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.
26 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.
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.
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.
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 Porter, Dogfish 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.
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.
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:
- Fortitude Brewery at their Mount Tamborine-top cellar doors
- All Inn Brewery, Banyo
- Brewbake at Nambour’s Big Pineapple
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: