Stylin’ & Profilin’: What is a Crowler?

Stylin’ & Profilin’ is a brief look at different beer styles that will help you learn whether they’re right for you. Ultimately, words can’t truly turn you on to a solid craft beer. You have to smell, taste, and savor each sip to truly discover if it’s one you’ll come back to in the future. But the background info obtained in this post won’t hurt anything either. In addition, Stylin’ & Profilin’ takes a glance at various elements of craft beer culture to further enhance your knowledge and know-how!

What is a Crowler?

As craft beer’s overall popularity continues to build positive momentum, the enjoyable options you and I have at our disposal can be mind-blowing at times. Trust me, that’s a great problem to have. After all, who wants to live in a world without choices? We have new breweries popping up seemingly at every corner, thus giving us access to good beer whenever and wherever we want.

One of the driving forces behind the growth and continued word-of-mouth advertising that most small breweries take advantage of is to-go beer. These days, bars, breweries, bottle shops, even some grocery stores make it incredibly convenient to get just the right amount of beer for the occasion at hand. One of the most popular ways to transport beer from A to B is via the growler: a 32 or 64oz glass jug designed to house two or four pints of your favorite brew for a short period of time, respectively. Once sealed, I’ve had growlers maintain the quality of beer for up to a week (but I’m normally never waiting that long to dive in). Once opened, the carbonation escapes and the beer will change flavor if not consumed in a short period of time, typically within 24 hours after opening.

Recently, many breweries have shifted their packaging preferences to cans. The advantages of canning include increased protection from sunlight and relative ease of transport. The canning method has become so popular, several destinations have implemented to-go canning solutions in addition and, in some cases, in replacement of, glass growlers. These handy little cans have affectionately been dubbed “crowlers.”

Crowler Canning MachineA crowler is a can, typically 32oz in size although I’ve seen some even smaller, that allows you to choose your favorite beer on tap and leave with it securely sealed inside of said can. A special machine, much like the one you’ll find at Pig Iron Public House in Cranberry pictured right, applies the lid and, within a few short seconds, you’ve got beer to go in a vessel that’s easier to transport than most growlers. In addition, the freshness life of beer inside a crowler increases vs. that of a growler. Most destinations featuring crowlers say you can get up to two weeks of shelf life inside an unopened crowler (but, again, who’s waiting that long?!).

So, why go crowler? Here’s a few reasons:

  • Easy to transport
  • No clean-up; use once and dispose
  • Longer shelf life
  • Enjoy favorites from your local breweries who don’t currently can or bottle their beer
  • Take beer to parties and introduce new people to quality beer
  • 32oz is arguably the perfect amount of beer to commit to
  • It’s fun to say “crowler”

Here’s a video I shot with Cassie Hough, one of the owners of Hough’s Taproom and Brewpub, back in the Summer of 2014 when they first had their crowler system installed. Check out how easily this little guy seals up your beer:

Most likely, you enjoy beer in a variety of different places. Picnics, tailgate parties, house parties, and just about any other events you can fathom are better with the right beer in hand. That said, crowlers are awesome and make bringing your favorite beer to the party that much easier.

Crowlers are starting to gain some traction in Pittsburgh. Below are four great establishments utilizing this method of beer-to-go. If you know of any more, please let us know in the Comments section!

Get Crowlers at these great craft beer destinations:

East End Brewing Company | 147 Julius Street, Pittsburgh PA 15206

The Independent Brewing Company | 1704 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15217

Hough’s Taproom & Brewpub | 563 Greenfield Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15207

Pig Iron Public House | 926 Sheraton Drive, Mars PA 16046

 

 

 

 

 

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Jason Cercone

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