Maple Branch tapped as brewery of the year 

dfwnewsa | April 2, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Maple Branch tapped as brewery of the year 

Stuart Maples, left, and Allyssa Maples are co-owners/operators of Maple Branch Craft Brewery, winner of the 2024 Brewery of the Year title from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. The title is awarded to a business producing under 600 barrels annually. (Zach Lyons | Texas Craft Brewers Guild)
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If there’s a favorite among the 20-plus beers on tap at Maple Branch Craft Brewery in The Foundry District, it is probably Raspberry Fields, a slightly sweet concoction that has proven a top seller. 

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But co-owner and brewer Stuart Maples has a hard time deciding which he likes best. He likes them all. So, apparently, do other brewers. 

In February, Maple Branch took home the Texas Brewery of the Year honors from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild for brewers making 600 barrels or fewer at this year’s Texas Craft Brewery Cup in Austin. Houston-based True Anomaly Brewing took home the award for the best brewer making more than 600 barrels annually. 

“It was great to be recognized for something we love doing,” said Maples. 

Brewers of the Year are honored based on the cumulative medal points, 3 points for gold, 2 points for silver and 1 point for bronze, in the competition. Maple Branch took home gold for Raspberry Fields and for Romanov’s Revenge, a Russian Imperial stout. They also took home a bronze medal for Gigi’s Juice, a beer flavored with jalapeño. 

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Fort Worth’s Funky Picnic Brewery & Cafe also took home a silver medal for its Why Can’t I Be Turboman?, a gin-spiced witbier, a collaboration with Fort Worth distillery and Maple Branch neighbor, Blackland Distillery. 

It’s not the first award for Maple Branch, which had plenty of medals and honors for individual beers, but it is a first for the brewery itself. 

Maples has loved brewing beer since his days at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business, where the finance major began experimenting with the beer-making process. After graduation, Maples and his wife, marketing major Allyssa Maples, began making plans to open a brewery, saving money and thinking about how they would set up the business.

Free time was usually spent visiting other breweries. 

“It was fun, believe me, but we were taking notes, too,” he said. “We learned a lot.” 

They knew what they wanted, but it wasn’t easy to find the right spot. Three years after their search began, the pair landed at the then burgeoning Foundry District. They liked the funky vibe and the focus on community and creativity, Maples said. The district was developed by M2G Ventures, who peppered the 5-acre site off West Seventh Street with artwork and clever signage.

The Maples built a 14,000-square-foot building at 2628 Whitmore St. for the brewery and German beer hall-style interior. Another 7,000 square feet outside is dedicated to a biergarten with tables and chairs shipped from Germany to add to the authenticity. 

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The business opened in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. Maples said that, while it wasn’t easy, it did have an upside. 

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“People were willing to try new things and the opening up of liquor delivery helped, too,” he said. 

Maples traces his interest in beer back to tasting his first craft beer, a pale ale from Sierra Nevada, in college. 

“It just changed my whole way of thinking about what beer could be and I jumped into it,” he said. 

Maples is a bit of a purist, he admits. He began by mastering the all-grain brewing process, which gives him more flavor control. 

“It’s a step a lot of people skip because it’s a lot more work, but I think it’s worth it,” he said.

Each beer at Maple Branch is brewed less than 40 feet from the taps using natural ingredients. That best-selling Raspberry Fields uses real raspberries, said Maples. 

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Using real fruit also means that the flavor isn’t overpowering, said Maples. “If you use flavoring it can tend to overpower the beer,” he said. 

Maple’s attention to detail began to pay off. By the time he and his wife opened Maple Branch in October 2020, he had more than 40 homebrew awards on his mantel. 

Maples is excited by the latest honor but is still wanting to do more with the business. They are planning to open a coffee shop in a part of the building. 

“There is a lot of space here and we want to emphasize the community aspect to this,” he said. 

That’s the “Branch” part of Maple Branch, he said. “The Maple is from our name, but the Branch is part of the community and that’s important to us,” Maples said.

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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