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Growling for beer

Having lived in the microbrew capital of the US these past 18 years, I've developed a taste for those foamy, hoppy libations. My preferred beverage while cooking? A bottle of something local, please. When we moved to Columbus three weeks ago, the beer selection at the grocery stores was completely foreign. There were plenty of microbrews, but none that were familiar. So my husband and I have begun the arduous task of sampling six pack after six pack (sigh) in search of our new favorite beer. Life is tough.

Recently, while trolling the aisles at our local Whole Foods, I spied beer taps behind the deli counter. What's going on here? They sell growlers! Refillable growlers of microbrews! Swoon. A growler is a glass jug that holds 64 fluid ounces of beer, equivalent to four pints. 

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Drink it up, rinse it out, then bring it back for refills. I haven't figured out whether this is a cost-effective solution, since I'm still unfamiliar with the beers and what they might sell in 6-pack form. What I DO know is that it is an effective reuse solution. Yes, glass can be recycled over and over again, but it does require a whole lot of energy to do that. Bringing along my empty growler on my next shopping trip requires zero energy (well, except for lifting it). Perhaps the biggest downside of the growler system is that you need to drink the beer within 48 hours of opening it, or it will go flat. But I think I'm up for that challenge.

I don't believe all Whole Foods stores offer this service, which is a cryin' shame. I know you can get refillable growlers at pubs (Portland peeps, check out this growler map) but for convenience sake, wouldn't it be great if more grocery stores offered this service?

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