Monday, August 7, 2017

Lakewood Lion's Share V now available in North Texas

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lion's Share V, the fifth installment of Lakewood Brewing Co.'s annual anniversary beer, is now on sale throughout North Texas.

As has been the case with prior anniversary offerings, Lion's Share V is a unique beer with a recipe that differs from its predecessors. The 2017 edition of Lion's Share is billed as a full-bodied, Scottish-style brew that features a subtle peat smoke aroma, along with notes of sweet caramel, candied-fruit and honeycomb.

“This year’s release is a special one,” says Wim Bens, founder & president of Lakewood. “We wanted to honor year five with a beer that we’ve been talking about making for over three years now. As fans of all things malt and fermentation, a few of us around here are also big fans of whisky, especially Scotch whisky.”

In creating Lion's Share V, the brewery has taken the elements of a Scotch barrel and added that unique, smoky touch to this beer. Knowing that Scotch can be a bit overwhelming, Lakewood chose to age Lion’s Share V using a combination of barrels. Some of the barrels once housed bourbon, while others were used to age 26 year-old Speyside single malt Scotch.

“By blending the two together, we were able to create a harmonious marriage of flavors that work nicely together,” explains Bens. “It’s a great beer to enjoy now, or let mellow at cellar temps for months to come.”

Look for Lion's Share V on draft and in 22-ounce bottles. The beer is currently only available in the North Texas market.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Oak Highlands pairs with AiRS to support breast cancer survivors

Purchase Oak Highlands Oktoberfest and drink craft beer for a cause (Oak Highlands Brewery).

Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas has announced a new partnership with the AiRS Foundation to help raise funds for breast cancer survivors.

The AiRS Foundation is a group dedicated to assisting women with the costs associated with restorative breast surgery, while connecting them with doctors that can help. Beginning August 1, and running through October 31, Oak Highlands will supplement this effort by donating 10% of all sales of its Oktoberfest beer to the cause.

“Oak Highlands Brewery gives 10% of the proceeds from the sales of its Oktoberfest beer to a different local breast cancer awareness charity every year," says Erica Connolly, marketing director at Oak Highlands. "Breast cancer has touched many lives, including those closely connected with Oak Highlands Brewery, and because the traditional Oktoberfest season and Breast Cancer Awareness Month loosely coincide, we thought it was a perfect opportunity to raise awareness and money to help find a cure."

Women who have undergone a mastectomy are often unaware of their options for reconstructive surgery, which is a key part of the physical and emotional healing for breast cancer survivors. It is estimated that 70% of women do not have options discussed with them or they are unable to pay for the surgery – that is where the AiRS Foundation steps in.

“We are so honored and excited that Oak Highlands Brewery has chosen the AiRS Foundation to support this October in timing with Breast Cancer Awareness Month," adds Morgan Hare, co-founder of the AiRS Foundation. "We have high hopes for our partnership with Oak Highlands Brewery, that together we will raise money and awareness for this important cause.”

The brewery will host an event in late September to kick-off the partnership, with 10% of the proceeds going to the AiRS Foundation. Plans are still being finalized, so be sure to follow Oak Highlands on social media (Facebook, Twitter) for the most up-to-date details.



Find out where to purchase Oak Highlands Oktoberfest at: http://www.oakhighlandsbrewery.com/our-beer/where-to-buy/.

For more information about the AiRS Foundation, visit http://airsfoundation.org/.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

IPA Day: A North Eastern influence is invading North Texas

Left: Shazam (credit: Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery).
Center: Cambodian Tiger (credit: Malai Kitchen)
Right: Underdog V2.0 (credit: Small Brewpub)

The arrival of August means it's time once again for IPA Day - the international celebration of the India Pale Ale. Last year, in honor of the occasion, I put together a piece entitled "Yesterday and today with North Texas IPAs," which discussed the past and present with regards to craft beer's most popular style. This time around, though, I'll put the spotlight solely on where things stand today, and how things have changed in the local IPA arena over the course of the last 12 months.

To start, I'll go back to something I said in last year's article that still remains true. Nearly all North Texas brewing operations, whether they be new or well-established, have produced at least one IPA to this point. Holdouts from a year ago included 3 Nations, Armadillo Ale Works and Wild Acre, but as of the start of the summer, all three of those entities had entered the local IPA fray. Those aren't the only new IPAs on the market, though, since nearly every brewery that's opened in 2017 has 'hop'ped on the bandwagon as well (Denton County, Good Neighbor, Hemisphere, HopFusion, The Manhattan Project, Thirsty Bro).

