Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

September 3, 2013

Beer Diary:

Growl And Grumble

Just fill the goddamn growler already, will you?
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
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So I had this conversation with Pacific Northwest Beer Dork Ade Solomon a few weeks back when I was out visiting him in Portlandia. We were talking about filling growlers—you know, those 64-ounce (sometimes 32-ounce, but then they’re called grenades) glass (sometimes stainless steel or ceramic) containers, usually stamped with a brewery’s logo, with which you can get a fresh pour of craft beer at your local brewpub or brewery taproom (and sometimes Whole Foods). Anyone who’s halfway serious about their beer probably has two or three (sometimes 10) of them, since it’s great to take home (or to a friend’s house, if you have one of those) a copious quantity of freshly poured craft beer. In fact, I always have at least two growlers stashed in the back of the conversion van in case I run across a brewery and want to take home some suds for later enjoyment.

Please, brewers, do us a solid and don’t be dicks about filling growlers from other breweries.
What made Ade grumble—and I wholeheartedly agree with him—is that some breweries will only fill up their own growlers. So you may have lugged two or three or ten glass jugs a couple of hours to a new brewery you’ve heard of and wanted to get a few to-go samples, only to be informed by the friendly yet insistent staff at your destination that you’ll need to pony up the dough for some brand spanking new growlers before you can take home any beer. Even though you already have two dozen of them cluttering up your basement.

Now, I fully understand if it’s a legal issue, like in California, but that is the exception, not the rule. Outside of that, if the brewer just doesn’t want their beer in someone else’s logo-tatted growler, then I think I’ll buy my beer somewhere else. Besides, who the fuck cares? I’m spending money at your brewery, am I not? So who gives a shit if the container’s got someone else’s name on it? That’s like taking your reusable shopping bag with the Target logo on it to go shopping, but the people at Trader Joe’s won’t sell you groceries if that’s what you want to carry them out of the store with.

And I don’t want to hear any bullshit about how competitor’s growlers might not be up to spec, since all the brewers get their glassware from the same fucking place anyway. So, please, brewers, do us a solid and don’t be dicks about filling growlers from other breweries. The craft beer market is way too crowded for that to fly anymore. Yeah, it’s great to have fresh-poured beer, but nowadays it’s easy to find a six pack of quality craft beer in a nearby liquor store that’s cheaper, or even a brewery just as close by that will pour beer without the attitude.

I'm happy to report that it's been AGES since I've had a brewery refuse to fill my growler from another place, although in some states they are required to put their own label sticker or tag on it.
posted by rings | September 3, 2013, 1:44 PM
Yeah, I should have pointed out that nine out of 10 brewers are totally cool with filling other breweries' growlers. It's just that tenth one that irks me.
posted by EddieGlick | September 3, 2013, 8:52 PM