There’s nothing quite like enjoying a few craft beers at the local taproom. It’s a great place to meet, talk and build community. And when the beer is really good, you’ll want to take some with you when you go. For that reason, it’s important to know how to order craft beer to-go from a taproom.
Ok, this seems simple but if you are new to craft beer then you might not be familiar with some of these terms or practices.
Recently, we discussed Pints vs Flights vs Half Pours and many weighed in on their favorite way to order at a taproom. And now it’s time to review how to order craft beer when you want to take it home with you.
Whether it’s in cans or bottles, buying packaged beer is by far the easiest way to bring great craft beer home with you. Just grab and go.
If the brewery cans or bottles, then they will probably have beer available for sale in the taproom. Check near the merchandise area.
It will be priced the same as most retail locations and is often kept cold so you can enjoy it as soon as you get to where you are going.
However, please be aware that in most areas it is illegal to purchase packaged beer and consume it onsite at the taproom. There are different laws, taxes and other issues at work here. So be aware that the packaged beer is strictly for you to take home with you unless the brewery specifies otherwise.
Also, not every beer on tap will be available in bottle or cans. But that is where these other options step in.
While it is often debated as the worst or best thing for craft beer, the growler remains a popular way to bring home craft beer if the brewery doesn’t can/bottle what you want.
Here’s a few tips for using a growler:
- Keep It Clean – If you don’t clean it well then the beer will have an off taste.
- Keep It Close By – Keep a clean one in your car. Don’t have one? Most breweries have them for sale.
- Keep It Cold – Once filled, do your best to keep it refrigerated.
- Make It Fast – Once you open it, I recommend consuming it within a few hours.
There are systems (Pegas) that are known to do a better job making the beer last longer in the growler but once the seal is opened you are on a timer.
Take everything about the growler and apply it to the howler; however, it’s only 32oz instead of 64oz.
I listed this separately because I wanted to highlight the term and give my opinion.
I think the howler is a better option than a growler. Again, once opened, the beer will start going bad so less is better. So for that reason, I highly recommend the 32oz howler over the 64oz growler.
And it gives you the ability to provide more beer options at home. So instead of 64oz of one beer you can get 32oz of two different beers. This is especially great when taking beer to a party.
Just like the Howler, the Crowler is 32oz but that’s where the similarities end.
This container is more or less a really large can that is filled and sealed at the taproom. You pick the beer you want, they fill it, then use a machine to seal a lid onto it.
When you are ready to consume, you crack it open just like any other can of beer.
These are great because they do a really good job of sealing the beer which means it should last a decent amount of time. In addition, it’s easier and safer to transport or ship them. I’ve known crowlers that were opened months later and the beer was still good.
Only select breweries offer these at this time but it appears they are catching on. Since the brewery supplies the can, there’s no additional cost to the customer. That’s a nice bonus.
The only downside is you cannot reseal it once opened – it’s a one time use product. So make sure you recycle the can after drink all of the great beer.
A Product To Help You Keep Growlers And Howlers Clean
As mentioned above, keeping growlers and howlers clean is critical. A dirty container will have a negative impact on the beer.
Cleaning out a growler really isn’t the hard part but what is often overlooked is the process of drying.
Leaving residual water in a growler can cause your growler to get funky as it waits to be refilled. This funk won’t go well with the beer that you fill the growler with.
Drying the growler standing upright won’t get the job done as water will collect in the bottom. And just try propping up your growler; it isn’t easy.
That’s where the Growler Collar steps in to help.
The great people over at Growler Collar sent me one so I could get some hands on experience with it.* And this simple tool does the trick like you wouldn’t imagine. It holds the growler up while allowing air to enter and water to exit.
It’s so simple that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first. So brilliant that everyone that owns a growler should get one.
I could see this as a great item for taprooms and craft beer bars to sell with their branding on it as well.
I think you’ll agree; enjoying a craft beer at a taproom is a great experience. But there are times when you want to take the beer with you. Whether to your home, a party, camping, etc; there’s plenty of reasons to get beer to-go.
Knowing all of your options will allow you to enjoy more craft beer in more places than ever before. And by using the right vessel, you’ll ensure that it’s fresh and tasting delicious.