by Steven Doyle
If you are from Dallas the burg of Rowlett might not be on your radar. It is actually a quaint town that is directly off the light rail which leads you directly to Rowlett’s growing revitalized downtown area. And this is where you will also find Bankhead Brewing Company, a legitimate brewery who has won their fair share of awards for their masterful beer and a restaurant befitting those same fantastic beers.
The brewery is named for the Bankhead highway which was one of the first transcontinental highways built in 1916 that ran from Washington D.C to San Diego. The route included 850 miles through Texas which ran through downtown Rowlett. You can even see the three original three bridges from the old highway juting out of Lake Ray Hubbard, just south of Highway 66.
The restaurant itself has this fun 1920’s feel and even serve some dishes directly from a cast iron kettle. The food itself is a bit rustic with most dishes being cooked in the pair of woodfired ovens. This gives a bit of a show for those sitting at the bar which runs along the very open kitchen where patrons may watch their food crisping in the ovens.
For food start with their blistered brussels and pancetta, or the addictively charred bacon, spinach, artichoke and parmesan disp (the BLTA for those searching the menu). We also enjoyed a kettle of mussels made with a delicious bath of Dijon wine broth and coins of chorizo.
There are also a slew of incredible burgers and pizzas that are not to be missed, along with extremely respectable entrees such as fish and chips, a prime rib sandwich and a heavenly meatloaf. We have also seen specials running running the gamut, from steaks and roasted lobsters to a variety of fresh pasta dishes.
OK, the food is excellent, I hope I have conveyed that message well. If the food is excellent, the brews are nothing short of glorious. This is a special breery which takes special pride in their daily product. Each of the dozens of recipes are made in small batches which are on constant rotation leaving guests eager to taste the next great beer. The beer list is printed often to keep up with the brewmaster and owner Ryan Pyle who has twenty years of beer making history under his belt. On that list you will also note beers in the coming line-up just to keep you well teased and eager for a return visit.
The brew list includes a selection such as a Bavarian Hefeweizen, English Pale Ale, Kölsch, Citrus IPA, and Munich Helles-Style Lager. Seasonal beers include Vienna, Smoked Robust Porter, Märzen, Oatmeal Stout, Saison, Double IPA, and Traditional German Bock. If you enjoy a fine sour brew, they have you covered as well. And that Double IPA will send you into beer nirvana.
A visit to the brewery would make for a fun visit during the holidays. A place to take out of town guests. Our suggestion is to Uber to the nearest light rail and head east for a day of beer tastings and great food. If you are driving from downtown Dallas it is actually a swift 15 minute ride. Not bad if you consider Plano is at least thirty minutes away in the other direction.