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In this week's installment of Tabletop Wrestling, Dan Person and Mike Seely debate the merits of beer by the growler.
Dan Person thinks growlers are great:
I'll allow that growlers have lost some utility as brewery taphouses have become full-scale restaurants and just about everyone with a homebrew kit in their garage is bottling their wares by the 22-ounce.
When tasting rooms were drafty spaces with concrete floors and limited seating, it made plenty of sense to get in and out as quickly as possible with growler.
But these days, why bother with an imperfectly sealed jug when you can enjoy pitchers at the taphouse and a properly packaged can or bottle of the same stuff at home?
Plenty of reasons.
First, the growler is uniquely communal. As Seattleites try their damndest to make beer as stuffy and pretentious as wine, a growler is the closest thing we get to what makes wine so wonderful: a centerpiece for the dinner table that brings everyone closer and makes conversation a little less drab.
And unlike wine, beer does not benefit from shelf life, which anything you buy from the store will inevitably have. Sure, a growler won't keep two days in a refrigerator, but drunk immediately, the beer within will be the best representation of what the brewer intended it to taste like.
And of course there's the environmental benefit. In other countries, people can bring their 12 oz. bottles into breweries to get them refilled, but in the U.S., growlers are the sole means by which you can reuse a beer bottle.
Growlers make Mike Seely growl:
Do you love flat beer? Then growlers are fucking awesome. And I'm not talking about what happens when you only finish half a growler, put the cap back on, and lose the benefit of carbonation within 24 hours--I'm talking about the flattening that occurs by the time you get a growler home from the brewery.
If you want to drink a pitcher of beer, which a growler is tantamount to, do it at the bar. If you want to take beer home, buy it by the bottle or keg (while the funnest of the bunch, a horse isn't necessary, as there are more economical sizes to tap into).
Growlers are also typically overpriced, meaning you pay restaurant-markup rate for a product that's inferior to what you'll find on the shelf of a store. So, in purchasing a growler, you fuck yourself twice. And, in this case, two negatives do not equal a positive. The only reason to drink a growler is if you desperately need to take one, as nothing unclogs the intestinal pipes like stale microbrew.