2015 Guide to DFW Microbrews

Microbreweries continue to open up in the Metroplex... let us be your guide! Photo Courtesy: Quinn Dombrowski
Microbreweries continue to open up in the Metroplex… let us be your guide!
Photo Courtesy: Quinn Dombrowski

By Taylor Berrier

For some it’s known as the Nectar of the Gods, for others it’s more like the hair of the dog. Like money, too much can be damaging, but if you have respect for it then you can come closer to mastering it.

I’m talking about beer. Yes, alcohol. There remains a select group of a chosen few who have decided to walk the path of righteousness. They have dedicated much of their lives to perfecting the craft so that others may eventually garner the same respect they have for a beverage that can be so commonly mistreated and unappreciated. Because it’s not about the alcohol content, but the love that was put into making it. Business can be grueling – trying to stay in the black when all you want to do is share your passion with others. Give the people what they want, and it looks like Texans want beer, and good beer at that.

Here at Blitz Weekly, we feel obliged to further this widely-growing trend in North Texas by giving you as complete list of breweries featured in the area, along with all the little tips and tricks for each we can muster to lend out.

Deep Ellum Brewing Company
Established 2011deepellumbrewing.com
Have you ever had a labor of love? Something you enjoyed so much that you did it just for the sport and camaraderie? That feeling of accomplishment when the day is done? Hell, that’s why Deep Ellum started its brewery in the first place. The beer has spread across Texas like wildfire, and then put out with lots and lots of beer. It’s hard to tell if the brewery represents Deep Ellum of if Deep Ellum represents the brewery. Dallas can be very proud of both.

Who are we kidding, the Dallas Blonde 5.2 percent ABV is the crowd favorite, if not for her good looks, then for her good taste. Open house tours are Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. Buy tickets online in advance or pay $15 at the door. Or you can just head straight to their taproom.

Peticolas Brewing Company
Established 2011peticolasbrewing.com
Peticolas loves beer as much as it does soccer. Water, malted barley, hops and yeast, that’s all the people there need to deliver a quality brew. But towards the end of every fall, they walk down the street to our neighborhood spice manufacturer, Pendery’s, to pick up cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Thus, Wintervention is born.

Peticolas is best known for the Royal Scandal 6.5 percent ABV, an English Pale Ale, and the spiced beer Wintervention 10 percent ABV, a seasonal saved for cooler temperatures. Tours take place the first and third Saturdays of every month from 1-3 p.m., $10 Cash. Get there early.

Lakewood Brewing Company
Established 2012lakewoodbrewing.com
This is a family-owned brewery with both Dallas and German ties. Wim Bens is a Southern Methodist University graduate who was born in Belgium and moved to Dallas when he was 7. Factor in the constant visits back home during his youth, and you can expect to see the influence pay off in his beer. The brewery started in a garage in Lakewood, but now operates in Garland. Though with a slogan like “For whatever neighborhood you call home,” the beer knows no limits. Rock Ryder 4.8 percent ABV, named after the bicyclists who loop the White Rock Lake trail, is an American Rye Wheat that has taken home more than its fair share of gold at brew competitions. Tours are free every Saturday 1-5 p.m., and Sunday 1-3 p.m. with one tour each hour. Also check out the tap room.

Community Beer Company
Established 2013 communitybeer.com
Beer often is a communal product, enjoyed among a group of friends. One of those friends has his or her own yeast lab and resident microbiologist/assistant brewer on staff since Day 1 to ensure yeast quality, and therefore – beer quality. Another friend is Barley, the brewery dog, who loves chewing on the malt as much as people love drinking it. Loved by beer nerds and session drinkers alike, the Mosaic IPA 8.6 percent ABV gets its name from a new hop variety named “Mosaic,” which is predominantly where the immense, raw hop aroma and flavor is derived. Tours are mostly on Saturdays, but they are more like events. Buy tickets at least a week in advance. Or just stop by the taproom on a whim to enjoy the award winning beverages.

Four Corners Brewing Company
Established 2013fcbrewing.com
Redefining what it means to be cerveza, Four Corners has taken on Oak Cliff with a full force of brewing passion. Most of its beer takes on a unique persona of Mexican-Tejano tradition with names like El Chingón, El Bajada, and Paletero. Best known for the beer cooler bike, maybe? Local Buzz 5.2 percent ABV is rich with locally-sourced honey and pretty tasty in the summer also. Tours are free with RSVP on its website at noon and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays. There also is an all-day alehouse open seven days a week.

Franconia Brewing Company
Established 2008 franconiabrewing.com
That estimated date barely scratches the surface of the history embedded in the Franconia name. Dating back to the 1800s and five generations of brewing, this place has had a long time to perfect its German-style beers. And happy cows come from Texas, as Franconia’s recycling initiatives send 100 percent of the leftover hops to Koster Cattle Company which then turns it into cattle feed. If you’ve never had a Hefeweizen, now’s the time to try one. The Franconia Wheat 4.8 percent ABV is brewed with original Bavarian wheat yeast and is simply a must try. Tours are every Saturday at 11 a.m. for about two hours and worth the $5.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Established 2004 rahrbrewing.com
“It is because of the rich history we decided to continue in the paths of my ancestors and open our own brewery – Rahr & Sons Brewing, in the town of Fort Worth, Texas – a town very dear to my heart. We will follow in the traditions of my family and brew majestic lagers and rich ales using age-old recipes in the styles of the Rahr brew masters of the past. We are dedicated to brewing only the finest beers possible – we hope you enjoy drinking them!” – Frederick William Rahr Jr. I believe this quote says it all. My favorites is the Texas Red 5 percent ABV. The notes of caramel and its sound malt character are perfectly balanced with just a bit of hops. Tours and tastings are every Wednesday 5-7:30 p.m. and Saturdays 1-3 p.m., $10 for anyone over 18 years of age, but beer for 21 and up only. This is family friendly, so kids are permitted free of charge.

Martin House Brewing Company
Established 2013 martinhousebrewing.com
This particular brewery has been rocking the craft brewery foundation in Fort Worth. Martin House Brewing Company strives to create beer that becomes an extension of the lifestyles of its consumers. And sorry to name drop, but the Toadies have been known to rock the joint on multiple occasions. And drawing the blueprint that one is not limited to pairing beer with food, but that music and physical activity are just as important. Probably best known for its Imperial Texas Double Red Ale 9 percent ABV is best paired with mountain biking and whatever music you like. Tours and tastings are Thursdays 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays 2-5 p.m. with a $10 admission.

The Collective Brewing Project
Established 2014collectivebrew.com
Another Fort Worth oasis of craft beer, the Collective brings us beer that stands out in taste as well as flavor and yes, they are two separate things. But it achieves results in both categories. The brewing process here is a delicate one, having started the venture as a little home brewery, the college buddies not only have learned quickly the business of beer, but the craft process of making it a delicacy. The Aaaapes in Spaaaace 5.2 percent ABV is hinted with apricot, an IPA on the closer side to candy or froyo. Mmm. Taproom hours Wednesday through Friday 5-9 p.m., and Saturdays 2-9 p.m.

Nine Band Brewing Company
Established 2015ninebandbrewing.com
In case you were wondering, Nine Band stands for the nine bands on an armadillo. This is the nice, clean beer Texas craves. The place doesn’t try to be special. The people here don’t shove their beer in your face and demand that you like it. They only hope people will see the quality when it engulfs their taste buds. Once you try it, you will see why Texas is proud to serve the Cactus Cat Kölsch 5.2 percent and Nine Band Pale Ale 6 percent ABV to its residents to cool off during the hot Texas summers. Look out for their new brew, Badge, a blonde ale perfect for the late summer heat. Check out tours at their brewery in Allen at noon Saturdays but book them online in advance to let them know you’re coming.

Cedar Creek Brewery
Established 2012cedarcreekbrewery.com
Great American Beer Festival gold medalists and attention hogs at beer festivals all around, Cedar Creek remains on the saner side of brewing. Main ingredient? Passion. Already outgrowing itself at a tremendous pace, the ice cold beers have been met with a very warm reception. The beer is brewed the way you’d want while chillin’ at a lake or the beach. One of the greatest names for a beer I have ever seen, I would have to try the Dankosaurus IPA 6.8 percent ABV. Pine, citrus, peach, and tangerine, ‘Nuff said. With a cafe and taproom open Wednesday through Sunday, the calendar is filled with tastings, classes, and festivals making a trip to Seven Points all the more worthwhile.

