In The News

Microbrewery planned for Panther Island area near Trinity River

by Shlachter, Baker & Fuquay | Mar 31, 2014

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A long-vacant building at 501 N. Main St., former home of two microbreweries, will again be producing artisanal ales in the not-too-distant future, said Michael Harper, a partner in a new venture called Panther Island Brewing.

Harper said Friday that he and partner Ryan McWhorter, 27, both musicians with the Dick Beldings 90s cover band, have been working on the site near LaGrave Field since November and expect to announce an opening date in about a month.

The micro’s signature beer will be an American wheat called Allergeez, but they will also produce kegs of three other styles: a cream ale, a Scottish ale and an India pale ale, he said. They hope to supply local bars and restaurants with draft beer before deciding whether to bottle or can, Harper said.

The 31-year-old head brewer declined to answer further questions, referring us to the company’s Facebook page, which said the pair began brewing under the Wahoo name three years ago.

“We brewed beers, listened to music, and met some of the coolest people the DFW area had to offer,” it said. “Though the name has changed, the attitude remains. We'll continue with our rebellious and rock-and-roll attitude and brewing kickass beers to boot.”

The building where they will locate was home to Texas Beer Co., a company run by Steven Sandige and Gary Lopez, who brewed a craft light beer in 2001 before failing.

Two years later, a small Dallas venture, Great Grains Brewing Co., took over 7,500 square feet of the brick building, owned by Keith Kidwell and Olin Gibbins. The microbrewer ran afoul of authorities over labeling and closed in 2005 after operating less than a year. The equipment was dismantled and shipped to a startup microbrewery in Aarhuis, Denmark.

The building is very close to Panther Island, an outdoor entertainment area on the banks of the Trinity River, across from the downtown campus of Tarrant County College.

“Panther Island Brewing is exactly the type of business we want on Panther Island,” J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, said in a news release. “We want businesses that create a special culture, identity and excitement for the district. The whole craft beer culture is so lively we think it is a perfect fit for what we are creating.”

The release said the microbrewery will be the exclusive beer vendor at a weekly “Sunday Funday” summer series at Panther Island Pavilion, featuring tubing, food trucks, music, kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and standup paddle. Under state water district code, the authority is not required to seek bids from potential vendors unlike municipal governments.

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