Bobby Mullins and Yianni Arestis say that making beer is a dirty job, but they plan on doing it anyway. The two entrepreneurial UNT grads plan on opening up Denton’s first official brew-pub, dubbed Armadillo Ale Works, in the fall of 2011.
Armadillo Ale Works is a part-sponsor of Spune’s upcoming Ice Cream Social, where they will be providing a couple kegs of some of their dirty perfections-in-progress for free. If you’d like a sneak-peak of what Dentonite’s will be drinking come fall of next year, we suggest you arrive at the show a little on the early side.
We had the pleasure of asking the men behind the yeast a couple of questions and tried to figure out exactly how many armadillos it takes to get to the inside of a keg of beer. This is what they had to say.
When do you plan on opening?
YA: We are currently targeting Fall 2011 as our opening date. This should give us sufficient time to perfect the beers, finalize the menu and secure financing. This is a tentative date, so it could change depending on a few factors.
What made you decide that Denton needed it’s own brew pub?
BM: Denton is my hometown and I've always wished we had something like this, so rather than wait around for someone else to do it, I figured we would give it a shot.
YA: Denton is such a unique town; we thought it deserved a unique restaurant and brewery. We both like living and working in Denton, so when we did our market research and everything looked good, we decided to go for it.
How long have each of you been into brewing, personally? What got you interested?
BM: Ha, I would never call myself an expert! I started home-brewing about 2004 while in college. My little brother bought me a starter kit and most of the stuff I made was terrible but I was hooked. After I graduated, I was fortunate enough to get a job at Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston where I learned a lot about brewing on a professional level.
What type of food will you be serving?
BM: Expect a bit of your traditional pub fare with a twist. I'm hoping to have a good amount of vegetarian options, as well, and I'm also working on some other dishes that I love but aren't normally found in North Texas. Overall, we want the menu to be as fresh as possible. The beer's going to be the freshest in town, the food should be no different. Oh, and expect beer pairings with every dish, even desserts.
YA: We are going to offer food that is popular and affordable, and let our customers help decide what should be on the menu. We do want to use beer when appropriate in quite a few dishes, but don’t want it to become cliché.
How many different beers do you plan on brewing?
YA: We want to have a handful of beers that we brew year round, and then leave some room for some seasonal and special brews.
How would you describe your brewing style?
BM: Our year round beers will be more on the traditional side of things while our seasonals and special releases will venture into more experimental realms. As for my style, I'm a big fan of MacGyver-brewing. I'm a firm believer that the more duct tape you use, the better the beer tastes. Everyone has seen the brewer in clean coveralls standing in front of some shiny copper tanks, and I'm sure those guys make great beer, but to me, that's not brewing. Brewing is a dirty, sweaty job where you get calluses on your hands and blisters on your feet. If you’re not hurting all over at the end of the day, you're doing it wrong.
What is your favorite brew right now?
BM: Hands down, it’s Southern Star's Buried Hatchet Stout.
YA: I’m a big fan of the stout because it’s such a flavorful beer with a hint of maple.
Are there any specific micro-pubs that you are modeling Armadillo Ale Works after?
YA: No there are not, we want this to be a unique concept. We have visited many brewpubs and we definitely have an idea of what we want to do and don’t want to do.
What’s the deal with the name? Are armadillos somehow involved in the brewing process? Isn’t that a health code violation?
BM: Well, we put one armadillo in every batch of beer. It adds a nice texture to the mouth-feel. I'm kidding, if we actually did that I'm sure the FDA would come down on us. Honestly, though, I just love armadillos. I guess it's my power animal. It's also the Texas state small mammal, and who doesn't love Texas? If anyone says they don't, they're crazy or jealous that they don't look this good in cowboy boots.
You’re sponsoring The Spune Ice Cream Social this year. What’s the one band you are most excited about seeing at the show?
YA: I’d have to say Telegraph Canyon. One of my room mates listened to their album a lot, and I really liked it, so I’d like to see how it translates into a live show.
BM: I just moved back to Denton in May so I've been out of the local scene and actually don't know anything about any of the bands playing. I did, however, listen to them all on the interweb and I really liked Land Mammals and Telegraph Canyon. I'm anxious to see Baruch the Scribe too.
You guys are filling a hole as far as a type of business that this town currently lacks. What is another kind of business that you, personally, would like to see open up in Denton? Why?
BM: I would love to see a great independent record store make it in Denton. Denton is a very music-centric town and I don't understand why none have survived. They're probably put out of business by Best Buy, iTunes, Amazon, or just illegal downloading and that's a shame.
YA: I would really to see an independent movie theater, something like the Angelika, open up near the square. I don’t like having to drive to Plano or Dallas to see a new movie.
Have their been any unforeseen hardships in opening up your own business, so far?
YA: Actually, there haven’t been any yet. Chances are we are going to run into to some issues at some point, that’s just the nature of opening up a business. So far everyone we talk to has been very supportive and excited about us opening up.
If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
BM: Again, Southern Star's Buried Hatchet Stout. It's like a chocolate milkshake, but it's beer. Milkshakes are awesome. Beer is awesome. Beershake... I'm a genius.
YA: I would have to say that beer is Carlsberg Elephant. It’s basically a high gravity (8% a.b.v.) version of Carlsberg, and it tastes delicious. Sadly, they no longer sell it in Texas because of labeling issues.
If you’d like to hear more from the men behind Armadillo Ale works, you can find them in the following places: