Craft beer has gone from a subculture to a craze to a massive industry, attracting natives and tourists alike to sample local, hand-crafted brews. Arkansas is no exception as the number of breweries in The Natural State attest. AY is About You tapped author and noted beer expert Brian Sorensen to pen a snapshot of the state’s breweries and provide a guide for your next quest for hops. This month, he takes us south of Interstate 40 to see what’s brewing.

 

In April’s AY is About You, we detailed the rise of Arkansas craft breweries. After an inkling of activity before Prohibition, legislation enacted by teetotalers killed the state’s brewing industry. The return of legal booze in America enabled breweries in Arkansas to start producing again, though beer made here was nearly absent until brew pubs started popping up in the 1990s. The number of beermakers in the Natural State has increased significantly since the turn of the century, with a substantial uptick over the past five to 10 years.

 

Today there are far more breweries in the northern half of the state, though the southern part has its fair share, too. Little Rock is the natural hub for brewing activity in the southerly segment but there is plenty of action in the smaller towns and communities that straddle and sit below the Interstate 40 corridor. In fact, some of the most interesting breweries in the state are in this neck of the woods. From monks and organic farms to bathhouses and brewhouse radio stations, the diversity of brewing operations in southern Arkansas is hard to miss.

 

Here is a look at the breweries of southern Arkansas.

 

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30. Burks Brothers Brewing

2315 Shady Pine Ln.

Bryant

Saline County doesn’t usually come to mind when one thinks of craft beer, but Burks Brothers Brewing – or B3 Brews, for short – has been in operation there since early 2021. The folks behind the brewery parlayed their experience living in beer centric Austria with homebrewing know-how to get into the commercial brewing game. It’s a family affair at the brewery, with a husband-and-wife team and their sons all involved in the business. Their success over the past couple of years has led to the construction of a new brewery and taproom, which is nearing completion. Like many small Arkansas breweries, the tap list at B3 Brews rotates constantly. Noteworthy beers of late include Dirty Seven IPA and Brews Willis, another IPA variant.

 

31. Diamond Bear Brewing Co.

600 N. Broadway St.

North Little Rock

The year 2000 was pivotal for Arkansas beer. Until then, no production brewery in Arkansas found sustained success in the post-Prohibition era. Brew pubs were gaining traction, but it wasn’t until Diamond Bear entered the scene that bottled beer made in Arkansas proved it could sell in a sustainable manner. In 2014 the brewery moved across the river to the former Orbea bicycle distribution center in North Little Rock. The new location provided plenty of space for the brewhouse, taproom and onsite kitchen and restaurant. Today the brewery is best known for year-round staples such as Little Red Strawberry Lager, Pig Trail Porter and Victory English Style Pale Ale.

 

32. Flyway Brewing

314 Maple St.

North Little Rock

Flyway Brewing was born in 2012 in the basement of Little Rock’s Quapaw Towers. What started out as a tiny half-barrel operation has grown into a significant enterprise in North Little Rock’s Argenta District. Bluewing Berry Wheat is one of the more ubiquitous offerings from Flyway, though Lord God Triple Chocolate Imperial Stout is the one that gets its fans swooning. The brewery’s kitchen has garnered attention for reasons aside from suds. A few years ago Flyway was featured on an episode of the Food Channel’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives,” where host Guy Fieri was head over heels for the brewery’s gumbo cheese fries. 

 

33. Vino’s

923 W. 7th St.

Little Rock

One can’t say enough about Vino’s’ place in the Arkansas beer pantheon. It is currently the longest-running brewery in the state, first brewing beer in 1993. Vino’s earned medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 2006 and 2008 for Rock Hopera Imperial IPA. At least two generations of Arkansans have enjoyed pizza, beer and punk rock at the downtown hotspot. And a number of esteemed brewers have commanded the brew kettle, including Bill Riffle (now of Gravity BrewWorks in Big Flat) and Josiah Moody (who is close to opening his own brewery space in Little Rock). A visit to the capitol city isn’t complete without a slice of Vino’s pizza and a pint of the state’s senior-most suds. Pinnacle IPA is always a good choice.

 

34. Stone’s Throw Brewing

402 E. 9th St.

Little Rock

Located in Little Rock’s MacArthur Park Historic District, Stone’s Throw Brewing is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The brewery has successfully filled the niche of neighborhood watering hole for the entirety of that time with an abundance of delicious beers flowing from its taps. Two of the best are Amadeus Vienna Lager and Shamus Oatmeal Stout. The brewery recently started canning its beer, making four-packs of Amarillo Warrior Imperial IPA another tempting takeaway. Intimate and friendly, Stone’s Throw is the kind of place where everyone truly knows your name.

 

35. Camp Taco at Lost 40

822 E. 6th St.

Little Rock

Camp Taco is a small-batch brewery pitched on the site formerly home to Rebel Kettle Brewing Co. and East Sixth Brewing Co. Just down the road from its big brother – Lost Forty Brewing Co., which share ownership with the joint – Camp Taco is the place for experimental beers, retro aesthetics and Mexican-inspired cuisine. The beer menu is constantly rotating with interesting offerings – Good Weather IPA and Rooster Illusion are currently worth a try – but what sets it apart from other beermakers is a menu replete with frozen popsicles spiked with rum, tequila and other boozy spirits.

 

36. Lost Forty Brewery

501 Byrd St.

Little Rock

Lost Forty won the mid-sized brewery of the year at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival, making it the most heralded brewery in Arkansas brewing history. The brewery dwarfs other breweries in the state, producing around 15,000 barrels of beer each year, which is nearly double its closest counterpart. Mixed fermentation beers – wild, sour and tart – are a mainstay at Lost Forty. The brewery’s east Little Rock taproom features a food menu that attracts locals and out-of-towners by the carloads. The house-made gumbo is a delectable dish that pairs well with just about any beer on the tap list. Beer distribution is statewide making Lost Forty varieties – such as staples Love Honey Bock and Rockhound IPA – one of the most readily-available Arkansas beers today, stocking fridges throughout The Natural State.

 

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37. Arkansas Brewing Co.

201 S. First St.

Ozark

The small town of Ozark rests on the banks of the Arkansas River. There are fewer than 5,000 people within the city limits, but local beer flows from more than one brewery there. Arkansas Brewing Co. opened in 2020 and produces a number of beers in a building constructed way back in 1945. The brewery has a diverse food menu – more than just pub grub – and a slate of beers that are sure to please. Hillbilly Lager and Wanna Be Stout are two of the most popular on the tap list.

 

38. Ox Bend Brewing

1404 W. Commercial St.

Ozark

A second brewery in tiny Ozark is Ox Bend Brewing. It was established in 2017 in an assuming cinderblock and wood-clad building with a red awning that shades the windows and entryway. A sign out front advertises “local craft beer.” There are usually eight Ox Bend beers on tap, and a selection of pizzas to help lay down the proper foundation for imbibing. Drunken Sailor (a wheat ale) and Purty Mouth (a stout) are two fan favorites.

 

39. Pridgin Family Brewery

1328 Rodeo Arena Rd.

Scranton

Logan County beermaker, Pridgin Family Brewery, opened in August 2020. It’s a family affair, with David Pridgin Jr. and his brother-in-law Heath Spillers serving as co-brewers. Pridgin’s parents are also involved in the business, as are his three sisters. According to the matriarch of the family, Reba Pridgin, there is some history of brewing in the area, with nearby Morrison Bluff serving as a settling point for German immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. Like many newcomers from Deutschland, they are thought to have brought their penchant for brewing beer with them from their mother country. You won’t find many German styles at Pridgin Family Brewery, though. It’s an American palate served there, with cream, pale, and red ales dotting the menu.

 

40. Country Monks Brewing

405 N. Subiaco Ave.

Subiaco

In the shadows of the dramatic architecture of Subiaco Abbey is a small brewery run by the school’s Benedictine monks. Dressed in robes and sworn to the vows of obedience, stability and conversion, the brothers of Subiaco brew and sell beer to support the health care needs of their elders. You won’t find traditional Belgian beers at Country Monks; here, you’ll enjoy classic American styles such as pale ale, amber ale and stout. The most unique beer on the menu is Peanut Brittle Beer, which conjures up memories of holiday treats. The tiny tasting room down the hill from the school is only open limited hours, but canned offerings can be found in several retail outlets across the state.

 

41. Prestonrose Farm & Brewing Co.

201 St. Louis Valley Rd.

Paris

An organic farm in Logan County has sprouted a brewery and restaurant that is small, quaint and – pound-for-pound – as interesting as anything you’ll find in the state. Brewmaster Liz Preston uses small batch ingredients to craft beers that delight the senses. Blue Centennial is one such beer; a brown ale made with blue malt from Troubadour Maltings and Centennial hops. Other beers are made with sumac, tea, elderberry and various other fragrant ingredients. Prestonrose is currently working on a full-service farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Clarksville. Progress is being made, and a grand opening announcement isn’t too far away.

