24 In Arkansas/ Beer/ Featured/ Missouri/ Travel

Ozarks Brewery Guide

Craft beer, along with beer-cations, is absolutely booming all over the U.S. and the Ozarks is no exception. This Ozarks Brewery Guide is filled with practical info like addresses + hours, inside scoop from interviews with owners, brewers, etc., and For the Love of Wanderlust tips from my personal experiences. and don’t miss my tips for visiting breweries in general at the bottom of the post. Plus, I have a couple of bonus locations: a meadery + a cidery.

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS BREWERIES

Bentonville Brewing Co.

1000 SE 5th Street – Bentonville, Arkansas  – Opened June 2015

Mon – Wed 4-10, Thurs 4-11, Fri 3-11, Sat 2-11, Sun 2-9

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I had the pleasure of interviewing and being thoroughly entertained by Katie at Bentonville Brewing Co. and gratefully sampled every beer on the menu. Katie introduced me to my first Coffee IPA, which really is as wonderful as it sounds, and I really enjoyed their laid back attitude. I instantly felt like a friend, not a customer, and both Katie and the bartender on duty patiently answered my questions without making me feel totally beer-ignorant. *

⋙ What Got You Started in this Business? – “Our friend & business partner put this business plan together, but he has a day job. My husband and I were looking to potentially move out of Colorado and start something new. We home-brewed as a hobby, and were actually more experienced on your side of the counter – that’s a huge thing in Colorado.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Home-Wrecker IPA – “When we originally opened, it was supposed to be our Amber Ale… we thought that our main purpose would be to turn people on to craft beer, so we would be selling our Amber Ale, which is very “friendly”… but it ended up the beers we made for ourselves are the most popular beers that we have. We’ve found we’re pretty representative of what people are wanting.”

⋙ What Sets Bentonville Brewing Co. Apart From Other Breweries? – “It’s a very friendly culture and environment.  We have consistent beer and have a homey, small-town, non-pretentious feel. You don’t have to spend $10 on a great drink and you can come in sweaty off the bike trail.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite BBCo. Beer? – “The Porter is my steadfast.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact  “As a clarifying agent, most large brewing companies use something that the main ingredient is fish bladders.”

⋙ What’s in the Future for BBCo.? – “Our next step would be expanding the back because our taproom is doing even better than expected. We want to be making more beer so we can get into more outside accounts. We’d love to have a bigger reach to Little Rock and Fort Smith.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Bentonville Brewing is right off the bike trail. Pop in for a refreshing beer + place to relax for a bit.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Their Coffee IPA and The Homewrecker IPA

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Bike Rack Brewing Co.

410 SW A Street, Suite 6 – Bentonville, Arkansas – Opened October 2014

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I sat down with Erika + Kyle, a married duo who also happen to manage + run sales for Bike Rack Brewing Co., over a a couple of flights to talk about the brews here. Every single patron who came in while I was there was greeted by name and, often times, a hug. I was glad to get to know the two of them and learn all about Bike Rack’s past, present + future! *

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “I was living in Charlotte, NC and ran a bar and I got to order whatever kind of beer I wanted, so I got to taste hundreds of new kinds of beer and I was blown away… We were working on our own PR company, but a year ago we came up with the idea to start a TV pilot called ‘Destination Craft Beer’ and so we started in NW Arkansas, and started at Bike Rack and got to know them through that. We ran into the original owner and he asked if we wanted to bartend together for fun and two months later they promoted us: made her general manager and me head of sales.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: FAST Session IPA – “It’s becoming our Session IPA. Personally, I think it’s the best IPA brewed in Arkansas. We’re trying to make it our staple beer.”

⋙ What Sets Bike Rack Brewing Co. Apart From Other Breweries? – “I think we’ve only had two beers that were only okay, and those came from mistakes. I think every beer we’ve come up with is a good beer… We’re really solid.”

⋙ What Is Your Favorite BRBC Beer? – “The Double IPA.” “I would probably say the Session IPA. I can have three or four and it’s so tasty.” – Erika

⋙ What’s in the Future for BRBC? – “About three blocks away there’s an old Tyson building… They’re putting in a culinary arts school, four restaurant vendors, a health food store and the rest will be us… That will give us the capacity to make us as big as we want to be. Right now we’re selling as much as we can possibly make, but after that happens, we won’t have to stop selling it.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip »  Check out their social media account to find events like trivia nights.

» Their outdoor space is really nice. Be sure to take advantage of its coziness on Ozark nights.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Faster Double IPA

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Columbus House Brewery

701 W North Street – Fayetteville, Arkansas – Opened April 2015

Mon – Thurs 4 – 10, Fri 4 – 12, Sat 12 – 12, Sun 1 – 8

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This newest craft brewery in Fayetteville is Columbus House and it’s all about Fayetteville. The three owners all graduated from the University of Arkansas and are all excited to be sharing their beer with the community. I sat down with Carey, one of the owners, who showed us their super-technological brewing system, let me taste beer and we got to get our hop-head on as she told me more about hops and I finally found another person who fell in love with craft beer over an IPA. *

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – Jason started Columbus House with some of his friends and they told him they would be the brewer and they would take care of the business stuff. When he said okay, let’s go get this bank loan and they decided they didn’t want to put all that time, money and effort into it. So, he asked if I would be his partner and go to the banks with him (we coach the Women’s Lacross Team together at U of A), so I said, ‘Yeah sure let’s do this.’ I have a science degree so I said you teach me brewing and I’ll research it. We went to the bank, got the loan and started that process. We had Sam build our bar and we couldn’t pay him as much as we wanted because it took us forever to get opened, so we just sold him some shares of the business, and Sam came on full time after he graduated in May.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Yellow Card Golden Ale, Nutty Runner Nut Brown Ale, Weekend Warrior IPA, Spottie Ottie Oatmeal Stout – “Barring something going wrong, we have these four all the time. These are the ones we distribute.”

⋙ What Sets Columbus House Apart From Other Breweries? – “Probably our prices control and how much detail we pay attention to the beer throughout the entire process. We are on an all electric system and we do what is called herms which is a heat exchange recirculating mash and that’s what we’re looking at here. So our entire mash is recirculated through this coil and its temperature controlled through that controller. Brew day we get our computer out and we literally pull up our arduino controller herring change the temperature depending on which beer we’re brewing, then we upload it with a USB port. We don’t have an open flame which can cause pockets of heat and not be completely uniform and it makes for a more consistent beer.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Columbus House Beer? – “It’s hard to say since I make them all, but I think for the most part we would all agree that the Nutty Runner Nut Brown is our favorite. It’s the hardest to brew because it has the most specialty malts, so if anything changes, it might not come out the right way.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “Right now we have more craft breweries than ever before. Pre-prohibition there were over 4,000 craft breweries and the oldest brewery in the U.S. is Yuengling, and they survived prohibition by selling ice cream. Another is that the guy who’s considered the grandfather or father, I’m not sure which is the right word, of the new microbrewery movement of the seventies is actually from Lincoln, Arkansas.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Columbus House? – “We’re trying to grow as manageably as possible; we’re not going to bite off more than we can chew. So, right now, we’re working on adding more accounts for distribution. We’d like to start canning beer and selling it locally, but you never know. You never know how quickly or slowly you’re going to grow.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Is your dog your BFF? No need to leave him or her at home because Columbus House is dog friendly! Not only in the patio, but indoor dog friendly. In fact, we were greeted by Hubble, the owner’s dog!

