For the most part, the Design District is not where you go to spend the evening drinking, but with the growth of craft beer in Dallas, four breweries are now open in the neighborhood alone, with a fifth, Four Corners, nearby in Trinity Groves. Noble Rey Brewing Co., which opened in July, is the new kid on the block and it might also be the most interesting one. After struggling to find a place to open in Grapevine and Oak Cliff, the guys behind Noble Rey finally found a home just off Medical District Drive. Unlike its neighbors, Noble Rey Brewing is designated as a brewpub; along with house-made beers, they also serve products from other breweries. This gives them unique privileges, such as selling their product on-site for off-site consumption. (Yes, they have a crowler machine.)
While most local breweries now have taprooms to sell just their beer, Noble Rey has almost 20 different beer taps. As of last week, only four were house beers. This is the difference between Noble Rey and other local breweries; being more of a beer bar than taproom, it makes for a great happy hour destination and a hidden gem for craft beer fans. The interior of Noble Rey's taproom is relatively simple, with a number of couches and tables and a side room with a a few gaming consoles hooked up to a TV.
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Noble Rey is offering four beers: a brown ale, a red ale, a Bavarian wit and a steam lager. A few traits seem to be consistent across Noble Rey's beers: They are all smooth, well-balanced and range between 5-6 percent ABV. Baracus Brown Ale, at 6 percent ABV, is a solid brown ale with some minor hints of chocolate in the aftertaste. Off The Leash Red Ale, also 6 percent ABV, is an interesting red ale; it's mostly malty in flavor while still being complex, and the aftertaste presents an extra kick of malt. Golden Rey Bavarian Wit is a very light, crisp beer, very much like a kristalweizen; it has a distinct banana flavor and, at 5.3 percent ABV, should be popular with people who like lighter, sweeter beers. The star of the lineup is Steam Punk, Noble Rey's steam beer; at 5.5 percent ABV, Steam Punk is light-bodied, despite it's amber coloring, with a mild flavor and aftertaste. Easy to drink and light on ABV, the urge to buy a crowler of it before heading home is hard to resist.
Noble Rey Brewing's beers are not prevalent across the area, but those looking for a new happy hour destination or somewhere to grab a few beers on a Saturday afternoon should consider Noble Rey. It's a worthwhile destination.