Do you love your growler?? Do you love it so much you have more than one? Well that love is pretty universal among beer geeks, with the exception of the most unlikely of haters. I’m talking about brewers. By and large they hate serving their beer in growlers because of one thing… quality control. In an article published by Bon Appetit, Garett Oliver the Head Brewer at Brooklyn Brewery discusses his disgust for the much beloved vessels.
When you are a Head Brewer, your whole life is about control. You control the temperature, you control the amount and type of yeast, you control when what kind, and how many hops are added, some even control the roasting and mashing of the malt. Yes, the control freak has found a true calling if he or she ends up being a brewer. Pubs, however are a little dicey, see you begin to loose control. You can’t possibly control everything if you have a pub attached to your brewery. You can’t control the cooks, you can’t control the patrons, and you can’t control what happens to your beer when it leaves the pub in a growler, GRRR!
In his own words Garett says about growlers:
It’s a love-hate relationship, Brewers love the opportunity to get some beers that are not in bottles in front of a general public, and certainly beer drinkers love them.
But brewers tend to hate them. Growlers are basically beer destroyers. They’re often unsanitary, and the refilling process mixes in a lot of oxygen–the tiniest amount of oxygen kills beer so quickly. Then, if you walk across the street with say, an IPA, in full sunlight, with a clear growler, the beer will skunk before you get to your car.
That quickly? That quickly! For the brewer, this is like if you went to a nice restaurant, ordered something great, and then took the beautifully presented plate of food, scraped it into a bag, put that bag in the fridge for 3 days, microwaved it, and then based your opinion of that restaurant on your bag of old food.
So there you have one highly respected brewer’s take on many people’s vessel of choice. He was asked whether it is ok to use a growler if you drink the beer quickly, like within a day or two, and he agreed that if all other conditions are good, and you drink the beer within a couple of days that is fine, and growlers work well, but he also know that life can get in the way. You end up going to that soccer game or carting the kids to an unexpected birthday party then before you know it the beer is 3 or 4 days old and has begun to turn. He hates that. Again it is a control issue. If he pours you a beer in a glass you have to drink it before you leave, but fill a growler and all bets are off.
So what are some Growler Do’s and Don’ts?
1) Make sure your growlers are clean!
2) Don’t use clear growlers for beer.
3) Drink the beer within a day or two of filling.
4) Don’t leave it in your car for extended periods.
5) Pop that thing into the fridge ASAP.
If you follow these simple guidelines the beer you take home should be as good as having it at the pub. So what do you think? To Growl or not to Growl…That is the question.