Being able to transport beer in an airtight container without degradation of quality is a very, very good thing. Plus, there are some pretty sweet stainless steel growlers out there that will keep your beer cold for up to 48 hours, which makes them perfect for a camping trip. (Or for lazy people who forget to put things in the fridge. No judgment.)

Of course, getting your growler filled in San Francisco doesn’t come without some ABC rules and regulations. The biggest one is that places can only fill outside growlers that are 32oz, 64oz, 1L, or 2L, have the size clearly stated, and don’t show names, logos, or addresses of other breweries. In most cases, if you just cover the logo, the brewery will still fill it. Pro tip: blue paint tape is the way to go here, as it won’t damage the graphics. Also, this should go without saying, but your empty growler must be clean, or no one’s going to fill it. This isn’t a soap situation in most cases; rather, as soon as it’s empty, you want to rinse it three times with very hot water until there’s no foamy water coming out. Then let it air dry.

But there’s nothing sadder than an empty growler, so once it’s all clean and shiny and there are no labels showing, you should definitely go and immediately fill yours up at one of these SF spots.

Courtesy of 21st Amendment

21st Amendment

SoMa
Chances are that you can buy cans of 21st Amendment’s beer at your corner store, but let’s be real: beer fresh from the tap will always taste better. So head to the restaurant, where you can get growlers to take home with you, and drink while wearing naught but your underwear. You can buy a 2L growler for $12 and a 32oz “growlette” for $6, or you can bring your own for them to fill. Prices vary depending on the beer, but it’s usually around $18-$24 for the 2L and $10 for the 32oz. (And yes, you can also get your growler filled at their San Leandro Brewery.)

Barrel Head Brewhouse

Barrel Head Brewhouse

Western Addition
The folks at Barrel Head will fill your growler up with any of their four house-brewed beers for $15-$18 (depending on which one you want, not what kind of a mood they’re in). Try the $9 Flight du Jour to sample them all first, so you can make this very important decision fully informed. And if you don’t have your own growler, no worries: you can buy one there for $10.

Cellarmaker Brewing

Cellarmaker Brewing Company

SoMa
Cellarmaker Brewing Co. is all about producing small batches of experimental beer, most of which are hop-driven, without being overly bitter. There are typically eight beers on tap at any time, and while not all are available for growler fills, usually at least half of them are. Cellermaker sells empty growlers ($8 for a glass growler and $20-$25 for a stainless steel one) and will fill 750ml, 32oz, 1L, 64oz, and 2L growlers, as long as their logos are covered.

Courtesy of Fort Point Beer Company

Fort Point Beer Company

Ferry Building/Embarcadero
Stop by the small kiosk at the Ferry Building, and you can fill up your growler with beer that’s brewed in small batches right in the Presidio. Feel free to BYO-Growler, but if you don’t have one, you can pay $5 for a glass growler or $30 for a stainless steel, insulated one. They’re sold by deposit, so you can either keep the growler and keep refilling it or return it and get your money back. Oh, and the important stuff: there are six taps available, $10 for Fort Point’s year-round offerings (KSA, Park, Westfalia, Villager), and $12 for specialty, limited styles.

Laughing Monk Brewing

Laughing Monk Brewing

Bayview
This small batch craft brewery just opened a tasting room in Bayview. Here, you can get growlers of the beer that blend traditions from California and Belgium, and utilize a mixture of local and seasonal ingredients. Plus, it’s affordable! They’ll fill a 32oz growler for $10-$15 and a 64oz growler for $18-$24. More into crowlers? Good news: those are on the way.

Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

Upper Haight
We love Magnolia beer so much that we’ll forgive them for only filling up Magnolia growlers. A 2L will cost you $30, $10 of which is a deposit if you want to return it -- plus, you can get refills for $17. Download the app to see what’s on tap and find out when new and rare beers are first available. Pro tip: stick around for one of the best burgers in the city.

Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing Company

Dogpatch
The Smokestack offers all the same beers and growler options, but comes with the added bonus of a full barbecue and smokehouse menu -- so grab some brisket or smoked duck while you’re there. Plus, this location also offers a full, serious cocktail program (the Funston’s Diamond involves pistachio-infused Portuguese brandy... yum).

Beach Chalet and Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden

Golden Gate Park
You’ll probably want to order the Sample Set (4oz of the eight house-made brews for $13) so that you can decide what you want to take home in your growler. If you’re looking to buy a new one, you can get a nice German-style there for $25 (that includes the beer), or bring your own and fill it for $15.

