Last Saturday we stopped by the relatively new local craft beer market, Ale Yeah!, which we are oh-so-lucky to have in our little hamlet of Decatur, GA. It’s a very pleasurable experience to step into this nice, cool, store, filled to the brim with American craft beers—beer from all over the world, actually—and with gracious owners and staff on hand to explain and inform. And not only do they have beer, but they also have other local and regional goodies to go with it including fine cheeses from farms like SweetGrass Dairy, local preserves and jams, sausages and cured meats, pretzels, coffees, chocolates, and more. Plus they have all the supplies you need to make your own brews at home. And perhaps best of all…they have Growlers.
Until I read about them in our local and very informative news blog, Decatur Metro, I had never heard of a growler and couldn’t imagine what people were talking about! In case you are as uninformed as I was, a growler refers to a refillable 64-ounce container or vessel into which draft beer is poured and transported for home consumption. A jug can be purchased at the store or you can bring your own, it’s then filled with your choice of tap beer—and there’s a great rotating selection—it’s sealed at the store upon purchase and will keep for a week unopened in the fridge. Once opened, it needs to be consumed within 24-36 hours before it loses carbonation.
There are many stories about how the term “growler” came to be: some say it was from the growling sound beer made as the CO2 escaped whilst being carried home in a pail from the local pub, circa 1800’s; some say it was named after buckets of beer given to factory workers before their stomachs growled in hunger; and some say it was men growling in anger as their beer sloshed out of pails on their way home from the pub. I don’t know which version is true, but growlers sure are a good thing in my book! Not only can you get some fine draft beer to enjoy at home, but it’s often much cheaper than buying it in small bottles. We purchased our first growler of Belgian Palm Ale on tap to share at the F-1 party last Sunday and it was a delicious big hit, plus I got a free promotional t-shirt in the bargain. I foresee many forays to this market in our future, and we’ll be heading back to refill next weekend and try out a different beer, Ale, Yeah!