Skip to main content

Crowlers are the Rugged Alternative to Traditional Glass Growlers

crowler
Crowler/Facebook
There are a handful of options for enjoying draft beer at home. You can always create beer yourself using traditional home brewing equipment or one of the new countertop appliances, and then serve it up in a handy kegerator. Or, you can buy a smaller party tap system that utilizes single-use size kegs. But, for most of us, drinking draft beer at home means filling up a growler straight from the tap at the corner bar or brewery.

The growler system is tried and true, but it does have some significant drawbacks. Glass vessels are heavy and easy to break, which limits their functionality when camping, boating or tailgating. Glass growlers also have a relatively short shelf life; the bottles need to be opened within a few days of being filled to avoid the beer going bad due to light leaks or an improper seal.

Leave it to the original superstars of craft beer canning, Oskar Blues Brewery, to create a viable alternative. A few years ago, the Colorado-based brewery teamed up with Ball Corporation to manufacture a device that seals individual, 32-ounce aluminum cans on demand. Thus, the crowler was born. (The name crowler is a simple update on the original word growler, but with a “c” to designate the canned format.) While the original home of the crowler was Oskar Blues, you can now find these devices in hundreds of tap rooms all over the country produced by several different manufacturers.

Cans offer a number of benefits over glass bottles. They completely eliminate light from the equation, meaning your beer will stay fresh longer. Store your crowler in the fridge and you can wait a couple of weeks to drink, if necessary.

They weigh less and are more durable, enabling you to throw them in a backpack or a cooler. Cans are often allowed in places where bottles are not, like beaches. And you’re more than doubling the amount of beer in a traditional can with a 32-ounce crowler. It’s true that you need to drink all of the beer in the crowler after you open it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Just like with glass growlers, crowlers need to be filled by a professional who knows how to purge the oxygen from the empty can and fill it from the bottom up via a tube. By buying a crowler at your neighborhood brewery, you’re not only getting to drink great craft beer at home, you’re also supporting your local brewers, and that will leave a good taste in your mouth.

Editors' Recommendations

Lee Heidel
Lee Heidel is the managing editor of Brew/Drink/Run, a website and podcast that promotes brewing your own beer, consuming the…
Bushmills rounds out the Rare Cask collection with a 31-year-old single malt
This rare expression is dropping on June 1st
Bushmills 31

When it comes to Irish whiskey, there are few brands more well-known than Bushmills. Not only is Bushmills the oldest Irish distillery, but it’s also the oldest licensed distillery in the world, with a genesis of 1608, in the more than four hundred years since the distillers have perfected the art of whiskey distillation.

And while you can’t go wrong with bargain bottles like Bushmills Black Bush and Bushmills Original or even Bushmills 10 or Bushmills 12, we’re most interested in its Rare Cask Series. Previously, the brand released 28, 29, and 30-year-old expressions. Its most recent takes it one step (or one year) further. Rare Cask 04 is a 31-year-old single malt whiskey.
The Rare Cask: 04

Read more
Bourbon vs. whiskey: The differences explained
All bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbons
A trio of whiskeys

If you're confusing your whiskey and bourbon, you're not alone. The drinks industry is full of little nuances, often born of geography and different ingredients and materials available. Just ask the vast categories of sparkling wine (Champagne or Prosecco?), IPA (hazy or West Coast?), and brandy (cognac or Armagnac?). They're full of sub-categories, stylistic tweaks, and ongoing riffs.

But you should probably know the difference between bourbon and whiskey. Not only is it good knowledge to keep in your back pocket, but it'll help inform your sipping going forward, offering context for flavor variations and -- hopefully -- exposing you to new and enjoyable options. Keep reading on to learn more about bourbon vs. whiskey and exactly what is whiskey.
What is whiskey?

Read more
Blue Curacao is back in style — how to use it like a drinks pro
Blue Curacao 101
A Blue Hawaii cocktail at the beach.

Not too long ago, Blue Curaçao was out of style. Like banana liqueur and Merlot, it was the laughingstock of a large portion of the drinks industry. Well, trends change, and tropical blue drinks are back with a vengeance.

Yes, the latest cocktail trends are hard to keep up with, but that's what we're here for. Blink once, and Cosmopolitans are popular again. Blink twice, and the Espresso Martini is in the rubbish bin.

Read more