COLD BEER in the backcountry is something you can expect to find in the luxury accommodation of the European Alps, but New Zealand? Not so much.
Stanley’s 1.9-litre Growler might solve that problem for Kiwi trampers – for the first 24 hours of your trip at least. The Growler has a vacuum insulated body and foam insulated lid which Stanley claims can can keep your favourite beverage cool for up to 24 hours. In reality, I found it worked best for about 12 hours.
Of course, few trampers are likely to pack such an unwieldy vessel – it weighs 988g – on a multiday trip. That weight is reassuring though – it’s solid, won’t break if you drop it and does something most other growlers don’t: keep your beer cold.
The idea is to buy tap beer – breweries and some off licences can help here. I bought two litres of IPA and left the Growler in my fridge for two days. On the day I decided to start drinking, I took it out in the morning and carried it around with me for about 10 hours. When I opened it, a very satisfying ‘pop’ and ‘hiss’ emanated, signaling the beer was still carbonated. A healthy, substantial head proved this to be the case. It was also cold, but not like you’d just taken it from the fridge. Once opened and exposed to air, the beer went flat within a couple of hours.
With the Growler filled to the brim, the wide opening and heavy-duty handle allowed a smooth and accurate pour.
The only real drawback is the size: the brewery where I filled up charges per 250ml, so even though I only got 1.9litres, I had to pay for two litres.
Almost a gimmick, the Growler is perfect for the beer connoisseur who appreciates tap beer drunk at home – or in the bush, by the lake, on a picnic….