June 2, 2016

Summer of the Growler 2016


Behold my growler!

I bought it in January 2015 and have used it only twice. It was originally filled with Kalona’s Sucha Half Wit — a delicious blend of Kalona’s Sucha Much IPA and Brew Wit Belgian wit, which is only available on-tap at the brewery — and J-Rod filled it with Confluence’s Thomas Beck Black IPA as a Christmas present. Needless to say, with all the great beer being brewed locally, and only available on-tap, I need to use it much more often.

That is why I have decided to use it each week this summer. The plan is to fill it with a different locally- or Iowa-brewed beer every Friday and make it the traditional beer of the weekend.

Since I have not used a growler much, this summer will be a welcome learning experience. Based on what I have read and already experienced, filling and freshness are key. Growlers need to be filled from the bottom to the very top with a hose, pushing the oxygen out through the opening instead of mixing with it, and the beer inside should be consumed within a day or two of opening. Even if it is not filled to perfection, neither should be a big issue since I plan to drink all 64 ounces within 36 hours of filling, but we’ll see if it becomes a problem. (I don’t like to waste beer, so if I find that 64 ounces is a bit too much sometimes, I will buy a 32-ounce half-growler. It may be a good thing to have, anyway.)

Cleaning is also something I will need to master. A growler is a big freakin’ bottle and I can’t scrub it out. In the past I have cleaned my growler with dish soap and water, shaking the mix vigorously, and rinsing thoroughly. Is that the best way? Should I even use soap? I’ll figure it out eventually.

It is way past time I started using growlers regularly. I have shamefully neglected all the awesome beer that isn’t being bottled or canned — and there is a lot of it. Using my growler opens a previously untapped and exciting territory of the beer world for myself and BotW. It is time to make amends and begin a new chapter of beer reviewing.