Lakewood Brewery Tours: Not a Bar, But Not Bad At All

With other, more aesthetically pleasing options (sunny patios, shady backyards, quiet bars) a dusty industrial park is probably not the first idea that pops into your head when dreaming up Saturday afternoon drinking plans. But as craft breweries have continued to crop up all over Dallas, they've provided viable options. Nearly every craft brewery in the area offers tours, and admission always includes a taste or two (or four) of their wares. Some of the breweries are more generous than others, but most of these tours turn into all-out parties.

Because laws prohibit brewers from selling beer directly to customers, a small admission fee is charged at the door and beer tasting is offered for free. Lakewood charges $10 at the door and hands out four tokens and a glass to each participant. Each token gets you a generous pour, and you get to keep the hardware.

The tour portion of the afternoon is pretty painless. This past Saturday after an hour or so of live music and beer "tasting," owner Wim Bens gave a quick talk about the short history of his 9-month-old brewery and went over some brewing basics. He also teased about a future beer release.

Bourbon barrels sat tucked in the corner of the building, each filled with slowly aging mystery beer. Bens wouldn't divulge what lurked inside the oak, but he was obviously excited. The barrels will be tapped this August as the brewery celebrates its first anniversary.

After his brief talk the music picked up again and everyone kept on "tasting." Some congregated at a big communal table in the front of the brewery, and others hung out in the main room among the massive stainless steel reservoirs that held the next batches of beer. Even more enjoyed the sunshine out back, where Easy Sliders doled out their fancy miniature hamburgers.

With all of the high-octane suds, the crowd got social fast. The next time you're looking for a place to imbibe and you need a change from your local bar, consider Lakewood Brewery a viable option. And if Garland is too far check out your local craft breweries. These tours with all of their "tasting" are a lot of fun.

Lakewood Brewery Tours, 2302 Executive Drive, Garland, noon-3 p.m. Saturdays.