Why Beer Growlers are Bad for Your Brew

The brewmaster considers destruction…

Written by Andrew Knowlton with Sam Dean, for bonappetit.com

Growlers are big right now with beer geeks. The refillable half-gallon bottles let you roll on up to your favorite brewery/fancy beer store/Whole Foods and get a tap-fresh jug o’ suds. They’ve got that back-to-the-basics “artisanal” vibe. Hell, they even have a handle.

Too bad brewers (a.k.a. the pros) can’t stand the things.

The last time I hung out with Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery and editor-in-chief of the Oxford Companion to Beer, the touchy subject of growlers came up. In short, he thinks they suck.

“It’s more of a love-hate relationship,” Oliver told me on the phone last week, on tour to promote the Oxford tome. “Brewers love the opportunity to get some beers that are not in bottles in front of a general public, and certainly beer drinkers love them.”

But? “Brewers tend to hate them. Growlers are basically beer destroyers. They’re often unsanitary, and the refilling process mixes in a lot of oxygen–the tiniest amount of oxygen kills beer so quickly. Then, if you walk across the street with say, an IPA, in full sunlight, with a clear growler, the beer will skunk before you get to your car.”
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