Brewery has eyes on Dallas location

DALLAS — Plans are in the works to bring a brewery to Dallas.

The developing venture is a partnership between John Whitmire, the former owner of Hops and Barrel House in Independence, and Steve Richards, a homebrewer turning commercial brewer.

Whitmire approached Richards with the idea after Hops and Barrel, which was located at 250 S. Main St. in Independence, closed in September after failing to agree on lease terms with the building’s new owner.

The bar was successful the two years it was open and Whitmire has been searching for a location to open another establishment. He’s landed in Dallas, looking at a few locations, including the former Bert’s Restaurant on West Ellendale Avenue near Safeway.

The pair is giving themselves plenty of time — up to a year — to find a location, acquire all the needed equipment, and apply for the proper permits to run a brewery.

Ironically, Richards has been an assistant winemaker at Eola Hills Wine Cellars in Rickreall for the last 16 years, but has become an avid homebrewer. He said he caught the bug when he helped his brother-in-law brew a batch of beer about 10 years ago.

He said wine will continue to be his primary occupation, even though his brewing hobby will move from his garage to a full-scale business.

“It would be part time for me,” Richards said. “With beer, it’s easy to do that. It can be easily done on the weekends, which I already do anyway.”

Richards said he specializes in IPAs, but also has dabbled in darker varieties, including an American stout recipe he and his brewing friends are quite pleased with.

“It didn’t last long,” he said. “That’s a good sign.”

Whitmire said while Richards is a full-time wine guy, he’s a skilled brewer.

“I still have yet to have a beer as good as his white IPA,” Whitmire said.

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