» They’re also right off the bike trail in Fayetteville, they do monthly trivia and even host runs!

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Weekend Warrior IPA – Delicious and I can’t help but love the name!

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Core Brewing Co.

2407 Lowell Road – Springdale, Arkansas – Opened September 2010

Mon – Fri 3 – 9, Sat – Sun 12 – 9

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I’m thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to interview Matt at Core Brewing. He graciously stepped in and explained more about the beer here and gave us a very welcoming, laid-back experience. It was great to get to know more about this brand and schooled us on beer knowledge. We greatly enjoyed the laid back feel and one of the really great things about Core is they have multiple taprooms which means even more access to fresh beer from their taps. * 

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “I was a home-brewer a few years back. When I started working in this business I was managing a Walmart and a buddy of mine had just gotten on as a bartender full-time at the actual brewery. He called me up, asked for help getting some bottles ready, and it  for me it started as a volunteer thing… From there, they offered me a job and I was looking for a change and I needed to get out of it.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: ESB – “It’s an American-style English Ale. It’s a malty brew, it’s sweet and has a lot of earthy tones to it too.”

⋙ What Sets Core Apart From Other Breweries? – “There are a lot of different things that have set us apart, but the biggest is probably our styles of beers – we typically do a lot of lagers and IPAs and the lagers are actually a lot harder. It takes 30-40 days just to ferment. So, they take up a lot of room and tank space.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Core Beer? – “Barney’s Red Double IPA. I’m a huge hop-head, so this one being a double IPA, it tends to be the stuff I like. It’s got more complexity to it than other IPAs.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact  – “Something I recently learned was about the agitation with yeast in the fermenting process. There’s actually a brewery in Iowa that’s testing this. They play thrash music all night long and the idea is that that music is so heavy that it is agitating the yeast molecules and it’s fermenting a lot quicker. They’ve seen quicker fermentation than if they didn’t play music or had something like country music playing. It’s like the yeast molecules are just head-banging to the beat.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Core Beer? – “Right now, our focus is on our expansions. We are actually installing a new canning line right now. We’re getting back to the basics: adding more handles in all of our taprooms, more tanks, we’re adding in a distillery, and opening all of our pubs.”

For the Love of wanderlust Tip »  Like I mentioned above, this isn’t their only taproom or pub, find which one suits you best!

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Barney’s Red Double IPA – hops, hops, hops, and more hops!

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Fossil Cove Brewing Company

1946 N Birch Avenue – Fayetteville, Arkansas – Opened 2012

Mon, Tue – Thurs 4 – 10, Fri 2 – 11, Sat 11 – 11, Sun 11 – 10

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I sat down in Fossil Cove and was immediately greeted by smiles and a flight of beer. We technically interviewed with Nate, but everyone we encountered (employees + patrons) joined in with comments, jokes and questions. It was a really fun atmosphere and all of their servers are Certified Beer Servers who are serious about beer, but seem to have loads of fun. *

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? ” I worked at Mother’s during college and after I graduated, I realized I only wanted to work in beer. My original plan was a government job, but then I worked at a brewery and realized that was what I loved.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Paleo Ale an American Pale and our most produced beer and  La Brea Brown These are our two most popular beers in the taproom and outside the taproom.

⋙ What Sets Fossil Cove Apart From Other Breweries? – “What sets us apart, honestly is this tasting room, right here. It’s kind-of like a neighborhood meeting place. A lot of people walk here or bike here. With no plans to expand outside of Northwest Arkansas we’re really happy to be a meeting spot.It’s a place that people of all ages can meet together. We have young professionals, old home brewers, serious craft beer nerds and casual beer drinkers all in one spot. Plus, people come in with their kids all the time. It’s just an interesting dynamic. The tasting room also includes our staff – we’re all certified beer servers and happy to learn more about beer.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Fossil Cove Beer? – “My favorite beer is the IPA #3. I think we do IPAs really well especially. I try to drink the seasonal IPAs and right now I’m drinking the Whizzle which is a White IPA. As far as a year-round, though, it’s IPA #3, which is a taproom favorite as well. It’s a nicely balanced IPA.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “Beer is naturally carbonated through the yeast because it eats those fermentable sugars and then expends co2 and alcohol. It’s basically yeast waste that makes the natural carbonation. So even though it’s naturally slightly carbonated, each beer is force carbonated.” This cued many laughs and yeast waste jokes, just for complete transparency! “Hops are in beer at three stages: flavoring properties of hops, bettering properties of hops and aroma properties of hops.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Fossil Cove? – We have a new plot of land just down the street that we’re going to be building a new building on. It’s going to be a bigger facility, more brewhouse facility because we’re going at a rate that we’re outgrowing this space. That’s the next big thing. As far as distribution plans, we’re pretty happy being in Northwest Arkansas at the moment. We’re also starting to get into barrel-aging.”

For the Love of Wanderlust » Do you live near Fayetteville and you’re looking for an excuse to frequent Fossil Cove even more? Join their Mug Club! For an annual fee, you get a beautiful hand-crafted mug, and when you come in you drink from that mug for the same price as a pint, but you’re getting even more beer – saving money long-term. Plus, the mugs are truly awesome.

» Wanting to learn more about craft beer? Ask these guys. They’re all about education and seem to love helping you better your craft beer experience and expand your knowledge.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » IPA #3 + Berliner Weiss – the berliner weiss is actually soured with yogurt! Pretty cool!

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Foster’s Pint + Plate

2001 S Bellview Road – Rogers, Arkansas – Opened February 2015

Mon – Thurs 11 – 10, Fri – Sat 11-11, Sun 10-3

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Foster’s Pint + Plate offers a wide variety of beer, 82 beers to be exact, ranging from craft beer to mainstream beer, local beer + their own beer. Aside from this impressive selection of beer they have an insanely delicious menu. Matt + I went to try to meet up with someone about their beer, and even though that didn’t work out, we stayed for an amazingly delicious brunch and I had a couple of beers.

The beers I tried were, of course, FP+P brews: Karma Apple Ale + Bitter End IPA. I certainly felt that both of these beers lived up to their names. The Karma apple had a really nice, crisp apple flavor and it was incredibly drinkable. The Bitter End IPA was bitter all the way to the last drop. Even though IPAs are typically my thing, I found myself wishing I could have had a second Karma Apple.  If you’re looking for a good beer to wash down delicious food, look no further.

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New Province Brewing Co.

1310 W Hudson – Rogers, Arkansas – Opened March 2016

Mon, Tues – Thurs 3-10, Fri 3-11, Sat 2-11, Sun 2-9

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The owner of New Province, Derek, graciously allowed me to interview him only a few weeks after New Province Brewing Co. opened! For a place that had been open less than a month, it had a lot of character. The tasting room was cozy + funky with lots of custom-made wood work from Etsy. He taught me a ton about IPAs, hops and let us sample all of his beers available. *

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “I used to work for Miller-Coors in their Walmart Office, and my mom got me a home-brew kit and got the bug, and I’ve been brewing for 5 years now.”

