A list of places that will sell you beer by the jug.
The New York Times declared growler beer—that is, beer sold in 64-ounce glass containers—cool in Brooklyn two years ago, but the big bottles haven’t taken Toronto by storm. Yet, that is. Growlers could still take over, and if they do, it’ll be thanks to the early adopters. Here’s a guide to places in Toronto that will let you buy your suds by the jugful.
1 Bellwoods Brewery (124 Ossington Avenue)
Bellwoods Brewery only recently starting selling its beer in growlers at a new retail outpost next door to its brewpub. The brewery now sells 650ml bottles starting at $4.75 and growlers starting at $14 (plus a $6 bottle deposit), along with merch like t-shirts and glasses. The store has relatively long hours, too: noon to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Right now, growler sales are exchange only—buy your beer and pay a deposit for the bottle, and bring it back to get a new one filled with more beer—but co-owner Mike Clark hopes to start a refill program, so people can reuse their own growlers.
2 Mill Street Brew Pub (21 Tank House Lane)
Mill Street’s seasonal beers are sold by the growler at the brewery’s retail store in its Distillery District brewpub, where visitors can also take a brewery tour and enjoy a meal. The beers are made on site, and growlers sell for $12.50 plus a $4 bottle deposit.
3 Beer Academy (75 Victoria Street)
This downtown spot covers all the beer bases. It has a shop, a tasting room, and a small-batch craft brewery. All of the beers brewed on site can be sampled and purchased in growlers (and bottles) to take home. The selection changes regularly and includes one-offs and collaboration brews.
4 Junction Craft Brewing (90 Cawthra Avenue, Unit 101)
The Junction’s ever-increasing awesomeness got a boost, recently, from the opening of Junction Craft Brewing, where the tap room sells a rotating selection of beers. You can check the brewery’s site to see what’s currently available and what’s next, and then head there to pick up your selection in a growler, for which the deposit is $10. Bottles, glassware, and t-shirts are also available.
5 Amsterdam Brewery (45 Esander Drive)
Amsterdam recently moved its production to Leaside, and the new location features a fancy retail store—where, yes, you can buy Amsterdam brews by the growler. At $25, they’re pricey, but the jugs can be refilled straight from the taps from $9.95.
6 Indie Ale House (2876 Dundas Street West)
Indie’s selection of unique brews—including a double-black IPA and and an unfiltered wheat ale—is available by the growler at its retail store, along with various beer-related paraphernalia. (Deposit is $4 per growler.) Stop at the restaurant while you’re at the Junction location, or watch for one of the brewery’s special beer-and-food tasting events.
7 Granite Brewery (245 Eglinton Avenue East)
Granite’s central-Toronto location makes it a transit-friendly stop for a meal and a growler to go. Their jugs are $12 plus a $4 returnable bottle deposit, or $16 for the Gin Lane Ale “barley wine.” Granite’s all-natural beers don’t contain any preservatives, and they’ve got a selection of seasonal and cask ales.
8 Steam Whistle Brewery (255 Bremner Boulevard)
Steam Whistle started offering growlers last August, and the brewery does it its own way. The jugs are coloured Steam Whistle’s signature green and are filled through a Pegas Craftap bottle filling system—which basically means that the Pilsner is not poured straight from the tap, but instead with a machine that keeps it airtight and fresh. A growler costs $39.95, but can be refilled for $11.95.
9 The Loose Moose (146 Front Street West)
This Front Street spot is known for being a popular hangout after Jays games, but it also boasts the largest number of draught beers in Toronto. The Moose currently offers 22 beers in growlers, including Beau’s Lug Tread and Unibroue Blanche de Chambly. Prices start at $12.39 plus deposit.
As requested by several readers, we’ve added Steam Whistle Brewery to the list.
And we’ve also added The Loose Moose.
Photo by Terri Coles/Torontoist.