"Must Try" Arkansas beers (visiting Harrison, AR)

Discussion in 'South' started by Riverwarrior, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. Riverwarrior

    Riverwarrior Nov 14, 2007 Kentucky

    My wife will be in Harrison, AR for a job interview at a hospital located there. Are there any Arkansas beers that are a "must try"...and, does AR have any canned beer that she can bring back to me (I would rather take my chances with cans than bottles on the flight back).

    Thanks so much in advance.
     
  2. TheBishopco

    TheBishopco Feb 4, 2011 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    Ha ha. Oh you're funny. "Must try" Arkansas beer.

    No, but really. Arkansas is the great beer desert. There is a grand total of one brewery that bottles (with another in the works). Diamond Bear, out of Little Rock, bottles their pretty mediocre line up. There are a few decent brewpubs in northwest Arkansas. I don't think there is anything out towards Harrison though. Core Brewing, in Springdale, is a production brewery, but I have yet to see any of their stuff in stores. I went by their tasting room earlier this week, and they have some pretty tasty stuff. They do plan on canning, whenever they get around to it.

    You can also find kegs of Saddlebock Brewery at a few places, but I doubt in Harrison. They have been brewing for about 6 months or so. I talked to the head brewer last week, and they are still adjusting to the system. Some of their stuff is alright, and the saison was actually quite good.
     
  3. Riverwarrior

    Riverwarrior Nov 14, 2007 Kentucky

    Thanks so much for the info. I figured there probably wasn't much of a selection, but your info is much appreciated.
     
  4. CRJMellor

    CRJMellor Nov 12, 2003 Arkansas
    Beer Trader

    Core Brewing supposedly bottles but have yet to see them. ESB is pretty tasty but only seen it on draft.
    Arkansas definitely a beer wasteland and Harrisonville definitely at the center of the desert unfortunately. Saddlebock has a few decent brews but growlers and draft only for now.
     
  5. TheBishopco

    TheBishopco Feb 4, 2011 Tennessee
    Beer Trader

    From Harrison, you wouldn't be too far away from Branson, Missouri. There is MUCH better distribution across the state line. Bells, Founders, Odell, Stone, Great Divide, Lagunitas, and on and on...
     
    capnamerica likes this.
  6. Riverwarrior

    Riverwarrior Nov 14, 2007 Kentucky

    Thank you my friend.
     
  7. russpowell

    russpowell May 24, 2005 Oklahoma
    Beer Trader

    You might be able to get Marshall Brewing beers. El Cuy Cuy & Arrow head are good, both are in bottles.
     
  8. leftymgp

    leftymgp Apr 15, 2013 Texas

    NW Arkansas is starting to catch up a bit with the rest of the country. Last time I was up there I visited Fossil Cove Brewing and enjoyed it quite a bit. Been meaning to try the other new ones, but I don't make it up there very often.
     
  9. Volsdawg10

    Volsdawg10 Mar 29, 2013 Mississippi

    Saddlebock has a couple of good beers. I agree with the comment above about there Saison being very good. Unfortunately, they are still draft or growler right now. I hope one day they will do bottles and/or cans.
     
  10. sanford_and_son

    sanford_and_son Jul 23, 2012 Washington

    Gonna hop on this thread because I'm visiting Littlerock for the first time later this week. So I see there's Diamond Bear Brewing, Saddlebock....anything else in Littlerock? Any solid beer bars? Much appreciated!
     
  11. Compton25

    Compton25 Jan 25, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    The best beer bars in Little Rock IMHO are Flying Saucer and Vino's Brewpub. Vino's has great pizza and also does growler fills. If you're looking to pick up, Colonial in Little Rock and Springhill in NLR are your best bets.
     
  12. EagleTalon

    EagleTalon Feb 28, 2002 Oklahoma

    Vino's is a must -do in LR. Bosco's was pretty good the last time I was there (almost a year ago).
     
  13. protton

    protton Jan 18, 2013 Florida

    Def go to Vino's brewpub. Great beer and the pizza isn't too shabby either. As far as beer from Arkansas, previous posters have pretty much nailed it. Diamond Bear is just so-so and not necessarily worth the effort to track it down. However, if you are in Little Rock, run over to Spring Hill Liqours off of McCain Blvd. Good selection of craft beers including some of my personal favorites from Tallgrass Brewing and Boulevard Brewing. Hope this helps.
     
  14. sanford_and_son

    sanford_and_son Jul 23, 2012 Washington

    Yes, I came across Vino's on a Yelp search. Sounds solid.

    Thanks for the recs, folks!
     
  15. leftymgp

    leftymgp Apr 15, 2013 Texas

    I have to admit that when I went to Vino's I wasn't terribly impressed. Maybe I didn't try the right beers, but I preferred what I had at Boscos. *shrug*

    I also 2nd Colonial if one is in LR looking for bottles.
     
