If you've got plenty of friends and or family, the traditional growler is perfect for you. You can get as many as 128 ounces in these jugs. But make sure you drink it all at once because there's no reason to ever try and put that top back on and save it for later. Nope.
If you've got no restraint and fewer friends, then the crowler is for you. My first experience with the things was a great one, a Pro-Am DIPA from Springfield Brewing that I wrote a love song to.
Who knows if the love song was to the beer or the concept any more. Because I think I remember the beer, but the idea of a growler-sized can that can be filled off the tap was perfect to me. It's fresh, it'll stay fresh until you drink it -- it won't suffer from light or lost pressure at least.
It's still 32 ounces of beer that you will have to drink the minute you open it. And really, the minute you open it. There's no even faking it with putting the top back on just until this beer is done. You better drink it all right away.
For my birthday, I got an early gift from my brother-in-law, though, and it offers a Third Way. You might guess what's at stake -- yes, this one you can close and keep for later. Even better, you never open it.
I got a pressurized U-Keg growler from Growlerwerks and it threatens to revolutionize my personal drinking by cutting out the need to think of my wife and brother-in-law tastes when I fill the thing. I can get a beer I want for myself, fill the thing with the CO2 cannister, and give myself a little beer from the tap whenever I want it. Brilliant!
I guess there's a possible downside here. The CO2 canisters, the cleaning method that includes more than one ingredient and some specialized drying instructions, just the look and feel of the thing -- it's a little complicated. You won't be able to pull off any 'oh I was just passing through and happened to have this jug to fill' nonchalance. You are a beer nerd, and you cleaned the damn thing and you've got all the bells and whistles, and there's a chance the bartender looks at all that and shakes their damn head. Maybe even shakes their damn head no, I won't fill that, too much.
But, dude or dudette, I would say, you are here. You are into beer. You might as well own it.
And so you might as well own a thing that has a sight glass so you can see how much is left, a special interchangeable tap handle that begs for customization, a double wall vacuum stainless steel approach to keeping your beer fresh, and what the hell, throw in a CO2 canister (two for free, 50 cents per refill), a pressure gauge, and adjustable carbonation for good measure.
Why not? It means you can have just as much of the beer you wanted just to your self, and that you can save it for weeks in your fridge, just like a regular keg.