[After a nearly three month layoff, my pal and craft beer enthusiast Beafvy returns with another installment in his semi-regular Beafv's Beerderdash column. Huzzah! Oh, joyous day!!]
It’s after New Years, and face it, this ain't the '90s anymore. We’ve officially entered the post-football dog days of winter, solidly mired in the doldrums before the good times and warm weather of spring and summer show up. 'Tis the season in which, unless you're a huge hockey or hoops fan (of which I'm neither), you're going to need to find other means of staving off blowing your brains out until baseball gets underway. Fortunately, the DFW area was recently treated to some nice-weather Saturdays and me n' my lovely companion, Whole Wheatt Muffin, took the opportunity to visit the fuck out of some local breweries.
As mentioned in previous Beerderdashes, Dallas has seen a proliferation of craft beer makers over the last year-plus, and if these trends continue, AYYYYYYYYYYYYY. For a die-hard craft beer enthusiast like myself, that's a great thing, and it makes the otherwise excruciating daily torture of living in the second most backwards state in the union ever so slightly more bearable. (I keed, I keed! U!S!A! U!S!A! :-/)
Community Beer Company celebrated their one-year anniversary on the weekend of January 17th. In their first year, Community has done a lot of good things, producing a wide variety of beers and fostering a vibrant, friendly atmosphere at the brewery. It certainly makes things more pleasant when everyone involved seems happy just to be part of this operation.
- Their Barrel Aged Glenstemmons scotch ale was quite tasty. It was a wise choice as (seemingly) the featured anniversary pour; a nicely flavored barrel ale with a reasonable alcohol content.
- They poured lots of new beers. By my count, there were 5 new offerings – the aforementioned Barrel Aged Glenstemmons, a coffee porter called Ascension, a wheat wine, a Belgian brown ale; as well as the non barrel scotch and their holiday beer Regalement, both of which I had never tried previously. To be fair, they weren’t all hits, but there were enough goodies here to warm the cockles of any beer nerd’s heart. Or, wait, no, maybe that was just my herpes medication kicking in. Who knows.
- The staff was welcoming and nice, and the crowd was down-to-earth enough that even my 60 year-old parents, PappySnax and Merrie, felt welcome here and enjoyed their time. Fun for the whole frickin' fambly!
- Crowd control. Overpopularity seems to be a good problem for a brewery to have, but a bad one for the patrons. We arrived relatively early and beat some of the rush, but after a half hour this place turned into a fucking zoo and it was a 10 minute line to get a pour. Additionally, it turned out that only pre-order attendees were able to get a souvenir glass, which left some disappointed.
- Food was served by BellaTrino food truck, famous for having its own brick oven built in. I found the eating experience overall to be rather underwhelming; they only offered a scant few toppings, flavor was very much lacking, and the service was verrrrrrry slow. The TVs on the outside of the truck were a nice way to placate we plebes, but as they say – you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.
- Perhaps Community pours so many different beers to obscure the honest-to-goodness fact that their flagships are dare I say a tad pedestrian. It says quite a bit that I don’t often order Community’s year-round offerings at local bars, considering that I drink heavily pretty much 943 days a week.
Martin House Brewing Company is IMNSMFHO currently the best craft brewery on the west side of the metroplex. Apologies to Rahr and Revolver, but during the 9 short months since Martin House has been around, they've produced more consistently excellent beers than anyone else in the Fort Worth area.
- The Pretzel Stout, formerly known as “There Will Be Stout”, is delicious. I am a sucker for sweet stouts, (and sweetmeats!), but this somewhat sessionable beer at only 6% ABV has the body of a much larger brew. It has a distinctive sweet and salty element that makes all the kids goo goo ga ga these days. Possibly DFW’s best stout currently on the market (and I don't take those words lightly).
- The Sugar & Spice holiday beer, debuted in the late Fall, is an excellent addition to Martin House’s lineup. It has an over 10% ABV content, but no back-of-the-throat burn that one would expect from such a substantial beer. Excellent sweet, plummy flavor and perfect accompaniment to a nice evening by the fire, crying your eyes out while watching Benny and Joon for the sixth consecutive time *SNIFFLE*
- Great view of Fort Worth’s skyline from the brewery – seriously, it’s sort of breathtaking, if you're into that sort of horseshit.
- Nice merch options. They offer soft cotton t-shirts in a variety of colors and sizes, and all kinds of other crazy crap. Great advertising for the brewery, since my chest is a fine piece of real estate, and, symbiotically, a great situation for t-shirt lovers of all shapes and sizes.
- The volunteer staff was welcoming and enthusiastic. Cody Martin, the owner and head brewer, seems to have a passion for good beer and the know-how necessary to get things done. This place has the charming feel of a family-run establishment. Good shit.
- The food options left A LOT to be desired. Local grocer Central Market's H.E.A.T. taco truck was onsite, and imagine my dismay when I was told that they couldn't fill my order because THEY HAD RUN OUT OF TORTILLAS (!!!). Seriously, wtf? Hopefully someone was publicly flayed and burned alive over this unacceptable oversight. Once the tortillas did finally arrive, harumph harumph, we were served a "chicken fajita taco" that amounted to a poor man’s chicken pot pie. I needed liberal doses of sriracha just to elevate this garbage to the level of "near-edibility"… *barf*
- Their brand new beer – Gateway XPA (which debuted after the tour) is not great. It seems like a lighter version of their Breakfast beer, which is fine, but I ain't got time for too many beers with this grain profile.
There you have it. Beerderdash will return in a couple weeks (or whenever Tuddd gets off his fat ass and edits it) with reports from the brewery tours at Rabbit Hole Brewing and Deep Ellum Brewing Co. Until then, happy beveraging, America!