Growlers in London?
May 1, 2012 2:58 AM   Subscribe

(Beerfilter) Where can I buy take-away jugs of fresh draught beer in London, UK?

When I lived in the US, I often bought 64oz 'growlers' of craft beer fresh from bars and beer shops. Is there anywhere in London where I can do the same?

Central or SW London are best, but anywhere in zones 1-2 would be useful to know about.

I know whole foods in Kensington has something like this, but I'm really looking for independent pubs or shops with good selections of real ale.
posted by narcotizingdysfunction to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Brewdog in Camden does growlers. If you're a beer fan, you need to go anyway... they're doing great UK, EU, and American beer styles up there.
posted by nickrussell at 3:12 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

A sealed-on-purchase carton "technology" definitely exists - one pub in my town does them and they keep for about a day. The Zero Degree bar/brewery chain definitely did a variety of quantities for carry out and there's one in Blackheath: never liked their beer though. I'd just find a great pub with a decent landlord and ask what the deal is.
posted by cromagnon at 3:52 AM on May 1, 2012

I would imagine that any pub licensed "on and off" will be happy to fill a 4-pint jug for you. Not all stock the jugs.

Growlers can be problematic because beer must be dispensed in lined level measure. So long as the containers are legal, you'd be okay. Pubs can pour four pints and tip them into a jug or growler and charge you what you've paid for.
posted by sagwalla at 4:07 AM on May 1, 2012

Not that much of a selection, but you can get mini-casks (5ltr) of Adnams ale from their shop on Store Street (near Goodge Street tube). They also do polypins (35 pints). Broadside is a nice pint.
posted by bifter at 4:11 AM on May 1, 2012

The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town will sell you any of its ales or ciders in a 4 pint jug, which google tells me is 64oz. It's determinedly a proper old man pub (cash only, no music unless someone sits at the piano, a big friendly dog) and, despite getting a bit crowded on sunny summer weekends, is easily my favourite pub in London. Short walk from Hampstead Heath too, if you fancy a quiet pint in the park.

Er, be cautious about ordering a "growler" in London though. I might be alone in this, but that word has several possible meanings to me and none of them have anything to do with beer.
posted by metaBugs at 4:35 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

yep, southampton arms. metaBugs was right about most points... except they do have a record player. Last time I was there "After the Gold Rush" was playing. A fantastic pub, my preferred spot in London as well. 99% real ale and cider - sometimes Camden Lager is available.
posted by dubold at 4:42 AM on May 1, 2012

nth-ing the suggestion you don't ask any barmaid about growlers. Especially not one that holds 4 pints of ale...

Pubs can certainly sell offsite booze (my old local does, but that's in Cambridge). You're most likely to get a result from a decent pub in the CAMRA good beer guide.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:48 AM on May 1, 2012

The Southampton Arms is great and one of my occasional watering holes as well.

Slightly further afield but worth knowing about if you find yourself out that way, The Nags Head in Walthamstow does take away beer as well.

To be honest, as sodium lights the horizon says, most good pubs (particularly those with a Real Ale focus) will do you take-away if you have a suitable container, ask politely, and don't do it at an inappropriate time (i.e. during the busiest points of a Friday or Saturday night).

Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthamstow tends to be me my main watering hole at the moment for example, as the quality of the beer makes it worth the short journey out to Walthamstow from Hackney, and they've done take-away for me on a number of occasions.

Closer to home, I've gotten it from the Royal Sovereign in Clapton before, if I remember correctly.

Can't nth the suggestion about not asking for a growler enough though. As others have pointed out it's slang in many areas - including various parts of London - for certain parts of a lady's anatomy.
posted by garius at 5:09 AM on May 1, 2012

Cask Pub and Kitchen in Pimlico will do Growlers. Very good tap list, too.
posted by kaszeta at 5:09 AM on May 1, 2012

ales or ciders in a 4 pint jug, which google tells me is 64oz.

Google leads you astray. Beer is sold in the UK by imperial pints, which are 20 imperial fl. oz., not US liquid pints, which are 16 US fl. oz. So, a 4 pint jug will have 80 imperial fl. oz.

Of course, to make this hard, the imperial and US fluid ounces aren't the same -- 1 imp. fl. oz = 0.961 US fl. oz., so factoring in that, a proper pour in the UK will have 19.21 US fl. oz. of beer, and a four pint jug will have 76.8 US fl. oz.
posted by eriko at 6:54 AM on May 1, 2012

I believe growlers are 64 fl oz which is why they are not common currency here. Pubs can sell in thirds, halves and pints and multiples thereof.

The four-pint jugs I am talking about are brown plastic jugs (sometimes you see them in a white 'stone' finish as well). They are 4 imperial pint jugs. A good session.

I have never seen a 4 imperial pint growler. Our brewery sells the 4-pint jugs; you'll find a lot of pubs have them. Some also have a two-pint container that looks like a Chinese takeaway tub. I think CAMRA sell these as well.
posted by sagwalla at 9:07 AM on May 1, 2012

FWIW the major supermarkets are pretty good for bottled conditioned ale. These usually sport the badge 'CAMRA says this is real ale' on the label.
posted by run"monty at 11:12 AM on May 1, 2012

I have certainly seen takeaway beer in cartons in a Fullers pub - I think it was the Hung Drawn & Quartered but this would have been a couple of years ago and I'm not sure if it's still done. I can't find reference to it as a general policy on the Fullers site but if you're in one of their pubs it might be worth an ask?

(Slightly off topic but if you're asking about beers in London, you do know about the Great British Beer Festival due to take place in August?)
posted by calico at 4:27 PM on May 1, 2012

Wow, thanks all. I plan to ask my new local, the Crown and Anchor in Brixton, if they can fill a jug with one of their 12+ (!!!) ales. I'll also check out the Southampton Arms next time I'm up by Hampstead Heath.

Point well taken re: 'growler' terminology. 'Jug' it is...
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 2:09 AM on May 3, 2012

Oh, and I'll definitely be at the GBBF in August...perhaps a meet up is in order?
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 2:09 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Cinch that corset like I'm Scarlett O'Hara   |   Building a modular/portable stage Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.