Thursday, April 20, 2017

3 Nations to debut taproom, partner with Hop & Sting

Image credit: 3 Nations Brewing Co.
Nearly two years after establishing itself in Farmers Branch, 3 Nations Brewing Co. has announced the opening of an onsite taproom.

Up until now, 3 Nations had only been open for monthly tours, but that will change beginning this weekend with a grand opening bash to be held on Saturday. The event, which runs from 12-8 p.m., will feature food, live music and 11 beers on tap.

Regarding the beer, in addition to 3 Nations standards like American Wit, GPA, Mango Smash IPA and Texas Gold, the lineup for the party will include two brews created in collaboration with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. One of these will be Double GPA, a self-explanatory offering, while the other will be a saison infused with whole tamarind called Sobra La Cima (i.e. Over the Top).

On that note, some may not be aware that the two companies recently entered into an alternating proprietorship agreement. Pending the issuance of a license from the TABC, this will allow Hop & Sting to brew part time at the facility currently occupied by 3 Nations. It's a pact that makes sense in more way than one, if you consider the history behind the building and those involved.

The assets, of course, were once owned by Grapevine Craft Brewery. However, once that company shifted operations to Grapevine, 3 Nations owner Gavin Secchi took over the building and its equipment prior to debuting his brand in July 2015. Now, Secchi will be sharing space with Hop & Sting founders Brian Burton and Jon Powell, both of whom worked at Grapevine prior to its move from Farmers Branch. In other words, Burton and Powell have prior experience working with the system currently in place at 3 Nations.

As for the taproom, according to a press release, operating hours will be as follows: Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday 5-10 p.m. and Saturday 12-8 p.m.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pegasus City ready to take flight in Dallas

Pegasus City's logo draws inspiration from the iconic "Flying Red Horse" that
originally sat atop the roof of the city's Magnolia Hotel (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

It's been over 20 months since a new brewery opened in the City of Dallas, but that ever so slight lull ended last week with the start of operations at Pegasus City Brewery.

Located steps away from the western border of the Design District, Pegasus City is the brainchild of Chris Weiss and the husband-and-wife team of Will and Adrian Cotten. All three reside in The Cedars, which is where the trio first hatched the idea to start a brewery in late 2014. The catalyst, according to Weiss, being that The Cedars is a neighborhood somewhat bereft when it comes to craft beer.

"Our local liquor store basically stocked the kind of beer that comes in 40-ounce, single serving cans," says Weiss. "You might find a few selections from the larger, more well-known craft brands like New Belgium or Sierra Nevada, but that was about it. So, for us, brewing was a way to bring better beer to our community."

Left: Back behind bright tanks and a line of fermenters sits Pegasus City's two-vessel, 15-barrel brewhouse (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Right: Pegasus City branding features an Art Deco design motif. The style choice pays homage to key moments in Dallas history that occurred during Art Deco's heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. That time period encompasses both the installation of the iconic Pegasus at the Magnolia in 1934, and the expansion of Fair Park (which was said to have been transformed into an Art Deco showcase) ahead of the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936 (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Along those lines, the original intent was to open Pegasus City in The Cedars, but finding the right kind of real estate at an affordable price just wasn't in the cards. Yet, while the brewery may have ultimately ended up in Dallas, a connection to where the business got its start is something the partners will look to maintain. In fact, the brewery's "porch-approved" tagline speaks directly to the company's roots.

"The apartment complex where we live has a spot that's nicknamed the 'back porch,'" explains Weiss. "We would be out there brewing and friends and family would stop by and try our beers. They seemed to appreciate them, which is how the 'porch-approved' slogan got its start."

Production samples of (left-to-right) Highpoint Porch Ale, Cannonball Bold Amber and Sixth Floor
Easy Porter were highly-drinkable with a smooth finish (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Naturally, recipes graduating from porch to production are what make up Pegasus City's core lineup, which consists of five beers: Sixth Floor Easy Porter, Cannonball Bold Amber (pending a name change), Highpoint Porch Ale, Texican Black Lager and Nine Volt Tripel. Seasonals are in the works as well, but they won't be doled out like they are at other breweries.

"We're going for a non-traditional seasonal calendar," says Weiss. "We'll be releasing beers on holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. But, we're not doing anything Christmas-y (i.e. a spiced beer), we're not doing anything with cherry or chocolate for Valentine's Day, and we won't have any kind of pumpkin all!"

Pegasus City will also dabble a bit in barrel aging, but taking a dip in the sour beer pool isn't something that's in the immediate plans. Overall, consumers should anticipate a line of easy-drinking beers that may feature a twist or two when compared to classic styles.

As for when you'll be able to enjoy Pegasus City beers on your own porch, Weiss expects the brewery to be canning its beers within two months. In the meantime, look for Pegasus City products to be tapped at select accounts in the coming days. Beer will also be made available in the brewery's taproom, which Weiss says will be open six days a week (hours and an opening day are still to be determined). Beyond that, larger on-premise events will occur roughly monthly, once the proper permits are in place.

Pegasus City Brewery (Web, Facebook, Twitter)
2222 Vantage Street

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lakewood allocates Grand Allowance

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. has released Grand Allowance, the ninth beer in the brewery's Legendary Series, and one which represents the second offering in The Trilogy, a miniseries of beers based on the legend of the Three Fates.

Grand Allowance (12.8% ABV) is a wheat wine aged in Chardonnay barrels. It's described as a full-bodied beer featuring fruity esters, honeysuckle aroma and a bready, sweet finish that complements soft oak notes imparted by the white wine barrels.

"We're excited to continue this story and series of beers, showcasing the amazing qualities that come with barrel aging," says Wim Bens, founder of the brewery. "We love seeing how these different malt bases and barrel aging techniques bring a unique spin to each release, especially how they relate to each other."

Within the confines of the legend of the Three Fates, Grand Allowance represents the story of Lachesis, one of three sisters who decided the fates of others through a thread of life. Lachesis measured threads spun by Clotho, and once she decided one was long enough, the thread was passed to Atropos to be cut. In that way, Lachesis determined the allowance for a certain being's time on earth.

As for the beer, a press release states that Grand Allowance will be available on tap and in 22-ounce bottles. Look for it in stores this week.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Two cans coming soon from Armadillo

Image credits: Armadillo Ale Works, Collin Lewis.

Followers of Armadillo Ale Works have reason to celebrate, as cans of a fan favorite are set to return to local shelves alongside a brand new brewery offering. Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat and Royal Champ Texas-Style Champagne Ale will ship to distribution on Friday, April 7, otherwise known as National Beer Day, with retail deliveries expected to commence the following week.

The beer returning to packaged form is Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat, one of Armadillo's original products, though consumers may notice a slight alteration in its branding. What was once Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale is now Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat, a change founders Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins say was made to better set expectations for consumers.

