Category: six pack

Six Pack: Rob Shellman of Better Beer Society

Rob Shellman launched Better Beer Society earlier this year with two great events – – a brown-bag blind tasting and film screening/discussion panel about women in the beer industry. Later this month, you’ll have another chance to partake in another brown bag event at Butcher and Boar, which promises to be nothing short of awesome. You can buy tickets for Summer Session: BBQ Beers here. Read on for more information about Rob & Better Beer Society.Further questions? Don’t hesitate to shoot rob an email:

Rob Shellman, Better Beer Society (at Cantillion)

1. Tell us a bit about the impetus for Better Beer Society.
My passion and dedication for craft beer all started while my wife and I were living in Southern California, and just being immersed in an amazing beer culture. I then sought out my certification as a Cicerone, and the wheels just started turning. The concept actually started as a bottle shop, and has slowly morphed into a full blown agency for craft beer. I wanted to create an agency that promotes and supports all aspects of craft beer, and brings the entire community together. As far as I know, this agency is one of a kind.

2. What inspired you to get involved in the craft beer scene in Minnesota?
My wife and I are from here, and we knew right away that we, and BBS belonged in Minnesota. We are on the cusp of becoming one of the next great destination beer states, but together as a beer community we have lots of work to do to get there. With the vast growth of beer focused bars and restaurants opening as of late, I felt there needed to be an agency in place that was both educational, creative, and would strive to help improve the level of quality across the board in our community.

3. Without overthinking it… describe your ideal beer… right off the top of your head…
My ideal beer would be sessionable, a conversation beer if you will (4 – 4.5% ABV). It should have a nice hop bitterness to it (preferably Nelson Sauvin or Citra), it would be balanced, but still have some depth to it. Maybe a British Ale yeast strain? Just something so that I can have a few over a period of a night with friends, and focus on the evening, and not the beer.

4. What was the first Minnesota-made beer to pass your lips? How about the latest?
The first Minnesota made beer I tried would have to be either James Page back when they were in Northeast Minneapolis, or a Summit EPA. The last MN beer I had was yesterday at Muddy Waters for lunch. I had a Steel Toe Size 7 with a soft shell crab bánh mì…which I later dreamt about.

5. If you could change one thing about the craft beer scene in this state what would it be?
I would revisit our growler law. As it stands now, you need to purchase a growler exclusive to that selling establishment, that has their logo on it. So you have no choice but to accumulate a bunch of glass, which I feel is wasteful. Yes, filling these many growlers is certainly eco-friendly and allows us to reduce and re-use…but why not have a universal growler? One vessel that is recognized by the state, which allows for less waste. Perhaps it could be a stainless steel or Nalgene growler, allowing for use in state parks…oh wait, that’s illegal too isn’t it?

6. Where do you see craft beer in Minnesota in 10 years?
Again, I see Minnesota as a craft beer destination state, much like Oregon or California. We’re making great beer in Duluth, the Twin Cities, as well as other markets like Bemidji and St. Cloud. Once Surly opens their newly-expanded brewery I feel it’s really going to open the tourism flood gate. Saturation is inevitable, though once the dust settles…the market should dictate who stays and who goes, and we should be left with only high-quality and interesting craft beers. We’re building something pretty special here, I’m just happy to be a part of it.

Six Pack: Jason Alvey, Four Firkins

Jason Alvey, owner, Four FirkinsOn the eve of the opening of the new Four Firkins Beer Store on 36th Street (Hoigaard Village) in St. Louis Park, we thought we’d share a few photos and our six pack interview with owner Jason Alvey. The store opens Monday morning & it’s beautiful. The new store has more room for more beer, more cooler space and of course more room for Alvey’s collection of pre- and post-prohibition Minnesota breweriana. Check it out when you get a chance.

What’s changed with your expectations of the Four Firkins over the course of 3.5 years? Did you ever expect to see the sort of growth you’ve seen?

When I was putting together the plans for the new store I could see that the market for good beer was growing rapidly. I also wanted to do it a little differently by focusing on only beer and offering quality customer service at all times. I knew it would work. Now that we are through a recession, and talking about another one, people have changed how they buy things. People want to feel like they are part of their local community and support local businesses. I will say that the speed with which we were accepted into the community was pretty amazing. People saw what we were trying to do and embraced it. Then they told all their friends.

