Sunday, October 22, 2023

Happy Hippie opens far out fermentation firm in Richardson

All photos © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Completing the journey to opening a brick-and-mortar location, Happy Hippie Brewing Co. has pulled back the curtain on its new permanent home at 500 Lockwood Dr. in Richardson.

For anyone unfamiliar, Happy Hippie got its start after entering into an alternating proprietorship agreement with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine in 2019. From there, first beers hit the market in early 2020, with more than 10 different recipes eventually making their way into the firm's portfolio over the course of the last three years.

Now, those behind Happy Hippie - a group comprising Michael and Kellie Frederick, Scott and Happy Schwieterman, and Dave and Jess Steckel - can entertain family, friends and fans of the brand in the comfort of their own groovy little hippie pad in the Lockwood neighborhood of the city's Core District.

Happy Hippie operates inside an 11,000 square foot structure. Roughly half is dedicated to the
taproom, which features a spacious seating area flanked by the service bar and an indoor stage setup.

So, what's the new place like? Well, in terms of vibe, clearly a chill and laid back atmosphere is the order of the day. Honestly, it couldn't have been more appropriate that a Grateful Dead ditty came over the sound system literally the second I sat down. Bandleader Jerry Garcia is the patron saint of Happy Hippie, and what might be the brewery's most popular beer, Captain Tripels (Belgian tripel), is a nod to Captain Trips himself.

Given that, along with the playing of other tunes by early 70s artists, and the prominent stage setup anchoring one end of the taproom, it should be clear music is central to the concept. If not, maybe also consider past beer names featuring the song titles "Friend of the Devil" (the Dead) and "Smoke on the Water" (Deep Purple).

Those weren't on tap at opening, but a list of beers that were included Captain Tripels, Honey Magnolia Witbier, Marmalade Sky Blonde Ale, Rich Ale and Wa-Hotter Melon IPA. And while Captain Tripels might be the strongest beer of the bunch in terms of ABV, the punchiest flavor profile emerged from the watermelon and habanero-infused Wa-Hotter Melon IPA. In fact, the latter had a bitter edge on the order of an old-school West Coast IPA.

Beer workings, by the way, are brought to you by director of brewing operations, Nick Thomason. A homebrewing veteran with more than 15 years of experience under his belt, Thomason is formulating the fermentations at Happy Hippie using hardware supplied by ABE Equipment of Nebraska.

Once production is in full swing, beers will pour from as many as 12 tap handles at Happy Hippie.
Flights and full pours are available, with to-go selections presumably set to occupy a fridge adjacent to the bar.

As for other site amenities, widescreen televisions encircle the interior allowing for the viewing of sports and other events at Happy Hippie, with board games provided as an additional diversion. There's also a patio area for those who prefer open-air imbibing.

With regard to grub, food trucks will be the primary purveyor. Bites on grand opening weekend were served by Guitars & Growlers, a fitting partner since the pub's Richardson spot has acted as Happy Hippie's adopted taproom since its inception. Their menu offers a variety of appetizers (fries, onion rings, sweet potato nuggets), entrees (bratwurst, smash burgers, street tacos, wings), kids meals (chicken nuggets, hot dogs), and a Cream Cheese Filled Churro for dessert.

Indeed, taken together, what Happy Hippie has created is a songful space designed to inspire patrons to commune with other like-minded craft beer drinkers. To that end, you're invited to "Find Your Tribe" at the brewery during operating hours from Wednesday through Sunday.

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