 

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42. Ouachita Brewing

821 Mena St.

Mena

Ouachita Brewing’s claim to fame is being the first brewery in a dry county following the 2019 state law that made such a feat possible. It’s a bit of a brewing outpost, with the next closest brewery being 90 minutes away in Fort Smith. Ouachita Brewing was an outgrowth of a previously existing (and thriving) coffee shop in the Polk County seat. The caffeine-and-beer combination gives it an uppers-and-downers vibe that is hard to beat. Rise & Grind is an aptly-named coffee cream ale that embodies Ouachita’s approach to brewing.

 

43. Point Remove Brewing Co.

102 S. Crestliner St.

Morrilton

Housed in a former Coca-Cola bottling plant, Point Remove is an attractive stopping point for those traversing I-40. It’s a massive space with room to spread out and plenty of real estate to grow as the brewing volumes increase. Point Remove also makes wine under The Point Winery label. As for the beer, canned offerings have quickly been introduced and are increasingly available throughout the state, including Black Jack Pirate Ale (a cream ale), Long Pool APA (an American pale ale) and Petit Jean Lager.

 

 

44. Slate Rock Brewing

113 S. Main St.

Amity

Amity is just a dot on the map, but it has been home to a small brewery since 2018. The Clark County beermaker is a good jumping off spot for those seeking recreational opportunities on the nearby Caddo River. Last year, Slate Rock founders Orianne and Shawn Burgess sold the business to a new ownership team, but the vibe largely remains the same. There is ample outdoor seating and a food truck to fill patrons’ bellies. Gold Rush IPA is a beer that many people favor at Slate Rock, and there is also homemade root beer for those that desire a non-alcoholic option.

 

45. Bubba Brew’s Brewing Co.

8091-B Airport Rd.

Bonnerdale

1252 Airport Rd.

Hot Springs

A few miles west of Hot Springs, in the unincorporated community of Bonnerdale, Bubba Brew’s Brewing Co. makes beer that is sold at its Lake Hamilton taproom and restaurant. The Bonnerdale location was once home to a Bubba Brew’s-branded restaurant, but now it’s an unaffiliated Mexican eatery with the Bubba brewhouse out back. Fans of Skullcrusher IPA and 10-Point Bock now visit the lakeside destination to quench their thirst and nosh on chicken fingers and cheeseburgers. The number of boats docked outside the restaurant is a testament to Bubba Brew’s popularity in the Spa City.    

 

46. SQZBX Brewery & Pizza Joint

236 Ouachita Ave.

Hot Springs

A pizza place, a brewery, and a FM radio station all in one – that’s the best way to describe SQZBX Brewery & Pizza Joint in downtown Hot Springs. Walk up to the window on Ouachita Avenue and you will see a disc jockey to the left  and pizza dough being tossed high in the air to the right. SQZBX is short for “squeeze box,” another name for the accordion. Both owners of SQZBX played the quirky instrument before opening their pizzeria and brewery. Amarillo Biscuit – a German-style maibock – and Campfire Porter are a couple of standouts from recent months.

 

47. Superior Bathhouse Brewery

329 Central Ave.

Hot Springs

Hot Springs’s Central Avenue has seen its fair share of history. Gangsters, movie stars and baseball royalty have strolled the tree-lined sidewalks on either side of the historic boulevard. Today, in a building that once greeted visitors eager to “take the waters,” Superior Bathhouse Brewery pours pints of beer made with water from the springs that emerge from the adjacent mountain. History engulfs those that now choose to “take the ales’’ of Hot Springs. Sitting in a window seat provides a view that is simply second to none. Space Force is a hazy IPA that is not only popular in the taproom, but also at bars and restaurants throughout the Spa City, but there’s also something new and inventive springing from the minds of the resident beermakers.

 

48. Studduck Beers

128 Bassett Trail

Lonsdale

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Lonsdale has a population of 103. The miniscule nature of the Garland County community didn’t stop home brewers Brad Bassett and Jerry Luckett from slapping down a shipping container on the land that was once Bassett’s great-grandfather’s farm to open a commercial brewery. The modular nature of their shipping container-brewery allows the pair to add space as demand grows. Studduck is one of the most rural-feeling breweries in the state, making it an interesting side trip for those that are more accustomed to urban taprooms. The brewery’s most recent seasonal release is Happy Birthday, Mr. Brewer – a carrot cake Irish red ale.

 

READ ALSO: Tall Cool Ones: The Breweries of Arkansas, Part 1