Beer. You probably haven’t given it enough credit. Did you know that it can be paired with more food than wine? The history of beer is a long and complex one, filled with fun facts and legend. Currently, we’re in the midst of a resurgence of craft beer in America. In 1873 there were 4,131 breweries in the U.S., at a time when our country’s population was only 12 percent of what it is now. Fast-forward 111 years to 1984 and there were only 97. But the future of beer in America looks bright! As of June of 2014 there were 3,040 breweries. Dallas-Fort Worth has seen its fair share of craft beer growth, and now suburbs are getting to experience the fun as well!
Today we look at the growing local craft beer and homebrew scene in Rockwall, Texas, and the surrounding areas. Currently there are two breweries under construction in Rockwall and one in Rowlett. There’s also a thriving homebrew community, with many being members of Rockwall Brewers Association. Let’s review this in order of natural progression…and alphabetically, so first up, homebrewing (as many Pro-Brewers start there):
Rockwall Brewers Association
Rockwall Brewers Association exists to provide local homebrewers in the Rockwall area with an opportunity to socialize, learn more about various aspects of the brewing process, to provide constructive criticism, train in off-flavor recognition, and connect homebrewers with opportunities in the Pro-Brewer segment. From there, some are satisfied with their beer-brewing knowledge, but others really get the bug and find ways to go Pro!
Bankhead Brewing Co.
Built in the early 1900s, the Bankhead Highway was one of the first transcontinental highways that went from Washington D.C. to San Diego. It has been designated a Texas Historical Highway that starts in Texarkana and goes through El Paso. Bankhead Brewing Co. will be located right on the original route that is now Main Street in Rowlett, Texas. (The three submerged bridges in Lake Ray Hubbard are also the original route before TX66 moved the highway to the north.)
Bankhead Brewing Co. is a brewpub concept with restaurant and outdoor pole barn for the beer garden located in downtown Rowlett, at 3840 Main Street. It features a 15-barrel (3,780 US Pints) brewing system. Its founders are Kevin Lefere of Zanata in Rockwall, Texas, and multi-award-winning homebrewer and former Rockwall Brewers Association president Ryan Pyle. Current plans are for the craft beer selection to be diverse and change frequently so patrons will have something new to try each visit. The beer styles in the lineup will include German lagers, West Coast IPAs, English pales, and maybe even an American sour from time to time.
Hemisphere Brewing Company
Hemisphere Brewing Company (HBC) is projecting to open summer 2015. Its founders have all grown up in and around the Rockwall area, and after looking at properties for several years (literally) in different cities, they felt that Rockwall was where they wanted to brew. Head brewer Brandon Mullins said, “We’ve all experienced the sense of community that Rockwall has. Rockwall supports Rockwall, and we really love that!
HBC is starting production on a 5-barrel (1,260 US Pints) brewing system and 10 barrel (2,520 US Pints) fermenters in their 3,300-square-foot facility at 205 Kristy Lane. “We’re small batches … like Rockwall is a small county. We’re more focused on amazing hand-crafted, small-batch beers than the size of our brewery,” said Mullins. They plan on starting production with two to three standard craft beers, as well as seasonals.
Longhorn Brewing Company
Longhorn Brewing Company will be launching in eastern Rockwall. Opening in 2015, LBC is joint venture between Chris Deible and Brad Bramblett, Rockwall area homebrewers turned pro and members of Rockwall Brewers Association.
Says Bramblett , “I want our brewery to be a place where anyone can come and relax after a long day and feel like they’re a part of something special. Bringing craft beer to Rockwall, Texas, is an awesome opportunity, and we look forward to making Longhorn Brewing Company into something this community is proud to call their own.”
So it looks like this is going to be a very busy year for craft beer production in the Rockwall and Rowlett Texas area. Look for more from us on these breweries as they get close to opening. Cheers!
Story by Evan Matteson