Thursday, July 30, 2015

Coney Island Hard Root Beer coming to North Texas

Image credit: Coney Island Brewing Company.

Andrews Distributing is adding yet another hard root beer to its stable of offerings with today's announcement of a new agreement with the Coney Island Brewing Company.

Jeremy Cowan of Shmaltz Brewing Company founded Coney Island in 2007, making a name for the brand by crafting award-winning lagers with artwork featuring the "spirit and iconic imagery of Coney Island in New York." In 2013, the brewery was acquired by Alchemy & Science, a subsidiary of the Boston Beer Company operated by Alan Newman and Stacey Steinmetz. Newman was one of the principals behind the Magic Hat Brewing Company, while Steinmetz was that brewery's first employee.

Under the new leadership, Coney Island "continues to create world-class products that capture the fun and happiness of Coney Island." The company's Hard Root Beer (5.8% ABV) is a new twist on an old favorite, bringing together elements of vanilla, licorice and birch in a product "designed to take your mind and taste buds to the boardwalk."

Chris Adams, brewery operations manager for Coney Island, said the team is looking forward to sharing Coney Island with the Texas audience. “We would be remiss not to explore any opportunity to invite people to discover our Coney Island family,” Adams said. “We are proud of these world-class beers, and we’re excited to find a new audience with our Hard Root Beer!”

Blythe Lee, Andrews brand manager for Coney Island, said Coney Island is a unique and enjoyable brand. “The Coney Island team has combined great, entertaining artwork with an even better product that we look forward to sharing in Texas,” Lee said. “We are eager to begin distribution of their Hard Root Beer in DFW and Corpus Christi as it continues to grow in popularity.”

According to a press release, Andrews will begin distributing Coney Island’s Hard Root Beer in Dallas-Fort Worth and Corpus Christi in August. It will first arrive in 6-packs of 12-ounce bottles, with limited availability on draft. Plans are also to offer 12-pack cans at a later time.

For additional information about Coney Island Brewing Company, please visit

Monday, July 27, 2015

More on Lakewood's latest Lion's Share

Image credit: Lakewood Brewing Company.

Ahead of its third anniversary, Lakewood Brewing Company has revealed additional details on Lion's Share III, the beer the brewery has crafted especially for the occasion.

Providing some background on the release, founder Wim Bens explains, "Every year we have an employee competition to choose the new batch of Lion's Share. It's an employee-wide open call to create a unique recipe, which is voted on by employees. The beer that wins is what we brew."

According to a press release, this year's recipe is described as "a well-rounded Old Ale that has been aged for months in premium Napa Valley red wine barrels." The beer's foundation is made up of 100% Maris Otter, an English 'winter' variety of malted barley that adds distinctive bready and nutty flavors that are ideal for this type of beer. On top of that, a combination of UK hop varieties, including Target, Challenger and East Kent Goldings adds a floral, slightly fruity aroma and bitterness that compliments the malt backbone nicely.

"We want Lion's Share to be a unique or under-represented beer style," added Bens. "We like to age Lion's Share in barrels and we've used bourbon and white wine barrels in the past. This year we picked red wine and the results are amazing."

As for the forthcoming celebration, Bens says, "This is a very special year for us at Lakewood. Every success we've had so far come with its own set of challenges, which makes this year even more special for the entire team. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate our hard work than with the folks of DFW who enjoy our beer and have made it possible to do what we do."

On that note, if you're not already aware, Lakewood will mark its third year in the brewing business with back-to-back events this weekend. The first is an exclusive, ticket-only event that will occur at the brewery's Taproom on Saturday, to be followed by an event open to the public at Goodfriend on Sunday. For full details on each, click the links below:

Day One:

Day Two:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oak Highlands to begin deliveries week of July 20

Image credit: Oak Highlands Brewery.

Just ahead of the company's official debut this weekend, Oak Highlands Brewery has received word from the TABC that five of their beers have received label approval. That means consumers can expect to find Allgood, Derelict IPA, DfDub, Freaky Deaky and Golden Mustache at bars and restaurants in and around Dallas beginning next week.

The Capitol Pub in Uptown is one of those slated to be among the initial spots to carry the brewery's beers, as they plan to stock both Golden Mustache and Derelict IPA (keep an eye on social media as to when they'll be tapped). As for others, once accounts have been finalized you'll be able to find a list by clicking the following link on the brewery's website:

Regarding grand opening festivities, the celebration starts on Saturday, July 18 at noon. Admission to the event is $15, which gets you a pint glass, koozie and three beer tickets. Food and other beverages will be sold by the Easy Slider and OinknMoo food trucks, while live music will be provided by Charley Sullivan (noon), Ole G (3 p.m.) and Shotgun Friday (6 p.m.). Plus, for those wanting to stay out of the heat, it's worth mentioning that Oak Highlands is home to a fully air-conditioned taproom. Tickets are still available and can be purchased on Eventbrite:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Checking out Shiner's new Strawberry Blonde

Image credit: The Gambrinus Company

Arriving on my doorstep this week, samples of the newest beer from the Spoetzl Brewery came labeled with a promise to deliver "a little something special from the little brewery in Shiner."

Strawberry Blonde is beer No. 7 in Shiner's Brewer's Pride Series, following Haymaker Extra Pale Ale which debuted earlier in 2015. It's a lager brewed with fresh strawberries from Poteet, Texas, a little town about 40 miles south of San Antonio. Poteet, in case you didn't know, is known as "The Strawberry Capital of Texas," and the city hosts a festival dedicated to that particular fruit during harvest time each year (

The beer, you might say, is a celebration of strawberries as well. To be sure, the berries are the dominant player, but the flavor of the fruit is balanced in and of itself. The taste is lightly tart and not too sweet, which keeps the beer from being too much of one thing and not enough of the other. Then again, no one would ever accuse Shiner of going way over the top with any of their beers, so maybe this is exactly what one should expect.

Going beyond the fruit, the list of ingredients includes a mix of pale and wheat malts, which to me gives the beer a little bit of a biscuity character. It doesn't quite make for biscuits and jam in a bottle (though, the neck label does suggest you "jam out" with this beer), but the grain bill does provide what I'd call a pastry-like impression.

On the tongue, Strawberry Blonde is light and refreshing, though it's perhaps somewhat overly effervescent. The carbonation is intense, to say the least, and while it's not all that evident based on the quickly dissolving head, as your drinking the beer the bubbles don't exactly dance across your palate.

Despite that, at least in terms of flavor and the ability to slake your thirst on a hot summer day, Strawberry Blonde is a pretty decent beer. Of course, I'm not suggesting beer geeks are going to cast aside, say, New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb in favor this brew, since it should be understood that the two breweries don't have the same target audience. Still, for someone looking to make their first foray into a fruit beer, I can't help but see Strawberry Blonde as a perfectly reasonable option.

Strawberry Blonde will be released in 12-ounce bottles as part of Shiner's Family Reunion variety pack. It will also be available on tap and in 24-ounce bombers. Look for it wherever Shiner is sold.

Strawberry Blonde
Style: Fruit beer
ABV: 4.3%
IBU: 11