Cobra Brewing Company
Established 2013cobrabrewingco.com
Beer with a bite, I have had the unique pleasure of experiencing this brewery and its delicious suds for myself. Cheers to what this family-owned and operated brewery can do with malts and hops. The place is increasing in popularity and for good reason. The idea of converting used dairy tanks into tanks for brewing beer was simply genius, and green. My favorite was the Golden Girl 6.1 percent ABV, a beautifully full-bodied ale but still approachable and inviting. It’s a brewery that’s also a taproom, and a taproom that’s also a brewery. Opened to the public and their pets Fridays and Saturdays 5-10 p.m., $10 gets you a pint glass, three refills, and entertainment for hours. Live music usually on Saturdays.

Grapevine Craft Brewery
Established 2014 grapevineontap.com
One beer I’ve started to see in many grocery stores across North Dallas is from this recent startup brewery that’s far surpassed the term startup and grown into something more of a prodigy. God bless Texas and God bless the beer made in it and by founder and Pastor Gary Humble. All-around  well-balanced brewing is the simplistic venture Grapevine Craft Brewery has taken up, and this is evident in The Monarch 4.3 percent ABV, a classic American wheat that’s nothing fancy, just good. The taproom and beer garden are open daily 3-10 p.m.

903 Brewers
Established 2013 903brewers.com
Speaking of holy beers, 903 Brewer’s founder and head brewer Jeremy Roberts has created beer that’s focused on the basics, but doesn’t forget to add a little twist that makes itself memorable. He and his team not only have crafted some great beers, but great food recipes to pair with them. You’re going to want some of that Sasquatch Chili to absorb the 10.7 percent ABV of the Sasquatch Chocolate Milk Stout. Is that a food baby or a beer belly? But the most popular beer undoubtedly is The Chosen One Coconut Ale 6.8 percent ABV with flavors of sweet biscuits and toasted coconuts, your taste buds are in for a surprise. Tours are free every Saturday noon-5 p.m. or check out Trivia Night every Thursday at 5 p.m. Pet and family friendly, you also can catch some live music there every now and then.

Revolver Brewing
Established 2012revolverbrewing.com
Although located in Granbury, this place has flag-shipped itself as a part of Fort Worth. A little off the beaten path is a great way to describe the beer too. Agave nectar, black pepper, and blood oranges. The folks here don’t take themselves too seriously, but they take extreme pride in their craft. True Texans. Countryside brew that’s true. Blood & Honey 7 percent ABV is a zesty American Wheat Ale, probably the most popular. If you’re looking to get away from the big city, Revolver will be your perfect escape. Family friendly, but no pets, $10 admission gets you access to live music and a food vendor. Every Saturday noon-3 p.m.

Panther Island Brewing
Established 2014pantherislandbrewing.com
Get it in your mouth. That’s the motto over at Panther Island, because these people know once you do, you won’t be able to stop drinking their beer. Located on the banks of the Trinity River, they are proudly housed in one of Fort Worth’s oldest brewery building. One would think the idea was that one day, their beer too will be a historical landmark. Some would think that it already is. Alergeez 5.7 percent ABV includes good ol’ fashioned Texan honey, chamomile, and rose hips. Tours are Fridays 5-9 p.m. and Sundays 2-6 p.m. This isn’t just a tour of a brewery, it’s a tour of Fort Worth. Come hungry.

Shannon Brewing Company
Established 2014 shannonbrewing.com
Shannon has made it a mission to go old school, but in a manner certainly deserving of the bragging. The folks here utilize an almost ancient brewing methodology and basic quality ingredients that would make prohibitionists think they had died and gone to heaven. The secret is the fire-burning techniques handed down four generations of brewing in both a one-of-a-kind mash tun and kettle resembling those of an old-world brewing process. All this makes some damn good quality beer. The Shannon Irish Red 5.8 percent ABV is Shannon’s nod to St. Patrick. Shannon is the emerald of Keller. Tours are available every Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. with the taproom and beer garden open Thursdays and Fridays 4-9 pm and Sundays noon-5 pm. And you can bet there’s food.

