Three reasons you should start homebrewing today

There is nothing more satisfying to put in your brand new beer growler than some of your freshly made homebrew. Here are three great reasons you should start your craft beer or real ale homebrewing adventure today.

 

1. It’s super easy to get going

Homebrewing still conjures up images of horrible bathtubs and gin that makes people blind when they drink it – or it creates a mental picture of copper tubes and pipes that would look more at home in a science lab than your garage.

But homebrewing has got far more accessible in recent years, and now that you already have one perfect container to put your fresh brew in (in the shape of your beer growler), there are fewer excuses than ever to give it a try.

You can pick up a decent homebrew kit from Amazon for less than US$100, like the Gold Homebrew Kit from Monster Brew (pictured).

This kit will make you around six gallons of beer with very little skill of technical expertise needed. A perfect starter spot for anyone with an interest in brewing their own beers.

 

2. Save a bucketload of money

In most states in the US, you’re legally allowed to brew up to 100 gallons of beer (and wine if that takes your fancy) per adult in your home as long as you don’t sell it.

There’s a maximum of 200 gallons, so don’t go over that.

To give you an idea of what this means, you could fill the massive Euro Growler glass 455 times before you legally had to stop.

If you shop around and get a good set with enough containers, you can make yourself a growler of beer for less than a dollar. Bottoms up!

 

3. You know exactly what’s going in

You’ve just spent good money on your beer growler, and you want it to store only the best beer made from the finest ingredients. Microbreweries will take as much pride in their product as you do, but the larger beer chains might be less inclined to care about your perfectly maintained cannonball shaped ceramic growler.

Making your own beer cuts all that out. You can be in charge of exactly what goes in and how much. No nitrates, no preservatives, just delicious beer.

Why you need to consider a Stainless Steel vs Glass Beer Growler

By 顔なし from Pittsburgh, PA, USA (GoodBeer Uploaded by GrapedApe) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The dizzying array of beer growlers out there can make it tough to work out what one is best for you.

Here we look at the benefits of a stainless steel beer growler over its glass counterpart.

Stainless steel

pros

  • Durable
  • Generally easier to clean
  • Easier to find with fancy gadgets already attached

Cons

  • Can feel a bit delicate in hand
  • Not the best at maintaining temperature

 

By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Stainless steel is nothing new in the beer growler world, but it has a distinctly unorthodox feel to it. It just doesn’t quite chime with what the traditional mental image of a growler is (generally speaking, a big bottle with XXX emblazoned across the front).

That being said, stainless steel rigs offer things that glass just can’t. Steel doesn’t shatter, so if you’re transporting your beer by bike – to a picnic, say – then the added comfort that comes with knowing you won’t be covered in glass if you come off is nice.

Stainless steel beer growlers are better placed to take extra gadgets and gizmos too, like built in C02 taps which effectively turns it into a mini-keg. Awesome for tailgating and BBQs.

On the other hand, stainless steel is generally not particularly good at maintaining the temperature of your fluid. This is fine for real ales, which are generally drunk at room temp, but for craft beers this can be a disaster.

There are some which have insulation to keep the temperature more constant, though expect to pay up for that.

Glass

pros

  • Good, solid feel in hand
  • Maintains temperature well

Cons

  • Shattered glass is far from the best
  • Bulky and heavy

By 顔なし from Pittsburgh, PA, USA (GoodBeer Uploaded by GrapedApe) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Glass has a much more classic feel to it. Something that helps this is how heavy many glass beer growlers are. This is due to many glass rigs being manufactured to be half an inch thick in some cases to add to the opaqueness of the glass (and prevent your beer from catching too much sun) and to give the container durability.

The downside of this, of course, is weight. Glass beer growlers are not optimal if you’re planning on hiking all day and then camping out with some fresh brews.

Glass also shatters, which is far from the best. Worth remembering if you’re buying the growler for bike rides. The thick glass also generally means thin necks too, which can make cleaning them a pain.

Conclusion

As with most things beer growler, it comes down to what you’re using it for. Planning on getting something to hold your ale in the boot of your car during a tailgate? Glass if your material.

Want something you can port around town on a bike and will drink from fairly quickly? Stainless steel is your man.

 

What do you think? do you agree with us? Let us know below.

REVIEW: Asobu Coolest Stainless Steel Beer Growler 2 Go

Quick facts

  • Stainless steel
  • Single walled
  • 64oz
  • Weighs a chunky 15.2oz
  • Cheap and cheerful feel

 

Fast review

This stainless steel container is a cheap and cheerful beer growler for sale that is a step up from a brown glass bottle and looks kinda-interesting, but left us wishing we had a better quality growler in our hands.

 

 

Full Review

This stainless steel 64 ounce beer growler from Asobu is a mixed blessing. At the price, it is cheap enough for someone to take their first punt into the world of the best practice for their craft beers, but at the same time, we’re worried it is such a flimsy design that it might put someone off beer growlers full time if they do buy one.

