Drunken Speculation

Where to fill a growler in Brisbane

Before Green Beacon Brewery opened at the start of 2013, I don’t think growler filling was a thing in this town. The Archive might have had it before but I can’t really remember back that far any more, which might have something to do with the wave of good beer that’s subsequently flooded the city.

Growlers are currently extremely popular in the wider beer world because they offer consumers the ability to take fresh, draught beer home with them. After a wash, they’re good to go again, making them marginally more sustainable than other methods of packaging. Of course, it’s debatable how sustainable beer is in the first instance but whatever.

A standard growler is a brown glass container with a capacity of around 64 US fluid ounces (1.89L in the new measure). More exotic versions exist, including ceramic, stainless steel and all of this. My plan is to one day bring a stainless steel growler to market with a built-in gas regulator so that standard carbon dioxide cartridges can be used to keep the beer carbonated. Patent pending. For the time being, Brisbane is serviced by the brown glass model.

If you’re not a horrible alcoholic who spends an inordinate amount of time and money in Brisbane breweries (you know, like me) you might be wondering about this trend and how to get involved. This post will give you a few tips on what your choices are, how much you’re looking at paying and how to get to inner Brisbane’s growler filling hot spots.

Green Beacon Brewing

green beacon growler26 Helen St, Newstead

Herewith Green Beacon Penny Porter

Growlers are filled direct from the tap by hose, a method which seems to lose the least carbonation, meaning that your growler won’t be filled with hop/malt juice after a opening it once or twice. However, only Green Beacon beers are available. That’s good if you’re into the Grappler IPL and Penny Porter, which I am, but your expectations may vary.

The price for a fill is up there, at $20+ per fill for beer that’s made all of ten metres away from the taps, although your tenth re-fill is free. The growler itself is also on the high side and I haven’t had the guts to try getting a rival’s growler filled.

On-street parking is available and the Gasworks is around the corner. If you’re worried about parking in the latter, drop in to the Wine Emporium on the way out to justify your two hour stay. If you’re some sort of dirty hippie, you could catch a 199 bus, blue CityGlider or a ferry to Teneriffe.

Newstead Brewing Co

newstead growler85 Doggett St, Newstead

Herewith Newstead Brewing 21 Feet 7 Inches Porter

NBCo has twelve taps, eight of which are dedicated to their own beers and ciders, so a well-made range of styles is always available. The price is good, at less than $20 for a standard strength fill. There’s also a few randoms mixed in to keep it interesting (not certain if those are available for growler fills). Your growler is filled direct from the tap.

Being just around the corner, the same parking or transport arrangements as Green Beacon apply. Parking on Doggett Street seems to be an option at the night during the week, otherwise I would suggest Gasworks.

Brewhouse Brisbane

brewhouse growlerCnr Stanley St and Annerley Rd, Woolloongabba

Herewith Brisbane Brewing Texas Walker American Pale Ale

The beer at the Brewhouse is super cheap. You’re looking at $15 for a regular strength fill or whatever happens to be the price of a jug at the time. Squealers and disposable plastic bottles are also available for filling, as is a cabinet of top notch bottled beer selections (e.g. Cavalier Imperial Stout), mixing it up with the industrial suckage.

Parking at the back of the Brewhouse is available, as is some parking around the Mater precinct, and the Mater Hill bus stop is a short stroll away. It’s all summarised in this handy PDF.

The two things to watch out for is the service and the filling. The former is friendly enough but the staff are very much working in a pub, not a specialist beer venue, so if you have complicated questions, like “Do you have a porter on?”, you might be out of luck. If you consult the website before you go, you should be right.

The filling is done by decanting from a tap into a jug, which is then tipped into your growler. This pretty much guarantees that you’ll lose 90% of the carbonation before you’ve gotten home but it’s the only legal way to fill the growler, according to the ATO. Everyone else seems to ignore that though.

Next Door Cellars 

archive growler100 Boundary St, West End

Herewith 8 Wired Fresh Hop Wired

Any of the beers on tap in Next Door Cellars or the Archive’s main bar are available for growler filling, so price depends on the beer, though it tends to be at least $20. On the other hand, you’re looking at a choice of somewhere around two dozen beers, which is one of the more comprehensive offerings in the city. There’s also heaps of bottles of varying quality, depending on how long they’ve been sitting there (e.g. Mornington PorterDogfish Head 90 Minute IPA and Evil Twin Hipster Ale), in the cold room, making this one of Brisbane’s better bottleshops.

Limited OSP is available on Russell Street. My slightly naughty tip is to park at the post office building next door. Despite the signage, if you park out of business hours, I don’t think you’ll be getting towed (I am not liable for any damages if you get towed). Plenty of buses run down Boundary Street, just get on at the stop outside the CBA on Adelaide Street.

Craft Wine Store

craft growler196 Musgrave Rd, Red Hill

Herewith Kaiju! Metamorphosis IPA

There are two taps in the cold room. The price to fill will depend on the beers available. From memory, the growler and fill was about $40, which is alright for a 6.7% IPA.

Parking is ample. I usually stop out front but if there’s no space, then I try down Cochrane Street. The 380 series of buses seems to be your best bet if you’re coming from the city.

Bonus points for the good selection of bottles available. For example, we’ve picked up Aurora Borealis II and Moo Brew Pilsner, as well as Mountain Goat’s Fancy Pants when it first came out in cans.

This is not an exhaustive list and such is the pace of change in the scene, by the time this gets posted, the information will probably be out of date. For example, places like Malt Traders can open up without me even knowing about it, which is what happens when you try to cut back on drinking. Some other locations that I’m at least aware of, particularly for those in more suburban or regional locations:

If you can, get at least one growler. There’s a lot of fun to be had with fresh, draught beer at home.

Update – Others have picked up some more locations around town in the comments:

11 comments

  1. The Vine bottle shop in Cleveland also fills growlers – their own as well as any others. Holgate’s Hopinator was available last time I was there.

    Exciting times for Bacchus too with a growler service on the cards once the new brewery bar opens in Capalaba.

    Good times!

    • I’m sure 4 Hearts will have growlers as well. Might need to do a part 2 featuring Bacchus, 4 Hearts, Fortitude, Malt Traders and the Vine for the regional readership.

  2. So jealous.
    If I did a post like this about the South Coast, it’d be “Illawarra Brewing Company. HopDog. The End”. We so need some bottle shops doing growler fills.

      • There’s one a suburb or two up where the staff mention every now and then that the owner is thinking about it. I reply “Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it now!”

      • While I was writing I was wondering what the return is like for a growler setup. I wasn’t sure how popular growler fills actually are as I don’t see them often.

  3. Good information! I’ll be sure to pass this on to my brother who lives up that way… And keep this on hand for my next visit 🙂

    Thanks for the useful info!

  4. Tony

    The German Club fills growlers for $22 per fill on any of their regular taps except the 4 Pines Kolsch, I believe, which they won’t fill for some reason, plus they have a rotating tap where the price changes. I think you have to be a member, but it’s only $5 for 5 years for membership.

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