Friday Night Growlers in Kingston

By Michelle McShane

I first encountered growlers on a wine tour in New York State last year on an anniversary trip with my husband.
 
Ever since, we’ve been fantasizing about growlers being available in Kingston. Enter Stone City Ales, Kingston’s first bottle shop offering growlers; a growler is a glass or ceramic jug used to take home draft beer.
 
Fun Fact: The term is thought to originate in the late 19th century when beer was taken home from the local pub in a galvanized pail. The CO2 that escaped when the pail was sloshed around was said to sound like a growl.
 

Image courtesy of Zac Pantalone
Image courtesy of Zac Pantalone

 
Located in the heart of downtown at 275 Princess Street, Stone City Ales, while not the only local brewery, is the only one that operates as a bottle shop, brewery and tap room. My husband and I are eager to instill Friday Night Growler’s.
 
Picture courtesy of Zac Pantalone.
Picture courtesy of Zac Pantalone.

 
The bottle shop opened on July 25, 2014 and all day had a steady stream of people anxious to get in to purchase their first growler. I was one of them. For $19 I purchased a growler; 64oz of their 12 Star Session Ale ($5 is a refundable deposit on the bottle) and a $13 “squealer” a 32oz bottle ($4 deposit) of their limited edition Watchtower Imperial IPA, which was a collaboration brew with Big Spruce Brewing out of Cape Breton.
 
A week or so later, the tap room opened. You can sample a “flight” for $8, which is a generous sized sample of 3 different craft beer. Or you can get a good old fashioned pint for $7. And then take some pints to go! If you are not a drinker of beer, they will also host guest ciders and wine that will also be locally sourced, and they have a craft soda fountain. There is a plan in place to operate a small kitchen, offering sharing no-cutlery style snacks with locally sourced ingredients that will complement their craft beer.
 
Bottle Shop chalkboard menu: sold out = success!!
Bottle Shop chalkboard menu: sold out = success!!

 
As I was enjoying an after work pint of their newly released “Yew Ess Eh” (an American Pale Ale), one of the employees came over to see what I was drinking, and if I liked it. I found myself chatting with Justin, the head brewer. “This beer is based on one of the first home brews I ever made” he told me. He then invited me on a tour of the brewery, which is housed behind glass walls, to give patrons the chance to see the magic in action. I checked out the bottling machine, where CO2 is blasted into the empty growler, pushing out all the oxygen and then slowly filled with beer. This allows the beer to stay fresh longer; your unopened growler should last a couple of months (as if it will be unopened in your fridge that long!) Once opened, Justin suggests you consume with 2 days.
 
Image courtesy of Zac Pantalone
Image courtesy of Zac Pantalone

 
Image courtesy of Zac Pantalone
Image courtesy of Zac Pantalone

 
Kingston is lucky to have so many options to eat locally, and now we have another great option to drink locally. Cheers!