Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Go beerserk with Rabbit Hole's newest brew

Graphics for Shield Biter recall the rooks of the the Lewis chessmen - a set of game pieces
discovered on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland during the year 1836 (Rabbit Hole Brewing).

Are you ready to go beerserk? If so, then you'll want to reach for the latest offering from Rabbit Hole Brewing of Justin.

Shield Biter is a strong Scotch ale (otherwise known as a wee heavy) that's described as an animalistic 8% ABV brew, with notes of lightly-toasted bread and biscuity malt complimenting ruthlessly rich caramel and dark fruit flavors.

Signature Shield Biter glassware will be available while supplies last at
launch events occurring on Thursday, September 14 (Rabbit Hole Brewing).

According to a pre-release note, the inspiration for the beer is drawn from the Viking Age - a period that dates from the late 8th century to the mid-11th century in Northern European and Scandinavian history.

"Old Norse literature paints the picture of a Berserker, a near mythical warrior, as wild and fierce as an animal. So resilient, their skin was said to be able to resist fire and iron, and so savage, they are traditionally depicted as gnawing on their own shields!"

Look for Shield Biter to be available on tap for a limited time beginning Thursday, September 14. Launch parties are scheduled at a number of establishments on Thursday as well, with festivities set to occur at Dallas Craft Co. Keller, East Side Denton and LUCK.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Eno's to host inaugural TEXtoberfest, September 24

Image Credit: Eno's Pizza Tavern.

Known for its involvement in the annual Brew Riot Homebrew Competition, Eno's Pizza Tavern is introducing a new event this fall to be held at its location in the Bishop Arts District.

TEXtoberfest is being billed as a festival that will celebrate Oktoberfest season in true Texas style. In preparation for the affair, Eno's will transform its back lot into a festive biergarten, where local breweries will sample their wares to the tune of live local music.

Those attending the celebration will receive a commemorative mug and sampling card, allowing them to enjoy brews from Peticolas, Deep Ellum, Four Corners, Oak Highlands, Community, Bishop Cider, Tupps and The Manhattan Project. Each guest will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite seasonal brews, with the winning beer in each category to be named a TEXtoberfest Peoples' Choice winner.

As for other attractions, Eno’s plans to expand on its regular menu of pizzas and pastas for the event, with a sausage and charcuterie-inspired popup serving treats to pair with the craft beer offerings. In addition, TEXtoberfest will feature a best boots competition, as well as stein-hoisting and pretzel-eating contests.

Tickets for TEXtoberfest are on sale now at bit.ly/enostextoberfest. Advance tickets are $25 per person, with the amount increasing to $35 if purchased at the door.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Visit local breweries to help victims of Hurricane Harvey

For those seeking a way to assist families affected by Hurricane Harvey, look no further than your local brewery for ways to help. A list of breweries known to be either accepting donations or hosting events to benefit victims of the storm is given below.

If you have questions on what to bring to certain locations, please contact the brewery/brewpub directly.


