The Jack Stephens Center, home to the Little Rock Trojans, is one of the few on-campus college basketball venues in the country that offer beer and wine sales. It makes a great place to watch a game even better. One thing that wasn’t so great however, was the local craft beer offerings.
Since the building opened doors in 2005 a lot has changed in the local beer world. Diamond bear, at the time, was the only major distributed beer in the state. Thankfully the Trojans signed a contract and have sold Diamond Bear as long as I have paid attention to the offerings there. As we pointed out last year, a lot has changed in the 11 years since opening and the beer offerings have fallen far behind.
That all changes this year as the Trojans have made a number of efforts to expand the local craft beer offerings. New this year along with Diamond Bear‘s Pale Ale and Southern Blonde comes Flyway Brewing‘s excellent Blueberry Wheat, and Ozark Beer‘s Pale Ale.
The added options help a lot. North Little Rock based Flyway brings their Blueberry wheat which is a great beer for a ball game and a good beer for people new to craft beer. It is very light with just a hint of blueberry, but certainly not sweet or overwhelmingly fruity. It is a strong conversion point beer for people who would typically go with one of the mass market domestics that are also sold.
“Flyway could not be more excited about having our beer served at the Jack Stephens Center,” Flyway owner Jess McMullen tells us. “We look forward to supporting the Little Rock Trojans basketball program as they look to repeat as Sun Belt Conference Champions. Go Trojans!”
Ozark Beer from out of Rogers is one of the best breweries in the state and it is good to see an NWA brand get more involved in Little Rock. The Pale Ale is very traditional for this type of beer, but a very solid offering. I would have loved to see their Cream Stout poured, which is one of our absolute favorites around the state, but the Pale Ale is a good start.
The Diamond Bear options and Flyway are both on tap at each of the main beer stations. Ozark is available in cans, which are easy to overlook on the shelf of options. Hopefully this leaves the window open for some more local brands like Lost Forty, Stones Throw, Rebel Kettle, and other distributed brands from across the state.
The new options are great at adding to the overall fan experience, and most importantly highlight the best parts of our state.