It’s Craft Beer Week and I hadn’t posted a thing here in over a year. You, what readers remain, deserve better! The posts may be shorter and tapped out on a mobile device, but perhaps the pictures will be better.
I never covered the craft beer scene much before as I was (and am) primarily a cocktail guy. My lovely wife, however, dragged me deeper into the craft beer scene and appreciation. Central Arkansas has a lot of breweries and more popping up whenever you turn around, it seems, but we don’t have the density of some other cities. We have a great selection of different styles of beer and breweries. One big question going around is whether by drinking our local breweries, we are ignoring some out of state craft breweries that do phenomenal work as the independent Arkansas Craft Distributor was bought out this month. With good comes the bad at times.
I may do a deeper dive and write up of these later but wanted to try to get back in the habit of posting first. Also, as a reminder, I am not a critic and I have friends that work at or for nearly every spot listed below so keep that grain of salt handy.
Without further ado, some of the local breweries and brews :
Yellow rocket concepts added a brewery that was built to scale up, and it’s a thing. Lost 40, named after a legendary patch of south Arkansas forest, has been a huge hit and expanded their production repeatedly. Lost 40 makes craft beers that are accessible and offer an entry to the craft beer flavors as well as experimental and award winning beers and collaborations. The all day brunch on Sunday is still one of the best brunch options around.
Rebel Kettle has some of my favorite beers in town because they never fail to be playing with sour and fruit experiments. My single favorite local brew is their Rob Gnarley tart saison for year round drinking. Their kitchen puts out Louisiana inspired recipes with Gwen Jones, formerly of the Beast food truck, as the executive kitchen manager (she’s not a chef and she’ll remind you of that).
Blue Canoe Brewing
Blue Canoe is approaching 4 years of history in Little Rock and has recently expanded to a second location. The original nanobrewery is still up and going, but the popularity has led to a new spot in the East Village.
In NLR, Jess McMullen has quietly been making Flyway a confident brewery with a tight local connection. The incredibly well received blue wing blueberry beer is canned and available all over town while the sliders and pretzels in the brewery offer a great bite in a friendly atmosphere.
The first larger than a brew-pub brewery in town, Diamond Bear moved to NLR to expand production. While here have been several brewers in the past few years, Diamond Bear remains a fixture and the first widely available local beer.
How can you go wrong with beer and pizza? Vino’s is the oldest extant craft brewer in town and has been a waystation for brewers over the decades. What I think of as the original Little Rock brewpub is still going strong with beer brewed onsite to go with their pizza.
Nestled just outside of downtown across the street from the Arkansas Arts Center, Stone’s Throw is a great example of a neighborhood bar. A love of beer and historical beer styles propelled the creation of Stone’s Throw. In many ways, the 2013 opening signaled the beginning of the current craft beer era.
As quickly as I’ve put this together, I need to go get some better pictures for many of these spots as well as spend time talking about our fantastic home brewing community, The Water Buffalo, Core, and more. For now, it was good to get some writing done again and what would you few who kept this in your feed want to see more of?