Arkansas’s capital, Little Rock, is home to around 200,000 people. A bustling city on the banks of the Arkansas River, Little Rock is anything but little when it comes to its culture and history. Known for the Little Rock Nine, a group of nine African American students who protested against their segregated high school, the city has left an indelible mark in American history.
The city is now home to a growing culinary and thriving craft beer scene. Changing the local’s taste was a bit of a challenge, but several independent breweries stepped up and gave way to the state’s most diverse craft beer scene.
Little Rock’s breweries combine classic Southern charm with long-held European brewing traditions. German immigrants originally introduced craft beer brewing techniques in the city, and that piece informs many Little Rock breweries of history. These breweries are a must-visit when in Little Rock.
Diamond Bear Brewing Company
Diamond Beer Brewing Company is Arkansas’ award-winning brewery and is majorly responsible for laying the foundation of the Little Rock craft beer scene. Named after the diamond mines and the beer in the state, Diamond Beer wants to reflect the authentic natural aesthetic of Arkansas in its beer. This emphasis on the natural translates into brewed beers without any preservatives or chemicals. Only the finest natural and locally-sourced ingredients are used in the brewing process.
Try the brewery’s Victory Pale Ale. It is evident upon tasting why it is Arkansas’ most award-winning beer. A classic English-style ale brewed with the finest select hops. This Ale nails down the basics to perfection. The Two Term Double IPA is also excellent if you want a strong drink to make its mark instantly.
Lost Forty Brewing
An independent craft brewery in the heart of Little Rock, Lost Forty Brewing draws inspiration from Arkansas’ history. The historic forest that stands on 40 acres of land in Calhoun County continues to mystify Arkansas residents as there are stories that the forest couldn’t be found when timbermen tried to cut it down. Named after this piece of Arkansas history, the brewery aspires to translate these urban legends into wild, mysterious beers.
The atmosphere at Lost Forty is that of a community with long, shared tables and sports on the television. Their taproom has a range of seasonal and year-round beers as well as hard seltzers. Try their Dig the Ride IPA. This is a full-bodied beer with bursts of honey and a citrus aroma, a must-try for the beer lover. Their 2nd Rodeo light beer is an excellent choice if you want to reduce calories. Beers are usually carb fests, but this one has only 100 calories.
Flyway Brewing Company is a ten-barrel microbrewery located on the bank of the Arkansas River. The brewery maintains pride in the local land and ensures the use of local ingredients in its products. In their own words, they try to pour the natural essence of Arkansas into everything they do. Named after the migration pattern of birds that converges over Arkansas, Flyway is designed entirely to cherish the state’s land. If you want to wet your beak in true Arkansas fashion, Flyway provides an excellent range of beers.
Try their Honeybird Blonde Ale for a taste of the local. This beer is brewed with natural Arkansas honey, and the bitterness of the hops complements its sweetness. This one goes down really easily and smoothly. Try their seasonal Coffee Cake Stout for dessert. This one packs a punch underlined by the sweetness of the cake. This beer is proof that you can have your cake and drink it too.
Stone’s Throw Brewing
Stone’s Throw Brewing is the brainchild of four guys who met at a local home brewer’s club in the city. What started as a fun project has now turned into a serious business as Stone’s Throw has opened two locations in the city. These neighborhood breweries provide a selection of carefully brewed beers to their patrons and have emerged as a staple on the Little Rock craft beer scene.
Try their Shamus Stouts, the brewery’s take on the classic oatmeal stout. This one is a breezy drink for every day, a full-bodied beer with silky smoothness. The coffee kiln malt also adds a hint of coffee flavor to the drink’s nuance. If you visit during winter, their Winter Warmer spiced ale is a must-try to stay cozy. The mulling spices give it an extra holiday flavor.
Best Breweries in Little Rock with Food
Little Rock has an emerging culinary scene that is not to be missed. Many fantastic brewpubs in the city whip up delightful food combinations with craft beer. Visit these breweries in the city to have a satisfying meal with your craft beer.
A funky brewpub with live music nights, Vino’s was one of the first pubs in Little Rock to start brewing and serving in-house brews. It serves New York-style pizzas and calzones and always has a range of in-house brews on tap. Vino’s advertises itself as the place where locals hang out, making it a staple and icon in Little Rock’s culture.
Try the Muffuletta Pizza. Based on a classic New Orleans Sandwich, the pizza provides meaty goodness and a taste of the South. Pair the pizza with any of their IPAs on tap, and you’ve got an unbeatable combination on your hands.
Samantha’s Taproom & Wood Grill
Samantha’s Taproom and Wood Grill is a contemporary eatery focusing on Southern BBQ and American food. The restaurant provides an upscale environment with home-like comfort food, making it an excellent spot for a night out. They also have a range of beers on tap, all brewed in Arkansas. The 32 beers on tap will leave you spoiled for choice.
Try the Grilled Tom Yum Gulf Shrimp for a sophisticated Pan-Asian taste. Pair it with The Bluewing Berrywheat Beer for sweetness to complement the sour and hot flavors of the shrimp.
Damgoode is a laid-back pizza place that has one specialty, custom pizzas. You choose everything from the sauce and the crust to the toppings. This freshly baked pizza is then combined with craft beer from local breweries. Piping hot cheese and ice-cold beer is one combination you do not want to miss out on.
We recommend trying out the thin crust range as it provides more taste for the toppings. Pair your choice of pizza with an IPA from Ozark Beer Company. A filled stomach and supporting local businesses is what we would classify as a great day.