The Battle of Beer Gone Bad: From Broken Barrels to Hi-Tech Growlers
Alas, a tragic tale of beer gone bad. During the mid-1800s, in a little Czech town called Plzen (or Pilsen)
, beer had a long-standing history. The trouble with brewing back then was the difficulty of keeping beer unspoiled. Without modern technology and health regulations spoiled beer was a fairly common occurrence. Until one day the brewers of Pilsen were so off-put by a batch, they rolled the barrels of ale into the streets and broke them open to discard the spoiled brew.
Isn't it a pity? It wasn't long after that, a Bavarian guy named Josef Groll introduced the Czech town to a beer making style (known as lagering
) that German breweries were (and remain) famous for. Combined with a specific type of hop from the region and the naturally soft water in Pilsen, they produced a type of lager never before seen nor tasted. In that little town, in 1842, the Pilsner was born.
This story reflects what the craft beer industry is doing today. They're trying new things and taking successes along with failures. At this point craft and small, independent breweries make up 12% of the market in the entire global beer industry. That's no easy accomplishment competing with the likes of multinational brands, so we can raise a glass to that.
While the days of breaking open spoiled casks of ale in the street are over, the days of spoiled beer are certainly not. Most breweries want you to take home their beers in nice, branded growlers. They're sealed right there and are a little memory of that cool craft spot you visited. The trouble is, once you've opened that growler, time's tickin' before that beer turns no better than the Pilsen street beer.
Luckily, there are awesome growlers
out there. Now that technology is on our side, vacuum sealed growlers, insulated growlers, and even mini keg growlers (yeah, they pump beer just like a keg) are all options for us to store and keep our beer fresh.
We won't knock grabbing a growler straight from the brewery because they make awesome growlers too. Always support the breweries, but along the way, make sure to bring a container that can truly let you treasure the craft they're providing you with. Not only will you have fresh beer to travel with, you'll probably have the best growler in your crew. Make Pilsen proud, don't spoil your beer.