Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
I walked out of Pop’s Wine and Spirits the other night with two six-packs of bottled beer. The store on Peachtree Parkway has become a somewhat regular stop for me now, meaning once or twice a month. Their beer selection is among the best around, with most Atlanta-area micro breweries well represented in their cooler.
One of my selections this week really stuck with me. It was Ommegang’s Abbey Ale, a dark and malty Belgium-style beer I first tried at a growler store. And now I’m buying it in bottles.
And so goes the way of the growler store. The bubble has burst over this little craze that started about two and a half years ago. Two growler stores have gone bust – Blind Murphy in Alpharetta and Tap It Growlers on McGinnis Ferry. Others will follow. And their demise may be the simple bottle of beer that’s been with us the entire time.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a growler. The stores offer the best service you’re going to find. They lead me to discover a style of beer I never thought I would enjoy. I now love rich, malty beers that are deep with caramel flavors. And I’m completely turned on to craft beer markers who experiment with the style. Monday Night’s rendition, the Drafty Kilt, is by far my favorite Atlanta-area microbrew. I’d have never known about it were it not for growler stores.
But I’m buying it in bottles. Why? Because it’s almost always available and in-stock. A growler store with 20 to 40 taps can’t always have my favorites pouring. It’s also a bit cheaper in the bottle. For nine or ten bucks I can get a six-pack of my favorite. That’s 72 ounces of beer versus 64 in a growler. And I’ve got to polish off that growler in 48 hours or it’ll be flat. My bottles afford me weeks or months before going bad.
Granted there are a few beers only available in kegs. Big Creek Kolsh, my favorite Alpharetta-area beer from Jekyll Brewing, is only in kegs at this time. Same goes for Cherry Street’s brews.
And the growler stores still offer samples. Most cities have carefully crafted these rules just for growler stores. I say careful because they must skirt the line between consumption on premises and selling by the package, something Georgia law separates.
But those same laws usually require growlers to be sold in specialty shops. The result is a handful of one-trick pony retailers selling a dying fad of a product. This can’t end well.
Do you still fill your jugs of beer at growler stores, or are bottles the way to go?