Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Steel Growler Review: Big. Cold. Beer.

Illustration for article titled Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Steel Growler Review: Big. Cold. Beer.

You take beer seriously. You want it as pure as it was the day it left the brewery—untainted with light and heat. You want the best beer possible, and you want to take your time drinking it. Do you want a 64-ounce wide mouth vacuum insulated stainless steel growler?


It's Friday afternoon, you've made it through the long week, and it's time for Happy Hour, Gizmodo's weekly booze column. A cocktail shaker full of innovation, science, and alcohol. This beats five go-cups.

What Is It?

A 64-ounce, insulated stainless steel growler—to the uninitiated, that's basically a giant bottle a beer store fills straight from a tap with your favorite microbrew.


Who's it For?

People who love beer so much that even a regular old glass growler isn't good enough.


The dual stainless steel walls prevent heat transfer, and a thick, wide Nalgene-style cap makes for easy pouring.


Using It

You take it to your microbrewery or beer store to have it filled up. Screw on the cap, pay for the beer, then go find the nearest glass.


The Best Part

Sweet, frosty goodness! Unlike other bottles we've tested, this thing actually works!


Tragic Flaw

The price. $50 is steep, when you can typically get a glass growler for a $5 deposit.


This Is Weird...

It also keeps hot beverages hot, but who puts a hot drink in a growler?

Test Notes

  • With the growler at room temperature, we paid $12 to fill it up with 64 ounces of a black IPA called Wookey Jack, made by Firestone Walker. The beer was 41.5 degrees F at its initial pour. Ten minutes later, it read 43.5 degrees F. Because the bottle was warm inside, we lost a few degrees to reach equilibrium.
  • After six hours in 80-degree F heat, the beer's temp had only risen to 47 degrees F. A 3.5-degree increase over six hours is damned impressive. The carbonation was perfectly intact.
  • After 24 hours sealed in the growler, the temp had risen to 61.5. Certainly couldn't be called cold. But still, it was pretty tasty for a bottle of beer we first open 24 hours ago.
  • For our second test, we pre-chilled the inside of the bottle by filling it 3/4-full of ice water and sticking it in the freezer for an hour. Then, we refilled it with a $16 jugful of Schmaltz Brewing Company's Mermaid Coney Island Pilsner. The beer went in at 40.5 degrees F.
  • After a little over an hour, the pilsner had only risen to 41.1 degrees F—on an 88 degree day! That should be plenty of time to get from the tap to the destination. Only gaining 0.6 degrees on the way is perfectly acceptable.
  • A couple hours later, and it was holding steady at 42.7 degrees. Very nice.
  • The Hydro Flask survived a four foot drop with no problem. Try that with a glass growler.
  • The wide mouth is easy to clean with a standard dish brush.
  • You need a pretty big palm to grip and pour it one-handed.
  • The lid's leash is stiff enough to not smack into your hand every time you pour. Also, it's plastic, but it's BPA-free.
  • Glass-walled vacuum bottles can't handle carbonated beverages because the pressure will crack the interior wall, but that shouldn't happen with the stainless steel walls on this one.

Should You Buy It?

If you buy growlers, period, you probably have high standards for beer. And if you care so much about beer, why not treat yourself to the best possible bottle for it? Look, $50 isn't cheap, but consider this—you won't have to commit to a single store's deposit/return/refill cycle, you get a receptacle that can't let in light, that's also beautiful, and durable enough to last you for years. Add to that how good it is at insulating your suds, and this is a one very desirable bottle.


The only problem is that it's so desirable that it's currently sold out. (it will be available again in early October, and you can order these directly from many breweries and other stores right now. We'll have a list for you in a moment.) In the meantime, you can put in an order, and take our tips on how to keep good beer from going bad. [Hydro Flask]


Hydro Flask 64-ounce Wide Mouth Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Growler Specs

• Capacity: 64 fluid ounces
• Weight (empty): 27 ounces
• Height (with cap)t: 10.38 inches
• Diameter: 4.87 inches
• Colors: Graphite, Stainless Steel
• Sizes: 12, 18, 21, 24, 40, 64 ounces
• Price: $50
Giz Rank: 4.0 stars


UPDATE: A couple other solutions for finding these:

