Tailgating, Washington Beer Style

Another installment from our newest contributor – Growler Guy.

By Growler Guy

When you mix these things together – beer, friends, food, football – good things are likely going to happen.

My wife and I joined some friends in braving the weather this weekend to tailgate prior to the Arizona State-Washington Pac-10 football game.

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Most tailgates I’ve participated in the past consisted in cases of domestic beer, burgers, hot dogs and snacks. But, being the Growler Guy, I decided to spice up our little get together with some good Washington Beer.

One of the greater things anyone can experience is passing along something you appreciate to others. When I bring a growler of beer to a party, camping trip or tailgate, there are a lot of intriguing questions. Most people outside of the beer appreciation community are not aware of the 2-liter glass bottles of goodness, and there are often a lot of questions:

-That beer tastes fresh…

-Where did you get the beer?

-Where can you get Growlers filled?

-How much does that cost to fill?

For me, enjoying a Growler goes beyond the taste of fresh beer. Knowing that there is little waste involved (think throwing away 24 bottles or cans), and that I am supporting local Washington craft breweries is among the benefits. And after one sip by our friends, I think I had recruited a few more growler lovers.

Over the last year I’ve come to appreciate the “green” way to drinking beer, and passing that appreciation on to friends has been a very fulfilling.

For our tailgate on Montlake, I brought three growlers (Georgetown Manny’s, Georgetown Roger’s, Two Beers Pumpkin Spice). Anything from Georgetown Brewing Company is tasty, and in my mind, the best deal in town at $6 a fill (with a Georgetown Growler) and $7 for their Lucile IPA. I’ve never had to wait in line to get their brew and they have pretty good hours.

The Two Beers Pumpkin Spice sparked a lightning-rod of discussion. We were all trying to figure out what flavor stood out the most. I guarantee this is not a discussion to be had over a Budweiser or Bud Light!

Now here is the tricky part about doing something different. If I wanted to take the easy route, and still stick with a good Washington beer, I would have gone down to the grocery store and picked up some bottles of Pyramid, Red Hook or even 22-ouce bottles of Diamond Knot IPA. But to get a Growler of beer, you have to plan ahead, go a little out of your way and even pay a little more. But that is all part of the enjoyment…

I had my eye on the Pumpkin Spice ale ever since Two Beers posted it on their twitter site (@twobeersbrewing), but they are only open Thursday and Friday from 3-7 p.m. So I had to plan ahead fill the growler Friday after work.

We had planned on getting a growler fill from Harmon Brewing in Tacoma Saturday morning, but we found out they did not open until 2 p.m. We even thought about a fill from Trade Route Brewing in Pacific, but they were not open until noon, and our closest brewery, Airways, opened at 4 p.m. We decided to stop at Georgetown on the way to the game to complete our tailgate beer selection. As you can see, it is not as easy as walking into a QFC or Safeway, but once you get the goods, it is so worth it!

In addition to having to plan ahead, growlers can be a little more expensive than your typical six-pack or half-case of beer. I spent a total of $20 for the three growlers of suds (192 ounces). That roughly equates to 16 bottles or cans of beer, which would be about equal to buying 16 bottles of a decent quality beer (Red Hook, Pyramid, Deschutes, etc.) at any grocery store.

I cringe when I see growlers priced at $10 or above, but sometimes it is worth it. I applaud Pyramid for their $5 growler Monday’s, Elliot Bay Brewing for half-price growlers on Monday’s (West Seattle) and Tuesday (Burien) and even Harmon Brewing for their Growler Hour from 5-6 p.m. daily ($2 off growler fill). I hope more breweries catch on to spread the growing growler movement.



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