I was recently sitting in a brewery tasting room and I noticed a disturbing trend, over the course of an hour or so that I sipped my fine craft beverage I watched individuals enter carrying empty growlers. That’s not disturbing, I’m actually happy to see people visiting a local business and utilizing a reusable container at the same time. The disturbing thing that I noticed is the cleanliness of the growlers being brought back in for a fill.
I would have brushed this off as an isolated incident, an instance of lack of education on the part of one or two patrons but it wasn’t so isolated. In the time that I sat there I witnessed eight different people bring in growlers in various forms of cleanliness ranging from a splash of leftover stout sloshing about the bottom of the container to extremely disgusting in the way of hazy glass that did little to hide the thriving ecosystem inside. I’ll admit as grossed out as I was I was slightly interested in what forms of mold had been cultivated in that glass, green, black, blue and built up over an inch high, it was an impressive display of filth.
“But Chad, they take the growler back and give you a clean one.”
Lazy excuse, one so lazy that anyone using it should be embarrassed. If you are willing to pay for the growler and consume those breweries beers in quantity, you should consider how it looks when you walk in their establishment with a moldy, unclean growler. Or more so, how it looks on that brewery to have you walking down the street with that growler. Also not every brewery does the glass swap thing, this past summer I visited a brewery in Vermont and carried along my growler, they didn’t do swaps, shame on them they didn’t even rise it, but that’s not the point, the point is I clean my growlers and I got a half gallon of fresh flavorful beer, without infusing any mold into it.
Growler Care isn’t a difficult thing; there isn’t even a reason to be lazy about it.
Nobody is asking you to buy a bottle brush, glassware detergent or sanitizers. When you finish your beer you don’t have to make it a chore to clean your growler. It’s simple really, finish your beer, fill it a quarter to half full with tap water and give it a good shake, empty it out, fill it about the same, give it another shake and empty it, let it air dry, upside down preferably. I throw away the caps, I don’t like to take the chance they’ll be reused and not hold pressure and it allows the growler to dry.
That’s it, water, rinse it with water, I bet it takes the brewery a lot longer to clean out those growlers with heavy filth than it does to rinse out the remnants of the IPA you just drank.
Take pride in yourself for not being lazy, have respect for the brewer whose beer you enjoy drinking, be a positive billboard for them when you are out with their branded growler. Clean it up when you’re done with it, don’t be the person who turns in a science experiment and expects a clean growler in return.