Everyone loves beer. You love beer. I love beer. You may not know it, but beer is evolving. No longer is it the cool thing to do to go to your local grocery store and pick up a six pack of beer. Now you can own your own glass container called a growler, which you can go to many bars to get filled with beer straight from the tap. It’s not just beer, you can also get tapped ciders and tapped root beer at bars now, too. They are starting to be offered in different sizes as well. The common size is 64 ounces, but they come in two liter as well as 32 ounces. There are talks that there will be more size varations coming soon as well.
Growlers are quickly becoming the preferred option for beer connoisseurs of all ages. Talking to the owners of three growler spots in the Portland area, it is easy to see that getting beer in a growler is not just the next big thing. Instead it’s a new, unfamiliar way of drinking beer that won’t be going away anytime soon.
“People really enjoy craft beers,” said Wade Wilson, owner of Cast N’ Keg. “We go after the new emerging breweries. It’s who we focus on.”
I also talked to Brendan Cocks, manager of the southeast Growler Guys location, who described growlers as “a fun, communal way to try an endless array of fresh craft beer.”
One growler spot that you may not be aware of is right across the street from the college, Growler Run. Owner Rusty Caldwell had a unique perspective on the growler sensation.
“What makes it special is all the new breweries that can’t afford canning lines, can’t afford to rent a bottling line, instead throw it straight into a keg,” said Caldwell. “It’s the brewers that make the beer, throw it in the back of their Silverado, drive it up to me and try to sell it. That’s pretty cool. That’s farm to fork mentality that exists in the craft industry. That to me is what makes a growler special, it rewards the little guy for making an effort versus just grabbing a six pack of Coors.”
For people that have never experienced a growler before and assume getting an IPA at a grocery store is the same thing, do you know just how long it takes for that beer to get to that store? Or how long it has sat on the shelf? The great thing about getting a growler filled is you get to take that delicious fresh tasting beer straight from the tap right to a bottle and back to enjoy within the comforts of your own home.
“Beer is a part of life,” Caldwell said. “It’s what you drink daily to survive.” The great thing is at these growler fill spots, you’re constantly trying new beer. You learn quickly to fall in love with a style of beer (Pilsner, stout, IPA, lagers) not necessarily a specific brand of beer. Growler places, such as the three listed in this article, are constantly changing out their beers, which makes it fun and unique. You’ll never know what you’re going to have available to sample and purchase at your next visit.
Many bars that fill growlers offer specials for growler fills, such as Alameda Brewing Co. which will fill any growler for $5 on Saturdays. However, even without a special deal, most growlers can be filled from $12 to $20. The most expensive growler fill I’ve ever seen sold was $31.
One of the great uncertainties that makes people skeptical about growlers is the uncertainty about how long a beer can last in a growler before it starts going flat.
“A properly CO2 counter-filled growler that is kept refrigerated and unopened can literally last months,” Cocks said. “Once opened, the general rule is to consume within two days.”
Go give growlers a try. Once you do, beer will never be the same for you. I guarantee it.
EDITOR DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for readers over 21. Here at The Clackamas Print, we don’t condone underage drinking. So don’t do it. Because you will spend the night puking in jail. Please don’t puke in jail, but do enjoy this article. Use my advice but only when you’re of age. Thank you and enjoy.