Whether its your first trip to the DFW area or your fiftieth, if you take a stroll in places where folks gather, you’ll notice that beards and man buns far outnumber boots and cowboy hats. However, while style has changed, taste has not. Texans still love their beer. We’re not content with the standard drafts that you can find just about anywhere, though. Here in DFW, artists and artisans are making new and exciting craft beers every day.
Craft breweries are seemingly popping out of nowhere, but in reality, the city’s history with craft beers dates back 160 years. When Frenchman Jean Monduel and his team of explorers landed on the banks of the Trinity River in 1857, his love of beer inspired him to open Dallas’ first brewery.
Since then, beer-loving innovators have established over 30 North Texas breweries, and to help you savor the best of the best, I’ve picked out five unique experiences that are far more than just watering holes. Whether you’re visiting town or a longtime resident, you’ll want to check out these joints:
Founder John Reardon and his merry band of misfits set out to challenge the status quo of Dallas beer, and they’ve done just that by creating the go-to venue in the city’s most eccentric and eclectic neighborhood.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company—home of the classic Deep Ellum IPA— holds an open house at its St. Louis Street location every Saturday. One ticket gets you an all-access, behind-the-scenes pass to the company’s brewhouse, plus three free drinks and a signature glass. Try the Cherry Chocolate Double Brown Stout, and thank me later. Learn more at deepellumbrewing.com.
Don’t let their name fool you—these fellas know exactly what they’re doing. Since opening in March of 2015 in downtown Dallas, owner-brewers Sam Wynne and Andrew Huerter have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. They currently have 13 beers on tap, and BrainDead recently won the Brewery of the Year award from the Dallas website Central Track. Plus, their convenient Main Street location is a stone’s throw away from Pecan Lodge Barbeque. Beer and BBQ, anyone?
Should you decide to go BrainDead, go with the founders’ favorite: Given To Rye, a dark concoction that they swear goes well with whiskey. I trust ‘em on that one. Find more at braindeadbrewing.com.
Head south on I-35 and exit Victory Park right across from the American Airlines Center to find what I would coin the Daniel Day-Lewis of breweries. Located in the heart of Dallas’ Design District (on Inspiration Drive no less), Community Beer Company has won every award you can think of.
Founder Kevin Carr’s Public Ale drink landed the company a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival just one year after their 2013 opening, and has since earned press plaudits from every publication in town. If that doesn’t pique your palate, picture this: his Co. is the only brewery in Texas to feature an on-site yeast lab. If you’re a beer nut like me, you’re probably foaming at the mouth at this point. If you’re not, try the Company’s Scotch Ale; you’ll be a convert to the crazy beer fandom in no time. Get sipping at communitybeer.com.
This Dallas-by-way-of Denton hot spot is located on Commerce Street just off I-75. Assembled by Lou Delaney, John Williams, Paul Williams and Jeff Brightwell—essentially the Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk of North Texas beer venues—this brand-new venue is 10,000 square feet of frothy fun.
Think of The Rustic with craft brews, replete with a classy chandelier and mural full of Dallas icons. If that doesn’t curry your favor, try the chef’s curry, or anything else on the delectable menu. Hint: It all goes well with the beer. Follow them on social media for more at Facebook.com/dotshophouse.
No DFW brewery list would be complete without a shout-out to the artistry happening in Fort Worth. Located right off Highway 121 near downtown, Martin House complements its wide selection of original beers with tours and tastings every Thursday and Saturday. Plan your tasting tour at martinhousebrewing.com.
If you like the taste of the tart, try the citrusy Salty Lady (and you’d be crazy not to). Then make a day of it and head out on the Fort Worth Ale Trail: a one-of-a-kind adventure that takes you to nine breweries in Fort Worth! Head to fortworth.com/aletrail for more info and add nine new breweries to your “To Drink” list.
As terrific as these breweries are, my top five only scratch the surface of all the beer brilliance to be found in the DFW. If you want to go a bit more off-the-beaten path to find some excellent artisan creations, look no further than 903 Brewers in Sherman, Texas. North Texas’ craft beer industry shows no signs of slowing down, and with venues like these, the next 160 years look as tasty as the last.
Featured Image: Dots Hop House and Cocktail Yard