3 Nations Brewing, Farmers Branch
  • Collecting donations, Monday-Friday at the brewery (refer to the list in the image above).
Audacity Brew House, Denton
  • Collecting donations at the brewery through Thursday, September 7 (refer to the list in the image above).
Bitter Sisters Brewery, Addison
  • Thursday-Friday, September 1-2: The brewery will donate 10% of taproom sales to the American Red Cross.
Chimera Brewing Co. Fort Worth
  • Collecting donations, daily at the brewpub (non-perishable foods, clothes, shoes, diapers and personal hygiene products).
Community Beer Co., Dallas
  • Donate time, money or tools through the brewery's The Greater Good initiative (click here to help).
Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Dallas
  • Buy a ticket to Sunday's Labor of Love event, and DEBC will donate an amount equivalent to the cost to relief funds for those affected by the storm (click here to purchase tickets).
Denton County Brewing Co., Denton
  • Friday, September 1: The brewery will donate 20% of taproom sales to Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
Good Neighbor Brews, Wylie
  • Friday-Sunday, September 1-3: The brewery will match all donations made to the Houston SPCA.
Grapevine Craft Brewery, Grapevine
  • Collecting donations at the brewery through Saturday, September 2 (personal hygiene, baby items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo).
HopFusion Ale Works, Fort Worth
  • Collecting donations at the brewery for the next two weeks (non-perishable foods, diapers, water, flashlights, batteries, pet food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, toilet paper, baby wipes).
Lakewood Brewing Co., Garland
  • Sundays in September: Proceeds from every pint sold will go to a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Legal Draft Beer Co., Arlington
  • Saturday, September 16: Collecting donations and setting aside 20% of beer sales to support relief funds for those affected by the storm.
Noble Rey Brewing Co., Dallas
  • Now through Monday, September 11: The brewery will donate a portion of the proceeds from all package sales, plus $1 from every pint of Sex in a Canoe and Tactical Combat Firefighter sold in the taproom to Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas
  • Friday, September 29: The brewery will donate 10% of the sales, plus all tips, from its monthly Family Night event to Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
Panther Island Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Friday-Sunday, September 1-3: The brewery will donate $10 from every tour package to J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund.
Pegasus City Brewery, Dallas
  • Saturday-Sunday, September 2-3: The brewery will donate all proceeds from the sale of its Beer Floats to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.
Peticolas Brewing Co., Dallas
  • Friday-Saturday, September 1-2: The brewery will be collecting donations (water, non-perishable foods, toiletries, baby items and pet food).
Rabbit Hole Brewing, Justin
  • Friday-Saturday, September 1-2: The brewery will be collecting donations (diapers (both children and adult), wipes, formula, paper towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, flashlights, batteries, body soap, shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, cleaning supplies, canned goods, non-perishable foods, water, towels, clothes, tampons and pads, medicine (pain reliever, fever reducer, antacid, etc.), toys, first aid kits, shoes, chainsaws, trash bags, gloves, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, brooms, baby items, blankets and cots).
Revolver Brewing, Granbury
  • The brewery is working to create a special beer to benefit victims of the storm, with 100% of the proceeds from sales to be donated to the American Red Cross and select Houston charities.
Shannon Brewing Co., Keller
  • Collecting donations daily for the next two weeks.
Small Brewpub, Dallas
  • The brewpub is donating 100% of sales from Oak Cliff Ale to help victims of the storm.
Texas Ale Project, Dallas
  • Saturday, September 2nd: The brewery will be collecting donations (new clothes, shoes, pillows, pillow cases, towels, blankets, toiletries, diapers, pack n’ plays and other baby items).
Wild Acre Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Now through Wednesday, September 13. The brewery will be collecting donations (non-perishable food, diapers, water, flashlights, batteries, pet food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, toilet paper, baby wipes, baby formula, and hand sanitizer).

Note: A number of breweries ( Braindead - via Bowls & Tacos, Collective, Martin House, Tupps) have already collected and passed along donations.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Harvest and Franconia partner to support The Seed Project

Image Credits: Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, Franconia Brewing Co.

Earlier this year, Harvest Seasonal Kitchen announced its intention to begin brewing beer in house at its location in McKinney. Since then, the restaurant has introduced a few limited offerings, but an upcoming event will give patrons a chance to experience how Harvest's craft beer vision is coming into focus.

Working together with Dennis Wehrmann and his nearby Franconia Brewing Co., Harvest will host its first ever beer dinner on Thursday, September 21. The evening will begin with appetizers and opening remarks at Franconia's facility, with festivities shifting to Harvest after that for the presentation of a six-course menu.

"Dennis and I sat down when we obtained our brewpub license and talked about ways the two of us could work together," says Toby Thomason, general manager of Harvest. "I wanted to do a nice, charity event, but also something that was educational. What we decided to do was to take inspiration from what Dennis does well, and then shake things up to show people how differences are introduced."

In addition to a number of brews created exclusively by Harvest, the list of beers expected to be served at the dinner includes Franconia's popular Triple Dunkel, and its seasonal Oktoberfest. The featured fermentation, however, will be a beer created by way of a collaboration between the two companies.

"We brewed a spelt beer at Franconia with Dennis that uses local honey and base grain from TexMalt in Fort Worth," explains Thomason. "It's a beer that uses locally-sourced ingredients with some German heirloom wheat, so that kind of ties in our two concepts really well. The beer pays tribute to the brewing heritage Dennis brings, and also to our passion for local farmers and the local farming community - which is the whole reason we decided to get into brewing to begin with."

Franconia dabbled with spelt in a beer early in its history, but Wehrmann went with a different approach this time around.

"It's similar to the spelt beer we made before, except we changed the yeast and used grain from TexMalt," says Wehrmann. "And there's honey in it, which is something that wasn't in the original. That first spelt beer was brewed with a 100% German approach, but this one is done more in the American way."

Left: Honey Spelt is made with Ireks spelt malt and honey from N&P Farm & Dairy in Farmersville.
Right: Grain from TexMalt will be featured in all beers offered at the dinner, with locally-grown
Cascade hops providing the punch in a pale ale designed for the event (click to enlarge).

The result, Wehrmann believes, is a beer with a flavor profile that should fit right in with the coming shift in seasons.

"I think it tastes like fall," states Wehrmann. "The beer is a little sweet upfront with a hint of honey, but it finishes dry. It's really earthy, with a lot of really, ripe apples in the beginning. To me, the aroma is like that of a bunch of apples sitting in a wooden box at grandma's house."