Texas Ale Project
Established 2014texasaleproject.com
I remember my first beer. I just wish it was one of Texas Ale Project’s brews. I might never have had another beer again. OK, that’s a stretch. But the point here is that Texas Ale Project aims to get you hooked by using ingredients that entangle flavors from both the core contents, the hops. Located in the  Dallas Brew District, a.k.a. the Design District, the people here formulate intricately designed brews to get just the right taste they want to deliver. Somethin’ Shady 5.5 percent ABV is a porter that’s hard to pass up. You can check out the artful taproom Thursday and Friday 5-9 p.m. and Saturdays 1-9 p.m. It’s not weird, just pure science.

Armadillo Ale Works
Established 2015armadilloaleworks.com
After a successful Kickstarter campaign and a little help from Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Armadillo Ale Works was able to open its brewery exactly where it wanted, and where it felt wanted, Denton. The place draws inspiration for its beers from the city, people, and culture of Denton. So the beer getting a gold medal at the GABF was like Denton getting the medal as well. The place’s motto and beer is “North of Ordinary.” Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale 5.2 percent ABV is a regional brew whose name will make any native feel as much pride as what Armadillo puts into making the beer. For events, follow Armadillo on Facebook, as it is relatively new to the scene. But keep an eye for it in different venues all across North Texas as Armadillo quickly grows in popularity.

Audacity Brew House
Established 2014 audacitybrewhouse.com
Never has a brewer been more about community than Audacity. Based in Denton, Audacity has set out to reach out to the people it serves. These people know what beer pairs well with what food, but they also know it’s futile when a person can afford neither the beer nor the food. So they made it their mission to support food drives and feed the hungry, letting the quality of their beer speak for itself in the process. The Black Widow Imperial Chocolate Stout 8.8 percent ABV was a gold medalist at the Best Little Brewfest in Texas and will warm you up inside and out. Tours are free every Saturday 3-7 p.m. A taproom is open Tuesday through Thursday 2-9 p.m, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Bearded Eel Craft Brewery
Established 2014beardedeel.com
This Nano-brewery start up in Fort Worth was founded by couple B.J. and Becky Burnett. Every beer brewed here is done in a one-and-a-half-barrel system giving every batch the love and attention it deserves. Their beer theory is when a person drinks a beer, they should taste the ingredients and experience a complexity that only can be found when it’s made by someone who truly loves the product they make. The Texican 6.24 percent ABV is a Serrano chili pepper infused ale that promises you it’s not spicy, but actually perfectly crisp for the summertime. Tours are every Friday (with some exceptions) 6-9 p.m. for $12-$15 depending on your choice of cup and this tour is reserved for 21 and up only.

FireWheel Brewing Company
Established 2012firewheelbrewing.com
Just a few guys from Dallas trying to take part in the beer revolution sweeping the state of Texas, and they’re doing a hell of a job at it. They cover the full spectrum of beer in their brewing repertoire and deliver solid flavored brews that are sure to quench the snobbiest of beer nerd’s thirst. They know what makes Texas great and they incorporate that into their beer: bigger is better. Their TPA 6.0 percent ABV is an example of a perfectly balanced Texas Pale Ale. Tap room hours are as follows: Thursdays and Fridays 6-9ish p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m.-9ish p.m., and Sundays noon-6ish p.m. Brewery tours are every Saturday at noon, 2, 4, and 6 p.m. Tickets for all tours are $10 each and go on sale when the taproom opens at 11 a.m. that day, first-come, first-serve. And they didn’t forget about the DD with their own craft brew root beer and other sodas on tap.

Rabbit Hole Brewing
Established 2014rabbitholebrewing.com
This brewery located in Justin focuses on unrepresented beer styles and provides customers with the storied mythos of excellence, eccentricity, and uniqueness. But that mythos turns into something worth believing as it follows through in the results. Mike Modano’s 561 Kolsch-style Beer 4.7 percent ABV was crafted to commemorate Mike’s record career goals for U.S.-born hockey players, 561 showcases German pilsner malt, noble hops, and a meticulous fermentation regimen. Tours are every Saturday noon-4 p.m. Events on Thursdays can include any number of various activities sure to amuse and entertain, but for an even more trippy experience, just check out the website.

