Draft Day: The 6 Best Beer Growlers

Perhaps you are one of those unfortunate souls who has only ever transported your beer in bottles and cans, forced to drink swill that isn’t fresh and barely strikes your palette the way that only a craft beer, rich with hops and bursting with flavor which only something straight from the barrel truly can. Well, release yourself from the shackles of standard manufactured brews and break away from bottles in favor of the beer growler. A carrying case for 64 oz. of the most sensational suds ever to touch your tongue.

Growlers began as a lowly glass jar with a screw cap which would allow you to take your lagers, malts, and meads on the road, but they have evolved so far beyond that. Today’s growlers are state of the art devices meant to keep your craft beer fresh from filling station to fridge and help retain the flavors that the brewmasters intended. We’ve found those that will work in any situation, from a day hike that ends with a buzz to whole systems designed to keep your craft beer fresher longer. Whether sipping or chugging, each of the 6 best beer growlers is guaranteed to respect your brew.

Kegworks SS Growler

Kegworks SS Growler

Pro: Affordable and high-quality
Con: Narrow opening

Back to Basics: The Kegworks growler is about as basic as you can get without losing the quality of more expensive growlers. That isn’t to say it is inferior, just that it is stripped down so you don’t pay extra for frills. The body is food grade 18/8 stainless steel that won’t give your beer a metallic taste, even if you store it for an extended period of time. The entire body has been passivated so that the metal won’t corrode even after repeated use. A silicon seal holds carbonation while the flip-cap lid ensures that you’ll never again be hunting for your cap as your beer flatlines. You won’t get double insulation to protect the brew from heat, so don’t dawdle too long during one of your drinking binges. A narrow opening means you’ll probably get a little more foam, so don’t blame your brewer’s pouring style if this happens. [Purchase: $24]

Tote Glass Amber Growler

Tote Glass Amber Growler

Pro: Transparent for easier pouring
Con: Made of glass

For the Traditionalist: Tote Glass makes some of the most ornate, beautiful glass beer growlers out there, and if you find a retailer that offers them you should certainly snap up at least one, if not buy a case for every beer snob on your list. Since they are glass they will be riddled with a few inherent problems, including the fact that if you leave it in the sunlight, you can bet that your beer will be skunked in no time flat. These are made for the quick-drinker who prefers to tote their beer in true traditional German style. The lever lock allows for easy access while the durable rubber gasket at the top holds a 4 bar inner pressure seal well to keep beer from going flat as you carry it around. The cap is pure porcelain. A wide mouth and transparent body make it easier for the pourer to give you less foam and more of the good stuff. [Purchase: $25]

Hydro Flask

Hydro Flask

Pro: Unparalleled temperature regulation
Con: Cap tends to degrade quickly

The Outdoorsman: The Hydro Flask looks more like a reusable water bottle, and indeed it can easily be used as one if you want to disrespect the growler by putting something as foul as water into it. The glory of the Hydro Flask is twofold. It is the most durable growler out there and can easily ride along for hiking, biking, kayaking, or just a standard beer fest brawl. It also uses a double insulation interior that allows you to keep your beverage cool for sweltering days. A powder that is applied to the exterior offers further thermal regulation that doesn’t allow heat to penetrate the body as easily, giving it superior cold retention even when compared with other double-walled models. The vacuum seal also retains carbonation better than most for a fresh-from-the-tap taste. Made from premium 18/8 Stainless Steel that is BPA free, no adventurer should be without one. [Purchase: $42]

DrinkTanks Stainless Steel Growler

DrinkTanks Stainless Steel Growler

Pro: Can be used as a stein
Con: Cumbersome

The Homeboy: Many beer growlers are built so that you can easily pour your craft beers into glasses, sharing them with friends like a gentleman. The Stainless Steel Growler from DrinkTanks thinks that your “friends” should get their own. It has a large handle built into the side so that while you might be able to pour more easily, you can also treat it more like a stein, slurping the half gallon of ale away all by yourself. The top fits with the Keg Cap from DrinkTanks that turns this into your own miniature keg, without looking foolish. Together they create an item that works well when placed next to your favorite easy chair or porch swing, but the combination of large handle and cap array can make transporting it cumbersome, so it’s probably easier just to leave it at home until you need a refill. [Purchase: $70]

The Brauler

The Brauler

Pro: Engineered to prevent foam
Con: It has an umlaut in the name

Fresh to Death: Alone, the Bräuler is a great growler that has a huge mouth for easy filling without getting too much of a head that is also easy to pour from for a perfect glass every time. Add in the Fresh Cap Kit and you have a whole beer refreshment system that can keep flatness at bay even after hours of tailgating. The Fresh Cap Kit is a CO2 injection apparatus that is made for infusing your brew with carbon dioxide so that even if it is struck down, it returns more powerful than you could possibly imagine. The body was created by chemical engineers to be hydro-dynamically sound so that even the most inept filler would have a hard time putting foam into it thanks to the overall shape. It can and should be bought with the BräulerSkin, a bag that is part thermal glove and part carrying case. Sling it over your shoulder, and you’re ready to take on the town or just a leisurely constitutional. [Purchase: $70+]

Portland Growler Company The Loop 1

Portland Growler Company: The Loop

Pro: Unique, striking aesthetic
Con: Breaks much easier than metal

An Artistic Touch: This thing is absolutely beautiful. And for that beauty, you’ll pay a premium, because it is made from ceramics rather than steel. This gives it the smooth interior of a glass growler with an opaque exterior that won’t let light skunk your concoction. The low conductivity of ceramics also helps keep out heat and limits the amount of sweat that will arise on a hot day. A PGC flip top lid with rubber gasket holds freshness in until you’re ready to pour. The aesthetic is striking and truly unique. The entire process of design and production is handled in Portland under the watch of artisans who use a crystal coaxing method to create a striking appearance that makes this as much of a centerpiece as a functional system for holding your best beers. [Purchase: $130]

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