Ozark Beer Co.’s new patio in downtown Rogers / Photo: Ozark Beer Co.
Phish opens its summer tour on Wednesday night at the Walmart Amp in Rogers. This is a highly anticipated show for Arkansas Phish fans. Most thought the band would never play a gig inside the Natural State.
Phish — perhaps the torch bearer for the entire jam band genre — typically plays bigger or more storied venues. For the band to come to Northwest Arkansas is validating for those of us that call the region home. In a way, it feels like we made it.
Plus, this will be Phish’s first live performance since the pandemic shut everything down in early 2020. The band’s devoted fan base was not able to crisscross the country for live shows last year. Their commitment to seeing every show of a given tour — no matter where or when they take place — is the stuff of legend. For that type of Phish fan, losing the last year and half has been frustrating.
Needless to say, there is a lot of pent up energy that will be released on Wednesday night. Social media has been abuzz with talk of the Arkansas opener. Phish fans from across the country have their sights set on Rogers. And many of them will be seeing the area for the first time.
Since the Venn diagram representing Phish fans and craft beer drinkers is essentially a circle, we thought it would be good southern hospitality to provide our visitors with a rundown of Northwest Arkansas beermakers.
Breweries in Rogers and Bentonville are closest to the venue, but if you run like an antelope, you’ll also find worthy spots in Fayetteville, Springdale, and beyond. Hopefully you have a few days to spend here because there is much to do (and taste).
Photo: Natural State Beer Co.
Natural State Beer Co.
5214 W. Village Parkway, Suite 140, Rogers
This German-inspired brewery is a mere 1.5 miles from the Walmart Amp, making it the closest brewery to the venue. Greenway Light Lager is Natural State’s best seller, but check out Coffee Schwarzbier served on nitrogen for something different. The India Pale Lager is excellent as well. Cans are available for take away if you’re looking for something to tailgate with before the show.
Rendezvous Junction Brewing Co.
2225 S. Bellview Road, Suite 101, Rogers
This is a brand spankin’ new 6,000-square-foot brewery and taproom on the east side of Interstate 40, behind the Pinnacle Hills Promenade shopping center. Rendezvous Junction launched in 2017 in a much smaller facility to the north. The new place has a fun railroad theme and 24 taps. Look for Discombobulated, an 8% ABV Doppelbock that will have you bouncing around the room in no time.
New Province Brewing Co.
1310 W. Hudson Road, Rogers
You’ll find beer from this Rogers brewery throughout the region. Cans of Philosopher King IPA and Fallen Queen Belgian Witbier are readily available at liquor stores up and down the I-49 corridor. The brewery’s taproom is bright and modern and features several creative one-offs on the menu. Recent favorites include Dreaming in Tangerine IPA and Chai Latte Stout.
Ozark Beer Co., Rogers
109 N. Arkansas St.
Of the breweries in Northwest Arkansas, the one most familiar to out-of-staters is likely Ozark. Its BDCS is a hype-worthy barrel-aged stout that has been making waves in the craft beer world for several years now. Ozark calls a renovated flour mill built in 1886 its home. It has a really cool retro vibe that fits with the rest of the historic downtown area. Check out All Day Snuggles, a 9.9% ABV triple IPA currently on tap at the brewery. One is good, but too many might make you split open and melt.
Hawk Moth Brewery & Beer Parlor
710 N. 2nd St., Rogers
This funky small batch brewery isn’t far from Ozark, on the east side of Rogers. Foeder-aged beers with big flavors are the specialty of owner and brewmaster Bradley Riggs, who opened Hawk Moth in September 2018. Cask Intervention: Blueberry may still be around in bottles. Find some if you can.
Photo: Bike Rack Brewing Co.
Bike Rack Brewing Co.
801 S.E. 8th St., Bentonville
Bentonville is making a splash with high-end amenities and cultural opportunities. Located in the 8th Street Market development, Bike Rack is the city’s first brewery. It shares space with other merchants, such as chocolatier Markham & Fitz and Yeyo’s Mexican Street Food. It’s also near the Momentary, a satellite gallery of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Bentonville Brewing Co.
901 S.W. 14th St., Bentonville
The city’s namesake brewery relocated to a new building near the Bentonville Municipal Airport in 2020. In the process it stepped up to a 20-barrel brewhouse from the 7-barrel system it started with just five years earlier. A large outdoor space helps spread out the crowd at the new spot. Burg der Gastropub provides German pub fare inside the taproom. Space Goose Hazy IPA is a tasty example of the style that can be found in bottles throughout the region. Check out Bentonville’s Salted Cherry Sour as well.
Photo: Core Brewing Co.
Core Brewing Co.
2470 N. Lowell Road, Springdale
Core is one of the region’s oldest breweries. It started in 2010 with a one-barrel system but quickly expanded its production capacity. Core was canning beer and sending it to Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma in addition to corner-to-corner coverage in Arkansas. The past year has seen Core scale back on beer production in favor of hard seltzer and canned cocktails. Both are wildly popular. There is still beer in the taproom, however, including an excellent barrel-aged barleywine that was rated 93/100 by Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine.
Black Apple Hard Cider
321 E. Emma Ave., Springdale
The state’s only dedicated hard cider maker is located in downtown Springdale. For those who dislike mass produced ciders due to their overly sweet nature will find joy in the dryness of Black Apple’s offerings. The taproom is a cool renovated space with a view of the street, and there is an outdoor seating area in the back. Cherry Limeade is a popular summer seasonal available now. Also look for barrel-aged ciders at the taproom. As a bonus, there are a number of top-shelf taquerias in this part of Springdale.
