Growlers Beer Bistro, Tuckahoe, NY has been voted Westchester County’s “Best Beer-focused Restaurant” several times in its 5-year existence. We talked with host and Co-founder Eric Lorberfeld about his overall vision as well as how Growlers chooses what is served.

Growlers website introduction… “In an intimate, relaxing, hip and jazzy Bistro/Lounge, we invite people with an open palate and appetite to learn about and enjoy the very best in craft beers. Growlers is not a restaurant, not a bar. We desire to create an environment for a community of people who share our love and passion for craft beer and local, artisanal foods… a place to gather with a comfort of home.”

Menus, both food and beer, change frequently based on seasonal availability as well as the availability of some of the rarer selections of excellent craft beer found locally as well as around the world. For brews on this particular evening, here’s a short sampling of what was offered…

Bell’s Oatsmobile (MI), Avery Chai High (CO), Von Trapp Dunkel (VT), Reisdorf Kolsch (GER), Grey Sails Captain’s Daughter (RI), Half Acre Lager Town (IL),  Allagash Tripel (ME), Evil Twin Yin, Yang (NY), Midnight Sun Pantry Peeler (AK), Delirium Tremens (BEL), Almanac Mandarina (CA).

“We have so many brews from which to choose right now.” says Lorberfeld. “And, we only keep one dedicated tap. All the rest are up for grabs by the day. For Growlers, we’ve made a decision to go one keg at a time. When one kicks, we replace it with another brand. Once in awhile that’s frustrating for a customer who can’t get their new favorite. But that’s rarely a problem here. We pride ourselves in helping people expand their palates.”

So how does Growlers choose what brews to serve?  Per Lorberfeld, “We serve no macrobeers. We choose not to serve products from the largest of ‘mass craft’ either. And, we always reserve space for outstanding local breweries. It’s a philosophical thing.”

What is most important for Growlers is superb quality.  They won’t (and don’t have to) serve “okay” beer.  Most often, the awareness of breweries and brands is word-of-mouth in origin. Says Lorberfeld,

“It’s a combination of what we find ourselves with what we hear about from our distributors. A good distributor rep can be so influential. Trusted references count.  Personal attentiveness counts. In some instances, we might have a fave brew, but it’s only available from a distributor who doesn’t spend any time with us. Well, we don’t buy it. Simple as that.”

What influence does a brewery rep have in deciding?  “Well, that’s the ultimate. A brewery with great beer and a quality rep who visits us regularly?  That’s hard to beat.”

Closing the night, we reached consensus.  Craft brewing is changing so quickly. Competition is keener than ever. And there are only so many taphandles.  Who knows what the future will hold?  And, that’s part of the enjoyment for us.

Hear more about how Growlers (and other fine establishments) manages brew choices in upcoming expanded articles!

For more info on Growlers Beer Bistro, visit their website HERE.