West side of the new Four Firkins, looking northNow, with this new store about to open and our presence in the industry we are in a unique position to start giving back. We are going to try to change some laws here in Minnesota that we feel are very outdated. Our failed t-shirt bill was a learning experience and of course we’ll go back to the capitol with that next year but we’ll also bring a few more bills with us. If you are reading this and live in Minnesota I suspect you’ll be as excited by these bills as we are. More to come later on that.

We also have other plans in the works. More bus trips to breweries with our friends and customers and other still secret plans that we will announce as things progress. I can assure you they are big ideas. I don’t like to do things by half. As the Firkins continues to grow you should know that everything we do is done out of a love of fine beer and the people who brew it, sell it and consume it. We are here to do what we can for the industry and we intend to do everything we can to make it as good as it can be.

To answer the original question: Yes, we expected this kind of growth, but the support, friends and community we have built along the way were an unexpected and very pleasant surprise.

It’s people like you who made it all happen. Thank you!

Craft beer in Minnesota has certainly changed in the time since you opened. How have your customers changed & evolved over that time?

Everyone is now into craft and good quality import beer. That’s what has changed. It has grown from a little tiny niche to a huge movement. Most of our customers are new to good beer. In fact I would say fully 80% of the people who walk into the Firkins are just regular people who really don’t know much about beer at all but they are excited to try it. Most of these people have never heard of B.A. [Beer Advocate] and probably never will, they are just looking to try some new flavors and have fun sharing beer with their friends.

Some cool pre-and post prohibition barrels

Pre- and post-prohibition beer barrels

Every kind of person you can imagine is now a potential good beer drinker. I say “good beer” as opposed to craft beer because there is just as much excitement from our customers about English, German and Belgian beers too. It’s no longer a 25 – 30 year old male dominated demographic. We have people in here from all ages, all income levels and both sexes. Let’s be clear on that one: women like good beer just as much as the guys do!

They are not just wandering in and randomly grabbing stuff either, these people are excited to learn about the beer. They want to talk with us and have many, many questions. It’s a lot of fun!

If people know your story, they know that Summit EPA was a game changer for you. Without playing favorites and without thinking about it too much, name three other local beers that blow you away.

As a member of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and a passionate supporter of locally brewed beer this is going to be tough! OK, personal taste preference only. No favoritism. I am choosing these beers purely because I enjoy them myself, not because I want to show that brewery the love, so to speak.

Let me also explain that as far as my taste goes I am kinda’ through the uber hoppy phase and now enjoy all kinds of beer, especially more subtle ones that many years ago I may have thought were “boring”. Don’t get me wrong, I still love massively hoppy beers when I’m in the mood for them.

OK, now that’s off my chest here you go: in no particular order and with no explanation other than I remember drinking them and saying to myself, “Wow!”

1. Olvalde: Auroch’s Horn
2. Surly: Hell
3. Summit: Unchained #1, Kolsch

You have a background in the cycling industry, care to take a stab at explaining the correlation between beer and bikes?

I think the answer to this one is simple. Bikes and good beer are both beautiful handcrafted things. I think that people who are really into bikes appreciate the work and the passion that goes into making them. Likewise they (we, let’s not forget I’m one of them!) can appreciate the effort, care and hand craftsmanship that goes into making truly great beer. I’m sure it translates into all kinds of things. Coffee, for example. Bike people tend to be really into good coffee as well. I think the real answer to that question is not just about the relationship between cyclists and beer rather it’s more about a kind of person that tends to appreciate the finer things in life.

Beer cooler

What can Australian brewers learn (if anything) from the craft brewing boom in the United States?

Australia is in a tough position when it comes to brewing quality beer. They are heading in the same direction as the U.S. but on a much smaller scale. You have to remember there are only 22 million people in the whole country. Think about that for a second. 22 million people spread out on a land mass the size of the lower 48 (that’s for you Greg!). That’s not very many people.

Now add to that the fact that just like here in the U.S. by far the majority of people who drink beer in Australia are drinking mass produced lagers and have no idea what good beer really is. Starting a microbrewery in a place like that is considerably more difficult than it is here. It’s such a limited market, there just aren’t very many people who would drink the beer! It’ll take time and I suspect the market in Australia will simply never even come close to what exists here in the U.S. but Aussie lovers of fine beer will continue to fight the good fight I’m sure.
As for advice? I’d say to any potential Australian brewmaster,”Get your arse over here to the U.S. and see what a craft beer industry really can be!”

