Microbrewery planned for Panther Island area near Trinity River

Posted Sunday, Mar. 30, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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A long-vacant building at 501 N. Main St., former home of two microbreweries, will again be producing artisanal ales in the not-too-distant future, said Michael Harper, a partner in a new venture called Panther Island Brewing.

Harper said Friday that he and partner Ryan McWhorter, 27, both musicians with the Dick Beldings 90s cover band, have been working on the site near LaGrave Field since November and expect to announce an opening date in about a month.

The micro’s signature beer will be an American wheat called Allergeez, but they will also produce kegs of three other styles: a cream ale, a Scottish ale and an India pale ale, he said. They hope to supply local bars and restaurants with draft beer before deciding whether to bottle or can, Harper said.

The 31-year-old head brewer declined to answer further questions, referring us to the company’s Facebook page, which said the pair began brewing under the Wahoo name three years ago.

“We brewed beers, listened to music, and met some of the coolest people the DFW area had to offer,” it said. “Though the name has changed, the attitude remains. We'll continue with our rebellious and rock-and-roll attitude and brewing kickass beers to boot.”

The building where they will locate was home to Texas Beer Co., a company run by Steven Sandige and Gary Lopez, who brewed a craft light beer in 2001 before failing.

Two years later, a small Dallas venture, Great Grains Brewing Co., took over 7,500 square feet of the brick building, owned by Keith Kidwell and Olin Gibbins. The microbrewer ran afoul of authorities over labeling and closed in 2005 after operating less than a year. The equipment was dismantled and shipped to a startup microbrewery in Aarhuis, Denmark.

The building is very close to Panther Island, an outdoor entertainment area on the banks of the Trinity River, across from the downtown campus of Tarrant County College.

“Panther Island Brewing is exactly the type of business we want on Panther Island,” J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, said in a news release. “We want businesses that create a special culture, identity and excitement for the district. The whole craft beer culture is so lively we think it is a perfect fit for what we are creating.”

The release said the microbrewery will be the exclusive beer vendor at a weekly “Sunday Funday” summer series at Panther Island Pavilion, featuring tubing, food trucks, music, kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and standup paddle. Under state water district code, the authority is not required to seek bids from potential vendors unlike municipal governments.

Cities expert has high regard for Fort Worth

The accolades for downtown Fort Worth keep coming.

Donald Borut, former executive director of the National League of Cities, called the downtown area “very strong” and held up the city as a model during a speech last week at the 32nd annual Downtown Fort Worth Inc. meeting, attended by more than 400 people.

“You don’t have to be sick to get better,” Borut said. “And that truly is where Fort Worth is today, the downtown. You’ve got a very strong downtown. You’re already ahead of the curve as affirmed by the national recognition you continue to receive.”

Downtown was recently named the best downtown for 2014 among small and medium-size cities by Livability.com. This week, it will garner more national attention as ESPN sets up in Sundance Square for broadcasts during the Final Four college basketball championship weekend. The Final Four will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday and April 7.

UTA tax program named among top 10

The University of Texas at Arlington master’s of science in taxation program was ranked among the top 10 in the country for the second year in a row, according to a national online network for tax professionals.

TaxTalent.com surveyed 127 heads of corporate tax departments nationwide to rank the master’s programs. Baylor University was the only other Texas school to make the list.

Rachel Croson, dean of the College of Business, said the demand is high for UTA tax graduates.

“Businesses are recognizing the source they have here at UT Arlington,” Croson said. “We are honored to receive the ranking for the second year in a row.”

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718 Twitter: @bshlachter

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