If You Help The Upstart Grapevine Craft Brewery Can Its Beer, You'll Get Beer In Exchange.
At some point in life, most people experience the inconvenience of coming up short for beer money. After digging through the car and couch cushions for change, skimming dollars off of friends just this once and clicking refresh on your bank account balance and hoping it'll come up different the this next time, the realization becomes all too clear: A single tall boy will have to do.
In these instances, for a brief moment, you consider a world where some type of bartering system takes place where you can obtain a few brews in exchange for some small favor of little to no effort.
Then you snap back to reality. Because no such option exists. Which is just, like, a total bummer, man.
Well, except for the fact that Grapevine Craft Brewery has just changed .
That's right: In exchange for a little bit of production assistance — specifically, we mean helping the brewery siphon its brews into the cans it sells — GCB will pay you. In beer.
“It helps out with production,” says owner Gary Humble. “People get to be involved with the product and take home a six pack.”
GFB's so-called “canning runs” started almost as soon as the brewery opened for business about six months ago. Volunteers are a pretty normal occurrence among up-and-coming breweries, although few people realize that the opportunity is available to them. With a social media presence that reaches 13,000 people, however, GCB has been able to reach out to an audience of locals with spare time who are interested in free beer that's as fresh as it comes.
The brewing facility, temporarily located in Farmers Branch, brews and cans around 650 cases a week for distribution throughout Dallas and Austin thanks to the help of Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s TX Canning, as well as Armadillo Mobile Canning out of Austin. A larger facility is currently under construction in downtown Grapevine, which will be able to help the brewery expand its distribution throughout Texas.
GFB focuses on a brand of simple brews inspired by the city itself. Lakefire, the first and one of the most popular of the company's brews, is a rye pale IPA influenced by summer nights and fireworks on Lake Grapevine. It has a clean, subtle taste reminiscent of a classic barbecue beer, but with more of a craft emphasis. As of right now, it's the only brew being canned.
Still, the brewery of course makes other beets. There's the Monarch — named after the butterfly whose migration stops in Grapevine in October — which is a slightly fruitier version of Lakefire that maintains some clarity in its profile. It has a pear-like aroma, although the fruity essence is mild when you actually drink it. And there's the Sir Williams brew — named after Mayor William D. Tate, who has served Grapveine for almost 40 years — which is an English brown ale with a Texas spin. It's lighter than a traditional English brown ale, with a heartier malt profile and mild caramel and coffee hints throughout. The recently released 10 Gauge, meanwhile, is a Belgian IPA inspired by Bonnie and Clyde — and, specifically, Clyde's weapon of choice, a 10-gauge riot gun. It has all of the hoppy qualities of an American IPA, with somewhat of a Belgian ale finish.
GFB also makes a line of bottle-conditioned, Bonnie Blue series of beers. The first, called La Saison des Festivals (French for “festival season”) is a nod to Humble's Louisiana roots. It has a rich grapefruit flavor due to Mosaic hops, but without having too light of a profile. It's packaged in 750ml champagne bottles and only available as a spring release.
Each of the brews that GFB produces has flavors that stick to a simple palette, avoiding some of the more outlandish flavor trends in craft beer. The intention is for the brews to be friendly to any beer drinker — and not just craft beer enthusiasts.
“A lot of local breweries really cater to [the craft beer] crowd, which is fine,” Humble says. “But because of that, the general population of beer drinkers feel like, 'Local beer is not for me.' So my goal is to invite more people into local craft beer. I want to see the local craft beer market grow. We're trying to make well-crafted, local beer that's approachable.”
And the simplicity works: Sir Williams was recently voted one the best beers in Dallas, and that's not bad for a company that started off as a draft-only concept.
“We intended, honestly, for our first year to be draft-only,” says Humble. “Then, two months into it, we were getting so many questions on when we would have something in the store. Everyday, I changed my mind on whether we would bottle or can.”
After placing a call over to the folks at Deep Ellum Brewing Co. for help, though, Humble decided that canning was the way to go. And it's worked out well for him, too. GFB is only offered on draft at a slew of bars and restaurants throughout the area, but canning has helped the company establish its place in the market.
But the canning makes sense for another — perhaps better — reason, too.
“From a branding perspective, our brand is Grapevine, Texas,” says Humble. “When you think about Lake Grapevine, going to the lake and hanging out, you can't take bottles out there. It would be kind of silly if you couldn't take Grapevine Craft Brewery beer to the lake in Grapevine.”