|All images property of Brian Brown / Beer in Big D.|
With their grand opening on Saturday, Tupps Brewery became the area's twenty-sixth production brewing operation. Led by founders Keith Lewis and Tupper Patnode, along with brewer Chris Lewis (one of Keith's two sons), team Tupps welcomed a steady crowd of North Texans to their facility located adjacent to the historic Cotton Mill in McKinney. Estimates on the brewery's Facebook page put the number of attendees at around 1200, up significantly from pre-event expectations of a few hundred.
This was my second visit to Tupps, coming after a preview excursion back in January when the brewery was in the final stages of construction. Now having had the chance to see the finished space, you certainly get a sense of what those behind the business are all about. For one thing, certain elements leave little doubt that this is a brewery built in Texas. The Lone Star Flag is raised multiple times above the bar top, with an even larger version mounted behind the brewhouse.
The Texas theme extends further to the barley and hop-based offerings, with two everyday beers incorporating the state's name in their branding. Those beers, Texas Shade Wheat and a Texas-style Black Ale, were both on tap opening day, along with Tupps IPA. Others coming soon include Cotton Mill Gold (a golden ale brewed with five hop varieties) and Northbound 75 (a pepper-infused pale ale).
Something else you'll notice is a commitment to the reclamation of various materials for reuse in and around the brewery. While there was evidence of this here and there in January, much of the detail work on art installations and the like was still to be done. Now, you'll find examples of something old being made into something new nearly everywhere you turn. For instance, piping and pitchforks make up brewery signage overlooking the beer garden, which has within its borders a fountain made up of bottles, kegs and carboys. And if you're not sure where to go when driving in for a tour, just look for the rusty old car sitting out front of Tupps' office space. It sports the brewery's insignia and has a timeworn two-wheeler (i.e. a bicycle) resting on its rooftop.
Like others, Tupps has also made efforts to create a family-friendly atmosphere, considering kids could be seen playing games like Giant Jenga and Cornhole. There was even a basketball hoop installed at one end of the main building, making me wonder if shooting a few hoops is yet another option to be explored. A rather docile goat took in the festivities as well (so, I guess the brewery is more than just dog-friendly), apparently unphazed by its surroundings and comfortable with the attention it received.
All in all, the setting makes for a casual and festive environment on the eastern side of McKinney. Seeing how Tupps lies a little over a mile from the city's Historic Downtown square and less than three miles from the neighboring Franconia Brewing Company, you could easily make a day out of visiting all three locales on a Saturday afternoon. Should you be thinking about such a trip, take note that both breweries are open weekly at 11 a.m. Make Franconia your first stop since they close earlier at 1 p.m., then finish the day at Tupps, where they serve their brand of locally-brewed beer up until 5 p.m.
721 Anderson Street