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Jan 30, 2010 01:49 PM

Beer Growlers in SF Bay Area?

I also posted this message on the BEER site. After reading this article in the NYT, I was wondering if there are any breweries especially in the Oakland Berkeley area that provide this service?

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    1. re: wolfe

      Drakes is out of growlers at the moment

    2. The vast majority of brewpubs do growler fills. In CA breweries are only allowed to fill their own growlers. The old days of a brewery filling another breweries' growler have stopped. You also can't go to a bar and have one filled like you can in a lot of other states.

      I can't think of any places in the Easy Bay that do growlers. Triple Rock in Berkeley sells beer to go but it is more like beer in a bag than a growler. You could try calling Pacific Coast (Oakland), Linden Street (Oakland), Pyramid (Berkeley), or Drakes (San Leandro) to see if they do growlers.

      Here are some breweries outside of the East Bay that definitely do growlers:

      Marin: Iron Springs; Moylan's; Marin Brewing Co; Broken Drum.
      SF: Magnolia; 21st Amendment.; Rogue.
      Sonoma: Russian River; Bear Republic; Dempsey's; Sonoma Springs.

      3 Replies
      1. re: pininex

        Drake's does not have a pub and is not a good place to go looking to get a growler filled. Despite what may or may not be legal most brewpubs will fill other breweries growlers. They simple addition of a brewery's sticker to a growler is usually an acceptable work around.

        1. re: mrgastognome

          I would strongly disagree with this assessment. Drakes is open for tasting on Friday afternoons and is an excellent place to get your growler filled. They make some of the best beer in the Bay Area

        2. re: pininex

          Actually I just asked about growlers at 21st Amendment last night and was a bit disappointed with their answer. They charge $4 for an new empty growler and $18 - $23 to fill it. That's the same price as four pints from the tap! I'm used to a growler being a savings. Opted against it, and I'll have to ignore this sad fact since I quite like them.
          The silver lining to this cloud is that Pyramid in Berkeley is currently having a "Going Green" promotion (or something to that effect) encouraging customers to buy growlers — which they've marked down to $10 new/$5 fill (vs. standard prices of $12.95 new / $7.95 fill). They've got a nice belgian style on tap as well as a hoppier "Outburst."

        3. As the cost of filling a growler is often less than buying pints/pitchers most breweries will take umbrage if you attempt to consume your growler on-prem. It is an excellent way to take locally brewed beer with you for near term consumption.

          1. Pyramid does indeed sell and fill growlers of their own brand, and I have had success bringing Pyramid growlers to Triple Rock. Just be sure to bring your own cap, as last time I was at TR for a growler fill-up they had none.

            Trip Rock has begun selling their version of a growler, and while the beer is just as delicious as always, I'm not a big fan of the bag-in-box. Although I will say that the tap on the bag-in-box allows the beer to stay carbonated a bit longer, I still prefer the big glass growler.

            Incidentally, I've noticed recently that a few people (west coast natives) were not familiar with the term growler. I was shocked...

            2 Replies
            1. re: mightylittle

              Triple Rock has had bag-in-box growlers for years.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I wonder why they never suggested them while filling my growler then? I didn't know about them until recently...

            2. Buffalo Bill's in Hayward has growlers that you can get filled with their own brews. According to the menu they have online, it's $5 for an empty half-gallon jug, and then $7.75 for a jug refill:

              1 Reply
              1. re: kcchan

                Magnolia currently fills growlers at $25 for the growler and first fill and $17 for refills. Not exactly cheap for 2 L of beer.