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Waste Not, Want Not With A Growler

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 19, 2009 11:15PM

2008_10_growler.jpg Isn't that a thing of beauty? The only thing more beautiful than a growler is one full of beer.

Growlers are carryout bottles of beer (typically 64-ounce jugs) drawn directly from the tap available at most Chicago area brewpubs. they're filled to the top to remove as much air as possible, to reduce the chance of oxidation. When poured, beer from growlers can stay fresh for anywhere from 1-3 days. Since the brewmasters at brewpubs have latitude to brew beers as they largely see fit, growlers make a great way to sample selections that aren't available via retail or through a distributor, and the jug can be cleaned and refilled, reducing waste. Readers concerned about going green — or have a pirate fetish — can start acting on that in this manner.

We've covered growlers before with Goose Island Sahti, a "BotW' selection from last year. growlers at Goose Island cost around $16; Clybourn brewpub brewmaster Wil turner is something of an alchemist with regard to brewing. We've compiled a list of local brewpubs (and one liquor store) and their prices for growlers for your use.

  • Piece Pizzeria and Brewery: Jonathan Cutler's elixirs are available in growlers for an initial price of $16, and $12 for refills. (1927 W. North Ave., 773-772-4422)
  • Flossmoor Station: The growler itself costs $4.25. Flossmoor's house beers cost $11.95. Seasonal's are $13.95 and the IPA (mainly because of the cost of hops) is $14.95. (1035 Sterling Ave., 708-957-2734)
  • Three Floyds Brewpub: The good with Three Floyds growlers is that they cost a flat $12. The bad is that the growler is not refillable and offerings are limited to Alpha King, Pride and Joy, Gumballhead, and Robert the Bruce. (9570 Indiana Pkwy, Munster, IN, 219-922-4425)
  • Two Brothers Tap House: How many of you knew the Ebel brothers had a brewpub? And it's beautiful. Growlers at Two Brothers cost $3.50 for the jug, with beers running from $8.99-$12.99 for a fill, depending on type. (30w315 Calumet Ave., Warrenville, 630-393-2337)
  • The Ram Restaurant and Brewpub: Chicago-area locations for this nationwide chain are in Rosemont and Schaumburg (see the website link for locations). Growlers cost $4.50 for the jug, $8 for the beer.
  • Mickey Finn's Brewery and Restaurant: This very underrated Libertyville brewpub sells growlers for $15. (412 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville, 847-362-6688)
  • America's Brewing Company at Walter Payton's Roundhouse: Sweetness knew a good business proposition when he saw one, and this brewpub that bears his name sells growlers for $7. Beer costs $10. (205 N. Broadway, Aurora, 630-892-0034)
  • Rock Bottom Brewery
  • : Another chain, yes. But the brewmasters at the downtown, Lombard, Orland Park and Yorktown locations make some under-the radar selections. First time growler purchases are $9.49; refills are $7.49. (Click the website link for locations.)
  • Gordon Biersch Brewery Bolingbrook: It's worth a train ride to Bolingbrook to check out this franchise of the California-based brewpub company. Gordon Biersch sells two types of growlers. The standard jug, with a screwtop cap, sells for $5 and the beer sells for $10. The deluxe growler, with a ceramic flip top lid similar to the one pictured, costs $20 for the jug. The difference is that, when filled, beer in the deluxe growler stays fresh for 1-2 days longer than standard jugs. (639 E. Boughton Road, Suite 100, Bolingbrook, 630-739-6036)
  • Crown Brewing: Former Three Floyds brewer and barrel-aging fiend Jim Cibak is the force behind this Crown Point brewpub and restaurant. First-time growlers sell for $15, refills $12. (211 S. East St., Crown Point, IN 219-663-4545)