McKinney, Texas was recently ranked as the #1 small city to live in by Money Magazine and is located about 20 minutes north of downtown Dallas off of Hwy 75. DFW Craft Beer recently stopped by the Tupps Brewery, located just off Hwy 5 right behind the old cotton mill close to the downtown square, to speak with the owner Keith Lewis. He spent some time talking with me about the the brewery, his beers and the wonderful items he used from the cotton mill to create his “old world” taproom.
DFW Craft Beer: Tell me a little about the brewery.
Keith Lewis: Well, we opened two months ago and been spending about a year building the brewery and they key here is that we’ve got a few thousand square foot building, we have a lot of room to expand. The brewery is a state of the art brewery, computer controlled system so we invested a significant amount of money in the brewery portion of this building to make sure that we’ve got great quality beer and we’ve got an expansive space for events and activities but ultimately, hopefully the whole building’s filled with stainless steel.
DFW Craft Beer: The way you have your taproom set up its almost like you’ve got your brewing equipment on stage like a rock star.
Keith Lewis: Right.
DFW Craft Beer: It kind of shows it off.
Keith Lewis: Yeah, you know this building and this area is very old. And so what we wanted to do is we wanted to have the brewery set up to where it was, it was really featured and there’s kind of a combination of old and new here so a state of the art brewhouse is kind of the showcase and the rest of the building is kind of old school, old world feel and really relaxing and comfortable.
DFW Craft Beer: Now you’re located just right here behind the cotton mill off of Hwy 5 here in McKinney. So you were able to get a lot of stuff in here from the cotton mill because they didn’t want to use it, right?
Keith Lewis: Yes, well, I mean the guy who has owned the cotton mill for like the last nineteen years has done a lot of remodeling, refurbishing. But he has intentionally saved a lot of the things that he’s taken out of the cotton mill and he’s been kind enough to let us deploy those within the brewery which is really which has really given it that old wold look and feel.
DFW Craft Beer: Yeah, it’s kind of got not necessarily retro but like, I think old world’s a better word for it.
Keith Lewis: Yeah, I mean a lot of the stuff in here is over a hundred years old. This beam right here below us i thirty three feet long and is over a hundred years old taken right out of the cotton mill.
DFW Craft Beer: Wow! That doesn’t get any cooler. It really doesn’t
DFW Craft Beer: Tell me a little bit about the name Tupps, where’s that come from?
Keith Lewis: Well, my partners name is Tupper Patnode. We kinda shortened his first name and called it Tupps and we’ve been home brewers for about five years so uh when you’re home brewing and you enter these competitions, they want to know the name of your team so we just called it Tupps brewery way back and then we decided to go into it professionally and it’s like well, let’s think of a name. It’s like it’s just very easy to stay with Tupps. So it stuck and people got to know us for that.
DFW Craft Beer: Now speaking of home brewing and competitions and stuff, recently you heard that there’s a possibility, well not a possibility but a definite, you’re going to be medaling up at the brewfest here in Grapevine.
Keith Lewis: Yeah, yeah. The best little brewfest in Lewisville. Yeah, we got a note and we got real excited it said that we definitely are a medalist, but they couldn’t tell us how many and they couldn’t tell us what level we where but, for only being open two months, to actually receive a medal is pretty impressive, we think so we’re real proud. Next weekend we’ll go out there and hopefully run up on that podium and snag a medal.
DFW Craft Beer: That’ll be nice so make sure you guys show up out at the brewfest next weekend and say hi to Keith while you’re there.
DFW Craft Beer: So why don’t we talk a little bit about your beers. What are we drinking here?
Keith Lewis: Well, this is our black ale so it’s a very interesting beer it’s a session milk stout beer. It’s in the sweet stout category. Um, so it’s very easy to drink. It’s about 5.2 percent alcohol so not way off the scale. But it’s got really good rich aroma: Chocolate, caramel, coffee. So, the aroma is fantastic! The flavor is uh, some of the best.
DFW Craft Beer: It absolutely is. And it drinks, it’s almost like a session beer because of it’s low alcohol content., but because of the malt you use it’s got a lot of body to it as well so it’s not watery like a lot of beers that are low in alcohol.
