Summer’s not over yet, so you should know about this – there’s a way to take your homebrew to places that won’t let you bring glass. Hydro Flask makes steel growlers – a 64-oz. flask with a double-walled vacuum-sealed insulated chamber designed to keep hot hot and cold cold. It looks like an oversized water bottle – Hydro Flask makes those too – but it’s really what we used to call a thermos with a food-grade steel lining instead of glass. You can take it to the beach or the golf course and drink delicious homebrew knowing that if you drop the flask it won’t go smash and leave sharp slivers behind. I think they’re pretty cool, pun intended, and had been hankering after one for a while. Hydro Flask donated them as giveaways to the registrants at the Beer Bloggers Conference this year.
Does it work? They claim it keeps hot hot for up to 12 hours and cold cold for up to 24 hours. I came home and promptly washed my new metal growler, let it air dry upside down and filled it with refrigerator-cold beer. I checked it at 12 hours and 18 hours and the beer was still decidedly cold; it hadn’t warmed up to merely “cool” yet. Granted, I’ve had it indoors in a sunny window, not in a baking hot car. If the beer temp gets up to “cool” by the 24 hour mark, I still think that’s still pretty darn good. The bottle was comfortable to handle, too – no freezerburn of the fingers or anything. Because of the vacuum the bottle doesn’t sweat, so there’s much less chance of dropping it or having it drip in embarrassing places on my clothes. The same principle should apply to heat: it won’t transfer to the outside so I won’t burn my fingers after filling the steel growler with hot coffee or soup. Since I expect to use it to transport beer most of the time, it may be a while before I test it with coffee or soup!
Hydro Flask has a great attitude. Theiy guarantee their flasks for 100 years or a lifetime, whichever comes first. How long has it been since anyone offered you an actual long-term guarantee on their product? Plus they donate 5% of your sale to the charity of your choice through FivePercentBack.org. You go to FivePercentBack’s site, enter the serial number off the bottom of the flask you bought, choose your charity from a drop-down menu, and voilà. Quick and easy. Hydro Flask sent a message to our conference organizers encouraging us to register for that 5% even though we got the flasks for free. I did, and it appears to have worked. I’m a big believer in giving back. As my grandmother used to say, we were “born with all our buttons” so we owed it to give back just for that. I have a twenty-first-century middle class American life and am damn glad of it, so I donate some time and money out of sheer unfocused gratitude. If these folks will donate a bit for less than a minute of my time, great. I admire a money-making organization that chooses altruism from the get-go.
Hydro Flasks are BPA-free, unlike any of my plastic or aluminum water bottles. BPA is bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that’s been used in polycarbonate plastics and some resins since the 1960s. Those resins may line food cans, bottle tops, and water lines; water bottles and food storage containers are often made of polycarbonate plastic. If you microwave those plastic containers or scratch the resin lining by scrubbing with a cleander, BPA can leach into your food in very small quantities. According to the Mayo Clinic, we know BPA can affect the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children; the Hydro Flask website makes some other claims as well. We don’t
know (as far as I’ve discovered) what long-term buildup can do. For now, the FDA says these polycarbonate plastics and resins are safe because exposure to BPA will be in such small quantities, but in an increasingly toxic world, it’s nice to cut down on exposure where you can. Now, the cap to my flask is mostly (if not all) plastic lid. Hydro Flask does not claim it’s BPA-free, but it is 100% recyclable, and since I’m not going to microwave a vacuum-sealed metal bottle or scrub the cap with abrasives, my exposure should be minimal indeed.Hydro Flask has a “Traceability” notice on their label. I’d never seen one of those before. Traceability refers to their social accountability. Their label informs me that Hydro Flask bottles are “designed in Bend, Oregon and handcrafted in China at meticulously chosen factories.” Is it bad that my first thought was, “Bend, no wonder”? Only my second thought was to wonder what factors they’d insisted upon in their meticulous search for a factory. The Traceability link on their website describes their commitment to social accountability and their Fair Trade Manufacturing Labor Practices some on their website.
So, props to Zephyr Adventures , who run the Beer Bloggers Conference, for negotiating a groovy giveaway for us, and thanks to Hydro Flask for providing a very useful tool indeed to a bunch of beer-lovin’ bloggers.