Denton will get its first commercial microbrewery Friday afternoon when Audacity Brew House opens to customers in the city's warehouse district.
The new brewpub will serve a variety of brewed-in-house craft beers on tap that patrons can enjoy in the tap room or outdoor patio.
Audacity is also preparing a stage on the patio for performers, and plans to rotate its beers on tap regularly to keep patrons trying new brews. Since it isn't a full bar, Audacity will not remain open late and won't serve liquor.
Brewmaster Doug Smith has worked for the past six weeks to prepare beers for the opening weekend, ranging from traditional reds and other ales to an experimental chai tea beer. But it took far longer to make Audacity a reality, especially in a city where no one had brewed commercially.
Smith, a certified master brewer from the University of California-Davis, has brewed professionally for eight years. He met Audacity's co-owner Scott Lindsey, a Denton native and 2004 alum of the University of North Texas, a few years ago in Colorado, and the pair decided to start a brewing company together.
"He's like, ‘Man, we just need a great little college town that has an awesome atmosphere, a good feel about it, that doesn't have a brewery. Can you think of one?’" Lindsey recalls of a conversation with Smith. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, I can think of one for sure,'” he said with a laugh.
The brewery itself was two and a half years in the making, and launching it involved a lot of fundraising and untangling plenty of red tape at all levels -- especially at the local level, since the city had never had a microbrewery before.
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"We are the first, and that means the city officials have never seen a business like this,” said Lindsey. "The health permit people have never seen something like this. The fire department has never seen something like this."
Lindsey recalled what a woman at the health department told him when he was trying to open the brewery: "'We don't have a health permit for breweries. We don't even have one in the books.'"
Other breweries like Armadillo Ale Works are based in Denton but brew elsewhere, though Armadillo says on its website that it hopes to brew in Denton one day.
The team at Audacity hopes so, too, and hopes many more breweries will join them, for that matter.
"I think that we as craft brew can bring a little bit more to the culture that's already amazing here,” said Smith.
Lindsey and Smith hope their opening in town will help make the job a little easier for other breweries looking to Denton as a future home. They even hope one day the city may be a destination for craft brew fans.
"We've blazed the trail. Unfortunately, it was rough for us," Lindsey said." It'll be easier for everyone else, but that's a good thing."
Part of blazing that trail meant finding the right location in Denton for a brewery and brewpub. The warehouse area of Shady Oaks Drive was ideal, Lindsey said, because it struck a balance between the brewery's needs -- both as a pleasant place to visit and as a manufacturing facility shipping its beers out to bars and restaurants to sell.
"So we'll be brewing twice a week, we'll be filtering twice a week and I'll be kegging twice a week,” said Smith, adding that they’d expand that capacity in the future.
For now, the brewpub is restricted to selling beer for patrons to drink on-site, but the brewers hope to keep expanding in the future.