"Greenbelt is still the same beer, we just decided to re-brand it," says Arestis. "Since it's a saison/hefeweizen hybrid, putting 'wheat' in the name will better communicate the beer's primary ingredient."

Greenbelt and Royal Champ both fall in on
the lower end of the strength scale with
ABVs of 5.2% (Armadillo Ale Works).
As for what's new, that would be Royal Champ Texas-Style Champagne Ale. Brewed with purple corn and fermented with champagne yeast, the choice of the beer's off-the-wall ingredients was driven by a desire to add more complexity to a classic cream ale.

"Royal Champ started out as a cream ale, but Bobby wanted to make it more interesting and flavorful while keeping the easy-drinking qualities of the style," explains Arestis. "The purple corn works with the champagne yeast to achieve the desired body, mouthfeel and ABV. These ingredients also combine to give the beer a unique and slightly fruity aroma, along with a hint of rose gold appearance and a dry finish."

The fact that both beers are seen as highly quaffable makes each an ideal fit in cans enjoyed by craft beer drinkers on the go. That made for an easy decision as to which of the company's current and future offerings would be picked for a packaging re-launch. Of course, in the case of Greenbelt, demand was a consideration as well.

"Since our return to the market, people have been asking when they could get Greenbelt in cans again, so we knew it had to be one of the beers chosen for the launch," says Arestis. "As for Royal Champ, we think it's going to be our most accessible beer, meaning someone who likes craft beer can take it to a BBQ or pool party and know that their 'non-craft' friends can also enjoy it. So, like Greenbelt, we feel like Royal Champ is a sessionable go-to beer that will appeal to craft and non-craft beer drinkers alike."

Look for six-packs of both beers to reach most retail outlets by April 14 (a list of stores planning to carry Greenbelt and Royal Champ in cans is given below). Official launch parties for Royal Champ will also be held, with celebrations scheduled at the following locations:

Friday, April 7
  • Oak St. Drafthouse, Denton - 6-10 p.m.
Saturday, April 8
  • Dot's Hop House, Dallas - 12-4 p.m.
  • Brewed, Fort Worth - 6-9 p.m.

List of retailers: The Bearded Monk, Central Market, Choice Beverage, Eskimo Hut Denton, Lone Star Beverages, Lone Star Taps & Caps, Metzler's BBQ, Midway Craft House, Midway Mart, Paradise Liquor, Spec's, Total Wine and Whole Foods.

Monday, April 3, 2017

My 2017 Big Texas tasting card

Image credits: Brewvolution, Avery Brewing, Tupps Brewery, Four Bullets Brewery, Independence Brewing Co.

Sitting down to sort through this year's inventory of offerings at Big Texas Beer Fest (BTBF), my attention was drawn to one thing in particular - 500 beers. The beer list was of a similar magnitude in 2016, which means that remarkable tally has now sustained for two years in a row.

What's also maintained is the quality among the selections available. Whether you be a barrel head, hop head, sour head, or someone simply looking to harpoon a few whales, there were (and always have been) more than enough choices to satisfy all manner of craft beer craving.

For me, though, my approach to BTBF and other like events has never wavered. Show me what's new and what's different, for I navigate the amber waters of a festival on an endless voyage of discovery. As for what I uncovered on this most recent journey, a favored foursome and a few honorable mentions are noted below.


Avery Apricot Sour: Soon to be on local shelves as a bomber-based year-round product, Avery's Apricot Sour was my favorite beer of the day. A veritable orchard of apricots saturates the senses, with the sweetness of the fruit finding a near perfect balance with the beer's level of lactic sourness.

Four Bullets Box Cars Black Porter: What it is - a smooth, easy-drinking English-style porter with light roast and a hint of chocolate. What it isn't - barrel-aged, infused or inoculated in any way, shape or form. In other words, Box Cars is simple and stylistic, and sometimes it's nice to find some calm amidst the storm.

Independence Illustrated Man: Solid, approachable sour with a burst of berry fruit flavor and a moderately tart finish. And, on top of that, I can't help but love the fact that the beer's name and can design are inspired by a favorite book from my favorite author, Ray Bradbury.

Tupps Saison: The title doesn't tell the whole story, for this is no ordinary saison. It's big, it's bold, it's peppery...and it's good. It's also a "super saison," according to the BJCP style guidelines. That's because Tupps Saison has an ABV of 9.4%, though the phrase is also fitting considering how the beer presents on the palate.

Also notable: 3 Nations Mango Smash IPA, Armadillo Ale Works Royal Champ, Big Bend Total Commitment, Good Neighbor M'Rye Ah, Lakewood Grand Allowance, On Rotation Irish Coffee Milk Stout, Rabbit Hole School of Bock.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Cedar Creek sending Dankosaurus hybrids into the wild with Dank Daze 12-pack

Image courtesy of Cedar Creek Brewery.

Coinciding with the brewery's annual Dank Daze celebration, Cedar Creek Brewery will release a new Dank Daze 12-pack featuring hybrid versions of its popular Dankosaurus IPA.

Dank Daze, which runs from April 20 through April 23 at the brewery in Seven Points, commemorates the release of Dankosaurus IPA with special variants of the beer created in honor of the occasion. Dankosaurus itself was first unleashed into the wild in March 2014, so this year's festivities will mark the beer's third birthday.

Versions to be served at the event include:
  • Poblano Paradise (Dankosaurus brewed with poblano peppers).
  • Maui Wowie (Dankosaurus brewed with pineapple).
  • Grapefruit Haze (Dankosaurus brewed with grapefruit).

These three beers will also be contained in the Dank Daze 12-pack, which is scheduled to hit stores across Texas beginning April 20. Look for it at the brewery and wherever Cedar Creek beers are sold.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Franconia releases RoughRiders Red in bottles

Label graphics for RoughRiders Red Ale feature the classic Franconia logo, but bold lettering and a
distinctive red color allows the beer to stand out from the brewery's standard design (Franconia Brewing Co.).

Just in time for Opening Day of the baseball season, Franconia Brewing Co. and the Frisco RoughRiders have announced the return of RoughRiders Red Ale.

First introduced in May 2015, RoughRiders Red Ale is an Irish red with an easy-drinking style and a low ABV (4.5%), making it a perfect beer for drinking at the ballpark on a warm spring day.

RoughRiders Red Ale is a smooth,
malty brew with balanced flavors
and a light finishing bitterness
(Franconia Brewing Co.).
"We are very proud of this collaboration as we feel strongly about our local community, and what better way for our company to show that pride than by partnering with the RoughRiders," says Dennis Wehrmann, founder of Franconia." Coincidence or not, the color of the RoughRiders matches the color of the beer, so we celebrate the team and the bier from here."

Originally, RoughRiders Red Ale was only available on draft at Bull Moose Saloon in Dr. Pepper Ballpark. And while it will still be offered in that format at RoughRider games during the season, this year's edition will packaged in bottles for the first time.

