. The beauty of this arrangement is that it’s the best for the environment. Just like in the old days, when the milkman dropped off and picked up bottles, you can reuse this container over and over again. Most breweries only package a small percentage of the beers they brew, so there’s a never-ending variety of beer that you can take home with a growler. Plus, it doesn’t get much fresher than straight from the tap.
A recent invention is the crowler. This large 32-oz. can is filled to order on site. Thanks to the crowler machine, the beer is filled into the can, and then it is seamed right there. This type of growler is for one-time use, but it usually costs about a dollar for the container, compared to around $6-12 for the traditional growler. For those with a commitment issue or who want some variety, the crowler is for you.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Beer folklore credits the name “growler” to the original containers that patrons would take home from their local watering holes or breweries. Bartenders would fill enamel or galvanized buckets with beer from the tap and cover them with a lid. Customers would stumble on home with beer bucket in hand. As they walked down the street and the beer sloshed around, it would release CO2. As the gas built up, it would eventually push its way out of the container, making a growling noise. Although the containers now keep a seal, the growler lives on.
It’s no secret that the craft beer scene is newer to Florida than other parts of the country. The standard growler size around the country is 64 ounces. Until this year, this growler size was banned in Florida, and all growlers were required to be either 32 oz. or smaller, or one gallon (128 oz.) or larger. Effective July 1, the 64-oz. growler became available in Florida at local breweries and retailers.
Growlers do make it possible for you to enjoy a great variety of fresh beer, but drink them quickly – ideally 24-72 hours after filling. Once it has been opened, drink the beer within hours. Like any other beer, keep the growler in the fridge and away from ultraviolet light to keep the beer tasting best.
Keeping your growlers nice and clean between fillings is very simple. After finishing your brewski, rinse the growler with hot water two to three times. Air-dry the growler upside down and store it without the cap on. If you’re dealing with a particularly dirty growler, use a brush to clean off any debris. Avoid using any brushes with exposed metal and any fat- or oil-based detergents. For more information on growler care and safety, the Brewers Association offers an in-depth guide on their website draughtquality.org.
It’s a wonderful time to be a beer drinker in Florida. So next time, you’re visiting your local brewery, why not grab a jug-o-fresh-beer to share with friends?
6th Annual Key West BrewFest
Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe counties