DESCRIPTION: insulated growler and Co2 tap system
MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
MSRP: $109(growler) + $45(keg cap)
Filling a growler has become quite an ordeal for me. With the introduction of crowlers, I have found myself filling growlers less and less. This is probably for a couple reasons. My wife and I can kill a crowler no problem and for no special reason. A growler takes a little more foresight than I usually have. First I need to pack it, then I need to go to a place where I want to fill it. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, I need to open it quickly after filling and then drink the whole thing. Growlers don’t keep freshness for very long, especially once opened.
When we were walking around the OR show, there was some product placement that kept jumping out at me. There were these behemoth growlers at nearly every corner. Some were pouring beer, some water, some kombucha, and some coffee. I wasn’t there to scope out beer devices, however with beer always on my mind, this subliminal advertising got me hook, line, and sinker. There I was, constantly face to face, with this massive 1 gallon (128oz, twice normal growler size) growler with a picnic tap coming out of it. I was filling water (or snagging beer) whenever I could. Several details grabbed my attention. Firstly and most dramatically, the size; secondly, the picnic tap; and lastly was the craftsmanship.
To recap on my initial impression, I’d like to dive into it a little. The size is pretty straight forward. I often worry about an occasion to open a growler, so a larger size concerns me even more. They do make a 64oz version for the lightweights as well. However, the second observation, aka the picnic tap, possibly resolves that issue and opens some new doors. The third thing that jumped out to me was the build quality. This is easily recognizable from a quick glance and more so once hands-on. The Drink Tanks growler is robust. Like in the way you could stuff it in your raft and not give it a second thought. Or in the way you could tie a rope to it, wedge it between some rocks and rappel off of it (I’m not sure but I’m guessing rappelling off of it isn’t recommended). The handle is big but cleanly and firmly attached. The lid locks down like you’re sealing a space shuttle door. I saw an array of colors and the five pound “Juggernaut” (DrinkTanks label for the 128oz) is surprising clean looking in any color. DrinkTanks also offers the customizable option of engraving anything on them as well.
Shortly after my initial sighting of the Juggernaut, I procured one with a Keg Cap. We were taking a short trip to Ouray and passing by Elevation Brewing Company, so I figured that was as good of a time as any to fill it. This is where I ran into what could be two small issues with the Juggernaut. First off, convincing a bartender that it is just two growlers and they can charge accordingly, is difficult. I think this is easily overcome, IF you run into it, with a little schmoozing. The second one may not be so easily solved. Will it fit under the tap? Elevation has two different, but common, tap set ups and it didn’t fit under one of those. This lead me to filling it with my second choice, which was really no big deal. Hopefully wherever you choose to fill it with have tall taps, a hose, or some other creativity to make it happen.
Fitting this beast under taps or into hotel fridges maybe a little difficult but don’t let that stop you!
We purposely didn’t open it or refrigerate it for two days. It sat on the counter in our hotel room. I’m happy to say it was still cold when we opened it. Obviously this is not a scientific method by any means, but I know most to-go beer methods wouldn’t have been able to do this. So we read the instructions and poured out 12oz and then “tapped” it. We switched out the normal cap for the keg cap and poured away. One thing we learned the hard way, is that you do need to pour out 12oz (like the instructions clearly state). Any less and beer will shoot out from the cap when you pressurize it (at least it did for us). When we were done that night, we pressurized it and let it sit for another day untouched in the fridge. When we went to pour out of it again, it flowed like a champ: well carbonated, smooth pouring, cold beer. We were impressed! In fact, it has been over a week and a half and I am still drinking well carbonated, smooth pouring, cold beer from the same fill at Elevation. I usually don’t take that long to drain a gallon of beer, but I paced myself this time… for science.
What a way to serve up an apres beer!
Initially I had one doubt before trying out the system. My concern was the ability for it to maintain pressurization so that it would remain carbonated and pour well each time. I didn’t have much doubt in its ability to keep beer cold. Like I said before, when you get your hands on it, you have no doubt it is well built. It clearly is a high quality growler, but I wanted a high quality “mini keg” out of it too. It really did out perform my expectations on this. The food grade CO2 bike-style pump that comes with it lasts longer than I expected. It barely takes a second or two to charge it before the built in blow off valve releases excess pressure.
I have a ton of growlers and except for a few smaller ones, I would be happy to get rid of them all. This thing is perfect. It really is a superior growler and an awesome mini keg. I will be making sure this is with me more often and thanks to the Keg Cap, I’ll be a lot less reluctant to fill it. I’m excited to put it through more testing (aka filling and drinking).