The story of Armadillo Ale Works begins with a happenstance meeting between Bobby Mullins, his ex-girlfriend’s dog, and an armadillo.
We’re sitting inside Deep Ellum Brewing Company in roundtable fashion, and a very reluctant Mullins is hesitant to answer my question, “Why Armadillo?” He’s trying to change the topic. For the past ten minutes, he and his partner, Yianni Arestis, have been telling me about their big dreams of opening the first craft brewery in Denton. It’s going to be called Armadillo Ale Works. In the last couple of years, Arestis and Mullins have been selling artisan sodas, and now they’re putting that on hold so they can focus all their efforts on beer.
Here’s where our beloved DEBC comes in. Enter John Reardon (owner) and Tait Lifto (brand and sales ninja) of Deep Ellum’s craft brewery. They’re two really cool, chill guys. One day, they’re hanging out at this event for brewers called Brews Cruise before the North Texas Beer Festival, and the next day, they’ve taken a liking to the Armadillo boys. “These guys are in it for the right reasons,” says Reardon. He can practically see their honest beer hearts poking through their shirts. The DEBC team decides to adopt the Armadillo men, and thus, a symbiotic friendlationship is born.
It feels like I’m writing about the Design District every other day. Pretty soon – and before we know it – the Design District will be competing with East Dallas and Oak Cliff for its hipness factor. Is it catching up? Definitely. With Ft33, Ascension Coffee, and the anticipated gourmet store, Food Boutique, the Design District is quickly becoming a food and drink destination, especially with the grand openings of its second brewing company on January 19. (Editor’s note: Our first version said “first” brewing company. It’s now updated with the correct information.)
If you can’t wait until Saturday, the Community Beer Company (not the most inventive name, but we like the meaning behind it) is pre-launching its brand spankin’ new craft beers at the Meddlesome Moth from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight. They’ll be tapping a few of their ales and lagers right up until the grand opening brewery tours this Saturday and Sunday. Take a look at all the events that are happening this week on the Community’s calendar.
Deep beneath the winds of rainy streets
In old East Dallas a tavern beats
And pulses and dances along the glades
Of Bryan Street, where troubles fade.
A legend tells of a wandering soul
Guided by whispers and owing no toll
To man nor beast, nor season or flame
In winter’s arms he seeks refrain
He casts his sword beside the hearth
And glides with grace upon the earth
This tavern sways and soothes his heart
With whiskers and songs and joy a part
Of every laugh and chuckle and bounce
The patrons live and ne’er renounce
A stranger’s needs and long respite
For in these arms be his home tonight
A couple days ago, CraveDFW said that TABC closed down for good. I sent a Facebook message to Russell Hayward (also behind the haute Ascension Coffee in the Design District), asking him what happened. He sent me back this gloomy reply:
“Well, the landlord has decided that TABC has had its run at the corner of Thomas and Allen and that perhaps a new concept will better serve them. As such they did not extend our lease. I’d like to thank all the great TABCer’s that helped support the business for the 12 years under founder Joel Lebovitz and the 6 years with me. I also wish the best of success to the new lessee of the building when that is finally decided,” says Hayward.
Sad day. Hayward sounds pretty bummed.
The World Atlas of Beer author Stephen Beaumont traveled more than 70,000 miles by air in 2012, and what did he find? That one of his two beery favorite places in the whole wide world is the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas. The other is Bir & Fud in Rome, Italy. On his blog, Beaumont sings Meddlesome Moth a love song:
“I travelled a lot last year, covering around 70,000 miles by air and plenty more on the ground. Along the way, I visited a lot of beer places and enjoyed a lot of good times with good people.
Such plenitude makes choosing a favourite, or even five favourites, a difficult task, but in the end I arrived at two beery destinations that stood out for me. They are, in some ways, very similar enterprises, and in others quite different. But they share in their hearts a commitment to great food and excellent beer.
They are: The Meddlesome Moth in Dallas, United States, and Bir & Fud in Rome, Italy.
