Summer Lewis invited me to Iechyd Da Brewing Company yesterday to take a first look at the brewery’s new tabletop Crowler™ machine.
This does not mean that Iechyd Da will be canning its beers and distributing them into the local market. Instead, and in my opinion even better, you can purchase a 32-oz. aluminum can (called a Crowler) and fill it with any beer on tap for take out.
With this new process, the empty Crowler is rinsed just like a pint glass would be before filling. Then it is purged with carbon dioxide, filled at the tap, a lid is placed on the opening of the can, and the machine seals the beer inside.
The whole process took about two minutes as I watched. These will take the place of the glass 32-oz. growlers that Iechyd Da has been using, which will be phased out.
What is the advantage, you ask?
First of all, I know that I have forgotten my growlers numerous times when I’ve headed to Iechyd Da or any other brewery. With the Crowler, there is no worries about forgetting — it’s always available at the bar.
Since it’s aluminum, it’s more portable and easier to take to the beach, park or poolside come summer.
Also, it’s more cost effective. I have lent out many growlers over the years, and they are easy to lose track of. With the Crowler, one can just take it along to a party or gathering, and not worry about getting the empty Crowler back at the end of the event. And it’s 100 percent recyclable.
Cost will be $7 out the door, coming out to about $3 a pint. Summer said that the brewery will still recommend consuming the beer within two weeks, and that it is not recommended to cellar their beer. First and foremost, Chip Lewis brews Iechyd Da beer to be consumed fresh, which is what I like about his beer.
The Crowler name is the trademark property of Ball Corp., but the machine was conceived and designed by Oskar Blues Brewery, a name that has become synonymous with aluminum since it canned the first craft beer in 2004.
Breweries will own the machines after they purchase them from Oskar Blues, and Summer told me that they will continue to purchase the cans from Oskar Blues.
Although the number is growing rapidly, there are still relatively few of this machines at breweries around the country. The next closest breweries that I am aware of are White Flame Brewing in Hudsonville, Mich., and Dry Hop Brewers in Chicago.
If you have been wondering what the cardboard box at the end of the bar has been hiding over the past several days, now you know.
Starting today, customers can purchase Crowlers or, as Iechyd Da will be calling them, “Thirty-Twos.”
To do this weekend
If you are wondering what to do this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I suggest you head out to Bare Hands Brewery in Granger.
From noon to midnight on Saturday, March 14, in addition to an incredible tap list, the brewery will have bottles of Galaxy Imperial India IPA (ABV 10 percent, IBUs 99) available. This is a limited release that has all been hand bottled by the Bare Hands crew.
A portion of the days sales will be donated to support Brett “MADDOG” Banasiewicz and The Kitchen BMX & Skatepark’s “Save the Kitchen” campaign.
Also check out the huge amount of new apparel, and look for their online store to open soon. For more about this event and to see the really cool label for Galaxy Imperial IPA, check out the Bare Hands Facebook page.