Fresh filled growlers (64 oz. jugs, pictured above) are now firmly established in the Atlanta beer scene, with the area’s two preeminent beer shops – Ale Yeah! out east in Decatur and Hop City on the Westside – happily updating fans as they kick kegs practically daily and replace them with something new. We picked up growlers at each of these two fine shops last week and had a good Saturday night with some La Trappe witte (a stellar summer-friendly Trappist ale) and some Phillips Amber Ale (solid stuff, brewed to go well with seafood).
Growlers offer a fresh, economical and environmentally friendly way to pick up good beer, and are downright fun to share with friends. Here’s a quick look at the growler sections of Atlanta’s two retail beer stalwarts.
Hop City was Atlanta’s first entry into fresh filled growlers. Kraig and company have established a true beer destination for Atlanta’s beer lovers, and their sixteen tap growler section is no exception. Kraig explained their approach, “for our growler choices, we want to make sure we cover as many tastes as possible. You will always find at least one wheat beer, one dark (porter or stout), an IPA/Pale or three, a Belgian-style, a brown, a brown/amber, and alager/pilsner. During the summer months we will lean toward the lighter stuff. During the winter we will be more likely to break out the barleywine.” They also try to maintain a wide range of price options, from the almost always present Sweetwater IPA at $6.99 per fill, to super rare beers like de Struise Outblack which runs $49 for a growler fill, but they focus on beers under $20/fill. Watch out for rare beer releases each Thursday night, and special “tap takeovers” as well – Stone is next on their list with eight beers from the highly regarded brewer coming in to “Growler Town” at once.
Ale Yeah! in Decatur followed in the footsteps of Hop City, setting up shop across town in Decatur. They focus more exclusively on beer (no wine section), and their growler station is comprised of eight taps at the back of the store. Eddie at Ale Yeah! is highly knowledgable, and can point you in the right direction no matter what your tastes are. He explained that they seek a balance of styles in their growler lineup, saying, “our philosophy for growler fills is primarily to maintain a good cross-section of styles: IPA, wheat, funky/sour, lager/pils, stout, brown/red, etc…” In general, IPA’s and local beers such as Wild Heaven‘s Ode to Mercy have been very popular for them. Their most expensive growler thus far was Rodenbach Grand Cru, a fabulous Flanders red ale, at $30.99 for the fill. Ale Yeah! is constantly adding new and interesting beers to their growler lineup, and keeping Decatur beer lovers happy in the process.
Meanwhile, The Beer Growler, a shop that opened in Athens last year and paved the way for Hop City and Ale Yeah!, plans to open their own Atlanta area outpost next month in Avondale Estates. We’ll soon find out exactly what they have in store for Avondale, but expect a strong presence for Terrapin and Wild Heaven beers given the Athens and Avondale connections. Cheers to more growlers for everyone.
UPDATE: Just read about ANOTHER growler stop in the Atlanta area: “Beer growlers are now being filled in Roswell, Ga.!!! All Y’alls Wine & Gourmet Market is the first and only place north of ATL to fill and retail beer growlers. We currently have 5 awesome beers on draft anxiously waiting your consumption. For more details, call All Y’alls and ask for Kevin a.k.a. ” Beer Pimp” at 678-226-9464″
UPDATE 2: Now Whole Foods on Ponce in Atlanta is also selling a small selection of beers by the growler, yeehaw!
UPDATE 3: The Beer Growler opens in Avondale Estates on August 12. And Whole Foods Merchants Walk (Marietta) is also now selling growlers.