In Durango, beer and the outdoors are very good friends. Whether it’s on a trail, at the summit, or on the river, we don’t want a refreshing, soothing beer to be too far away from us. Not so long ago, we could only bring cans of macro beer with us because all of the good beer was only packaged in bottles. Then, craft cans became a thing and have advanced to the point that bottles are on their way out. But is it enough?
Not every brewery packages their beer in cans or bottles and many don’t distribute their beer beyond the taps in their brewpubs. Also, the smaller breweries and brewpubs that do distribute don’t distribute every beer they make. There are always wonderful and frequently more experimental or niche beers that you can only get in-house. So, how do we make sure that we can take any beer we want outside with us on our adventures? Enter the insulated growler.
Most people have seen a traditional glass growler before. They do have a certain likable, nostalgic quality to them, but for the active Durango lifestyle, their functionality leaves a lot to be desired. They don’t keep beer cold for very long, they can break and possibly injure you on your outdoor excursion and there are no fun bells and whistles that you can attach to them besides a carrying strap or koozie. A well-made insulated growler is crafted from stainless steel, features double-walled vacuum insulation that keeps beer cold for 18 to 24 hours, and has an airtight seal on the cap that will keep every bit of carbonation trapped where it belongs.
Personally, I am fond of Hydro Flask and DrinkTanks products. One of the main reasons I prefer these two is they are reasonably priced compared to other “fancier” options. A Hydro Flask 64-ounce growler costs between $60 and $65 depending on where you buy it and its DrinkTanks rival is only modestly more expensive at between $65 and $75. They’re also very durable. I’ve seen people with both of these brands of growlers that have significant dents in them and still work just fine. One of these will likely be the last growler you ever have to buy as long as you show it a reasonable amount of care.
The third reason I love these two brands is that between the two of them, they have the best variety and add-on options. In addition to the 64-ounce option, Hydro Flask has a 32-ouncer in addition to a 25-ounce wine bottle, a 16-ounce True Pint, 10-ounce Rocks and 10-ounce Wine Tumbler. Their accessories aren’t as impressive for the beer lovers, mostly tumbler lids and sport caps that don’t really jive with drinking beer.
If it’s beer add-ons and sheer volume you’re looking for, go with DrinkTanks. They have a 64-ounce and 128-ounce growler option and the Michael Jordan of accessories: the Keg Cap kit. This bad ass add-on is a lid that has a short hose and plastic valve similar to ones on hand-pump keg taps. No need to pump this one by hand, though. It comes with a CO2 Injector and a couple of cartridges to keep your beer carbonated and free from oxygen, which we all know is beer’s longevity nemesis.
So, if you want to bring a gallon of beer on an overnight camping trip and keep it cold and tasty until the next day, go with DrinkTanks. If you’re looking to take 32-ounces of beer and a couple insulated pint “glasses” to celebrate with a friend after you summit a 14’er, go with Hydro Flask. One thing’s for sure: Ditch the glass and get on board with stainless, vacuum-insulated innovation.
Sean Moriarty has been drinking craft beer since before he was legally allowed to. He managed and bartended at Steamworks Brewing Co. from 2007-2017 and currently manages their digital marketing.