The Moth was the first I visited in 2012, so it shall be the first discussed here. Offspring of the beer bar chain, Flying Saucer, itself with 15 (about to be 16) locations mostly in the southern U.S., the Moth is a creature of a decidedly different sort, with a more formal but still casual aesthetic, a fine list of beer offerings on tap and in the bottle, and a creative menu that veers from basic sandwiches in the afternoon to steak frites and other brasserie favourites at night, each listed with a recommended beer pairing.
Other places do the same, of course, and some execute it with equal or even greater success. But the Moth does it in Dallas, not exactly a long-standing craft beer Mecca, and does it with grace, style – quirky though it may be – and taste. In three meals enjoyed thus far, I’ve yet to sample anything I would consider even mediocre, much less sub-par, and the beer list is always as carefully selected and stylistically diverse as its Texas location allows it to be. Kudos to Moth navigator Keith Schlabs, Chef David McMillan and the whole Dallas crew on a job very well done.”
In my junior astronaut training I learned that to nobly love and care for a woman, one must always prepare a dish just before midnight that will titillate and elevate her spirit, bringing her closer to the stars. I have yet to determine however the hell that is possible, but I came pretty close this weekend and decided to celebrate by treating myself to a sumptuous dinner.
The curling winds of last evening’s temperate weather brought me to a destination I have seen before. You probably don’t remember the restaurant in north Oak Cliff called CampO. Well, shame on you. It was divine. However, the owners, John Paul Valverde and Miguel Vicéns have created a new restaurant in the same space called Outpost. It’s an American tavern with comfort-driven food.
All I’m doing this weekend is catching up on Season 3 of Downton Abbey. I am so behind that it’s embarrassing. Also, Christmas shopping and Christmas-card making… I guess I need to do those, too. But they’re clearly not as important as Downton. Nope.
4 p.m. | Stone Vertical Epic Ale, The Final Chapter | Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House – Go for the vertical tasting of 10 editions of Stone Vertical Epic Ale. Receive a flight with 3 oz. samples of each edition from 3/3/3 to 12/12/12. Starts at 4 p.m. until the keg runs dry.
Noon – 3 p.m. | Third Saturday Lunch | Private Social - Rocco Milano will be mixing holiday cocktails while you munch on fried chicken with green beans, dirty rice, and potato salata. $20 per person.
Noon – 5 p.m. | Dallas Winter Warmer Beer Festival | Annette Strauss Square – Yes, this is Dallas’ first winter beer festival. Why didn’t anybody think of this before? All guests receive a 6 oz. brandy snifter and 2 oz. samples. Save $10 on tickets if you enter Sigel’s promo code. Check out the beers that’ll be there. The list is long and never-ending.
5 p.m. | TJ’s Lobster Boil | Veritas Wine Room – Apparently, November’s event was such a hit that the boys from Veritas and TJ’s have decided to make this a monthly event. Eat your fill of lobster, littleneck clams, PEI mussels, corn, and potatoes + wine (duh) for only $30 per person. Email Bradley Anderson (email@example.com) to make your reservations. Hurry now.
I learned a wonderful lesson on this venture, and I might even say I embraced a new perspective. The first hour I spent at the new beer joint, Craft & Growler, was muddled by sunlight. Initially, I thought of the interior and its personality as an empty classroom space with very little warmth. It seemed unfinished and not particularly conducive to the cavernous regions of depth and darkness that I prefer whilst I drink the sweet nectar of hops. But as the sun set softly behind the city streets, I found my eyes growing used to this large brew house of joy and wealth. I immediately realized that perhaps it was because I started imbibing at 4 in the afternoon, when no one else was there, and the hefty wooden tables that covered the place shone too brightly. I asked a stranger to slap my face for my shortsightedness and initial snobbery. The night came with a soothing winter gust of bar folk, conviviality, and dimly lit coziness. I sat back in my low leaning leather chair at the front corner, all patrons before me enlivened by the energy and ease that swept through Craft & Growler. Darkness descended with its loving arms. I apologize.
