It wasn’t enough that at either end of the strip of Waugh between Allen Parkway and Westheimer one could have their growlers filled at Whole Foods or Hay Merchant, respectively. Not to mention Premium Draught just a couple of miles away on Studewood. Now we’ve got another station right in the middle, poised to funnel resources from my wallet into glass demijohns on the reg. But what sets Growler’s Beer and Wine To Go apart from the others is their unique CrafTap system, which first forces out all the oxygen from an empty growler (O2 is not your beer’s friend) before filling it from the bottom up through a counter-pressure system that reduces foam and ensures longevity, dispensing 64 oz. in about a minute. Owner Doug Bunze also showed me the shop’s gasketed caps which cost a little more, say $1 to a normal growler cap’s 25¢, but hold the pressure and allow the storing of contents for up to a year, whereas your typical growler fill would last maybe a week, two tops, and only a day or two once opened. This means that you can enjoy those seasonal beers all year round.
Growler’s currently has one CrafTap system operating, with 2 more on their way from Siberia. Doug wasn’t sure where they were in transit, but assured me once they reach Germany, it should only be about 3 days before arriving in Houston. He’s got plans to expand to 8 filling stations and, if all goes well and demand calls for it, he’s got space to go up to 15. The tap was still awaiting parts when I stopped in on opening day, and if you’re not sure you need an entire growler’s worth of beer at a given time anyway, they also have a tremendous bottle selection in coolers lined along the back wall. With space for 800 bottles (and cans), you’re sure to find something that floats your boat and, with discounted prices on building your own six packs, you’re not going to pay a whole lot either. I compiled a sixer of excellent brew, including some pricier offerings like Dogfish Head’s 120′ IPA and Burton Baton, and still only paid a little over $20.
Growlers have always provided a great way to share excellent beer at gatherings, and set you apart from the crowd contributing a case of Miller Lite to the football party. So this weekend for the big game, stop by Growler’s Beer and Wine¹ To Go and fill up on something special, or just grab a couple six packs of unique beers so you’ve got something to look forward to every time you dash to the fridge, not wanting to miss those commercials.
¹Wine comes later.