Gone are the days when a six-pack of bottles or cans was the only way to enjoy a beer from the comfort of your kitchen. Many craft beer drinkers now opt to take draft beer home with them in growlers.
A growler is a reusable jug often made of glass, ceramic, plastic or stainless steel that's filled with beer from the tap for consumption elsewhere than a bar. Why go to a bar without the intention to drink there? Many prefer kegged beer because it's fresher and better carbonated. Others like to grab rare recipes that may not be distributed in cans of bottles. Plus, there's a whole season of Stranger Things to binge-watch.
Growlers are not a new trend, but are increasing in popularity, which has led innovation in accompanying tools and accessories. In 2014, Oskar Blues even launched a sister product called the crowler, short for "can growler," but it's not widely available here since Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission deemed crowlers illegal at most retail establishments. (Litigation to reverse that is pending.)
Thirsty? Here's a guide to the dozens of growler bars in Dallas-Fort Worth where you can fill up. For tips on cleaning and how long the beer keeps, see our chapter on growlers 101.
Craft and Growler
Opened in 2012, this Dallas hot spot was the first to embrace growlers locally. Husband and wife owners Kevin Thibodeaux and Cathrine Kinslow patented the bar's draft system, a network of beer guns that use carbon dioxide to fill growlers from the bottom, which limits a beer's foam and exposure to oxygen. Thibodeaux designed the system after failing to find a beer-to-glass solution that catered to growlers. (Most are filled from the tap with a hose.)
Drinkers choose from a menu of 42 rotating draft offerings to either swill onsite by the pint or flight, or take home in a growler. Expect to find rare releases here. And if you don't have a to-go vessel yet, Craft and Growler has plenty of styles and sizes, as well as accessories like cleaning supplies, koozies, kits that turn a growler into a lamp and more. There's also a wall of bottled beers patrons can purchase, but most are for off-site consumption only.
While the bar does not serve food or liquor, it does offer snacks.
3601 Parry Ave., Dallas. Open Tuesday through Friday 2 p.m. to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight, and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. More deets.
Pouring Glory Growler Fill Station and Grill
Bring an appetite to this growler bar, one of the few in North Texas that operates a full kitchen. Pouring Glory in Fort Worth was founded by longtime friends Scott Glover and Kevin von Ehrenfried, who spent decades at food and beverage conglomerates Brinker International and Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewery, respectively.
As enthusiasm for craft beer grew, so too did the founders' ambition to open a family-friendly spot with great beer and food. The result is a steam punk-leaning restaurant with 54 draft taps that serve local and national beer brands, kombucha and coffee. Not only can beer nerds drink suds here, they can also eat them. Pouring Glory infuses certain food items with beer, such as the fish and chips, which come battered in a recipe that calls for Panther Island Brewing's India pale ale. And if you'd rather take your beer to-go, the staff can also box your meal.
Like most growler bars, Pouring Glory does not serve liquor. It does, however, serve a handful of wines.
1001 Bryan Ave., Fort Worth. Open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. More deets.
The Bearded Monk
The Denton Square is often the epicenter of activity in the college town, but those who venture off the beaten path to McKinney Street will be rewarded with a cold brew. The Bearded Monk opened in fall 2015, adding another 21 draft taps and more 800 bottles of beer to the already craft-centric town.
The business comes from Ben Esely, whose passion for beer led him to found the Beer Drinkers Society blog in 2011. (Disclosure: Esely has also contributed to GuideLive as a Booze News Insider.) The idea was to make beer education approachable for the average consumer and give back to the community in the process. For example, local artists set up shop inside the bar on select weekends, so patrons will likely find some cool, nondrinkable souvenirs to take home with a growler.
In addition to beer to-go, the Bearded Monk serves pints onsite and often couples them with special events, such as Cards Against Humanity night.
122 E. McKinney St., Denton. Open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. More deets.
Kool Keg Beer and Margaritas
This bar in downtown Arlington has been a staple since 1982, when it first began catering kegs of beer and margaritas machines to the numerous college students that lived near by. In December, however, owner George Kramerov revamped the space, installing a bar with 30 taps and four counter-pressure filling stations for growlers.
