Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lifeline 50/50 Insulated Growler

Old School v. New School
One awesome thing about living in a city with a thriving craft beer culture like Portland is that you can get a growler filled almost anywhere in town. You'll often see bearded gents strolling down the main drag in my neighborhood, growlers in hand, headed for the nearest brew pub or bottle shop. Awesome.

The traditional growler is simply a 64 oz. glass jug with a cap. Fancier glass growlers come with a hinged porcelain gasket cap. Glass growlers are preferably amber in color. Clear glass allows too much light inside and that is not good for beer. Can you say "skunk"? Nobody wants that.

I've always used old school growlers, but lately their limitations have become a problem for me. What limitations you ask? First, that screw on cap isn't very air tight. The hinged gasket type is better at keeping the beer fresh, but both will leave you with a flat beer fairly quickly. One day in the fridge and you can tell the difference. Second, glass growlers won't keep your beer cold, unless you keep them in a fridge or submerged in an ice bucket. Enter the double-walled, vacuum growler.

I've been envying several of my friends who have premium growlers. They show up at a bottle share or party, crack open their growlers with a healthy "phsssssst!" and ice cold beer is soon poured into glasses. That's the way to do it!

I started shopping on Amazon and found the Lifeline 64 oz. 50/50 Insulated Growler for $26.88. Deal! I've seen the same growler for sale at local breweries for $40.00. Sure, those growlers have brewery logos screen-printed on them, but it's the same product. Using Amazon Prime (which I love), I got free shipping and two day delivery. The growler arrived in perfect condition, and I couldn't wait to try it out!
Got me a growler!

Heck, since I'm trying the thing out, I decided to give it a review. I drove over to Alameda Brewhouse and got a fill of their Siskiyou Golden. Alameda has a special growler fill deal on Saturday's: FIVE BUCKS! Seriously, they're giving the stuff away and you know I'm taking it. Five bucks? There isn't a better beer bargain in all of Stumptown. I'm told the deal will go on until the Saturday before the Super Bowl. I kinda wish it would go on forever...

In any case, I got the growler filled, tossed it in the backseat of my car, and went shopping. I was driving around for about an hour. The growler kept rolling back and forth--as cylindrical things are wont to do. Not a single drop of beer sprang forth from the tightly sealed cap. Good so far.

About that cap, it seems sturdy enough, but the rubberized band around the outside of the cap is not attached. It tends to spin around loosely, making it difficult to get a firm enough grip to really lock the cap down tight. Nevertheless, I was able to get a pretty good seal.
Fresh, fresh, fresh.

I waited another two hours before I opened up the growler and poured myself a glass. The cap gave off a satisfying "phssssssst!" and a head came right up when I poured. But was it still cold? Yes, indeed! That kolsh was nice and cold, tasted like it had just been poured out of the tap.

The Lifeline 50/50 also comes in a 32 oz. size. The one I bought is enameled matte black, but it also comes in unpainted stainless steel and white enamel. Prices can vary from day to day and even hour to hour on Amazon. I've seen this jug at anywhere between $26.88 to $31.00. My advise is to shop around for the best price.

All-in-all, I think I got a great deal with this growler. It has now been almost five hours since I had it filled and the beer inside is still frosty cold. I do believe I got my $26.88 worth. We will  have to see how durable the Lifeline 50/50 is before I pass final judgment. I am a bit concerned about the cap. It seems a little flimsy, but hopefully it can hold up to the abuse I'm going to lay on it. For now, I recommend it.

Update: I've been using this growler for many months now. It's had numerous fills with zero problems. No leaks. Always keeps the beer cold for hours. Get yourself one. Also, for more about local growler fills, see this blog post.

More growler reviews here.


  1. Hi Beer Guy PDX - thanks for the enthusiastic review of our vacuum-insulated growlers! They are designed to treat your beer with the respect it deserves. If you do have any issues with your cap, don't hesitate to contact us at and we can get you a replacement. Here's to many delicious growler fills! ~Fifty/Fifty

    1. For an update, I have to say I've had no problem with the cap on the growler. It's still holding strong and making a good seal! Thanks, Fifty/Fifty!

    2. Oooh, I am very happy to see this! I have a custom growler (well, two 1/2-gal and one about a quart or so) emblazoned with our local Iron Horse Brewery logo, and I dropped one of the big ones on its cap (empty, happily!) and as soon as I empty its excellent contents, the jug is out of commission. Until I get a replacement cap, that is ... which brings me to you, from Ellensburg Washington ... and everybody I know who has one of your "Big Ben Bell" growlers (myself included!) really loves 'em!

      SO: I need to further search this page, I need a new plastic cap for my excellent steel dewar bottle ... it appears my prospects are good!

      -- or maybe not? How much is a replacement cap for the 64oz jug, and should I be able to reasonably assume I can swap the part out by myself using readily available household tools?

      I love my growlers! (I'm also a fan of Mike Oldfield and his iconic "Tubular Bells" albums, but there's no conscious connection I could possibly make there, until I've emptied my 'compromised' vacuum bottle. Which I'm working on.)

      Please offer guidance while I can still afford the replacement part ... starving artist is not just an empty phrase, it's an occupational hazard. (But it DOES come with benefits, such as getting really excellent bheer in really robust growlers!) (Can I PM or order separately?)

  2. I wonder how this compares to the 64 oz version that Hydroflask makes. I've been considering getting one, but can't decide on what brand...hmmmm.

    1. From what I can tell the 50/50 is almost a generic rebranding from the same manufacturer. I'm a camping guide and I recommend hydroflask to everyone I meet. While I don't have the 64 oz hydro, I have many others and the build quality of the 50/50 is on par.