Pittsburghers love their growlers. We’ve got East End slinging growlers left and right at their brewery and at the PGH Public Market. We’ve got Roundabout Brewery in Lawrenceville topping growlers with some of the tastiest, local beer. We have Sharp Edge providing growler service for their gazillion beers on tap (ask for Josh, he pours a mean one). Heck, we even have local grocery stores supplying growlers for us beer fanatics. Odds are if you like beer- you have definitely seen one, if not own a few…or ten. They are great because they allow us to take home the breweries”one-offs” that aren’t bottled or canned. Turns out, growlers are not a recent invention to accommodate the exploding craft beer scene; the concept of growlers started a loooong time ago. Way before prohibition, Americans would take their trusty, good ol’ buckets to the local pub and fill it up with beer and haul it back home. Fortunately, our buckets have eveloved into highly reliable beer transporters when used properly. Here’s how to take care of yours….Click Continue Reading for Full Post
Growler Tips to Make Beer Taste Like It Came Straight from the Tap
1. Make sure your growler is clean! Since this is a reusable container, you need to know how to properly clean it.
Skip the detergent– whaaaat? I know, I know sounds crazy but save your blue Dawn Soap for those dirty dishes. Soap residue messes with the beer’s balanced flavors and aromas. Well then how do you clean it then? You’ve got options.
A. Double rinse with HOT water- (BEST OPTION) only works if done immediately after the last beer was poured. If you miss it, then go with these next options
B. “No rinse cleansers and Sanitizers”– used by brewers/ homebrewers to sanitize beer bottles/growlers. These sanitize your bottles without leaving harmful residue while drying. If you buy growlers on the regular, it’s definitely worth purchasing. Examples: Star- San, One-Step. Just follow their printed directions
C. Bleach – this works as well but you must make sure it is completely rinsed out or it messes with the beers delicate properties. But it’s cheap, powerful, and easy to find! Dilute it and you’ll only need a tiny bit plus some hot water.
*Allow growler to dry, preferably turned upside down on a drying rack. Store cleaned growler with lid off. Oh yeah, make sure you clean that lid too!
2. Have the bartender give it a quick rinse right before it’s filled. Better safe than sorry.
3. Feed your growler with your favorite local brew. Studies have shown that Pittsburgh beers are the best beers to fill growlers with. Ha, just kidding. But I’m sure one will be published in the near future. Also- try to fill your growler at places that use fill hoses. You will end up with better carbonation, less foam, and less exposure to oxygen (East End rocks these bad boys).
4. Wrap your growler up. Why? Many growlers are made out of clear glass- aesthetically pleasing, but bad for your beer. Just a few minutes in the direct sunlight can skunk your beer. EEK. Luckily, the solution is simple. Put your recently filled growler in paper or a cloth bag. If you are buying your first one, ask the bar tenders for a cover, they should be able to come up with something. There are growler slings, sleeves, and containers available online for purchase if you are considering serious growler hauling.
*Brown glass growlers are better than clear glass growlers, but they still let a little bit of light in. Stainless steel growlers do not let light in and are harder to scratch. However, they are a little bit more pricey. East End has a Widemouth Vacuum Insulated Bottle and Growler Koozies for sale as well.
5. Refrigerate your growler. Cold liquids hold carbonation longer. No fridge? Store it in a cool, dark, and dry place-like a pantry.
6. Drink. Ideally, the beer is best when consumed within 1-2 weeks of purchase, but can be kept in good shape for several months when unopened and refrigerated (Beer has never lasted that long in our fridge so we can’t verify from first hand experience that this is true, but we’ve read this several places). Once the growler has been opened, definitely consume within 1-2 days. The beer will go flat within 2 days. Again, we have not experienced this deadline issue…. “Once it hits your lips..it’s so good!”– Frank the Tank. But if you have flat beer- no problem. Use it in one of your favorite recipes! We’ve got a ton on here if you need any inspiration.
7. Repeat! Clean, fill, cover, store, drink. Easy as drinking a brew at a Buccos Game. Now go fourth and practice safe growler-ing and enjoy your tasty beer just like the talented Pittsburgh brewers intended for you!