"Taking RoughRiders Red Ale beyond the friendly confines of Dr. Pepper Ballpark is an extremely exciting venture for us and our good friends at Franconia," says Scott Burchett, chief operating officer of the RoughRiders. "We look forward to quenching thirsts around North Texas with a taste of RoughRiders Red."

According to a press release, RoughRiders Red Ale will be available on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles. Distribution will be limited to Frisco and Collin County, with the beer to be sold at Kroger stores, as well as at select retailers, restaurants and bars.

As for RoughRiders Opening Day, that happens on Thursday, April 6 at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for the game may be purchased online at, or by calling or visiting the RoughRiders Ticket Office (972-731-9200).

Friday, March 24, 2017

Be a part of the New Main story

Image courtesy of New Main Brewing Co.

With hopes of opening the first brewery in Pantego later this year, New Main Brewing Co. is entering the final stages of a crowdfunding campaign aimed at enhancing the project's vision.

That vision, according to founder David Clark, is the manifestation of a core philosophy that lies at the heart of what he and wife Amanda wish to create with the company.

"If you're passionate about something, you owe it to yourself and those around you to give your endeavor meaning," says Clark.

In this case, those who visit New Main will find such substance and significance in the brewery's name and how Clark will apply it when engaging his customers.The choice of a nautilus shell as the logo for the business is a further embodiment of how it will all come together, based on its identification as a "growth spiral."

Naturally, the gathering point (as it were), will be New Main's portfolio of beers, the presentation of which will center around a line of six core styles offered with a set of four different treatments (i.e. infusions, barrel-aged beers, etc.). In that way, customers can discover "New" ways to enjoy their "Main" go-to beer.

"Beer is about people and the relationships they forge together," explains Clark. "The symbolism of the nautilus shell, and how it uses its past to build its future, is something we want people to feel when they come into our brewery. We want our patrons to use their past knowledge of tasting our 'Main' beers as a guide for tasting our 'New' treatments, and we want them to share their experiences with friends and family."

As for the crowdfunding campaign, hosted by Indiegogo, the impetus behind it represents yet another way for consumers to feel connected to New Main by being "a part of the story." Money raised will go to creating a taproom and beer garden with patio seating, yard games and an open area for festivals and homebrew competitions. Clark sees it as a place where fans, friends and neighbors can come to spend time together while catching up over a pint of New Main beer.

"When they contribute to the campaign, our supporters become a part of the story in different ways," says Clark. "Above all, the campaign is meant to give the community a way to make the space their own. We want people to have their own seats at the bar with their names on them, we're letting people name our fermentation tanks, and anyone who contributes over $100 is going up on our wall of supporters so we can show our appreciation for the impact the community has had on our brewery. We'll also thank each of our contributors on the New Main blog as part of our Building a Brewery series, because without them our story would be vastly different."

Anyone looking to learn more about the project can visit the aforementioned blog, where Clark takes readers on a journey from his start in homebrewing, to the week he announced plans to go pro, to weekly updates on the progress of brewery build out and more. Information can also be found on the Indiegogo campain page, where rewards associated with varying contribution levels are outlined in detail.

In addition, New Main will host a Fundraising Party on Friday, March 31 at the Pantego Lions Club (located next door to the brewery). Attractions include food, live music, door prizes and a live auction. Tickets for the event are $15pp and can be purchased through Eventbrite.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Thirsty Bro off and running in Royse City

Thirsty Bro is the first brewery in Royse City and the
third in Rockwall County (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D)

The phrase "go west, young man" is one that's traditionally used to talk about the natural course of America's expansion, but here in North Texas the phrase "go east, brewer man" might be a more appropriate adage, considering the last two breweries to open in our area have done so near the region's eastern border.

One of those is Thirsty Bro Brewing Co., which held its grand opening on Saturday in Royse City. Founder Terry Gordon and wife Catherine have been welcoming visitors on a soft basis here and there since late December, but this past weekend was the first time Thirsty Bro was officially open to the public. Saturday's festivities included live music and, of course, beer - both of which were enjoyed in the brewery's intimate space, which essentially anchors one end of the city's downtown district.

On tap for the occasion were five Thirsty Bro recipes, including the flagship Gettin' Figgy Wit' It, a pale ale brewed with fig and apricot that Gordon says has been his most-requested beer so far. Also available were Licking Dog Porter (chocolate and licorice), Big Bro Breakfast Stout (oatmeal, raisin and cinnamon), Brother's Keeper IPA (Citra hops, orange and anise), and Bro'd Trip IPA (British malt).

Thirsty Bro beers will feature a variety of ingredients, including fruit, nut and spice infusions (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

That's just the starting lineup, though, as Gordon plans to serve upwards of 12 beers on a regular basis (click the image above for a full list, including ingredients and ABV/IBU where available).

"We're going to have eight regulars and four rotators," says Gordon. "One of the rotators will be unique in that we'll do a kind of homebrew spotlight beer with someone from the Royse City Homebrew Club."

Production of those beers is currently being done on Gordon's pilot system. While his 15-barrel production brewhouse was delivered in November, Gordon says he's still working with the city on a couple of issues on how it'll be set up inside the space. Originally, the plan was to open after getting everything installed, but delays got to a point where he had to make choice as to whether to wait it out or push forward.

"We're about five months behind where we wanted to be in terms of getting up and running," explains Gordon. "Sooner or later you have to get open, though, so we decided to start with the first five brews being made on the pilot system. We'll keep those on full time and work in small batches of the others every few weeks."

What that limited output also means is that the taproom will only be open on Saturdays from 12-11 p.m. initially, with hours on Thursday, Friday and Sunday being added once full production is underway.

* Click here for more on the brewery and the story behind its name.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hemisphere is here: Long-awaited brewery now operating in Rockwall

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Finishing the final leg of a journey that's lasted nearly six years, Hemisphere Brewing Co. has opened its doors in Rockwall.

Indeed, if ever there was a brewery that ought to have a beer called Murphy's Law, Hemisphere would be the one. All startups face obstacles, but it seems as if founders Ruben Garcia and Brandon Mullins have met with more than their fair share since kicking off the project in 2011.

"Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong," says Garcia.

In the last year alone, they've dealt with code issues related to ramps and doors, not to mention problems with getting the gas line hooked up. Then, on top of all that, Mullins ended up landing in the hospital right as Hemisphere was poised to announce its long-awaited opening.

A small-batch system and a working list of over 90 recipes means patrons can expect a lot of
experimentation when it comes to what Hemisphere has to offer
(© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Thankfully, though, perseverance has finally paid off. And to hear Garcia tell it, it's rewarding just to be able to get to the point where he and Mullins can say "We're open!"

"There a lot of things we want to do with the brewery," explains Garcia. "For now, though, we really just want to enjoy being open here in Rockwall. Eventually, we'll work on getting our beer out to a wider audience, but we'd like to get settled in first while building a following with the local community."

