Kelly and I have always loved factory tours. We love seeing how things are made and understanding the process that it takes to create familiar products.
We also love supporting local businesses, so local business/factory tours are our favorite.
North Texas has experienced an explosion (of sorts) of craft brew companies. We thought it might be fun to try to visit all of the brewers during my (our) next 101 list time frame.
First up: 903 Brewers in Sherman, Texas.
Sherman's not quite local, but as DFW continues its growth march towards Oklahoma, it's starting to feel more and more that way. From Plano, it's an easy hour-ish drive which makes 903 Brewers a nice Saturday afternoon adventure.
We doubted our Google map for a while on our way to the brewing facility as we passed through residential neighborhood after residential neighborhood. Finally, an old industrial park appeared and we knew we'd found the spot.
903 Brewers doesn't really offer a factory tour. You can look at the brewing tanks and you can see the packaging operation, but otherwise it's mostly about a hang-out joint.
By the way, you can enter through the loading dock (like we did) or through a very unassuming door that you're sure isn't the right door but really is the way into the main hang-out space. Oh well. It didn't seem to matter how you got there, as long as you got there.
The interior is very cool and is packed with plenty of places to hang out with your friends - tables, chairs, board games and televisions showing the latest sporting event.
The bar sits in front of a large wall of taps. They'll let you sample (1 oz) and you can buy a half or full pint of anything you'd like.
We quickly learned that 903 brews are really great mixed. While the base beer flavors are good, it's fun to play alchemist and mix and match to build your own special drink. They've suggested several starters and will also do mixes on the fly.
All in all, 903 Brewers is a fun visit. Next time I'd go with a group of friends and plan to spend 2-3 hours hanging out, enjoying an afternoon away from the madness of the metroplex.
In the meantime, we've been able to find an assortment (though not all) of 903 in local grocery stores in Plano. We've been having fun making our own mixes - sharpening our skills! - at home.