⋙ Flagship Beer:  Not Targeting A Flagship Beer – “The Pamber has been the most popular, but that beer was accident. It was supposed to be my Pale Ale, but it ended up more malty and sweet than it was supposed to, and people love it. We’re dwindling down on the supply for that… It’s gonna go away – I have no idea how to brew it again!”

⋙ Tip For People New to Craft Beer – “Light American Lager, like BudLight or Coors, is a Style and first of all, you have to respect what they do because that’s the hardest style you could possibly brew because there’s zero room for off-flavors… You have to have respect for the consistency and scale at which they brew these beers. Any wheat beer is a good bridge and then jump to Pale Ales – less hoppy ones.”

⋙ What Sets New Province Apart From Other Breweries? – “I would say I have a different style to how I approach beers, a little bit. Like, in some ways, I’m more traditional in my approach to beers, but at the same time I think I’m introducing a different angle than the others. They serve great beer, but I think my IPA fills a big void here because I didn’t feel like anyone was brewing a West Coast Style IPA, and that’s what I feel like I’ve introduced to people… My lighter beers are more hop-forward.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite NPB Beer? – “The IPA; I’m very happy with it.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “Hops are added in the boil at the end of brewing, and the difference between an ale & a lager? The big differentiater is just the yeast. There’s an ale yeast and a lager yeast.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for NPB? – “My goal is to fill this up with 8 full taps – with four rotating seasonal beers. I’m heavily considering getting into crowlers for summer… Giant 32 oz. cans that you seal here at the bar. It’s an alternative to the glass growler so you can take it to the lake, the river, wherever. That’s what I’m thinking my first expansion is to push my beers out there and long term I’m thinking I’d like to get into cans in general. I think they’re a better vehicle for beer. Long-term that’s what I’d like to do and I have the space for it.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Be sure to take advantage of the relaxed and comfortable feel that you’ll find here. Even though you feel at home, you feel like you’re truly part of something that’s a craft. Everything from the beer to the decor is crafted to perfection.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » The Philosopher IPA – It’s a fantastic West Coast IPA

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Ozark Beer Co.

1700 1st Street – Rogers, Arkansas – Opened October 2013

Mon – Fri 1-6, Sat 1-7, Sun 2-6

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 Ozark was a bit of a spontaneous stop for us because Katie over at Bentonville Brewing said it could not be missed. Because we hadn’t reached out to anyone beforehand, I didn’t get to sit down with anyone. I enjoyed an IPA, and asked someone behind the bar about someone to talk to and I was able to reach out to Marty, who graciously answered my questions. In the taproom, Matt and I greatly enjoyed the live music that was playing and knew immediately that this was a special place.

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business?  “My father was an avid brewer in the early 80’s.  He was a pioneer of sorts in American Craft beer, having developed extensive business plans, recipes, branding and marketing strategies, brew store products and literature decades before the ‘craft boom’ in America.  As an artist, I have worked in several mediums, but being hired by Ozark Beer Co. two years ago gave me a wonderful opportunity as a storyteller to combine my passion for photography and writing with my lifelong love and interest in craft beer.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: American Pale Ale – “It’s a light-bodied pale brewed with rye and American hops.  Endlessly refreshing, crisp and citrusy, it was our first canned beer and quickly made its way via our customers out to the trails, lakes and rivers of the Ozarks, so many people’s first experience with Ozark Beer was through the American Pale.”

⋙ What Sets Ozark Beer Co. Apart From Other Breweries? – “A couple of things come to mind.  Obviously our beer is different, and it is an important thing that breweries’ beer is different from one another.  This opens more doors to new craft beer customers and is a part of what is bringing so many people into the fold. One thing that sets Ozark Beer Co. apart from many other breweries of our size and age is the brewing staff itself.  Each of our three brewers is professionally trained, has studied brewing on a commercial scale and in the case of Andy and Jesse brewed at nationally respected breweries before starting here.   Our brew staff is composed of three men who have committed their lives and study to brewing the best beer possible.  Our customers are the direct beneficiary of their passionate pursuit of this art.  We also pay our entire staff a living wage, even offering full insurance and benefits to our full-time staff.  This is rare in our industry as our margins are so thin, but we see each one of our employees as vital to our success and a part of our story so it was an easy decision for us.”

⋙ What Is Your Favorite OBC Beer? – “It depends.  Grilling, playing music or hanging out with friends my go-to is our American Pale Ale. During the hop harvest, my favorite beers of ours are our fresh-hopped IPA’s with hops flown in directly from farms in Yakima, WA and brewed into the beer within hours of being picked. In Summer, I love our Farmhouses, Saisons and Berliner Weisse more than most liquids. In winter, it’s hands down our Onyx Coffee Bourbon Double Cream Stout, a dark and rich stout aged in fresh Kentucky Bourbon barrels for up to seven months and then blended with cold-brewed Onxy Coffee. When I’m out on the town and want one of our beers to pair with my bleu cheese burger, it’s almost always our IPA. So, I guess the answer is no.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “Craft beer in Arkansas had a more than 300 million dollar impact on the economy last year and we are somewhere near 49th in beer production in the United States.  I like that stat because it shows both the power of our industry and the potential for growth.”

⋙ What’s in the Future for OBC? – “We just bought a permanent home in Downtown Rogers.  We’ve rented our little warehouse space south of town for nearly three years now, but outgrew it early this year.  Our new space will allow us the capacity to brew more beer, meaning that Ozark Beer will become available in more places across the state.  It also means we may have some room to continue our ongoing experiments in new and tested styles. The new space also means more storage for cans which means we will be able to put our IPA into cans next and hopefully more in the future.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite »  The IPA, but the Pale Ale is a very close second!

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Saddlebock Brewery

18244 Habberton Road – Springdale, Arkansas – Opened 2011

Mon – Thurs 11-9, Fri – Sat 11-10, Sun 11-9

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I had the pleasure of meeting up with Steve at his brewery, Saddlebock, where I got a personal tour of their brewery, an insight into some of their future plans, some amazing beer samples along with a couple of appetizers and I even got to take in some of the outdoor-experience that is Saddlebock.

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “Well, I like beer, and so I tried my hand at home-brewing and started submitting beers to the contests and got better and better and just kept getting more involved.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: The Dirty Blonde – “A German Kolsch-style beer. It’s easy drinking, and you can’t actually call a beer a Kolsch unless you can see the cathedral in Cologne, Germany (kind-of like Champagne) and this has become our most popular beer. Arkansas Farmhouse Ale is our farmhouse style ale that’s a bit stronger than what’s tradition, and we call it Arkansas because we use grits and rice, so it’s really unique. These are the two we can.”