The construction is functional, though there are reports of it leaking around the web. We did not see any evidence of that in our trial run, so take that info however you will.

In fairness to the company behind it, they do say in their marketing speil that it is good for the ‘novice beer drinker’ which is not a stance most beer growler manufacturers take – they want their creations to go to craft beer and real ale connoisseurs.

It is easy to clean, with a lid that feel robust enough that it won’t snap off after a few uses.

The Asobu 64oz comes in three colours; copper, midnight black and stainless steel.

 

That’s all it’s really got going for it, in terms of looks. You can pick up cannon ball shaped growlers and steampunk mini-keg growlers. This just doesn’t have the razamatazz to compete on looks.

Where it does come into its own is price. At under US$25, it’s one of the cheapest beer growlers out there.

Have you bought an Asobu? Do you absolutely love it? Let us know below.

 

Top 5 things you need to know before buying a Beer Growler

By Sarah McD from Portland, OR, USA (Double Mountain Growler) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Taking the plunge and getting your first Beer Growler can be a big step. You know it will make your craft beer or real ale taste infinitely better, and you know it will have the ‘Wow’ factor when you bring it out at tailgates, BBQs or around the campfire.

So we’ve compiled the top 5 things you need to look out for when buying a new beer growler.

 

1 Pick a size, any size

The difference in size (and weight) between different types of beer growlers is significant – from the humble 2.6 ouncer right up to a 128 ounce monster from someone like DrinkTank (pictured) that can keep a party going long into the night.

Things to consider when it comes to size include where you will store it – will it go in your fridge or a cool box? Maybe best to get a smaller version.

Will you have to carry it far? Maybe opting for something a little lighter might be the best idea.

 

2. Ceramic, glass or stainless steel?

As well as being an extra consideration when it comes to weight (glass is generally heaviest, stainless steel lightest), the type of material you pick should correlate to what you’re planning on putting in it.

Stainless steel generally works the best at keeping things cool, so is a natural fit for your favorite craft beer, while glass is the least effective at keeping the heat away so an ale works well.

There is also a range of aesthetics when it comes to the different materials, from the awesome steampunk look of steel to the eye-popping cannon ball capabilities of a ceramic beer growler.

 

3. Surely I can’t just rock up to a bar with my growler and ask them to fill it?

Well, yes and no. Turn up at your local TGI Friday’s and ask them to top you up a road-beer and you’ll be quickly escorted off the premises. However, microbreweries are almost always happy to have someone turn up with a beer growler.

Uri Tours (uritours.com) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This is for two reasons – firstly, it shows they are selling their craft beer or real ale to a someone who knows the value of a proper container for their drinks.

Secondly, it means the microbrewer doesn’t have to pay for brown glass bottles that eat into their bottom line and just go into our landfills.

This is a great way to become buddies with your local microbreweries – and take it from us, this means you’ll be one of the first to get the call when they brew up something special.

In the US, many states require by law that a beer growler is marked as an alcohol container. Most Beer Growler manufacturers do not etch this into their finely crafted designs, but as a consumer, you can find small, discrete stickers on Amazon for a few bucks to slap on the underside of your growler so it complies with the law.

We recommend doing this even if you live in one of the states that don’t require it – you never know when that road trip will take you to.

4. Do I need the fancy gadgets?

You can get Beer Growlers nowadays that are specially insulated, have built in Co2 taps to increase carbonation, and are magically engineered to prevent foaming – but do you need it?

It depends on how much you want to pay, and what you will be using it for.

You can get the uKeg 64oz stainless steel growler that comes with a nifty tap and Co2 element as well as an awesome steampunk aesthetic, but if you don’t want to cough up US$139 for it then it’s not the one for you.

As mentioned in the review on this site, the extra gizmos are also only really a benefit if you’re going to be filling it with fizzy craft beer, as real ales will benefit little from the built in Co2 injection.

 

5. Can’t I just buy glass bottles? They’ve done me well enough until now!

Sure you can, but you won’t be able to experience the unique feats that come with owning your own beer growler.

  • They vastly improve the quality and durability of stored beer – no more warm flat nonsense at BBQs!
  • They will almost certainly start a conversation as 99/100 look amazing
  • They don’t harm the earth because they are reusable
  • They are a one off purchase, so once you’ve spent once, you don’t ever have to buy another one again

REVIEW: Ceramic Stoneware Weatherworn Cannonball Beer Growler

Quick facts

  • Ceramic and stoneware growler
  • Weight: 3.5lbs
  • Size: 64oz
  • It looks like a cannonball!

 

Fast review

The Terracotta Republic 64oz ceramic and stoneware growler is one of the most standout beer growlers on the market. Prepare to be the centre of conversation when you whip this awesome beast out on a fishing trip or camping.

