TRUE TO THE BREW™
We are advocates for the craft beverage community. We support the craft beer movement in America and believe craft beverage makers have a specific intent for how their product is to be enjoyed.
Our True to the Brew™ ideology ensures that each brewer’s vision for their product is honored. With every fiber of our being and every detail of our operation, we take great care to see that intent carried out from the moment we receive the keg to the instant that product meets our guests’ eyeballs, olfactories, and taste buds.
Read about Growler USA’s methods of product selection, receiving and storage, keg handling system, glassware, and general beer-geekery below.
Growler USA samples brews from all over the country (tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it). We evaluate them on a number of factors including reputation, availability, distribution, beverage origin, market saturation and category (style). We then test submissions for appearance, aromatics, flavor and mouthfeel.
Many people—we’d say most—entering a Growler USA are craft beer neophytes. And many of our patrons with more developed craft beer tastes are just beginning to dabble in handcrafted brews outside of beer— hard ciders, draught wines and nonalcoholic kombucha teas for example.
100 beverages can be a lot to process. We know. It’s okay. You are in a safe place here. You have friends, people looking out for you. One of those people is your Growler USA Brew Specialist, Cicerone® Certified Beer Servers, all.
Cicerone is the industry standard-bearer in beer expertise. The Brewer’s Association calls it, “the most advanced and difficult beer education program in existence.” The smiling person in the white top telling you about appetizer specials, or whatever, has completed this program. Ask her anything. Or just start with, “I don’t know what I want.” She’ll lead you through a brief selection process that usually ends in you getting a free sample or two of beverages you are most likely to enjoy, or that complement your food order, or both. And you just keep on going down this road until you find something you like. It’s almost always a short road.
And then, suddenly, it’s all very clear to you why the craft beer market has grown so much so quickly. “This,” you’ll ask out loud, “is how beer is supposed to taste?”
Yes, it is. And it was likely crafted by a local brewery, owned and operated by people who could be your neighbors. And there’s more where that came from. Did you enjoy your lager? Want to try a pale ale? Or perhaps a pilsner? Let’s get you another round of samples…
Receiving & Storage
A craft brew’s first opportunity to disappoint comes in the transport process from source to tap. The brew master’s serene balance of taste, mouthfeel and aromatic bliss gets challenged the moment the delivery driver chucks the keg in the back of a truck and drives 10 miles over potholed roads in seasonal temperatures.
Growler USA understands the importance of proper post-transport conditioning. Before a keg is tapped, we require proper cooler acclimation. Once acclimated, each beverage is sampled for quality (again, it’s possible our jobs are better than yours) to ensure excellence prior to being released for your consumption.
Keg Handling System
Sloshing sucks. Ever seen a keg hoisted in the air and carried across a bar by a couple of guys? Ever seen one guy do it? Ever seen a guy drag a keg across a bar? Ever think about what’s happening to the beer in that keg? There ought to be a law!
At Growler USA, there is. To ensure the safety of our employees and the gentle handling of the carefully hand-crafted products we receive, each Growler USA cooler is equipped with rolling keg dollies as well as a pulley lifting system that mobilizes kegs smoothly and effortlessly.
With 100 craft beverages on tap, your first visit to a Growler USA could be intimidating. Realizing this, and that most people already have a favorite type of beer, we designed our digital menu boards to list beverage by “style” so you can find your first beverage quickly and easily, then settle in and peruse the vast options at your leisure.
Many factors impact the final experience of the beverage; none more so than temperature. Temperature has a direct impact on the flavor and experience of a beverage. Too cold and you lose the subtle nuances so critical to the craft beer experience, too warm and the CO2 comes out of the solution and you get too much foam.
Temperature is so critical we even specially designed our glass rinsing and conditioning equipment to draw water from lines that wrap the inside of the cooler so that the water matches the temperature of the beer. This also reduces friction, generating a more even pour and a more fragrant head. There we go again with the aroma.
Tap System & Mixed Gasses
A frequent issue in pubs, bars and restaurants is failure to respect the cleanliness of the tap system. Remember the potholed roads on which your beer was traveling? Shorter distance, same issue. Less-than-pristine tap lines introduce unintentional flavors and worse — yeast and bacteria — from microscopic remnants. We use only the highest grade stainless steel dispensing components, adhere to the most stringent of cleaning schedules and conduct regular system inspections.