⋙ What Sets Saddlebock From Other Breweries? – “A couple of things… One, we have a wider selection of beers because we make a lot more different types and styles. Two, our location. We’re not in a strip-mall or inside the city, we’re more of a destination, but still very close to Springdale and Fayetteville. Also, this was built to be a brewery, and that’s why we get these ‘top in the country tours’.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Saddlebock Beer? “It varies depending on what mood I’m in, but I like the Dunkelweiz a lot, I like an IPA that’s hoppy too, but I like a lot of the German beers.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “How about beer tasting? This is one of the things like… You know, you have wine tasting and you see people taking the wine and they spit it out and try another wine? You can’t do that with beer, you have to drink the beer if you’re a taster. The reason is, one of the differences between beer and wine is that beer has hops and the receptacles for hops are in the back of the throat and the back of the tongue, so you actually have to swallow the beer to be a beer taster.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Saddlebock Beer?  “We’re going to really expand on our location. We’ve got a cabin we rent out through AirBNB, we’re putting in more outdoor stuff to do, we’re looking at adding more cabins, fish and game said that they’re willing to put in a boat ramp in, so we’re going to look to bring more people out here. Probably enclose the back patio out here so more people will come  to eat. The food is very well-liked.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Wanting to spend a weekend in the Springdale area? Saddlebock has an AirBNB cabin on their property.

» Be sure to take the brewery tour because they’ve been featured on ‘top brewery tour’ lists such as Trip Advisor and other travel sites.

» They grow their own hops, bought local materials from the Ozarks, they’re using a drone to deliver their food from the restaurant across the street

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite »  Date With a Dirty Blonde – This beer is only brewed once a year, but it’s worth catching a pint of if you can.

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West Mountain Brewing Co.

21 West Mountain Street – Fayetteville, Arkansas

Mon – Tues 11 – 9, Wed – Fri 11 – 10, Sat 10 – 10, Sun 11 – 9

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I wasn’t actually able to get ahold of anyone at West Mountain since they don’t have information online, but it we made a stop there – it’s inside Tiny Tim’s pizza, which is truly some quality pizza! I had their Black IPA, which was a really delicious, flavorful beer and the atmosphere is that more of a restaurant. This is perfect for the person who loves craft beer and is traveling with someone who doesn’t love beer because it’s the best of both world. You get to enjoy quality brews and some delicious people. 

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*BONUS* Black Apple Crossing

321 E Emma Avenue – Springdale, Arkansas – Opened August 2015

Mon – Thurs 4 – 9, Fri 4 – 10, Sat 11 – 10, Sun 3-9

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I had the  pleasure of sitting down with Trey, sampling all their amazing ciders. This was my first real experience sampling different ciders, and I have to admit that I’m hooked. Trey explained the differences in their ciders along with the 3-month fermentation process. Trey took us behind the scenes into the process of cider-making. Something very exciting to some people is that all their ciders are glutton-free and preservative-free! Their indoor space is awesome and I could totally spend loads of time in their outdoor space – even on cooler nights because they have the outdoor heaters. Their outdoor space is one of the coziest in the Ozarks.*

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? -Me and one of the other owners, we were brew partners at my house and kind-of built a bar in the back of the house and we couldn’t keep up with the beer. So, we started making cider and everybody liked my cider better. It was kind-of disheartening, but now that we’ve stopped making all sweet ciders, I like them better.”

⋙ Flagship Cider: Dry Guy and 1904 are pretty much staples. Dry guy is our most traditional cider. Nothing is added to it. It’s just apple juice fermented with a champagne yeast that gives it a more crisp, tart flavor. Unfortunately 1904 is all local apples, all from the Ozarks, so we’ve got a limited quantity. We only haven more batch to make of that and then we’re out until next apple season.”

⋙ Tip For People New to Craft Cider – “Try the flight. You can’t really pick your favorite without trying them, even if I describe them to you.”

What Sets Black Apple Crossing Apart From Visiting a Local Brewery [Other Than Being Cider]? – “We’re the only cider house in 200 miles and the only one in the state and we try to use as many local ingredients as possible. All the apples came from Springdale and Springfield. It’s just hard to get all of our apples from the area.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Black Apple Crossing Cider? – Mine? Oh man, it depends on the day. The Peach one is really good. My go-to is probably 1904 on a day-to-day basis. I just come in and get different ones everyday.”

⋙ Cider Fun Fact – “This area was known as the apple-belt of the country for a while. They actually built a train going from here up north just so they could get produce up there. The black apple was cultivated in this area and it has actually spread up north.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Black Apple Crossing? – “Our focus is on the taproom. We’re expanding out into the front and bringing in a partner to open a restaurant in the other side. So hopefully that gets finished soon, and then in the next couple years we’ll work on distribution.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » If you’ve never had a craft cider, be prepared to have your cider-mind blown right open. It’s not like the commercial ciders. Each one has their own unique, amazing and extremely flavorful taste. Be ready to fall in love with all of them, because there wasn’t one that I didn’t like.

» Take the season into consideration! If you’re around in the winter be sure to try their cider heated up to warm your spirits. If you’re around in the summer get the cider cocktails.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Hop Full – dry-hopped with citra + cascade hops it has a tart, almost grapefruit, flavor. Mr. Tea – it’s made with Chai tea and gives all those wonderful fall, warm feelings.

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SOUTHWEST MISSOURI BREWERIES

Boat Town Brewing

18146 Campground Road – Phillipsburg, Missouri – Opened April 2016

Mon – Wed, Thurs 5-9, Fri 5-10, Sat 4-10, Sun

Visiting Boat Town was just such a pleasure. Matt and I sat down with one of the owners, Bart, who told us so much info about his beer while we tried a few, and he even totally changed my perspective on beer apps. His laid back style and passion for his craft was very apparent and I greatly enjoyed our time in their tasting room. Upon first walking in the door you have to get yourself a beer, so walk on up to their counter, which is aptly a canoe. They have two sections to their tasting room: one closest to the bar that has a more rustic, wood feel to it, and the other section (which is my favorite) is back in the brewing space where you get to sit in amongst the brewing equipment. So cool and very unique! *

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – My partner and I both home-brewed. I’ve been doing it for the last 10 years and he’s been doing it for the last 25 years. It’s just a passion that’s gone astray. It became kind-of a conflict and inner-competition between the two of us where we’d try to one-up each other and my brewing would become one level and he would try to one-up me and pretty soon I had this shop that I had completely finished and just made the most elaborate home-brew system and spent way to much time, energy and money doing it and he did it to his own basement – they were ridiculous! We decided that this probably indicates that we should put our efforts somewhere else and this area desperately needed a brewery.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Perficle – Which is surprising and it’s so popular right now that you can’t have it today. It’s an Imperial Stout aged in a bourbon our whiskey barrel and it sits at about 12%. It’s one that most times a  brewery would not consider a flagship beer, but it’s the one that people just can’t seem to get enough of, so it’s very difficult to keep it on tap because at 12% it taxes the brewing system so we make smaller batched and it’s barrell aged which takes time, so it’s hard to keep on. But so far, it has proven to be the flagship.”

⋙ Tip For People New to Craft Beer – Bart’s tips was to be open-minded and drop preconceived notions (which is included in my tips for any brewery visit because it was something most of the people I interviewed said). However, he went on to discuss people reading about beers on beer apps that I found incredibly interesting and unique, so I wanted to share it.  “I loathe the invention of the never-to-be-seen beer critic online. I loathe the thought of it. The fact that people can go in, and judge what you do without any form of credential or training or even ability to be held accountable for what they say. For something to be part of the public domain for everyone to go and look at and to have an opinion and maybe someone else goes on and uses their rating to form their own opinion… I’ve had people come up on their third or fourth craft beer ever and they’re pulling out their phone to use their rating app; how would someone be able to use your opinion?”

