[Ed. note: This article was last updated on December 8, 2016]
The next time you’re hosting a party, inviting a few friends over or just having a drink at home after work, skip the six-pack and keep the beer flowing with the help of your trusty growler.
Growlers are jugs (usually made of glass) that can be filled with draft beer at some local breweries, brew pubs or retail liquor stores and taken home. Growlers are generally 1.89 litres/64 ounces. There are also smaller 1 litre/34 ounce size jugs called a howlers or half-growlers.
More than a dozen places in Calgary have their own growler bar with anywhere from three to 16 different beers on tap. Some places even allow you to have a small sample before filling the jug. The price can vary depending on which beer you’re getting or there is sometimes a set price for all fills. Most places with a growler bar sell its own branded growlers in-store, but will fill growlers from anywhere.
Check out the growler bars at these Calgary stores.
17th Ave. Liquor Boutique
Number of taps: Eight rotating taps featuring a range of beers from around the world. There are plans to expand to 16 taps in early 2017.
Growlers: You can buy one of their 2 litre glass growlers or 1 litre glass howlers in store. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: 17th Ave. Liquor Boutique has a pressurized growler station.
519 17 Ave. S.W., 403-918-2337, @craftbeer2go
Number of taps: Six taps that rotate weekly. There’s usually always at least one beer from Calgary.
Growlers: 5 Vines sells their own 32 oz. howlers and 64 oz. growlers in store, as well as Fifty/Fifty insulated growlers. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: Stop by on Wednesdays from 4 to 9 p.m. for $2 off all growler fills during their Growler Happy Hour.
218 12 Ave. S.E., 587-955-9221, 5vines.com, @5_vines
Banded Peak Brewing
Number of taps: There are seven taps, six of which are Banded Peak beers and one of which is a non-alcoholic root beer by Annex Ale Project. Three of the Banded Peak taps get rotated.
Growlers: Banded Peak sells their own 64 oz. glass or stainless steel growlers. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
519 34 Ave. S.E., bandedpeakbrewing.com, @bandedpeak_brew
Number of taps: Up to six taps featuring different kinds of Big Rock beer, with a focus on seasonal and limited releases.
Growlers: You can purchase a Big Rock growler in either a 64 oz. or 32 oz. size at the brewery. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
5555 76 Ave. S.E., 403-720-3239, bigrockbeer.com, @bigrockbrewery
Number of taps: There are 16 taps of Brewsters beers at each Brewsters location. The only exceptions are the 11th Ave. and Lake Bonavista locations, which have 24 taps that include some extra seasonal beers and guest taps.
Growlers: You can purchase a 1.89 litre growler at any Brewsters location. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: You can refill your growler with a Brewsters beer flavour at any Brewsters location.
Various locations, brewsters.ca, @wearebrewsters
Number of taps: Eight rotating taps that feature a selection of local and imported craft beers.
Growlers: Purchase Craft Cellar’s 1 litre howlers and 2 litre growlers in-store. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
1345 32 Ave. N.E., 403-277-1868, craftcellars.ca, @craftcellars
Highlander Wine & Spirits
Number of taps: Six rotating taps
Growlers: It sells its own branded growlers in 32 oz. and 64 oz. sizes, and customers are welcome to bring their own glassware in sizes 64 oz. or smaller.
Things to know: Just the Seton and Cooper’s Crossing locations have growler bars.
182, 19489 Seton Cres. S.E., 587-296-3546; 1008, 401 Coopers Dr. S.W., Airdrie, 587-449-9598, highlanderwine.com
High Line Brewing
Number of taps: There are as many as eight taps featuring craft beer by High Line Brewing.
Growlers: High Line Brewing sells its own 32 oz. Boston rounds and 64 oz. amber, stainless and double S.S. growlers.
#113, 1318 9 Ave. S.E., highlinebrewing.com, @highlinebrewing
J. Webb Market Wines
Number of taps: Six rotating taps, usually at least three of which feature local beers.
Growlers: It currently sells its own 1.89 litre growlers and 1 litre howlers. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: J. Webb Wine Merchant’s has three locations, but its only growler bar is located at the Calgary Farmers’ Market location.
Calgary Farmers’ Market, 520 77 Ave. S.E., 403-475-9463, jwebb.net, @jwebbwine
Kensington Wine Market
Number of taps: 4 taps, which usually feature local beers you can’t get in bottles or cans, along with the occasional import.
Growlers: Kensington Wine Market sells 2 litre growlers and 1 litre howlers. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
1257 Kensington Rd. N.W., 403-283-8000, kensingtonwinemarket.com, @kensingtonwm
Last Best Brewing & Distilling
Number of taps: 11 to 12 taps of beer. The majority are Last Best beers, though they occasionally have a rotating guest tap.
