Confession: I was born in Texas. In Texas (and perhaps only in Texas) this is a bragging right. In spite of leaving at just six months of age, I am a native. According to Texans. Would you argue with them?
I was especially excited to visit Dallas because of the Deep Ellum neighborhood- home to a brewery and several beer bars- as well as the hip neighborhood Boston’s top beer destination is named after.
In town to speak at a conference related to my day-job, I arrived with a full beer itinerary. I directed my airport cab to The Common Table before I even went to my hotel.
Inside is like someone’s hip, warm home with large spare rooms for open-yet-private sipping. As always, I sat at the bar. There are 24 taps and not one wasted on BMC beer- the only beer stop in Dallas where this was true. I had a few local tastes: Peticolas Great Scot, Community Regalement, and the Saint Arnold Endeavour. (Houston- so local to TX)
Later that night I went to Strangeways (pictures below; no website unless you count facebook which I do not) which had a great list and the only person I met who knows what Heady Topper is. So much for bringing A+ beer presents! I should have given them all to him.
Below are the Jester King (Austin) bottle choices at Strangeways and my decision, Wytchmaker, a rye IPA. It tastes even better than its fantastic label would lead you to hope!
In addition to having the most beer knowledge of my Dallas stops, the bartender, Erik, guided me through Texas: RAHR Iron Thistle (scotch ale, Ft. Worth); Live Oak Primus (winter weizenbock, Austin); Ranger Creek Lucky Ol’ Sun (Belgian Golden, San Antonio); Four Corner (red ale, Dallas); and my favorite of this bunch- Southern Star Buried Hatchet (stout, Conroe).
Deep Ellum Brewery isn’t always open to the public, so I planned my itinerary around the small window when I could drop by their tasting room. For 10 bucks you get a glass, three tastes (which turn out to be full pours), a brewery tour- which I ended up skipping because of the man playing music in the picture above. He’s called Greg Schroeder. Think of a modern day cross between Hank Williams and Eilen Jewel (well, she is modern day- but work with me here…) Riveting! The context added to it- I left snowy gray Boston and stumbled on some great beer- a rye pils I loved so much I didn’t want to try anything else- sipping outside chatting with a lovely couple I followed around for the rest of the night- each part made all the others even better. Gestalt realized!
The Meddlesome Moth is more polished- even corporate- than my other visits. When I asked for a tasting of their Texas beers, I was given this everyone-asks-for-that prepared flight. (Above) Nothing wrong with that- just felt a bit…ready. So then I asked for all the other Texas beers, and that’s when I found the gems. Ranger Creek Small Batch #2 and Jester King El Cedro being the show-stoppers. The best non-Texan beer I tried was Lips of Faith, a New Belgian/Dieu du Ciel collaboration made with feijoa (think if pineapple and guava kissed) finishing with a spank on the lips. Nice.
Above are more Moth images. After this trip I may start bragging about being a native Texan!