What Sets Boat Town Apart From Other Breweries? – “Probably the most striking thing is that this truly is a side project, not trying to steal St. Louis brewery ‘Side Project’s name, but my partner and I both have true full-time gigs that pay the bills – this is just something we do for fun and if people enjoy the beer, fantastic. If they don’t, sorry, but there are other breweries. It’s really something we opened up because we love beer and this area needed a brewery and needed fresh beer.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Boat Town Beer? – “This is probably not a surprise, but Perficle is my favorite. It’s something I brewed as a homebrewer multiple, multiple times to perfect, and I get obsessed about things, so I would fill up those 53 gallon barrels on a home-brew scale and it’s one I fill up barrels with again and again just to perfect it, and get it tweaked and drink it, of course.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – If somebody didn’t know this area, something interesting is that Lebanon has the Independent Stave Company which is the biggest producer of barrels for wines and spirits in the world.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Boat Town Beer? – “We’ll see… It’s a true definition of a side gig for my partner and I. I would like to see it do well. We try to be cautious of doing what is enjoyable and at this point I’m new enough in it that I can stay true to craft beer without feeling like doing something just for the business-sake of it. That’s when it starts sounding not very appealing to me and it sounds like where you go from ‘that cool new place’ to that place where you’re just doing things to please the greatest common denominator and you’re not all that special anymore. Right now I enjoy the people that are coming in here and the reaction that we get from those people.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Planning an epic Route 66 road trip? Add Boat Town to your itinerary! This brewery is located right on Old Route 66. Plus, there’s a campground right next door!

» Is it nice out? Sit outside and enjoy their outdoor space, sit by the fire pit and play a game or two.

» Do you live in the area and are interested in home-brewing? Check out their social media or shoot them an email about their classes in the brewery of how to setup your own home-brew system.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite »  Blend –  This is a blend of their Perficle [imperial stout aged in a whiskey barrel] + Wholly Wicked Wheat [dark wheat aged in a whiskey barrel] that was described by Bart as, “a beast of a beer and drinks like whiskey chewing on an oak toothpick.”  70 H.P. – East Coast Style IPA.

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Lost Signal Brewing

610 W College Street – Springfield, Missouri – Opened February 2016

Mon, Tues – Thurs 11-9, Fri – Sat 11-10, Sun 11-9

Tyler, the owner Lost Signal sat down with me before hours to discuss the newest brewery to the Ozarks. As something a little different than most of the breweries around here, it’s a brewpub, and not just your typical bar food, but amazing BBQ + appetizers that pair perfectly with the different beers. Another thing I really enjoyed about this brewery is all the seating. There are actually two bars, one you can order from and the other looks in on the brewing equipment; I always love looking in where the beer is made. Plus, they’re working on an amazing-looking outdoor space which will be perfect for those balmy Ozarkian nights. Being downtown, it’s the perfect place to grab a beer after shopping, eating or catching a movie. *

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “I started getting into craft beer in college. I was always the guy who never drank Bud Light. It started off because I didn’t want anyone to drink my beer, but it got me to taste the world of beer and the different kinds of beer. Then I started-home brewing and volunteering at a brewery, and it just kept going from there. I went to Chicago for brewing school and it’s just been one step after the other, getting more involved with it.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Smoked Pecan Porter – “We’re going to try to keep this on as much as possible, just because it’s different than what other people have, it’s fun and kind-of it lends itself toward the smokehouse side. We actually smoke the pecans in-house.”

⋙ Tip For People New to Craft Beer – Tyler had a stand-out tip that I had never heard before. “Stick to the three-sip-rule. The first drink, don’t nix it instantly. The second you start getting more flavors. On the third one your palate will actually be used to it and understand flavors.”

⋙ What Sets Lost Signal Apart From Other Breweries? – “Our food, really. There is no other BBQ brewpub in Springfield or the surrounding area. Also, we don’t have to worry about having so many year-round beers, so we can always evolve and change. Our portfolio is wide open. I’m going to try to keep things new, as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back.”

⋙ What Is Your Favorite LSB Beer? – “It would either be the Pale Ale or the Porter. I’m a huge Pale Ale fan, but that porter is pretty good.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “Women have more tastebuds than men, generally. So, they can taste more, they have have a better reaction and a greater knowledge of flavors than men do.  For the people who kind-of stick their nose up at women and think, ‘oh, you don’t know craft beer’, they have a better palate, so you should listen to them when they tell you what they’re tasting.”

⋙ What’s in the Future for MBC? – “Brewing new beers is all were looking at right now. We’re not looking at distributing any time soon. We don’t have the capacity. To do distribution, I would need a lot more barrelage, and the building just isn’t big enough for that. Our focus is to keep the pub stocked with beer and keep things fresh, new and exciting.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Come hungry. Their menu has all kinds of yummy things from pulled pork sandwiches to poutine to mac-n-cheese.

» Not sure which brew pairs with what you’re eating? Ask someone; they’re full of info!

» Come back to see what’s new, I can’t wait to give their IPA a shot! Be sure to try something new each time.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » My two favorites are beers that aren’t actually typically my favorites, their Smoked Pecan Porter and Pale Ales were my two favorites. Both have complex, but well-balanced flavors, and although I’m not usually porter-lover, this wasn’t a heavy porter and is one of many examples of why you should try beers, even if you think you won’t like them.

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Mother’s Brewing Co.

215 S Grant Street – Springfield, Missouri – Opened May 2011

Mon, Tues – Thurs 4-8, Fri – Sat 1-9, Sun 2-5 

 

Mother’s Brewing is the second craft brewery to open in the Queen City of Missouri and is quite the brewery. They offer loads of different beers, plenty of seasonals and a whole lot of heart. The community and their craft seem to be their passions. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Laura (Mother’s Marketing Director) and learning more about this Springfield staple. *

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “Before I starting working here I worked for a management group… kind of like a restaurant bar / group and I was a marketing director for that management group. Obviously beer was involved, so that was my background… When I was working for them, that’s when Mother’s opened and so that was a big thing for me at the time… I met the owner here, and we served on a lot of downtown boards together, and just became good friends… When an opportunity came up here, I just jumped on it.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Towhead (American Blonde), 3 Blind Mice (Brown Ale), Lil’Helper (IPA) – “So, we kind-of have three, really… Towhead’s our blonde, it was made with the intention of being a lighter-bodied craft beer, something that a non-craft-beer-drinker might enjoy, Three Blind Mice is a really nice, light-bodied brown ale, and Lil’Helper is our IPA. Lil’Helper is actually our number 1 selling beer in all of our markets.”

⋙ What Sets Mother’s Brewing Co. Apart From Other Breweries? – “We certainly pride ourselves on being a little quirky, being a little unique, flavor-driven & we’re not following a style guide on our beers. We pride ourselves on connecting to our community & forging partnerships and really just supporting local business. Just lifting each other up.” Laura mentioned partnerships with Milsap Farm, The Coffee Ethic, Askinosie Chocoloates & The Mudhouse.

