Maple Branch Brewery is bringing craft beer power to Fort Worth's Foundry District.
Maple Branch Brewery is the new name in Fort Worth beer.
Stuart and Alyssa Maples turned their craft beer passion into a new brewery. (Photo courtesy Alyssa Maples)
Maple Branch Brewery takes over a 14,000 square foot space.
The Maples' new brewery is a collision of the styles they encountered on their nationwide odyssey of brewpub tours.
Blindfolded and thirsty, Stuart Maples raises the glass of frothy beer to his lips. It is early 2018, the biting winter weather is a harsh complement to the eager stares of the Beer Judge Certification Program. Maples, a novice brewer, is completing the final stage of his training: a blind taste of six beers.
It is one more step in his craft brew journey, a journey that will include another milestone when his own brewery, Maple Branch Brewery, opens this spring in Fort Worth.
Over seven years after his first sip of a craft brew, and after five years of nurturing the concept and saving capital, Stuart and his wife Alyssa Maples broke ground on the perfect location for their brewery: a 14,000-square feet building in the heart of the Fort Worth’s Foundry District. Seven thousand square feet will house their brewery and interior tasting space, and the remaining 7,000 square feet will be used for an outdoor beer garden.
The Maples’ new brewery is a collision of the styles they encountered on their nationwide odyssey of brewpub tours, with heavy influence from the outdoor beer garden style popular in Germany.
Stuart will manage the finance, the taproom and, of course, the brewing. Meanwhile, Alyssa will handle the marketing, event planning and food trucks, which will include a wide variety of food and beverage options for the whole family.
“Instead of an ‘if they build it, they will come’ approach, we want tons of reasons for people to come,” Stuart says.
And it all started with that first big test.
“It was nerve-wracking, to be sure,” Maples says, laughing nervously as he recalls the taste test. “I remember thinking, ‘This is the result of years of hard work, and I’m tasting beers. How awesome is that?’ ”
The judges are curious about the beer’s flaws. Maples sips six beers in total, deconstructing the pros and cons of each successive creation. As he sips, he wonders, “What can I do better?”
That question motivated followed Stuart, 27, and his wife, Alyssa, 25, long before he completed his training, and has motivated him ever since. The couple, both graduates of Texas Christian University, have shared a love of craft beer since their days in college. When Stuart sipped a beer from Sierra Nevada, a brewery in Chicos, California, he developed a taste for craft beer.
“I just remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is really good. People do this for a living?’” he recalls. “And it snowballed from there.”
Stuart started homebrewing on his patio and garage while working in the financial sector, and he and Alyssa started dreaming of creating their own brewery.
“In our dreams, I would be the brewer, and she would be the marketer,” Stuart tells PaperCity. “Soon, it started taking over our lives — in a good way.”
Beer Makers in Training
Every weekend trip or summer vacation was planned with local breweries in mind. Thus, a bachelor party in Denver, a getaway to California and a honeymoon in Germany. When Stuart started winning awards for his brews — including a top three placement in the regionals of the National HomeBrew competitions — he knew that his dreams could become reality.
The next step was finding a location. As fresh college grads, Stuart and Alyssa Maples saw plenty of skeptical faces and raised eyebrows when they started touring potential sites.
“When you want to start a business with something as capital-intensive as a brewery, you have to show people you’re serious,” Alyssa says. “So we tried to win as many awards as we could to prove that yes, we’re young, but we can do this.”
As for the name of the brewery? That was a no-brainer.
“The ‘Maple’ comes from our last name, of course, and the branch comes from our desire for people to branch out,” Alyssa says. “We want you to come see us, come join us on this journey.”