Imagine a nice spring day, sipping a beer mere feet from the tanks in which it was brewed -- perhaps across the table from the brewer -- devouring the remnants of a meal from a food truck just yards away. No chains. No multi-national conglomerations. Everything conceived, contrived, made and delivered by people in the community, for the community. It's like those big feasts from hundreds of years ago that brought people together, except with considerable less chance of being killed by a drunk with a morningstar.
Craft beer and food trucks are kindred spirits of sorts. Both businesses are fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit, a lot of heavy lifting and a bit of gumption. And it seems clear that locally their successes have been mutually beneficial.
Scott Wooley of So-Cal Tacos was early on the Dallas food truck scene. He's traversed the metroplex, tacos in hand, for years and now has a restaurant in Grapevine.
"Food trucks and craft brews speak to a genre of culture," says Wooley. "It's the little guys doing their own thing in a world that's been dominated by the big brands. It's a perfect partnership."
It was just three years ago that food trucks began popping up in North Texas. At first, it was a bumpy road; it took cities some time to figure out how to regulate the new industry. (They could have looked to any number of progressive metro areas in the country, but that's sriracha under the bridge.) Meanwhile, both operators and customers had to figure out what worked and what didn't.
Simultaneously, the craft beer movement was burgeoning. In 2011, three new breweries opened in Dallas: Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Peticolas and Lakewood Brewing Co. Now there are more than 30 trucks operating in the metroplex and more than a dozen breweries.
Wim Bens, founder of Lakewood Brewing Co., likes what he sees.
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"I think it points more to a larger cultural shift where local beer, food and products are more and more sought after," says Bens.
Aside from the great pairing, there's obviously an element of convenience. Calling a food truck for an appearance at a weekend brewery tour adds another layer to the overall local experience.
"Good beer and good food have always gone hand in hand," says Miley Holmes of Easy Slider food truck. "Craft brewers and independently owned food trucks also provide similar experiences."
There's no way to put a number on exactly how these two businesses have helped each other locally, and the beer scene remains a few steps ahead of the trucks in terms of quality. But simply recalling the number of times you've either enjoyed the two together in the same parking lot, event or street is proof of a welcome pairing.