The Growler's manager Kevin Eble is a friendly and expert guide to seasonal, local, and national labels.
I didn’t have a beard, a cap molded to my head, or an index finger tucked around an empty growler (and I’m way past 30-something), but I still felt right at home at The Growler in Cooper-Young where an amiable Kevin Eble helped Tony and me decide on a four-glass flight of craft beer.
Eble is the manager of The Growler, which opened in early December, and since I don’t know my pilsners from my IPA’s, I appreciated his friendly and knowledgeable service. “How is the Memphis Made Humbucker?” we asked. "You'll like it," Eble said, offering us a sample. “It has great Amarillo hops.”
Even experts might need some help making their way through the two-dozen craft beers listed on the Growler’s chalkboard menu. It took us about 10 minutes to select the Humbucker (my favorite), along with a Wiseacre Tiny Bomb, a High Cotton Sawmill Stout, and a Victory Prima Pilsner. Then we settled on bar stools at the window and watched people walk by.
Located a few doors from the House of Mews, the Growler is a welcomed addition to both Cooper-Young and the local craft beer scene. The bar’s simplicity (only craft beer on tap) and its small, comfy space (polished cement floors, arms chairs and sofa) make it feel like a neighborhood coffee house for beer drinkers.
Keeping things simple is the intent of owners David Smith and Anthony Bond, although they do plan to add some prepared food by the end of the month. “We are talking to some of the neighborhood restaurants,” Eble said. “We don’t have a kitchen, so it will be affordable finger food, like sandwiches.”
The changing beer menu, however, is enough to entice customers, who depleted the bar’s supply of growlers during the first few weeks. (The bar restocked.) Reusable, 64-ounce growlers sell for $5, and the beer to fill the bottles costs from $10 to $14. Seasonal beers from local breweries figure prominently on the menu, along with national craft labels.
“Fifty percent local taps is our goal,” Eble said. “And we’ll switch out the nationals once or twice week.”
The Growler, 921 S. Cooper St. Open Monday through Thursday from 2 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
About half of the beers at The Growler are locally brewed, and national labels change every week or so.
Bar tables, arm chairs, and a perch or two by the windows add a low-key charm to The Growler's focus: discovering craft beers.