Wednesday, August 27, 2014

brewpub vs gastropub

For some reason I feel inclined to write a post about this. Countless times over the past few years I've heard references to both brewpub and gastropub being used interchangeably. And, countless times I've tried to explain the difference only to have the explanation go in one ear and out the other. Maybe words coming out of my mouth are confusing. I do admit, I'm a technical person and am at times unable to speak out loud in generalities and the point gets lost, even putting people to sleep at times. Hopefully writing about it is more clear and concise and can clear up some confusion (for those that may be confused that is).

Note: I know I'll probably miss intricate details in the TABC codes and licenses but that's not the point of this article. This article is to give a clear and concise, yet general, definition of both brewpub and gastropub so people know the difference.

Brewpub: Location where beer is brewed AND sold on-site. This simply means that the beer is brewed at the same place you purchase the beer.

However, because of a recent change in Texas alcohol laws, brewpubs that brew up to a certain amount can now self distribute. This simply means that you could find Pinthouse Pizza or the soon-to-be Brain Dead beer in your local beer store if they choose to do so.

Examples of brewpubs: Uncle Billy's, Pinthouse Pizza, Zio Carlo Brewpub, Black Star Co-op, Malai Kitchen

Fun Fact: Uncle Billy's in Austin is the first brewpub in Texas to self distribute. You can find their beer in several establishments in Austin and in cans as well.

Common question: Aren't brewpubs also restaurants? Not necessarily. Food does not have to be served to be a brewpub. Take Draught House in Austin for example. They are more of a bar than anything, but they also happen to brew their own beer on site, making them a brewpub. However, more times than not you will find a brewpub with a restaurant as well.

Tap Handles at gastropub LUCK

Gastropub: A restaurant not only dedicated to serving quality food but serving quality beer alongside it. Many gastropubs take it a step further and do beer dinners and beer tastings and employ certified cicerones and beer servers.

The term gastropub is being thrown around almost as haphazardly as Organic or Craft now, and this is disturbing to say the least. Oh, we have beer and food, we should call ourselves a gastropub and charge $8 for a beer. It is, in fact, all the rage right now. However, few truly grasp the concept and actually deliver. Meddlesome Moth and LUCK in Dallas are prime examples of a gastropub. It's right in between casual and fine dining with a heavy focus on the beer and food cohesiveness. The food isn't pretentious, more like elevated pub fare. Not only that, the beer is elevated with an educated staff (including a Certified Cicerone for their beer curator) and a dedication to proper serving. It's places like this where I don't mind spending a little extra for a pint because I know the quality put in behind it. Even then, a good gastropub won't charge any more than $5 or $6 for a regular (non special release) pint of beer (i.e standard pale ale, IPA, etc...), any more than that and you are taking away from the affordability and approachability of craft beer. I always say, if you're charging as much as an airport bar, you're too expensive! Another example of a great gastropub is Hopfields in Austin.

There are many gastropub posers out there, so beware. Just because local craft beer you have, does not a gastropub make you. Yep, just dropped a little Yoda on you.

For more information on the Dallas beer scene, check us out on Twitter and Facebook!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

lone star beverages? meet lone star taps & caps

The best bottle shop in Dallas is becoming a big sibling in the fall with the much desired addition to the family, a growler shop by the name of Lone Star Taps and Caps. Father/son duo Sam and Rick Ali have fast become THE bottle shop destination in the North Texas area. Lone Star Taps & Caps will stay in the North Dallas area, more specifically, 121 and Josey (near Top Golf and Target). Perfect! Since you'll be able to sit in the bar and have a beer, that two hour wait at Top Golf won't seem so bad now.

Lone Star Taps and Caps will also feature 50 taps...count them 50 taps!

Exactly how I feel Lone Starr.

When talking with Rick about this latest adventure, he was genuinely excited. He's truly in it to help the craft beer community grow and to help educate the public. His number one priority at Taps & Caps is quality over quantity. He was thinking about more taps at one point, but after a certain point quality can become almost impossible to maintain, especially for a small growler shop. I love Lone Star Beverages, it has become one of my favorite places to go for great beer and great service. I can't wait for this to open.

For more information on the Dallas beer scene, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

From the Press Release:
Coming this Fall, Lone Star Taps & Caps will be opening in Lewisville, just off Highway 121 and Josey, right near Target and across from Top Golf.

At Lone Star Taps & Caps, you will get a one of a kind experience including flights from 50 different taps of craft beers and ciders from all over the world as Taps & Caps will be the first retail establishment to offer growlers to go north of highway 635.

Father and son duo Sam & Rick Ali first established Lone Star Beverages in Carrollton, TX 8 years ago this month (2006). Being avid fans of craft beer and passionate about sharing their experience with others, they realized a need for a bottle shop in North Texas that not only had access to a great variety of craft beer, but also provided unparalleled customer service and product/industry knowledge.

