Denton package stores steadily getting on board with newest craft beer craze: growlers
Retro dark glass jugs line the wooden shelves in the middle of the shop. Dusty Springfield’s soulful ballad “Son of the Preacher Man” plays to customers as they drink their fill. Springfield’s sultry voice lays down like a soft blanket on those inside The Bearded Monk. The glass jugs wait, each imprinted with a different design than its neighbor, ready to serve their purpose. The only thing missing is a nice fill of some cold draft beer.
Growlers are easy, accessible and simple, but there’s more to growlers than just being to-go beer containers. It’s nice to have your own personal flagon to enjoy your favorite brew later with friends or back home alone on your couch. Beer’s best friend has become your trusty growler.
Ben Esely is the owner of The Bearded Monk, and his love for beer has expanded to owning 12 growlers.
“You think of that old Appalachian jug band where somebody has a washboard and somebody has a banjo,” Esely said. “Yeah, these are the jugs. These are the moonshine jugs you think of.”
A growler is nothing more than a jug with an easy grip handle. These reusable bottles are perfect for any draft beer. Especially in Denton. Residents here can enjoy using growlers anytime and anywhere — the city has open container laws — so people can drink in public, whether sitting on the square for a picnic or walking down Hickory Street.
So, why is it called a growler? According to one folktale, early growlers had lids that opened and closed, but did not seal. When the lid was re-opened, carbon dioxide was released from the bottle, making a growling sound.
It seems nonsensical to purchase a special container just for beer. But growlers are special for many reasons. Besides being personal take-home vessels, growlers can be filled with special and limited beer not found in package stores. And though it’s true that anything that holds drinks can be considered a growler, they hold a certain appeal in the Denton craft beer world. Growlers are just cool.
For Doug Smith, Audacity Brew House owner and brew master, it’s a good way to be responsible and stay in the house for the night.
“A lot of people go through different phases in life. You have phases where you like to go out to the bars. Then you get to be old like me and you’re like, ‘I want to go home,’” he laughed.
Regular craft beer drinkers can choose from growlers of different sizes that range from a half-pint to a full gallon. By filling a 32-ounce growler once a week, a person could save around 370 bottles of beer.
Besides size, growler users can choose from three different materials: ceramic, stainless steel, and glass. Amber or clear glass are the most popular options. To keep beer cold longer, stainless is the way to go – perfect for long picnics outside on hot days. And ceramic jugs are another favorite for users like Chris Sallas.
Leaning over the bar decorated with assorted bottle caps, Chris waits for his beer. Behind the Bearded Monk counter, Esely fills the stainless steel growler. Chris does not live in Denton, but he has noticed how growler-friendly the city is.
“That kind of homegrown feel is very Denton-ish,” Chris noted. “It’s a good dentoning thing to do.”