There are tons of craft beers and more importantly, and lucky for us, there has been an increase in craft breweries in the DFW since 2011. The range of beers, from bitter IPA’s to strong, robust Porters gives the discerning palate options that most commercial breweries cannot match. That’s not even mentioning the flavor creations that spring forth to just slap you right in the taste buds. Fortunately, local breweries offer tours for the tasting and socializing with fellow beer lovers. These tours allow a participant to pay a moderate fee, normally around ten dollars. You receive a glass and a specific amount of tickets for samples, normally three.
One such tour was experienced this past week at a hidden jewel known as Firewheel Brewing Company in Rowlett. The brewery is smaller than most but what it lacks in size it makes up for in flavor and offerings. The atmosphere is very relaxed and easygoing. An inside area greets guests with comfortable couches and stools. In the rear of the brewery, there is a beer garden if you prefer the outdoors. The owner/brewer is very easy to engage in conversation and answers any questions a patron may have. Live music and food trucks are present but not every week. Have no fear though, there are food places nearby or you can bring your own. Parking is also relatively easy to find.
The beers of Firewheel are nothing short of creative. Having been on a tour here before, I knew what to expect on the Texas Pale Ale and Special #1 Brown Ale, both very pleasant beers. Blended together in the form of a “Black and Tan” gave a whole new dimension of tastes as they accentuated each other very well. Nice carbonation level, great scent and a flavor blend of the lighter and darker ales should definitely be experienced.
The test batch beer offered this week was the Honey Ale, a golden ale. A nice dark caramel color with a strong honey-malt scent first greets you before the honey flavor hits your taste buds. This beer is neither hop-bitter nor honey-sweet. It has a balance of the honey-malt character that shines from the scent. We can all hope we see this beer more often in the future.
The StrIPA is a strawberry IPA. It pours light in color and a bit cloudy. A strong scent of strawberry is present. A nice carbonation level is present in this beer. While it is an IPA, it is not overly hop-bitter. There is a slight alcohol bite but nothing unpleasant or deterring from the subtle strawberry flavor present. Overall, an excellent fruit IPA that should not be feared from those of you that dislike IPA’s or fruit beers.
The last beer sampled was the Albino Pumpkin, a pumpkin offering that is different from the seasonal Pumpkin that should be in production in the upcoming weeks. This beer poured a cloudy, amber color and seemed lower in carbonation than the other beers. There was a distinct spiced pumpkin scent to it and a straw-yam like flavor with no hop. This beer would best be enjoyed on a hot summer day for its’ refreshing qualities.
Firewheel Brewing, 2806 Lawing Ln, Rowlett, is definitely different from others. Their beers do not seem plentiful in the DFW area but there are more and more restaurants and bars that are carrying them. The tours are not crowded (currently) as mentioned and it is relatively easy to relax rather than fight the crowds that some breweries have. The beers on tap vary but none disappoint. With four samples given and a fifth if you use some form of social media to show you are there, this definitely breaks out from the usual three. Tour hours are 11am-3pm on Saturdays and learning from the owner/brewer about the process may make you want to brew as well. The only downside is that their beers are not currently bottled or canned so you’ll need to search for their beers or talk your local watering hole to stock them.