When Dallas brewery Noble Rey announced its closing in March, one of the primary questions local craft beer lovers were left asking was what would become of the brewery’s satellite tap room at the Dallas Farmers Market. While we wait to see what becomes of Noble Rey’s primary taproom and brewery space in the Design District, we do now have an answer on the Farmers Market spot.
The 2nd Tap is an interesting concept that fills the Market’s food hall space left unoccupied by Noble Rey. Operating as a sort of “taproom takeover,” instead of the usual “tap takeover” one might see in a local bar, according to the bar’s website, the 2nd Tap will feature one brewery’s creations at a time. According to a recent report from Beer in Big D, the featured brewery will rotate every three weeks.
While the eight draft taps are indeed dedicated to one brewery, the current featured brewery is Manhattan Project Beer Company, a cooler was stocked with cans of Shiner Bock and other beer options, but with wine, cider and other non-beer, non-Manhattan Project offerings.
Although the tap handles were branded and the smallish digital tap menu listed the brewery’s name, it was difficult for a casual passerby or someone not familiar with the young brewery to know that Manhattan Project’s beers were the star of the show. And since a busy Saturday afternoon at the Dallas Farmers Market makes for a hectic, cramped experience where the bartender isn’t likely in the mood to be too chatty, a little more obvious notification regarding the taproom’s unique concept and the highlighted brewery would’ve been helpful from a consumer standpoint.
As we stood in the short, quick-moving line to order a couple of beers, we overheard folks sitting at the bar and standing with us in line asking questions about the available beers and which brewery they came from. For someone who doesn’t keep up with the weekly ins and outs of the local beer scene, there wasn’t any way a customer would have a clue as to what was going on here other than there was some beer available for sale.
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Given the general appeal of a large food hall with options ranging from Cajun to seafood to Indian, Italian and Mexican, patrons who fall out of the local craft beer connoisseur realm are certainly going to be the majority for the 2nd Tap. We listened as no fewer than three consecutive customers ordered the Necessary Evil pilsner, arguably Manhattan Project’s most accessible, mainstream option, as one of the two bartenders had to change the keg out in order to keep up with how often it was being ordered.
To be clear, and fair, the 2nd Tap isn’t simply a new concept, but it’s just brand new in general. And, lest we get too far ahead of ourselves, a craft beer option inside the DFM is always a great thing.
The 2nd Tap, Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St.