Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a dallas-ite does fort worth

Collective Brewing Project

This past weekend, my wife and I took a little staycation in Fort Worth. Despite the rain on Saturday, we had a great time and got to hit up a lot of places I've wanted to try for awhile. With its beautiful downtown, growing craft beer scene and historical Stockyards, Fort Worth is a great destination for everyone.

First up, Zio Carlo Magnolia Brewpub. We stopped in for an appetizer and a couple of their house brewed beers. The doughy bierocks were filled with various sausage and beef concoctions with a side of spicy mustard and braised red cabbage. I'd order them again as they reminded me of little balls of pizza. Next time though, I definitely want to try one of their actual pizzas.

They had three house beers on tap that day, which included a winter spiced ale with ginger and orange peel, an oatmeal pale ale and a wit. All three were tasty but I definitely gravitated towards the creamy mouthfeel and hoppiness of the OPA. I'm not a huge fan of spiced ales, but theirs was pretty well balanced. Expect more on tap soon, apparently they went crazy last week with brewing. No flights though, which I found weird for a brewpub. However, awesome as they are, they filled two pint glasses half full and only charged for one pint.

Make sure to say hi to Adam, one of their two brewers. You can't miss the beard.

Zio Carlo Winter Spice and OPA

Zio Carlo Bierocks

I loved Zio Carlo, but it was a Saturday and they were playing Premier League football, which is fine (you know I love futbal) but we were in the mood for some college football so we headed over to Pour House for some more apps and beer. Thankfully the wings were only $.75 each (anytime NFL or NCAA football is on) because they were terribly soggy and bland. The loaded cheese fries were, well, cheese fries, kind of hard to screw that one up. It's a massive space with a ton of tvs and a great selection of local and micro beers. I'd go back, but only to watch a sporting event of some sort.

Pour House Tap Wall
Next up, the highlight of the trip; Collective Brewing Project, newbies to the beer scene in Fort Worth. Collective Brewing is a brewpub (no food yet, just chips for snacking) located just south of downtown in a location that reminded me of a young East Austin, perfect for what they are doing. What sets them apart from the rest? Crowlers. Crowlers, what the hell is a crowler? A 32oz can of liquid gold filled and sealed in front of your very eyes. Similar to a growler, but with very little head space and a lid that is sealed, crowlers limit oxidation just like a regular can. Ryan Deyo, co-founder, said it's the first of its kind in Texas and the idea came after his wife and he visited Ska Brewing this past August. 'We had a couple from their taproom. It was awesome since they keep for about a month. I was telling Tony Drewery about it one night over beers and he said yeah that thing is badass, and it would be awesome if you would get one. He just so happened to know the person at Oskar Blues that does the sales for the whole setup (they developed the system with Ball canning). We ordered everything though them and about a month later we were the first in Texas to have a Crowler station.'

Collective Brewing only had three beers on tap (everyone was short on beer this weekend!) at the time but they were delicious. My favorite was their Petite Golden Sour, their first sour ale which was soured using pediococcus. It was a deliciously light and refreshing sour with plenty of tartness. Their Pale Galaxy was also great, an IPA dry hopped with galaxy hops. Ryan also let me try their Pale Galaxy with Brett from the fermenter and damn, just damn. Expect great things from Collective Brewing, especially sour/funky beers. No flights here either, but they do offer Swiftys (half pints). Go get yourself a damn crowler already!

Mike Goldfuss and Ryan Deyo, founders of Collective Brewing Project

A mother f'in crowler!

That night, we decided to venture over to The Bearded Lady. Reminiscent of Rainey St in Austin, this house converted to a bar was really cool with a great beer selection and some surprisingly damn good food. We just happened to sit next to Eric Clayton, owner of Bearded Lady. He was a great guy that gave us some insight into the bar world, his Rainey St inspiration and the pub fare they offer. The tamarind glazed pork wings are what dreams are made of with a sweet and crispy exterior and meaty interior, a complete 180 from the wings we had earlier. The little 'slider' brats were also delicious, though the wings stole the show. This place reminds me of Ten Bells Tavern where elevated pub fare is offered in an almost dive bar setting. I highly recommend it.

The next day, we woke up to beautiful blue skies and sunshine. Our hotel was close to Sundance Square, so we decided to hit up the Bird Cafe. This young 'gastro' cafe is owned by the same peeps behind Meddlesome Moth, with David MicMillan in the kitchen. The joint has the same feel as Meddlesome Moth without the extensive focus on beer. Don't get me wrong, they have a good beer selection, but that's not the focus at Bird Cafe. We sat outside on their beautiful patio connecting to Sundance Square and had a great brunch that included a spicy Bloody Mary for my morning hangover. Perfectly fried chicken was placed over creamy hominy grits and jalapeno gravy and all topped with two poached eggs. This was beyond decadent but oh so delicious. We also had crispy Belgian waffles that were good but they were completely overshadowed by the amazing chicken and grits.

Overall, our trip to Fort Worth was great, despite the torrential downpours. We didn't get to check out all of the spots (Rahr, Martin House, Panther Island, Rodeo Goat), but we'll be back for more!

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