Hot Deal: Growler bargains

Let me start this post by stating up front that growlers aren’t necessarily the cheapest way to buy your beer. You’ll generally get more beer for your buck by purchasing a case of cans or bottles. However, many microbreweries do not bottle or can their beers, so if you want to take some home with you, a growler may be your only choice. I’ve done this many times, in fact, I have a collection of about 30 growlers from various breweries and tap rooms.

A standard growler is 64oz, which is the equivalent of 5.33 12oz beers. My basic yardstick for a best beer bargain is $1 or less per 12 oz beer, which would equate to around $5.33 for a growler fill (before tax). If you know of a place that does growler fills this cheap, please leave me a comment stating where (I would be very surprised). Chances are that you’ll be paying at least $10 per fill. That’s on top of the initial cost of the growler itself which should be $5 to $10 for a glass growler. There are also stainless steel and ceramic growlers, but these tend to be a lot more expensive.

Even though growler fills tend to be slightly more expensive than bottles and cans, I still buy them, mainly because I’m a fan of great tasting beers from smaller local breweries that don’t yet have the bottle or can options. That said, I’m not going to spend $70 on a growler fill. And yes, a nearby taproom is offering growler fills of a local double IPA for $70 (an outlandish $13.20 per 12oz!).

Here are the two best growler bargains in my area (Seattle, Washington):

Georgetown Brewing Company: Growler of Manny’s Pale Ale for $8 (including tax)

Georgetown Brewing Company is a very popular Seattle brewery and their flagship beer is Manny’s Pale Ale (88/100 on BeerAdvocate). The price after tax is $8. Now, Georgetown doesn’t sell beer to drink on premises, but they will let you taste for free. I went there this week and tried eight fantastic beers, including their Bodhizafa IPA, which just won the gold medal in the American-Style India Pale Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The tasters were at least 2oz pours, so eight of them equates to a free pint!

Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Company: Growler of Any Beer for $7 (including tax)

When I purchased my growler at Georgetown Brewing Company, I asked if it was the best growler fill bargain in town. I was informed that Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Company had them even cheaper, at just $7 (including tax). I couldn’t quite believe it, so I made my way to Bad Jimmy’s in Ballard to see for myself. Sure enough, they were only $7, FOR ANY OF THEIR BEERS!!! I got 5oz tasters of their IPA, Sea Hop (fresh hop), CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale aka black IPA) Dark Cocoa Vanilla Porter, and Barley Wine. The tasters were $2 each, which is very reasonable. I took home a $7 growler of IPA goodness (yeah, I get it, I drink a lot of IPA). I was super glad that my server at Georgetown gave me the tip about Bad Jimmy’s, and I shared this with my server at Bad Jimmy’s. This is kinda how the craft beer scene works in the Pacific Northwest. It’s very much a tight-knit community where brewers share information, drink each other’s beers, and even collaborate to make beers together.

bevRAGE: Get a Dollar Cash Back on Growlers

Be sure keep your receipt and use the bevRAGE offer of $1 off any draft beer on the above growlers (to bring them down to $7 and $6 respectively – best beer bargains!). A growler fill may seem like a stretch of the term “draft beer”, but really it’s not, because a “draft beer” is simply beer served from a keg, rather than a bottle or can. I have successfully submitted a growler fill receipt to bevRAGE and have been paid the $1, so it works!

Bad Jimmy’s tap list

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