Owners Bobby Mullins, left, and Yianni Arestis inside the new Armadillo Ale Works brewery in Denton, Texas. Though they've been in business since 2013, this is the first time they've had a brewery to call their own.

Owners Bobby Mullins, left, and Yianni Arestis inside the new Armadillo Ale Works brewery in Denton, Texas. Though they've been in business since 2013, this is the first time they've had a brewery to call their own.

Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer

Armadillo Ale Works has eight years of local history, nine beers in its portfolio and two medals from Great American Beer Festival under its belt -- all without ever having a brewing facility to call its own. 

That changed in April, however, when co-owners Bobby Mullins and Yianni Arestis opened the doors at 221 S. Bell Ave. in Denton and invite the public to visit the first official home of Armadillo Ale Works.

This calls for a toast!

Armadillo Ale Works distributes its beer, including the Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat, in cans through D-FW.

Armadillo Ale Works distributes its beer, including the Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat, in cans through D-FW.

Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer

Locals who have been following North Texas' little brewery that could know it's been a long road. 

Armadillo Ale Works' genesis dates back to 2010, when Mullins and Arestis won a grant from the University of North Texas' Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship to pursue their dreams of brewing local beer. By 2013, they were doing just that with help from the brewing brethren at Deep Ellum Brewing Co., which lent Armadillo Ale Works space in its Dallas facility as well a distribution services. 

With the prospect of moving operations back to Denton, Mullins and Arestis discontinued producing beer in Dallas in 2014. But the move ended up being preemptive: Armadillo Ale Works' deal on a location fell through and the brewery ran out of beer to fill store shelves. It wasn't until the owners began contract brewing at Grapevine Craft Brewery in 2016 that D-FW drinkers could get another pint of beloved beers like Quakertown Stout and Brunch Money.

Fast-forward to 2018 and Armadillo Ale Works is ready for its long anticipated debut. Well, almost. Owners are still waiting on their batches of beer to be ready. Drinkers can expect to find it available for purchase in the taproom June 1.

The brewery will serve pints onsite, as well as distribute its beers in cans throughout the region. Noel Tousignant, formerly of Grapevine Craft Brewery, will assist Mullins as lab manager and brewer.

If you stop by the brewery before then, you'll find something else to drink: coffee.

Haley Lytle, left, and her husband Ben own CryptoZoology coffee bar, which opens soon at the new Armadillo Ale Works brewery in Denton.

Haley Lytle, left, and her husband Ben own CryptoZoology coffee bar, which opens soon at the new Armadillo Ale Works brewery in Denton.

Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer

Armadillo Ale Works is partnering with a local startup call CryptoZoology, founded by husband-and-wife duo Ben and Haley Lytle. As longtime baristas, the Lytles dreamt of one day having their own coffee shop and hope to get the ball rolling with a series up pop-up cafes. When that didn't work, they reached out to Armadillo Ale Works, which offered them space at its 18,000-square-foot facility on Bell Avenue. (Longtime residents and music lovers may know the space as former pop-up music venue, The Hive.)

Cryptozoology is, by definition, the study of creatures whose reported existence is yet unproven. Think Bigfoot of the Loch Ness Monster. So in addition to traditional espresso drinks, pour over coffee and loose leaf tea, they developed a special concoction called the Mothman, a blend of espresso, sweetened condensed milk, salt, sugar and activated charcoal, which gives the drink a black-ish hue.

That sort of jest is integral to the Lytles' shop. After years in the industry, Ben wanted to break away from the notion that coffee shops have to be "high end" to also serve quality cups of joe.

"For us there was this lack of originality," he says. "We really wanted the high level of quality, but also a high level of playfulness."

CryptoZoology's Mothman latte features espresso, sweetened condensed milk, salt, sugar and activated charcoal.

CryptoZoology's Mothman latte features espresso, sweetened condensed milk, salt, sugar and activated charcoal.

Jae S. Lee/Staff Photographer

Arestis considers CryptoZoology a complement to Armadillo Ale Works because it offers patrons options aside from beer and soda. There's also an opportunity to collaborate: Ben and Haley are hoping to brew a hopped tea this summer.

CryptoZoology is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Once beer hits the taps, Armadillo Ale Works plans to extend its hours to 10 p.m. The taproom is about 5,500 square feet and includes a small stage for live music as well as an adjacent patio.

Mullins is brewing Land Yacht IPA and Honey Please blonde ale first, followed by the rest of brewery's core lineup and non-alcoholic sodas in preparation for a grand opening celebration the first two weekends in June. Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale, a new New England IPA and a surprise special release or two will also be available.

How does it feel to finally have a space to call home?

"I'm exhausted," Mullins says with a laugh. But there's plenty to look forward to.

"It's going to be nice to have a taproom to experiment and showcase new stuff," he says.

Armadillo Ale Works celebrates its grand opening June 2 from 2 to 8 p.m., June 3 from noon to 8 p.m., June 8 from 2 to 1- p.m., June 9 from 2 to 10 p.m., and June 10 from noon to 8 p.m.

Take a virtual tour of Armadillo Ale Works:

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