The Thirsty Beagle: New DFW brew pub scores high points

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New DFW brew pub scores high points

I have relatives in the DFW area -- Rowlett, Texas, to be exact -- and there's one thing the Beagle family has always known when traveling down to visit family:

Stock up on beer before you get into city limits.

While the DFW area has seen a massive proliferation of craft beer choices, the northeastern suburb of Rowlett was generally not involved in the boom. The grocery stores there have been allowed to sell craft beer, but with the city being partially dry, liquor stores and craft breweries were not welcome.

Until 2015, that is, when residents there voted to go fully wet. Within the past year, we've seen two liquor stores open up in Rowlett, and more recently, the city's first craft brewery has come alive.

Bankhead Brewing Co. has been open about a month now, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised following my visit there this past weekend.

I actually went into the trip with relatively low expectations. That was certainly influenced by the fact that Rowlett has zero reputation as a hotbed for craft beer. But Bankhead scored some major points.

I sampled through all eight of their tap offerings and immediately noticed that all were brewed right on the money when it comes to style accuracy.

And they were brewed quite well, too. The beers ranged from the accessible Devil Wagon Munich Helles lager to the aggressively hopped Hop In IPA. I especially enjoyed the Gussy Up American raspberry wheat and Janet's Brown, the American brown ale that any good homebrewer would recognize from the "Brewing Classic Styles" handbook.

Brewery officials told me they wanted to craft a variety of beers -- like the lighter lagers and their hefeweizen -- to cater to beer drinkers in the area whose palates may not be suited to aggressive hops just yet. At the same time, they've tipped their cap to hop-heads who would appreciate a four-hop blend heavy on Citra and Cascade.

And they're eyeing some more envelope-pushing brews as well, including a barrel-aged Gose and a bourbon-chocolate oatmeal stout.

Aside from the beer, the decor and vibe at Bankhead were on point -- a great blend of brick, wood and steel that gave the pub a modern-yet-rustic feel.

You can see the old Ford bar-front in that pic. The brewery is named after the old Bankhead Highway, which was constructed in 1916 to connect Washington, D.C., with San Diego. Several hundred miles of the roadway crossed through Texas, including right through Rowlett. So the brewery is named after the roadway, and you can see the automobile imagery carried trough in its branding.

You can score beer in four-ounce samples, by the half-pint or pint, or by 32- and 64-ounce growlers. If you're sticking around to drink your selection, you should take up a seat in the patio area, which was terrific. Even better, the food was tremendous. I ordered a salmon-brussels-risotto combination that was off the charts. They also feature a brick oven to spin out a selection of fire-roasted pizzas.

So, overall, two enthusiastic thumbs up for Bankhead Brewing. It's a must-visit if you happen to be in the east or northeast DFW area.

I'll leave you with a few bonus shots of their brewhouse:

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