With a new partnership in place, Deep Ellum Brewing Company (DEBC) has become the temporary home for Denton-based Armadillo Ale Works (AAW). According to co-founder Bobby Mullins, the decision to license the brand was made to get beer out on the market while continuing to line up investors for a permanent location in Denton. The hope is that brand awareness and credibility in the marketplace will drive sales of their remaining investor units, allowing them to move ahead to the next step in their business plan. If all goes well, that next step would be to secure a location by the end of the year, with brewery build-out occurring thereafter.
In the meantime, Mullins and co-founder Yianni Arestis will brew their recipes on-site, using Deep Ellum's equipment for the foreseeable future. Reading that statement should clear up confusion for some who heard the news thinking that Deep Ellum would be brewing the beer for them. That's not the case at all, as Mullins and Arestis will be hands-on every step of the way during the brewing process. In a sense, it's like the guys from Armadillo have their own brewery, they just don't own the equipment.
Along those lines, Armadillo will essentially be a sub-brand of DEBC. What that means is products coming out of the brewery will display the AAW branding, with the additional designation of having been brewed and packaged by DEBC. This will be the case on keg toppers for the initial draft roll-out (shown in image above), as well as on cans coming later by way of TX Canning (the mobile canning side project owned by DEBC founder John Reardon and Special Events Coordinator Zack Fickey).
On the question of the first beer, the ingredients for Quakertown Stout* should find their way into the brew kettle sometime next week (with Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale coming later in the spring). Expect it to be tapped sometime in mid-to-late February, with Denton's Oak St. Drafthouse being the natural choice to pour the city's first hometown beer. After that, it should start hitting tap walls in and around Dallas/Fort Worth, and it will also be available as part of DEBCs regular weekly tours.
As for staying connected to their roots, Mullins has made it clear that he and Arestis will maintain a constant presence in the Denton community. They plan to continue their long-running participation in First Friday Denton, where they can be found sampling their wares at SCRAP Denton, and will seek to become more involved in local events like 35 Denton, the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival and the Thin Line Film Fest.
While it's true they've chosen a somewhat unconventional route compared to other breweries in development around the area, it shouldn't be taken as a sign they've lost sight of their original vision. The passion and desire to bring Denton its first craft brewery is still there, and the choices they've made are simply a means to that end. As Mullins put it quite succinctly, "We're just two guys hell bent on making our dream a reality".
Amen to that!
*Quakertown Stout is a 9.22% ABV imperial stout brewed with oats and maple syrup. My tasting notes from last year's Brew-B-Q at DEBC describe it as a rich, creamy stout with notes of cocoa, dark roast and caramelized maple syrup.