I remember a few years back when I first heard about Dragonmead. "It's on the 696-service drive near Groesbeck," they told me. "Are you kidding me?" I thought. How could a brewery survive in THAT location? Sure enough, a Friday night journey transformed my novice craft beer palate into something a little more refined.
Dragonmead was my first introduction into truly local craft beer. I'd tried Bells, Founders and New Holland, but had never tasted a beer brewed so close to my house (roughly a five-minute drive). Needless to say, I was a Dragonmead junkie for the foreseeable future at that point.
In recent years, I had grown away from my little Warren based brewery. I'm not quite sure why, especially after my last visit. Dragonmead is truly a gem. There are roughly 40 beers on tap at any given time plus wines, meads and sodas are available for those who don't enjoy beer.
The beer menu changes weekly depending on what's available. Almost always available and a great introduction to the Dragonmead style of brewing is their Big 5 – Crown Jewels IPA, Under the Kilt Wee Heavy, Final Absolution Trippel, Erik the Red and Sir William's Extra Special Bitter. They're called the Big 5 because of their popularity and also because those are the five beers available in stores as bottled 4-packs.
While there are no stouts in the Big 5, those five beers are a perfect indication of the flavor profiles of Dragonmead's beers. It just so happens that a sampler is available of any of Dragonmead's beers for $10.50. Each sampler includes five 6-oz. pours of any beers on tap that evening.
And we mean ANY beer, even the newly tapped Armageddon Grand Cru, which clocks in at roughly 11% alcohol by volume. Being their anniversary ale, it's only available for a short while during this time of year. It's a sweet, rich beer with notes of dark fruit and brown sugar. Balance Armageddon's sweetness with the grapefruit punch of Jason's IPA, an American India Pale Ale with a bold hop character and lots of juicy grapefruit flavor.
Since Dragonmead is mostly concerned with their beer, you are able to bring your own food to the brewery to pair with their beers. Some local establishments will even deliver food to you. Dragonmead does have a small menu available that includes pizza, burgers and fried goodies so you can eat there if you'd rather not order out.
Open seven days a week, swing by for a sampler, a pint or bring a growler home. In the coming months, Dragonmead will be undergoing an expansion, which will increase their capacity and make even their delicious beers even more available. Good for them – and us. |RDW