Ash & Ember Brewing Co., owned by Brian Krajcirovic and Tim Martin, opened in Cedar Hill last June. With Dallas County’s Covid-19 restrictions in place, they could only offer pick-up service for crowlers and growlers until recently. They are operating at 50% occupancy now, and are enthusiastically planning future events for Cedar Hill’s first brew pub.
Photographer Chris Waits and I recently toured the new brewery at 226 Texas Street in Cedar Hill. We were greeted by Ash & Ember’s co-owners and Colin Graham, an employee who’s also a brewer. Tim and Brian first met while playing soccer for their company team. While sharing an after-practice beer, they discovered a mutual passion for brewing beer at home as a hobby. In 2013, they combined forces to begin brewing, entering, and winning competitions together.
Ash & Ember Tasting Room
The front portion of the building boasts a cozy looking tasting room (with socially distanced tables) and the bar. Ash & Ember’s facility was designed and built almost entirely by the owners, their families and friends. Photos of the area and of their team building out Ash & Ember are placed throughout the room. A sign behind the bar reads “Cheers, Cedar Hill.”
The brewing process takes place in a sparkling clean, state-of-the art facility in the back part of the building. The process involves multiple steps, like milling the grain,steeping and mashing the grain, and then boiling and whirlpool. The last steps include adding yeast and hops, followed by fermentation, conditioning and carbonation.
Co-owner Tim Martin
Martin grew up in Cedar Hill, and his parents David and Cindy Martin still live there. He graduated from Cedar Hill High School, and now lives in Oak Cliff with his wife and family. Martin has fond memories of growing up in Cedar Hill, where he was an Eagle Scout in Troop 520. He worked at Phillip’s Lumber Co. during high school and for a while after graduating, and says Mr. Phillips was a mentor to him. Martin says that opening a brewery in Cedar Hill is a homecoming for him.
A trip to Ireland and the U.K. inspired him to try new and regional beers. In 2009 he started home brewing, even trying to grow hops in the garden. Martin and Krajcirovic started brewing together in 2013, and won awards for their Scottish ales, porters, and more.
Co-owner Brian Krajcirovic
Krajcirovic’s family is from Slovakia, so he “loves a good Czech/Slovak-style pilsner.” After growing up in Michigan and Florida, he followed his college sweetheart back to Mansfield, her hometown. Krajcirovic has worked in hospitality, bartending, marketing, sales, computer graphics, and IT development. An avid beer taster, he started home brewing in 2005 before joining with Martin in 2013.
Colin Graham’s dad was a home brewer of beer, wine and mead, and he helped make his first brew at age eight. Graham has worked in hospitality and bartending about two years. His favorite beer styles are Scottish Ales, plus the company’s Lumber Yard Lager and High Pointe Porter.
The Ash & Ember brewing team remains passionate about creating “incredible tasting” craft beer. They search for high quality ingredients to use in their brewery, striving to revive and keep traditional beer styles instead of following trends.
Cheers to Cedar Hill
Martin says many of their craft beers are named for Cedar Hill neighborhoods, while “Lumber Yard Czech Pilsner” is named to honor the late Stephen Clifton Phillips and Phillips Lumber Co.
“Mr. Phillips gave so much back to the community, serving on the City Council and as Mayor Pro Tem. With his volunteer scout work he helped so many of us attain Eagle Scout status,” Martin said. “Phillips also served as Chamber of Commerce Chairman and Main Street Committee Chairman, and helped start events like Country Day on the Hill. We hope to contribute to the Cedar Hill community that same way.”
The most popular beer at Ash & Ember is currently Sleepy Hollow Strong Bitters, named for the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood. A traditional, English, hand pulled beer engine gives a creamier texture to the beer. High Pointe Porter and new brew, Wildwood Witbier (a wheat ale) are also named for local neighborhoods. Cedar Hill Hefe and Tower Red IPA (home is where the towers are) also pay tribute to the community. During our tour of the brewing facility, the Ash & Ember team was brewing a vat of Scottish Ale that they hope will be ready to serve by Thanksgiving.
Ash & Ember Events
Ash & Ember hosts special events such as a Movie Trivia night. . . Flights and pints were served on the patio and in the tasting room with seven brews on tap including their new Wildwood Wheat. Ash & Ember offers food for purchase from locally owned Mija’s BBQ on Friday and Saturdays. Mija’s is also offering smoked turkey and bourbon pecan pies for advance purchase and pickup at Ash & Ember on Thanksgiving Day.
Ash & Ember is located at 226 Texas Street in Cedar Hill. Tasting Room Hours are 4 p.m. to 12 midnight on Friday; and 12 p.m. to midnight on Saturday. Patio Hours are 4-9 p.m. Friday, and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. To-go hours are 4-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4 p.m. to midnight Friday; and noon to midnight Saturday. For more information, visit ashandemberbrewing.com.