A. You can on their mailing list and they'll let you know when it's available again.


2. You can call any of these breweries, who have their own customized versions of these flasks:
23rd Street Brewery
512 Brewing Company
515 Brewing Company
Abandon Brewing
Antares Brewery
Arbor Brewing
Atlantic Brewing Co.
Backcountry Brewery
Barrelhouse Brewing
Baxter Brewing Company
Bayern Brewery
Beer Company, The
Beer Lab Inc.
Belching Beaver Brewery
Below the Radar Brewing Co.
Bend Brewing Co.
Bier Brewery
Big Sky Brewing
Big Wood Brewery
Bitter Root Brewing
Black Smith Brewing Co
Black Tooth Brewing Co.
Blackfoot River Brewing Company
Blind Tiger Brewery & Restaurant
Blue Point Brewing Co
Bogus Brewing
Bonfire Brewing Company
Boulevard Brewing Co
Brewery 85
Brewing Network, The
Brewtal Beer
Broadway Grill and Brewery
Bullfrog Brewery
Burley Oak Brewing Company
Cape May Brewing Company
Capita Brewery
Carver Brewing Co
Cascade Lakes Brewery
Celler Ras Brewery
Chatham Brewing
Copper Kettle Brewing Company
Crooked Fence Brewing
Deschutes Brewery
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Devils Forge Brewing
Dillon Dam Brewery
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Dolores River Brewery
Double Mountain Brewery
Doughboy Brewing Company
Elevation Beer Co.
Elk Mountain Brewing
Excelsior Brewery
Fall City Beer
Falling Sky Brewing
Flathead Lake Brewing Company
Foothills Brewing Company
Founders Brewing Company
Free State Brewing Co
Full Sail Brewing Company
Fulton Beer
Garrison Brewing Co
Gore Range Brewery
Granite Mountain Brewing
Great Basin Brewing Co
Great Divide Brewing Company
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co, LLC
Grizzly Paw Brewing Co
Hall Brewing Company
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Haven Gastropub + Brewery
HooDoo Brewing Company
Hop Valley Brewing Co.
HOP Works Brewery
Horseshoe Bend Brewing Co.
Icicle Brewing Company
Indeed Brewing
Iowa River Brewing Co.
Iron Fist Brewing Co
Iron Horse Brewery
Iron Springs Pub & Brewery
Karl Strauss Brewing Co
Kassiks Brewery
Laurelwood Brewing Co.
Lewis & Clark Brewing Co
Lost Rhino Brewing Co
Lucky Bucket Brewing Co
Mad River Brewing Co
Madison River Brewing Company
MadTree Brewing
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Mammoth Brewing
Marble Brewery
Martin House Brewing Company
Maui Brewing Company - Maui
Maui Brewing Company - Maui : Maui Brewing Company - San Diego
Mellody Brewing Company
Mendocino Brewing Co.
Midnight Sun Brewing Co
Migration Brewing
Minogue's Brewery
Moonlight Brewing Co.
Mothers Brewing Company
Mud Hook Brewing
Narragansett Brewing Co
Nebraska Brewing Co.
New Belgium Brewing Co
New South Brewing
Oskar Blues Brewery
Ouray Brewery
Payette Brewing Co
Pelican Pub and Brewery
Pike Brewing Co
Porta Beer
Prism Brewing Company
Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company
Red Mountain Brewery
Revolution Brewing
Roadhouse Brewing Company
Rock Bottom Brewery
Rocky Mountain Brewery
Rockyard Brewing Company, LLC
Rogness Brewing Co
Saddle Rock Brewery
San Diego Brewing Co
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Sawtooth Brewery
Selkirk Abbey Brewing
Seventh Sun Brewing Company
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co
SingleSpeed Brewing Co.
Southern Star Brewing
Standing Stone Brewing Company
Stone Brewing Co
Tamarack Brewing
Tap It Brewing Co
Telluride Brewing Co
Terrapin Beer Co
Thorn Street Brewery
Three Creeks Brewing
Troegs Brewing Co
Two Rivers Brewing Co
Upstate Brewing
Vine Park Brewing Co
Walnut Brewery
Wasatch Brewery
Westport Brewing Company
Weyerbacher Brewing Co
White Birch Brewing
White Pine Brewing Company
Wild Card Brewery
Wild Wolf Brewing Co
Wit''s End Brewing Co

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One very important thing to note is that in many states, you are required to use a growler that you received from the brewery that you are purchasing beer from, and it must have their labeling. Breweries are very strict about packaging rules, because they can lose their license if they don't follow the rules That is definitely the case in California, I'm not sure how many other states it applies to.