Dallas-Fort Worth is awash in beer. More than a dozen local breweries have debuted in the past three years. A wall of taps has become a must-have for any new restaurant or bar. Where thirsty beer drinkers previously had few bars beyond Flying Saucer or Ginger Man, we can now find a decent beer just about anywhere we sup.
With so many sudsy spots, we need a guide to find the best beer selections. We're not talking about local; there are excellent bars such as Luck and Craft & Growler that are dedicated almost entirely to locally made brews.
For our list, we looked at who was pouring interesting new beers, tapping rare kegs and hosting beer events. If you are ready to take the next sip in your beer journey, put these 10 bars on your list.
If you didn't know your pale ale from your porter, you might mistake this place for just another Deep Ellum bar (and the regulars would just as soon keep their little treasure a secret). You'll find esteemed Belgian beers next to local limited editions like the recent Deep Ellum cherry chocolate stout. The food's excellent too, with nightly specials such as steak with lobster mac and cheese, as well as a fabulously groggy weekend brunch.
If you want to rub elbows with Dallas-Fort Worth's beer literati, this restaurant-bar is the place. One way to gauge its excellent selection and turnover is the fact that it sells more drafts than bottles; there are 28 taps. With the wide-ranging collection of sours, chocolate stouts, Belgian strong ales and more, Common Table is a beer nerd's paradise. It throws frequent events and hosts breweries such as St. Arnold, who reward that commitment with special releases.
Before anyone thought about drinking beer, Flying Saucer had the prototypical wall of taps that has become a fixture at any new bar. Keith Schlabs was an early missionary for good beer while the rest of Texas was still worshipping Bud. The plentiful selection at the Addison branch is typical, with 150 bottles and 100 taps. And every year, the Flying Saucer on the Lake hosts an annual beer festival, which long pre-dated the current beer festival mania.
The Ginger Man is the other old-timer, first founded in Houston but with three branches around Dallas-Fort Worth, plus another coming soon to Lakewood. Though quick to get on board with craft and local beers, Ginger Man has always had a European focus, with its pub atmosphere; outdoor beer garden; and broad selection of Belgian ales, Oktoberfest brews, and British and German beers.
Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House
This beer-and-burger joint gives the far East Dallas neighborhood a much-appreciated hip place to hang, but it also boasts a craft beer cabinet that make it worth driving to if you don't live nearby. Its two dozen taps run from local brews to rarities, and you can count on Goodfriend to have the coolest new brews in town. Current example: Odell Brewing, which marked its entry to Texas with a release at Goodfriend.
Holy Grail Pub
Here's the beer haven if you live in Collin County — or if you like specialty beer so much you'll make the drive from Dallas. This Plano pub always has something interesting on tap, as well as regular dinners, events and special releases. Co-owner Brian Rudolph is a serious beer aficionado who puts aside beers he loves to share with customers when they're long out of print.
Unassuming Greenville Avenue pub has the goods, displayed over the bar on a sprawling chalkboard display. Libertine is a favorite of local breweries like Lakewood, which offered previews of its beer here before it launched. But the Libertine has some of the cool out-of-town stuff being poured at places like the Flying Saucer, without the big crowds. Plenty of dinners and events too.
This grown-up cousin of the Flying Saucer had much to do with taking beer from the realm of geeky beer nerd into the mainstream. When it opened, its wall of 40-plus taps was a mind-blower, and it still remains the most impressive in town. You can go there every night and discover a new beer or partake of a one-of-a-kind tapping.
This quirky family-owned bar in an emerging neighborhood on Fitzhugh is like a secret club, where you must pay your dues to earn the respect of the staff and fellow customers. The reward: some of the more sought-after beer rarities around. It's a miracle that a feisty little guy like Strangeways can get the brews it does. A massive chalkboard on the wall displays the current lineup.
World of Beer
The location near SMU is misleading. So are the noisy trivia nights and the drink specials. Just look at the beer situation: the wall of taps, supplemented by glass refrigerators holding bottle after bottle. World of Beer gets all the good stuff and hosts keg tappings regularly. An accompanying menu of snacks such as the jumbo pretzel helps soak up the suds.