I delight in giving beer, bar and brewery recommendations in North Texas. But ask me where to go, and you'll be answered with more questions
Are you looking for a place to host a large group, or one where you can belly up solo? Indoors or outdoors? Craving some food? What day of the week are you going? How do you feel about crowds?
Beer preferences are as unique as individuals, and being a professional boozehound, I try to tailor my recommendations to each taste. There is, however, a roster of usual places where I like to kick back with a bubbly beverage.
Here's a list of my go-to watering holes, beers and bites in Dallas.
Favorite local beer: Mosaic IPA from Community Beer Co.
India pale ales are known for their hoppy characteristics, but a good one needs a supporting malt character to balance its flavor. Community Beer Co.'s Mosaic IPA goes big on both, clocking 8.6 percent alcohol content per pint and 85 international bitterness units (IBUs), a measure of a beer's hop profile. And yes, that's a lot. It's a bold beer with a sweet and crisp finish that leaves you reaching for another.
Not into hoppy beers? Try a Mike Modano's 561 kölsch-style ale from Rabbit Hole Brewing for a refreshing beer that's light but doesn't compromise on flavor. Find both on draft, in bottles and in cans at local bars, as well as at the breweries.
Best beer bar: The Common Table
Opened in 2010, the Common Table in Uptown Dallas is a catchall haven for beer lovers. It boasts a rotating selection of interesting draft beers and solid eats served in a lively environment and, perhaps most importantly, at great prices. The Common Table often hosts special releases and pint nights, as well as live music on its quaint front patio. Stop by any Monday night to indulge in one of the best deals in town: the Pour Man's Dinner, a four-course meal paired with an equal number of 6-ounce beers for $29. Diners don't get to pick the brews, but the adventure is half the fun. Oh, and don't forget ask about the bar's secret bottle menu.
Go-to beer dive: Eastbound and Down Icehouse
This neighborhood haunt has become the boozy hangout on an otherwise dry stretch of Ross Avenue in Dallas. It has a come-as-you-are atmosphere, friendly bar staff and a solid lineup of craft beers. Choose from one of more than a dozen draft options or from the selection of cans, which includes Destihl brewery's Wild Sour Series, Miller Lite and many in between. The bar's name is inspired by Jerry Reed's song of the same name featured in the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, which sometimes plays on the TVs mounted next to a Firebird car hood on the wall behind the bar. Wednesdays are karaoke nights, and the back patio, complete with a fenced-in dog area, is popular during nice weather.
- 3826 Ross Ave., Dallas. More info.
Crowd-pleasing brewery taproom: Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
You can thank Deep Ellum Brewing Co. for making Dallas Blonde ale and Deep Ellum IPA, two beers practically ubiquitous at North Texas bars. But the brewery itself is worth a visit. Located on the outskirts of the district it's named for, DEBC's taproom checks all the boxes. An inviting and lively space? Check. Food? Yup. TVs for sports watching? Double yup. Dog-friendly patio complete with stage for live music? You betcha. An array of beer styles? Definitely. That scent of grain being transformed into beer wafting into the bathroom area, giving a home-brewed vibe, is a bonus.
- 2823 St. Louis St., Dallas. More info.
Excellent beer garden: Dot's Hop House and Cocktail Courtyard
The quintessential idea of a beer garden might suggest more foliage than most urban Dallas areas can offer, but Dot's Hop House and Cocktail Courtyard does a commendable job of providing a tiny respite from the industrial vibe of Deep Ellum. Its 10,000-square-foot outdoor space is lined with gravel, peppered with trees and laced in unique accents, such as the massive outdoor chandelier that glitters in the sunlight and the custom stained-glass mosaic featuring iconic moments in Dallas sports history. Pair the ambiance with one of Dot's 99 draft beer offerings and you're in for a good time.
- 2645 Commerce St., Dallas. More info.
Choice beer patio: LUCK
West Dallas' Trinity Groves dining district offers scenic views of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and downtown Dallas paired with a variety of cuisines from the numerous restaurants there. The go-to is LUCK, an eatery known for its smoked meats and great patio. Drinking here is one of the best ways to tap into the local brewing scene, as the bar only serves beer made within 75 miles.
- 3011 Gulden Ln., Dallas. More info.
First-rate beer sponge: Velvet Taco
After a night of drinking, few things soak up the suds better than tacos. And Velvet Taco's fusion of tasty ingredients does just the trick. So does its bowl of tater tots, which comes topped with goat cheese, cheddar cheese, avocado crema, bacon and a sunny-side-up egg. The Velvet Taco restaurants on Henderson and McKinney avenues in Dallas are open until 4 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- Various locations. More info.
No-regrets beer splurge: Strangeways
Named for the Smiths' iconic 1987 album Strangeways, Here We Come, this delightfully quirky dive is famous for the beers it rotates through the draft wall. They'll cost you a pretty penny, though -- it can be tough to get out of Strangeways without spending a chunk of change because of both the quality of beverages and the inability to have just one (or two or three) -- especially during Sour Week each fall, when all of the 40 taps feature tart, fruity and funky brews and a five-sample flight runs $23. But it wouldn't be on this list if it weren't worth it.
- 2429 N. Fitzhugh Ave., Dallas. More info.
Beloved local beer shop: Craft Beer Cellar
I'm a devout Total Wine shopper, but if I'm looking for a specialty local beer release -- or don't feel like fighting traffic on North Central Expressway -- I duck into this shop that doubles as a bar. Craft Beer Cellar sells growlers, crowlers and six-packs to go, but you can also enjoy a pint or 5-ounce taster of beer while you're there. Shoppers can also pull a single beer from any six-pack and enjoy it on-site (corkage fee is $2) for the ultimate try-before-you-buy experience.
- 6324 Gaston Ave., Dallas. More info.
Best beer selection: Meddlesome Moth
Meddlesome Moth in Dallas' Design District is world-renowned for its attention to beer. Not only does the gastropub host famous brewery founders such as Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery) and Adam Avery (Avery Brewing Co.) for high-profile beer dinners, it maintains a vast cellar, so you never know what might be available on tap. Rarities and special releases are its forte, but the bar always offers a wide variety to appease beer drinkers of all kinds. Even the menu of shareable plates offers guidance on beer pairings.
- 1621 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas. More info.
Most epic beer flight: Peticolas Brewing Co. (Dallas)
What's better than visiting Dallas' Peticolas Brewing Co. to try one beer? Trying nearly all of them. And you can with the Super Flight, a 17-sample board featuring Peticolas signatures like Velvet Hammer imperial red ale, Golden Opportunity kölsch-style ale and Sit Down or I'll Sit You Down imperial IPA alongside seasonals and a rotating cask option. It's as fun to post to Instagram as it is to drink, and be sure to take a few friends -- this $40 flight is available for purchase only with groups of three people or more. Plus, then you can play a tipsy match of pingpong upstairs afterward.
- 1301 Pace St., Dallas. More info.