 

 

Full Review

Before we can go into any specs, we have to get something out of the way – just look at this cannonball shaped beer growler beauty!

Now that’s out of our systems, lets talk about the important things. The Terracotta Republic 64oz growler is made of ceramic, which is a nice balance between stainless steel and glass in keeping your brew cold, just as the best tasting beer is meant to be.

The makers are big on proclaiming it as ‘American Made’ if that is important to you.

The lid fastening uses a ball-cam lever with an offset axis of rotation that the makers claim converts circular motion into a downward linear force. When the lever is rotated into the socket on top of the cap, it presses the cap firmly down against an extra thick FDA approved silicone gasket, making an air-tight seal.

That all sounds might fancy, but we had to know – does it work?

The answer is a resounding yes.

You can trust this growler to keep your beer carbonated and cool.

The aesthetics of this beer growler almost speak for themselves. It really is as cool as it looks. Pouring your pals a beer out of it is certain to get a cheer and plenty of questions. You will feel like a pirate pouring you favorite beer from it, and that is a moment of wonder that can rarely be duplicated elsewhere in adult life.

At 3.5lbs empty, it is a nice weight that isn’t so light it feels flimsy, while it isn’t so heavy you need a backpack to get it to the BBQ. It will also fit nicely in a fridge or coolbag.

Grab it on Amazon now for US$69.


REVIEW: Euro Growler 2 Liter Growler with Metal Handle – Amber

Quick facts

  • Glass growler
  • Two litre
  • Shipping weight: 4.8lbs

 

Fast Review

The Euro Growler 2 liter growler with metal handle is a big, chunky growler. It’s the sort of thing you can imagine having XXX printed across the front of it as someone sits and drinks it on their rocking chair. That being said, it is at the cheaper end of the price scale, though you have to measure up whether you are happy with a glass container.

 

 

Full Review

Euro Growler’s two litre bad boy will give even the most hardy beer drinker biceps of steel once this thing is filled up. It’s up to you to decide if that’s a good thing – for us we thought it was cool as hell.

This growler comes in at the low-tech end of the spectrum, hence the lower price, but it still has plenty of features that set this apart from drinking beer from a regular brown bottle or – blurgh! – a can.

The cap is made of ceramic with a rubber stopper, encased in metal. This gives it a good solid feel that can sometimes get missed when producers go down the only-metal route.

The metal handle is sturdy, despite the weight of the full item, so pouring it is not an issue.

Standing at around a foot tall and made from thick glass means this growler is not one for the fridge, and good luck finding a cooler to fit it.

Glass is worse at keeping beer cold than other materials like stainless steel, so we would recommend this as one for the real ale drinkers out there.

Get it Amazon now for US$32.99

 

 

 

REVIEW: uKeg 64 Stainless Steel Pressurized Beer Growler for Craft Beer

Quick facts

  • Stainless steel beer growler
  • Built in Co2 gauge
  • 64 ounces
  • Weight: 4.2lbs unfilled

 

Fast review

The uKeg 64 stainless steel pressurized growler from Portland, OR’s GrowlerWerks is a solid entry into the world of beer growlers. The stainless steel construction keeps beer fresh for longer. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but the design is super-sleek and has a steampunk quality to it that is reminiscent of old-style beer distilleries. Pull this out at a tailgate and watch your buddies’ jaws hit the floor.

 

Full Review

GrowlerWerk’s 64 ounce creation has many things going for it. The design comes with a built in tap and Co2 meter, so you can always tell if you’re using the right pressure to make your beer pour perfectly.

This does mean you’ll need to pick up some Co2 cartridges, which run at around $8 for 10 on Amazon. A cartridge will last you for an entire growler fill up, and are well worth the extra price.

The Co2 addition on this growler makes it much more suited to craft beer than real ales, which are meant to be drunk flat. You can set the Co2 output to zero, but that seems to us to be using the growler in a way it wasn’t intended, and there are better options out there for your real ale.

The size of it makes it a good fit for the fridge too.

The cap is easy to fasten and overall the growler is simple to clean – despite its fiddly looking parts like the tap and Co2 meter.

The container is not the heaviest in the world, clocking in at just 4.2lbs empty. You can decide whether this is a good thing or not, but for us it felt a little bit on the light side and a touch flimsy.

Repeated use suggests it is a sturdy construction, but as with all beer growlers, all it takes is for someone to be a few Craft-strength beers in and yank the lid too hard and your beautiful luxury is reduced to a fancy pot.

The aesthetic is one of the most attractive we have seen. It has a cool steampunk feel to it that is reminiscent of old-style beer breweries. There is no doubt that if you pulled this out around a campfire or at a tailgate, you would be the centre of attention.

You can pick it up at Amazon now for US$139. Pick one up here:

 

 

Have you tried the uKeg 64? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.