The Dallas Design District is shaping up to be the city's brewery district. The latest is Texas Ale Project, which has been in soft-opening mode, but a grand opening celebration is slated for April 25.
The brewery is the family project of husband and wife Brent Thompson and Kat Stevens, who began making beer in 2003. They're joined by brewmaster Jan Matysiak, who went to school in Germany and apprenticed at a brewery there before moving to the United States in 2008, and assistant brewer Michael Harper, who attended school at American Brewers Guild in Vermont.
Their beer, which is available in more than 40 bars and restaurants around Dallas, includes first four staples: Fire Ant Funeral Amber Ale, Naked Truth American Wheat, Somethin' Shady Porter and 50 FT Jackrabbit IPA.
They're calling Texas Ale Project, or T.A.P., the "first Dallas brewery to be completely built from the ground up since Prohibition." They can get away with that, because unlike other breweries, they built the location at 1001 N. Riverfront Blvd. rather than moving into an existing building. You gotta get your hooks where you can find them.
"The plot of land where we're located originally had another building," Harper says. "We had to raze it and build it new, and it's a great space with high ceilings and a spectacular set of windows on the front facade."
The brewery has already garnered a following for its beer, particularly the Fire Ant, which Harper calls a "great example of the amber-style ale," and the American wheat, which they "dry hop." The porter has the roasty, chocolate-caramel-coffee notes you'd expect; the newly introduced IPA has citrus notes offset by a crisp bitterness. "But you don't have to be a beer nerd to get into our stuff," Harper says.
One laudable trait: Nothing in the lineup is more than 7 percent ABV, meaning you won't get hammered after drinking a bottle or two.
Tickets for the grand opening event are available on Eventbrite, and details about the brewery and releases can be found on Facebook. Meanwhile, the tap room is open Thursdays and Fridays, from 5 to 9 pm, and Saturdays, from 1 to 9 pm.
Harper says they're proud to join a respectable brewers' league in the Design District. "You have Community Brewing, and then Peticolas, and Noble Rey are getting ready to open soon," he says. "Four Corners is over towards Bishop Arts but I can almost see them from here."