The Bräuler growler effect

Alyssa Hurst | Boulder Weekly

For those craft brew lovers who want to enjoy that straight-from-the-tap bliss from the comfort of their own homes, growlers, the half-gallon equivalent of to-go boxes for beer, are essential.

From the traditional glass growler to customizable clay-fired ones to newly developed stainless steel growlers, the options are plentiful, but when it comes to the Bräuler growler from The Zythos Project, its food-grade stainless steel body is not the only selling point.

After creating its wide-mouth, dishwasher-safe growler to satisfy the search for something more heavy-duty than the typical glass product, the Portland-based company decided to take its innovation a step further and create a special device allowing Bräuler owners to enjoy their craft brews in more than one sitting.

The third-generation Bräuler currently in the works will include an ingrowler carbonation system that The Zythos Project has dubbed FreshCap.

The FreshCap would allow growler owners to reinvent the freshness that goes along with opening a growler of beer for the first time. With the help of a special valve and a CO2 injector, users can re-carbonate their beer, creating the effect of fluffy, freshly tapped foam.

Will Curtin, tap room manager at Colorado’s only carrier of The Zythos Project’s Bräuler growler ($35), Great Divide Brewing Company, says, “64 ounces is a lot of beer for one person to take on in one sitting, so the ability to save it is really a big draw.”

While Harvey Claussen, co-founder of The Zythos Project, says the FreshCap won’t be available for purchase until March, the company’s Kickstarter fundraising campaign ends in early November, and according to the company’s website, it has already achieved 500 percent of its goal.

The FreshCap is just the latest addition to the continuously improving Bräuler, Claussen says. “The goal is the perfect growler,” he explains. “The Bräuler Modular Growler System. If only we could do it all at once.”

Curtin says that the key difference between stainless growlers and the traditional glass growler is longevity.

“Some people just want to take some beer to a Super Bowl party, and if you’ve got a glass growler, they’re cheaper, you’re able to leave them,” he says. “If you’ve got a stainless one, you’re not going to do that.”

Stainless steel growlers offer the benefit of keeping beer fresh longer. With glass growlers, sun exposure can cause the contents to take on a skunky flavor, lose carbonation faster, and turn lukewarm fairly rapidly.

Generally, once a growler is opened, the beer inside should be finished in one sitting for peak freshness, but for the connoisseur who fills a growler without the intention to share, the benefits of stainless steel are key.

Despite the fact that the stainless body of the Bräuler and other products like the Hydro Flask make for a richer beer experience, some still reach for glass. Great Divide still carries amber glass growlers, not only because of price and convenience, but also because of the way they display the beer.

Claussen acknowledged this minor downside, saying, “Stainless keeps out the light that damages beer, but then you can’t see the lovely beer, except through the very wide neck when you remove the cap to pour your fresh pint.”

Curtin described the look of the Bräuler as “totally different,” referring to its wide mouth. This modification makes filling the growler at any brewery simple. Curtin compared filling a normal growler to filling a bottle, saying that the special design of the Bräuler eliminates the “glug, glug, glug” that comes with smaller mouths.

It is a difference that Claussen says is pivotal. “No other wide-mouth, long-neck, easy-fill, high-pressure, freshness-holding product exists,” he says.

According to Curtin, Great Divide Brewing Company is looking forward to the debut of the FreshCap.

“We’re excited to try it out. It is part of a really niche market of people that really want their beers that fresh,” he says. “There’s been a real push for more technology.”

Claussen says the Bräuler has been a labor of love, with equal parts labor and equal parts love.

“This is a story that our journalist co-founder may put into a book some day,” he says. “He [Christian DeBendetti] brought to us the needs of the brewers and the pubs from his book-writing tours, where he has met with hundreds of industry insiders from around the world. Our artist co-founder created countless beautiful renditions of what that meant to him. Our engineer co-founder designed and created computer models for strength and durability and performance. Finally, we pushed all of this through the factory, and out came a thing of beauty.”