Dallas Beer Week Vs. Meddlesome Moth: Drama in the Craft Beer World

After the first Houston Beer Week last year, Houstonians Cathy Clark Rascoe and husband Jay Rascoe (aka Guns and Tacos) decided Dallas needed its own week to celebrate craft beer as well, as we first told you back in February. Since then, the events planned for Dallas Beer Week, November 12 through 19, have drawn participating restaurants and bars ranging from standby beer joints such as the Ginger Man, Trinity Hall and the Libertine Bar to bars where craft beer isn't ordinarily the focus, such as Frankie's. The event will run concurrent with the second annual Houston Beer Week.

But there are a few noticeable absences from the Dallas Beer Week Calendar. Best of Dallas® Best Beer Selection winner the Meddlesome Moth and its sister bars, the three area Flying Saucer locations, are not participating. Recently, the Moth announced its own week of events, which just so happens to exactly overlap the dates of Dallas Beer Week.

"We're perplexed," Clark Rascoe said. "He's obviously been a big part of the craft-beer movement in Texas and in Dallas in particular. With the Moth and the Flying Saucers in the area, we expected that he would take the lead on this and push the craft-beer community into Dallas Beer Week since he's been such a craft-beer supporter. ... We reached out to him multiple times, we've been to many of his beer dinners, talked to him in person several times, emailed and called him. He's never told me anything negative about Dallas Beer Week, but he's never agreed to participate."

Clark Rascoe said she and Rascoe have talked about planning Dallas Beer Week events with managers at Flying Saucer locations who sounded enthusiastic about the idea, only to have follow-up calls and emails go unanswered. "I can read into that," she said.

Keith Schlabs, official "Beer Guru" and partner at the Moth and Saucer chain (which just opened its 15th location, in Sugarland), wouldn't say much about why his bars would not be taking part in Dallas Beer Week. Mikkeler's Mikkel Borg Bjergsø is scheduled to appear at Houston's Flying Saucer as part of Houston Beer Week, though the event is not listed on the Flying Saucer's own calendar.

"There are issues that date back and stem from Houston," he said. "We do beer every day and do events every day, every week. I didn't see that it was necessary to be a part of the official Beer Week. But if Dallas is supporting craft beer, then I will host events during that time frame."

Schlabs wouldn't specify what the issues were except to say that his name was "attached" to Dallas Beer Week before he even knew what was going on. Further, he didn't see any benefit to being part of DBW, pointing out that bars were required to plan their own events and upload their information into the DBW calendar. "We can do that on our own," he said.

As for planning his own week, which he calls "Sour Beer Week" and will include the daily tapping of a sour ale among other events, he said that appearances by brewmasters Chuck Silva of Green Flash at 5 p.m. November 14 and Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver at 9 p.m. November 17 "fell in [his] lap." They'd already be in town and the breweries asked to plan events; why turn them down?

Corey Pond of The Common Table is a particularly enthusiastic supporter of Dallas Beer Week, with events and special tappings nightly at his bar including a Mikkeler dinner with Bjergsø. He points to other cities' beer weeks that draw visits from rock stars of the brewing world such as Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head. He was disappointed at the lack of participation from Schlabs' bars.

"I really wish the Moth and Saucer were a part of it," he said. "They inspired a lot of people to get into the business. I'm hopeful they would participate in the future. It should be a city-wide event where everybody gets together to make Dallas a better beer city and raise awareness of craft beer. In my opinion, it would be even better if those guys were part of it."

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Jesse Hughey
Contact: Jesse Hughey