True Vine Taps in to Local Flavor


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Small and unassuming, True Vine Brewery at 219 S. Englewood in Tyler proves that you do not need to be big to provide big flavor. Founded in 2011 by Ryan Dixon, Stephan Lee, and Dan Griffith it was the culmination of hard work and big visions.

“My wife and I love to travel. We love the artsy foodie culture in Austin,” Dixon said. “When we leave, it always felt like a piece of our heart stays behind. But we realized we were meant to bring the ‘vibe’ of Austin to our home town.”

It was the spark that would grow into a burning passion.

“I started home brewing,” Dixon went on. “But I was always dreaming bigger, about labels and marketing my own brews.” 

When Dixon met Lee and Griffith at church he found kindred spirits. After many meetings at Einstein’s for coffee and strategy they put thoughts into action. The grand opening was in April 2014 with their signature Rose City Pale Ale.

The timing was perfect. With the “Buy Local” movement in full swing, people were realizing the benefit of supporting local families instead of faceless corporations. And True Vine responded in kind, sourcing as many of their ingredients as close to home as possible. 

The response was phenomenal, so much so they expanded operations. In July they finished increasing their production from 90 gallons a week to 1200 gallons. This brings more beer to more taps. New accounts are planned for Longview and Dallas in the near future.

“We are really excited, and can’t wait to share our home town with even more people,” Dixon exclaimed.

The Beers

True Vine offers a limited but exceptional selection of ales throughout the year.

Rose City is brewed with organic rose hips and English ale yeast. This 2-row barley pale ale is available year round. Bold and with a citrus kick, it pairs nicely with spicy foods and Tex-Mex, making this staple a fine addition to any Texas table.

New to the year-round line up is the Mermaids & Unicorns Blonde. The name was inspired by the many fairy tales told to their six young children. This ale is malty with a clean finish and just a hint of orange and peach — a great beer for a hot afternoon and a great accompaniment with most any meal.

For those who desire a more assertive taste, look no further than Rose From the Dead. Debuting at their grand opening in April 2014, it is now available only each spring. Brewed from three kinds of hops with American Ale Yeast, this Double Black India Pale Ale is only for the brave.

Promised Land Belgian is summer in a glass. Brewed with milk sugar and local East Texas honey, it pays homage to its name sake. A great “gateway” beer, it is sweet and creamy, and excellent alongside smoky foods like meats or almonds. It is limited to the summer and fall, so be sure not to miss out. This is True Vine’s first beer available in bottles.

Pumpkin Ale is an American tradition dating back to the Colonial times. Kip’s Pumpkin Ale, inspired by Dixon’s late father-in-law, is a spicy contrast to its siblings. Only available in the fall, it is brewed with pureed pumpkin and nutmeg in classic Octoberfest style. It is best served with Thanksgiving dinner or as a treat in a glass rimmed with sugar and cinnamon. 

True Culture is a Coffee Porter to keep a body warm in the winter. Brewed with extra caramel malt and infused dark roast coffee, it has a deep sweet milk chocolate finish. This beer is highly recommended with desserts, and making a float with vanilla ice cream is very popular. 

Along with these standbys, new experimental brews are always underway. Future plans include a brown ale called Quick Brown Fox, a Belgian Wheat called Bon Hoffer, an India Pale Ale called Polycarp, and an Imperial Stout called Giant Slayer.

Where to find it

“Integrity, Community, Love” is the mission of True Vine, and in that spirit, they hold a monthly “Open Tap” on the last Saturday of every month. Part brewery tour, part communal gathering, it brings together local food, music, and art in a family friendly atmosphere. This an opportunity to try not only their classic beers, but to try their experimental varieties before they reach local taps. 

Tickets are purchased in advance on their website (www.turevinebrewing.com) for $10, or for $15 at-the-door. Each ticket provides admission, a True Vine glass, and two beer tickets. Children and leashed pets are welcome at this family friendly event. Children under two get in free with an adult ticket, while children 12 or older and non-drinking adults are $4 in advance and $5 at-the-door. A portion of the proceeds go to local charities. 

It is an outdoor event and visitors should bring their own chairs, and it’s subject to the fickle Texas weather. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the day-of details. 

True Vine is sold in many establishments in and around Tyler. This includes, but is not limited to, BJ’s Brewhouse, Stanley’s Famous BBQ, Fresh, Wasabi, Breaker’s, and Jul’s Restaurant & Lounge. This local favorite is also available in Dallas at Craft and Growler. 

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