An unusual silence prevailed in recent weeks on My Life With Beer – a few of you already speculated about my premature demise – and it is now coming to an end again. The silence was caused by a field trip in the United States which actually provided ample substance to talk to you about. The main “takeaway” from this trip? Service in The Netherlands is appalling, but more about that later. First, I present you the Crowler, and believe me, this is the future of beer as we know it!
The Crowler is a contraction of ‘can’ and ‘growler’. First, the beer can still gets scorned and spat upon in Europe – unjustly, as I have argued several times. The Growler – a large package to take away with draft beer from the bar for consumption elsewhere – on the other hand is gaining ground, including in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam Beer Tree introduced it a few years back; Peter van der Arend soon celebratse the first anniversary of Craft & Draft, his bar and shop with a choice of no less than forty ‘growler’s. A few weeks back Van Bieren opened its doors with permanently four beers on tap that you can take home. However, they all use bottles made of glass or plastic. And be honest: from a quality standpoint a can beats the rest for ‘best packaging for take-away.
Stone Crowler next to a half-liter can
In the tasting room of Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, I saw a machine surrounded by empty cans of 32 fluid ounces, almost a liter (95 cl). To my amazement, you could buy each of the forty-five beers to take out: the can was first ‘loaded’ with carbon dioxide, after which it was tapped with the beer of your choice. A lid was placed on the can and the can was then put in motion by means of a kind of potter-turntable in which the lid was mounted on the can. The process took less than a minute to complete and there you had it: a light- and airtight, relatively lightweight and shatterproof packaging full of precious, farm-fresh beer in hands that, once placed in the refrigerator, also cools more rapidly than any other beer packaging – many times faster than a glass container for example.
Watch the video. Amaze yourself. This is the future of beer, and I’m wondering which Dutch brewery will install this machine first: I wave them all the praise already!