The return of "the growler"...subtitled, "my dad, the beer-toting visionary"
My dad and I didn't have many great bonding moments, but the few we did usually involved a tavern.
Amazing, since he died when I was 13. No, we weren't doing shots of Jagermeister back then, or holding forth at beer pong. Truth is, Pops liked his booze and to get quality time with him meant availing oneself to the occasional two block walk to his bar of choice--Johnny's West Side Tavern--near 15th and New Jersey on the cusp of what we Sheboygan-types call "The Flats". Dad and the tap's namesake were so tight that, upon news of my inception, Johnny offered to buy me a $25 US Savings Bond if my father named me John. Father insisted that I instead be christened Gene Godfrey, honoring the heavyweight fighter Gene Tunney and the beloved radio/TV performer Arthur Godfrey. A how-did-you-get-your-name back-story was born, and Johnny's $25 sprouted wings.
Dad went to the bar for several reasons--to socialize, see friends, get caught up on neighborhood gossip, to see this new invention called color television (Johnny's was the first such device I'd ever seen, but no matter the show, everything was always green) and, of course, to have some pops. And, to bring some home: dad liked his beer and he liked it from the tap. The idea of "keg, can or bottle, all tastes the same" as the old Blatz TV commercials...
...used to say hadn't really caught on yet in the early 60's. If dad wanted that tap-beer taste at home, dad had to bring along a jug--a glass gallon one at that--that the bartender would fill as dad hit the door.
The jug would be dad's couch-side companion when he wanted a taste at home. Once empty, it'd be back to Johnny's where I'd get my fill of Tootsie Rolls and Cokes while dad joined the rest of the clientele in solving the world's problems.
Who knew my old man was such a trend setter?
His jug, according to BeerAdvocate.com, is technically called a "growler" and the idea of bringing tap beer home after a night out is picking up speed again. OnMilwaukee.com says a new Riverwest brew pup is at the tip of the local growler spear, working with the city to change local laws to make them legal again. The legal tweak means the bar's customers can take home any of it's changing array of tap beers in a growler up until 9 p.m.
BeerAdvcate.com has everything you'd ever want to know about the growler, including how it got it's funky name and how it evolved over the course of time. You might want to get back up to speed on the concept, because it sounds like it's getting traction again.
Does this mean there'll be a shortage of gallon glass jugs?