The beer scene is growing in Arkansas’ capitol city of Little Rock. There are several excellent brew pubs and breweries in Little Rock to enjoy a great craft beer.
Some beer friendly laws have been passed in the state in recent years which has increased the number of breweries state wide. You can now even operate a brewery in a “dry” county.
Yes, Arkansas is still a patchwork quilt of wet and dry counties. In fact, Arkansas has more dry counties than any other state.
The continued existence of dry counties in Arkansas is an interesting phenomenon that bring churches and the liquor stores together as strange bedfellows.
But, let’s go back to the brewpubs and breweries…
Brewpubs, Breweries, and Microbreweries
First of all, what do those terms actually mean?
- A brewpub makes their own beer but sells 25% of it or more on site and often dispense their beer directly from their storage tanks. Which is a cool look. They usually have significant food services on site as well.
- Officially a microbrewery is a beer producer who sells less than 15,000 barrels of beer a year and sells more than 75% of off site. Unofficially, a microbrewery is often the term people use for a brewery that makes craft beer.
- A craft brewery is basically an independent brewery. The term craft refers to the fact that these breweries emphasize and tend to view beer production as an art form.
- A taproom is like a brewpub in that at least 25% of more of their beer is sold onsite. The main difference is the lack of food services. This is a place to focus on the beer.
- A regional brewery (also called a mid-sized brewery) is just a larger microbrewery. They sell 15,000 to 6,000,000 barrels of beer a year.
That’s the end of the lesson for the day. Now let’s talk about the wonderful brewpubs and breweries in Little Rock, Arkansas
Brewpubs, and Breweries in Little Rock and North Little Rock
Diamond Bear Brewery
Diamond Bear Brewery is located on Broadway in North Little Rock in a warehouse not too far across the river from Little Rock.
It was established in September of 2000. The founder served in the US army and was based in Bavaria Germany where he discovered his passion for craft beers. Upon his return to Arkansas he began the Diamond Bear Brewery.
The name comes from two interesting facts about Arkansas.
- Arkansas is the only state with an active diamond mine.
- Arkansas used to be called The Bear State due to its huge bear population.
Hence, Diamond Bear.
We tried two flights which included every beer on the menu as well as a delicious root beer. My husband and I dined here together and ranked our choices.
My favorite was the Pale Ale which also happens to be the most award winning beer in Arkansas. I also really liked the Little Red Strawberry Lager. It smells more like strawberry than it tastes which is actually quite nice.
My husband liked the TwoTerm Double IPA which was meant to be a limited run that quickly gained a cult following. It’s strong but delicious.
The food was very good. It’s bar type food you really must have the pretzel bites…y’all…they are flash fried in butter and a little crispy on the outside and served with mustard…just so good. Try the combo board if you want to try a little of a bunch of appetizers. It’s definitely enough to share!
There are also salads, sandwiches, BBQ, and Brats. All the delicious food your would expect! We were too full for dessert, but when I go back I am going to have a root beer float.
The service here was super nice, friendly, and helpful as well.
Lost 40 Brewing
Lost 40 Brewing tends to be our default when we head to one of the Little Rock breweries. It’s just so fun and easy and good.
In fact, it is more than good, it is award winning. In 2020 they were named the mid-size brewing company of the year by the Great American Beer Festival.
Lost 40 Brewing is located on Byrd St in downtown Little Rock.
It takes its name from an historic forest on about 40 acres of land in Calhoun County that tradition states was somehow lost. As in, the timber men and surveyors couldn’t find it to cut it down. It was claimed to be 40 acres of Arkansas’s last truly virgin soil.
The atmosphere at Lost 40 is noisy and convivial with long shared tables inside and sports on the televisions. There is also covered outdoor seating which is perfect for nice weather and a little quieter.
We have also always found the service to be nice and prompt and helpful when answering questions about either the beers or the menu.
They have both seasonal and year round beers as well as hard seltzers.
