Thursday, December 22, 2011

BotW: the growlers

I have a message for craft beer drinkers and sellers of craft beer, and the message is the same for both.

Join in the growler movement or watch it leave you behind.

Regardless of whether you just haven't purchased a growler or are a retailer/tap manager and don't want to sell them, they are the way things are moving. To turn one's back on fresh beer straight from the tap is unAmerican. 

Unfortunately, this growler's empty now.
If you're unfamiliar, growlers are glass jugs that allow for "take-out" beer. You simply take your growler to a place that fills them and choose from one of their taps. The beer is generally cheaper than buying it pre-packaged since you are cutting the cost and expense of bottling. It will stay fresh for about a week, plenty of time to enjoy the labors of your favorite brewmasters.

Growlers are typically half gallons, but they come in varying sizes if you need one that's bigger or smaller. What's more important is to find a place that accepts growlers purchased from other locations. When you get your first growler you'll pay about $6 and it'll have the store's logo on it I'm sure. Most places will refill whatever growler comes into their store. Others I've heard of (ahem!....Whole Foods...) do not. That's a big beer foul if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the economy and/or other factors have slowed the impact of growlers in many areas of the United States.  In Gwinnett we've only recently gotten a local tap place for refills. Best of Brews in Duluth is new on the scene with 30+ taps. There's several places in Atlanta and a couple in Athens. I haven't been to The Beer Growler yet, but the best place I've been to by far is 5 Points West Side. Great selection with nearly 50 taps and great prices on everything I've seen in there. If you're in the Athens area check them out on the side of the store. And I've heard a rumor they have a growler station set up at the original location in Five Points.

Ok, you want an idea of what you can save and what the experience will be like. As you hopefully know, RJ Rockers' Son of a Peach is the official brew of BDB BotW. I typically pay about $12 for a sixer of it and only paid about $9 for the growler at 5 Points Bottle Shop this summer. And it was so fresh. Right off the tap you don't have to worry about the taste changing while on the shelf. It's there in all it's glory.

So grab a growler and by all means, start complaining to your local store that you need another place to get a refill.

Two quick updates:
*Speaking of Son of a Peach. Nama got a growler of it for a tailgate before the Kentucky game. Fred was cautious, just as I was because neither of us are wheat beer fans. But we talked him into it. And his reaction was the exact same as mine. You go from "There's no friggin' way I'm gonna like this." to "Holy crap this is like drinking a peach!" 
* Follow up on our reading post last week, here's some other good books about beer and brewing in addition to the ones we discussed.


Bernie said...

Not really feeling the “Whole Food” vibe.  I like it that the employees have nice paychecks and good health care.  However, the “help the organic small family farm” meme they peddle  hasn’t impressed me as totally honest. Most of their produce comes from 4 major growers in California. I suspect their workers there don’t enjoy the same level of compensation as Whole Foods does.  The rest comes from Mexico and Chile.  I appreciate the pics of third generation small family farmer standing next to his tomato crop in New Jersey. However , the yellow onions next  to his pic are from Mexico.

Bernie said...

And thanks for turning me on to Son of a Peach. My neighbor stopped by and I offered him one and he accused me of drinking wine coolers. Hah! I was at his place recently and busted him for having.......Son of a Peach in his frig!

Bernie said...

Loving the growler thang.  As for the Beer Growler, I have started to frequent their location in Avondale Estates and have been impressed.  They have 40+ beers on tap and also have Abita Root Beer - a family favorite for my children to say the least.  It is nice being able to try new things when you go in and the workers there are fairly knowledgable and work to find you something they truly think you would like.  Better load the growlers in the car to get ready for tomorrow!  Any requests?

Bernie said...

You've increased his pursuit of happiness just by proximity.

Bernie said...

Any holiday or winter ale, especially if they have Lagunitas SUCKS. Or anything by Monday Night.