Often-Asked Craft Beer Questions With Quick Answers

Lineup Of Growlers

How long does craft beer last?

The more clear and hoppy a beer is, the quicker you’ll want to drink it. Think in terms of weeks, not months.

With higher ABV beers (about 8% or higher), the beer can last months, if not taste better in a few years.

My friend, Craft Beer Joe, wrote a more in-depth guide to craft beer shelf life if you’re looking to learn more.

How many calories are in craft beer?

Most stouts are between 250-350 calories. Higher ABVs, pastry stouts and barrel-aged beers can go beyond that 350 mark. There’s a reason you feel full after a 16 ounce can of Untitled Art’s Wisconsin Stout.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find Pilsners and session IPAs in the 100-250 calorie range.

If you’re calorie counting, you can’t go wrong with defaulting to a count of 250 calories.

Why are so many craft beers in cans?

For breweries: The more they put in cans, the more they can ship and for less because aluminum weighs less than glass – and stacks more efficiently.

For consumers: The can prevents UV light from impacting their beer, which can otherwise make the beer smell and taste skunky.

Why does craft beer cost so much?

There’s a laundry list of reasons, but my favorite is that aside from the flagship beers from breweries, every craft brewery is in R&D mode. To bring better beer, more unique offerings, and have the freedom to fail with experimentation, they need the margins.

To totally understand, your best bet is to go on a brewery tour.

What’s the craft beer equivalent to bud light or miller light?

If you’re trying to grab something quick and to-go, nab some New Glarus Totally Naked, 3 Sheep’s Pils or Fair State’s Pils.

If you’re looking for a Madison brewery or two, then make your way to Working Draft for their Hindsight German Pilsner or Ale Asylum for their 12 oz curl Pilsner.

Some styles to look for: Kölsch, Cream Ale, Pilsner/Pils

How long does craft beer last in a growler or crowler?

When a beer is put in a growler directly from a faucet, the sooner you can drink it the better as there’s likely oxygen that made its way into the growler and is slowly deteriorating the beer. Drink it within two weeks to be safe.

If you see a brewery or bar put a growler in a fancy contraption, they are likely purging the oxygen and you can expect a much longer shelf life, equaling close to the same if you had purchased it already bottled. Drink it within six weeks to be safe.

As for crowlers, I did a taste test of a 3 day, 3 week and 3 month-old pineapple wheat beer and found no faults in any of them. You can treat crowlers the same as you treat growlers. Drink it within six weeks to be safe.

All this said; breweries put their beers out when they believe them to be the most fresh. If you want to experience the beer that they wished you to, open as early to the date you had them filled.

More questions

Have questions you want quick answers to? Send Garth a note at garth@garthsbrewbar.com

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