⋙ What Is Your Favorite MBC Beer? – “I really love Three Blind Mice. It’s our brown ale. It’s just packed with flavor, which I love. It is not a hoppy beer, it’s more about the malt character. It’s got really nice caramel, chocolatey notes, but it’s so light-bodied. This beer is so light and so easy to drink, and as a side point it’s actually one of the lowest calorie beers on the menu. That’s my favorite everyday go-to beer!”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “The only thing I can think of sitting here, is that coming into it, I kind-of thought if you’re making an IPA, here’s the recipe for IPA, if you’re making a Blonde here’s the recipe for a blonde, but since we don’t really follow guidelines our brewmaster creates his own recipes. That was new to me… You can still make an IPA and not follow this checklist. You can be innovative and creative with some of those styles and blends.”

⋙ What’s in the Future for MBC? – “Here in the next couple of weeks we’re launching another year-round beer. It’s the first new year-round beer since we opened. It’s going to be a light-lager style of beer. It’s going to be a much lighter beer – very crisp and very clean; a very approachable beer for people not used to craft beer. We just launched our new backyard beer series this year, it’s a can series from us. They’re all sort-of a flavor driven beer. We’ll do a peach tart, a white tea pale ale, we’re going to do chocolate chili mole called Holy Mole that we’re re-branding and then we’ll do a blood orange saison. The next couple of years, we’re really focused on education and being good stewards of our craft.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Check out Mother’s website because they also have events going on at the brewery: tastings, events, festivals, and their summer movies! My favorites are the movies + Oktoberfest which are held right in their yard.

» They always have something new or seasonal rolling in, so ask what’s new when you’re in the taproom!

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Lil’ Helper Midwest Coast IPA and the Blush! Pomegranate Hibiscus Wit. Both are packed with flavor!

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Piney River Brewing Co.

15194 Walnut Grove Drive – Bucyrus, MO – Opened March 2011

Mon –  Thurs, Fri 2-9, Sat 2-7, Sun 12-5

Matt and I made the beautiful trek out to Piney River, two miles down a dirt road that led us to a massive barn with a gorgeous deck off the side that overlooked the hills and the cows grazing in the yard all around it. A food truck sat outside and the wall of the deck was lined with camp chairs just waiting to be enjoyed. Live bluegrass music seeped from the barn and we sat down with Joleen and were later joined by her husband Brian (the owners of Piney River.) *

⋙ What Got You + Your Husband Started in This Business? “It was sort-of a culmination of things… We were home-brewers, we’re lovers of craft beer, everywhere we went we would find a local brewery and we always enjoyed that. Brian and I always saved as much as we could and we had put most of our savings in the stock market, but the stock market pretty much got cut in half over night in 2008 and we had been denying ourselves things so we could live better in the future, and we decided to diversify and invest in ourselves. And we thought what do we know how to do? We know how to make beer!”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Black Walnut Wheat. “We actually made that beer for the first festival we attended as a brewery. The Ozarks is known for our black walnuts, so it was an ingredient that we wanted to incorporate into our beer. It went over really well at the festival, so we were like, we’ll make it and serve it in the tap room and people kept showing up with their growlers. It’s a dark American-style wheat with black walnuts.”

⋙ What Sets Piney River Apart From Other Breweries? “I think one of the things that we’ve really capitalized on is the fact that we’re a farm brewery. All craft beer is about a place, and we really wanted to start a brewery that was in the Ozarks and all about the Ozarks. Our beers have names of things that you find in the Ozarks… We use well water so we’re getting the flavor of the Ozarks in our beer, and a lot of our beers are styles that have a high mineral content in the water, so making the most out of great Ozarks spring water… And really embracing the fact that we’re out here in the middle of nowhere, and yes, it’s going to be a trek to come out here, but you can sit on our deck and you can watch the cows graze in the pastures. Or you might see turkeys or an eagle or deer; people really enjoy this.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Piney River Beer? [Joleen] “It depends on the time of year and what I’m doing. When I’m floating I love to drink Float Trip, in the wintertime I love to drink our porter, our Bronzed Back Pale Ale is a hoppy pale ale and that’s a go-to beer. We’re starting to do some mixed fermentation beers and we have a beer on right now that’s our first mixed fermentation that we made here that is called Lizzy Twister and it’s a berliner weisse, which is a tart wheat beer and we offer syrups to put in it, which is traditional, but I like it just plain, but that’s my go-to beer right now.”

[Brian] “My favorite beer… That’s tough because it changes daily, but my favorite beer at this moment is the the berliner weisse, ‘Lizzy Twister’ just as it is, no syrup. But it’s a toss-up between that and Black Rye IPA.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – A Piney River fun fact is that they were the first microbrewery in Missouri to can their beer at their own brewery!

⋙ What’s In the Future for Piney River Beer? “Like I said, we’re just starting to do those mixed fermentation beers that we’re really excited about. That is not something that’s going to be in huge quantities just because you don’t make huge quantities of beers like that, and we’re excited to see what’s going to happen and to get to play. The other thing is just consistently making our beers that are out there in mass quantities and growing the Piney River name. We don’t have huge plans of sending our beers out all over the world because that doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m sure places in, say Chicago, would love to have Piney River, but I think something gets lost in translation because we’ve really made our beer about the Ozarks. The best beer you drink is the beer that’s made closest to home because people are drinking fresh beer.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tips » This taproom is actually on a working farm and has its own unique vibe because of this. Their BARn (bar in a barn, clever huh?) has a massive deck that would be absolutely perfect for enjoying a beautiful Ozarks sunset over a great beer with loved ones.

» Are you a nature lover? Visit one of the state parks that are very nearby (Montauk State Park + Echo Bluffs State Park) during the day and relax afterward at Piney River.

» Have you kids with your? Brian + Jolene’s son, Andy, is the head root beer brewer! How adorable is that?

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Black Walnut Wheat + The Lizzy Twister with peach syrup.

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Public House Brewing Co.

600 North Rolla Street – Rolla, Missouri – Opened December 2010

Mon – Thurs 4-11, Fri 2-12, Sat 12-12, Sun

Our session at Public House Brewing was the perfect winter evening for an interview with the manager, Lane. We tried all of the beers on tap and stuck around for some really fun conversation with Lane and the other two bartenders working. This gorgeous space used to be a hardware store and they really stayed true to this look with this stunning brewpub.

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “I got lucky. I came in and asked if they were hiring. They said no, but I filled out an application anyway and they called me a few days later. In college I had a lot of friends that were into craft beer, and my roommate and I would do our homework with a new six-pack. Then I got the job here and just fell even more in love with beer.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Rod’s Cream Ale – “It was our number one seller for a long time, but once we started distributing the Elusive IPA has become our number one seller.

⋙ What Sets Public House Apart From Other Breweries? – “We focus more on traditional, lower alcohol beers. Our motto is ‘A friend, a pint, a session.’ The session being the amount of time you spend here and also being the beers. Only a couple of our beers get above that 5% ABV.”

