Growlers offer unique advantages that bottles (or cans) don’t, chief among them the ability to fill up straight from a tap, repeatedly. At many local breweries, they’re the only way to bring home the suds. San Francisco’s Cellarmaker Brewing, a top-10 new brewery on Rate Beer, for example, only pours beer on tap — including their flagship Imperial Coffee & Cigarettes (it’s as good as it sounds). So, you either drink in house, or you pull straight from tap to growler.
Of course, there are other reasons to own a growler: they’re easier to carry than the equivalent volume in individual bottles, and they generate less waste. When you get down to it, a small investment in a beer jug opens up a whole world of local microbrews — and these are the five best 64-ounce (4-pint) growlers for your money. Just remember that once you open the cap, the beer’s only at its peak freshness for about 24 hours. And consider that most breweries want you to use their own growlers, so you may need to do some sweet talking to bring your own. We tried to avoid growlers with large labels for this reason (for the gorgeous Wander and Rumble growler, they may make an exception).
Miir Vacuum Insulated Growler
For the Beer Purist: Miir’s streamlined their growler design and given all the needed function within a minimal form. The double-wall vacuum insulation keeps beer cold for 24 hours (hot liquids for 12) and the flip-top opening clamps the top shut to prevent leaks and holds the cap on to make sure it never goes missing.
Shine Craft Vessels Wander and Rumble
For the Artisanal Drinker: Start your “U! S! A!” chant. Founded by Jordan Childs, Shine Craft Vessels paints and finishes their products entirely in Virginia. Available in a variety of colors (we dig the GP orange), the shiny, 23-gauge, 304-grade stainless steel vessels are more eye-catching than some of the other options and look as craft-built as the beer you’ll fill them with. As an added bonus, a portion of each sale gets donated to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
Portland Growler Co. Sprocket
For the Esthete Drinker: The mud used in the Sprocket comes from Portland, Oregon, as do the designs. Production? That’s done in Portland, too. Although ceramic is more expensive than glass, it’s completely opaque, meaning that your beer won’t get skunked by the light. Additionally, ceramic is a natural insulator, meaning that beer stays colder for longer, and it looks like a piece of modern art.
Hydro Flask Insulated
For the Mover and Shaker: Hydro Flask makes a double-walled, vacuum-insulated beer growler that wouldn’t look out of place dangling from a carabiner on a daypack. It’s made from 100 percent recycled materials, is BPA-free (meaning that no un-wanted petrochemicals will seep into your water), and the double-walled construction means no condensation. The vacuum-insulation keeps things fresh and cold for 24 hours, or, if you swap it for coffee, it’ll keep liquids warm for 12 hours. There’s no better choice for bringing beer on the trail.
Kegworks Keg Style Growler
For Reliving the College Days: Shunning the traditional shape of the modern growler, Kegwords took inspiration from another beer holder: the keg. Sure, carrying around a stainless steel mini-keg is a bit kitschy, but it certainly gets points for stoking up nostalgia for parties past. And though it looks small, the mini-keg still holds the standard 64 ounces.