We usually get a flight in order to try a variety of their beers. I love the blackberry bramble and my husband enjoys a seasonal IPA called Dig the Ride. We both like their Easy Tiger which is a Mexican style beer that is typically always on the menu.
Their food is really yummy! Yes, at first glance it sounds like the usual bar food but it is a cut above. This is really well done food with fresh ingredients.
My husband says that he thinks that their chicken sandwich is the best one on any menu in Little Rock and we have ranked their cheese dip as one of the best in town.
Flyway Brewery is located just across the Arkansas River in Argenta Arts District of North Little Rock, Arkansas.
This is a microbrewery that is all about crafting something really special. On their website they say that “We try to pour the essence of Arkansas’ breathtaking natural habitat into everything we do.”
I love that!
Speaking of the natural habitat of Arkansas, the name of this brewery comes from the famous Mississippi Flyway which is a route for migrating birds. The birds fly from various places in Canada eventually converging in a narrow path along the lower Mississippi River Valley and flying over Arkansas.
But let’s talk about the beer. In our opinion, Flyway has some of the most interesting beers in town. I love the Bluewing Berry Wheat. It is SO good. By the way, have you noticed a theme yet in my favorite beers?
Yes, I do like beers with fruit flavors but for those who might like their beer a little richer, my husband’s favorite of the year round beers at Flyway is the shadow hands stout.
When Guy Fieri from Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives came to visit Flyway Brewery he had Gina’s Famous Cheese Fries…and you should, too! This is some of the best comfort food around.
You should also have a pretzel. This are big soft pretzels made right in house with a variety of salts and dips. So delicious. Flyway also serves different types of nachos and giant sliders.
Stone’s Throw Brewing
Although Stone’s Throw is the smallest of the breweries in Little Rock it is the only one with two locations.
They have a location in downtown Little Rock near MacArthur Park which happens to be, you guessed it, just a Stone’s Throw from one of the downtown neighborhoods. This location has a beer garden where you can enjoy the sunset on nice evenings.
There is a menu that is catered by Distance Relatives Catering which includes burgers and chili and pimento cheese.
The second location is a taproom with 20 taps and plenty of seating in the historic Stifft Station neighborhood.
Stone’s Throw is the work of four friends who met at a local homebrewing club. They serve both year round and seasonal beers. My husband loves the Shamus Stout. My favorite of their beers is the Riverdale Pale Ale.
However, if you happened to be wanting to try something a little different my very favorite beverage at Stone’s Throw is their Pear Guavara Cider. It is so good!
Vino’s established in 1990 as a restaurant that specialized in New York-style pizza and calzones and served imported beer on tap.
But then, in 1991, something exciting happened…the state of Arkansas legalized brewpubs. By 1993 Vino’s began brewing and selling craft beer which made them Little Rock’s Original Brewpub.
It also happens to be an interesting entertainment venue and a great pizza restaurant.
Vino’s is located on the edges of downtown Arkansas in an old building that could be described as gritty. You wouldn’t be far off to call this place a dive bar. I happen to love the completely unpretentious feeling of the place.
You walk in and order your beer and a pizza at the counter and then have a seat and it will be brought to you. The service is informative as well as nice and friendly.
Pizza is sold, made to order, by the pie or by the slice. It is delicious New York style pizza: thin crust, hand tossed and stone-baked. If you have any doubt that your pizza is being hand tossed just take a look behind the counter into the open kitchen and watch it happen.
We ordered a beer flight to share. The flights here include 6 beers and the biggest pours on any beer flight we tried during the “research” for this post. They had 4 year round beers and a variety of seasonal ones so on our flight we tried all four of the year round beers and two of the seasonal ones.
My favorites were the Six Bridges Cream Ale and the Firehouse Pale Ale. My husband enjoyed the Lazyboy Stout.
Be sure and check out their website for the entertainment calendar!
I hope that you enjoy this list of breweries in Little Rock! Let us know which ones you like the best if you visit.
Here is a list of our favorite local restaurants in Little Rock.
Thanks for stopping by.