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Best Bars to Fill Your Growler

A growler at Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom  
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Lagunitas Chicago Taproom

It can be more than a little challenging to find Lagunitas’s bar, located as it is in a labyrinthine structure in a residential hood. But consider the sprawling place the sweet reward at the end of a maze. The drinkery at the heart of the Wonka-like brewery, where laser lights in the entryway accompany “Pure Imagination” on constant loop, is manned by shiny happy people who seem to live to go to work (and why not?). You can buy growlers in the gift shop; they range from $12 to $16, and none of the current offerings are off-limits. That means 64 tasty ounces of the can’t-lose ale Brown Shugga’ is yours for the taking. If you’re new to the growler game, this is the place to go: They’ll feed you samples until you find a beer you love—but not nearly as much as they do. Douglas Park, 2607 W. 17th St., lagunitas.com

Atlas Brewing Company

With a beer named Nanosaurus Slumber Party and events such as the Prehistoric Beer Prom, Atlas is king for those who like their hops with a shot of humor. Take home a piece of the fun in growler form: Fills run from $12 to $19 and include the delightfully sour Monkey Shriek. Lincoln Park, 2747 N. Lincoln Ave., atlasbeercompany.com

DryHop Brewers

With its vast roster of pours, varied large-format options (64-ounce growlers or 32-ounce aluminum “crowlers”), and laid-back vibe that works for date night or dinner with friends, DryHop contains multitudes. Try Aske, a Belgian dark ale so smoky that drinking it is like inhaling a campfire. Lake View, 3155 N. Broadway, dryhopchicago.com

5 Rabbit Cerveceria

The modest taproom of this Aztec-influenced brewery is uniquely set up in the thick of the operation, meaning you can fill your growler—go for the Huitzi, a slightly tart midwinter ale—while talking to the guy who brewed its contents. For the indecisive, 750-milliliter bottles are on offer as well. Bedford Park, 6398 W. 74th St., 5rabbitbrewery.com

Half Acre Beer Company

With an onsite kitchen opening this winter, the North Center brewery just keeps getting better. After tossing back a few in the taproom, head to the adjoining shop to fill your jug with one of 10 rotating brews. The ultralight Daisy Cutter is a real crowd pleaser. North Center, 4257 N. Lincoln Ave., halfacrebeer.com

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