Of course, the use of honey goes against Franconia's tradition of brewing to the Reinheitsgebot, which allows only for the use of water, hops, malt and yeast in the production of beer. But, that's one of the ways the differences Thomason wants to showcase come into play. Another way can be seen in a series of altbiers he's working on for the event.

"We did a base altbier where we tried to emulate some of the processes Dennis would use," says Thomason. "Then we brewed two more batches and did things to change them up. We added local blackberries to one, and aged another in a Balcones Baby Blue barrel. Neither gets too crazy, but the changes are just enough to show you what differences there can be in the beer."

Something else Harvest will highlight during the dinner is the progress its made towards a goal of producing a beer using all Texas ingredients.

"We've developed a couple of different yeast strains on our farm," says Thomason. "One was propagated from the blackberries used in the altbier, so we fermented that beer with a mix of the culture from the fruit and our brewer's yeast. The other strain comes from our wildflowers. We're using that one in a pale ale we're doing, which will also incorporate the first crop of Cascade hops yielded from the farm. So, really, the pale ale will be our first truly Texas beer."

As for the event itself, tickets are on sale now at a cost of $125 per person and quantities are extremely limited (click here to see the menu and purchase tickets). It should be noted, though, that all proceeds will be donated to charity.

"The entire ticket price is going to The Seed Project Foundation," says Thomason. "It's a company that we started to assist groups that promote sustainability and community. This year we're supporting Community Garden Kitchen, an organization that serves meals to food insecure families in Collin County."

In addition, the collaboration beer - simply called Honey Spelt, will remain available after the close of the dinner for a limited time at both Harvest and Rick's Chophouse (the two entities share the same ownership). Revenues from the sale of the beer will also benefit The Seed Project.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Turning Point turns the corner, lands location in Bedford

Image credit: Turning Point Beer.

Slightly over seven months after first introducing itself to the North Texas craft beer community, Turning Point Beer has signed a lease on a location in Bedford.

Getting to this point has been a battle for founders Joshua Davis, Jon Paul Goytia, Alex Knight and James Peery. Attempts to obtain financing to fund their venture were a challenge early on, which led the group to go on a barnstorming tour during the first quarter of 2017 as a way to attract investors. That effort proved fruitful, but then there were issues with the site of their chosen location. A contentious hearing in front of the Bedford City Council followed, but Turning Point persevered and is now armed with a plan of action.

"Literally for all of us, getting to this point has been the biggest obstacle we've ever tried to overcome," says Knight, who will serve as head brewer for the company. "Where we are now is not only incredibly unreal, but none of us were really sure this would ever happen."

Goytia echoes that statement, but is quick to point out that they believe the struggle has been worth it.

"The general consensus amongst the four of us is excitement," adds Goytia. "We all know that this is a big step forward to truly getting the chance to open our doors, but also to finally get the opportunity for DFW craft beer enthusiasts to try our beers."

Part of the plan going forward, of course, involves renovating and equipping the brewery's new home at 1307 Brown Trail. There, the group will be working with around 6000 square feet of usable area. Naturally, a portion of that will be set aside for a taproom, with the rest reserved for production. Prep work on the space has already begun, but there's still the matter of lining up contractors, planning the build-out, and taking delivery of equipment obtained from a defunct operation in San Antonio.

Artwork for the brewery's Pulp Series of East Coast hoppy beers (Turning Point Beer).

"We are starting with a two-vessel, 10-barrel brewhouse, five 20-barrel fermenters and a 20-barrel brite tank," says Goytia. "This set up is exactly the size we felt was ideal for us to be able to rotate beers often, while continuing to have fun with art of brewing."

Utilizing that system, Turning Point plans to launch with 8-10 beers.

"Our main focus will be our Pulp Series, which consists of Some Pulp NE-style Pale Ale, Extra Pulp NE-Style IPA and Heavy Pulp NE-style Double IPA," reveals Goytia. "We are still deciding on others, but Cup of Excellence imperial coffee stout should be one of the draft options for sure. Maybe the public can give us some great feedback to help with other beers we are deciding on!"

As of now, the goal is to have Turning Point open by the end of the year. Whether that happens will likely depend on construction schedules and the permitting process. Either way, once the company starts serving its products, what consumers should expect in terms of commitment can best be summed up with the following statement:

"Our Goal with Turning Point Beer from day one has been to contribute to the local craft beer scene we know and love, and that focus has never wavered," states Goytia. "We want to be known for some of the highest quality craft beer in this great state, as well as having an exciting fresh take on trending, unrepresented styles. We also want to exist as the forerunners of consistent innovation. At the end of the day, we want people to relate not only to our product, but also to us as four guys that love craft beer and love to talk about it. That is why Turning Point beer will exist."

Stay up to date on the brewery's progress by following Turning Point on Facebook.