i first grew to really love beer, especially my beloved heiferweissen and kolsch, when j took me on his german tour (as i learned much later, apparently he took all the girlfriends there with a special romantic kickoff in heidelberg). and how could i not love eating freshly made pretzels, hanging out in a biergarden and just whiling the time away. so it’s of course great that beer in the u.s. has come such a long way from my college days and those very unfortunate kegs filled with very scary stuff that i did somehow drink like a fish. and now with the growler, a 64 ounce bottle that can be filled with all sorts of specialty ales, there is an excellent and affordable way to try out different beers. we have tried out the growler service at grab specialty foods, a local spot in south park slope that rotates their selection frequently with all sorts of great options from local breweries like the kelso hop lager by greenpoint beer and sixpoint ales dubble trubble made with that delicious mast brothers chocolate. the prices range from just under $15 to a little more than $20 and a more comprehensive list of what they offer can be found here. in addition to grab, there are a bunch of other spotsout there in new york offering growlers so no matter where you are you should be able to take advantage of this fun new mini-trend. and if you are in the neighborhood, grab also carries a high-end selection of cheeses, meats and other provisions very similar to what blue apron offers (it in fact used to be a branch of blue apron) in a more convenient location for those in the south slope. a highlight for those of us who work nearby is that grab often makes a perfectly sized “sandwich of the day” usually filled with some combination of sliced meats, roasted peppers and various cheeses. though i suggest calling ahead as they don’t make too many and can sometimes run out. and if you are extra lucky, like the group in our office sometimes is, they will even make it to order. grab specialty foods, 438 7th avenue between 14th and 15th streets, brooklyn, ny, 718.369.7595.