Last week -- or the week before, who knows at this point, it's just one big sleep-deprived baby-inspired muddle in my memory at this point, but let's call it last week -- last week, I went to reputable local brewery and got a growler and it went flat the first time I opened it. And I'm not a growler-in-one-sitting guy these days, so that was disappointing, especially since the brewery had the same beer available in bottles and I even considered if I should go in that direction. Too bad I didn't.
I don't know if the bartender just didn't fill it right, or if it was the bouncing around in the car, or I did something wrong with the re-sealing, but you'd hope a growler could handle a few re-sealings. And it's not like the beer came out fizzy to begin with.
Are growlers overrated? I'm not deep enough into the growler game that I can render this decision with authority -- California's laws make growler filling stations a tough thing to bring about, and I mostly prefer bars to breweries so that I can sample many different beers instead of being locked into a relationship with one head brewer. So I have a couple growlers, but they aren't often full, is what I'm saying.
Well, lucky for me, a person at Springfield Brewing Company is a fan of my baseball writing (I assume, or maybe just my baseball chats (today at noon ET!) or my twitter feed, both of which are pretty damn silly), and he sent over two crowlers of their newest DIPA, the Pro-Am. There was an email, and a mention of a crowler, but I didn't know what the thing would look like until it arrived.
It was glorious.
You know when you pop that top on the crowler, that there were no shenanigans with the seal. You know that your beer will be as carbonated as it was meant to be by the brewer. You know no light got in and spoiled your beer. And, whether growler or crowler, you know you won't be drinking straight from the source, and you've got a glass nearby, so really it's about the effectiveness of the delivery.
The crowler is damn effective in delivery.
Is it harder on the people working at the brewery? Look at the machine below. Does it look terrible?
I dunno. I see a crimper at the top and a lever at the bottom and a place for me to write what the beer is. Doesn't seem so terrible. In fact, were I an employee, I would prefer to be taught on this thing than have to listen to someone tell me "overfill it, but don't overfill it to the point that you're losing beer, you want to lose foam and get the beer up the top and then really close it quickly and get a good seal and whipe it all down real nice." Uh, sure, okay. How about I just put it in this can and crimp the top and write on the can?
Consider me sold on the crowler.
Oh, and the beer inside was damn good.
Pro-Am DIPA, Springfield Brewing Company (8.5 % ABV)
Appearance = 4/5
Hazy and cloudy orange, nice lacing, okay head, but the haziness makes you wonder, just a bit, if it'll be too thick.
Aroma = 5/5
You get some hay or grass, but not too much. And then comes the fruit, oh the fruit, the... pineapple? mango?... the tropical fruit that you love so much. Or that I love so much. But you should love it, if you ask me.
Taste = 4.5/5
Yes. Yes. It's thick, and it's 8.5%, so you do get some of the alcohol. But the pine bitterness cuts that thickness, and then the fruit gives it so much fun on top. As it warms and flattens, it can be a bit much, and there is malt here if you don't love malty DIPAs, but even then you still get all that tropical fruit that inspired the brewery to accept this recipe and brew it for the GABF pro-am competition, presumably. (They won last year with a Rauch.)
Feel = 4/5
It's juice and fruity thick, with a nice bitter finish that cleans it up for another drink. Does the bitterness hang out too long? Maybe. Give me another one so I can test it out.
Overall = 4.25/5
Man this is a really good beer, and I could see it doing well. It's part of the tropical thing going on, but instead of light and tropical, it goes all the way with your tastebuds, makes you look over your shoulder for your wife. Plus it came in such a great delivery method, I had to take it to show all my friends. Is this getting creepy?