⋙ What is Your Favorite Public House Beer? – “When I first started working here we had an IPA called Tire Swing IPA and that’s probably going to be my all-time favorite beer. But I’ve kind-of Switched to stouts so the stout is what I drink almost all the time. Unless the porter’s on then I usually drink that. It’s hard to pick one, for me.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “One think I just learned a few months ago is that hop vines is actually hop BINES. I never knew that. The difference between a bine and a vine it how they climb; clockwise vs. counterclockwise.”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Public House River Beer? – When we added St. James we started with a 20-barrel system and four tanks; within a couple months we added another 40-gallon barrel tan, then another 40-barrel and by the end of the year added at 60-gallon barrel. So we jumped up a lot in one year. We want to try to get a little bit wider reach. We have a lot going on in St. James. We’ve partnered with the winery to expand up there: we’ve got this beautiful garden area and a fermentation campus and there’s going to be a distillery coming in soon.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Check in for live music, trivia nights and more!

» Although it’s just outside of what I considered the Ozarks for this post, they do have a second location in St. James (the one mentioned above) that also has a winery attached.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Elusive IPA and Bird & Baby Mild were my two favorites, but I’m dying to try that Tire Swing IPA.

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Springfield Brewing Co.

305 S Market Avenue – Springfield, Missouri – Opened 1997

Mon – Thurs 11-10, Fri 11-11, Sat 9-11, Sun 9-10

 

Springfield Brewing Company (or Brew Co. as I’ve known it for most of my life) is the first brewery I ever visited at the ripe age of 11, of course I came for the food, but I’ve continued to visit for the beer. It’s definitely the oldest brewery in Springfield and is a great place to grab a few beer to go along with your delicious food. I wasn’t able to get a response for an interview from Brew Co, but that didn’t stop us from visiting it again and even catching some live music out on their patio, which is a great way to spend a Sunday, if you ask me. 

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Visit on a Sunday evening when they have specials on their appetizers and pitchers, which is plenty for me to eat, and they have live music every Sunday evening and they are incredibly talented.

Fr the Love of wanderlust Favorite » Hop Lobster – A Hoppy Red Ale 

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White River Brewing Co.

505 W Commercial Street – Springfield, Missouri – Opened January 2013

Mon & Tues, Wed – Thurs 4-8, Fri 4-10, Sat 1-10, Sun 1-6 

John, a.k.a. Buzz, is the owner of White River and he took the time to sit down with me to answer some of my questions about White River Brewing Co, and their beers. It was a lot of fun getting a deeper look into a brewery of my own hometown.

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business? – “I had some step-children who wanted to start a brewery here in Springfield. My wife at the time and I bought the building and I needed to do something with the building so the decision was made to start White River.”

⋙ Flagship Beer: Table Rock Red – “From the very beginning Table Rock Red has been the Flagship.”

⋙ What Sets White River Brewing Co. Apart From Other Breweries? – “I wanted a place where people can come in, have a pint or two and a great conversation, like pubs in Europe. We can specialize a little bit more with what we do because we’re smaller.”

⋙ What Is Your Favorite WRBC Beer? – “The one I’m drinking. Haha. I like them all, but it depends on the mood I’m in.”

⋙ Beer Fun Fact – “Saint Arnold is the Patron Saint of Brewing… He was sainted because there was a miracle that took place… He was up in the mountains in Europe, extolling the virtues of drinking beer. He got up in the mountains and he died, and they needed to get him back down. So, the townspeople had a sheepskin full of beer, that’s all they had. They had to carry this man down the mountain and off they went with probably only a gallon and a half of beer and drank beer the whole way. And when they got down the mountain, there was still beer left. He provided it along the way – that was the miracle.”

⋙ What’s in the Future for WRBC? – Expanding our brewing capacity and hopefully getting into our own canning line. We’re canning now, but we’re using a mobile canner. It’s working great, but it’s a strain on our system… Also, get into new markets. We’ll probably, almost certainly, hit Northwest Arkansas next… And then we don’t know where we’ll expand.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Looking for a more intimate spot to grab a beer? White River is the perfect spot because of the buildin’g’s setup there are a few nooks and crannies with tables in them that make it feel like an even more homey, cozy experience.

» Their outdoor space is also very cozy and perfect for those balmy Ozarks summer nights.

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » I’m not usually a massive fruity-beer fan, but my two favorites for White River are the Jam Up Blackberry Ale & King’s Kriek Ale, which is made with tart cherries! Both are ultra-refreshing and incredibly tasty!

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*BONUS* Leaky Roof Meadery

1306 S. Azalea Street – Buffalo, Missouri – Opened January 2014

Mon, Tues – Wed 4-7, Thurs 4-8, Fri 4-10, Sat 1-10, Sun

⋙ What Got You Started in This Business?  “Just curiosity. I started out as a home-brewer and way-back-when ‘The Complete Joy of Home-Brewing’ (which was the book you bought at the store about home brewing) had an appendix about mead-making. I just got curious one day and I started fooling around with some of the recipes and procedures. Then I moved to Anchorage, Alaska and there was a little meadery down the street from where I was living and they had fantastic mead. I was just instantly fascinated by whatever he was doing that made it taste good. I hung out around that guy a lot and kind-of just ended up doing an impromptu internship. After about two years I got to know people in the industry and leaned how to make mead really well. Then I moved back down to the lower-48 and stayed in touch with those people, I did some consulting for people in the industry and slowly but surely, I ended up getting hired exclusively to work on a meadery project and when that was done, I decided to open up my own.”

⋙ Flagship Mead: The Gandy Dancer, Berry Picker + High, Dry and Dusty – They weren’t supposed to be flagships, they just turned out to be our best sellers. To some extent, we’re going to try to take them off the market so we can eliminate that ‘flagship status’. The market seems to be much more driven to what’s new and different” This is to cycle through new mead recipes and projects both in the taproom and with distributers.

⋙ Tip For People New to Mead – “I would have them try the Gandy Dance. That’s the most basic it’s honey, yeast and water. It doesn’t feature any more complicated aged flavors. It’s really a liquid honey beverage so that’s a great place to start since honey is the focus of what we do, and it’s pretty sweet.”

⋙ What Sets Leaky Roof Apart From Visiting a Local Brewery [Other Than Being Mead]? – “Making beer is a pretty involved process, and it takes a lot of steps. I think people are really surprised that our tour is about five minutes long, and that’s all I have to show you. I think people are just surprised at how little there really is to it.

⋙ What is Your Favorite Leaky Rood Mead?  “I like all of them, that’s a hard question… That’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid!”

⋙ What’s In the Future for Leaky Roof Meadery? – “We are talking about putting in a small brewery here – getting our brewery license and doing a little nano-brewing. If nothing else, just as a way to improve the overall profile of the place. Not a lot of people know what a meadery is or are looking for one. Sometimes I think we get overlooked in a lot of the brewery tours. We’re also going to start producing traditional meads, which are higher gravity and less carbonated.”

For the Love of Wanderlust Tip » Although they are a meadery, they do feature craft beer, and they choose beers that blend well with their meads.

» Are you a musician? They have a local jam night – so come ready to join in!

For the Love of Wanderlust Favorite » Mikado (green tea + mint)

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Tips For Visiting Any Brewery

⋙ Ask questions! The vast majority of bartenders + brewery staff truly love beer! Who would’ve thought? I love learning more about beer and the art of making it over a pint!

