What is a growler? I typed that in to my search engine at work the other day. Sitting at my desk with a tea and a yorkie bar, I opened Google and asked it the question, what is a growler? The results were, how do I put it, lets say the result were varied. According to Wikipedia, a growler is a person or thing that growls, or it could also be a small iceberg, nope, none of those suggestions help me here. I made the mistake of checking the definitions of growler on the urban dictionary and slang dictionary online. They presented me with a number of colourful options, needless to say, none of which answered my question. I did eventually find what I was looking for a bit further down the search results page. Basically, a growler is a vessel used for carrying beer home from the pub. They are allegedly called growlers because the beer would let off carbon dioxide as the vessel was carried, the gas would escape and make a growling noise as it did so. See, everyday is a learning day, now we all know what a growler is. The next question, why on earth am I droning on about them? That’s a simple one, Clapton Craft have opened on Hoe Street, they sell growlers, and I thought it wise to know what they were before going in and buying one.
Clapton Craft already have two other shops, one in Clapton and another in Kentish Town. The Walthamstow branch located at 76 Hoe Street, opened on Thursday. The shop is a beer lovers paradise, the shelves that line most of the walls are stacked floor to ceiling with beers of all kinds, you can practically hear them groaning under the weight of the ale. I was pleased to see they stock locally brewed Wild Card ale, and that was joined by brews from Beavertown Brewery, Five Points Brewing Company, The Kernel Brewery, and from a little further afield, Eviltwin Brewing from Denmark.The list is pretty endless, which makes me all kinds of happy. Bottled beer is priced from about £2.00 and upwards, a bottle of Wildcard for example is £2.90. An Empty growler (1.89 litres) will set you back six quid, but that’s yours to keep, you just keep taking it back every time it’s empty and pay for a refill. I went with a pale ale called Pale Fire, and that cost £12.00 to fill my growler, the most expensive refill I saw was £15. As well as beer they also sell cider, wine and some spirits, though ale is clearly their speciality.
OK, lets deal with the elephant in the room shall we, yes, the man behind the counter has his hair in pigtails. And yes, one of the beers they sell is called Hipster Ale, but there is no need to panic. These two things will not bring about the ruination of Walthamstow, a man with pigtails does not signal the start of the apocalypse. I wouldn’t normally mention something like this, but some of you out there get a bit angry with me when I write about what one reader calls ‘New Walthamstow’. Alls I’m saying is this, there’s a man with pig tails, so what? Actually, both the chaps in the shop were very friendly, and the shop its self is dog friendly, so my little fur ball got come and in a look at the beers with me, which is always a bonus. Both guys know their stuff when it comes to beer, and the guy who served me told me how the whizzy growler filler works, so I’ve now gone from not knowing what a growler is, to practically being an expert in less than two days.
I suppose Clapton Craft is a prime example of how much Walthamstow is changing. Not because they are a craft beer shop, or because there’s a man with pigtails. But because when I first moved here, if I wanted a shop like this I would have to go to somewhere like Clapton, these days, Clapton comes to Walthamstow. This is a fine shop, with very fine beers and great staff. Long may it continue, and long may it’s growlers fill the air of E17 with their gurgling goodness. For more info, check their website.