We love drinking local craft beer, but lots of breweries don’t can or bottle their beer, so you can only drink it on-site. But lately, more and more breweries have been offering growlers, 64 ounces of fresh draft beer presented to you in a handy container, which you can carry to BYOB restaurants, backyard picnics or kitchen tables.
Unlike states like Michigan, where bars can fill growlers, in Illinois you can only fill them in places where beer is made, which limits your options to breweries and taprooms. To be fair, growlers aren’t like any other packaged beer out there. Thanks to factors like oxygen, temperature and sunlight, the quality of draft beer drops off quickly. If you aren’t drinking your growler within a small window of time (I try to enjoy mine on the day of purchase), you probably aren’t getting the best example of the brewer’s efforts.
So, where in Chicago are they available? How much are they for the glass alone, without the beer? (Beer prices being variable day to day, the range of any listed price for a full growler is quite wide.) Are 32-ounce ‘howlers’ (half-growlers) available? Do they refill other people’s growlers? Which BYOB restaurant should you take it to? Here are your options.