If you’ve enjoyed a pint or two at the bar of Westlake Brewing — either a few times ever or a few times a week as a regular — there’s a good chance you’ve met Art Harvey.
He’ll guide you through the brews, the standards and the just-tapped, and assist people who would never know he’s the owner. He participates in the weekly runs at the brewery and works passionately toward this business that has been a dream of his for decades.
“I’d be pretty happy if I could just brew beer forever,” he says.
From left: Jacob Schmiederer, Peter Hemmingsen and Art Harvey
Art has a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and semiconductor physics from LSU, and he earned his MBA from SMU. He spent “many years” working in engineering, marketing and product management.
He also spent more than 20 years brewing beer at home with the dream of having his own brewery.
That started to become a reality when he got a lease for the future brewery on Commerce Street in 2017. He worked through the permitting, zoning and everything else to successfully open in October 2019.
“The first couple of months were really good. We were solid through February,” he says.
Then the world flipped upside down in March 2020.
Art shifted from fresh tap pours into glasses for happy customers in the space to canned beer to go, which made it possible for him to not only keep the lights on, but keep all of his staff.
At that time, they didn’t have a canning line, which meant beer was going into one can at a time. That March he ordered the machine that makes selling beer to go a lot easier, and it arrived in September 2020.
He and his team went from taking 60 seconds to one can to taking 8 seconds per can to fill.
“We were supported by our regulars coming two to three times a week,” Art says.
That was easy to do, too. The brewery had an excellent bundle of a flatbread and a crowler for a deal.
“October 2020 was almost as good as February 2020,” he said.
Then and now, the vibe in Westlake is similar to Art’s: laid back and welcoming.
Peak time is Saturday afternoon, but lately, Wednesday night trivia fills the place with competitive people. Those trivia questions, by the way, are created by Art and staff. The runs are fun, as is the Saturday morning yoga and the music bingo nights on Tuesday.
This isn’t a space to just experience beer; Art has intentionally created an environment for community to thrive.
But don’t let that make you think there’s not a focus on beer. Art likes clean, simple beers, and that’s what you get here, from the help of head brewer Peter Hemmingsen and assistant brewer Jacob Schmiederer.
“Our brewers are so good, I usually have very little to contribute,” Art says about the brewing process and development of beers.
But if you want to hear about the science of brewing, he will gladly dive into it and walk you through the process with no detail spared.
If you haven’t been to Westlake, you can find it easily when you’re headed west on Commerce by the large red silo with the name on the side.
“There is no better place to build a brand than Deep Ellum,” Art says. “It is the entertainment district of Dallas.”