A big part of the craft beer effort to support local involves patronizing our favorite beer bars for a fill of growlers, howlers and crowlers. But an inner struggle often ensues when they pull from the cellar that high-ABV pastry stout you’ve always wanted to try, but realize that’s a full 64 or 32oz. you’ll have to quickly consume on your own, thanks to COVID-19.
Then we discovered that last week, south suburban bottle shop Crafted1979 introduced 8oz crowlers – the perfect amount for, say, Untitled Art’s 14% Barrel-Aged Blueberry Cheesecake Stout. Too sweet and boozy for a full 64 ounces by yourself, but perfectly suited to an 8oz sample size. They’ve even got a middle ground of 19.2oz crowlers and the more traditional 32oz.
You may be asking yourself — is this legal? As far as we can tell, the answer is yes. Initial versions of the law that was recently amended to allow growler fills at restaurants and bars included language specifying 32, 64 and 128 ounce containers. But after some updates and adjustments, the language signed into law states:
An on-premises retail licensee may transfer beer to a growler or crowler, which is not an original manufacturer container, but is a reusable rigid container that holds up toPublic Act 101-0517
128 fluid ounces of beer and is designed to be sealed on premises by the licensee for off-premises consumption…
So, basically — those little crowlers and tiny bottles are perfectly legal if they fit the restrictions. (That’s also presumably why those apple-juice-style plastic bottles are good to go as well.)
One of the first places we hit up after the shutdown order went out was The Green Lady, where we picked up a 12oz. mini-growler of Half Acre Big Hugs Vanilla. The size was right for two short pours, the price was right and the package was great — and it was wonderful being able to sample a high-value, high-ABV beer that we’ve been wanting to try.
Until we’re able to pull up a bar stool and buy a fresh pour for onsite consumption, this is the best we’re gonna do. And we’re perfectly happy with it, given the circumstances.
In a world of bars turning to Bourbon County Stout in sippy cups to-go, these new options are a welcome alternative.