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Brewery snapshots: Close-up views of North Texas’ craft breweries

Posted 11:31pm on Thursday, Nov. 07, 2013


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These are heady times in the evolution of North Texas’ craft brew scene. Blink and you’ll miss the opening of another upstart brewery in Grapevine or Dallas. Here are snapshots of the area’s growing number of breweries and the people who are pouring their hearts and life savings into creating craft beer.

903 Brewers

Jeremy and Natalie Roberts founded this Sherman-based brewery in 2011. Jeremy is also the head brewer, and has worked on hundreds of beers looking for ones that connect with the community (and he’s open to suggestions). The brick-and-mortar version — the smallest brewery in Texas, according to Roberts — opened in June. It’s a road trip for a lot of us, but the brewery hosts tours, trivia nights and movie nights. Wonder how often they show 2006’s Beerfest?

Beers: The Chosen One Coconut Ale, Roo’s Red Ale

Availability: In Fort Worth, The Ginger Man — and that appears to be it for Tarrant County, according to the 903 website. In Dallas, also at The Ginger Man, as well as Craft and Growler, Ten Bells Tavern and a handful of other locations. Also East Side Social Club in Denton, Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson and in a few other North Texas cities.

1718 S. Elm St., Sherman, 214 243-8090; 903brewers.com.

Armadillo Ale Works

Founded in 2010, Armadillo is based in Denton — but its beer isn’t brewed there. The founders started a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 that brought in more than $34,000 in donations, but getting a brewery open requires more than that, as well as a lot in Texas. The brewery could make sodas, and raised some cash by creating a line of “Prohibition”-inspired sodas during its beer drought. In 2012, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. offered to help get Armadillo Ale’s beer on the market while it continued to raise funds for a true Denton home.

Beers: Quakertown Stout, Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale, special releases and seasonals

Availability: Widely available on tap at DFW bars, and over the counter at World Market, Whole Foods, Central Market Southlake and other grocery and liquor stores. Armadillo Ale’s website has a comprehensive list.

Box 3, Denton, 940-580-4446, www.armadilloaleworks.com; brewed at Deep Ellum Brewing in Dallas.

Cedar Creek Brewery

Opened in 2012 using repurposed dairy equipment after two years of planning, this brewery southeast of Dallas boasts that “session beers are our passion” on its website. Beeradvocate defines a session beer as being 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) or less, allowing drinkers to have multiple beers per session without getting intoxicated too quickly. The better to socialize with, my dear.

Beers: Scruffy’s Smoked Alt, Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale, The Lawn Ranger Cream Ale

Availability: On tap in Fort Worth at Brewed, Live Oak Music Hall, T&P Tavern and Zio Carlo. On tap in multiple locations in Dallas and other cities. Retail at Central Market, Whole Foods, Tom Thumb, Spec’s and others. For a full list, visit the website.

244 E. Cedar Creek Parkway, Seven Points, 214-502-9795; www.cedarcreekbrewery.com.

Community Beer Company

Situated near downtown Dallas on the eastern edge of the Design District, this brewery, because it takes the “community” part of its name seriously, offers such things as events that precede American Airlines Center events (it’s across I-35E from the AAC) and Beer School, and emphasizes charitable giving and environmentally sustainable business practices. It also has a mascot — a ridgeless Rhodesian Ridgeback named Barley. Awwwww …

Beers: Texas Pils, Vienna Lager, Community Witbier, Mosaic IPA, Inspiration Ale, Public Ale, Community Pale Ale, Trinity Tripel, Regalement (winter seasonal)

Availability: Widely available on tap in DFW and elsewhere in the state. Retail at Whole Foods locations in Arlington and Dallas, and World of Beer Arlington and Dallas. Full list on the website.

1530 Inspiration Drive, Suite 200, Dallas, 214-751-7921; www.communitybeer.com.

Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

Founder and “chief evangelist” John Reardon, head brewer Jeremy Hunt, “sales samurai” John Wiewel and “event planning ninja” Zack Fickey joined together a couple of years ago — the brewery celebrates its second anniversary Saturday — to fight “corporate breweries pumping out the same old dull, watered-down stuff, slapping a different label on it, and telling you that you have choices.” So they set up shot in Dallas’ funky Deep Ellum and started making beer the way they believe it should be made.

Beers: Deep Ellum IPA, Double Brown Stout, Rye Pils, Dallas Blonde, seasonals and specialty beers

Availability: The Ginger Man, Billy Bob’s Texas, Spec’s, Cost Plus and other locations. For a full list, visit the website and search under “contact.”

