Did anyone else have the saying “just because it’s popular doesn’t make it right” drilled into them as a child? For some things it definitely makes sense – I’m looking at you Hammer pants, perms, fanny packs! –while for others it was more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Recently we’ve been experimenting with some non-Reinheitsgebot seasonal beers in the brewery, treating our beloved purity law more like a helpful hint. Our current Bavarian heresy is the Kaffee Kolsch; our OBX Kolsch infused with coffee from Front Porch Café. Using a cold brewed lightly roasted coffee to accent the bright citrus flavors of the OBX, the result is a light buttery ale with delicate coffee flavors and aromas.
Doesn’t that sound lovely? Wouldn’t you like to have a glass of Kaffee Koslch after raking the leaves in your yard or putting up miles of fake cobwebs for Halloween praying you don’t come across a real spider? Well it’s only available on draft at the brewery. This would be a real buzz kill if we weren’t relinquishing another long held position at the brewery. Growlers.
For years I’ve patiently explained to eager eyed beer enthusiasts that we don’t fill growlers for a variety of quality control reasons. First of all growlers gravity filled from the tap go flat quickly. Our refillable liter bottles are counter filled with CO2, which gives them a shelf life of weeks. Or months if you’re like me and find a Christmas Bier liter hiding in the back of the fridge in May. Hey don’t judge me, this beer finding miracle wouldn’t be possible with a growler. They barely last 24 hours! As if flat beer isn’t a dire enough threat, what about a sour beer? And I don’t mean the trendy kind. Don’t get me started on the wild yeast and bacteria that could be living in your growler, potentially spoiling our beer if you didn’t clean it out properly.
Have I said enough to make you convert your growler into a vase yet? Don’t let my frustrations spoil your fun. I still have my reservations about filling growlers and I foresee a few nasty emails from cranky novices who can’t understand why the beer coming out of their ultra sleek top of the line growler is flat. However the key word in that sentence is novice. The experienced beer buyer has flourished over the last few years with growlers becoming a ubiquitous part of our culture. It’s not beer culture specifically, but society and pop culture as a whole. I saw a GEICO commercial featuring a hyper-particular beer drinker ordering a growler of beer. It’s a hilariously familiar scene for anyone who’s worked in a brewery, or known that type of fussy drinker. This ad would have gone over like a lead balloon five years ago and no one would have known what that giant glass jug was. Now it’s being aired nationwide and everyone is in on the joke. My main complaints against filling growlers are directed towards those who didn’t understand what they were getting. Clearly that demographic is rapidly shrinking and I am happy for beer lovers to get our beer any way they want. So there you have it. The people have spoken and the Weeping Radish is officially filling growlers. Stop by the brewery and get one of our seasonal beers or a year round favorite in your growler of choice. But I am not changing my mind about Hammer pants.