Southern Pacific Brewing

Southern Pacific Brewing

Mission
We love Southern Pacific Brewing because you can sit outside in the sun while sipping your beer, but maybe you have a backyard that’s even better for beer-sipping and sun-sitting, in which case you can get a 2L growler filled with one of the six house beers for the price of a pitcher ($11-$21). Only bummer: you’ll have to buy one of their growlers, which will set you back $7.

Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company

Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company

Outer Sunset
This microbrewery in the Outer Sunset is a great spot to enjoy handcrafted beers and tasty food... and it’s an even better spot to fill your growler. If you don’t have one, they sell one of the highest quality growlers available: it’s stainless steel, double walled, and thermal insulated. A 1L filled growler will cost you $40, and the 2L runs $60. If you have your own or want a refill, it’s $10 for the 1L and $20 for the 2L. FYI: If you want the Dry Irish Stout, you’ll have to enjoy it in-house... that one isn’t available to-go.

Courtesy of ThirstyBear Brewing Company

ThirstyBear Brewing Company

SoMa
If you like organic beer, then you definitely want to take home a growler from ThirstyBear, the first and only brewery in SF to brew certified organic beer. Small bummer: you can’t get your personal growler filled there. Rather, they sell a 2L wide mouth glass flip-top growler that’s pre-filled on a CO2 counter pressure filler, which keeps the beer fresh and carbonated for over three weeks before opening. Prices range from $30 to $50 for a new growler, and if you bring back your empty growler, you can get a new one for $20 to $40. If for some reason two liters is too much for you, 1L growlers are on the way. (Oh, and nitro and cask conditioned beers aren’t available to get in growlers, as they won’t last... they’re meant to be consumed immediately.)

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers

Speakeasy Tap Room

Bayview-Hunter’s Point
The policy’s pretty strict at Speakeasy, but that’s just what you’ll have to deal with if you want to take home beer from one of their twelve rotating taps. Growlers must be 32oz or 64oz, and either have a Speakeasy logo or be uncovered and totally blank -- as in, you can’t just cover another brand’s logo with tape or stickers. No exceptions. The Speakeasy-branded glass growler will run you $12 and fill ups range between $12 and $18. Go on a Thirsty Thursday though and you’ll get 20% off growler fills (which takes the sting off the labels situation).

Triple Voodoo Brewery

Triple Voodoo Brewery

Dogpatch
Triple Voodoo’s bartenders will fill 32oz and 64oz growlers that are either dark colored glass or stainless steel (and comply with all other ABC regulations, obvi), so head in to try and take home beers from their 16 rotating taps, including their signature IPAs and flagship Inception Belgian Triple. If you don’t own a growler, you can buy one of theirs for $8. Fills range between $11 and $13 for 32oz growlers and $18-$20 for 64oz growlers, depending on the style of beer.

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Daisy Barringer is an SF-based writer who was inspired to write this article when she won a growler in a Ro-Sham-Bo tournament. Her winning hand? Rock. Congratulate her on Twitter @daisy.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. 21st Amendment 563 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Soma)

Chances are that you can buy cans of 21st Amendment’s beer at your corner store, but let’s be real: beer fresh from the tap will always taste better. So head to the restaurant, where you can get growlers to take home with you, and drink while wearing naught but your underwear. 21st You can buy a 2L growler for $12 and a 32oz “growlette” for $6, or you can bring your own for them to fill. Prices vary depending on the beer, but it’s usually around $18-$24 for the 2L and $10 for the 32oz. (And yes, you can also get your growler filled at their San Leandro Brewery.)

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Barrel Head Brewhouse 1785 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Western Addition)

The folks at Barrel Head will fill your growler up with any of their four house-brewed beers for $15-$18 (depending on which one you want, not what kind of a mood they’re in). Try the $9 Flight du Jour to sample them all first, so you can make this very important decision fully informed. And if you don’t have your own growler, no worries: you can buy one there for $10.

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3. Cellarmaker Brewing Co. 1150 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

One of Nor Cal’s hottest beer spots, this small-batch brewery keeps a constant rotation of experimental brews running through its fermenters. Find one of eight beers on tap at the SoMa outpost, where you can fill your growler or sip pints at one of the communal tables. These hop-driven ales are perfect for the adventurous drinker, with brews aged in batches of red wine, white wine, and bourbon barrels.