If the essence of Jason Alvey was captured in a beer recipe, what would that beer be?

Well, there would be barrels involved. Maybe some newly discovered strains of Brett. Cheesy old hops of course and ideally some angel’s tears.

A peek at the Abbey inspired registers

Abbey inspired registers

Gluek crates

Gluek crates

Jason Alvey, owner

Jason Alvey, owner

Four Firkins storefront


Six Pack: Mike Hoops from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

Mike Hoops

1. Could you share a little background on your history with Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, your time with Fitger’s Brewhouse, and for that matter, brewing beer in general (homebrew and/or professional)?

I started homebrewing with my brother Dave in San Francisco. Neither of us knew what we were doing at the time and we created a non-drinkable extract IPA. That did, however, start my desire to make beer. Several years of homebrewing and several books brought me to a local brewery begging to volunteer with them. This led me to an unpaid “internship” with the brewery for a touch shy of a year. At the same time, I was finishing my degree and working as bar manager for a couple of young and eager fellas that had the first “tap house” in Duluth. Upon graduation I asked them if I had to go look for a “real job” or if they wanted to pursue the move to start a brewpub.

The result of the internet, used brewery equipment in Colorado and a Ryder Truck led me to my first Head Brewing position. Pieces and parts with little instruction created the first brew pub in Duluth and Fitger’s Brewhouse Brewery was born. Looking back, I am amazed that we ended up with a functional brewery and pretty darn good beer. Still remember the first pint that was poured from that tap at Fitger’s… two young guys, myself and Andy (the first paid assistant brewer) standing back and admiring a very nice glass of Petroglyph Porter. In fact, I think I still have a photo of that day and I can’t say that I recognize those young dudes…

Three years of blissful production and great community response led me looking for the next move. That was really a tough decision and a difficult day when I sat down with the owners of the brewery and told them I was leaving. I really loved making beer and loved Duluth almost as much. I did suggest to the owners that I had a guy that was brewing in California that was interested in the job. I handed over the phone number of my brother to them and they contacted Dave and decided he was they guy they wanted… I really think that was a good decision!

An 8-month stint in the beautiful UP of Michigan brings me to the day that the phone rang… It was my pal John Haggerty from Town Hall Brewery. John was leaving after 3 years to pursue the “next step” of his brewing career and Pete (the owner) was interested in having me take over the brewery. We worked out a deal that included some aid in my personal pursuit of formal brewing school and I was off to Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery.

After three years of blissful production, I was off to brewing school in the UK. I have now been with Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery for 10-ish years and have had the pleasure of working with several great brewers and an owner that has some very similar goals.

2. What was the first Minnesota-made beer to pass your lips? How about the most recent (aside from one of your own, of course)?

I believe that the first commercial was a Summit Extra Pale Ale and I really liked it. That led me to search out many other Minnesota beers from such places as August Schell, MN Brew, and Lake Superior. I will say that I also consumed a fair amount from homebrewers during that time. The most recent was some beer from those crazy kids at Fitger’s Brewhouse while enjoying the Hoops family Christmas the other day… and I really like that too.

3. Now we know that you’ve collaborated before, but is there a competitive streak between you and your brother Dave? Do the two of you share recipes or swap ideas? Steal each others’ ideas? Anything in the works?

Well, we are siblings… any of you have a little natural competition with yours?  In all seriousness, there was a year that we were both showcasing our beers at the GABF in Denver. Town Hall had some success that year, but I was happier when they read of the name of Fitger’s Brewhouse. That was the first national recognition for their beer, and I was there to see it. Really a proud brotherly moment! I think that we both really love and respect each other and there really is no room for negative competition in that, although I am sure the media would like something more juicy… but it just isn’t there.

