For this week, most of Central Arkansas’ breweries have adjusted hours for the New Year’s holiday. Be sure to call or check Facebook before making the trip to get a brew.
Rebel Kettle is hosting brunch today and tomorrow before closing down on Wednesday for some renovations. John Lee tells me the project will work on building a new bar area that will improve functionality. It will also include the installation of a 32-ounce crowler machine, which will be able to make large cans of Rebel Kettle beer on the spot. Lee hopes the build-out will be ready by Jan. 9, though it could take a little more time than that. When Rebel Kettle reopens, the brewery will be releasing several new brews, including a sour inspired by rosé wine and a new New England-style IPA. Lee says 2019 should see Rebel Kettle expand its capacity with the goal of making can and bottle releases more frequent.
It’s a sour start to 2019 for a couple of breweries, and I’d call that a good thing. First, Stone’s Throw Brewing this week is bestowing the sour treatment on its classic stout recipe. Sour Shamus Barrel-Soured Oatmeal Stout is debuting for #NewBrewFriday. This sour has been in the barrel for a little more than a year. Shamus Stout is one of the iconic recipes in Little Rock’s beer scene, and I’m really excited to see how this sour version turns out. You can try it at Stone’s Throw this Friday at 4 p.m.
And today at Lost Forty, you can get a sip of the latest Wild Barrels Project sour. Jupiter Ale was brewed with Arkansas-grown Jupiter grapes and put into red wine barrels for an astounding 22 months. Lost Forty says the beer is only mildly tart, which is a bit surprising considering how long it soured. You can expect flavors of grape and red wine. Jupiter Ale is only available on draft and in half-liter bottles at the Lost Forty taproom. By the way, Lost Forty is only open until 3 p.m. today for brunch, so get there soon if you are thinking about stopping in today.
Nothing new from Flyway Brewing this week, though you should still stop in for the newest version of its Kingfisher IPA. This one is a brewer’s choice beer, meaning that the recipe will change every time its brewed. This time, Flyway made it into a New England-style IPA, which is a hazy, fruity, juicy brew. I stopped in last week to taste it, and I can assure you it is worth checking out.
2019 promises to bring some big changes to Buffalo Brewing Company at The Water Buffalo. Nolen Buffalo’s brewery is one of the smallest professional operations in Central Arkansas, but sales have been steadily increasing since it opened in August of 2016. Buffalo tells me his latest Flying Monkey Venom Imperial IPA has turned into a hot seller, as have a few other flagships on his tap wall. We can expect to see some expansion for Buffalo Brewing in 2019, though it’s unclear as of yet what that growth will look like.
Sadly, not all change for the beer scene is positive. Two breweries, Damgoode Brews and Blue Canoe, appear to have stopped making beer. Blue Canoe has been embroiled in legal battles for a couple of months, and the warehouse and brewing area are both locked shut. The downtown taproom is still open and selling beers from other Arkansas companies at the moment, in addition to its own food lineup. Damgoode appears to be done making beer; it’s unclear if there are any plans for the brewing area or equipment for the future.
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