Throughout the years, Lone Star Beverages has been recognized as one of the premier bottle shops in Texas from several sources such as BeerAdvocate (highest rated store in Texas),, and Yelp and has been features on several websites like Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer, and

As independent purveyors of craft beer in Texas since 2006, Lone Star Beverages has focused on providing North Dallas with a wide variety of local, national and international craft beers.

For Sam & Rick, Lone Star Taps & Caps is merely a continuation of the journey that began nearly a decade ago. With over 50 craft beers on tap, patrons will be able to enjoy fresh beer on-site or to-go. Taps & Caps will also have over 500 unique cold cans and bottles to choose from, allowing patrons an uncompromised craft beer experience to the community by building a craft beer exclusive establishment for North Dallas.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

lakewood brewing 2nd anniversary party

Lakewood Brewing Lions Share II

The anticipation for increasingly popular Lakewood Brewing and their second anniversary party at Goodfriend Beer Garden was quite evident that day when swarms of beer lovers lined up at 11am for an incredible beer list, including their second anniversary beer Lions Share II, a Berliner Weisse aged with black currants. The black currants not only lent a bit of tartness to an already tart beer, but also a beautifully deep red color. Lions Share II was pouring like crazy, blowing two kegs (hearsay) within just a couple of hours. It was my favorite of the day, and at only 3.6% abv it was a perfect session beer for that hot Texas summer day.

Along with Lions Share II, 16 other beers were flowing as well. Favorites included the fresh lemon and ginger Rock Ryder cask, Francisco (tequila barrel aged Lakewood Lager with ancho chiles), '13 BBT and La Dame du Bois (red win barrel aged La Dame du Lac). Lines were long and it was quite busy so it was hard to try any more than that within a reasonable amount of time. Also, kegs were floating like crazy at around 2pm.

The day was beautiful and perfect, and besides a rude bartender that pissed me off, the event was well organized and the beer was great. If you didn't get a chance to try any of these beers, I'm sure some will make an appearance at the amazing Texas Craft Brewer's Festival (tickets still on sale).


For more information on the Dallas beer scene, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, August 1, 2014

deep ellum brewing company

Tucked away in the eclectic downtown Dallas neighborhood known as Deep Ellum is a brewery that has helped pave the way for the rising popularity of craft beer in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Enter Deep Ellum Brewing Company, an unapologetically bold brewery that takes its marketing as serious as their beer. You know their yellow smiley face, you've seen it all around town (I have one on my beer fridge). But seriously, Deep Ellum Brewing helped make it cool to drink beer in Dallas.

John Reardon, one of the founders of Deep Ellum Brewing, is very proud of what they've accomplished with the brewery. It's hard to believe that they're less than three years old. They've made quite the dent in the craft beer scene in that short amount of time. Not surprising since they have a killer location and they have a kick ass patio to boot with room for live music. A Saturday tour can bring up to 400 people John said, which makes for one hell of a party. Oh, and they have beer there too. 

Their flagship IPA is a great representation of the Northwest coast style IPA, boasting huge floral notes along with pine and tropical fruit. Other favorites of mine include the Pale Ale (fresh from their brewery is divine), Rye-Pils and Wealth and Taste (barrel aged Belgian golden with muscat grape juice). Right now they have their Labor of Love (LOL) pouring, a Weizenbock homebrew competition winner recipe. They also seem to be experimenting with barrel aged goodness as evidenced by their stack of barrels. You can find their beer in cans (IPA, Pale, DBS, Blonde, Rye-Pils), bombers (Numb Comfort) and draught all around town...even Austin has their beer.

Deep Ellum Labor of Love

Barrel aged Wit?

Deep Ellum isn't without controversy. Their 'Goes Down Easy' campaign for their Blonde ale caught a bunch of flack in the social media world. While I have my own opinions of this, I shall not divulge here (get me a couple brewskies and I'll probably share with you). Controversy aside, Deep Ellum Brewing is obviously here to stay in Dallas. Their beer is bold yet approachable, and their laid back attitude makes for a great time at the tap room. So, the next time you're in the Deep Ellum area, throw back some beer with the Deep Ellum Brewing crew. Just watch out for the pigeons, apparently the poop on rowdy misfits. Cheers!

2823 St Louis St., Dallas, TX

Tap Room:
Thursday from 6-8:30pm
 - $12 (online), $15 at the door for tour, glass and beer
Saturday from 12-3pm
 - $12 (online), $15 at the door, for tour, glass and beer

For more information on the Dallas beer scene, check us out on Twitter and Facebook!

John Reardon

Even the pigeons are hard in Deep Ellum

Hoppy Treats

Deep Ellum Healthy Fermentation from Matt Abendschein on Vimeo.