2823 St. Louis St., Dallas, 214-888-3322; www.deepellumbrewing.com.

FireWheel Brewing Co.

The lack of pretension at FireWheel is shown on the brewery’s website: “We are just a few guys from Dallas trying to partake in the beer revolution that is sweeping the state of Texas.” Founder Brad Perkinson became curious about craft beer after traveling to Germany for Oktoberfest Munich 2009. When he was laid off from his desk job, he decided to start FireWheel.

Beers: Texas Pale Ale, seasonals and specialty beers (currently Pumpkin Ale and A Better Brown Ale)

Availability: Brewed and Zio Carlo in Fort Worth, Ron’s Corner Tavern in Bedford, and several other area locations. Full list on the website.

2806 Lawing Lane, Suite C, Rowlett, 214-725-9080; firewheelbrewing.com.

Four Corners Brewing Co.

John M. Sims — “brewmaster, machine whisperer, fermentation science super freak” — is a Dallas native and local craft beer pioneer who spends his days developing Four Corners’ “All Day Ales,” “educating home brewers and spreading the better-beer gospel” at this funky little place west of downtown Dallas.

Beers: Local Buzz Honey-Rye Golden Ale, Red’s Roja American Red Ale, Block Party Robust Porter, La Bajada Brown Ale, Paletero Pale Ale and seasonals

Availability: Widely available in DFW. For a full list, visit the “Preguntas” section of the website and click on “I’m thirsty, where do I find your beer?”

423 Singleton Blvd., Dallas, 214-748-2739; www.fcbrewing.com.

Franconia Brewing Co.

Serious stuff here (well, not too serious — the brewery’s motto is “never trust a skinny brewmaster”): Owner Dennis Wehrmann moved from Nuremberg, Germany, to Dallas after studying at Doemens, a brewing school, in Munich. He comes from a long brewing heritage — his great-great-grandfather founded Frankenbreu, a brewery in Tanna, Germany, in 1800. His mother has a degree as a brewery lab technician. Many of his uncles brew. And he has been working in breweries since he was 12.

Beers: Franconia Koelsch, Franconia Lager, Franconia Wheat, Franconia Octoberfest, Franconia Alt, Franconia Kristall Weizen and Franconia Pils

Availability: Flying Saucer Fort Worth, Brewed

495 McKinney Parkway, McKinney, 972-542-0705; www.franconiabrewing.com.

Grapevine Craft Brewery

Gary Humble, an experienced home brewer, has been working to launch a 7,100-square-foot structure where he will offer the usual tours and tastings. The brewery was in the final stages of its permit process with the Tax and Trade Bureau when the government shutdown occurred last month, delaying the process for a couple of weeks. The brewery is on the cusp of launching.

Beers: Lakefire Rye Pale Ale, Monarch Classic American Wheat, Sir William’s English Brown Ale and Nightwatch Dry Oatmeal Stout

Availability: On tap soon.

924 Jean St., Grapevine, 682-651-5797; www.grapevineontap.com.

Independent Ale Works

Stefen Windham and David Miller, who used to be in the healthcare audit and management fields, founded this brewery in 2010, naming it Independent because they were resolved to build the business themselves, without outside investors. Described as Denton’s first craft brewery (but located in nearby Krum).

Beers: Amber 3.0, Blonde Ale; coming soon: Dark Intentions (described as having “a gourmet coffee essence”)

Availability: Oak St. Drafthouse in Denton, Craft and Growler in Dallas

11155 U.S. 380, No. 209, Krum, 972-207-3453; www.indyales.com.

Lakewood Brewing Co.

Not a lot of pretension here. The “About” section of Lakewood’s Facebook page says: “Brewing up internationally inspired and locally crafted beer on the east side of town.” The town being Dallas, and the “east side” actually being Garland. Mission: “Make some damn good beer and have a good time doing so.” The brewery was founded in 2012 by Belgium native Wim Bens.

Beers: Rock Ryder (rye/wheat), Hop Trapp (Belgian-style IPA), The Temptress (imperial milk stout), Lakewood Lager, seasonals and the “Legendary” series

Availability: Widely available on tap in Fort Worth, Dallas and surrounding cities; also at Central Market, Whole Foods, World of Beer, Spec’s and other stores.

2302 Executive Drive, Garland, 972-864-2337; www.lakewoodbrewing.com.

Martin House Brewing Company

Co-founded by Cody and Anna Martin and a couple of friends, Martin House in Fort Worth also gets its name from the purple martin, a bird that nests in shared “houses.” And there’s another connection: The brewery has its roots at the Martins’ house, where they began making beer in their garage. Cody, a 2005 University of Texas at Arlington graduate, has been home-brewing since 2005, when Anna bought Cody a home-brew kit for his birthday. UT Dallas grad David Wedemeier, who handles business development, and operations manager Adam Myers, a UTA grad who worked with Cody after college, are also listed as founders.

