Over the past decade, the demand for craft beer has blazed through Northern Texas, leaving fertile soil for plenty of breweries to sprout. Amidst these dozens of taprooms in the Dallas region, we found many that embody all the things we love about craft breweries: the limitless innovation, brave ambition, inventive creativity, developed traditions, and entrepreneurial enthusiasm. But when pressed to pick, we narrowed the list down to 11 breweries that we believe shine brightest in the Big D city.
The Rahr family’s love for beer began in America in 1847 when William Rahr and his family immigrated from Rhineland, Germany. Since William, thanks to his family history of brewers, could brew beer of better quality than “the typical kitchen brew,” he opened and successfully ran Eagle Brewery, the first lager brewery in Wisconsin. 160 years later, William’s great-great-grandson, Frederick William “Fritz” Rahr, Jr. couldn’t deny the craft of his family past. He opened Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. in 2004 and has been producing a wide range of quality brews since. Rahr & Sons prove to the people that beer just comes naturally to them, and they honor the lagering history of their family’s older brewery, showcasing several crisp, bready brews on their menu. But lagers aren’t the only thing Rahr & Sons knows how to brew well, and you’ll soon agree after sipping on some of their experimental recipes.
Try this: Paleta De Mango
This palette pleaser is juicy and tropical with flavors of ripe mango, fresh lime, and Mexican Pequin chiles. Buen provecho!
Martin House makes beers that can be paired to any life experience – from hefty stouts to bright, light blonde ales. They feel no responsibility to brew their beers to style, and they let this boundless freedom inspire them to brew creative beers that taste great.
Try this: True Love raspberry sour ale
Extremely drinkable and hiding any evidence of its 5.2%ABV, this delicious berry brew will have you starry-eyed and stumblin’ in no time. True Love has been kettle soured and fermented with fresh raspberry puree, giving the drink a pretty purple hue. You’ll be crushing on this crushable brew in no time.
Like many other successful breweries, 903 combines their drive for creativity with their respect for beers that are brewed to style. In preparation for opening, head brewer and founder Jeremy Roberts created a long list of recipes while homebrewing and tested them out on friends and family to see which one the people would want. By the time they opened in 2013, Jeremy had brewed hundreds of recipes and had found his balance of tradition and innovation that worked just perfectly for the locals. But tasty, interesting beers won’t be all that you enjoy when stopping by 903 Brewers. Schedule your visit during a trivia or movie night, grab a bite on Fridays from local food vendors on site, or take a tour through the brewery on Saturday.
Try this: Friday Slide
This brew was made to mimic a brilliantly smooth bar favorite – the Irish car bomb. Taking their flagship Chocolate Milk Stout base, 903 added Irish Cream and Irish Coffee to make some smooth, creamy, mocha delight.
Despite his name, founder Gary Humble didn’t come out to the brew scene with quiet modesty. From the first month, Humble’s beers began gaining attention, and now, they’ve racked up nearly 30 awards from the Great American Beer Festival, Brewski Awards, U.S. Open Beer Championship, and several others. In addition to brewing delicious drinks, Humble built out a beautiful patio that opens up right in the midst of historic downtown Grapevine, Texas. And Grapevine Craft Brewery makes sure to schedule great local east from food truck vendors for their hungry, thirsty customers.
Try this: Sir Williams
Taking most of Grapevine’s award winnings by storm, Sir Williams was their first beer to win them a GABF medal. And it has continued to captivate judges across the country. Why not give it a try too? This beer was brewed to mimic traditional English style brown ales, but you may notice that it has a heartier, malty profile and a complexity to the flavors and body. Despite its strength, Humble was determined to make this beer balanced, so that it pleased the average American palette.
Revolver Brewing reached North Texas in 2012, and since then they’ve become one of the most popular craft breweries in the region. Their beers are straight forward, consistent, brewed to style, with good variation. Any embellishments to their recipes are thoughtful but few, which makes this brewery approachable to the masses. And this has not gone unnoticed by big dog MillerCoors, who recently bought Revolver Brewing. But the owners promised us that the MillerCoors acquisition won’t fundamentally alter Revolver, just distribute their beers a bit further so their quality beers can be more widely enjoyed.
Try this: Sangre Y Miel
Revolver tried their hand at the first sour on the menu with this tart beaut. Taking one of their top sellers, Revolver aged the brew for over one year in Chardonnay barrels, creating a tart, lemony, and spiced beer. If sour and strong doesn’t match your style, try the original, lighter and less tart version of Sangre Y Miel, the Blood & Honey American Ale, which has been brewed with blood orange peel and fermented with Texas honey.
A true startup, this brewery grew from the work of one man and many volunteers with no experience in the brewing industry. Michael Peticolas gained inspiration from the delicious brews his mom would make for him and the family on long, hot Texas summers. Despite their humble beginnings, Peticolas began winning numerous local and national awards within the first year of operations. The tap room features beautiful, light-stained wooden tables, and several open levels. Find a variety of beer styles from the 18 brews on tap, including a few that pour deliciously on nitro.
Try this: Sledge Hammer
A bulked-up version of Peticolas’ first award-winning red ale, Velvet Hammer, this beer is made with the first runnings – the good stuff – of the Velvet Hammer brew. Then, combining this sweet, strong liquid with a lot of hops, Peticolas presented its drinkers with a bigger, stronger version of one of their favorite brews. If it worked the first time, why not see if it works on steroids.
Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins had been mulling over the idea of opening their own brewery for years before the day finally came, and the process was a slow, tedious build up. Especially when Deep Ellum Brewing Company invited Armadillo Ale to make, sell, and distribute their beer under Deep Ellum’s roof. Soon Armadillo Ale was known throughout the area and winning awards for their striking recipes. But it wasn’t until 2018 when they finally opened the doors to their own facility. One could say this eight-year process was a blessing in disguise. Not only were their beers well known before their doors even opened, but also, the founders’ determined desire for and knowledge about craft brewing had practically matured, and you can taste this experience when sipping at one of their delicious concoctions.
Try this: Royal Champ
Armadillo Ale Works creates this regal brew with a crisp malted barley base. Inspired by the cold, fruity Peruvian drink, Chicha Morada, Mullins added purple corn nectar to the brew and fermented this blend with champagne yeast to create a true Texas style champagne ale. Enjoy this light, effervescent, easy-drinker on the patio in the afternoon Texan heat.
Four Corners Brewing Company is where, cultural values, local roots, boundless innovation, and craft beer intersect. The gorgeous taproom, bombed with color, was built into a former carriage house from the 1900s. Inside, there’s a constant flow of unique beers, kombucha, soda, and sparkling water to quench any of your thirsty cravings. This brewery celebrates the beautiful blend of Texan culture, their logo being a proud rooster, and cans decorated with the stunning, vibrant colors and features of Hispanic countries. Join the community there on their weeknight events like Vinyasa and Brew, Trivia Night, and Loteria (a quintessential Mexican bingo-like game).
Try this: La Lechuza
This s’more stout draws the drinker away to the hill country, snug in a sleeping bag under a starry night. The rich, robust body of this brew creates a duet of milk and dark chocolate with a vanilla marshmallow taste and mouthfeel. The very low bitterness, if any, comes from the roasted malts, and its low carbonation makes this drink smooth and creamy. If you’re lucky enough to catch this release in October, savor the tasty drink as you do the short cold seasons before the dry Texan heat blows once more.
Born in Belgium, Lakewood Brewing founder, Wim Bens, considered Texas his home, but couldn’t find that taste-of-Belgium amidst Texan beers, until he happened upon American craft breweries and their experimental styles. This discovery and a love for both art and science drove Bens directly toward the career goal of opening his own brewery. And in 2012, Lakewood Brewing Company opened its doors. Though Bens made sure to incorporate plenty of seating in his large and open taproom, his beers bring crowds to the brewery, and they often find themselves packed to capacity. Make sure to snag yourself some suds and a seat quick!
Try this: All Call Kolsch
Lakewood searched to find the perfect recipe for a bright, light, crispy Kolsch and they landed on All Call. This beer is slightly fruity and has a clean dry finish, perfect for new and experienced craft beer drinkers alike. Pair bread with bread and order yourself a Pit Commander Texapolitan Pizza pie (served Tuesday-Sunday).
If the name didn’t make it clear enough, their mission, branding, beers, and vibe does: This brewery exists to build community. They believe that beer can be an integral part of influencing local culture and creating memorable experiences, and they take their beers seriously as well as their part in supporting local artists, musicians, and charities. Join them for some jovial trivia nights or their Pints & Pups dog-rescue event. Enjoy some of their rarer, canned seasonals, like their summer release, Razzy, a Belgian-style witbier with raspberries, or their late fall release, Snickerdoodle Ale, which is a spiced, mild ale with cinnamon and vanilla. But Community Beer also brews a wide variety of inclusive core beers, making sure that everyone who walks into the taproom can find something they like.
Try this: Silly Gose
Community Beer Company takes a twist on this 1,000-year-old German-style brew. Their Gose is tart and tropical with tangerine peel and apricot puree. It’s been such a hit, that Community Beer has established Silly Gose a spot on their year-round lineup this year. Taste the tart sipper yourself and see how this Silly Gose is quite seriously delicious.
Locals can’t decide whether the beer or the brilliant events keep bringing them back to Deep Ellum Brewing Company. With over twenty unique recipes like their American sour blonde ale, Play Date, and nearly monthly exciting events like their Brew-BQ and the Annual Charity Chili Cookoff, locals are hard pressed to decide. Because Deep Ellum is doing both things right.
Founder of Deep Ellum, John Reardon, sought out to blow past the status quo of beer (what he describes as “watching big, corporate breweries pumping out the same old dull, watered-down stuff, slapping a different label on it, and telling you that you have choices”). In response to “watching beer’s good name being tarnished,” the people of Deep Ellum Brewing Company pledged to let their beer do the talking, remember their roots, and never serve a glass of bad beer. So far, most everyone who leaves their brewery thinks Deep Ellum has honored this bold beer-festo.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company is happily snug among the dozens of arts and entertainment venues composing the rest of the Deep Ellum neighborhood. And the brewery fits right in with the area’s quirky and unbound art. Their taproom and beer labels is a sporadic Crayola box of colors. It’s playful, carefree, and does have a twinge of sticking it to the macrobrew man through the loud, bold, and colorful branding.
Try this: Deep Summer
Though certainly not the wildest brew on the menu, this summer ale will build your trust for Deep Ellum’s brewing skills and style. Once you’ve seen how easily they’ve balanced the challenging and delicate flavors of hibiscus, lemon peel, and chamomile flowers, you’ll be ready to jump into some of the more experimental recipes Deep Ellum offers, like their Neato Bandito, an imperial Mexican Style lager, or their Four Swords, a 4-year Cabernet red wine barrel-aged Belgian-style quadruple. Step onto this spiced summer train, and enjoy the rest of the ride that Deep Ellum has in store.
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