Beer Geeks Create The Brauler, A Suit Of Armor For High-End Brews

The summer’s hottest backyard barbecue accessory is a cold jug of local brew, a growler filled at the corner craft-beer store (what, your corner doesn’t have a craft-beer store?). But as hip as it looks, it might not be the best way to cart your suds. Traditional growlers are glass, and sunlight (even the little bit that penetrates brown glass) can skunk a beer—the light waves vibrate certain hop oil molecules until they break apart into nasty compounds, related, believe it or not, to those in a skunk’s spray. Plus, growlers usually have narrow necks that produce cascades of foam when they’re filled from a tap. And no one likes wasted beer. beer-brauler
Traditional growlers are glass, and sunlight can skunk a beer.
So three Portlanders created a solution: The Bräuler, a wide-mouthed, stainless-steel growler designed by engineer Harvey Claussen, industrial designer James Andrew, and writer Christian DeBenedetti.

As craft beer enjoys an ever-brighter spotlight and the finicky, increasingly educated (OK, OK, snobby) consumer base that comes with it, quality concerns have become even more important. That’s led some breweries to begin packaging in cans, which are light-proof and, as an added bonus, cheaper and more environmentally friendly to make and transport. But what about growlers? “You buy a growler of beer at a bar, take it home, and drink it later,” DeBenedetti explained. “And by that point, the brewers have no clue what condition the beer is in.”

Besides blocking light, the Bräuler uses a dimpled bottom--just like on a can--and an extra-tall cap to hold pressure and keep beer fresh. Glass growlers, if they’re pumped free of oxygen and counter-pressure filled, will stay pressurized too, of course, just not if they’re accidentally dropped. A planned tap-handle add-on will let you dispense beer from the Bräuler without breaking the pressure seal. That revolutionary idea is taking a bit of finessing, with CO2 cartridges and one-way valves, all complicated by the fact that different types of beers are best served under different pressures.

The Bräuler (from “brau,” German for beer) is made in China, and will be hitting brewery shelves in a month or so, as soon as the three designers, who go by the name Zythos Project, quality-test the latest round of prototypes. It looks tough--Spinal Tap umlaut and all--but remember, beer isn’t. “The idea isn’t to cryogenically freeze beer,” says DeBenedetti. “It should be consumed fresh.”

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