Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Take a break from beer at Breaking Brew Meadery

Enjoy pints and flights in house, or grab crowlers or a growler
to go at Breaking Brew (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Until recently, the field of fermented beverages being made in North Texas consisted of various forms of beer, cider and spirits. Missing from that lineup was mead, but now honey wines have joined the ranks thanks to the arrival of Breaking Brew Meadery.

Breaking Brew debuted in September of last year, and in doing so it became only the second business of its kind to exist in North Texas. Its predecessor, Golden Grail Meadery, had a spot on Main Street in Deep Ellum, where it began operations in late 1996.

As for the modern day meadery, it's doing business off Midway Road in Farmers Branch. The hive, if you will, is contained in an industrial space occupying just under 1900 square feet. There, Breaking Brew is primarily a weekend destination, with taproom hours Thursday through Sunday.

Offerings at Breaking Brew are referred to as "session meads," but that seems to be a relative term referencing the idea that traditional meads have ABVs reaching as high as 20%. The company's present portfolio ranges from 5.9-7.8% ABV, which is probably a tick or two higher than what's generally associated with session beers.

Summing up the taste experience, the honey wines at Breaking Brew certainly aren't the sweet, syrupy grog some might expect (and no, there aren't any Viking horns from which to imbibe either). Instead, these meads are dry and drinkable with a relatively light body. Not only that, like some honey beers, much of the actual honey flavor appears to ferment out. What's left, then, is a subtly-flavored honey beverage that's ripe for enhancement.

Along those lines, Breaking Brew infuses various fruits, herbs and spices into its meads, with hops even showing up in one recipe. Flavor additions of cherry, blackberry, ruby red grapefruit and more are delicately-dosed, which makes for an array of balanced and enjoyable blends.

So, what's the best of the bunch?

Bee Sting, featuring jalapenos without the heat, was a popular choice with patrons on the day of my visit. For me, though, the favorite was Ginger Bear, a semi-sweet mead that's Breaking Brew's interpretation of a ginger beer.

Regardless of which you choose, all of Breaking Brew's meads represent a refreshing respite from the current landscape of craft beer concoctions. Indeed, if you're new to mead or simply curious, Breaking Brew is nothing if not a great place to take a break from beer.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Deep Ellum draws praise down under at 2019 Australian International Beer Awards

Image: Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.

Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas has drawn praise down under after winning three awards at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).

Held in Melbourne and put on by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, the 2019 edition of the AIBA drew 2594 entries from 402 breweries (submissions were accepted in draught and packaged form). Just over half of the brewers who presented beers were from Australia, with the rest hailing from around the world. Judges evaluated beers in 83 different categories, with multiple gold, silver and bronze awards possible in each division.

As for Deep Ellum, the brewery's four award-winning brews are listed below. A complete list of winners can be found in the 2019 AIBA Catalogue of Results.

Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
  • Silver for Play Date (packaged) in the Other Specialty Beer category.
  • Bronze for Local Legend (packaged) in the Sweet Stout category.
  • Bronze for Neato Bandito (packaged) in the Other International Style Lager category.

Cheers and congratulations to Deep Ellum!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Lakewood revives Raspberry Temptress

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

After being retired for over 18 months, Raspberry Temptress is back as a member of the Seduction Series at Lakewood Brewing Co. (LBC) of Garland.

Raspberry Temptress debuted as the initial offering in Lakewood's Seduction Series in 2014. A year later, it became the first beer in that line to be sold at retail in 22-ounce bottles. Seasonal releases continued around Valentine's Day through 2017, but fans of the beer were forced to seek solace in other variants once Raspberry Temptress was left off the 2018 production schedule.

So, what prompted the return?

“We like to keep our Seduction Series lineup ever-changing," says Wim Bens, president and founder of LBC. "Temptress is such a great beer to add layers of flavor to that we don’t want to release the same four versions every year. That means that some of our favorites will take a break from time to time in order for us to bring new ideas and exciting flavors to our fans. So this year Coconut Temptress is taking a break and Raspberry, usually released for Valentine’s Day, comes back in for the summer.”

As has been the case in the past, Raspberry Temptress starts with The Temptress as the base beer, and is then infused with what the brewery describes as a "ridiculous amount of fresh raspberry puree."

“This year’s batch took over 1,000 pounds of fresh Oregon raspberry puree to get the flavor just right," adds Bens. "The result is a big, decadent stout with a subtle fruit acidity and a chocolate covered raspberry aroma.”

According to a press release, Raspberry Temptress is now available for a limited time in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles at liquor stores and gourmet grocery stores, as well as on draft at craft beer-centric bars and restaurants.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Lakewood garners gold for BBT at 2019 San Diego International Beer Competition

Image credit: San Diego International Beer Festival.

Results from the 2019 San Diego International Beer Competition have been revealed, with Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland landing on the list of winners.

Over 1500 beers were entered in this year's competition, with submissions coming from breweries in 5 countries. In the U.S. alone, 26 states were represented at the event, where prizes were awarded in 60 different style categories.

As for Lakewood's winning brew, that would be none other than Bourbon Barrel Temptress (BBT), arguably one of the most popular beers made in North Texas.

Lakewood Brewing Co.
  • Gold for Bourbon Barrel Temptress in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category.

Cheers and congratulations to Lakewood!