Saddlebock Brewing Co.
18244 Habberton Road, Springdale
Saddlebock opened near the White River in rural Springdale in 2012. The setting sets it apart from other breweries in the region. Total brewing production has dropped recently, as the focus has shifted from beer distribution to more of a brewpub model. There’s often music and activities (karaoke, trivia, etc.) to entertain. It’s a little off the beaten path, but worth it if you want to take a lazy drive through the Arkansas countryside.
Photo: Apple Blossom Brewing Co.
Apple Blossom Brewing Co.
1550 E. Zion Road, Suite 1, Fayetteville
This brewpub is located near Lake Fayetteville on the north end of town. Traditional styles—pale ale, porter, wheat, etc.—dominate the menu. The highlight of a visit to Apple Blossom is a flight of beer on the patio, which overlooks the entrance to the neighboring park and the Razorback Regional Greenway. You’ll see lots of cyclists pass through.
JJ’s Beer Garden & Brewing Co.
3615 N. Steele Blvd., Fayetteville
The brewery location is closed for renovation, so you’ll need to visit one of the many JJ’s Grill locations in the area to taste the beer. One is located in Rogers, not far from the venue. There’s also one on Dickson Street, near the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Boston Mountain Brewing
121 W. Township St., Fayetteville
This little brewery opened in 2019 and has already earned a loyal following. It’s tucked into a small commercial strip mall and is barely noticeable from the street. But don’t be fooled. Inside is an inviting 35-foot bar and a whole bunch of beer. There’s also an outdoor patio laced with growing hop vines. The coffee stout is a top seller for Boston Mountain.
Fossil Cove Brewing Co.
1946 N. Birch Ave., Fayetteville
A midtown Fayetteville institution, Fossil Cove recently celebrated its ninth anniversary. Most of the beer production is now located down the street, freeing up the original brewing space for more taproom seating. Fossil Cove opens early for coffee service and runs steady through the night. It’s a lively crowd most of the time. T-Rex on Peaches is a Belgian tripel infused with fruit that is going gangbusters right now.
Photo: Crisis Brewing Co.
Columbus House Brewery
701 W. North St., Fayetteville
Located near Wilson (…dun-nuh, dun-nuh…) Park and alongside the Razorback Greenway multi-use trail, Columbus House is a brewery for people who love to be active. It hosts fun runs and other athletic events throughout the year. The taproom is intimate and has the feel of a large living room. Cyclists from the Razorback Greenway are nearly always hanging out. Check out Nutty Runner Brown Ale while you’re there.
West Mountain Brewing Co.
21 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville
This downtown brewpub has been making beer since 2011. The cracker crust pizza and wood-paneled surroundings make for a low-key yet satisfying experience. West Mountain is the kind of place you go to relax, read a book, and forget that you are a slave to the traffic light. The Blood Orange IPA is highly recommended. Get a wristband and a to-go beer and walk around Fayetteville’s square to get a sense of what life is like in the fourth-best place to live in the United States (according to U.S. News).
Crisis Brewing Co.
210 S. Archibald Yell Blvd., Fayetteville
Some of the best outdoor brewery seating in Northwest Arkansas can be found at Crisis. The brewery and taproom are super small compared to others, but the coziness of the south Fayetteville hotspot is unparalleled. Get some barbeque from Penguin Ed’s (just across the parking lot from the taproom) and settle in with a hazy IPA called Fayzed.
Photo: Gotahold Brewing Co.
Ivory Bill Brewing Co.
516 E. Main St., Siloam Springs
Thirty minutes west of the I-49 corridor is Siloam Springs, a small college town that straddles the Arkansas-Oklahoma border. Located in the blossoming downtown area, Ivory Bill turns out some unique beers on its beautiful English-made 7-barrel wood-clad brewhouse. The Chinook Rye is tasting pretty good right now.
Eureka Springs Brewery
96 Ridgeview Road, Eureka Springs
Any frisbee golfers out there? Eureka Springs Brewery has an onsite course for folks who want to throw discs while they’re in Arkansas. It’s a fun little brewery in one of the most eclectic little towns you’ll ever see. There’s too much to say about Eureka to mention it here. Google it and consider taking the hour to drive over the day after the show. If there’s a jalapeno beer on Eureka Springs Brewery’s tap list, order one.
Gotahold Brewing Co.
409 W. Van Buren, Eureka Springs
There are two breweries to visit in Eureka Springs, giving more bang for the buck. The other is Gotahold, which some consider to be hellagood. Breweries in Northwest Arkansas and Little Rock get all the publicity but Gotahold is already considered one of the best in the state. There’s a fun outdoor space at the back of the property, where musicians often take the stage. There’s lots of tree cover, and the owners are super hospitable. Some of the best hazy IPA I’ve ever tasted came from Gotahold.
Brick Oven Pizza Co.
814 US Highway 62, Harrison
Harrison is about 90 minutes east of the venue. It’s a beautiful drive across US-62 or US-412. If your travels take you through the area, check out Brick Oven Pizza Co. The brewmaster is Kenny Peden, and he makes terrific beer under the Brick & Forge Brew Works banner. He has been quietly (or not so quietly) doing his thing for many years now. His Black IPA was super delicious on a recent visit.