When it’s not Fried Food Time, Fair Park resembles what the earth would look like right before a zombie apocalypse. It is so, so empty. That dead piece of land needs all the help it can get.
(Warning: tangent.) The other day, my friend asked me to be his proposal photographer. Of course, I obliged. I’ve always wanted an excuse to jump out of bushes to scare people. He finally asked his girlfriend of 5? 6? years to marry him at the Chinese Lantern Festival, which, you all know, is inside Fair Park. And because I’m a cheapo, I parked my car in the gravel lot behind Craft & Growler, the hip new beer place positioned directly across Fair Park’s main entrance. My wandering eye saw a very neat space inside. So neat, in fact, that I wanted to ditch my aforementioned friend and go have a beer, but I’d already given him my word. It did look cozy, though.
Enough about myself. Craft & Growler is doing this thing today from 2 p.m. ’til midnight, where 10 percent of its sales are going to the Friends of Fair Park. Pretty sweet. These dudes really know how to give back to the old guy, Mr. Fair Park, across the street.
Read on for the rest, and drink beer at Craft & Growler if you’ve got a heart.
(Also, how does this place already have 3,878 “likes” on its Facebook page? It hasn’t even had its Grand Opening yet! Madness.)
Here’s another reason to venture out to Fort Worth: Rodeo Goat Ice House.
Sam Wynne (whose father, Shannon Wynne, is behind the Lark on the Park) is the owner of this casual gourmet burgers-and-cold beer joint at 2836 Bledsoe Street, near Fort Worth’s Cultural District. It’s apparently “not upscale, not pretentious, no cute food.”
Good. Because we’re tired of cute food over here, and we’re glad mini Wynne is putting his feet down.“There really isn’t anything like Rodeo Goat in the Metroplex. We’re serving more than a dozen different gourmet burgers, and our beef is ground in-house daily, which makes for a really fresh and organic taste.”
Take a look at this be-moo-tiful menu.
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.
Okay, I lied. There’s no booze in this post, but if you’d like to win one of four pairs of tickets to Deep Ellum Brewing Co.’s Anniversary Party, go enter your heart out before tomorrow at noon. Some entrants apparently have their love lives hanging on the line.
Onto the news…
Chuck E. Cheese announces new gluten-free pizza and cupcake options. Since November is Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, Chuck E. Cheese is getting mighty fancy with its new Bake-in-Pizza bag from a gluten-free facility in New Jersey. I don’t know how appetizing that sounds, but I guess if kids like it, that’s all that matters.
Mockingbird Taproom opens early December. The new burger and sports bar will open at Mockingbird Station with 40 beers on tap and 20 plasma TVs. The menu items are typical gastro-pub fare (burgers, wings, salads, and Tex-Mex style tacos), and certainly nothing to go crazy about, but the names of these items are… well, let’s just say… unusual. A signature starter called “Suicide Fries” is not the least bit appealing, even if it does come with queso. (For one thing, why would you pair a word as serious as ‘suicide’ next to ‘fries’?) And a burger named “The Love Shack” will probably have Tim Love trying to break down the Taproom’s doors. Let’s not also forget that one of the wing sauces is called Y.G.H.U.T (you’re gonna hate us tomorrow!). It’s not only a pain to type out, it’ll be a pain to say out loud inside a noisy bar with 20 plasma TVs.
UrbanDaddy Dallas does not like the $62 nachos at Max’s Wine Dive. The editors of UrbanDaddy launched a skeptical investigation of Max’s nachos topped with caviar. They came back, disgusted. Now that they mention it, I’m thinking of hiring a nacho intern myself. Or maybe we should just share one, UrbanDaddy.1 Comment »
The ninjas over at Deep Ellum Brewing Co. have been making some amazing beer since the brewery launched in November of last year. For the DEBC’s first birthday, there’s going to be a huge birthday bash for friends and family on Saturday, November 17 from noon to 3 p.m.. Tickets are now sold out. However, we’re giving you the chance to attend this anniversary celebration. Yes, there will be beer. And, yes, there will be food trucks and live music. Cody Foote and The O’s are playing on the stage, and you can taste DEBC’s newest beer, Pollenator, at what DEBC calls “an historic event.” To see the rest of the beer list, go here.
