Sometimes at a brewery you’ll hear folks talking about “getting a fill.” You might see people carrying in large glass jugs or walking out with enormous cans of beer. What the heck is that all about? It’s all about the growler: the freshest (and most environmentally friendly) way to take home beer from your favorite brewery.
What is a growler?
Long ago, before bottled beer could be purchased at a supermarket – heck, before supermarkets – the only way to bring beer home to enjoy was to bring a container of your own to the pub and have it filled with draft beer.
Perhaps it was the sound of carbonation escaping during the journey home, but somewhere along the way, the world “growler” became standard for a glass jug or large container that can be filled with draft beer.
A beer growler (and its newer cousin, the crowler) gives you access to fresh, sometimes rare beer from a small brewery in the comfort of your home. Beer growlers are most commonly made of glass, but there are also stainless steel and ceramic options on the market.
How do I get a growler or crowler at Stone? What sizes of beer growler are there?
At Stone locations, we offer 1 liter and 2 liter glass growlers as well as vacuum-insulated stainless steel growlers in similar sizes. Vacuum-insulated growlers will keep your beer nice and cold for up to 24 hours – perfect for outdoor excursions!
First you’ll purchase the container along with your first fill of draft beer. After that, whenever you come in for a refill, you’re only paying for the price of the beer. Rinse and repeat! (You can also totally buy an empty growler, but where’s the fun in that?)
If you don't live near a Stone location, or are just looking to stock up on 100% empty growlers, we sell a variety on our online store.
If you purchase a 32oz crowler, you’ll pay for the price of the beer plus $1 for the can. Then simply recycle the can when you’re done – the can sealing process can only be done once, so we can’t refill those.
How many beers are in a growler? Here’s how it shakes out:
- 32oz = 2 pints of beer
- 1 liter = A little over 2 pints of beer
- 2 liters = A little over 4 pints of beer
- 40oz = Two and a half pints of beer
- 64oz = 4 pints of beer
Beer growlers and crowlers are take-home containers for beer, which means they aren’t meant to be opened at Stone locations or out in the general public. Please take them home to enjoy with friends, family, neighbors, or all to yourself.
And when you bring a growler in for a fill, please make sure it’s clean and ready to hold fresh beer.
How do I clean a growler?
The best way to keep a growler clean is simply to rinse a few times with hot water as soon as it’s empty. Detergents and cleaning products can leave residues that affect the quality of beer, so it’s best to avoid those. If a growler ever gets particularly funky or incredibly dusty, it’s OK to use a very small amount of soap or detergent and rinse thoroughly with hot water until no more bubbles appear. Never use bleach or any harsh cleaning products.
Can I bring in any container to use as a growler? What’s Stone’s growler policy?
Alcohol laws vary from state to state. In California, any brewery information printed on the outside of the growler must correspond with the producer of the beer inside the growler. In short: A Stone growler can only be filled with Stone beer. This means we unfortunately can’t fill growlers from another brewery. We can, however, fill a blank growler, or a growler with any other brewery information permanently obscured or removed. (Sorry, no duct tape.)
We also have a few house policies that are in place to protect the freshness and quality of our beer:
- We only fill growlers that are made of brown glass or opaque material (such as stainless steel or ceramic). We don’t fill plastic containers or clear glass containers.
- We only fill glass growlers that have a swing-top gasket lid. We don’t fill screw-top glass growlers as there’s a higher risk of carbonation loss.
- We don’t fill growlers that are dirty, damaged or have foreign objects inside.
- We don’t fill containers that can be easily confused for a water bottle; i.e. a blank Hydroflask or other water bottle that holds less than 64oz.
How long does beer last in a growler? How long does beer last in a crowler?
Once a growler or crowler is sealed at the brewery, we recommend opening it within 7-10 days. It’s entirely possible that the beer will stay fresh longer, but as each growler or crowler is filled individually by hand, it may not be quite as consistent as a state-of-the-art canning and bottling line.
Once you open a growler, it’s similar to opening a large bottle of soda or any carbonated beverage: the less liquid in the container and the longer it sits after being opened, the more carbonation loss will occur. If you drink one pint and save the rest for tomorrow, that beer will still be plenty carbonated. But if you drink all but one pint, that last pint will end up flat after only a little while. In addition, as soon as you open a growler, you’re exposing the beer to air, which can oxidize it and affect the flavor over time. So try to drink or serve all the beer in your growler within 24 hours of opening it.
Crowlers, on the other hand, are just like a regular can and can’t be re-sealed once opened. Make sure you’re ready to enjoy all the beer before opening one!
How do I pour beer from a growler or crowler?
We’ll just say it’s a learning curve. Go very slow and pour down the side of the glass. Do it over the sink until you get the hang of it. We believe in you!
Why do people use beer growlers?
It’s simple – some beers are only available on draft. If you want to take these special creations home to enjoy, a growler is the only way. Growlers also allow you to share extremely limited, special beers with other people, which your friends and family will appreciate. (Or, like we said, you can keep it all to yourself.)
On top of that, draft beer has the lowest environmental impact of any form of beer packaging, since it’s packaged in reusable containers (kegs) and served in reusable containers (growlers and glassware). We think doing your part for Mother Earth is just as awesome as having access to fresh, specialty craft beer!
What beers can I fill my growler with at Stone?
Our Stone Brewing Tap Rooms will always have our year-round offerings available in addition to Stone specialty beers that vary by location. To see what’s available, choose a location’s webpage and scroll down to see the growler fill list. Once a beer is tapped, it will be on tap until it runs out, so call ahead if you want to make sure we still have the beer you desire. We’ll see you soon at a Stone location near you!