Union Bear Brewing Co.

Plano beer: Brewed here, drank here.

That’s what is proudly printed on the menu at one of Plano’s newest hot spots, 33 Restaurant Group’s Union Bear Brewing Co. Nestled along The Boardwalk at Granite Park near the bustling Southeast corner of State Highway 121 and Dallas North Tollway, Union Bear is bringing its onsite brewery together with hunger-busting dishes created by Executive Chef and Culinary Partner Sean Sanders. Sean comes to Union Bear with an experienced culinary resume, including The Oceanaire.

“We are Plano’s first independent brew pub,” boasted Shannon McCarthy, 33 Restaurant Group’s marketing and public relations director.

Union Bear is a working brewery in Plano // photos Kathy Tran

The brewery officially opened on Jan. 2 serving four of its own brews, a white IPA (the “UB WIPA”), a blonde ale, an amber red ale and an oatmeal stout. Additional house-made beers will be added to the lineup in the near future. A total of 33 beers are on tap, representing the number 33 from the restaurant group’s name, and featuring guest taps hosting worldly brews such as Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus and Hofbräu Dunkel from Staatliches Hofbräuhaus München.

If that isn’t enough for patrons, guests can also take home filled growlers and 32-ounce crowlers (giant cans) which are sealed as beer enthusiasts watch. Brewmasters Jon Powell and Brian Burton bring years of beer making experience to the Union Bear name and will be able to provide tours of the brewing area.

Guests can leave with filled growlers or crowlers of their favorite brew

“The concept focus behind Union Bear is damn good beer with amazing food,” according to Tanner Fleming, general manager and operating partner, formerly with Whiskey Cake. “Union Bear aims to be the local brew pub in your neighborhood.”

Once inside the stylishly decorated entrance, the attention to detail put into the décor strikes first time visitors with a sense of relaxation, but also an invitation to have fun. Surprises abound, including a golf putting hole and shuffleboard game. Unique folding and sliding garage doors open up to a 120-seat patio, adjacent to a gigantic full bar that essentially blankets an entire wall of the restaurant. Approximately 180 patrons can be seated indoors.

“We have something for everyone,” Sean said about the menu. “For foodies, beer lovers and vegetarians. It’s very beer-centric.” Several of the restaurant’s dishes are made with beer brewed at Union Bear Brewing Co.

Among the appetizers, Sean believes the Texas Smothered Fries – hand cut fries topped with roasted poblano queso, beer braised short ribs and pickled jalapeños – could possibly prove to be a favorite here in the Lone Star State. But Sean also considers the tandoori dry rubbed Chicken Lollipops and Tuna Tostados with roasted corn pico and cilantro pecan pesto as rivals to the fries.

Union Bear’s Duroc Pork Chop with bacon, blistered Brussels sprouts, roasted apples, caramelized shallots and bourbon honey butter

Main course plates he predicts as hits are the Chimichurri Hanger Steak and the Duroc Pork Chop, both dishes loaded with delectable sauces and eccentric roasted toppings. The crustless Bourbon Pecan Pie promises to be an immediate favorite for those wanting to wipe out a sweet-tooth craving. (Bonus, it’s gluten-free.)

“We will let Plano decide what are our signature dishes,” Sean continued.

33 Restaurant Group originated in 2007 under the leadership of founder and CEO Preston Lancaster, along with Vice President of Operations/Partner Tony Smith. Since then, the guys have opened Taverna Rossa locations in Plano and Southlake as well as Heritage Pizza and Taproom in The Colony. In 2011, the group purchased McKinney’s popular Cadillac Pizza Pub and plans to open The Yard, another downtown McKinney eatery, several months into 2018.

Shannon, who has been with the restaurant group for six years during its explosive growth, said both owners were reared around the hospitality industry. The guys each have their own young children, so Union Bear will be family-friendly, as are all of 33 Restaurant Group’s concepts.

Coincidentally, #33 was Preston’s lucky number in sports growing up, thus the name of the restaurant group emerged.

33 Restaurant Group founders Preston Lancaster (left) and Tony Smith

Dallas foodies may recognize the Union Bear sign since it is modeled after the sign at the former Union Bear pizza restaurant in Uptown. 33 Restaurant Group purchased the Dallas concept and transformed it for Plano.

Much is unique about Union Bear making its mark on Plano as a brew pub – right down to its phone number: 214-297-BEER.

Currently Union Bear Brewing Co. is open for dinner only. Starting Jan. 8, the restaurant will move to its full hours and serve lunch and dinner 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.

Union Bear Website > Union Bear on Facebook >
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