So, how do you win one of these four pairs of tickets? Leave a comment below. Tell us what your favorite DEBC beer is, and maybe, if you’re really desperate to go, why you love DEBC. We’ll pick four winners from the pile on Thursday at 12 p.m.
We all have that friend, the absurdly athletic, easy going good man who lets nothing shake his handsome feathers. He knows how to prepare duck a l’orange or a roast beef sandwich on rye. He smokes cigars but doesn’t inhale, and he knows who Arthur Rimbaud is. He also possesses a keen ability to construct objects from wood, hammer nails, and comfort a woman. Well, Plano has a new candidate to fill the shoes of said friend, and its name is Henry’s Tavern. Henry’s Tavern’s was born in Portland, Oregon; a place Dallas would be wise to consider tailoring its style towards… just, you know, a little.
Jump for some fun.
Tomorrow the British Beverage Co., located at 2800 Routh Street in the Quadrangle, is opening for dinner service. It opens officially to the public on November 5. And on November 12, lunch service starts. Excited? Not Yet? You probably should be.
Plan B – the same guys who brought you Bolsa and Oak – designed the dark, cozy interior. It looks exactly like a London pub. It’s dim, but doesn’t feel stuffy. Not at all. Communal tables line the front of the room, where there’s easy access to the full-service bar. Just imagine: 45 wines and champagnes, 50 beers on draught, and 100 different bottled beers. Pair that with a BBC burger (blue cheese, onion marmalade, ground beef, croissant bun) or some herb brioche crusted fish and chips made by executive chef Jason Hice, who was most recently at Nana before it turned into steakhouse.8 Comments »
23 barbecue teams are going to be battling furiously this weekend at the Blues, Bandits, and BBQ Festival in Oak Cliff. This feast, featuring more than 1000 pounds of barbecue, will take place on Friday (5 to 10 p.m.) and Saturday (noon to 6 p.m.) at 715 W. Davis Street, three blocks west of Bishop Arts.
According to Clyde Biggins, who’s been babysitting barbecue longer than I’ve been alive, there’s really no competition. He and his team, the Texas BBQ Posse, are going to win. Plain and simple.
Biggins used to own his own restaurant, Clyde’s Old Fashioned Hickory Smoked Barbecue, until he was arrested for drug charges. From 1993 until 2010, Biggins carried out his term while fellow prison mates called him the most fitting name he could ever own: “Barbecue.” Ever since he’s been back in his Oak Cliff neighborhood, people have been telling – more like begging – him to open a restaurant again. But Biggins is 68 years old. He can’t go to sleep unless his barbecue is fully cooked. And he cooks his barbecue all night long. For now, Biggins is perfectly happy giving away his meats right off the street. (He takes donations.) Police have come and shut him down for not having a food service permit, but then Biggins just finds another corner in East Oak Cliff.
Cooking barbecue is what Clyde Biggins is all about. He lives and breathes it, which is why he’s not worried about the 22 other teams at the Blues, Bandits, and BBQ Festival. The only hindrance he has right now is a collapsed canopy on top of his pit.1 Comment »
Maté Hartai (The Libertine), Sam Wynne (Flying Saucer/Meddlesome Moth), and Jeff Fryman (formerly of Union Bear and currently working on a new project with Matt Tobin and the folks at Goodfriend) are leaving for LA today. They hope to return as a Master Cicerones, the third and final level of certification of beer service. All three have already achieved the first two levels: Cicerone Certified Beer Server and Certified Cicerone. Today there are about 30 Certified Cicerones in the state. Currently, there are only four Master Cicerones in the country. Four. In the country.
Like the Master Sommelier program designed to provide high quality wine knowledge and service, the Cicerone Certification Program was created to change the image of beer from a twisting off a the top of a longneck to a experiencing the essence of a carefully crafted and sophisticated glass of beer served by experts.
