The Brew Kettles Are On In Dallas-Fort Worth
Our longtime friend and supporter of The Full Pint, Gabby just moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and wanted to contribute this original article, outlining the emerging craft beer scene. If you are interested in contributing an original article, please contact us via our contact form. Cheers
It’s a hot and sultry night in Far North Dallas and some of the newest-new kids to recently hit the DFW Craft Brew Scene are gathered in a fine showing of what’s fast becoming a super tight-knit community of passionate craft brewers. “We’re renegades,”says Michelle Burden of Dead Cowboy Brewing Co., when describing the dedicated crew who make up the brewing scene of North Texas. “It’s a brotherhood, we are going to do what we are going to do, working together. With the new laws changing, the floodgates are open. This is about changing our state’s identity, our lifestyle, our country.”
When a beer fan thinks of Texas, IPAs, stouts, and belgians don’t usually come to mind. It’s been all about the Shiner Bock, baby, or maybe one of “those” lagers from The Big Three. Well hold fast to your stirrups because that image is changing and for members of the North Texas Brewing Scene, it’s go time. On June 14th, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed 5 new laws into action, allowing vast improvements to the way residents in the Lone Star State make craft beer, distribute craft beer and drink craft beer. It is some the most progressive legislation to hit the law books in the last 20 years. A couple of the most important changes will allow breweries to charge for samples, i.e. – operate a tap room out of the production space, and give brewers the ability to distribute out of house. These sweeping changes are the result of hard work from advocates at the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, grassroots organization Open The Taps and state legislators Leticia Van de Putte (Dist. 26) and Rep. Mike Villarreal (Dist. 123.) It’s looking good folks, real good.
Until the last few years, Texas fell far behind in the craft brewing craze. According to the National Brewer’s Association, four years ago, a state of 25 million residents was forty-eighth out of fifty capita per brewery. The Lone Star state has moved to forty-second place and is now listed eighth on the list for number of breweries currently in operation. Chris Rigoulot of Nobel Rey Brewing Company notes, “It shows how much room there really is for growth in the state of Texas.” It’s no question the heat is on, and so are the kettles.There are, at the very minimum, three breweries slated to open in the DFW area in 2014, adding to the list of fourteen breweries currently operating, most of which had no location to call home prior to 2011. From the first few including Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. and Franconia Brewing Company to brand spankin’ new Lakewood Brewing Co, Revolver Brewing, 903 Brewers and Firewheel Brewing, it’s a legitimate boom and DFW is showing the love.
Tours, festivals and weekly beer events are a hot commodity at the moment, from busses to music fests and beer schools, fans are making their way through the parking lots and into the taphouses, brewing facilities and pubs. Jack MacDonald of premiere craft beer bar Jack Mac’s Swill & Grill and Matt Dixon of go-to beer site Dallas Brew Scene confirm, two years ago there was one craft-brew-centric event in the DFW metroplex. Currently, count eighteen, with more on the way. Super popular events include the upcoming Dallas Beer Week, recent indie-music and craft beer fest Untapped and the 3rd Annual Big Texas Beer Fest, to be held in April of 2014. “There’s more local beer to serve, so there are more places serving locally made products.” notes Dixon. Everyone agrees, local watering holes have been more than helpful in their support of local brewers and local beer. From Swill & Grill to the Common Table, Flying Saucer, Gingerman, Whole Foods, popular hot spots like Barcadia and growler filling station Craft And Growler, locally made beer is making it’s way into the taps across Dallas and Fort Worth. This arm opening welcome is proof it’s gotta be somewhat true then, when Texans do something, they go big or go home.
Why all the hype now and not five to ten years ago like so many other hot spots across the United States? “People are more educated, plain and simple,” says Rigoulot. “The Texas wine industry was the It Kid in the early part of the 21st century, showing Texans wine could be produced at a high-level and those pioneers really paved the way for locally produced beer. We want to beat the Big Three, we want Texas beers on the home taps. Texans are known for thinking ‘we are big and bad’, and it’s kinda time to put up or shut up.” It’s no coincidence this movement is happening alongside rising tide of desire to know where food and drink comes from, or the desire to support local farmers and artisans.
What are Texas craft beer fans drinking? Bourbon-barrel anything, or session-style beers says Dixon. According to Jack MacDonald, hop-heads abound in DFW. He sells more Pales and IPA’s than anything else at Swill & Grill, and although craft beer drinkers might not stick with one brewery per se, it’s the one style getting soaked up on a regular basis. There are a few brews out there really sticking with anyone who knows a little something about what’s happening in DFW. Peticolas Brewing Company’s Royal Scandal won a Gold Medal at the 2012 GABF awards in the classic English Ale category and was the Grand Champion in the ESB/Bitter category at the 2013 United States Beer Tasting Championship. It is an extremely well balanced beer, great for all the young palates early on the craft brewing trail. Lakewood Brewing Co’s The Temptress, is described as dessert in a glass, with hues of chocolate and caramel is wowing crowds and Revolver’s Blood and Honey, an American Wheat Ale with a medium body, wonderful notes of citrus and a warm finish is so popular, it can’t be kept on the shelves.
The future is bright and not just for Texas beer lovers but for the Texas economy as well. State economists see a projected increase in billions of dollars and upwards of fifty-two thousand jobs by 2020. The community is dedicated to making craft beer a success in Texas, and not just for the potential to make mad amounts of cash. Burden presses how helpful those who have gone before are in relation t0 those trying to break a path of their own. Any issue, be it a business plan, marketing ideas, festivals, the brewers help each other out. They stand for something, for a lifestyle, a common thread, people coming together,or as Dave Muckian of Dead Cowboy Brewing proudly suggests, “adults making new friends.” For those who love craft beer and look forward to a strong Texas beer culture, it sounds pretty darn good.
October 2, 2013 @ 6:26 pm
Cobra Brewing and Rabbit Hole
October 1, 2013 @ 8:48 am
Don’t forget Martin House in Fort Worth and Community in Dallas. They are great local breweries.
September 30, 2013 @ 4:25 pm
And not one mention of Deep Ellum Brewing Company? First in the last 10 years in Dallas?!?! What’s the haps?!?!