FFWD REW

Growlers on tap in Calgary liquor stores

You don’t need to go to the pub to get draft craft beer

It’s a common refrain among craft beer drinkers that beer is the new wine. And now rather than buy a bottle of wine to take to a friend’s for dinner you can fill a growler with fresh craft beer at some Calgary liquor stores.

At 5 Vines in the Beltline which has been filling growlers since the store opened in mid-December the response has been overwhelmingly positive says co-owner Jerome Pommier.

“People are pretty happy with this option. It’s really popular on weekends when people purchase them to bring to parties or to share with friends.”

The store offers up to six beers on tap and the selection is always rotating — 5 Vines’ website offers a listing of what’s on tap and what’s coming up.

“We try to keep good mix between darker styles IPAs and lighter styles to appeal to the greatest amount of people” says Pommier. “We also try to keep it local and fresh. And breweries are always offering new specialty beers.”

The store has a blackboard where customers can write suggestions which are used to influence future keg rotations and beer purchases.

Just a few blocks away Vine Arts has also been offering a growler station for the last six months.

“Like the rest of our beer wine and spirits selection we try to find weird and wonderful things to keep on tap” says assistant manager Erik Mercier. “We’ve poured everything from a Rauch (German smoked beer) to über hoppy IPAs and everything in between.”

Currently Vine Arts has two taps and changes out kegs on a weekly basis.

“Calgary has an insane beer market. There are new products every week so repeating the same beer seems ridiculous when there’s so much variety” says Mercier.

Vine Arts plans to expand its growler refill station in the next few months as part of a new beer room with several taps and more room for bottles and six packs.

In addition to offering the ability to sample a wider range of limited production beers at a lower cost per volume beer poured straight from a tap can taste fresher than beer in a can or bottle. Not to mention growlers can be used over and over again cutting down on the energy required to recycle a six pack of bottles or cans.

And adds Mercier “It’s also a blast putting a huge jug of beer on the dinner table and impressing all your friends.”

The Liquor Depot also offers growler stations at its Mount Royal Brentwood and Woodbine locations.

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR BEER FRESH IN A GROWLER

• Chill your growler before filling it.

• Make sure there’s very little air between the beer and the cap (some growler stations use a C02 blast to get rid of any oxygen).

• Cap and refrigerate your beer as soon as you’ve poured it and keep it out of the light.

• Enjoy it sooner rather than later says Mercier: “It’ll be delicious over several days but nothing beats that fresh-from-the-tap flavour.”

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