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4. Fort Point Beer Company 644 Old Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94129 (The Presidio)

Now in the front of the classic SF Ferry Building, Fort Point one of the finest places to geek out on local brews. Their modest menu has simple yet effective beer companions like hot dogs and soft pretzels. Try the Wanderer, a crushable IPA and the Manzanita, a uniquely smoked red lager. On a sunny day, the crisp and delicious KSA Kolsch is an absolute must.

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5. Laughing Monk Brewing 1439 Egbert Ave Unit A, San Francisco, CA 94124 (Bayview)

This small batch craft brewery has a tasting room in Bayview where you can get growlers of the beer that blends traditions from California and Belgium, and utilizes a mixture of local and seasonal ingredients. Plus, it’s affordable! They’ll fill a 32oz growler for $10-$15 and a 64oz growler for $18-$24. More into crowlers? Good news: those are on the way.

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6. Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery 1398 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Upper Haight)

Established in 1997 originally as a basement brewery, Magnolia is proudly historic. This craft beer haven has an amazing variety of cask ales, home brews, and also some organic bar food. We suggest going on Sundays, because nothing goes better with brunch than beer. They even have their own trademark slogan: "Everything is brewtiful."

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7. Smokestack Magnolia Brewing Company 2505 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Dogpatch)

We love Magnolia beer so much that we’ll forgive them for only filling up Magnolia growlers. A 2L will cost you $30, $10 of which is a deposit if you want to return it -- plus, you can get refills for $17. Download the app to see what’s on tap and find out when new and rare beers are first available.

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8. Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant 1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94121 (Outer Sunset)

You’ll probably want to order the Sample Set (4oz of the eight house made brews for $13) so that you can decide what you want to take home in your growler. If you’re looking to buy a new one, you can get a nice German-style there for $25 (that includes the beer), or bring your own and fill it for $15. Enjoy your beer there because it doesn't get much better than their awesome waterfront view.

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9. Southern Pacific Brewing 620 Treat Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

We love Southern Pacific Brewing because you can sit outside in the sun while sipping your beer. However, if you have a backyard that’s even better for beer-sipping and sun-sitting, you can get a 2L growler and take it to go filled with one of the six house beers for the price of a pitcher ($11-$21). The only catch is you’ll have to buy one of their growlers, which will set you back $7.

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10. Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company 1735 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122 (Outer Sunset)

This microbrewery in the Outer Sunset is a great spot to enjoy handcrafted beers and tasty food… and it’s an even better spot to fill your growler. If you don’t have one, they sell one of the highest quality growlers available: it’s stainless steel, double walled, and thermal insulated. A 1L filled growler will cost you $40, and the 2L runs $60. If you have your own or want a refill, it’s $10 for the 1L and $20 for the 2L. FYI: If you want the Dry Irish Stout, you’ll have to enjoy it in-house… that one isn’t available to-go.

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11. ThirstyBear Brewing Company 661 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Soma)

If you like organic beer, then you definitely want to take home a growler from ThirstyBear, the first brewery in SF to brew certified organic beer. Forewarning: you can’t get your personal growler filled there. Rather, they sell a 2L wide mouth glass flip-top growler that’s pre-filled on a CO2 counter pressure filler, which keeps the beer fresh and carbonated for 3+ weeks before opening. Prices range from $30 to $50 for a new growler, and if you bring back your empty growler, you can get a new one for $20 to $40.

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12. Speakeasy Tap Room 1195 Evans Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124 (Bayview)

You can couple a visit to this brewery mainstay's tap room with a tour on Saturdays if you book 24-hours in advance, or if you just want to head straight for the beer, that's cool too! You'll find a dozen rotating taps and growler fills (which are 20% off on Thirsty Thursdays).

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13. Triple Voodoo Brewery & Tap Room 2245 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Dogpatch)

Triple Voodoo’s bartenders will fill 32oz and 64oz growlers that are either dark colored glass or stainless steel (and comply with all other ABC regulations), so head in to try and take home beers from their 16 rotating taps, including their signature IPAs and flagship Inception Belgian Tripel. If you don’t own a growler, you can buy one of theirs for $8. Fills range from between $11 and $13 for 32oz growlers and $18-$20 for 64oz growlers, depending on the style of beer.

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