The growing Dallas craft beer scene greeted 2013 with the opening of yet another local brewery mere weeks into the new year. Community Beer Company released their first commercial beers last week, with respective tappings Wednesday through Friday at Meddlesome Moth, The Common Table and Craft and Growler.
Whereas Peticolas decided to open his doors with the big guns of Velvet Hammer, just down the street Community decided to ease into the North Texas market playing to their strength of sessionable, everyday ales: an extra special bitter (ESB), an American pale ale and a traditional Vienna lager. Stylistically, these three beers may seem to overlap in flavor and focus but their subtle differences allow Community to cover a broad spectrum of craft beer drinkers.
Let’s begin with the least of the three, the Community Pale Ale. Granted, even brewer Jamie Fulton admitted that these initial batches were rushed slightly to meet the scheduled events (yeast will be ready when it is ready, and cares not for your calendar). The pale ale showed this, bright and hoppy, a hazy gold in the glass with plenty of sharp, floral hops that may not have had the malty component needed for proper balance. Certainly not a bad beer by any means, but the new recipe still needs some tweaking.
My favorite of these three beers is the Community Public Ale, their version of the ESB style. Destined to be their flagship product, the Public Ale is perfectly balanced between toasty malt and bittering hops, with enough sweet and unsweet elements to finish dry and clean. It remains quaffable, and can easily fill your glass hour after hour without tiring of it.
However, the most anticipated of these beers was the Community Lager, a recipe Fulton brought forward from his work at The Covey only a few short years ago. A multiple award-winning Vienna lager, this beer has a light and clean lager body with just the gentlest of caramel sweetness to finish. As far as I am concerned, Community Lager defines the Vienna lager style (sorry, Wim).
Inaugural tours opening up the brewery (just across Stemmons from the American Airlines Center) were held this past weekend, with all three of these 5% to 6% ABV beers poured for moderate crowds. Look for regular weekend tours to open up in a few weeks, and bottles to show up later this year.