I am afraid that I’m being spoiled as a beer drinker in Dallas. My move back to Dallas last year from Austin was right in step with the local craft explosion, and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind, hopping from one brewery to the next, trying to absorb every new beer that comes out.
Although I’ve been drinking for a while now, most of that was spent on Keystone and Miller Lite (because, you know, college). When I came to Dallas, it was as though I was wandering in out of the wilderness to find that the world I knew had passed me by.
And bars are great, for so many more reasons than there is room here to discuss, but at some point, it gets exhausting and expensive to chase the newest local or latest out-of-state import from bar to bar. Sometimes it’s necessary to kick back and enjoy a brew in your own atmosphere.
Sometimes it’s necessary to kick back and enjoy a brew in your own atmosphere.
Both offer a wide, wide array of beers, but as their names suggest, Craft and Growler and Bottle Shop specialize in particular areas of craft brew delivery.
Literally across the street from the entrance to Fair Park, Craft and Growler has a strong focus on Texas beers, ranging from Franconia in McKinney to Adelbert’s in Austin or Pflugerville’s Rogness.
Their filling stations accommodate the range of growlers they offer, from the $7 glass variety to the $150 ceramic ones that are as much works of art as they are beer containers.
Valuing a bit more function, my C&G growler is the $50 double-walled stainless steel “hydroflask” version. It’s the kind of investment that made me realize that I’ve gone further down the rabbit hole than I even knew. But the fact that it sat on a boat without ice for six hours and was as cold and fresh as a pour from a tap helped me feel like I didn’t spend foolishly.
The next goal is to take it floating on the river and not lose it.
It’s worth noting that Craft and Growler sells a handful of high-end bottled crafts that are hard to come by at places like Spec’s, but it’s not a priority. That is why the Bottle Shop on Lower Greenville forms such a nice pair.
Across from the Libertine, the Bottle Shop has taps of local and well-known national craft beers and growlers, which you can fill with those taps. But, well, it’s called the Bottle Shop for a reason.
Where the physical limitation of tap space keeps Craft and Growler to 30-plus beers on any given night, the Bottle Shop’s walls and fridges are stocked with an assortment that reaches nearly 500 hundred bottles.
You’ll find staples like Stone IPA, but the volume encourages exploration. Never had a Wisconsin beer? You can at the Bottle Shop. Wondering what an apricot ale from Tadcaster, England, tastes like compared to one from Seattle? You are at the right place.
The two joints allow for enjoying a fresh pint on the premises, and I can’t dissuade anyone from following up on the offer. They’re both fun and relaxed beer meccas, offering more reflection and a slower pace than even the Ginger Man or the Common Table.
They’ll also take the time to help you out if you’re new to a type of beer or just craft beer in general.
It’s an increasingly dense world approaching wine-snob levels of pretentiousness in some corners, but Craft and Growler and the Bottle Shop, in particular, can help you navigate.
Of course, there’s no better way to learn than by drinking, whether it’s at a bar, on a balcony or in a boat.