I’m not going to lie, this whole article is largely because I wanted to write that headline. With bars like 57 The Headline pivoting to continue serving their community, other aspects of craft beer culture have been fast-tracked in Ireland. Brewdog Dublin Outpost, for example, had no plans to get a crowler in until the whole isolation thing. Other bars like The Headline and Big Romance have turned to growlers. It’s important you know how to maintain your growler so here are some tips.
What is a growler?
I’m not going to lie. You got to be careful Googling something like that. Considering we’re a craft beer website, I’m going to go ahead an assume that you’re on about a vessel for beer.
A growler is typically a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bottle used to transport draught beer. You’ll most likely get these in 500ml or 1 litre variants. The idea behind them is that you can bring home beers from your local craft pub which aren’t available in cans. Even when some beers are canned, people often prefer “pub bubbles” as the team over at The Headline call it.
Of course, that’s today. Years ago, if you wanted to bring beer home a growler was your only option. Rumour has it that when the beer sloshed around the vessels back in the day it created a rumbling sound as the carbon dioxide escaped through the lid, making a growling noise.
Benefits of owning a growler
The obvious benefits of having a growler these days is simple being able to enjoy a wider variety of craft beer at home. With restrictions lifting, bars are starting to get draught stock back in and owning a growler means you can enjoy more of that tasty goodness at home.
Growlers are also reusable which is a massive positive for me. I love a bit of sustainability so reusing the same vessel countless times means a massive amount of aluminium stays out of the recycling process. Usually, it’s a little cheaper to get your growler filled than but the same amount of beer in cans.
Some growlers have additional benefits over others too. Some are vacuum lined and can keep beer colder for longer. Great if you’re out and out and about at a beer festival or BYOB concert. Others focus on blocking light, one of beer’s biggest enemies.
Where to refill a growler
There were a few places already doing growlers but not they are more popular than ever. Here’s an absolutely non-exhaustive list of where you can get your growler filled:
- 57 The Headline – Dublin
- Against the Grain – Dublin
- Big Romance – Dublin
- Brewdog – Dublin – now offering crowlers instead
- Mother Macs – Limerick
- The Salt House – Galway
Tips for owning a growler
Like a good trades-person needs to mind their tools, happy growler life means your jug will need some care.
How to wash your growler
Second time and that headline still makes me laugh.
Many people get so overly complicated when it comes to washing their growler. You don’t need fancy suds or bottle brushes at all. You just need to be quick. To keep your growler clean, you must:
- Follow these instructions as soon as you’ve finished drinking beer from the growler.
- Let your tap run for as long as it takes for the water to get nice and hot
- Fill your growler about 10% full with hot water
- Swirl the water around for about 10 seconds and empty the jug
- Repeat Step 4.
- Close the lid and shake the growler so the water goes everywhere inside.
- Pour it out.
- Fill the growler with hot water again but this time about 25% full
- Swirl the water around for about 15 seconds and pour out
- Repeat steps 9 and 10 about 4 or 5 times.
- Smell the bottle. There should be no traces of beer odour. If there is repeat steps 9 and 10 again a few more times.
- When completed rinse the lid off with hot water
- Finally, stand your growler up, upside down and let it drip dry
- If you’re not filling again with 24 hours, it’s no harm to repeat steps 9 and 10 once more just before you refill.
How to store a full growler
This can be tricky. Well, it’s not really but growlers aren’t small. As soon as you’ve brought your beer home, you should store it in the fridge. You should also absolutely make sure the beer is never left in direct sunlight. Remember, beer hates sunlight.
Finally, no harm investing in a silver whiteboard marker or something similar. If you have more than one, you’ll need reminding what’s in that anonymous glass bottle
How to drink from a growler
Also quite simple. Pour it into a glass. Typically, you can drink straight from a growler, but given the hygiene-issues involved in refilling, please just use a glass.
One important note. Beer in a growler doesn’t keep as well as beer in a can. It’s a lot more unpredictable. Once opened, I personally would aim to finish a growler within 24 hours and never buy a refill unless I plan to start drinking within 4 days.
Now, stop your giggling and grab a growler. Lots of benefits and happy times ahead. Don’t be stuck with just the can options.