Visited on: Saturday 9th June 2018
Just before entering the Hogshead Brewery in West Highland we noticed a Growler USA pub across the road. Apparently it opened in late 2017. Growler USA is a franchised chain. They pick the beer list and the menu and the franchisee has to produce it.
Beer-wise it’s a tickers paradise with 100 taps dispensing mostly beer but also cider and some other drinks. I had never been in one before so we decided to pay a quick visit.
For those who don’t know a growler is a take-away container, usually glass or plastic and 32 or 64 fl. oz. capacity that is used to take away beer from a pub or brewery. This company started in Eugene, Oregon in 2014 when an existing growler refill store was turned into a full bar and restaurant. That outlet is still owned by the company. The remainder are franchised and it seems to be going well as, at the time of writing (February 2019), they had 31 branches up and running or planned, spread all over the country.
Once inside I was surprised it was not bigger. There were only two other customers that Saturday afternoon. We settled on a stool at the long bar counter, facing the gigantic array of 100 taps on the bar back.
Their choice of beers was very good, all being from small or medium sized producers. The furniture is of modern wood design. There are comments about beer on the walls. The beers available are shown on monitors above the bar.
It is pointless even thinking about recounting what beers were available as they would probably change the following week so I’ll leave it to mentioning the three we had and what our opinions were. Odell (Fort Collins, CO) St Lupulin Extra Pale Ale (6.5%) we thought was a typical American pale ale with the addition of a dry taste, very good. Roaring Fork (Carbondale, CO) Flip IPA (6.5%) was cloudy with a tropical, fruity flavour. Telluride (Telluride, CO) Russell Kelly Pale Ale (6.7%) had a peppery taste with strong bitterness.
This pub is not cheap probably as a result of the franchising system where an extra layer has to make a profit. There was definitely an issue with the amount of gas applied to these beers. Their promotional material states that they regulate each tap to suit the beer being sold. I can’t imagine that they bother with that and it was born out with our short tasting session where all three had too much CO2 in them. Also, how do they ensure the beers are in top condition when there are over 80 on sale?
So, the jury is out on Growler USA regarding beers. Good if you are into drinking unusual beer from small producers. Not so good if you want a guaranteed fresh beer with minimum gas, as in a brew-pub.
Growler USA, 4433 West 29th Avenue, Suite 102, Denver, CO. 80212. Tel: 720 387 7965
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.00-22.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-23.00; Sunday 11.00-21.00
The pub is about ten minutes walk from the bus stops of Route 28.
This runs every 30 minutes on weekdays.On Saturday and Sunday it is hourly.
The route is from Applewood Village in the west to Central Park station in the east.
It operates through the city centre southbound on 17th Street and north up 15th Street.
Central Park station is on the RTD A line from Union Station to Denver International Airport.
The closest stop to the pub is West 26th Avenue/Tennyson Street.
The stops are opposite Tennyson Street. With Sloan’s Lake Park behind you walk up Tennyson Street.
After three blocks you will arrive at West 29th Avenue. Turn left and the pub is to be found on the right.