The exam, limited to 12 participants, takes place Tuesday and Wednesday and includes written, oral, and tasting components. Four industry experts conduct extensive interview sessions and candidates must pass a rigorous blind assessment of beer styles. In other words, these guys have to be walking beer encyclopedias.
Sam tells me the group has been studying together for months hunkering down and comparing similar styles as conducting blind tasting to determine the style and origin and brewing company. They also studied with Wim Bens of Lakewood Brewing and Michael Peticolas of Peticolas Brewing Company. Recently Peticolas won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver for his Royal Scandal, a classic English-style pale ale. He’s only been open for about six months. “We also did sensory training using an off-flavor kits provided by the Seibel Institute in Chicago,” Wynne said. “Basically we use eyedroppers to put chemicals in our beer that replicate the flavors and aromas caused by mistreatment, poor sanitation, and fermentation conditions that are less than ideal. We trained ourselves to recognize these in commercial beer and be able to identify the cause of flaw to ensure the people we serve only receive top quality product.”
Breweries are popping up to the left and right like pimples on a teenage boy’s face. Lucky Granbury just got its first one: Revolver Brewing is opening this Saturday, October 20 from noon to 4 p.m. The grand opening includes tours of the brewery with free beer tastings, of course. The brewers will be there to show off their inaugural beers. It looks like this could be a one-of-a-kind beery Saturday.
Jump the gun and read the rest of this press release, if you feel inclined:
3 Comments »
WHAT: Grand opening celebration for REVOLVER BREWING, Granbury’s first brewery. The grand opening will include tours of the brewery and free beer tastings. The Agave Tamale Company, The Rib Shack, and Geppeto’s Pizza Truck, will have food available for purchase. Fish Fry Bingo will perform and there will be games and other family activities. Admission is free
WHEN: Saturday, October 20, 2012
High Noon to 4 pm.
Ribbon Cutting at 1:30 PM.
WHERE: Revolver Brewing
5650 Matlock Road; Granbury, TX 76049
In July, when we announced restaurateur Shannon Wynne’s plans to open Lark on the Park, we also uncovered the name of the investor behind the “official” restaurant to operate at the park which will officially open October 27 with a Polyphonic Spree concert. John Muse, partner and chairman of HM Capital Partners and a member of the Woodall Rogers Park Foundation, is partnering with chef John Coleman, formerly the executive chef and director of food and beverage at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dallas, to create and operate Savor.
Savor won’t be open for at least six months, but in late October or early November, Coleman will debut Relish, a food truck dedicated to solving the “common burger problem” by creating burger combinations with the ingredients mixed into the patty and grilled. Relish will eventually evolve into the park’s permanent, casual-food kiosk which is scheduled to open in mid-2013.
Muse and Coleman decided Savor would be a gastropub with “emphasis on fresh food and a shared experience.” The restaurant’s revenue will help support the operation of the Park. The exterior of 6,000-square foot restaurant pavilion and the performance pavillion, constructed through private donations, was designed by architect Thomas Phifer. Bill Johnson of The Johnson Studios in Atlanta is designing the restaurant’s interior which will include floor-to-ceiling glass walls, skylights to capture the changing light, and a sculpted ceiling designed to give the appearance of “sitting lightly” on the walls. Savor will have 320 seats, some of which will be in the covered patio.
This morning I spoke with John Coleman, an avid hiker and rock climber, to get some details on the food vibe of the project.25 Comments »
The largest commercial beer competition in the world took place this weekend in Denver, Colorado. Judges at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival handed out 254 medals. The most significant one, to us anyway, is the gold medal they bestowed on Peticolas Brewing Company’s Royal Scandal, one of 29 entries in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale. Not bad for a brewery that has only been open since January!
Rahr & Sons Brewing in Fort Worth returned home with silver medal in the Scotch Ale competition for their Iron Thistle and Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewery in Dallas won a bronze medal in American-Style Amber Lager for their Uberbrau. H/T to Disher BL.6 Comments »