The Bottom Line: DrinkTanks ignores attempting to be a jack-of-all-trades type of company, and instead it has refined and stuck with its formula for trying to make itself the master-of-one. If you were to buckle down and put in the research for a line of growlers and cups capable of withstanding the elements and abuse of four-season outdoor recreational opportunities, then it makes sense to base yourselves out of the nature adventure and craft brewing capital that is Bend, Oregon.
DrinkTanks manufactures food grade stainless steel growlers and cups that are burley enough to take a tumble, thick enough to withstand hours of adventuring while maintaining heat or chill, and insulated enough to keep drinks at the ideal temperature even after being poured.
In a market full of stainless steel insulated cups and water bottles running the gamut in terms of quality and functionality, DrinkTanks has opted to hit the adventureware market as one of the most rugged and functional players. These growlers are by no means lightweight; in fact it struck me as rare to feel such a solidly manufactured craft item in my hand with a sole intended use for transporting and sipping beverages. But that said, these things will carry drinks for a mountaintop sunset for two, or a tailgate party for eight just the same.
First off, there are quite a few different size options for both growlers and cups (not to mention over a dozen color options). We went with the 64 ounce growler and a few of the 16 ounce and 10 ounce cups. Our primary use for the set has been to pack up a growler of hot tea for our road trips to both backcountry camp spots or weekend hotels. Some evenings, we'll fill it with some hot water and drive to a hilltop in town and sip some tea while watching the sunset. The growler has also come along to some of our favorite breweries for that "one for the road" straight from the tap, knowing it will stay cold overnight. (DrinkTanks offers a keg cap accessory kit and carbon dioxide cartridges, meant to basically turn the growler into a keg and keep your beer crisp over multiple pours. This seems like a great idea, though we haven't used this ourselves and can't really speak to how it goes in practice.)
If there is a negative, it would easily be that their weight edges them out of the highly portable category. We've gone hiking with these, but their bulkiness and weight is definitely noticeable when trying to add it to a daypack. It seems like DrinkTanks are made to compete with the large pricey cooler sets. What I far prefer with the DrinkTanks containers is that, despite their size, they still win in terms of portability. Again, these things are hardly lightweight; however, they're much easier to throw into a backpack and take on a hike than a cooler.
Each cup comes with a flush, tight-fitting insulated lid, so once the drinks are poured, they will keep the heat longer.
But for a drink container with the dedicated task of keeping the hot hot and the cold cold, it seemed like a very non-controlled test was in order here. I hit my kitchen, as well as the local bar, all in the name of science! To test the growler's ability to keep liquids warm, I boiled a pot of water and poured it in the growler at 10 a.m. At 8 p.m., 10 hours later, I poured the still steaming hot water from the growler and made a cup of tea. As for testing it with some cold beer, I admit I didn't give it a 10-hour trial, but rather a 2.5-hour drive to meet some friends. After making the drive in a hot car, the beer was easily still chilled upon arrival.
When it comes down to it, these growlers and cups are completely rugged, more than durable, and score some extra points for looking great in the process. (The social media generation has brought aesthetics a long way from those boxy plastic Thermos containers that used to fit in your lunchbox.) Our set has been a great addition to carry some drinks for after a hike or just hanging out along the river for the day!