The Stanley brand has been around for decades. When it comes to insulated drinking containers, the brand’s synonymous with camping gear. Well, Portland is synonymous with “microbrew,” so the Classic Insulated 64-ounce Stanley growler seemed like a great pairing of traditions. And as if the stars were really aligned, the Stanley growler performed the best of the three beer growlers I reviewed this summer.
The Hydroflask growler has a fresh brand behind it. The DrinkTanks Juggernaut growler has novelty and innovation. Those two also coincidentally hail from Bend, Oregon, just a three-hour drive from Portland. But Stanley has performance, and where campout beer is concerned, that’s really what matters most.
Like most beer growlers, the Stanley growler holds 64 ounces, or four pints. (Stanley’s own pint is shown above on the left. Their stacking tumbler is on the right.) With four pints of beer in hand, you’re going to need to keep it cool for a while. In my tests, the vacuum-insulated Stanley growler beat the competition in this regard, keeping beer about 51-percent cooler than its closest competition over a 24-hour period. Whereas the DrinkTanks’ contents increased in temperature by 4.7 degrees, the Stanley growler saw its beer rise just 3.1 degrees Fahrenheit over the same period.
Interestingly, that consistency carried over when the outside temperatures dropped as well. It tends to get cold at night up in Mt. Hood National Forest, and the last thing you want is frozen beer. Whereas cold outside temperatures caused beer in the Hydroflask to drop 5.4 degrees, the Stanley growler helped the beer inside drop by merely 4.5 degrees, a 20-percent improvement. So while I tested these insulated growlers in summer conditions, if your fall and winter camping trips include beer, it’s safe to say the Stanley growler will take good care of your frosty brew.
From a practical standpoint, I really liked the size of the Stanley growler handle as well. Having a handle may seem silly, but it’s a necessity for easy pouring at the campsite. The specific handle on the Classic insulated Stanley I reviewed was especially nice, as it was the perfect size for a hand. (You can watch my video here to see what I mean.)
I also liked the easy-sealing hinged lid. The lid has a metal lining to keep the beer from touching plastic, and it clamps down easily with a simple looped tab. Although it tends to let out a ton of carbonation each time you open it, at least there’s a rewarding “pop” when you open it, like there would be when removing the cap from a bottle of beer. The pop gets decidedly less noticeable after opening the lid a couple of times, though, which indicates the brew is literally losing steam.
The lid has a few elements that feel cheap. For example, the loop that clamps it down is metal, but its thumb tab is made of plastic, as is the ledge onto which the loop clamps. The plastic is billed as heavy duty, but I couldn’t help wishing it was metal instead. Nothing broke during my tests, but a hard bang on the thumb tab could be disastrous. You can re-bend metal back into shape. Plastic’s a much harder beast to work with and is never the same after gluing.
But those are nitpicks. I love the novelty of the DrinkTanks Juggernaut, but for sheer beer-insulating performance, the Stanley growler was unmatched in my tests. Don’t be deterred by the old-school brand. Not only is “retro chic” cool again, but Stanley’s learned a thing or two since 1913 and has brought all that experience to the beer-loving — and now beer-toting — crowd.
The Stanley growler was provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Insulated 64oz Stanley Growler
- Insulates the best of three growlers I tested this year
- Perfect sized handle
- Wide mouth makes cleaning a breeze
- Narrow form factor is easy for packing
- Retro-cool vibe
- Wide-mouth, hinged top lets out a ton of carbonation
- Plastic elements feel cheaper and less durable than those on other growlers