Americans maintain the right to remain silent and the right to practice religious freedom. They also reserve the right to drink good beer, at least according to D-FW's newest brewery.
Legal Draft Beer Co. recently began brewing in a facility near downtown Arlington, and Greg McCarthy, the brewery's president and co-founder, knows a thing or two about the law -- he's been a practicing lawyer for three decades. That's why each of Legal Draft's recipes cleverly riffs on the judiciary system, for example, its Accused Amber Lager and Presumed Innocent IPA.
The cans too, which come out later this year, list some of the "beer-anda" rights.
"You have the right to an attorney while drinking great beer," McCarthy laughs reading one, "but why would you would want to do that?"
McCarthy and his partner Curt Taylor's journey to open Legal Draft began 20 years ago on a front porch over (appropriately) a couple a beers. They mused about one day getting in the game and bringing locally-brewed suds to their hometown. Then about a year and a half ago, after crunching some numbers and looking at the legal logistics of course, they decided to take the leap.
"I felt a little bit of a tug to do something for our hometown," McCarthy says.
"Arlington has desperately wanted something cool. The sports stadiums are nice and they serve their purpose, but nothing really has grown up around them," he says.
McCarthy and Taylor enlisted German brewer Henryk Orlik, formerly of Big Bend Brewing Co. and Abita Brewing Co., to helm to brewhouse, and outfitted their 25,000-square-foot industrial space off Division Street with a pricey half-million dollar high-efficiency system, fermentation tanks and canning line.
[UPDATE July 13 at 4:43 p.m.: Legal Draft will open its facility to the public for the first time July 23 from noon to 6 p.m. See details of the event here.]
Legal Draft's initial lineup, which will be available on draft and eventually cans, includes...
- Legal Blond Gold Lager, a light and crisp Munich lager;
- Accused Amber Lager, a bold Vienna lager with a red hue;
- Presumed Innocent IPA, deemed tangy and approachable;
- Hung Jury Hefeweizen, brewed in traditional German fashion with notes of banana and clove;
- and Chief Justice Stout, described as sweet, rich and smooth.
Making the beer available was Legal Draft's first hurdle, but what McCarthy is really looking forward to is inviting locals to the brewery. Patrons can't visit just yet -- much of the surrounding area is currently a construction site -- but once Legal Draft opens the taproom in August, they'll find 40 draft taps for house beers and hard sodas that will be served in style-appropriate glassware as well as flights.
There will be TVs for sports watching, a patio and outdoor garden with a stage for live music, too.
Legal Draft is one piece of a bigger picture to reinvent the area where it's located, which is currently a hotbed for car dealerships. According to McCarthy, Dodson Development, which owns several properties including Legal Draft's building, plans to add mixed-use businesses such offices, a yoga studio and restaurants. And he hopes the brewery will anchor the new, walkable district, which is notably just across the tracks from Arlington's other brewery, Division Brewing, and entertainment options like Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts.
"We're hoping that our brewery and this development as a whole will be a good magnet," McCarthy says. "I think Division Street has the potential to be like South Congress [in Austin]."
And who would object to that?
For more information about Legal Draft Beer Co., visit the brewery's website.