To ensure the proper dispensing of craft beverages, beer in particular, two things are required: A well-designed and balanced dispensing system; and to know the keg volume (KV) of liquid CO2 in the brew master’s recipe for each specific beer.
Growler USA’s tap system is designed based on calculations factoring in a variety of influences including cooler temperature, altitude, the combined resistance of the system (lines, faucets, couplers, distance, etc.) and the gas or gas blend being used. Now for the recipe: Each beer, except nitrogenated beers, has a prescribed volume of liquid CO2 as part of the brew master’s recipe. It determines how low, or high, the carbonation is when you drink it. Pressure and temperature help keep the CO2 in the beer in its liquid state while in the keg. Too much pressure, or too high a mix of CO2, and the beer will gain additional carbonation. The reverse is true as well, in that too little pressure, or too low a mix of CO2, and the beer will go flat. Less soluble, flavorless gasses such as nitrogen, are precisely blended with CO2 to provide the necessary propulsion, without changing the CO2 characteristics of the beer. By using gas blends, in concert with independent pressure regulators for each keg, we are able to dial in the proper CO2 equilibrium for every beer based on the brew master’s specific recipe. It’s even more awesome when you consider we have about 75,000 beers in our database. Come try one.
The overall experience you have with a craft beverage is a combination of your visual impression, the viscosity and carbonation or “mouthfeel” of the beverage and the taste – which is a marriage between your taste buds and–here we go again–your sense of smell.
Certain types of beers are properly presented in specific glassware. This goes well beyond marketing. Glassware influences color, aroma and taste. Before you even realize it, when the beer first meets your peripheral vision, your brain begins to form expectations. Subconsciously and consciously, the beverage’s nuances are emphasized. Colors shimmer. Carbonation creates “the show”—a visual dance within the beverage. Aromas fill your olfactory system. Your mouth moistens, your lips part and your tongue curls ever so slightly. Oh man, I could go for a beer right about now.
What were we talking about? Glassware! Right! Okay, so for example, strong ales are best served in a snifter—a stemmed glass also used for cognac or brandy. Tulip glasses often hold saisons or higher-octane brews like Double or Imperial IPA’s. Wheat beers are properly presented in a weizen glass. In this way, each piece of glassware presents the different aspects of the beer for maximum enjoyment and, yes, in the way intended by the people who brought it to you.
All recipes in Growler USA’s cookbook of quality comfort cuisine were selected because they complement the beverage. Foregoing a life sciences lesson in how taste buds work (sweet, salt, acid, bitter, umami), let’s just say different beverages have different character, so our food menu is broad and versatile.
Malty beers, like brown ales, bocks, porters and stouts, are best complemented by grilled, roasted and smoked foods. Malt-forward beers like spice, and vice-versa. Bitter, hoppy brews intensify spice and heat. With those, the tongue prefers rich and fatty food. Cheese goes well with just about anything. Because the flavors in craft beers are so full, often, the best complements are lighter dishes like chicken and pasta.
Harkening back to our belief in local, you’ll likely find your food options vary among different Growler USA microbrew pubs. That’s because each location customizes its menu to local tastes and to complement the brews they serve. You’ll find seasonal variations because when it’s warm out, people tend to prefer lighter brews and, conversely, folks drink thicker, heavier styles when temperatures drop. Brewers change their outputs, Growler USA’s tap menu reflects the variance and the food menu goes right along with it.
So when you’re enjoying an entrée or just noshing on the crispy goodness of some tater tots at Growler USA, know those things are offered because we’ve deemed them True to the Brew. And know that there’s always something new, so you should keep coming back. With friends.
We believe in community. We believe in local. Craft beverages are by essence local, so this totally works.
Most of our suppliers, microbreweries in particular, started in garages. They started with a few friends trying their hands at home brewing and rolling out their products at neighborhood barbecues and block parties, playing hell with open container laws. So then people say, “Hey, this is really good. You could sell this.” And then the friends look at each other and say, “Why not?” And this happens over and over again, and the craft beer movement is on. And America is a better, yummier place because of it.
