At this point, it’s something of a cliché to mention how much the craft beer scene in North Texas has exploded in the last couple of years.
It’s not that it’s wrong — after all, there are more than a dozen breweries when there was only a handful in 2011 — it’s just a really easy way to categorize a movement that’s steadily branching out of a strictly niche setting.
What I find more interesting is how Dallas and the surrounding cities have responded to the proliferation of local craft breweries. As enjoyable as it is to toast pints at your residence, a movement is better examined by how the community embraces it.
So far, I’m hopeful. And I’m of the firm belief that there is no better indicator of collective integration than when different neighborhoods cultivate their own craft beer scenes. As good as places like Common Table, Craft and Growler and Meddlesome Moth are, they cannot serve the entire city if Dallas aspires to Denver-esque levels.
I’m of the firm belief that there is no better indicator of collective integration than different neighborhoods cultivating their own craft beer scenes.
There has to be a cross-city attempt, otherwise craft beer is resigned to the domain of bearded dudes who listen to Trampled By Turtles.
The growth of craft beer-centric bars is growing, as are the bars that are trading out kegs of Coors Light for Left Hand Milk Stout. It cannot be an overnight thing—something about Rome—but places like Luck in Trinity Groves are indicative of the attitude that it is coming, even if the owners of Luck have righteous beards themselves.
The derisively-named Bridge To Nowhere in fact drops you off at Trinity Groves, the relatively new land development that has attracted high-concept restaurants and not much else. It’s not a neighborhood in the sense that it’s an inorganic creation. How that sits with you is a personal consideration, but it is where Luck — short for Local Urban Craft Kitchen — resides.
What’s noteworthy about Luck is its devotion to beers both “local” and “craft.” It certainly helps that Four Corners Brewery, one of Trinity Groves first tenants, sits a block away.
And while I’ll abstain from a lengthy screed about the overwhelming sterility of Luck and its surroundings, it did remind me of a slightly cozier version of Mockingbird Taproom, the short-lived bar in Mockingbird Station that couldn’t reconcile its corporate sheen with the crunchy lifestyle that craft beer embraces.
Consider these growing pains as the insular craft beer scene expands and people attempt to make money off it. It’s not something really worth complaining about unless you’re a hardcore purist, which is something even brewers I know are reticent to advocate.
After all, the starving artist is a romantic abstract from the outside, but a diet of ramen noodles loses its luster quickly. Van Gogh lost his shit for a number of reasons, but being too rich wasn’t one of them.
So even though Luck’s aesthetic is more high-end strip mall than where craft beer bars are typically found, it is arguably the beginning of the next wave of Dallas’ evolution in embracing the movement.
The fact that Luck exists now is a welcome sign that North Texas is taking the right steps out of the primordial sludge towards a thriving future full of pints.
The beer list, as Luck’s letters might suggest, is wholly local. Everything available hails from North Texas. This, I believe, is incredibly important. As much as I enjoy the craft beer imports from Colorado, California, Michigan and other states, it is vital to show that local beer is capable of supporting itself as a viable entity under the craft beer umbrella.
You can find plenty of imports in Denver or other craft beer meccas, but they didn’t earn that designation by dint of out-of-area vendors. They are the best because they have the means to support themselves as an functioning micro-economy.
What Luck does so well is display the depth of North Texas' craft beer scene. The wall is flush with around 40 taps of every local brewery ranging from established labels like Rahr and Sons and Deep Ellum Brewing to newcomers like Rabbit Hole Brewing and Grapevine Craft Brewery. Next to entrenched beers like Peticolas' Royal Scandal or Revolver's Blood and Honey on the wall sit Grapevine's Monarch and Armadillo Ale Work's Quakertown Stout.
Not every local beer is offered. But this is a good thing; it shows strength. Just a few years ago, Luck would've been resigned to carrying every beer by every brewery in North Texas, if they carried out their vision. It probably would not have been a smart decision, because it would have been akin to giving a participation medal to everyone on the team.
Luck exhibits the competition that can only make North Texas better. It allows beers and breweries to succeed and fail and from that comes a better product.
Whether Luck or any of the other beer bars will be there to see the evolution continue will be just another part of the growing pains. But the fact that Luck exists now is a welcome sign that North Texas is taking the right steps out of the primordial sludge towards a thriving future full of pints.