Dallas craft beer pioneer Braindead Brewing to shut down in Deep Ellum

Dallas craft beer pioneer Braindead Brewing to shut down in Deep Ellum

Apioneering Dallas craft beer bar is counting down its final days. Braindead Brewing, which had been open in Deep Ellum for nearly seven years, will shutter this weekend, with its final day on Sunday November 28.

Word from staffers began to leak during Thanksgiving week, and the bar finally posted the news on its Facebook page, stating that "this will be our last weekend of business."

"Our big homie Leo J will be jammin the tunes. Come out for some grub and one last pint before we close the doors Sunday night," their post said.

BrainDead was opened in March 2015 by friends and partners Sam Wynne, Jeff Fryman, brewer Andrew Huerter, and chef David Pena, with a wall of taps — affixed to colorful retro refrigerator door panels — that included their own beers made onsite. Patrons could also take beer to-go in growlers, which was an up-and-coming thing in 2015.

In addition to beer, they had a good menu of "beer influenced" food, which they updated frequently, embracing trends like vegan and regional cooking; they even briefly operated a vegan bakery called SugarFang.

They also hosted an epic annual beer event called Festicle, which took place on their amazing patio and adjacent parking lot, bringing in notable craft brewers from around the U.S.

In 2016, they made the list of Best Breweries in CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards, falling under the brewpub category, combining brewery and restaurant into a one-stop destination.

That same year, the team expanded with another concept called Bowls and Tacos, featuring tacos and poke bowls. However, it closed in 2019; the space is now home to Thunderbird Station.

Pena and Huerter eventually left, and Wynne opened another venue called Mike's Gemini Twin with partner Pasha Heidari, which is still open.

Braindead definitely took a hit from COVID-19. In the thick of the pandemic, Wynne posted an SOS on Facebook stating that he feared that Braindead might not make it through.

But Wynne said that the Facebook post announcing the shutter was a surprise.

"I found out about the closure from Facebook," he said. "Neither Counsel for Braindead nor I have received any notice of lockout from the landlord, so this is all news to me."

Fryman did not respond to a request for comment.

Their goodbye post said they were "thankful for everyone that supported us through almost 7 years of brewpubbing in Deep Ellum, the best neighborhood there ever was. Our small staff will be working hard all weekend so please tip what you can and buy some beers for the cooks."

"We appreciate every person that has ever walked in our doors and given us any of your time and hard earned money," they said. "We're sorry that we gotta go but we love you and wish you the best."
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