That Cherry Grand Cru really turned out well, I was proud to be part of that. Nothing currently in the works with us, but I look forward to our next co-project when the time is right. We really seldom talk about beer with each other, but strangely we often make the same seasonal beer styles that are not the norm.  I see that when I read his emails and simply chuckle. I really look forward to tasting his interpretation of styles because we are different cooks in the brewery, which makes for lots of fun. The only time that I have ever called Dave and asked for a direct link to one of his beers was recently. Fitger’s makes a really nice apricot beer, so when we made one this summer I called Dave to discussed apricot usage. I thought it made more sense than spending a bunch of time re-inventing the wheel for a beer like that.

4. What’s your favorite beer from the Minneapolis Town Hall library?

That is a tough one, there have been many children produced in that brewery. They all have their place, but if I had to name a few I may mention:

  • Thunderstorm –  really like the interplay of the lemongrass and Minnesota honey
  • 1800 – this IPA was fun to research and uses an obscene amount of English hops. It was also served at a friend’s wedding
  • Saaz Pils – We do not make this often enough!
  • I love making barrel aged beers (i.e. Czar Jack, Twisted Jim) These beers are so complex and delicate
  • Fresh Hop – even after 4 years of production, there is nothing like the day that hundreds of pounds of “wet” hops arrive. It brings a different sort of smile to the faces of the brewers and staff at the pub.
  • Grand Cru is also one of my favs

5. Any required brewhouse music? Anything banned from the brewery?

Our three brewers have much overlap in music. I consider us lucky in that regard. In fact, we have gone to many shows together. Every brewery needs it’s share of  Dylan, Cash, Wilco, M. Ward, and Bright Eyes.  Although, I will say that there is not much Phish or mellow dramatic Euro-Pop when I am around.

6. If you could change one thing about the beer scene in Minnesota, what would it be and why?

We have been very fortunate in Minnesota lately. There has been an amazing influx of very good beer to our marketplace in the last few years. The continued growth of that tells us that the consumer is looking for more quality and more taste. I think we are very lucky in that regard.

The one change I would like to see would benefit all Minnesota brewers – laws that allow for free market access. There are Minnesota brewers that package that would like to have a retail pub, sell growlers, grow without over taxation… and can not.  There are retail brewers that would like to access the open market outside the pub (like brewpubs from outside our state than CAN sell their beer in Minnesota)… and can not. I understand that I am talking about a drastic change in Minnesota law, but I would really like to see all Minnesota brewers have the choice to grow their brewery as they see fit.

Six Pack: Dave Hoops from Fitger’s Brewhouse

Dave Hoops, BambergCould you share a little background on your history with Fitger’s Brewhouse, and for that matter, brewing beer in general (homebrew and/or professional)?

In the mid eighties I got a job at a high-end liquor store that stocked about every microbrewery available at that time in the U.S. So at a young age micros and imports were the only beers to pass my lips. This shaped my opinions and perceptions about beer early on. The next step was homebrewing which I started doing in 1990 in San Franciso. Craft brewing was exploding in the Bay Area at the time and I had dozens of fine examples to try to emulate as an all-grain homebrewer. I started hanging around breweries and doing free manual labor at a couple to try to learn more. One year I gave all my friends homebrew for Christmas and the response was so positive I started thinking about a career in brewing. I attended Seibel in Chicago then apprenticed at Goose Island brewery. I returned to San Francisco and made the rounds, applying at 40 breweries total. My main focus and goal was getting a job at Anchor. This did not happen and instead I was hired at the new Pyramid plant in Berkeley. I spent 5 years there as the lead brewer and then had the opportunity to take over for my brother at Fitger’s Brewhouse. My wife was born and raised in Duluth and our first child was about 1 and we decided the quality of life and proximity to family, as well as the creative aspect of running a small brewery made it a good fit.

I took over for Mike (my brother) January 2000 after a one-month pass down from Mike. I quickly began brewing what I had been trained to brew, hop-centric ales that had not gained a big following at the time. Years have passed and as my tastes have changed and matured I now brew about 120 different North Shore style ales and lagers per year. About 33% well hopped 33% lagers and wheat beers, and 33% strong, dark  and experimental beers.

What was the first Minnesota-made beer to pass your lips? How about the most recent (aside from one of your own, of course)?

On this question I’m not sure… I know the first Minnesota beer I fell in love with and sang from the highest hills about was Summit. Particularly EPA and Sparkling Ale. The most recently Minnesota made micro I tried was Alter Ego at Town Hall on my way out of Minnesota for the holidays.

