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How Craft Beer Gave Arlington a Boost Outside of Ballparks

Legal Draft Brewing Co. opened in Arlington in 2016, and other breweries, bars and restaurants followed shortly after.EXPAND
Legal Draft Brewing Co. opened in Arlington in 2016, and other breweries, bars and restaurants followed shortly after.
courtesy Lauren Carter
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Arlington has long had a reputation for being little more than the home of sports stadiums and Six Flags, but now, the Dallas suburb is home to several bars and restaurants serving up an array of craft beers, along with two breweries and one more coming in the next year. This drastic change really began with the birth of Legal Draft Beer Company and their neighboring brewery, Division Brewing Company, with only a stretch of railroad tracks separating the pair.

Since opening in 2016, Legal Draft Beer Company has sought to tap into the local community by serving a variety of different brews, including a couple of hop-filled IPAs, a citrusy hefeweizen, gluten-removed lager and amber lager. The brewery, with the slogan "You've been served," is filled with lawyer-themed decor, gavels for tap handles and legalese beer names.

Owner and founder Greg McCarthy was the inspiration behind the unique style, with years of law practice behind him before beginning his craft brewing journey.

“About five years ago, I found myself in a position where I pretty much put down my law practice and I was looking for the next thing to do, and saw a real opportunity to tap into the Texas craft brewing scene that led my partner, Curt Taylor, and I to form the Legal Draft Brewery,” McCarthy says.

Their neighbor Division Brewing tends to focus more on experimentation, with a rather large list of brews ranging from barrel-aged to sours and the like, but Legal Draft has a more conservative approach, with core beers remaining the same and a couple of experimental batches and seasonal brews popping up periodically.

Legal Draft's lineup is straightforward but solid.EXPAND
Legal Draft's lineup is straightforward but solid.
courtesy Lauren Carter

“It’s terrific that both of us are quite different, because if you had two of the same thing, it would be a lot less interesting, and they’re great neighbors and friends and have done a collaboration beer with them before as well,” McCarthy says.

This type of neighborly diversity has helped both locals and visitors expand their craft beer experience and explore different brewing approaches. The breweries have helped visitors stay local after baseball and football games and get to know the city more outside of just sports franchises.

“Before, there was no cool place to go eat and drink, and now we have a real nice development of one-off restaurants and bars that people can go to after the games and really enjoy themselves, as well as the Arlington culture that wasn’t really prevalent before," McCarthy says.

Legal Draft is currently brewing up some more intriguing brews to add to the list as well.

“Right now we’ve got test batches of our hazy IPA, Hazeas Corpus, on tap as well as our spring seasonal called Let That Mango, and it’s a mango kolsch,” McCarthy says. “And May 1, we will be releasing our first-ever Mexican-styled lager called You’ve Been Cerveza’d.”

Legal Draft Beer Company, 500 E. Division St., Arlington. Open 4-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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