The filling stations, which sit behind the bar, are similar to what companies use to package carbonated beverages -- a machine pressurizes each growler with carbon dioxide before trickling liquid into the vessel, so the beer is never exposed to oxygen. While most growlers keep beer fresh for up to a week, Kramerov says the stations can extent shelf life up to 90 days.
For those who would rather sit and stay a while, Kool Keg offers pints, flights and happy hour every day from 4 to 7 p.m., when you'll save $1 on all drafts. The bar does not serve food, however, sometimes there's a food truck or catering. It's also in the center of town, walking distance from restaurants.
207 S. East St., Arlington. Open Sunday through Friday noon to midnight, and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. More deets.
Little Elm Crafthouse
Todd Carpenter will be the first to tell you he's not a beer industry veteran. Prior to opening Little Elm Crafthouse, he worked as a contract adviser to the Afghanistan judiciary. But when he returned stateside in 2014, Carpenter knew he wanted to settle permanently.
Since living in Washington, D.C. and exploring the beer scene with his son, Kyle, Carpenter saw a need for more growler spots in D-FW, which he admits is slightly behind the curve. The father-son duo opened Little Elm Crafthouse in summer 2015 and it's has become a fast favorite with locals on the east side of Lake Lewisville.
Located in an unassuming strip of businesses on Eldorado Parkway, the bar caters to newbie drinkers and craft aficionados alike with its 30-tap draft wall, which focuses primarily on local brews. Fill up a growler or grab a seat and sip onsite -- beers are always served at 37 degree Fahrenheit and in style-specific glassware, Carpenter says, unless you order a flight.
Little Elm Crafthouse hosts a popular trivia night on Thursdays, and sometimes invites a food truck to feed its customers.
850 W. Eldorado Pkwy., Little Elm. Tuesday through Thursday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday noon to midnight, and Sunday noon to 8 p.m. More deets.
Find a growler filling station near you. Most sell growlers there, but you can also bring your own.
Bishop Cider Co. fills growlers of its original cider at a quaint taproom in the Bishop Arts District. Try the different recipes there or, on weekends, tour its new production facility in the Design District. 509 N. Bishop Ave., Suite C, Dallas. More deets.
The Bottle Shop is Lower Greenville's growler mainstay. And if something on one of the bar's 24 taps doesn't interest you, choose from hundred-plus of available bottles. 2116 Greenville Ave., Dallas. More deets.
Braindead Brewing operates a brewery and restaurant in Deep Ellum. House brews and others from around the state and country are available by the growler, but prices vary widely, so ask your server before you buy. 2625 Main St., Dallas. More deets.
Bru City just recently opened and it may be the area's first growler bar inside a gas station. It's a grab-and-go spot to be sure, with an additional selection of craft bottles and cans. The station will soon also have food counter service. 13000 Trinity Blvd., Euless. Facebook.
Chimera Brewing Co. is a brewpub in Fort Worth that serves beer alongside food, with plenty of vegetarian options. (The beer is also vegetarian friendly.) 1001 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth. More deets.
Collective Brewing Project is a brewery, but it functions like a bar with house brews for sipping on site. Collective specializes in sours, and if you take one to go, consider a novel crowler, or "can growler." 112 St. Louis Ave., Fort Worth. More deets.
Craft Beer Cellar is a forthcoming bottle shop in East Dallas near the Lakewood Theater. The bar, which is expected to open this fall, will fill growlers and operate primarily as a grab-and-go spot. 6324 Gaston Ave., Dallas. Facebook.
Central Market locations in Dallas (Lovers Lane), Fort Worth, and Southlake all offer growlers of beer. Many have bars where patrons can sip and enjoy onsite, as well as rotating and gluten-free offerings.
Gordon Biersch brewpubs in Dallas and Plano want to help you pair a house-brewed beer with a meal onsite. Find one you like and take it home in a growler to enjoy at a later date. 8060 Park Ln., Suite 125, Dallas; 7401 Lone Star Dr., Suite B120, Plano.
