Paige Latham Didora
Texas beer – it’s more than just Shiner [Dallas]
Thanks to many of you for your fantastic suggestions on what to do during my trip to Dallas! It’s never easy to narrow things down in a new city, especially when I’m only in Dallas for a few days.
Ask any beer-lover in Dallas if they ever thought a beer tourist would need to “narrow down” their brewery choices and they will definitely say no. Everything may be bigger in Texas, but I can vouch that the pint glasses are still the same size, and the beer laws are doing nothing to bolster the brewing community here.
Nevertheless, as in several states where restrictions are still in place, there is a vibrant beer community here that is slowly growing and quietly carving out a niche in the drinking scene. Only since June of this year have production breweries been able to sell growlers on-site.
According to the Texas Craft Brewer’s Guild, craft brewing in the Lone Star State contributes approximately $608 million to the local economy. “Texas craft brewers are also creating jobs, accounting for 51.2 percent of all the state’s brewery jobs, a remarkable figure given only 0.7% of the beer consumed in the state comes from Texas craft brewers.” I agree, that is remarkable.
I freely admit that prior to research for this trip, the only Texan brewery I could easily name was Shiner. I am likely not alone here, but that is still a bit embarrassing. Texas boasts about 70 active breweries, although the numbers are increasing steadily. There are also about two dozen brewpubs. Considering the size of the state (and the number of football games and year-round restaurant patios), that is not very many.
I arrived in Texas late on Wednesday and rented my first car! On my first full day I had to get the Shiner out of the way. People kept handing them to me for free (seriously) both at my nursing conference and even while shopping in Uptown.
While in Uptown, a beautiful area on the north side, I met up with lots of Couchsurfing locals and visitors at a cozy meets Tex-Mex-Modern kind of vibe (I made that up, but it should catch on) restaurant called Fireside Pies. The restaurant isn’t very beer-centric, but I was happy to see a handful of local taps and enjoyed chatting with locals about the choices. There is a genuine sense of pride regarding the local beer growth, however meager it may be.
After hearing so many negative things about Dallas and watching people’s faces when telling them I was travelling there for beer, I didn’t know what to expect. My host, Marc, for my first two nights cautioned me about the segregation, judgmental tendencies, and superficial nature of the town, and after driving through incredibly affluent neighborhoods (is that the Country Club Clubhouse? Oh…no, actually) I had more trepidation.
Either I found the most open, accepting, and genuine group of people in Dallas, or some of those blanket statements are not as true as some think.
So …what were we drinking? I tried a selection from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company out of Fort Worth. The Ugly Pug Black Lager, which was ill-described to me as a stout, was an excellent choice and perfect for my first Texas craft beer! Needless to say, I was initially confused, but enjoyed the black lager for what it was.
Schwarzbiers or black lagers are fun to me because, while very dark in color, they are light-bodied with roasted elements and no heavy, oily thickness. They are both robust and refreshing. Ugly Pug is only 27 IBUs but demonstrates a breadth of malty notes, chocolate and coffee components, and lovely Perle hop character. Yum.
Texas is going well so far, and I am so happy to be here!
Follow along as I head across the street to The Old Monk and indulge at Velvet Taco.