Division Brewing 4 Years Out: On Space to Explore and 10 Dark Beers for The Darkest Night

Wade Wadlington of Division Brewing
Wade Wadlington of Division Brewing Lauren Drewes Daniels
Wade Wadlington’s big-kid job was in IT. An IT manager for a bank, to be specific.

But he always loved cooking and, as an extension of that, brewing beer. He first started experimenting with hops and mash in 1999, which was way before the local craft beer “boom,” before people asked to see a craft beer menu.

Eventually, as Wadlington’s repertoire grew, he invited friends over to his garage to try the latest concoctions. Like many other dreams that start in a garage, things evolved, and the Arlington native set his sights on opening a brewery.

But there was a caveat. He didn’t want investors. Wadlington wanted to do it his way. Independence was a requirement, non-negotiable.

“The beauty of not having investors is the freedom and space to explore ideas, experiment and push boundaries, instead of worrying about returning someone's investment,” Wadlington says. “That extends to crowdfunding, too. We never felt comfortable asking people to fund our business out of the blue. It amazes me that so many people are willing to take that chance, when they could just wait for a brewery to open and then help support them by buying the beer.

“Let me take the risk. You drink the beer.”

This approach has allowed his own Division Brewing to develop a unique style. Along with his main partner and brewer Sean Cooley and assistant brewer and cellarman artist Chris Morgan, their seasonally adjusted rotation includes around 20 beers, about half of which are sours. The venue itself is not only a great place to grab a drink, but they also host an interesting lineup of bands in an adjacent space called GROWL.

“We started as just really wanting to make good beer,” Wadlington says, “but as you get into the business, you ask yourself, ‘What makes you special?’ You try to inject yourself into your business, and well, we also love live music.” 

They also love their sour beers. Every Sunday from now through March is "Sour Sunday," with $2 off all sours from noon until 8 p.m.

In a couple of weeks they’ll celebrate their four-year anniversary. But on Saturday, Dec. 21, as the earth leans its head away from the sun, pulling in the longest night of the year, Division will turn to dark beers to commemorate the event.

The Darkest Night

The focus will be on 10 dark beers, which include Dark Heart, Orthodox Fuzz, Smokey and Bandit, Grind and Press, Black “I”, Ben Stout, Spelunking Monk and Drought and Blight.

Wadlington will also tap a not-yet-named new breakfast stout, laced with maple, coffee and cocoa nibs. In addition, there will be Smokin’ Jack-O, which was brewed with 30 pounds of pumpkin and butternut squash puree, which Wadlington cubed and baked, with traditional pumpkin pie spices, plus some chili powder and cumin to give it a bit of heat.

D.E.T.Q. (Deep Ellum Tuba Quartet) will provide some Christmas tunes, while the band Orthodox Fuzz, with special guests the Grant Morrison Band, will play in GROWL. Guero’s Craft BBQ will provide the meats.

Tickets are $20 at the door, which will get you four pours or eight half-pours.

Division Brewing, 506 E. Main St., Arlington. Open 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.