Then they open a microbrewery nearby. Then they gain capacity to be able to make and sell more beer than they can fit on their taps. Then Growler USA calls. From a market development standpoint, we need each other. These brewers need our taps; we need their product. But needing each other is just so… transactional, you know? We like each other, too. And life is just so, so much better when you like the folks with whom you work.
Why do we like each other? Besides, you know, just being generally cool people? We have the same interests. When Growler USA brings on a new franchisee and we choose a location together, we immediately identify local causes and charities with whom to partner. We believe the stronger the fabric of the surrounding community, the more successful our microbrew pubs will be. And dammit, that’s America.
So how is this True to the Brew? Because those microbreweries support the same causes as our pubs. We collaborate on fundraising. We serve on the same volunteer committees. We care about the same stuff and share common goals. We co-promote. Those microbreweries are owned and operated by people who live in your town. So is your neighborhood Growler USA.
Craft brew is local. As are we.
There’s more to the customer / pub relationship than friendly service and the best products, isn’t there? Growler USA provides options for you to get as much as you want out of our relationship with you. Of course, we’d like your neighborhood Growler USA microbrew pub to be your “go to” place—no two ways about that—so we seek to add value at every turn.
You’ll see it in our loyalty program. The more we see you, the more value you’ll get from every visit. You’ll see it in our communications — on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You’ll get alerts, if you want them, when we tap that special brew you’ve been stalking and know when we have cool events or news to share about us, sure, but also about the community or craft beverages in general.
You’ll see it in how we use our space. Does your group need a place to hold meetings? Hey… we have space! Do you have an idea for a fun event? We like fun! We have events!
We are always examining our pub design, décor and buildout to maximize customer comfort. Colors, volume, event screen content… Growler USA microbrew pubs are designed at every facet to enhance connections and communication. We believe you should be able to converse in comfortable tones, and that the ability to do this enhances your enjoyment of… well, of the brew.
We believe increasingly meaningful person-to-person connections are important for our success. We believe this focus creates an environment of comfort and familiarity. We believe your enjoyment of your meal and your beverage are enhanced in such an environment. We believe that sense of belonging, of community, is consistent with the goals and intent of our brewers.
At Growler USA, True to the Brew is happening all around you.
Organizations & Legislation
In addition to supporting community causes, Growler USA is a member of the National Restaurant Association, state restaurant associations, the American Homebrewers Association, and the Brewers Association. The BA is the leading authority in the nation for advancing the craft beer movement. As a franchise, we are also members of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and proud supporters of the IFA’s VetFran program.
We support state brewer’s guilds and other efforts at the national and state levels to improve the ability of craft brewers to compete in the marketplace and to make craft beer more accessible to everyone. Legislative efforts we support include:
- The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 2903/S. 1562) – As per the Brewer’s Association, ” The intent of the bill is to update and modernize the excise tax and regulatory requirements for craft brewers as well as cider makers, vintners and distillers, and thereby help to ensure the continued growth of America’s craft beverage industries.
Is it altruism? No. It’s True to the Brew. Are there similar efforts in your state? There’s a form at the bottom of this page. Let us know! We want to help.
Growler USA also offers significant franchising discounts through the VetFran program. OK, that’s a bit outside True to the Brew but any time we can call out our appreciation to those who serve, we’ll do so. To those who serve or have served and to their families: Thank you.
Innovation is a big reason the craft beverage industry is America’s fastest-growing. In addition to the evolving legal landscape, endless opportunities for knowledge growth avail. Growler USA takes advantage. We constantly monitor, and frequently share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, news about developments in the industry including new beverages, trends and best practices. We read the industry trades and attend webinars and events. We maintain a database of articles and resources. We take continuous, deliberate, intentional steps to ensure our learning about the industry is ongoing.
True to the Brew means we understand what it means to be a leader in this industry. It means we carry that mantle responsibly and with immense pride. It means we earn it and re-earn it every day in everything we do. And we have a damn good time doing it. And that is as it should be.
True to the Brew means all of this comes through every time you connect with Growler USA.