It’s no secret that a glut of craft breweries has sprung up in North Texas. What was once the domain of Franconia in McKinney and Rahr & Sons in Fort Worth has yielded 10 breweries. It’s gotten to the point where Shiner can’t really be considered “local” anymore. It seems a new brewery pops up each month, and the existing ones roll out a new beer every few weeks.
And the scene is only getting bigger. These breweries are on the horizon: 903 Brewers in Sherman, Armadillo Ale Works in Denton, Independent Ale Works in Krum, Martin House Brewing in Fort Worth, Noble Rey Brewing Co. in Grapevine, Rabbit Hole Brewing in Justin, Wobbegong Brewing Co. in Fort Worth, Grapevine Craft Brewing, and Reunion Brewing in the Dallas Design District.
Quite frankly, we're overwhelmed. But this is the best kind of problem to have, and we know just how to fix it. Pop the top of your favorite beverage while you peruse our list of local brews and breweries.
Cedar Creek Brewery
The story: One of the many that opened in 2012, Cedar Creek Brewery is located right next to Cedar Creek Reservoir, because duh. The environmentally conscious decision to use cans instead of bottles also makes it a perfect local selection for days out on the water.
What to drink: Try the very punny and refreshing Lawn Ranger Cream Ale when it's hot outside. Or you can use it to keep your mouth from melting when you decide to challenge your friends to a jalapeño-eating contest.
Tours: Saturday, noon-3 pm. $7 includes pint glass and three samples.
Community Beer Company
The story: Community Beer Company is the baby of the scene, having just opened in January. However, its newness does not translate to a lack of experience. Brewmaster Jamie Fulton was once the award-winning proprietor of Fort Worth’s Covey Restaurant and Brewery. Throw in a high-tech yeast development lab, and the future certainly looks bright.
What to drink: Community Lager. The Vienna lager has a copper color and clean, crisp finish that is part traditional development and part state-of-the-art technology.
Tours: Saturday, 2-5 pm. $10 includes glass and samples.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company
The story: Know that Deep Ellum Brewing Company has a Beerfesto. John Reardon birthed the brewery from a singular frustration at bad, watered-down corporate beer. He teamed up with legendary brewer Drew Huerter to found Deep Ellum Brewing, the first craft brewer in Dallas. We’re thankful, particularly because Deep Ellum Brewing rocks some serious style and panache that makes it anything but boring.
What to drink: Some of the beers on this list will put some hair on your chest. But for Deep Ellum Brewing, we like the Dallas Blonde, a cheeky blonde ale that’s full of light floral and citrusy hops. It’s smooth — but if you consume too many, you won’t be when you try talking to an actual Dallas blonde.
Tours: Thursday, 6-8:30 pm; Saturday, noon to 3 pm. $10 includes pint glass and beer samples.
The story: The idea for Firewheel sprouted when founder Brad Perkinson went to Oktoberfest Munich in 2009 for his bachelor party. The Rowlett brewery opened in mid-2012, and although it is small, it is poised for growth.
What to drink: The Midnight Ninja. This black ale is smoother than it might initially look, meaning it’s not the kind of beer to weigh you down after a couple of pints. Still, at 8 percent ABV, don’t let it sneak up on you.
Tours: Saturday, 11 am-3 pm. $10 includes glass and three samples.
Four Corners Brewing Company
The story: Part of the burgeoning Trinity Groves development west of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Four Corners boasts a style as big as the giant rooster on the side of the brewery. It seems weird to think of it as one of the young guns when most of these breweries are still teething, but Four Corners opened in November 2012.
What to drink: Red’s Roja. This amber ale has got a ruby body and an easy-drinking attitude with a little hop to it.
Tours: Thursday, 4, 6 and 8 pm. $10 includes glass and samples.
Franconia Brewing Company
The story: Brewmaster Dennis Wehrmann was born to brew. His great-great-grandfather began the family tradition back in Germany in the 19th century. Franconia has a ways to go to match that longevity, but considering that it’s celebrating its fifth anniversary in February, it’s the second oldest brewery in North Texas.
What to drink: Franconia Octoberfest. Trust the German to create an Octoberfest beer full of body and spirit. It’s a seasonal, so if you can’t get it, go with the Franconia Wheat, a well-balanced and fruity hefeweizen perfect for spring afternoons on a patio.
Tours: Saturday, 11 am-1 pm. $5 includes beer samples.
Lakewood Brewing Company
The story: One of the first wave of breweries to open in 2012, Lakewood Brewing Company is a Garland-based joint with simple, well-executed standards like a Vienna-style lager, a Belgian-style IPA and more. Owner Wim Bens should know something about Belgian-style beer; he was born in Belgium.
What to drink: The Temptress. Oh, this beer will tempt you, all right. At 9.1 percent ABV, this Imperial Milk Stout isn’t messing around. But it’s so smooth and chocolatey that you want it to whisper inappropriately in your ear.
Tours: Saturday, noon-3 pm. $10 cash includes four samples and glass.
Peticolas Brewing Company
The story: Peticolas is the brewery that everyone else is chasing right now. Hot off a gold medal for English Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival, for the Royal Scandal, Peticolas has been raking in the awards, including Best Beer by the Dallas Observer, for the Velvet Hammer. Owner Michael Peticolas is a former lawyer who is keeping the brewery's growth small but the quality big.
What to drink: The Observer was right about this one: Velvet Hammer is beautiful. It’s a dark, ruby-brown ale that’s equal parts sweet caramel and floral hops. At 9 percent ABV, it challenges the Temptress for supremacy in alcohol levels and quality. Both are excellent beers, just in totally different ways.
Tours: First and third Saturday of every month. $10 includes glass and three beer samples.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
The story: The granddaddy of them all, Rahr & Sons has stuck around since fall 2004 because of the attention to quality. Founder Fritz Rahr’s family has been brewing for more than 150 years, and it shows at this Fort Worth establishment. The year-round lineup is a stable of consistency, but the seasonals are something to behold.
What to drink: The Winter Warmer. Actually, if you can find it, the Bourbon Barrel Winter Warmer is worth the hunt, but the regular English dark ale is still delicioso. Unfortunately, it’s only available during the winter months. For year-round, try the Ugly Pug, a black lager with notes of dark chocolate and coffee.
Tours: Saturday, 1-3 pm; Wednesday, 5-7:30 pm. $10 includes glass and samples. Fritz tends to bust out his specialty and experimental brews on Wednesdays.
The story: The brainchild of father and son Ron and Rhett Keisler, as well as master brewer Grant Wood, Revolver Brewing opened in Granbury in fall 2012. The guys pay attention to local ingredients, including water from the Trinity Aquifer, which we believe to be cleaner than the Trinity River in Dallas.
What to drink: Blood & Honey. Okay, first of all, that’s how you name a beer. Second, this American wheat ale lives up to its name, with blood orange zest and local honey added to the brew, giving it a flavor that you won’t find anywhere else.
Tours: Saturday, noon-3 pm. $7 includes glass and samples.