If you’ve enjoyed a beer at a brew pub and want to enjoy it at home, you must purchase a branded growler from the brewery. It should be solidly-constructed, with a good seal to keep the beer fresh. Insulation is also important, as many beers are sensitive to light or temperature changes, which cause them to lose flavor. Growlers are built with all of these characteristics in mind and are designed to protect brew quality for several days.
Freshness is a key component of many beers. While some age well, IPAs and light beers suffer greatly when left in bottles on a store shelf. Since growlers are filled directly from the keg, you can experience the beer as it is intended to be drunk – almost certainly fresh, and likely filled directly from its original keg. You do, however, have to consume it within just a few days of purchasing it, because the growler isn’t sealed the way bottles or cans are.
Small breweries love growlers, and you should too. Bottling and packaging is a slow, expensive process. In addition to acquiring bottling equipment and inventory, a brewery wishing to bottle its product would have to design packaging and labels, develop relationships with distributors and individual stores, and transport finished product to retail shelves. All of this costs money, which has to be factored into the price of the product. By using growlers, craft breweries avoid these expenses and can pass on savings to consumers.
Growlers are also environmentally friendly. Redeeming bottles and recycling cans does keep them out of landfills, but both processes consume huge amounts of energy. (Bottles have to be transported and sterilized; aluminum cans are melted back into ingots.) By drinking from growlers, you’re being a good green consumer.
Growlers are available at many brew pubs, and overall, they’re a great way to enjoy beer at home. If you're looking for a growler of your own in Midcoast Maine, check out what Rock Harbor Pub & Brewery in Rockland has to offer.