Monday, September 1, 2014

Shannon Brewing set to open September 20 in Keller

Image credit: Shannon Brewing Company
After more than a year in development, the Shannon Brewing Company is in the final stages of preparation for the upcoming debut of the brewery in Keller. Coming off a soft-opening this past weekend, founder Shannon Carter and crew will spend the next couple of weeks refining things in terms of how they'll run the taproom and tours leading up to the official unveiling.

Construction began on the 6500 square foot structure housing the brewery back in January, with subsequent delivery of the brewhouse occurring in April. As has been mentioned here before, the 20-barrel system utilizes a direct-fire brew kettle and mash tun designed to follow an Old World process dating back the 1860s employed by Carter's great-grandfather in Ireland. With it, Carter will brew double batches in order to fill a set of 40-barrel fermenters which round out the set up. For more details on the history behind his approach and a complete overview of the brewing process see the brewery's website:

The building itself sits on a sizable 3-acre tract of land, which is part of a larger expanse the brewery shares with the Samantha Springs Bottling Company. Water from the springs will be fed directly into the brewhouse, and will remain untreated for use in all but one of the brewery's beers. Carter says the lone exception will be Shannon Chocolate Stout, for which he'll make a slight adjustment to enhance the flavor profile of that particular beer.

Regarding the overall space, Carter would seem to have more room to work with than any other brewery in the immediate Dallas/Fort Worth area. In addition to a climate-controlled indoor taproom, featuring a bar constructed from reclaimed materials, he's built an outdoor beer garden adjacent to the main building. This is surrounded by a planter that will be used to grow hops on site come springtime, which will be irrigated by harvested rain water collected by a tank stationed nearby. Remaining outdoor space will provide ample parking for now, but it could be used for further build-outs should production needs dictate such a move in the future. Carter also envisions hosting festivals and other large-scale events to take further advantage of the size of the property.

Shannon's line of fire-brewed Irish ales (Photo: Brian Brown)
The brewery will open with five beers in production, with seasonals to follow. Beyond the stout and his flagship Pale Ale, Carter will brew an Irish Red, an All American Blonde and an IPA.  All are expected to be available on opening day, and since the brewery will be operating under a brewpub license, packaged products will be offered for visitors to take home. Carter has acquired a 4-head bottler which he'll use to fill 22-ounce bombers for sale in the taproom. These, along with kegged beers, will also be distributed to draft and retail accounts within limits set by the TABC for this type of operation.

Initial plans call for the brewery to be accessible during taproom hours on Thursdays and Fridays, with the open house/tour model being implemented on Saturdays. Carter also intends on making the brewery available for rentals. Taproom amenities are expected to include widescreen TVs and free Wi-Fi connectivity. Food trucks will be on hand for tours, while catering from off-site restaurants can be arranged for private events.

As for the aforementioned debut, a Grand Opening celebration will be held on Saturday, September 20. Running from 12 to 4 p.m., the cost for the event will be $10 per person, which includes three pints and souvenir glassware. Other opportunities to sample Shannon beers will come with your admission to either of two upcoming festivals. The brewery will be pouring at the Dallas Observer Brewfest on September 13, as well as at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival in Austin on September 27.

Follow Shannon Brewing on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cedar Creek taps Gone-A-Rye for full-time status

Image credit: Cedar Creek Brewery

Despite the name in the center of the label, the back-story printed to the left promises that everything has gone right with what will be the Cedar Creek Brewery's fifth year-round beer.

Gone-A-Rye, originally released as a one-off in association with the brewery's first anniversary in 2013, trades in its temporary status for a full-time gig beginning this week. The fan favorite represents a move by Cedar Creek to broaden "its repertoire from the original lineup of session ales."

Brewed with a blend of four different hops, Gone-A-Rye uses some the same varieties as Cedar Creek's Dankosaurus (Apollo, Bravo, 05256). Of course, consumers should expect Gone-A-Rye to be bigger and bolder than its smaller sibling, especially considering hop additions totaling twenty pounds are a full five pounds more than those in Dankosaurus.

A flavor profile provided by the brewery notes that the choice of hops "creates a complex flavor profile that includes hints of peach, pear, citrus and pine," with a bitterness "balanced by the sweetness of the malt and spiciness of the rye." It goes on to say that even with an ABV of 8.5%, Gone-A-Rye is a beer that remains "extremely drinkable."

Look for Gone-A-Rye on tap and eventually in four packs of 16-ounce cans. The first kegs will hit Dallas on Wednesday, August 27, at Lakewood Growler (Keep the Glass Night, starting at 6 p.m.) and Friday, August 29, at Luck (special tapping at 5 p.m.), with deliveries to other Texas markets occurring in the next two weeks. Packaged products will arrive at retail in early October.

Style: Double Rye IPA
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 90
SRM: 6.0
Hops: Apollo, Bravo, 05256, Willamette
Malts: U.S. 2-Row, Pilsner, Rye

Monday, August 18, 2014

Local pours among the pits at Ten 50

Photos by Brian Brown
I'm not saying there's a correlation, but thinking about Dallas and the surrounding area, it sure seems like the respective renaissances going on with craft beer and BBQ started around the same point in time. Perhaps it's no coincidence, then, that the two continue to come together in new BBQ ventures around town.

The latest to bring better beer to the table is the just-opened Ten 50 BBQ in Richardson. Set up along North Central Expressway just north of Arapaho, Ten 50 joins other north side notables like Frisco's 3 Stacks Smoke and Tap House and the Plano location of Lockhart Smokehouse in offering up a bevy of craft beers to pair with your pile of smoke-soaked beef.

Ordering lines run next to the pits, meaning smoke-filled clothes are in your future.
A total of 24 taps grace the side wall of an expansive bar space, which sits alongside what can only be described as a cavernous dining room. Among the handles are a half-dozen macros offset by a solitary cider and a mix of 17 different craft brews.

Opening day options included beers from five North Texas-area breweries, with selections available from Deep Ellum, Franconia, Lakewood, Rahr and Revolver. Joining locals on the board were national brands like Stone Arrogant Bastard, Ska Modus Hoperandi and Odell 90 Shilling Ale. Given the choices, I'd likely pick the Odell beer for my mealtime accompaniment, though I'd be just as likely to go with Franconia Dunkel given that beer's roasted malt undertones.

Look to the left for local brews like Rahr's Blonde and Deep Ellum IPA.
Style choices favor pales, blond ales and IPAs, with the only other dark beer besides the one from Franconia being Lakewood's ever-popular Temptress. Wording on a printed menu and the makeup of a magnet board by the register implies some beers will rotate, so I'd expect to see some slight shuffling over time. Either way, the bartender seemed more than willing to provide a sample or two for those on the fence about what to order. Speaking of which, I'd recommend ordering beers from the bar since the magnets posted in the service line don't always single out which beer is on tap from a particular brewery.

As far as the food is concerned, I'll leave a review of that aspect of the business to those more skilled in that particular art. From what I could tell, though, the place offers everything you'd expect from a BBQ joint built around a Central Texas theme.

Ten 50 BBQ
1050 North Central Expressway