⋙ Be open-minded. I asked every person I interviewed for this project what their tip for someone new to craft beer would be and this was the number one answer. Don’t miss out on a different beer because of a previous experience. No two beers are the same.

⋙ The second thing that everyone agreed upon was try a flight! You don’t have to commit to one beer, instead try several. [In my experience, most flights flights have been between 4-6, 4 oz.samples.] Flights are typically organized from lightest to darkest + are meant to be enjoyed in that order.

⋙ Check out the brewery’s social media sites for special events like trivia, release parties, festivals + live music.

⋙ Bring the family! Many breweries have games for adults + kids, patio + outdoor areas are almost always dog-friendly and all are welcome! I think family outings to breweries are a great way to introduce a healthy perspective on alcohol to younger generations.

⋙ My personal brewery tip is to unplug + enjoy. I, of course, love to snap a few photos to use in blog posts and to capture memories, but in the last year or so I’ve started being more in the moment in new places + saving the social media sharing for later! Besides, breweries are one of my favorites places to gather with old friends + make new ones!

⋙ Don’t go hungry! Even if the brewery itself doesn’t serve food, many have food trucks and most allow people to BYOFood.

⋙ Take the tour! Some people feel like if you’ve seen one tour, you’ve seen them all, but I truly think I learn something new on every tour I take, even if the brewing process doesn’t really differ from place to place.

⋙ Love the beer you tried? Take home a growler! Growlers should typically be consumed within 36 hours, but you’re getting it fresh from the tap.

* Although I received free drinks and or merchandise at this location, the opinions expressed on this blog about the breweries + beers they provided are my own

Are you planning Your next beer-cation? If you’re looking to sample some amazing brews in a different region, my friend Amy wrote this great post on Burlington, VT breweries!

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Gina Panozzo
    December 8, 2016 at 6:52 am

    I didn’t even know going on a “beercation” was a thing in America! Man, I’ve been out of the country for too long! lol The Public House Brewing Co. really caught my attention because of the atmosphere and the way the drinks were presented. I really hate crowded places so this would be great for me.

  • Reply
    Jen Morrow
    December 8, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I love the small batch craft breweries! A tasting flight is an absolute must! Great list to check out.

  • Reply
    Patricia Steffy (@PLSteffy)
    December 8, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I’m not a beer drinker, so when we’ve gone into the microbreweries, I’ve always made Andy be my taster (and there are a couple here that he would definitely want to try). The one thing I have noticed is how passionate all the beer makers are who you interviewed. They have a genuine love for what they are doing and the vibe they are creating. That’s awesome!

  • Reply
    wanderingwagarschristina
    December 8, 2016 at 11:13 am

    When I think Arkansas, I don’t think of craft breweries. Thanks for opening up my eyes to these various options when visiting the Ozarks. I especially liked the setting of Saddlebock Brewery.

  • Reply
    carmyy
    December 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Columbus House Brewery is definitely the winner here! Any place that is dog friendly wins my vote! I’ll be sure to visit 🙂

    • Reply
      boydlogan
      December 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Fossil Cove (and pretty much any brewery in Arkansas because we’re laid back like that here) is going to be dog friendly as well!

      • Reply
        Paige Wunder
        December 17, 2016 at 10:02 pm

        Most allow them on outdoor areas (which I said below in the general brewery tips), but as far as I had heard Columbus House was the only one there that allowed them in the actual tasting room. Perhaps I should ask people that the next time I interview for clarification.

  • Reply
    Candy
    December 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Looove craft beer. Especially those beer flights. It’s really popular in a place called North Park here in San Diego. I love that you mentioned a couple spots in Bentonville. We went to Bentonville for the first time earlier this year for a conference and fell in love. We checked out so many establishments, but didn’t get a chance to check out Northwest Arkansas or Bike Rack Brewing Co. Will have to check these two out the next time we visit 🙂

    • Reply
      boydlogan
      December 8, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Love that you loved your time in the Ozarks. It’s a very special place… but don’t tell too many people. 😉

  • Reply
    thewanderlusteur
    December 8, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    I’m starting to get into craft beer as my sister is a HUGE craft beer fan. She travels the world purchasing beer to share with other crafties back here in Toronto. We’re part of a group called RunTOBeer where we literally run 3, 5, or 10k to a local brewery for a pint (or 2, 3…) While in Tokyo, we ran with the Mikheller group those hosts beer runs internationally. I will definitely check out a few of these breweries with my sister when we visit!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 17, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      That’s so cool! Two of the breweries I interviews mentioned that they had hosted beer runs. If I didn’t hate running, that would be so much fun! This would be an amazing location for a beercation! I love that your sister brings them home for you guys to try! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Reply
    Khansa
    December 8, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    that is an extensive list. How long did you take to make it? Have you considered making it into part 1 and part 2 just to make it easy on the readers?

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 17, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      I had, but I wanted it to be an actual guide for people to use as a tool, not just as a simple blog post. I’ve been conducting interview, tasting these beers and creating the post for several months!

  • Reply
    TalesOfABackpacker (@clairesturz)
    December 8, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Wow what a list! I’m not a fan of beer myself but basically everyone else I know would drag me around every single one of these! I prefer cider myself, that’s the traditional English Gal in me coming out 😀 I might come up with an excuse to do a cider tour when I’m back home!!

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    December 8, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    This beer must he really crafted with love and consistency to its taste. I’m not a beer drinker due to some complications in my health issues. Anyway, this would be a great help for those that are planning to have their own crafted beer factory soon as this is a guide for them. Thank you so much for sharing about this one.

  • Reply
    Meghan
    December 8, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Damn woman, impressive research! Seriously, awesome post!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 8, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Haha! Thank you! It took about 8 months to get around to all of these locations, but it was so very worth it! I just loved getting these special insights behind the beer I enjoy drinking so much! I’m dying to get to some of the breweries out your way.

  • Reply
    equinoxio21
    December 14, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Quite a guide, Paige. How’ve you been?
    🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      December 17, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      Thank, Brian! I’ve been great! How about you?!

      • Reply
        equinoxio21
        December 23, 2016 at 4:12 pm

        Fine. Thank you. Currently traveling in Colombia. We’ll spend Christmas here in Bogotá and New year in the interior. have you been to Colombia? What are your plans for Xmas and New year? (Merry holidays)

  • Reply
    Cori Carl
    December 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for putting this together! This is an area of the country I’ve barely seen, so it’s fun to think I could hike and drink my way through it.

  • Reply
    Live Learn Venture (@LiveLearnVentur)
    December 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Wow — that’s a whole lot of beer! I love doing the samplers when I visit breweries and bars! The Karma Apple Ale sounds so good!

  • Reply
    The Soul of Seoul
    December 28, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    This is AWESOME! I had no idea how much craft breweries were really booming until this last trip back to Ohio. I’ve been living abroad for the past decade and this last trip, I really hit the breweries in Ohio and it was AMAZING! I’m loving this… also, I found a few distilleries taking to making up their own spirits. Homegrown again… it’s so great to see people embracing and loving doing something by hand like this. Great round up.

  • Reply
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