Fort Worth's craft beer scene gets a major player with the arrival of Lone Star Taps & Caps, a growler bar opening in the Village at Camp Bowie in the former Portafino space.
Taps & Caps was launched in 2014 by Rick Ali, owner of Carrollton liquor store Lone Star Beverages, known across Dallas-Fort Worth as one of the top destinations to find interesting craft beers. Ali opened the first Taps & Caps in Lewisville as a way to expand into the realm of growlers, whereby customers can bring in a bottle and get rare brews on tap to-go.
Avid fans of craft beer, Ali and his father, Sam, were ahead of the craft beer curve when they opened Lone Star Beverages in Carrollton in 2006, where they've specialized in offering local, national, and international craft beers, some hard-to-find.
At Taps & Caps, they feature craft beer onsite or to-go: in growlers, pints, flights, packaged beer, and more. In addition to craft beers on tap, they sell more than 500 unique cold cans and bottles, allowing patrons to create their own personalized beer package.
The concept has been such a success that they opened a branch in Denton in January 2016 at 505 W. Hickory St. that's four times larger than the original in Lewisville.
"One thing we discovered with Lewisville is that people wanted to linger, so we adapted the concept a little bit, to make it easier for people to hang out," Ali says. "We added a full bar where you can sit."
The Denton space provides them with an opportunity to host cool events such as the upcoming BrainDead Brewing food and beer pairing, where the Dallas brewpub will serve a four-course meal paired with its own brew.
They'll install a bar at the Fort Worth location, which, at 2,800 square feet, is smaller than Denton but larger than Lewisville. They're also adding an expanded cooler that runs at least 15 doors wide. "Anybody who's a beer drinker can find something from us," he says.
His target opening for Fort Worth is summer 2016. The city was at the top of his list because he got so many requests from customers who were driving from Tarrant County to his Lewisville shop.
"We looked at so many properties, but I didn't have that feeling until I saw the one on Camp Bowie," he says. "That area is similar to Lewisville, where you have people who want to hang out, but not stay out all night. It's close to the bar scene, but not in the middle of the bar scene. You can come in and have a flight of beers and go home."
It won't end with Fort Worth, as Ali has designs on Dallas and other cities around North Texas.
"We're looking at Frisco and McKinney, and we're getting calls from cities who are asking, 'How do we get you guys to open here?'" he says. "I just try to think where there might be a need for more great beer."