5 Places Where You Can Fill Your Growler With Local Brews

Thursday, Aug. 2, is National IPA Day. We say the tradition should call for food, fellowship and a growler of craft brew from a local source. Here’s where to go.
Honolulu Beerworks Growler
Photos: Taylor ellis


For a community of beer enthusiasts, glass and steel jugs of beer straight from the tap of a local brewery is the only way to go for quality beer transportation.


Does it save you money? Not really. The calculated cost per ounce doesn’t typically pull out that far ahead of cans or bottles. Is it sustainable and green? Sure. Save the messy trips to the HI-5 redemption centers and just reduce and reuse. But that’s probably not the reason people like growlers.


So, what’s the big deal?


The real appeal is the ability to transport the fresh draft taste of the brewery right to the party. And honestly, how cool will you look showing up with a couple of giant jugs of limited-edition microbrew instead of a cube of canned beer? We visited some of the brewers in the local craft scene and asked the staff for their favorite India Pale Ales and broke down the cost, alcohol content (alcohol by volume or ABV) and bitterness (international bitterness units or IBU). We also got tips on non-IPA options for those looking for a smoother sip.   


Beer Lab HI

BeerLab Hawaii

Growler Breakdown

  • 32-ounce Crowler is $3.50 empty and $18.75 when filled with Ko‘olauloa IPA.

  • 64-ounce filled is $18 to $30, $22.50 when filled with Ko‘olauloa IPA

  • Beer Lab will gladly fill any growler as long as it’s clearly labeled 32 or 64 ounces.


Staff Pick: Ko'olauloa IPA: 7 percent ABV, unknown IBU 

Beer Lab stays true to the “lab” portion of its name with the Ko’olauloa IPA, a Northeastern “hazy” style IPA that uses a trick of water chemistry to suspend proteins in the liquid. The result is a rich, thick brew. The Beer Lab team set out to reduce the traditional bitterness of IPAs, and while it has the same amount of Citra hops as its White Plains IPA (4.8 percent ABV, 41 IBU) it tasted the least bitter of all the IPAs we tried.

This approachable IPA sold so fast that when Beer Lab first opened it became the first staple beer in a brewpub known for constantly rotating selections. 


For the Non-IPA drinkers: Liliko‘i Lea: 7 percent ABV, 12 IBU

A tart saison brewed with Beer Lab’s house strain of yeast and bacteria. The liliko‘i complements the tartness of the beer.


Pro Tip: We don’t know what the recycle redemption value is on the 32-ounce can growler, or “Crowler,” but it’s too cool of a gift not to get for the brew enthusiast in your life. 


1010 University Ave., (808) 888-0913, beerlabhi.com


Honolulu BeerWorks


Growler Breakdown

  • 32-ounce glass screw-top (pictured at the top) is $10 empty, $18 filled, $10 for refills

  • 64-ounce glass screw-top is $12 empty, $28 filled, $16 for refills

  • 64-ounce glass flip-top is $34 empty, $50 filled


Staff Pick: Hop Island IPA: 7.2 percent ABV, 80 IBU

There is no fruit added to this West Coast-style IPA, but its combination of Amarillo, Mosaic and Citra hops brings out a fruity flavor that catches people by pleasant surprise.


For Non-IPA Drinkers: Cocoweizen: 5.5 percent ABV, 14 IBU

This hefeweizen comes with toasted coconut and an even lower bitter rating than Honolulu BeerWorks’ famously refreshing Kewalos Cream Ale (5.25 percent ABV, 20 IBU).


328 Cooke St., (808) 589-2337, honolulubeerworks.com


Aloha Beer Co.

Aloha Beer


Growler Breakdown

  • 64-ounce is $12 empty

  • 64-ounce fill is $16, or $18 for specialties including the Red Zeppelin IPA

  • Aloha Beer will fill any growler


Staff Pick: Red Zeppelin IPA: 6.7 percent ABV, 62 IBU

Aloha Beer Co.’s legendary brewmaster, Dave Campbell, is a classic kind of guy and Red Zeppelin is a classic full-body IPA. Classic rock, classic beer, it really can be that simple. 


For Non-IPA Drinkers: Same Same Pale Ale-5.7 percent ABV, 38 IBU

A go-to party beer for the staff, the American pale ale has moderate bitterness and broad appeal. 


Pro Tip: Ask the staff about Campbell and they’re sure to tell you a cool story about zinc countertops or reclaimed wood.


700 Queen St., (808) 544-1605, alohabeer.com


Waikīkī Brewing Co.

Waikiki Brewing Company


Growler Breakdown

  • Growler glass is $12 empty

  • $16 for a 64-ounce fill


Staff Pick: Eee Pah IPA: 7.65 percent AVB, 75 IBU


This traditional IPA is a crowd pleaser that is finished with malt to add a caramel flavor to the hops. It’s maltier than Waikīkī’s popular Skinny Jeans IPA (6 percent ABV, 56 IBU) and is strong without being overly alcoholic.


For Non-IPA Drinkers:  Aloha Spirit Blond Ale: 4.62 percent ABV, 18 IBU

During these summer months, Waikīkī Brewing’s best-selling canned beer is great for growlers. The crisp blond ale is light, not heavy.


Pro Tip: During happy hour, 3 to 5 p.m., and 9 p.m. to closing, fillups are $12. Period.


1945 Kalākaua Ave. and 831 Queen St., waikikibrewing.com


Maui Brewing Co.

Maui Brewing


Growler Breakdown

  • 64-ounce glass growlers are $12 empty.

  • 64-ounce fill is $18


Glass growlers are fine, but for serious beer transportation there’s the 64-ounce vacuum-insulated Drink Tanks growler. At $75 empty, it's pricey but should keep beer cold for 24 hours. An additional CO2-powered Tap Top, $45, will turn it into a pressurized micro keg.


Staff Pick: Double Overhead Double IPA: 8.5 percent ABV, 85 IBU


This example of an American Imperial IPA is rich, slightly malty and generously over-hopped. It also has the highest percentage of alcohol of any beer on our list, so as with the 10- to 12-foot double overhead waves it’s named for, know what you’re doing before you paddle out, or dive in, as the case may be.  


For Non-IPA drinkers: Pau Hana Pilsner: 5.2 percent ABV, 30 IBU

This European Pilsner is similar to Hawai‘i’s quintessential party beer in the green bottle. 


Pro Tip: For the true novelty seekers, ask the bartender about the secret “Word of Mouth” beers of the week that are very limited, not on the menu and typically staff favorites.


2300 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 843-2739, mauibrewingco.com