Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beer-30: The Beginner's Guide to Owning a Growler

All of those beers and just one growler
   For those of you who are not familiar, a growler is usually a glass jug which consumers can purchase and fill at their favorite brewery. They can vary in shape and size, but typically they will hold a half gallon of beer. When your growler is empty you simply clean it and return it to your brewery of choice, where they will refill it. This form of packaging beer has many positive qualities, not just for the breweries but for the consumer as well.

   Most craft breweries make several styles of beer, however a large percentage of these beers are made in limited amounts and will never get packaged for home consumption.
So, if your favorite beer isn't bottled you would have no way to share it with family, friends, or even take it home for your own enjoyment. Growlers address this issue by allowing you to fill it with just about any beer that your local brewery offers, with out the brewery having to produce specific packaging for each style. Although, in California there is one major draw back: Growlers are required to have the logo of the brewery that is filling said growler printed on the container.

   Being required to have a different container for each brewery that you like to visit can be particularly annoying in a city like San Diego, where we have over 70 active brew houses. Needless to say your collection of growlers can very easily start to get out of control. This issue may soon be addressed by bill AB647. If this bill is passed breweries will still have to label what the contents of the container is, but consumers will be able to use their growlers at any craft brewery, regardless of where they purchased them.

   For those of you who have never owned a growler here are a few simple ground rules to follow in order to help your jug do its job:

A half gallon of delicious beer is enough
to put a smile on anyone's face

  • Clean your growler - I cannot stress this enough, the longer you wait to clean it, the more difficult it becomes. Best practice is to rinse the growler out several times with hot water as soon as you empty it, let it dry, and store it like a normal drinking glass with the cap off. All it will need is a quick rinse before filling. Never bring a dirty growler into a brewery and try to get it filled. Tasting rooms can get very busy, so you are going to spend more time waiting for the bartender to clean your growler than you would have if you cleaned it at home.
  • The beer in your growler should be consumed within 24-48 hours after opening- The more beer that you take out of the growler, the more space co2 has to escape from solution. This makes your beer flat, which is no fun.
  • Fill your growler right before you are ready to leave the brewery - this keeps your beer cold and keeps the counter free of excess growlers.  
Now that you know how to use a growler, go get one!

If you want to see what we have available on tap at Home Brew Mart/ Ballast Point Linda Vista check our Webcam

If You want to see what is available at Ballast Point Scripps Ranch check out their Webcam


-Ryan Pistole
Home Brew Mart / Ballast Point

5401 Linda Vista Road suite #406
San Diego, Ca 92110
HBM on

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