Fort Worth’s Cultural District Gains a New Brewery With Speakeasy Vibes
Rowlett's Bankhead Brewing Company is Heading WestBY Courtney Dabney // 04.05.21
Bankhead Brewing's menu is way more than standard bar bites. (Courtesy of Bankhead Brewing)
Rowlett's Bankhead Brewing Co. travels west to Fort Worth this spring. (Courtesy of Bankhead)
Fort Worth diners can look forward to Bankhead Brewing Company's shrimp and jalapeño grits finished with bacon, and Foglights, a New England IPA. (Courtesy of Bankhead)
Bankhead Brewing Co. offers a a crowler and growler filling station. (Courtesy of Bankhead)
When Dallas-based Deep Ellum Brewing Co. shuttered its first Fort Worth location during the pandemic (only five months after opening), they left behind a sweet shell, as well as next-to-new brewing equipment and a custom-built pizza oven already installed near the Cultural District. Now we know who will be taking over the space. And, yes it’s another brewery called Bankhead Brewing Co.
Founded in Rowlett, Bankhead Brewing Co. is rolling into town with its lineup of 16 craft beers on tap, as well as a full bar, and some off-the-chain, non-pub grub. Seriously, their menu is way beyond standard bar bites.
“Our first location in Rowlett has become a neighborhood favorite,” general manager David Largaespada tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “This is a great opportunity for us to branch out. We hope to be open in Fort Worth by the first week of May.” The formerly citron yellow façade has been painted charcoal black and signage has been installed at 611 University Drive.
The brewery was named for the Bankhead Highway, which was one of the first highways constructed after the advent of the automobile. It eventually knitted the country together when it debuted in 1916, running from Washington D.C clear to San Diego. The route included 850 miles through Texas, including a span through downtown Rowlett. Locals still refer to it as the Bankhead Highway.
In 2016, Chef Kevin Lefere and brew master Ryan Pyle combined their passions for beer and food by opening Bankhead Brewing Co. Their fifth anniversary is coinciding with their new Fort Worth location opening.
The interior color scheme of the former FunkyTown Fermatorium space has been muted — with more charcoal black hues — but the interior layout won’t change much at all, Largaespada says. There will also be board games brought in to entertain families while dining.
All of the names of Bankhead Brewing Co.’s award-wining beers are speakeasy-esque and Bankhead related. Take for instance, Aoogah! (hearkening back to the sound made by a Model T) ― the pilsner they describe as clean and fresh, with crisp bitterness and spicy floral notes from Hallerrau Mittelfruh hops. Or the hop-forward Milemarker 11. One notable departure from the speakeasy theme was brewed especially for the pandemic ― Bankhead’s “quarantine edition” Adios Bitchachos Mexican lager.
Bankhead will initially open with about 10 brews and ramp up slowly. The menu will receive a few minor tweaks for its Fort Worth location, but you can anticipate wood-fired pizzas, along with crafty sandwiches and salads. Mains include a chicken fried ribeye with jalapeño gravy, roasted salmon over risotto and topped with a whiskey bacon jam, or even seabass in serrano cream sauce.
Bankhead Brewing Co. will soon motor west, ready to entice a whole new audience and hoping to become the go-to for a very different neighborhood in early May.