Back in 2010, Armadillo Ale Works co-founders Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins could not have known the journey that the craft brewing world would take them on in the six years that would follow. Having raised about $34,000 in 2011 through a Kickstarter campaign, it looked as though Armadillo would be joining the early trend-setters in the DFW brewery scene. But roughly 18 months ago, after brewing out of Deep Ellum Brewing Co. on a lease for two years, the last remaining bottles of Armadillo beer finally departed from shelves across the area.
Much about craft beer in DFW has changed in the area over the last five years, with more than 20 breweries now operating across the area. Even in the last year and a half, at least 10 breweries have opened and started distribution, and more are in the works. The brave new world Armadillo Ale Works is re-entering is a crowded one, but despite being off shelves for so long, they have something that no other newbie has going for it: a fan base that is vast and loyal.
Ask people who've had Armadillo Ale Works beers and you'll hear plenty about their Quakertown Stout, Farmhouse Ale or Wundermelon Kolsch — beers that people are still pining for, despite consumers' notoriously short attention span. Currently, Armadillo beers will be brewed contractually through North Texas Brewing Co. while their new location in Denton is under construction. In April, Armadillo signed a distribution deal with Andrews Distributing.
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With a brewery in the works and contracts signed, Arestis and Mullins are back at what they do best. Both were on hand at Craft and Growler on Saturday for the Dallas release of their newest creation Honey Please, a mesquite bean blonde ale. Honey Please is colored just as the name might imply, but even the aroma of the beer has a honey scent. With a light body, and only 5.2 percent ABV, the sweetness is present but not overwhelming and carries pleasantly through into the aftertaste. The incorporation of honey and mesquite beans make for a unique flavor and could be a hell of an introduction for those who aren't necessarily fans of craft beer. Drinkers who love Four Corner's Local Buzz might have a new favorite beer.
Arestis and Mullins say they have another new beer coming out soon, but they're staying mum on what exactly that beer will be. As they re-enter the market, they plan to alternate between new recipes that they've been perfecting over the last 18 months while releasing classic Armadillo brews.
Armadillo's return to the DFW craft beer scene has been heavily anticipated, but if their new beers are as good as Honey Please, it won't take long before Armadillo Ale Works re-assumes their place as one of the most beloved local breweries.