Keith Lewis: So that’s kind of our signature for our brews that are out. So we’ve got four beers that are out, kind of round one all of them are about five to six percent alcohol so it’s not way over the top. It’s summer, it’s hot, It’s Texas so getting everybody to drink these beers is cool. Then we’ve got another beer coming down the road which is our northbound seventy five which is also a sessionable beer but what we do is that we take roasted poblano peppers and we infuse that into the beer so it’s really kinda great. That’ll be available in July.
DFW Craft Beer: Now on the black ale, you were telling me you don’t have collar approval yet for your kegs, correct?
Keith Lewis: Right,we should be maybe a week away. So, it’s been in Austin for maybe two weeks. It takes about three so we should get it this week but we’ve got the walk-in loaded with beer so as soon as we get keg collar…
DFW Craft Beer: Come up here and grab your black ale here!.
DFW Craft Beer: So uh, you’ve been distributing a lot over the past week and a half, right?
Keith Lewis: Right, yeah so we just started really going out and making outbound sales calls the last two weeks and um, the response has been great. When you put all four beers in from of a bar or pub owner they all look very distinctly different so it’s really kind of a hard thing to choose it’s really whats best for that establishment.
DFW Craft Beer: So, if you where to talk to one of our viewers out there who’s not necessarily a big craft beer guy, they’re new into craft beer what would you recommend for them?
Keith Lewis: Well, I’d kinda start with the wheat beer. The wheat beer is very sessionable, very easy to drink and it’s for the people who say uh, I’m a miller bud coors guy. That’s where you’d start. Or it’s for people who say, “oooh, I don’t like beer”.
DFW Craft Beer: Right.
Keith Lewis: I mean, those are, that’s where you’d start. So it’s got a really warm flavor. the interesting thing about the black ale is that it’s very easy to drink. Very sweet. So it really captures that first time craft beer drinker as well.
DFW Craft Beer: And it’s almost like, for lack of better words, besides the caramel and other stuff that’s in there. It’s kinda like a cold coffee and a lot of people like that. It’s a very popular thing right now.
DFW Craft Beer: Tell us a little bit about the taproom here, I know you’re very family friendly obviously so tell us a little bit more about that.
Keith Lewis: Yeah, you know my partner Tupper and I our families work with the business and we’re really supportive of our families as well as having people in McKinney come out and bring their families, bring thier dogs. At our grand opening we actually had a guy bring a goat!
DFW Craft Beer: Really?
Keith Lewis: It’s pretty cool he walks in and goes through the… So… It’s interesting, this is a cool place because you really feel like your in the country, feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. We are twenty five, thirty minutes from Dallas so we’re real close but it gives you that open feel.
DFW Craft Beer: Yeah and the great thing about where you’re located is there’s a lot of backroads so if your’re a guy like me who rides full time and you have a motorcycle, this is a great destination point to come to, just FYI. You can hit a lot of the backroads to get here and sit and enjoy a nice beer all day long. Now what are you hours? You’re open on Saturdys and Fridays, right?
Keith Lewis: Correct. Yeah, on Fridays we just started opening from four til ten. So last night we were out here and it was great and we had a really good crowd, playing music in the background. And then on Saturday, we really kick it up ’cause we go from eleven to five and we have live bands. vUsually we have two bands. We have a beer garden out here, where we’ll have an acoustic act going. And we have food trucks come out so you cccan get some food as you go through the day. So it’s real entertainment, it’s not just come in get a tour and leave. We do do tours and we have a lot of sampling here of the beers. But, Really it’s a place to hang out, have fun and listen to music.
DFW Craft Beer: Cool. Alright Well, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to speak with us and hope you guys come out and visit the brewery sometime soon. It’s a great location, the beers are phenomenal. I think you’ll like it. Uh, that’s it for another edition of BrewTube’s “In The Spotlight”. We hope to see you again next time. Thanks again Keith.
Keith Lewis: You bet!
*update:Tupps won two medals at the Best Little Brewfest in Texas professional Brewers competition (The only one in texas):
Congrats Keith & Crew on the wins!