The biggest change in the local IPA landscape, however, has been the market introduction of IPAs with an East Coast influence. Originating at breweries like The Alchemist, Trillium and Tree House in New England, these cloudy beers feature bright tropical fruit notes, a fuller body and minimal bitterness. The haze and hop tones have led some to say they look and taste like juice, which has resulted in the term “juicy” becoming synonymous with New England Style IPAs (NEIPAs).

Yet, many wonder if NEIPAs are really a style all their own. That is, as opposed to just being a hybrid of a single or double IPA. Naturally, opinions vary, but perhaps the best attempt to define the style (or at least lay down a foundation on which to build on) was offered by Gordon Strong in the May/June issue of Brew Your Own Magazine (click here to read the article). He's certainly the right man for the job, in light of his list of qualifications. In addition to being the technical editor and commercial calibration specialist for Zymurgy Magazine, Strong is also the president of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and the principal author of the latest edition of the BJCP style guidelines.

Of course, guidelines are just...well, guidelines, and if we've learned anything about the craft beer industry over the years, it's that style guidelines are open to interpretation. And, when it comes to NEIPAs, the story is no different in North Texas. Just consider the range of NEIPAs that have hit the local market in the past year. It's a given that they've all been hoppy (to varying degrees), but some have been malty, while others have been bone dry. Bitterness has been all over the map, with beers having anywhere from a somewhat thick to an ultra-thin body.

What that says to me is, when Strong says the NEIPA is an evolving style, he's not kidding. At least based on what has been served locally, what does or does not represent a NEIPA is still a matter of debate. In any case, judging by the style's popularity, it appears as if NEIPAs will continue to draw interest for some time to come.

As for what there is to drink along these lines in North Texas, a list of NE-inspired IPAs is given below. Keep in mind that many, if not all, of these beers are released on a periodic basis with extremely limited availability. My advice? Find one...drink one...and see what your tastebuds think of this developing style.

North Texas takes:
A Louisiana adaptation:
Of future focus (i.e. recipes to come from North Texas breweries in development):

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rahr & Sons extends its reach to Kansas and Nebraska


Image credit: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

Nearly a year and a half after first shipping its beer outside of Texas to Oklahoma, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth has announced it will expand its distribution footprint to include the states of Kansas and Nebraska.

According to a press release, Rahr & Sons' beers are available in Kansas as of today, while the company's products are expected to hit shelves in Nebraska around early August.

“Rahr & Sons is proud to be an independent craft brewery focused on making great beer,” says Fritz Rahr, founder of the company. “We are excited to break into these new markets and get to know the many craft beer fans in Kansas and Nebraska.”

Initial deliveries to both states will include the following beers: Rahr’s Blonde Helles Lager, Dadgum IPA, Ugly Pug Schwarzbier,  Bucking Bock, Oktoberfest Märzen Lager and Mr. Wiggles Double Dank IPA. These and future releases, including seasonal brews, will be available for purchase on draft and in cans.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Rabbit Hole ready to release "The Rabbit"


Image credit:
Rabbit Hole Brewing
This week, fans of Rabbit Hole Brewing will begin a quest to "snare the hare," as the Justin-based brewery releases it's newest creation, El Conejo (4.6% ABC, 25 IBU).

Translating from Spanish to English as "The Rabbit," El Conejo is a pale Mexican-style lager that derives most of its flavor from a recipe designed with a mix of German ingredients. And, while some may wonder about how a taste of Germany makes its way into a Mexican beer, it should be noted the development of Mexico's brewing industry can be tied to an influx of German settlers that arrived in the country during the late 19th century. In other words, many of today's Mexican lagers are borne of either German or Bohemian influence.

As for El Conejo, the beer is fermented for an extended time with a traditional lager yeast. According to a pre-release notice from the brewery, this is said to give the beer a crisp, dry finish, which coupled with the beer's clean flavor profile, makes El Conejo perfect for drinking during hot summer days and nights in Texas.

Look for El Conejo to be available on tap beginning Wednesday, July 26. A release party for the beer has been scheduled as well, with that occurring on Thursday, July 27, at Dallas Craft Co. in Keller.