Now we know that you’ve collaborated before (Cherry Grand Cru right?), but is there a competitive streak between you and your brother Mike? Do the two of you share recipes or swap ideas? Steal each others’ ideas? Anything in the works?

Yes, Cherry Grand Cru (1/2 Brewhouse Cherry Batch, ½ Town Hall Grand Cru, wine barrel aged for 1.5 years then oak aged with cherries added for another 6 months… fun beer.) I would not say a competitive streak because Mike brews a bit different then me and he also has the mantle of the most decorated pub brewer in Minnesota which he richly deserves. We do have an odd habit of brewing similar seasonals at the same times without ever speaking to each other about the beers. We do almost no recipe swapping we do share ideas over pints when we see each other. I would say I have a bit more over the top style sometimes, were as Mike makes very structurally sound beers.

Dave Hoops, St. Paul Summer Beer Fest... I think....

Brian Schanzenbach (left) & Dave Hoops (right) at St. Paul Summer Beer Fest.

What’s your favorite beer from the massive Brewhouse library?

I get this question very often; my canned response is the one in my hand. Truly my all time favorite is Starfire Pale Ale, my take on what a pale should taste like. Number two is Timmy’s Edelstoff a Munich style Export Helles and number 3 is French River Hefeweizen an amber hefe.

Any required brewhouse music? Anything banned from the brewery?

Now this sounds a bit like a loaded question… [It wasn’t, but what the hell… -ed.] I will say about 8 years back a certain hop and malt supplier (that is tall) and a fine young brewer (now at New Belgium) forced me to pull the plug on the Dead.. they know why. That being said we would have to put Cash, Marley, Neil Young  and Zeppelin on the required list.

Dave Hoops at Fitger's Brewhouse

If you could change one thing about the beer scene in Minnesota, what would it be and why?

That is a tough one. The nature of business, changing times and self-interest have made it almost impossible to work as a united team in the craft industry. I would say I Iook forward to working to change the restrictive and unfair laws that constrict the largest to the smallest craft brewers in this state.

One other comment, the beer scene in Minnesota has grown 50 fold in the last ten years with more and more folks in and out of the state recognizing the well-made unique offerings we put out. I think sooner rather then later we will all have more opportunities in the free market to bring us an even greater market share in the next 10 years.

Six Pack: Doug Hoverson, Author of Land of Amber Waters

Welcome to the first in a series of interviews with the interesting people involved with Minnesota’s great beer. Our first victim is Doug Hoverson, author of Land of Amber Waters, the History of Brewing in Minnesota. We offered Doug a six-pack of questions and he graciously answered them!

author.jpgHow long have you been working on this epic? I first recall hearing about it sometime in 2005 and have to imagine that this isn’t a normal research project… the scale of it has to be fairly encompassing…

The first time I actually introduced myself to someone with the claim that I was “writing a book on the history of brewing in Minnesota” was during the fall of 1997. I had been doing some preliminary research at the Minnesota Historical Society (inspired by seeing an 1882 ad for John Erickson’s brewery in Moorhead), and then went down the hill to have a beer at the recently opened Great Waters Brewing Co. After talking to Mark van Wie and Tod Fyten, it seemed like it might not be such a crazy idea after all. In October I interviewed David Johnson at Ambleside Brewing Co., and began to gradually build up my files. I researched a bit during each summer vacation, but to do it right, I’d need to be able to travel and visit collectors and museums during business hours. I got a sabbatical leave from Saint Thomas Academy during the 2004-05 school year, and got the bulk of the research done that year. During the fall of 2004, Joe Lanners (then head brewer at Great Waters) referred me to the University of Minnesota Press, and the serious writing began.

At one time I tried to keep track of the hours I worked, but I lost track almost immediately. I looked through every county history book I could find, and a lot of city and town histories as well. I looked through every single page of the 1850, 1860 and 1870 population and industry censuses on microfilm. (The 1880 census was searchable on line by occupation, and most of the 1890 census was lost in a fire.) I looked at what remained of 45 years of excise tax records, most of them in the original ledger books at National Archives depositories in Chicago and Kansas City. I have probably looked at almost 1,000 years worth of small town newspapers on microfilm–but Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon stories are a lot funnier now after having seen how these towns function.

