One of the most common questions we get at Standing Stone is about taking beer to go (and we don’t mean the amount that you take home in your stomach). Like most other food and drink, beer has an expiration date. You’ll experience the best aroma and flavor straight out of the tap, but we know sometimes you want to take beer home, too. The key is keepin’ it fresh.
Tip #1: Use the proper vessel
Make sure the container you are using seals well. Air getting in, or carbonation getting out, will cause the beer to go flat and lose its flavor. A twist top works great, and flip-top caps work even nicer. Air in is bad, carbonation out is bad.
Furthermore, beer can take on the flavor of whatever it is stored in. It’s why our Barley Wine is aged in a wine cask for three months, and why many breweries use old scotch or bourbon barrels for conditioning Stouts and other seasonals. When taking beer home, use glass! Glass is essentially an inert vessel, in regard to smell and flavor. Avoid using a plastic growler that will give the beer an odd taste if left in there for too long.
Tip # 2: Store in containers shielded from sunlight
Sunlight affects the flavor of beer. UV rays are a contributing factor in beer spoilage, so avoid it! That is why bottled beer is generally sold in containers made of tinted glass; green or brown. Most often, beer is stored in brown glass, like our growlers. Colored glass protects it from UV rays longer than clear glass. When storing beer, make sure it’s either a tinted glass or something metal so little or no sunlight can enter.
Tip #3: Keep Cool
The goal is to try to recreate the environment in which beer is stored at the brewery. We store our beer between 38 and 44 degrees to keep flavor consistent. Flavors change when the temperature changes. When taking beer home, it’s best to put it in the fridge as early as possible. If you’re driving and can’t put it in the fridge, a simple cooler of ice will do the trick. It doesn’t take much to keep it cool, and it’s well worth it. Or pick up one of our double insulated growlers. They’re great for taking beer long distances, on the river, or out on a camping trip. Check out Outside Magazine’s blog post, What’s the Burliest Water Bottle You Can Buy?, where they tested our beer in a Hydroflask after 24 hours with no refrigeration…it made it!
Tip # 4: Drink quickly (and responsibly)
When we say drink quickly, we don’t mean try your best to recreate your college experience. Perhaps it’s better to say, “Share your beer with others as quickly as possible.” The sooner you enjoy beer from your growler, the better it will taste. The longer beer is out of the tap, the more flavor it will lose. We generally tell people to drink beer from the growler within 24 hours to make sure the flavor stays consistently delicious. It can go a few days, however, without going bad. And once you open the seal, try to finish your beer within a day.
And that’s it! Follow these tips and your beer should taste pretty darn good. Remember: do your best to recreate the environment in which beer is stored at the brewery. If this is a little much, just keep these simple ideas in mind: avoid air, heat, and light. If you can do those three things, you and your growler will be good to go.
And make sure to check out our Standing Stone gift ideas. Beer makes a great gift, and even more so during the cold winter months (Barley Wine, anyone?). Our Holiday Six Pack includes a t-shirt, coasters, glassware and a growler – filled with beer! So stop by, wrap up shopping with a grower and some gifts, and try your hand at our four tips to keep a growler fresh.