As for the types of beer Hemisphere will be serving, the brewery's debut weekend featured five different beers. Early returns suggest Straight Dope IPA will be the crowd-pleaser, but my favorite beer on the board was Hemisphere Grisette (the coffee porter was a close second). No matter which you choose, though, this first run of beers suggests that balanced, approachable brews will be the order of the day.
  • Shiver Blueberry American Wheat (5.86% ABV, 17.6 IBU): An easy-drinking wheat beer with a hint of blueberry sweetness and a lightly tart finish.
  • Straight Dope IPA (6.46% ABV, 73 IBU): A hazy IPA, with upfront notes of citrus and tropical fruit that's backed by a moderate bitterness.
  • Hemisphere Grisette (5.56% ABV, 15.3 IBU): Complex and crushable, this light-bodied beer is a little tart and a little funky, with elements of citrus and bread yeast rounding out the flavor.
  • Superfleek Coffee Porter (7.22% ABV, 46.3 IBU): Distinctive roast and an earthy underbelly form the base of this coffee-forward beer, which finishes smooth with little bitterness thanks to the use of cold-brewed coffee.
  • Gnarlacious English Pale Ale (6.46% ABV, 30.5 IBU): A dry, estery and earthy English-style pale.

Hemisphere's taproom has an open and casual feel, with wide-screen TVs and
Giant Jenga offering entertainment options (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Of course, other beers are in the works, but what form they'll take remains to be seen. According to Garcia, the partners are working from a list of over 90 different recipes. What ultimately gets chosen, though, will depend on a variety of factors. Naturally, consumer preference will play a part, but so will a desire to offer styles and/or flavor combinations that are currently missing in the local marketplace (ergo, offering up a style like the grisette).

Regardless of what styles get brewed, expect Hemisphere to remain draft-only for the time being. Packaged products will follow at some point, but when that happens will probably depend on that whole getting their feet firmly on the ground thing. Either way, a trip to the taproom is currently your best bet if you're looking to try a Hemisphere beer.

On that note, taproom hours will occur on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays to start. Exact times are still being worked out, so be sure to follow the brewery's social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter) for the most up-to-date information.

* Click here for more on the brewery and its six-year journey.

Friday, March 17, 2017

From NTX and beyond: A (very) brief history of green beer

If you happen to be one of those people who simply must dip your lips in a pint of green beer this St. Patrick's Day, why not do it while knowing a little bit of the history behind the emerald elixir? By all accounts, these crafty concoctions got their start during the early 1900s (as you'll see in the snippets below), but you might not realize that a former brewery in North Texas plays a small part in the story as well.
Plano's Reinheitsgebot Brewing Co. was the first microbrewery in Texas, not to mention the sixth one ever to open in the United States. And, believe it or not, the company once produced the only bottled green beer in the country. Collin County Emerald was an all-malt beverage crafted for St. Patrick's Day in the mid-1980s. It was packaged and sold in clear glass bottles, which came complete with a Leprechaun on the label.

Image info: Snapshot taken from an original, unused bottle label.

America's first exposure to green beer appears to have happened in Spokane, Washington in 1910. That year, a local bar poured a beer with an apparently naturally-occuring shade of green, which...when combined with the imagery of a beer that "looks like paint"...makes you wonder what exactly patrons were being exposed to while drinking this beer.

Image info: Article snapshot taken from the March 17, 1910 edition of The Press, a newspaper out of Spokane, Washington. Click here to access the article by way of The Library of Congress.

Long about 1914, a man by the name of Thomas H. Curtin created a green beer by adding a bit of blue dye to a glass of amber-hued lager. The coloring agent, wash blue, was and still is a product used to improve the appearance of certain fabrics. No word on whether or not it had any effect on the taste of the beer.

Image info: Article snapshot taken from the March 26, 1914 edition of The Independent, a newspaper based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Click here to access the article by way of Google News.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lakewood to deliver Mole Temptress, March 20

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Continuing with a plan to offer its Seduction Series beers in a smaller format, Lakewood Brewing Co. will release Mole Temptress in 4-packs of 12-ounce bottles beginning March 20.

According to the brewery, the recipe for Mole Temptress combines chipotle, ancho, guajillo and pasilla chiles, as well as cinnamon and 100% pure cacao, to create a beer that has a rich, spiced nuance to go along with a warm subtle finish.

"Temptress is such a great base beer to play with flavor combinations, and one of the first ideas we experimented with was mole," says founder Wim Bens. "As a brewery from a state with a strong Hispanic culture, we wanted to see how incorporating these indigenous, bold flavors in a milk stout would play together."

Working with a variety of dried chiles wasn't easy, adds Bens, since it would have been very easy to go overboard with respect to the spice addition.

"This was one of the more challenging beers to get just right, since chile beers can go extreme very quickly," explains Bens. "We think it hits every note nicely, not overpowering the base of the beer, while letting a little heat and spice come through at the right levels. Unlike other chile beers, it's not going to knock you over the head with heat. The flavors meld beautifully together, allowing just the right amount of each element to come through."

Look for Mole Temptress to first appear on shelves around DFW, with deliveries to other Texas markets to follow.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Nineteen North Texas beers recognized at 2017 USBTC Winter Competition

Image credit: USBTC.
Results are in from the 2017 United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC) Winter Competition, with the list of recognized beers including 19 from North Texas.

A total of 480 beers from 133 breweries were judged at this year's event. Beers were broken down into 16 categories and rated on a hedonic scale, which indicates the overall pleasure achieved from the taste experience. Aroma, flavor, balance, complexity and mouthfeel are all considered in determining a beer's score, with winners (top honors and honorable mention) reported by region. Products from North Texas compete against other breweries located in the Rockies/Southwest region of the United States.

In addition to the winners listed below, Lion's Share IV from Lakewood Brewing Co. won out over 27 other beers to be named Grand Champion (across all regions) in the Non-whiskey Barrel Aged Beer category, while Pumpkin Ale from Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. placed above 28 other beers to be named Grand Champion in the Pumpkin Beer category.

Cobra Brewing Co.
  • All Eyez on Me, honorable mention in the Imperial Stout category.
  • Best Mistake Stout, honorable mention in the Stout category.
Lakewood Brewing Co.
  • Bourbon Barrel Temptress, top honors in the Whiskey Barrel Aged Beer category.
  • Thread Spinner, honorable mention in the Whiskey Barrel Aged Beer category.
  • Lion's Share IV, top honors in the Non-whiskey Aged Beer category.
  • Holiday Bonus, honorable mention in the Porter category.
  • Mole Temptress, honorable mention in the Spice Beer category.
  • French Quarter Temptress, honorable mention in the Bean Beer category.
  • White Wine Freaky Deaky, honorable mention in the Non-whiskey Aged Beer category.
  • Freaky Deaky, honorable mention in the Belgian-Style Ale category.
  • Oktoberfest, top honors in the Vienna/Märzen Lager category.
  • Vanilla Porter, top honors in the Bean Beer category.
  • Black Curtains, top honors in the Imperial Stout category.
  • Great Scot!, top honors in the Scottish-Style Ale category.
  • A Lost Epic, top honors in the Belgian-Style Ale category.
  • Winter Warmer, top honors in the Strong Ale category.
  • Ugly Pug, top honors in the Dark Lager/Dunkel category.
  • Pumpkin Ale, top honors in the Pumpkin Beer category.
  • Angry Santa, top honors in the Spice Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Good Neighbor rolls out the welcome mat in Wylie

You won't find a cup of sugar at this Good Neighbor...this
place is all about the beer (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Don't look now, but the newest brewing operation in North Texas opened this past weekend, as Good Neighbor Brews began selling the area's 50th brand of beer. The business is the first of its kind for the City of Wylie, and one whose name suggests that it hopes to make a good impression on the locals.

