Where to find good beer
A growler revolution is underway in the Lone Star State. Little over a year ago, growlers in Texas were the exclusive province of the all-too rare brewpubs, and many dedicated fans of craft beer were unfamiliar with the practice or even the term.
In case you don't know, a growler is a 64-oz glass container that is filled with beer, sealed and purchased for home consumption. Thanks in no small part to Texas' own Whole Foods Market, which last year executed a corporate mandate to install wine and beer service areas and growler fills in each of their locations across the state, growler popularity has soared. It also turned out that misinformation about filling growlers abounds and the actual TABC laws are not that restrictive after all, so a few local pubs are catching on to growlers, also.
Last November, Dallas saw the first dedicated growler fill station open just off Exposition Avenue in a space facing the entrance to Fair Park. Craft and Growler is the work of Kevin Afghani and Cathrine Kinslow, who did plenty of legal research and decided to build a bar for the express purpose of filling these valuable jugs full of local craft beer and selling them to the public. Although their space is dedicated to selling beer "to go," it has also been outfitted into a comfortable space to sit and have a beer in a somewhat less-crowded area south of Deep Ellum.
Most growlers are simply filled from an existing tap line -- a satisfactory practice for a well-trained bar staff but not ideal. Afghani took the concept one step further and adapted the Blichmann beer gun, a rather fancy homebrewer's gadget, to serve as the filling tool. Instead of a fixed tap operated by a pull handle, the 30 draught beers sold at Craft and Growler are each dispensed from their own hand tool at the end of a flexible hose, which minimizes foam and maximizes sanitation for the optimal container fill to the benefit of the consumer. And with this setup, filling a pint glass is just as fast and easy as filling a half-gallon growler.
But Craft and Growler is more than just another craft beer bar with a fancy tap setup. One whole wall is dedicated to selling growlers in all shapes and forms, from the traditional 64-oz portion to half that size, and half again, all the way down to individual-serving swing-top bottles. They are offered in various shapes and with several logos, from glass to ceramic to stainless steel, including one exclusive hand-made artisan job costing in excess of $100. Along with the containers are also sold various accessories to securely swaddle and carry your beer-filled glass to and from your home.
No food is available on-site but there are other restaurants nearby, and food trucks are becoming more frequent as Craft and Growler's popularity grows. Prices are listed at the bar for each and every sized vessel, based on a per-ounce cost, and they will fill any commercial growler, not just their own. Their official grand opening is planned for tomorrow, February 2nd, with prizes, music and a few special local craft beer releases.
Recommended pint: Any of Community Beer Company's three beers, all of which are available on tap.
Craft and Growler
3601 Parry Avenue