All the cool kids carry growlers.

Ask John Neely Bryan: How Much to Tip For a Growler of Beer

The founder of Dallas answers in his own inimitable way.

John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
Photography by Matthew Shelley
Question: No doubt you are enjoying the beer renaissance in Dallas. In your day, did they have growlers? That’s what confuses me a bit. How should one tip when one gets a growler filled? The bar wench does the same thing she’d do if you’d ordered a pint. The effort, for her, doesn’t increase much. So do you tip her a buck, same as you would if you’d ordered a glass? Or do you tip her based on the value of your purchase, which, depending on your druthers, could mean upwards of $20 (meaning a $4 tip)?  — Thirsty in East Dallas

In the earliest days of the city I’d have been pleased to enjoy but a thimbleful of lager, let alone the pail’s worth that those obscenely large bottles allow you to cart home today. So, no, we hadn’t growlers. We hadn’t even a brewery to speak of until one of Victor Considerant’s proto-hippies moved east of the river and got one going. I was away, prospecting for gold in Colorado and California, and the enterprise had failed by the time I returned — though others had sprung up in its place.

Your peculiar query touches upon a subject I’ve addressed once before in this space: the sexist, racist, and utterly un-American practice of tipping. Assuming you have not the stomach to lead the revolution our nation so desperately needs to end this heinous practice, I’ve rolled your quandary over within the folds of my cerebral matter and have arrived at a solution that I believe you will ultimately find satisfactory to both your own needs and those of your favored bar wench.

Make your own damn beer.

You inheritors of the great American mantle don’t create anything of your own anymore. Time was a fellow was an embarrassment to his family if he couldn’t kill and butcher a hog, navigate by the stars, serenade his sweetheart, build a home out of nothing but a mallet and a pile of driftwood, and ferment his own alcoholic beverages. Mind you, he didn’t have to be good at any of these damn things, but that wasn’t the point.

Point was he wasn’t dependent on an army of tradesmen to provide for his every need. Do you think I wanted to drink that barrel of buckeye wine I cooked up when I first set up camp along the Trinity? Lord no. Tasted like someone had wrung the sweat out of a Comanche’s moccasins. Well, believe you me, I downed every last drop.

Because I’m a man, and that’s what men do. Men don’t write missives to post-corporeal urban pioneers, begging to have settled the simplest of questions. Of course you have to tip more, you cheapskate. Throw her at least an extra buck or two, if $4 is so horrifically objectionable in your accounting. A growler is something like four pints’ worth. Meaning it’s four times the weight and takes something like four times as long to fill up. So she’s got to spend extra precious seconds of her limited time on this earth serving you instead of the next useless lump of manhood too lazy to cook up his own brew.

I can already hear you whining, “I can’t possibly achieve the flavor profiles that a great local craft brewery can.” Notes of coffee or chocolate or beef jerky or some such are certainly difficult to achieve satisfactorily in a home-based operation. But it’s time to take one long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask: Is pumpkin spice seasonal ale truly worth existence as a metaphorical eunuch?

Harshing my vibe,

John-Neely-Bryan-signature
John Neely Bryan is the founder of the city of Dallas and an expert on all matters. Email him for advice, to have a dispute adjudicated, or to seek his wisdom on any of a myriad of topics, at [email protected].

Newsletter

Get a weekly recap in your inbox every Sunday of our best stories from the week plus a primer for the days ahead.

Find It

Search our directories for...

Restaurants

Restaurants

Bars

Bars

Events

Events

Attractions

Attractions

View All

View All

Comments