Haystack Burgers and Barley offers a stout menu of eats to pair with its 12 draft beers, all of which are local. Go Monday through Friday from 3-6:30 p.m. to save $4 on growler fills. 100 S. Central Expy, Suite 17, Richardson. More deets.
Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery makes both beer and barbecue in-house. The brewers also make sodas and often times ice cream that they infuse with sangria. 509 W. State St., Garland. More deets.
Lone Star Taps and Caps - Denton is both a bar that fills from 50 drafts and bottle shop, with rows of refrigerated six-packs and bombers to take home. It also occasionally hosts live music. 505 W. Hickory St., Denton. More deets.
Lone Star Taps and Caps - Fort Worth is currently under construction and expected to open around Halloween. 6115 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 114, Fort Worth. Facebook.
Lone Star Taps and Caps - Lewisville is the original location for this rapidly expanding local chain. We suggest ordering the Barely Legal, a flight featuring 18 draft samples (requires at least three people to order). 4740 State Hwy 121, Suite 500, Lewisville. More deets.
Lakewood Growler caters to its namesake neighborhood on the west side of White Rock Lake with 36 taps featuring beer, cider and non-alcoholic root beer for the kiddos. 6448 E. Mockingbird Ln., Dallas. More deets.
LUCK at Trinity Groves specializes in North Texas craft beer, so stop by to see what's brewing locally. We recommend grabbing a bite to eat too. 3011 Gulden Ln., Suite 112, Dallas. More deets.
Malai Kitchen - Dallas is the flagship restaurant where owners installed a small brewing system after watching the craft beer trend spread. Like the food, many of the beers are Asian-inspired. 3699 McKinney Ave., Suite 319, Dallas. More deets.
Malai Kitchen - Southlake is an offshoot of the Dallas restaurant; each location has its own small brewing system for Asian-inspired recipes. Try a few with a sampler plate. 1161 E. Southlake Blvd., Suite 220, Southlake. More deets.
Metzler's Food and Beverage - North is an unassuming shop with wall of 30 rotating draft beers from which to choose to fill a growler. The business also has bottles and cans, and serves barbecue. 1115 E. University Dr., Denton. More deets.
Metzler's Food and Beverage - South is similar to its northern counterpart, though it has 16 taps for rotating draft beers. You'll also find bottled and canned beers, and barbecue to pair it with. 628 Londonderry Ln., Denton. More deets.
Midway Craft House is a sister store to the Midway Mart bottle shop in Denton. At this one, however, you can buy and fill growlers from 37 taps. 1115 W. Hickory St., Denton. Facebook.
Minyard Sun Fresh Market in Uptown Dallas is the only location to sell and fill growlers. Choose from 24 taps of beer or enjoy onsite with a pint or flight. 3524 McKinney Ave., Dallas. Facebook.
Noble Rey Brewing Co. is a brewery, but it functions just like a bar with an array of craft beers and ciders available for pints or growler fills. Pick a house brew, though, and you can take it home in a novel crowler, or "can growler." 2636 Farrington St., Dallas. More deets.
On Rotation is a brewpub located in East Dallas. The bar serves plenty of house brews alongside national brands. Take any of the suds to-go. 7328 Gaston Ave., Suite 110, Dallas. More deets.
Thirsty Growler is a newer addition to the growler bar scene, complete with 50 taps for beer, cider, and kombucha. 5733 State Hwy 121, Suite 230, The Colony. Facebook.
What's on Tap is Highland Village's first growler bar and offers 36 taps of rotating and seasonal beers by the pint, in flights and, of course, by the fill. The bar is working to open a second location in Keller. 2570 FM 407, Suite 170, Highland Village. More deets.
Whole Foods locations in Addison, Colleyville, Richardson (CityLine) and Dallas (Highland Park, Lakewood, Park Lane, and Uptown) all sell and fill growlers. Most have a bar on site where shoppers can order a pint and meal. You can also take a beer with you as you continue down your grocery list.