Twenty-five years ago, the stiffest libation sold at the Dallas Farmers Market was iced lemonade. Now, market-goers can wet their whistles at half a dozen stalls — including, as of Saturday, a cozy micro-taproom from Noble Rey.
The genesis of the brewpub (Noble Rey’s second, after receiving a brewpub license for their Design District location in July 2015) lies across the aisle from Proper Baking Company, whose proprietor, Tina Miller, is married to Noble Rey cellar manager Tommy Miller. Judging by the stream of brewery devotees and curious newcomers who sidled up to the bar over the course of a few hours on opening day, this tiny taproom is off to a strong start.
At 600 square feet, there’s no room for the arcade games or skeeball lanes of the original Noble Rey taproom; economy is the coordinating principle at work here, reflected in the rustic, wood-hewn aesthetic and the emptied cans used as flower vases. A dozen stools line the bar, with three tables set aside for small groupings of friends off to the side. In a stroke of good fortune for any beer-serving establishment, the stall sits about 50 yards from the market’s public restrooms. The flatscreen TV above the taps may be the only place you can catch a Cowboys game while you shop for artisanal cheese.
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The new taproom is equipped with four taps and, for the time being, plays to a wide audience. The menu focuses on Noble Rey’s lighter side: a red ale, a wit, a California common and a lager cheekily named Sex in a Canoe. (If you don’t know this punchline already, go ask the internet.) Each rang up at $5.41 after taxes—thanks to TABC regulations, Noble Rey still has to pay its distributor to bring the beers over, hiking the prices just a hair over what we’d expect from a brewery’s taproom. Nonetheless, they were generous pours and supremely suited to pair with the taproom’s neighbors — a slice from the pizzeria BellaTrino or a catfish po' boy from Louisiana eatery/daquiri shop Cajun Tailgators, for instance.
The Noble Rey brewpub has been a long time coming to the DFM, and while we hope they can knock a few cents off their prices, they’ve tapped into a good feeling there. With its open roof and walls and the lively bustle of marketgoers, the taproom recalls the laid-back, come-and-go feeling of a New Orleans watering hole. And it beats the pants off lemonade.
The Market at Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St.