Arkansas

Hops in Heaven: Lost Forty Brewing in Little Rock, Ark.

Perhaps the best-known brewery in Little Rock is Lost Forty Brewing.  When talking with local people about what brewery to visit in town, the two strongest recommendations I received were to visit Lost Forty.  In addition, a recent MSN.com article ranked it the top brewery in the state people are talking about based upon a survey of information on Foursquare.  I should add that the recommendations I received about visiting Lost Forty focused on its Sunday Brunch, so my wife Katie and I adjusted our schedule to be sure that we stopped there before heading out of town.

The brewery opens at 10 a.m. for Sunday brunch, which seems quite early for brunch (and just as I posted this piece, the brewery extended its Sunday hours and now opens at 9 a.m.).  So after confirming that they were serving beer that early (I’m used to living in states where you can’t serve alcohol until after 12 p.m.), we struggled to find a parking lot because apparently the crowd gets there early on Sundays.  After walking through the packed parking lot, I was able to capture a great picture of the brewery.

Main entrance of the brewery.

Mind you, the parking lot was packed by 10:30 that morning.  So, obviously, Lost Forty is a popular place for Sunday brunch.  I was surprised to seek a full parking lot only 30 minutes after opening, but it confirmed the recommendations that I had received that Lost Forty was a great brunch spot. Walking inside you are quickly reminded that it is brunch with the following sign.

Sign welcoming people to Sunday brunch.

The brewery’s dining area is quite expansive and features communal seating, which can make it difficult finding a spot at busy times. It can also be intimidating because there is no hostess helping to sort out the flow of people. So seeing the following can be surprising.

View of the seating area.

There is also a bar with seating at the brewery.

View of the bar with additional seating.

And then there is where Katie and I ended up finding a pair of seats, which is along a bar facing into the brewing facility itself.  It is on the left side of the dining area.

View into the production line.

With the lay of the land established, it’s time to turn my attention to the beer (and food).  As much as I enjoy examining and analyzing a brewery’s space (I am a geographer, so I do look at how a space it setup), I was there that day for brunch.

I started with a cup of coffee while mulling over the beer menu.  As I debated on what beers to order as part of my flight, Katie heeded the advice of a woman nearby who recommended a brewmosa.  A brewmosa is what it might sound like: a beer with orange juice.  So really not that much different from a shandy or radler, except for the choice of orange juice instead of lemon or grapefruit.

Ultimately I opted for a few style staples that I knew I would enjoy and added one that was outside my usual realm of beer choices.  At Lost Forty, a flight consists of four beers.

A flight of beer.

In putting together my flight, I ordered the Love Honey Bock, Pale Ale, Snake Party Double IPA, and Day Drinker Belgian Blonde.  I wouldn’t usually order a double IPA when drinking a flight by myself, but the waitress assured me that Snake Party was very drinkable and not overly hoppy for the sake of being a double IPA.  Ironically, I liked Snake Party Double IPA the best.  I enjoyed all the beers, but rated Snake Party the highest when I checked in the flight using Untappd.

What really hit the spot was my brunch choice.

My brunch omelet, coffee, and flight of beer.

For my meal, I ordered a pimento cheese and bacon omelet, which comes with a side of breakfast potatoes and toast.  People familiar with Southern cuisine know that pimento cheese is a staple, and as someone who grew up in the South (although my family roots are in Pittsburgh, Pa.) I have grown to enjoy and appreciate pimento cheese.  However, I had never had it in an omelet until this particular day.  Without a doubt the pimento cheese combined with the bacon in the omelet was perhaps the best meal I could have chosen for Sunday brunch.  The breakfast potatoes were also delicious, but I keep thinking about the omelet and how magnificent it was.

I always trust recommendations from locals regarding food and drinks, and I am glad I listened to the advice about going to Lost Forty for Sunday brunch before leaving town.  Although I have not been to Lost Forty for a meal during the week, I expect the rest of the menu is as delicious as their Sunday brunch.  Whether you’re going out for Sunday brunch, a meal during the week, or just some local beers you will not be disappointed with Lost Forty Brewing.

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