Portland, Oregon may be the paragon of craft beer, but the Dallas-Fort Worth area isn’t doing too shabby either. With at least 10 active craft breweries in the area (and more on the way!), it’s easy to find a brew to suit your needs and a brewery to drink it at. But every beer snob has their favorite, and mine is Community Beer Company.
A bit of history for those of you who aren’t familiar with Texas’ backward “blue laws.” Until very recently, craft brewers couldn’t sell any beer on-premise – meaning if local hopheads wanted to visit their favorite breweries, they couldn’t consume any alcohol. Creative brewers soon found a way around these restrictions by charging for a tour admission and souvenir glass, and giving away beer samples for free. For just $10 at most breweries, you get a tour, a souvenir pint glass (my cabinet overrunneth, as does my glass!), and 3 tasty pints of local beer.
The laws have changed so that brewers can sell a set amount of alcohol on-premise, but the brew tour format remains mostly the same. One big change is that breweries have started converting some of their warehouse/brew space into tap rooms. On Saturday, Community opened their new tap room for their weekly beer tour, so I made the trek out with my husband so we could get our booze on. Community’s events have always stood out from other brewers, due to their combination of great beer with local food, art, and music.While their tours do not include the standard souvenir pint glass, they make up for that with their outstanding atmosphere.
For my three pints, I chose my trusty favorites. I was sad to learn that they were out of glasses to purchase for the event – but I have most of them in my cabinet already!
This beer is hands-down my favorite IPA in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It bests Rahr’s not-quite-hoppy-enough Stormcloud IPA, and even Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s perfectly-balanced Deep Ellum IPA. The beer is named for the Mosaic hops the beer is brewed with, but also because it is “representative of the diverse range of individuals that make up our community.” This beer is an IPA for people who hate IPAs (you sacrilegious fools!). In fact, I drank this one so fast I forgot to snap a picture!
Clocking in at an impressive 9.6% ABV (that’s more than twice the amount of alcohol in a beer like Bud Light), this Belgian Strong Ale will knock you out if you aren’t careful. This heavy red beer, balanced out with sweet, fruity malts is a treat for new and old beer aficionados alike.
I hear you groaning already: “Great, another craft beer pale ale. I’ve only had that 100 times.” And while the market for Pale Ales may be highly-saturated, I have a soft spot in my heart for Community’s dry-hopped version on an old classic. With four different kinds of hops (can you tell I like hops yet?), this beer light, but certainly not for the faint of heart!
This week’s tour highlighted six different local artists, all of whom are excited to come talk to you about their art. Their pieces range in medium (drawings, paintings, mixed media), but all are uniquely local.
Katrina Rasmussen specializes in paintings and mixed media, with an eye for detail. When looking at her pieces, you notice something new every time – the couple kissing under the bridge in Venice, or that the cream in the coffee has coffee-related refrigerator magnets under the paint.
Ryan Sheffield has some great prints of author headshots (I proudly own one of Ray Bradbury and another of Hunter S. Thompson) with their quotes in place of where the bodies would normally be. His pieces include drawings of James Joyce, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, and Hunter S. Thompson (my personal favorite). He is also a writer himself, and you can get copies of his books here.
Ray Pratt is another regular at the Community art events, with art pieces ranging from the scientific to the political. He has a series of skeletons in front of mushroom clouds that I’ve been eyeing for some time. One of his more political pieces is a large strip of bacon decoupaged with the Affordable Care Act (that would make for an interesting addition to my vegan household!). When he explained this to me yesterday, he stated, “If they’re going to attach pork to all their bills, I’m going to put their bills on pork!” While his takes on politics aren’t always optimistic (he has a 3D predator drone decoupaged with his personal emails and satellite images of places he’s lived), they are always presented with a sly sense of humor.
Jackdaw Folk Art is decidedly Texan – but in a good way. His subjects include Big Tex (RIP) and Jack Ruby, and he has a flair for the geek as well (my husband was drawn to his Zelda Windwaker print).
Erin Curry’s 3D art is eye-grabbing and funky. Her geometric subjects are overlaid on top of ink & watercolor backgrounds to create a fresh, layered look for her shadowbox pieces.
Lastly, there were some unique pieces by an artist whose name I couldn’t locate (her section named her as “the girl in the red glasses), but whose pieces were interesting nonetheless. She uses paint swatch collages to create portraits (the black & white JFK is particularly enthralling):
If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I can’t recommend stopping by Community enough! Their tours are every Saturday (and there’s a “beer school” option as well!), and they have two special events in the month of January:
January 10th, 5 PM – 9 PM: Taproom Grand Opening
January 18th, 2 PM – 5 PM: One Year Anniversary Event
Hope to see you out there!