Monday, November 14, 2011
Dallas getting on board with beer growlers
Popular with beer "nerds," a growler is a jug for beer to go.
DALLAS As Dallas gets more craft-beery, it has acquired one of the benchmarks of a decent craft-beer scene: the little to-go jug called the growler.
These bottles with re-sealable tops allow customers to go into certain beer-pouring businesses and take that beer to-go.
Growlers cannot be used at regular bars -- Texas' liquor laws don't allow it -- but they can be used at brewpubs or at businesses with a beer-&-wine retailer's permit that have in-house bars. Places around Dallas that offer growlers include Whole Foods Markets, Gordon Biersch, some Humperdink's, and World Beer Company on Greenville Avenue.
As a tie-in to its participation in Dallas Beer Week, World Beer Company is offering a cool, rare growler opportunity every day this week, where they're tapping unique beers from prestige brewers such as Boulevard and Oskar Blues.
Growlers are a nifty way for you to take home a few glasses of these special beers, says Bill Racine of World Beer Company, where they started offering growlers in July.
"A lot of states already have growlers, and Austin, which has a big craft beer scene, does it a lot," Racine says.
The way it works: You buy the bottle for a one-time fee, somewhere between $8 and $15, depending on the fanciness of the bottle. On subsequent visits, you bring the bottle to the bar and fill it with whatever beer you like, with the price dependent on the brew.
The Whole Foods Market in Lakewood was the first to offer growlers in June, after creating an in-store wine & beer bar. The Whole Foods off Lemmon Avenue and at Park Lane have since followed up, with in-hours bars and growlers in 32- or 64-ounce sizes. The bottles are $4.99, and the cost to fill them ranges from $8.99 to $29.99 for a 64-ounce fill of something hard-to-get such as the whimsically-titled brew called Mikkeller Boogoop.
Racine says that growlers are especially handy for beers that aren't bottled and are available only in a keg.
"512 from Austin is one of the more popular choices for growlers, because they never bottled anything -– everything they had was on draft," he says. "They've been around for three years and they're just starting to bottle now."
Aside from the rarity aspect, growlers are also eco-friendly, since you reuse the same bottle.
Beer being carbonated makes for a limited lifespan, even with the sealable top. Growlers are designed to keep beer fizzy for two to five days, according to the Brewers Association, which is working on technology to make their lifespan even longer. Assuming you don't drink it first.
"It's four pints -- rarely does that last me more than a day or two," Racine says. "I don't run into that problem."