When planning my trip to Arkansas, I was surprised to hear how many craft breweries there are. While mostly contained to Northwest Arkansas and Little Rock, I was able to visit three during my few days in town. I would have loved to check out more, but I figured 3 in one day all by myself was too many. And luckily for visitors, Arkansas has progressive beer laws that allow you to visit the taproom, which offers more than sample sizes, and lets you purchase beer to go in growlers or six packs. Arkansas Tourism has their own Beer Trail, as does the area around Fayetteville, called appropriately the Fayetteville Ale Trail. You can get a passport at your first brewery and get stamps along the way. When you fill your passport, you can send it in for a prize. It includes a mix of traditional breweries and brewpubs, but the ones I included below are solely breweries.
Core Brewing and Distilling, Springdale
Located in Springdale outside of Fayetteville, Core Brewing & Distilling Company is a laid-back brewery in a warehouse. In fact, I wasn’t sure I was in the right place when I arrived, but as soon as I saw the sign, I was reassured. They have a second taproom in nearby Rogers. On tap is over ten of their signature brews, along with a few small batch and specialties that you can only get at the brewery. The taproom is open Monday to Friday from 3 to 9 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 9 pm. Tours are also available. You can also purchase their beers in cans, sold at the brewery and to neighboring states, or take a growler with you.
Beer to Try: The Arkansas Red Ale is by far the most popular, but the Oatmeal Stout was my personal favorite.
Ozark Beer Company, Rogers
I made a special trip through Rogers just to visit Ozark Beer Company. The brewery was only open for growler fills during my visit, but I could tell it gets lively later on. They offer live music and other entertainment for guests.
They’re open daily for growler fills, from 10 am to 5:30 pm during the week, but the tasting room is open on Saturdays from 1-7 pm and Sundays from 2-6 pm.
Beer to Try: As a dark beer lover, I have to side with the Cream Stout. I even brought a growler back home! I also lingered over the Onyx Coffee Stout.
Bike Rack Brewing, Bentonville
Bentonville itself is quiet in terms of nightlife, so I sought out a local brewery that was a short walk from my hotel, 21C Museum Hotel. Bike Rack Brewing Co. is located, appropriately enough, on the bike trails that loop around the city in the arts district. It’s a hangout for bicyclists or just people who live and work in the area. There’s a pub upstairs that serves their brews, but I went straight to the source. At the bar are a few games for guests and the chalkboard denotes the day’s selections. All beers are named for their surroundings, like the Slaughter Pen Ale, named for a nearby park. The taproom is open Monday to Wednesday from 5 to 10 pm, Thursday to Friday from 3 to 10 pm, Saturday from 12 to 10 pm and Sunday from 1 to 7 pm.
Beer to Try: Rusty Tricycle was my selection for the evening, an American-style amber ale.
Superior Bathhouse Brewery, Hot Springs
Located on Hot Springs’ Bathhouse Row, Superior Bathhouse Brewery is a former bathhouse that uses the thermal spring water to create their beer. Opened by a transplant from New Jersey, it’s the only brewery to be located inside a national park and one of the few to use natural spring water. It’s also a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner.
Beer to Try: Beez Kneez is their Kolsch infused with local honey and basil.