Best Beer available mainly in Growlers?- Oakland, East Bay and beyond

We are living in a golden age of beer. I buy a lot of bottles and cans but have never really gotten into the growler thing. What good beers are available mainly in growlers around here?

Drake’s is widely available in bars and even in safeways, but I like their beer and it’s a short trip off 880 to get your growlers filled.

What kind of beer do you like ?

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I am pretty open depending on mood. Default beer is probably a medium to light bodied ale with moderate to high American hop bitterness, but in recent years have been drinking a lot more lager/pilsner styles and sours.

I don’t really have any experience with growlers, but some beers may be more readily available in that form than at Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods, especially around here.

Drake’s is good. Drake’s dealership on Broadway does growler fills.

Not in growlers unfortunately but currently on cask at Mikkeller (SF), JW Lees harvest ale, not often seen around here in bottles, let alone cask. Great holiday sipper, get it while you can. (Beer advocate score of 100) Now if only they had the lagavullin or calvados versions…ps. they also have the jw lees moonraker on cask, which I find undrinkable

there’s a lot of diversity in the tri-valley and east bay re: brewing styles/specialities.
they all sell beer via growlers.

faction in alameda makes sour beer, beer place on park blvd, alameda makes ale types, no stouts…

Faction is known for its IPAs and similar. I can’t see a sour on their list of beers, but there’s a lot of beers — I don’t contradict you, but I can’t find one on their list. It’s a long list. I’ve had their IPAs and their Defcon series,

They are claiming to fill non-Faction growlers, which is rare… I do like faction.

probably a year or so that i tasted sour @Faction. maybe they have discontinued it. barrista very proud
of their sour so i thought it was a keeper. sour drinkers should call first to check availability before they go.

btw, that sour was first and last for me. prefer stout’s like Altamount…even red ales at Eight Bridges?, not sure of name.

yep, “twisted red” @Eight Bridges, 332 Earhart Way, Livermore.

Fieldwork Brewing Co. does growler fills, and currently on their draft list is Ancient Mariner. It’s a lime gose (sour and slightly salty, low hop), and I think it’s fantastic! I enjoy most of FBC’s beers.

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I had a sip of their Mexican Hot Chocolate beer last night ( Howie’s RWC , well curated beer list there ) and it was FANTASTIC but not really a beer. Super smooth, super choclaty, but with a BIG HOT MAYA KICK more than you get out of Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Big +1 on Fieldwork. Love their Sea Farmer, a sea salt grapefruit IPA. The folks at Mikkeller told me the brewer was the one that also developed Grapefruit Sculpin at Ballast Point, and this is even bigger in grapefruit flavor. Their Coconut Milk IIPA is also delicious and so hard to describe–creamy, strong, tropical deliciousness.

I missed out on the Hot Chocolate when I was at Tap 25 in Livermore; it was already kicked! They brew it with TCHO chocolate and spices.

For sours, Rare Barrel, a couple of miles south of Fieldwork, is a must try. Unfortunately you can’t do growler fills unless you’re in one of their membership clubs. They have some bottle releases each week only available at the tasting room, however.

Thanks all for your comments. I’ve had some of the beers from Fieldwork and Rare Barrel around the area, including Hog’s Apothecary, if I’m not mistaken, but haven’t kept up with the independent small brewer scene around here.

I’ve never really done growler fills- per bbulkow’s post, do most places require you to purchase one of their growlers in order to get fills? I was thinking about getting a double walled vacuum flask but maybe that’s a waste if most places will not fill it.

I asked the same thing about filling your own vessel( not a growler ) at New Bohemia Brewery in Santa Cruz . I was told it was about the ounces served . Either 16 , 32, 64 . It sounded like a grey area . You might want to look into it .

never did growers myself.
heartell it depends on the brewery. some will fill outside growlers, some will fill only their own.
check with the brewers u have interest in.

Fieldwork is outstanding!!!

From what I know of it, California law changed a year or so ago and now allows breweries to refill growlers that are not their own. That was illegal before. I suppose, though, that they can opt to refuse to do it, though I’ve not heard of anyone doing that.

You need to contact each individual brewery to see what type of growlers they will fill.

Though it is in SOMA, it doesn’t get any better than Cellarmaker.

This makes all the sense in the world. I was pretty sure it was illegal… sounds like it was.

Yes, making it legal to fill outside growlers was recently made legal in California. I thought it was more recent, but this article is from 2013 and explains how breweries aren’t required to fill outside growlers, and many don’t.

For us East Bay types, I just came across a mention in Berkeleyside of a new beer delivery service that delivers from some local breweries in half-growlers (32 oz).

San Jose is home to Santa Clara Valley Brewing (yes, the brewer is a friend.) Steve makes great beer and is filling growlers in their tap room. I’m a hopaholic and can readily recommend it.

Also nearby are Strike and Hermitage. It’s almost a brewery ghetto…

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