Luckily, it wasn’t all archival work. I have visited more than 100 breweries and brewpubs in the U.S., Canada and Germany, have sampled a couple thousand different beers, became a certified beer judge, and finally won some medals in major homebrewing competitions. I’ve still got a lot to learn, so I may have to do a couple more beer books to accommodate that.

9780816652730big.gifWhat was the first Minnesota beer to pass your lips? How about the most recent?

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the first Minnesota beer at the time, since it was probably in the early 1980s and the emphasis was cost, not heritage. My guess is that it was probably Schmidt, since that was my Dad’s usual house beer. (The first ever, period, was Stroh’s Light, but you asked about beer.) The first craft beer was probably Ulmer Braun, though Summit Porter and James Page Boundary Waters were probably right behind it.

These questions are being answered with a pint of Surlyfest closest hand. All those hops and a hint of rye–and from a can!

Can you give us a teaser of one amazing story of Minnesota beer history?

With all the great beers, the dramatic fires, and the tragic endings in Minnesota beer history, it’s tough to pick just one. Right now, my winner is the battle between the two breweries in Reads Landing in 1867. The owner of the Pepin Brewery, Gottlieb Walty, found the owner of the Upper Brewery, Jacob Burkhardt, throwing phosphorous into his lagering cellar. Walty had been keeping a watch because the cellar had been poisoned twice before, and on this occasion Walty shot Burkhardt with two loads of buckshot, wounding him severely but not fatally.

Why would anyone decide to expand their brewery by opening a branch in Utah, especially in the early 1890s when Utah wasn’t even a state yet because the Mormons still refused to give up polygamy, say nothing of consuming alcohol? Yet for some reason, the firm of Becker & Schellhas of Winona did exactly that. The new branch, located in the Yankee enclave of Ogden, ended up lasting until the 1960s as the Becker Brewing Co., outliving the parent company in Winona by nearly half a century.

Is there anything you wish you knew about the history of beer in Minnesota that you just don’t know?

The biggest mystery is one of the last things I discovered. There was a one sentence reference in a Western Brewer issue from the late 1870s which reported that the brewery in Northfield had a “colored” brewer. The Northfield papers of the time ignored the brewery (being good temperance folk), the brewer doesn’t appear
in the 1880 census, and I have found no other reference to him. This man was clearly a pioneer, but who was he?

ffpils.jpgFergus Falls from 1882-1884 is still ticking me off. I think I’ve got it right in the book, but a lot of the sources were unclear or conflicting, the newspapers in those years were not helpful, and there were so many changes in that period that I’m still not quite sure which brewery ended up as which.

There were probably a few other breweries that were operating for a brief time prior to the beginning of the excise tax in 1862, but these are probably lost forever. Likewise, there are several breweries which only have vague references in contemporary sources, and we may never know why they closed.

If there was one beer in Minnesota history that you wish you could taste, what would it be and why?

What I’d really like to do is to be transported back to one of the mid-sized cities with multiple breweries such as Red Wing, New Ulm, Winona or St. Cloud in about 1885 to be there for the first day of bock season (which back then was the first of May, as opposed to February these days). It would be fun to go from tavern to tavern sampling the different bocks fresh from the cellars. (Of course, I’ve been abused about my time traveling choices before: some people want to go back and avert wars, I just want to see if the beer someone was calling a Warzburger really was in that style.)
If you are going to force me into a single beer, it would probably be the Scotch Ale of Adam Stenger’s Rochester City Brewery from around 1870. This style is one of my favorites, Stenger’s was one of the few examples ever specifically advertised, and I’d be interested to see how the Scotch Ale of that period compared.

Runner-up would be the Grain Belt porter of the 1890s–again, to see how Minnesota brewers interpreted porter at the time.

If you were trapped on a desert island with only one beer, what would it be?

Well, if it’s a desert island, it’s probably pretty hot, so that barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout wouldn’t be very refreshing. I’d want something quenching, but which doesn’t have to be ice cold, since I’ll probably have to chill it in the water off shore. I’d like something with a good balance of malt and hops, something with some complexity that won’t get boring, but not something so strong that I would be prevented from signaling for help. The two styles that spring to mind are either Oktoberfest or ESB. As for specific brands–I’ll duck that question by just insisting that it be Minnesota made, and by pointing out that growlers might float reasonably well if not full.