  16. EagleTalon

    EagleTalon Feb 28, 2002 Oklahoma

    I will give props to Diamond Bear for their Porter. One of the best in my opinion and the opinion of DRAFT magazine--look it up. And it is the highest rated beer on this site for them. As far as the usual production output from DB on their other styles, they are rather pedestrian but rarely have off flavors or obvious flaws. The beers are technically sound. They have won several GABF and WBC awards so their recipes stand out in formal competition. I don't think they have one jack squat in the last 3 years. They take the prize for the most boring labels, although the Southern Blonde cartons have a pinup girl on it to make it more appealing :)
     
  17. estlinska

    estlinska Sep 30, 2010 Arkansas

    I would say Vino's produces the best beer in Little Rock. I really like their pizza and calzone (especially the mufalletta pizza), and I particularly like dives in general. Their one-offs are also usually very solid, but you have to be lucky to catch them with one of those. Unfortunately, their website gives no clues as to when they may be producing said one-offs.

    I have been to Bosco's three or four times and really have no other reason to go there further. Their beer, more than Diamond Bear, has always been rather pedestrian to me. The food is overpriced as well. That said, they do have casks from time to time, which is the only place that does have casks (or at least it's the only place I've heard have casks).

    If you are downtown, your best bet is probably Flying Saucer for overall selection of draft. They have gotten way, way better since I first moved here and have picked up more true craft labels and dumped some of the crafty labels. I've gotten some true gems there from time to time.

    Diamond Bear is Diamond Bear. It's nothing to write home about, but like EagleTalon said, there is nothing wrong with the beer. The Pale Ale is technically smooth and refreshing and pretty good when I'm at the ballpark and faced with the option of that or a blue moon. The porter, again, is quite good and stands up well next to most other porters I've had in my travels. The IPA is pretty bland, but the Two Term is fairly good though it comes and goes at irregular intervals. Is it worth a visit? Sure, if you have time to kill, but I'd go there after Vino's or Flying Saucer. The good news is that you can get to all three places within 5 minutes of each other. The aforementioned bottle shops (Colonial and Springhill) though are further away. Of the two, I prefer Colonial, but that's just me.
     
  18. sanford_and_son

    sanford_and_son Jul 23, 2012 Washington

    Def planning on going to Colonial. I saw Flying Saucer rated highly on Yelp, but it's a wacky theme restaurant chain, right? We don't have any out in Washington, but if they have good beer then I guess it's worth a shot.

    Pretty sure Vino's is nearby my hotel, woo!
     
  19. leftymgp

    leftymgp Apr 15, 2013 Texas

    I wouldn't really call Flying Saucer a "wacky theme" restaurant chain. It's a pretty normal place. Yeah, the waitresses wear plaid skirts and there's a bunch of plates on the wall for people who are in the saucer club thing. But other than that it's just a bar with a great beer selection where you can also get some food.

    I know the one here in Austin has their beer selection list online somewhere. I'm sure the LR one does too if you're curious.
     
  20. sanford_and_son

    sanford_and_son Jul 23, 2012 Washington

    I might be confusing it with some other alien/flying saucer themed restaurant, my bad.
     
  21. sanford_and_son

    sanford_and_son Jul 23, 2012 Washington

    Woo Pig Sooie! Arkansas is an odd lil' place compared to Seattle, but I had a damn good time in Little Rock.

    Flying Saucer = awesome
    Bosco's = decent beer, but great patio
    Colonial Liquor = very solid
    Diamond Bear = also very solid, especially the porter, but the guys in the tap room were super friendly and gave me and my sister vouchers for the Travelers game, which was def a highlight

    Also stopped by the BBQ Fest which was GLORIOUS.
     
    Compton25 and leftymgp like this.
  22. EagleTalon

    EagleTalon Feb 28, 2002 Oklahoma


    Thanks for the report, glad you had a good time in my home town. LR/NLR is a much better place to visit and live since I left in the early 1990's. The beer scene is really good (not Seattle good, but you can't complain much) and there is plenty to do in the area to burn off those beer calories. And BBQ that kicks your ass. And the "Ozark Northwest"or Northwest Arkansas another growing beer scene in the Fayetteville area is only 3 hours away. Throw in Tulsa, OK to the west of NWA (Marshall, Choc, Dead Armadilllo, and a great Homebrew club there) and you have the top three for possible relocation cities for me and my family.
     
    sanford_and_son likes this.
  23. capnamerica

    capnamerica Feb 19, 2013 Arkansas
    Beer Trader

    You might be able to pick up Core's ESB at 'The Bottle' in Fayetteville.
     
  24. russpowell

    russpowell May 24, 2005 Oklahoma
    Beer Trader

    I snagged a bottle at liqour world about a month ago...
     
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe