Jesse Prall has been doing a lot of brewing lately, even for a professional, full time brewer. The struggle to keep up with demand is significant, especially given that there are so many people coming into the tap room the three days or so per week it is open.

It’s a problem everyone loves to have, and many if not most brewers do when they first start out. Simply put, more people want his beer than he has beer for, but relief is in sight. In fact, by the time you read this, it is likely his new brew system will be completely functional and he will be making enough beer to send over the bar as well as out the back door in kegs (more on this next week.

Oh and out the front door in Crowlers, 32 ounce cans filled reorder.

Crowlers provide a door to an improved beer experience. They’re becoming increasingly popular, although they tend to cost a bit more and are labor intensive. The reason is, it solves the problem of the growler for the customer and the problem of canning for the establishment in question all at the same time.

“Anybody can drink two beers.”

I travel with a growler in my trunk because sometimes I come across a great beer that I want to share or (and this, frankly is more often the case) a beer that I want more of than is reasonable to have at a brewery I had to drive to get to. The problem with a growler is that once it is sealed the clock is ticking. It will fresh for about five days (not that one has ever lasted five days).

When you crack that bottle open, you have to be prepared to drink 64 ounces of beer, because (contrary to legend) it’s really a matter of hours before the beer begins to go flat. For me, this usually meant choosing beers I also like to cook with, Stouts and Porters, mostly, so that if I didn’t finish the growler, it doesn’t go to waste.

But if you swing by an increasing number of Eastern Shore Breweries (besides Rubber Soul there are Burley Oak and RaR, pictured left, for certain) you can get a Crowler, which is the equivalent of two pints, and open it whenever. By whenever we mean at least a few months.

When you do open it, it will be as close to tap-fresh as possible and it will be two beers. For me, that is the ultimate best part.

Whether or not to drink four beers is a decision. Whether or not to have two is not a decision I’ve ever had to make.

Batten down the hatches, there’s change a-comin’

Crowlers have so many upsides, especially with the growth of beer tourism, that it only is a matter of time before they’re common at many breweries. Breweries that bottle or can tend to do so with their most popular beers. As more craft beer is distributed more widely, this will be come something we expect as well. But what if your favorite beer isn’t available? When if there’s a one-off that you really want to try, or keep or share?

Very few containers travel as well as does an aluminum can. For beer it likely is the perfect vessel. Beer’s enemy is oxygen and light, to which cans are much more impervious than bottles.

Just as with limited-release beers, Crowlers allow you to share beers that aren’t yet available for distribution over long distances (I don’t know the postal rules for shipping cans. I think it’s “don’t” but that’s between you and your postmaster).

Also, (and maybe bestly) if you’re not afraid of hoarding, it is a great way to make certain your favorite local beer is always available and the safest, most awesome way to have one for the road.

Tony Russo
Author: Tony Russo

Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century, writing for and editing regional weeklies and dailies before joining the team that produces OceanCity.com and ShoreCraftBeer.com among other destination websites. In addition to having documented everything from zoning changes to art movements on the Delmarva Peninsula, Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer was published in 2014 and Delaware Beer in 2016. He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn't moved out. Together they keep their two dogs comfortable.

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