Along those lines, a large part of Saturday's grand opening crowd did seem to have come from just up the road. Time and again conversations could be heard where someone exclaimed, "I live like a block from here!" Indeed, at least based on early returns, Wylie residents appear to be fully on board with the idea of having a brewery to call their own.

So, what can you expect should you decide to drop in on the neighbors? Well, for starters, founders Jill Bresnan and Darin Petersen are operating within a 6400 square foot space. In terms of allocation, roughly a third of that is devoted to the production area, while the rest is outfitted with bar seating and an array of picnic tables. The latter furnishings extend outdoors as well, where there's ample room for anyone wishing to enjoy a pint in the open air.

Good Neighbor is both dog and kid-friendly, with plenty of room outside for chilling
with a beer or tossing a football between friends (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

As for the liquid, yours truly arrived a little late to the party, so I only had time to try two of the three beers the brewery had on tap. The one I missed was Slim Sweetness (5.5% ABV), a blonde ale intended to be Good Neighbor's entry-level offering. While I can't speak for that one, the other beers available were clean and enjoyable efforts, which is a good sign for a brewery just coming out of the gates.
  • Jackalope Stout - At 4.2% ABV, Jackalope might best be described as a session stout, a depiction supported by the beer's light body and easy drinking feel. Of course, whether it's a stout, a black ale or whatever, what matters most is how it tastes. In this case, Jackalope had a good amount of flavor, with a hint of roasted grain to go with a light finishing bitterness.
  • Nickelville IPA - The name Nickelville refers to an early settlement in Collin County that joined other small communities in forming the town of Wylie in 1887. Nickelville, the beer, is a big, balanced brew that probably qualifies as a double IPA thanks to an ABV of 8.6%.

The brewery's production setup is anchored by a 10-barrel brewhouse
provided by Chicago Brewing Supplies (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Future additions to the Good Neighbor lineup include M'Rye, ah!, a rye ale listed on the brewery's website and keg toppers. Once it's ready, that beer will be tapped alongside those mentioned above during taproom hours running Tuesday through Friday from 5-7 p.m., and Saturday from 1-5 p.m.

Beyond that, look for Good Neighbor brews to be on draft in and around Wylie, with expanded distribution to occur based on demand. There's already been a Jackalope sighting in The Colony, where the brewery's stout is currently on tap at The Thirsty Growler.

*Click here for more on the brewery and its founders.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Rabbit Hole bottling School of Bock

Image credit: Rabbit Hole Brewing.

For just the second time in the company's three-year history, Rabbit Hole Brewing of Justin will package one of its beers in hand-numbered 22-ounce bottles.

School of Bock (13.5% ABV, 30 IBU) is the product of the brewery's ongoing sponsorship of the annual Brewbonnet Brew-Off Homebrew Competition. Each year, Rabbit Hole selects an award-winning  beer from the event and tags it for a small-batch production run. This year, the spotlight falls on an eisbock created by long-time homebrewer, Brian "Schooly" Schoolcraft.

The beer itself is described as "an intensely rich, malty German lager with a smooth, sweet finish and a significant alcohol punch." It's brewed with a mix of four malt varieties and two types of hops, but it's said that Munich malt character is what dominates both flavor and aroma.

Look for School of Bock to appear on tap and at local retailers after first launching at the 2017 Bluebonnet, happening on March 25. The release will be extremely limited, with kegs being made available to select accounts and roughly 750 bottles to be produced.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Get your Goatman: Lakewood's trash-tossing terror returns

The Goatman of White Rock Lake is said to be a seven-foot tall half-man, half-goat,
with a bad temper and  a tendency to throw trash at unsuspecting people (Lakewood Brewing Co.).

A legend is set to return, as Goatman (9.3% ABV) from Lakewood Brewing Co. will begin appearing on a regular basis as part of the brewery's year-round lineup starting February 27.

Originally brewed in the fall of 2013, Goatman is the first beer to be brought out of retirement from Lakewood's Legendary Series.

"From the moment we released Goatman, we knew we had a fan favorite on our hands", says Wim Bens, president and founder of Lakewood. "It was big, bold, aggressive and just the right amount of dank. This beast always held a special place in our hearts, and we couldn't be happier to release it to the public once again."

Goatman is described as a mash-up of two types of beer - one half being a Cascadian black IPA, with the other half being a schwarzbier. That, according to the brewery's creative director, Craig Bradley, means it can't really be pinned down into one stylistic category.

"It's a unique hybrid of beers, which we love," explains Bradley. "We dry-hop Goatman with 100% Simcoe, a unique hop that features earthy, aromatic pine and berry notes. With a pound per barrel, it adds a depth of bitterness that balances nicely with the roasted malt character."

Look for Goatman to be available on tap and in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles. Launch events, including pint nights with collectible glassware, will be announced in the coming days, with details to follow on Lakewood's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter).

* Click here for a review of Goatman, posted shortly after its debut in 2013.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Texas Ale Project signs with Standard Sales for West Texas distribution

Image courtesy of Texas Ale Project.

Two months ahead of the company's second anniversary, Dallas-based Texas Ale Project (T.A.P.) has signed an agreement with Standard Sales Company of Odessa for the delivery of its products to Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo and other western locales in the Lone Star State.

"We're excited to partner with Standard Sales," says Kat Thompson, owner and CEO of the brewery. "Their team is experienced and knowledgeable in providing great service to customers, and Standard is passionate about offering high quality craft beer. We are honored to be part of their family."

West Texas consumers can expect to see T.A.P flagships Fire Ant Funeral and 50 FT Jackrabbit IPA, as well as 100 Million Angels Singing Double IPA, Payne Pils and other seasonals on draft and in cans beginning in late March. At that time, representatives from the brewery will travel to the region to attend launch events introducing the brand. Details on these will be shared on Texas Ale Project's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) as they become available.

With the deal in place, beers from Texas Ale Project will now be available in 61 counties across Texas.

