Saturday, June 22, 2024

Sample an award-winning stout at Soul Fire - Cleburne

Snaps from inside and out at Soul Fire Cleburne Brewing Co. - Cleburne (all images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Upon hearing the news that Soul Fire Brewing Co. - Cleburne had brought home its first award, from an international competition no less, it seemed there was no better time for an inaugural visit to one of the newer brewing operations in North Texas.

Owned by James Brown, the Cleburne spot is the second for Soul Fire, the original having been in business in Roanoke since the fall of 2019. The branding is the same, but the two locales differ slightly in approach. Soul Fire Roanoke is a resident of The 206 - a brewery and food hall concept, whereas Soul Fire Cleburne is a standalone arcade/brewery/pizza kitchen.

Located at 6 N. Caddo St. in the heart of city's downtown district, Soul Fire Cleburne sets up in a renovated two-story 1900s-era building, with available space comprising 8400 square feet. Downstairs is the main dining area, along with kitchen and brewing ops, while the upstairs has arcade installations and an event space which can be closed off for private functions (note: the arcade is temporarily closed until July).

On the subject of offerings, as alluded to above, hand-crafted pizzas are the main culinary draw at Soul Fire Cleburne, with starters, salads and desserts appearing on the food menu as well. Beverage-wise, the brewpub serves soda, root beer and a non-spiked Soul Fire Slushy as non-alcoholic options, though a spiked Slushy can be had as well for an additional charge.

As for the beer, head brewer Rhantu Gamiño is tasked with keeping upwards of 16 taps flowing on a daily basis. During my visit, the lineup featured three lagers, four IPAs (American, hazy, double hazy, imperial New England), a Kölsch, hazy pale ale, strawberry sour and others.

Those sampled, including Mexican and Vienna lagers, were solid and stylistic. A couple of stouts were the highlight, though, one of which being the award-winner at the aforementioned competition. Cleburne's Goatman (5.6% ABV), a proper oatmeal stout, won a bronze medal earlier this month at Copa de las Alturas 2024 in Bogotá, Colombia.

The other stout was a variant of the winning recipe called The Goatman of the River. Identifying as a nitro coffee oatmeal stout, it was brewed in collaboration with Nolan River Coffee of Cleburne and Enduro Coffee Roasters of Fort Worth. The River sibling is even richer and roastier than Cleburne's Goatman, which in and of itself was certainly one of the better straightforward oatmeal stouts I've had in recent memory.

And yes, we drink stouts in summer. You can too at Soul Fire Cleburne, with daily hours beginning at 11:30 a.m. The two Goats are on tap now, but the latter is limited. You can also grab Cleburne's Goatman to-go in four packs of 16-ounce cans.

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