Beers: SeptemberFest (oatmeal brown ale), Daybreak (four-grain breakfast beer), There Will Be Stout (pretzel stout), The Imperial Texan (double red ale) and River House (Texas saison)

Availability: Widely available on tap and in stores (in cans!) throughout DFW. Growler fills available at Brewed and Zio Carlo in Fort Worth, and at Craft and Growler in Dallas.

220 S. Sylvania Ave., No. 209, Fort Worth, 817-222-0177; martinhousebrewing.com.

Peticolas Brewing Company

Peticolas has one of the more unusual origin stories: Jacque Peticolas began brewing a Mexican-style beer at her home in El Paso in the mid-’90s. Years later, Michael Melder, a family friend, persuaded Jacque’s son, Michael, to also start brewing — and gave him some equipment to help him get started. Michael Peticolas and his wife, Melissa, got into home-brewing so deeply that they began planning a brewery of their own, and Michael even took a course in Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering from the American Brewers Guild. The Peticolases recruited fellow homebrewer Doug Ames and received help from brewmaster Greg Matthews in moving into commercial beer production. All that worked out so well that the Dallas Observer named Peticolas the Best Brewery in Dallas in its 2013 Best of Dallas issue — and that’s just the latest in a slew of awards.

Beers: Velvet Hammer Imperial Red Ale, Royal Scandal English Pale Ale, Golden Opportunity (golden ale), several limited-release beers and seasonal Wintervention spiced winter ale

Available: Widely available on draft in DFW, in stores at World of Beer and at Dallas Whole Foods locations.

2026 Farrington St., Dallas, 214-234-7600; http://peticolasbrewing.com.

Rabbit Hole Brewing

Matt Morriss, a former software developer and forever Texas A&M Aggie, joined with New Jersey-born Tom Anderson to develop Rabbit Hole in Justin, a small town about halfway between Denton and north Fort Worth. Both are interested in brewing beers that they believe are under-represented in North Texas. They’re joined by co-founder Laron Cheek, a Texas-born Marine veteran who handles marketing and distribution. And tasting.

Beers: Mike Modano’s 561 Kolsch-style Beer (the number commemorates the former Dallas Star’s record career goals for a U.S.-born hockey player), Rapture Fusion Brown Ale, 10/6 English India Pale Ale

Availability: Not yet.

106 E. Sixth St., Justin, 972-983-4438, www.rabbitholebrewing.com.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

It’s the granddaddy of modern North Texas craft breweries — and it’s not even a tween yet! Rahr, which celebrates its ninth anniversary Saturday, began when Frederick “Fritz” Rahr came home one night and told his wife, Erin, that railroad work — he’d spent 11 years in sales and marketing jobs at three railroads — no longer motivated him. Erin asked him what he wanted to do, and he said, “I just want to make beer,” continuing a family tradition that dates back a century and a half. They sold their Houston house, moved with their two sons to Fort Worth (Fritz was once a competitive swimmer for TCU and Erin is a native) and began working toward building the near-south-side microbrewery, reflecting Cowtown traditions and his family’s brewing heritage.

Beers: Rahr’s Blonde, Ugly Pug Black Lager, Texas Red Amber Lager, Stormcloud India Pale Ale, Buffalo Butt Beer and several seasonals

Availability: Widely available in DFW grocery stores and liquor stores and on tap at bars and restaurants.

701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth, 817-810-9266; rahrbrewing.com.

Revolver Brewing

Only open since October 2012 in Granbury, Revolver has produced one of the most popular craft beers in North Texas: Revolver Blood & Honey, an American wheat ale finished with blood-orange zest that’s been described as a “bridge beer,” one that’s not too hoppy or malty, but rich and medium-plus-bodied. The brewery was founded by father and son Ron and Rhett Keisler, along with master brewer Grant Wood, who worked at Samuel Adams in Boston, Pearl Brewing and Lone Star. Rhett was inspired to launch a brewery after a trip to the original beer town, Munich.

Beers: Blood & Honey, High Brass (American blonde ale), Revolver Bock and specialty beers

Availabilty: Widely available on tap at area bars and restaurants, and recently released in bottles at Central Market, Spec’s, World of Beer and other places.

5650 Matlock Road, Granbury, 817-736-8034; www.revolverbrewing.com.

This report contains material from DFW.com archives.

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