Newly added counties include: Andrews, Bailey, Cochran, Concho, Coke, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Ector, Fischer, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Glasscock, Hale (excluding the City of Plainview), Hockley, Howard, Irion, Lamb, Loving, Lynn, Lubbock, Martin, Menard, Midland, Mitchell, Motley, Reagan, Reeves, Runnels, Schleicher, Scurry, Sterling, Sutton, Terry, Tom Green, Upton, Ward, Winkler and Yoakum.

Rahr & Sons partners with charity: water to build wells in developing countries

Image courtesy of Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

Adding to charitable efforts that have been a cornerstone of the company's business since it opened in 2004, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth has partnered with charity: water to help bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

To date, charity: water has build more than 20,000 wells in 24 countries, supplying clean drinking water to over 6 million people. As part of this initiative, Rahr & Sons will be involved in selecting the regions where the wells it supports will be constructed.

"Charity: water is an important organization that has a long-term outlook to make sure water is plentiful for years to come in areas that need it most," says Craig Mycoskie, Rahr & Son's vice president of operations. "Rahr & Sons is excited to expand our impact and help bring life's most basic need to those who desperately need it."

A launch event celebrating the new partnership will be held at the brewery on World Water Day, March 22 from 5-8 p.m. The brewery has set a goal to raise $10,000 in its first week, which is the amount necessary to build a single well. To reach that, Rahr & Sons will donate five dollars from each ticket sold for the March 22 event, as well as 100 percent of funds obtained from a silent auction featuring prizes from local businesses.

After that, beginning on March 29, the brewery will continue to support the cause by donating $1 from each admission to its Wednesday mid-week tastings to the organization. On top of that, anyone wishing to support the brewery's efforts directly can do so at the following link:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Lakewood set to release Barrel-Aged Raspberry Temptress

Image courtesy of
Lakewood Brewing Co.
Following up on a promise made when the brewery unveiled its 2017 release calendar in November, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is ready to release the first in a run of barrel-aged versions of its popular Seduction Series.

Barrel-Aged Raspberry Temptress will be unleashed in draft-only form, and only at select locations beginning at the end of February.

"We're excited to finally release these highly-limited beers, starting with Barrel-Aged Raspberry Temptress," says Wim Bens, president and founder of the brewery. "For this release, we used bourbon barrels from Breckenridge Distillery. It's everything you love about Bourbon Barrel Temptress with a big burst of raspberry flavor and aroma."

According to a press release, Lakewood chose bourbon barrels for the initial release after experimenting with the blend a couple of years ago. Moving forward, though, fans should expect to see a variety of other barrels used for upcoming releases.

"We're constantly trying to push ourselves creatively," explains Bens. "Each of our Seduction Series beers has its own unique personality, so we're interested to see how different spirits and barrels can add to that mystique."

As for this release, Barrel-Aged Raspberry Temptress will be available for a limited time.

"We are only releasing a handful of kegs of each Barrel-Aged Seduction Series release to the entire market," says Bens. "Get them while you can!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ice Bock leads list of new bottles coming from Franconia

All images courtesy of Franconia Brewing Co.

We're just over a month into the new year, but if you know anything about the history of Franconia Brewing Co., you know that's when the wheels start turning in the mind of owner Dennis Wehrmann. That's because it's anniversary time for Franconia, which means it's time to talk about what's new and coming soon at the McKinney-based brewery.

Of course, over the past few years, Franconia's anniversary has become more or less synonymous with the annual release of some form of eisbock. This year will be no different, though there will be more to go around thanks to Wehrmann's decision to package this year's batch of Tripel Dunkel Ice Bock in bottles. It's a move, he says, that makes sense considering the beer's bold flavor and heightened strength (with an ABV of 17%) should compare favorably to specialty releases already on the market.

"This beer stands up to what some of the other breweries are doing out there," says Wehrmann, "so we thought it would be good for a limited release."

The label for Franconia Ice Bock tells the story of how this style of beer originated in Germany.
It's a tale that in some way mirrors how Franconia created its first version in 2014 (click to enlarge).

A total of 1680 12-ounce bottles will be produced, all of which will be relegated to single bottle sales. That's not a truckload of beer by any means, but it's certainly a lot more than has been available in the past. Fans of the brewery may recall that only 16 gallons of Ice Bock were produced when it debuted in 2014. That amount, which yielded from a starter batch consisting of only two 13.2 gallon kegs, is roughly a tenth of what was produced this time around. Naturally, Franconia's eisbock process has evolved, otherwise a wide release probably wouldn't have been possible.

"It was a challenge to get this done in volume," explains Wehrmann. "We had to change the way we make the beer quite a bit, but I'm pretty happy with the result."

RoughRiders Red Ale will be sold exclusively in Collin County for a limited time, while Franconia Lager will be
bottled year-round and available across the brewery's full distribution footprint (click each image to enlarge).

In related news, two other Franconia beers are also slated to get the bottle treatment for the first time, with both to be sold in six-packs. RoughRiders Red Ale, which debuted as a draft-only offering at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in May of 2015, will be released exclusively to accounts in Collin County for a limited time. Not limited, however, will be bottles of Franconia Lager. That beer, whether purchased in bottles or on draft, will maintain its status as a year-round standard.

As for when these products will arrive on local retail shelves, Ice Bock and RoughRiders Red Ale will be packaged and shipped once label approval is obtained from the TABC (expected by the end of February). Franconia Lager, on the other hand, will be bottled in the coming days. Initial allotments of that beer will be heading to Costco as early as next week, with deliveries to other retailers to follow thereafter.

Beyond that, be sure to follow the brewery's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) for details on festivities related to Franconia's ninth anniversary. A celebration at the brewery is scheduled on Saturday, March 25, where Wehrmann is once again planning to serve multiple varieties of eisbock in honor of occasion.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Shiner enters sour beer fray with Berliner Weisse

Image Credit: The Gambrinus Co.

For a few years now, we've watched the little brewery in Shiner take steps to branch out from its stereotype of producing primarily German lagers. Over that time, the Spoetzl Brewery has released beers of Belgian influence, American-style ales and various fruit infusions, not to mention brews crafted with coffee and even chocolate. Its latest release, however, may be the most surprising of all...because let's be honest, how many of you ever expected Shiner to brew a sour beer?

Expectations aside, Shiner Berliner Weisse is rolling out as the 10th beer in the company's Brewer's Pride series. It's a product the brewery describes as a South Texas take on a type of beer Napoleon's troops once called "the champagne of the north." The north of Germany, that is, which is where the style originated.

Berliner Weisse beers are a regional specialty of Berlin, making the style
one that stays true to Shiner's German roots (The Gambrinus Co.).

So does Shiner Berliner Weisse have, as the neck label suggests, a "sour note worth hitting?"

Well, like most Shiner beers it's approachable and easy to drink. It's not sharply sour, which shouldn't be a shock, having more along the lines of a lightly lacto character. Citrus peel is added, giving the beer a distinctive background note, with remaining impressions revealing a brew that's subtly sweet and a bit spritzy, with some lingering tartness and a dose of doughy malt rounding out the finish.

