We did a lot of paddling on Wisconsin rivers this summer, and what you may not know is that a number of riverways forbid the use of glass containers. For anyone traveling with bottled beer or a glass growler, this requires a solution.
Here are two:
Stainless steel growlers. A number of brewers are starting to stock these. I saw one at Sprecher, for example. And I have a “howler” sized metal vessel from Bell’s as well. Metal allows the beer to chill faster in your cooler – but can also mean your beer warms up faster when it’s out of the cooler. They have growler-sized beer koozies to go with it.
But perhaps what you need is a Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Growler. I just saw one of these over at Red Eye Brewing in Wausau, Wisconsin. It’s like a gallon-sized thermos for beer. Keeps it cold and carbonated for up to 24 hours. (or hot for up to 12 – but that’s not really relevant for beer). At about $50, they aren’t as cheap as the glass growlers, but for frequent growler refills and that added camping-friendly aspect, it’s worth it.
We picked up another fantastic camping/paddling-friendly device from White Winter Winery. They now offer the Pouch o’ Mead, a couple of bottles of mead in a mylar bag with a spigot. A bag of mead or wine fits nicely in the cooler, getting smaller as you drink it.
We got a kick out of this because we were able to float it in the river behind the canoe to chill it. If you are on or near a good trout stream, that’s some pretty cold water and makes your mead nicely chilled in no time.
And much like a box of wine, the spigot and collapsible bag mean that air doesn’t get in so you can drink your mead over a period of days… if you can drink it that slowly.
So keep glass off the protected rivers, lakes and beaches, but bring along your favorite craft brews anyway.
See more of the Wisconsin canoe trips I made for my recent book, Paddling Wisconsin.