Were Dorothy travelling west on U.S. 380 past I-35 towards Independent Ale Works, any within earshot might hear her utter the phrase "we're not in Denton anymore." Despite appearances, though, it turns out the brewery is a lot closer to the outskirts of Denton than it is to Krum, the city that delivers its mail. We're talking a few feet versus a few miles, in fact, which serves to bolster Indy's claim to being the first craft brewery in Denton.
Founded in 2010 by Stefen Windham and David Miller, Indy got its first lease on life in April of last year. Since then, Windham and Miller have been building the brewery from the ground up, relying only on money out of their own pocket. The name "Independent" draws inspiration from this do-it-yourself approach, and honors their commitment to move forward without outside investment.
As of now, the brewery takes up 1400 square feet in a space partially covered by a 400 square foot usable loft, but a lease agreement pending on an adjoining unit will effectively double that. The added size will allow for equipment upgrades, with finished areas converting to a tasting room, and offices likely occupying the lofts above.
Surveying Indy's setup, Windham remarked that their 3 bbl brewing system "looks more manual than it really is". With it, they'll focus on sessionable beers for the most part, especially those that pair well with a variety of foods. Both Windham and Miller indicated a preference for malt-forward brews, something evident when sampling their flagship, a lightly hopped beer called Amber 3.0.
Also being prepped for release is a blonde ale. Brewed with rice and corn, it represents Indy's take on a gateway beer. The motivation here being that Windham wants to put something in the hands of Bud, Miller and Coors drinkers that looks and tastes familiar. The finished brew will be pilsner-like, with a somewhat bolder flavor than what their target customer is used to. After trying it, he hopes they'll be swayed enough to take the next step on a path to better beer.
Beyond the initial rollout, Windham says they have no definitive plans for what they'll be brewing next. A black ale with a coffee-like finish is currently being tested, but they are considering a more adventurous offering along the lines of a vanilla hazelnut porter. Long-term, he'd like to develop a seasonal beer whose recipe changes slightly each time it's brewed.
Amber 3.0 and Indy's Blonde Ale will be on tap at the Oak St. Drafthouse in Denton as part of the brewery's official launch party, beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday. From there, the festivities move to Craft and Growler for the Dallas launch, happening on Wednesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. Each of these events will have Indy pint glasses to give away with purchase, while supplies last.
Look for other accounts to be added in the coming weeks, and for regular tours and the occasional movie night to start sometime in April.
Independent Ale Works
11155 U.S. 380 W, Suite 209