As for its appeal, Shiner Berliner Weisse would probably be a good first step for someone just getting into sour beers, though I imagine established fans of the style will wish for a drier presentation. Other than that, the beer is a tad stronger than is typical*, but an ABV of 4.1% is not something you're likely to notice while engaged in the quickness of the quaff.

Shiner Berliner Weisse will be available for a limited time only. Look for it on tap, in 24-ounce bombers, and in 12-ounce bottles are part of the brewery's Family Reunion six-pack.

* Style guidelines published by the Brewers Association call for an ABV range of 2.8%-3.4%.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Deep Ellum, Nine Band medal at 2017 Best of Craft Beer Awards

Image credit: Best of Craft Beer Awards.

Winners from the 2017 Best of Craft Beer Awards competition were announced this week, with two area brewers being among those bringing home medals.

Judging criteria was based on the 2016 Brewers Association Guidelines, which represented a change for an event that had previously relied on standards set by the BJCP. This time around, a total of 1751 beers were submitted for evaluation, with 88 judges awarding medals in 82 different categories.

As for breweries from North Texas, both Nine Band Brewing Co. of Allen and the Dallas-based Deep Ellum Brewing Co. scored wins at this particular competition for the second year in a row.

This year's results:

  • Silver for Rye Pils in the American-Style Lager or Light Lager category.
  • Bronze for Toad Choker Barley Wine in the American-Style Barley Wine Ale or Wheat Wine Ale category.
  • Bronze for Ghost Cow Oktoberfest in the German-Style Märzen or Oktoberfest/Wiesn category.

Cheers and congratulations to the winners!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Turning Point nears for North Texas

Image courtesy of Turning Point Beer.

Two Fridays back, a barnstorming tour of sorts got underway here in the Metroplex, as those behind a brewery currently in planning began a journey to introduce North Texans to a new brand of beer.

Joshua Davis, Jon Paul Goytia, Alex Knight and James Peery make up the group partnering to establish Turning Point Beer, an operation that seeks to one day set up shop in Bedford. All four work in the local beer industry, whether it be at a brewery or distribution house headquartered in the area. In fact, two of the founders spend their days brewing beers many North Texans drink each and every day.

They've got a business plan in hand, but so far the path to production hasn't been perfectly paved. For that reason, the group has made the decision to go with more of a grassroots effort as a way to get the project off the ground. That's where the barnstorming thing comes into play, as they seek to drum up interest in support of a crowdfunding campaign set to launch on Wednesday, February 1 (click here to be taken to the Kickstarter page).

So, what will these guys have to offer? Well, research and years spent with feet on the ground in the industry have opened their eyes to things they feel our region is lacking. Given that, their focus will be to build on what local breweries currently have on the market, adding new twists or absentee styles as they see fit. Along those lines, Turning Point is looking to be the first brewery in North Texas to produce a true New England-style IPA on a regular basis.

Grab one of these glasses at a barnstorming stop near you (Turning Point Beer).

That beer and others were on the menu during a pre-tour tasting Turning Point put together for myself and Matt Dixon, executive director of North Texas Beer Week. So, let's just say that what follows is a testimonial of sorts, to give you and idea of whether or not it might be worth you while to get out and and see what Turning Point is all about. Dixon probably sums it up best, though, when talking about the team's pedigree and how good their stuff is already, despite the beer not being produced on a professional system.

"At the end of the day, I could write an entire blurb about how the combined experience, passion, knowledge, etc. of those involved is almost certainly setting Turning Point point up for success," says Dixon. "But, the moral of the story is that there wasn't the slightest inkling of 'homebrew' in any of the three beers I tried."

Extra Pulp IPA (New England IPA):
  • Brown: This one will will get some attention, as it's easily one of the better representations of a New England-style IPA to be found in North Texas. Is it juicy? We can talk all day and night about what that really means, but what matters most is whether or not the beer itself is good...and this one certainly is.
  • Dixon: A foray into the popular East Coast or "milkshake" style IPA, this beer was cloudy, juicy and bitter...basically spot-on for the style. I've been craving the nose on this beer since first whiff.
Release the Krausen (barrel-aged imperial stout):
  • Brown: Release the Krausen was a warm and satisfying imperial stout aged in Balcones barrels that succeeded where others occasionally fail in delivering an ample body. Think about it, how many barrel-aged beers have you had that seemed a little thin? It's not unexpected, since body tends to drop off the longer a beer ages, but there are ways to combat the problem. That said, RtK just goes to show that these guys are playing with a full brew deck.
  • Dixon: There was mention of the unblended, straight barrel version of this beer being so strong you could run your car on it, and I believe it. This was dark and boozy, but WAY too smooth and drinkable. I need to get my hands on the unblended beast.
Wildish Gambino (Flanders red):
  • Brown: For me, the best beer Turning Point brought out was Wildish Gambino, a Flanders red aged for 13 months on Cabernet Sauvignon-soaked oak chips. Hitting on all the key style points, it's a beer that's bold, yet approachable...not to mention one that fills a style void that currently exists locally.
  • Dixon: This one gets extra points on name (I am a huge Donald Glover/Childish Gambino fan) and style alone (Flanders reds are generally my favorite wild/sour ales). I'm always impressed with brewers' willpower, patience & dedication to create a batch of beer that takes months (or even years) to complete, and that sort of time and care was evident in this one. Not overly tart with a good deal of complexity and flavor, this was my personal favorite out of the bunch and an exciting sign of things to come from these gents.

As for the tour, two events are already in the books, but more stops are scheduled at bars and restaurants all across North Texas. At each destination, the group will pour up to five beers. Samples will be free, as will a limited limited amount of glassware to be given away at each locale. The next few events are summarized below, with more to come as details become available. Check back here for updates, and be sure to follow Turning Point's Facebook page for the latest developments.

Friday, February 3
  • The Bearded Monk, Denton - 8:30 - 10:30 p.m.
Friday, February 17
  • Lone Star Taps & Caps, Fort Worth - 6-9 p.m.
Friday, February 24
  • Braindead Brewing, Dallas.
Saturday, March 4
  • Allen stop to be announced.
Sunday, March 19
  • LUCKapalooza at LUCK, Dallas - 12-7 p.m.
Friday, March 24
  • Wise Guys Pizzeria, Grapevine - 6-9 p.m.
Friday, March 31
  • On Tap, Arlington - 6-9 p.m.

903 Brewers hosting Galentine's to benefit local women's shelters

Image courtesy of 903 Brewers
(click to enlarge).
Looking to raise awareness about local women's shelters and to empower women throughout the community, 903 Brewers will host a special series of events over the next two weeks at establishments all across North Texas.

