Welcome to Growlers: your weekly roundup of news, events and specials from Little Rock’s breweries and taprooms. Little Rock’s beer scene is growing and improving at a rapid pace, and we’re dedicated to keeping you up to speed on all of it. Here’s what’s happening this week:
Festival season has come to Arkansas, and you’ll find very few beer festivals as big as Little Rocktoberfest. This year’s event is this Saturday at Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Most Central Arkansas breweries will be there as will several homebrewers from the Central Arkansas Fermenters club. Tickets are $30 when you buy before Saturday and $40 the day of the festival. For $65, you can get VIP status and enter at 5 p.m., tasting some special beers made just for the early crowd. A portion of the proceeds will go to Arkansas Hands and Voices, which supports children who are hard of hearing.
Midtown Little Rock’s first brewery will officially be open on Thursday. Buffalo Brewing Company at The Water Buffalo will hold its grand opening this week. The brewery will have more than a dozen taps, with only three or four of those pouring Buffalo Brewing beers. The rest will go to Arkansas breweries, from Flyway to newcomers 501 Brewing. The small taproom will have a few seats; most of its business will come in the form of take-home growlers. For a sneak peak at the new brewery, check out our feature from earlier this month.
Today is the day Moody Brews releases its excellent Earl Grey ESB at Vino’s Brewpub. Brewmaster Josiah Moody created the recipe in collaboration with Apple Blossom Brewing Company in Northwest Arkansas, and this is the first time its been back in almost two years. By the way, get a VIP pass to Little Rocktoberfest and you’ll get to try the Earl Grey ESB cask-conditioned with nectarines.
Speaking of beers at Little Rocktoberfest, the festival will be your first chance to try Flyway Brewing’s Coffee Cake Stout, the fall beer in Flyway’s ongoing cake series. It will go on tap at the brewery after that. And if you’re looking for a place to watch the Hogs take on Texas A&M, Flyway is putting out a brisket nachos special on Saturday. Judging by how good its pork was last week, the brisket should be a winner.
This is the week that Great Raft Brewing out of Shreveport makes their Arkansas debut. There are several events going on around the launch this week. Tomorrow (Tuesday) they are keeping with their Louisiana roots and having a big patio party with Faded Rose and Maddie’s Place starting at 5. They will move to Flying Saucer Wednesday night and then on to Argenta Thursday night at Reno’s and Four Quarter. There will likely be other opening parties, keep an eye out.
Blue Canoe Brewing Company is expanding its distribution in Central Arkansas, which means you should be seeing more Paddler Wheat, 4×4 Pale Ale and Whittler Milk Stout around town. At the taproom, you can try the new Whoo Brew Belgian session ale, which was brewed with the fall season in mind. Also, Blue Canoe will soon be releasing a special pumpkin beer aged for nine months in a rum barrel from Nicaragua. That special release will be coming later this week or early next week.
Paris, Arkansas-based Prestonrose Farm and Brewing held a wonderful Little Rock debut at Kent Walker Artisan Cheese on Thursday, bringing three of their brews into the city. You can still stop by Kent Walker and try the remaining beer on tap. It’s available both in pints and growlers to take home. Oh, and if you’re in the Paris area, stop by Friday through Sunday to try Prestonrose’s new Calypso Wheatmelon, brewed with watermelon and cantaloupe.
Rebel Kettle tomorrow is debuting “C-ing is Believing,” a saison dry-hopped with 100-percent Brett hops. That beer is only available in take-home growlers, and will only be on tap Tuesday. Then at 4:30 Thursday, the brewery will unveil “Show ‘em Your O-Fest,” which is Rebel Kettle’s version of an Oktoberfest-style Marzen beer.
Lost Forty Brewing today will release The Big Dam Beer wet-hop ale. This light ale uses the first Cascade hops of the season while staying light at a drinkable 5.5 percent ABV. And Lost Forty has announced it will release 2016’s version of Nighty Night at the end of October with a “Zombie Lumberjack Ride” event, featuring an evening bike ride in full Halloween costume. We’ll have more details of the event next month.
Do you have some beer news you would like to share with us? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.