Into Shelley’s Belly: The Bottle Shop

Welcome to The Bottle Shop (left); Deep Ellum Pollinator and Deschutes Jubelale (right) photos by Matthew Shelley

What a shame. I feel defeated by my missing motivation – most certainly a result of the brain cloud that is left over from the beer. My disillusionment comes from the brimming glasses of beer at The Bottle Shop I drank for all of you. I am glad you’re willing to accept most of the blame for what will be a mildly unproductive day.

For this edition there will be no food, except that there is. Most of you may not consider beer to be food, but you’re mistaken. Don’t get all defensive and hide under your desk. I am not yelling at you. I love you. Any who, here goes. The Bottle Shop is a handsome little brew house like nothing else in Dallas. It’s dark, wooden, and leather. It smells clean, and the mahogany bookshelves (I actually don’t know for certain that it’s mahogany, but go with it) lined with hundreds of beers may appear daunting to the casual drinker. For the beer swilling suds junkie, it’s the perfect fix. Low lighting invites you inside this Greenville corner spot. My Peruvian friend and I choose the cozy leather couch and let the bearded, gentle bartender help us with our selections. He pours each draft with care and delicacy, and the only thing that would make this place cooler is if it were underground. This radical shop offers everything they serve in take-home form. There isn’t much in bottle form that you can’t find, and they allow you to mix and match your own six packs with anything you desire. If you’re the kind of cool that owns a growler, they can be filled here as well. The bar is aptly lined with regulars and there is a community table in the center of the joint for lively beer discussions. The Bottle Shop offers free pizza after 7 p.m. on Mondays. OK, enough with the shameless and endearing promotion. You get it. Let’s dive into the beers.

Choose your vessel (left); a little hoppy beer (right)
Lakewood’s Temptress Nitro
The glowing cooler of brew (left); pecan porter (right)

We ordered only from the draft list and tried to keep everything Texas. Why the hell not? The first beauty came from Lakewood Brewing. The Imperial Milk Stout, called the Temptress Nitro, poured smooth and thick with a malty, creamy head that offered dreams of pillow top fantasy islands I so often speak of. The dark-roasted flavors echoed a little caramel and milky sweetness that was only brightened by the velvety clean mouth feel. The finish was bold with hints of dark chocolate. At 9.4%, this might not have been the wisest start, but it’s a perfect beer for a chilly night in low light on dark leather. The city goes quiet and you are given a billowing respite by a good friend in a handsome snifter.

Next up was the 512 Pecan Porter. The pour was fast and light, much like a Japanese eagle’s sexual prowess, and the beer was heavy with the taste of dry roasted nuttiness, almost more almond than pecan. The tangy acidic finish wasn’t my favorite; unfortunately, this just reinforced my dislike for porters, though I am sure those who enjoy them will like this one. The third was surely our favorite. Revolver’s High Brass pale ale was smoky with light carbonation and a heavenly understated, fruity finish. Its smoothness accompanied the depth of flavor in perfect certainty, and you can taste the love that birthed this outstanding beer. It made me feel like I was in some wickedly cool motorcycle garage and I belonged there. Next up was Adelbert’s Scratchin Hippo. It’s a 6.8% biere de garde out of Austin. The hoppy aroma, round mouth feel, and bitter finish made this beer a joy to imbibe. We then chose the Deschutes Jubelale, a seasonal 4.8% out of Bend, Oregon. This out-of-towner, English strong ale tingled the nostrils and danced through the mouth with a dark, thick strength not normally found in such low alcohol content. Deschutes never fails and this complex brew embodies my everlasting esteem for all that they produce. Hopefully, someday I can call this a local beer, but don’t tell my mother I am thinking about moving to Oregon.

Finally, we went back to being local with Deep Ellum’s Pollinator. It’s a 9.5% doppelbock and proves yet again that Deep Ellum Brewery knows what the f$%* they’re doing. The bitter aroma and strength of this beer circles in the mouth, spiraling and impregnating everything it touches. As my wits faded, the finish and depth of this final beer sent shivers across my palette and left me with a hanging happiness I carried into the night.

Revolver’s High Brass and Adelberts Scratchin Hippo (left); wall of bottles (right)

My only qualm with The Bottle Shop was the music. Early in the night I heard Gotye, The xx, and Eric Hutchinson, which I had to Shazam in order to accurately insult. I don’t know what kind of shoestring, kindergarten teachers they expect in here, but the attitude that this establishment embodies was being harmed right in front of me. It seemed to be on some satellite radio, as I heard commercials. Without the incredible beer selection, this would surely drive a man to his exit. He might even knock something over out of spite on the way out. But then there was Modest Mouse and Velvet Underground, and I can only assume that something was awry in the early hours, for nothing lame showed its face after 7 p.m. If you are looking for a truly unique beer experience with a no frills tasting environment, or even just a place to pick up some craft brews, The Bottle Shop has everything and more. Go now.