Galentine's, as it's being called, combines a run of pint nights with a Valentine's Day card signing drive. Regarding the latter, the goal is to have guests sign cards with encouraging and uplifting messages, which will then be delivered to women being served by domestic violence shelters. Of course, there will be beer too, with brews like Birthday Sasquatch, The Sour One with Raspberries and Wonderland of Milk and Honey expected to be tapped (selections vary by location).

Dates and times for scheduled events are given below, and take note that while each is designed to be a ladies' night out, gentlemen are welcome to attend as well.

Wednesday, February 1 - 6-9 p.m. - The Bearded Lady, Fort Worth
  • Beneficiary: Safe Haven of Tarrant County
  • Donations sought: Adult flip flops, reusable grocery bags, totes, umbrellas and children's Valentine's Day cards.
Tuesday, February 7 - 6-9 p.m. - Dot's Hop House, Dallas
  • Details being finalized.
Wednesday, February 8 - 6-9 p.m. - Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery, Garland
  • Attractions include live music, arts and crafts and a smoked lamb dinner special.
Thursday, February 9 - 6-9 p.m. - The Thirsty Growler, The Colony
  • Beneficiary: Hope's Door
Friday, February 10 - 7-10 p.m. - Oak St. Draft House, Denton
  • Beneficiary: Denton County Friends of the Family
  • Donations sought: Toiletries, paper towels, toilet paper and coloring books for adults.
Saturday, February 10 - 12-5 p.m. - 903 Brewers, Sherman
  • Benificiary: Grayson Crisis Center
  • Attractions include a Girl Scout cookie and beer pairing flight.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rahr & Sons rolls out redesigned packaging, preps Dadgum IPA

Image courtesy of Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

Calling it the next natural step in an ongoing effort to shift the company's packaging focus from bottles to cans, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth has revealed an updated look for its year-round beers and select seasonal offerings.

The new design will be familiar to fans of the brewery, since it was first used on cans of Pride of Texas Pale Ale. The packaging for that beer, which was initially released in 2014, features a shield as the primary graphic.

In crafting the design, Rahr & Sons' creative director Jeff Wood drew inspiration from classic can designs of the '60s and '70s to create a crisp, clean and eye-catching design that would help streamline the company's branding. He kept each beer's signature color so the transition from bottles to cans would be as seamless as possible for consumers.

"The nice thing about designing cans over bottles is the full 360-degree template. You can wrap the entire package into your design," says Wood. "I also like the way the ink pops off the curved, metallic aluminum surface of cans, making them jump off the shelf."

Iron Thistle, the brewery's seasonal Scotch ale is already sporting the new design, and it won't be long before it appears on the brewery's newest product, Dadgum IPA. Coming in April, Dadgum IPA will be the brewery's first commercial release of a West Coast-inspired IPA. Brewed with Citra and Lemondrop hops, a press release describes the beer as having a "lively bitterness, with intense notes of fresh-cut pine and tropical fruit."

Monday, January 9, 2017

Rabbit Hole unleashing JabberBock, January 20

Image courtesy of Rabbit Hole Brewing.
Starting the new year with a new beer, Rabbit Hole Brewing of Justin has announced an upcoming seasonal offering brewed in the style of a German maibock.

The JabberBock, as the beer will be called, brings to mind the fictional Jabberwock character from Lewis Carrol's nonsense poem, Jabberwocky. The work appeared in the novel Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Fans of the brewery will no doubt recall that beers like Tweedleyum and Off With Your Red found inspiration in the same book, based on the appearances of the characters Tweedledum and the Red Queen.

As for JabberBock, a press release describes the beer as a "malty maibock that sports a clean and smooth mouthfeel, with a gentle warming and a subtle hop character lurking beneath a bready German malt base." It's designed to be rich and somewhat strong, but not overbearing, being the type of beer best enjoyed during the spring transition from the cold of winter to the warmth of summer.

Look for JabberBock to be available on draft, and only for a limited time, with deliveries beginning on January 20.

Style: Maibock
ABV: 6.9%
IBU: 30
Malts: Pilsner, Munich and Vienna
Hops: Perle, Tettnang

Friday, January 6, 2017

Harvest becomes first brewpub in McKinney

Image courtesy of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen.

Just over two years after first opening its doors, Harvest Seasonal Kitchen has begun brewing beer in house at its location on the square in Historic Downtown McKinney.

Harvest, owned by Don Day and Rick Wells of Rick's Chophouse at the city's Grand Hotel, debuted in September 2014. Billed as a farm-to-table restaurant with a Texas flair, Harvest's primary mission has since been to promote community agriculture and sustainability. That approach will guide the newly-instituted brewing operations as well, which will be overseen by general manager and resident brewmaster Toby Thomason.

"Our goal is to make farmhouse-style ales, brewed in the Belgian tradition, utilizing local ingredients and sustainable practices," says Thomason. "When it came to beer and how we run our beverage program, it just makes sense. We have plenty of farmers to provide us with different grains for brewing, and plenty of farmers who will take our spent grains."

One of the project's ambitions is a prime example of how the restaurant intends to apply its local focus to making beer, as Harvest hopes to one day produce a naturally-fermented cask-aged ale made with all Texas ingredients.

"Right now we are sourcing malt from Blacklands Malt in Leander, and the barrels we are using are from local wineries and distilleries. The hops are being grown at our farm, Water Boy Farms in Lucas, which yields very little, but eventually the crop will give us enough to make an all-Texas farmhouse ale."

Locally-sourced oak barrels will be used by Harvest to age beers like Old Leathercoat, a whiskey barrel porter,
as well as a variety of naturally-fermented cask ales (Image credit: Harvest Seasonal Kitchen). 

Sourcing local will also involve fermenting with naturally-occurring yeast strains, which along with the use of varying seasonal ingredients suggests patrons can expect to experience something different each time they step through the restaurant's door.

"We are brewing on a small-batch system, with a maximum output of 50 gallons," says Thomason. "Doing small batches will allow us to experiment with blends and aggressive yeast strains that we otherwise would not be able to use. Over time, we will develop standard recipes, but for the most part we are going to let the native yeast strains take over. On top of that, we plan to use whatever ingredients are in season, both on our organic farm and from other farmers in the area, to create something we feel is unique."

Along those lines, a few of the beers currently in development at Harvest include a honey and juniper ale (brewed with honey from the farm), and a sour IPA that will rest in tequila barrels prior to being reactivated with prickly pear.

Up first, though, will be a beer named for James Webb Throckmorton, a former Texas governor and U.S. Congressman. Old Leathercoat, which recalls a nickname given to Throckmorton by Indians he negotiated with on the frontier, is a barrel-aged porter set to be refermented with orange peel and Luxardo cherries.

As for when Old Leathercoat will available, it's all a matter of maturation, so keep an eye on the restaurant's Facebook page for updates as to when the first batch will be released. In addition, stay tuned for details on collaborations Harvest has in the works with its McKinney counterparts, Franconia Brewing Co. and Tupps Brewery.