Ivanhoe Ale Works
Established 2015 – (website in progress)
Check out Facebook for all of the info and updates. Ivanhoe Ale Works is located in historic downtown Denison, an area known to me through my way up to Choctaw. These guys have an extensive 25-year background in wining with the Homestead Winery, which is exactly where they decided to set up shop next to. Their true object of desire was a company that combined brewing craft beer side by side with fine wine, becoming Texas’ first wine-brew. The Ivanhopa IPA 7 percent ABV is by far the crowd favorite, but you can expect much more to come. You can come in Mondays and Tuesdays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Wednesdays through Saturdays 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and drink beer, or tour and taste for $10 every Saturday 1-4 p.m.

Bitter Sisters Brewing Company
Established 2015 bittersistersbrewing.com
The only brewery operating in the Addison city limits, it strives to serve an area highly concentrated with experienced drinkers and restaurant hoppers. The family-operated brewery brews mostly German-style lagers. Though pretty standard, this beer will make you question the norm. The Busy Body Blonde Lager 5.92 percent ABV is the kind of beer that’s always up in everybody’s business but is approachable to the point that dammit if you don’t still want to be friends with it. Bitter in attitude, but not in taste. Tasting room is open Saturdays 11 a.m-3 p.m.

3 Nations Brewery Company
Established 2015threenationsbrewery.com
This brewery took over Grapevine Craft Brewery’s old space located in Farmers Branch right off I-35 after demand had exceeded capacity. If history is any indication, the same will be the fate of 3 Nations, as demand for craft brewery is not dependent upon one brewery alone. But that doesn’t mean these people aren’t happy with their present location. They take pride in the friendships and close relationships they form not only with the people they serve their beer to, but those who help them do it. Selection is small, with just two beers to choose from: The American Wit 5.5 percent ABV and the GPA German Pale Ale 5.2 percent ABV. Only been open for just a little over a month. Tours are still in the process of getting set up.

Oak Highlands Brewery
Established 2015oakhighlandsbrewery.com
Dallas’ Lake Highlands neighborhood now is home to its own brewery after Oak Highlands Brewery opened July 18. Owners Brad Mall and Derrin Williams rolled out a selection of five beers, including a tripel, dunkelweizen, kölsch, IPA and Dortmunder lager. The brews will be available at the brewery’s taproom as well as local bars, restaurants and stores. Food trucks will be stationed around the brewery on weekends. If I had to pick a beer off the bat, I’d go with the DfDub 7 percent ABV for its choice of banana and clove hints in a dark wheat brew. Customers can stop by the brewery for a glass of beer between 4-8 p.m Thursdays and Fridays and between noon-6 p.m. on Saturdays, $15 admission gets you everything you could ask for, food, beer and something to put it in, and live music.

Tupps Brewery
Established 2015tuppsbrewery.com
Handcrafted in McKinney, this beer is tested first with the eyes and then with the nose. Tupps founder and head brewer Tupper Patnode expected nothing less of his beers other than to clarify loudly what it means to be a Texas beer. Quality of content and attractive personalities in both taste and form, these brews take home the aesthetics award. Texas Shade 5.1 percent ABV is the optimal drought-killer wheat and the perfect escape from the Texas sun. Pet and kid friendly, happy hours at the beer garden are Wednesday and Thursday 4-8 p.m., Fridays 4-10 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m.-10 .pm. Tours and tastings are scheduled on their Events section on their web page.

Four Bullets Brewery
Established 2015fourbulletsbrewery.com
Four Bullets is a collaborative effort between Andrew Smeeton and Jeff Douglas, with the former handling head brewer duties and the latter taking on the role of sales manager and assistant brewer. It’s a synchronized partnership and an unmatched duo in Nano-brewing. Each beer brewed here comes with a Texas twist and tells you in its taste it was made with love and an unrivaled bond to the craft. Two Pairs Pale Ale 5 percent ABV is a west coast pale ale, hoppy but not overly hopped, well balanced with hints of citrus, and a great aroma. Open Saturdays noon-6 p.m., this little brewery in Richardson is proving to be the David in David and Goliath among craft breweries, but give it time. Build it, and they will come.

So there you have it, if you have beer stuck on the mind, you better go put some in your stomach. And  why not learn a little something along the way? There’s a lot of new beers out there, and a lot of cool and interesting folks rewriting the standards of beer. Craft beer and breweries have expanded exponentially and for every beer you have tried, there’s a beer you haven’t. And microbrews was made to be shared with friends. I hope this guide finds you and yours well and perhaps sparks a new appreciation for something that has always been so delicious.