The Natural State’s capitol, Little Rock, is known to many as the home of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and a gateway to some of America’s best outdoor escapes. Yet, what some may miss is Little Rock’s brew scene, which is bubbling beneath the surface as one of the South's leading beer destinations. During the last 10 years, Little Rock has become a serious beer city, and residents who crave unique flavors and craft brews have been given plenty of options. But picking the right brewery can be tricky, so we've done the work for you. In no particular order, here are five of the best breweries in Little Rock, AR.
Stemming from the passion of four men who met in a Little Rock home brewery club, Stone’s Throw highlights the craft-brewery movement in downtown Little Rock. The crew whips up a variety of carefully crafted brews on premises, including the Amarillo Warrior Imperial IPA, which hops every three minutes for an hour-and-a-half to deliver a punch for your tastebuds, and a Petit Jean Pear, a gluten-free brew tinged with the sweetness of pears that they say is a perfect refreshment after a hike to Little Rock’s Cedar Falls. Tasting Room patrons can enjoy these offerings with Little Rock locals, like Kent Walker Artisan Cheese or Hillcrest Artisan Meats in the dog-friendly historical building. If you can’t make it to the tasting room for Trivia Night or to battle your friends on one of Taproom’s complimentary boardgames, Stone’s Throw’s crafts can be enjoyed at a handful of restaurants around the Little Rock area.
Further buffering the downtown area brew scene, Lost Forty also further buffers the rustic element to the Little Rock brew scene. The brewery hosts an on-location taproom that has 1940s factory warehouse doors that Lost Forty has repurposed to give beer enthusiasts a peek into how they brew their beer, and for the most fanatic beer enthusiast, a chance to try their experimental batches every Monday at 4p.m. Beyond the taproom, the brewery hosts five to 10 beers, including the Bare Bones Pilsner and the Love Honey Bock, which is naturally sweetened with Arkansas honey, along with beer flights and fusion cuisine inspired by dishes of the south and German beerhalls.
Blue Canoe Brewing Co.
When Ida Cowan, Laura Berryhill and Patrick Cowan came together to start their own brewery, it was only natural they model it after their biggest passion - the outdoors. As they retell, their name came about when they where thinking of a name while brewing a batch in the garage and looked up and saw Laura’s blue canoe, and thus, the Blue Canoe Brewing Co. was born. Their love for the outdoors and, of course, beer, spills over into their Razorback RyePA, the Paddler American Wheat and the Whittler Milk Stout, which is described to please even those who don’t enjoy beer. Beer lovers can dip in their taproom to soak in their suds while enjoying the occasional live music performance.
Diamond Bear Brew Co.
Diamond Bear, which takes its name from two of Arkansas’s claims to fame, may have set up shop a mere 15 years ago, but the North Little Rock production brewery has already snagged numerous awards, including medals from the Great American Beer Fest and the World Beer Cup. Though the makers of the critically acclaimed beer can boast of being Arkansas’s first successful production brewery and earning international attention, the brewery still maintains its presence in Little Rock with the Arkansas Ale House, Diamond Bear’s restaurant that offers options from brats to sandwich and beer pairings, and brews such as the Southern Blonde, the founder’s favorite, and the Paradise Porter, a dark beer with notes of chocolate and caramel.
Vino’s of the downtown Little Rock area is known for their homebrews and pizza - they are Arkansas’s first brewpub, after all. Vino’s offers a preservative-and-chemical-free brews, from an India IPA dubbed the Pinnacle IPA and the seasonal Quarterpaw Quarter Porter, brewed with a hint malt and chocolate, and borrows its name from a historic neighborhood in Little Rock. Little Rock natives can pop in for one of their brews, a slice of their almost-equally famed pizza and listen to live music on selected nights.