Growlers: Last Best sells its own 64 oz. growlers. Will fill 64 oz. growlers or 32 oz. howlers from anywhere.
607 11 Ave. S.W., 587-353-7387, lastbestbrewing.com, @lastbestbrew
Number of taps: Depending on the location, Calgary Liquor Depots have a selection of 11 to 16 local, Canadian and international beers.
Growlers: Liquor Depot has its own 32 oz. howlers and 64 oz. growlers available for purchase in-store. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: Four of Calgary’s Liquor Depots locations have a growler bar (Signal Hill, Brentwood, Mount Royal and Altadore).
Various locations, liquordepot.ca, @liquordepot
Mill Street Brew Pub
Number of taps: Only beers that are made on-site are available in growlers, so there are generally four to eight flavours of beer available.
Growlers: Mill Street offers pre-filled 64 oz. growlers and 32 oz. howlers.
Things to know: Mill Street doesn’t fill growlers on demand. You can purchase a pre-filled 64 oz. growler or 32 oz. howler from Mill Street’s retail shop. If you bring the jug back for a refill, they will exchange the growler/howler jug for a new one, and you only be charged a refill price.
219 17 Ave. S.W., 403-454-6871, millstreetbrewery.com, @millstreetbrew
Oak & Vine Craft Beer, Wine & Spirits
Number of taps: There are eight taps, one of which is usually dedicated to beer from Last Best and the rest mostly feature local beers. These are draft exclusive beers that are not available in cans or bottles.
Growlers: Oak & Vine sells its 64 oz. growlers and 1 litre howlers in-store. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: Oak & Vine has two locations, but only its Inglewood location has a growler bar. Stop by on Thursday nights from 5 to 9 p.m. for its Growler Happy Hour, when you can get 10 percent off all growler fills.
1139 9 Ave. S.E., 403-455-6333, oakandvine.ca, @oakandvine
Number of taps: 16 taps featuring a range of beers from Minhas Micro Brewery.
Growlers: You can purchase clear glass, coloured glass or stainless steel growlers at Pizza Brew. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: Pizza Brew is owned by Minhas Micro Brewery, which is located next door to it. Pizza Brew charges a set price of $9.45 to fill a growler.
1314 44 Ave. N.E., 403-695-3706, minhasbrewery.com, @minhasmicrobrew
Point McKay Wine Store
Number of taps: Three rotating craft beers that are usually changed between every week to two weeks.
Growlers: Point McKay Wine Store’s growlers are imported from Germany, so they have thicker glass that can withstand up to four bars of pressure. They’re available in 1 litre or 2 litre sizes. Will fill transparent growlers from anywhere, and can do a draft pour if it’s not transparent.
Things to know: Its growler bar system is pressurized.
145 Point Dr. N.W., 403-286-1936, @pointmckaywine
Star Liquor & Wine Boutique
Number of taps: Six rotating ciders and craft beers.
Growlers: Star Liquor sells 1 litre howlers and 2 litre growlers in-store. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
Things to know: Star Liquor & Wine Boutique has multiple locations, but only two of them have growler bars.
#242, 15566 McIvor Blvd S.E., 403-726-1350 and #225, 11135 14 St. N.E., 587-755-7827, starliquor.ca
The Dandy Brewing Company
Number of taps: Eight rotating beers by The Dandy Brewing Company.
Growlers: The Dandy Brewing Company sells 500 mL, 1 litre and 2 litre growlers. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
#11, 1826 25 Ave. N.E., thedandybrewingcompany.com, @dandyalesyyc
Tool Shed Brewing Company
Number of taps: There are four to eight taps of Tool Shed beers at any given time.
Growlers: Tool Shed sells its own 1.89 litre growlers. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
801 30 St. N.E., 403-775-1749, toolshedbrewing.com, @toolshedbeer
Trolley 5 Restaurant & Brewery
Number of taps: There are six taps of Trolley 5 beer that growlers can be filled with. One of those is a seasonal flavour.
Growlers: Purchase one of Trolley 5’s 64 oz. growlers or 32 oz. howlers. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
728 17 Ave. S.W., 403-454-3731, trolley5.com, @trolley_5
Vine Arts Wine & Spirits
Number of taps: Six taps that rotate weekly at the Victoria Park location and five taps that rotate weekly at the 17 Ave. S.W. location. Usually at least a few of the taps feature beers from Calgary or Alberta-based breweries.
Growlers: Purchase one of their 64 oz. growlers or 32 oz. howlers in-store. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
1310 1 St. S.W., 403-290-0700, vinearts.ca, @vinearts
Number of taps: There are six taps, and usually at least one is changed every week.
Growlers: Whole Cellars sells 1 litre howlers and 2 litre growlers in-store. Will fill growlers from anywhere.
19822 50 St. S.E., 403-279-7750, wholecellars.ca, @wholecellars