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:

For more information about the AiRS Foundation, visit

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.

Monday, July 10, 2017

North Texas breweries land 13 medals at 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship

Image credit:
U.S. Open Beer Championship
Winners were announced today for the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship, with the results showing seven North Texas breweries to be among those earning recognition.

According to a press release, breweries from Vermont to Vietnam sent in more than 6,000 beers representing over 100 different styles for evaluation in this year's competition. Just like in prior years, the event was open to both professional brewers and award-winning homebrewers.

As far as the 2017 performance of North Texas breweries goes, first-time winners at this year's competition include Bankhead Brewing Co. of Rowlett and HopFusion Ale Works of Fort Worth. Their wins are included in the list below, along with other local breweries, each of which has brought home at least one medal from the U.S. Open in the past (a complete list of winners may be found by clicking here).

903 Brewers
  • Bronze for Sasquatch in the American Stout category
  • Silver for Highway 1 in the Bohemian Pilsner category.
  • Silver for Fur Slipper in the Cream Stout category.
  • Silver for Feisty Blonde in the Honey Beer category.
  • Bronze for Hairpin in the Rye/Roggen Beer category.
  • Silver for All Call in the English Summer Ale category.
  • Silver for Sin Mint Temptress in the Experimental Beer category.
  • Silver for Sledgehammer in the American Barley Wine category.
  • Silver for Velvet Hammer in the Imperial Red Ale category.
  • Bronze for Irish Goodbye in the Irish Red Ale category.
  • Gold for 10/6 in the English Pale Ale category.
  • Gold for Off With Your Red in the Imperial Red Ale category.
  • Gold for The Regulator in the Doppel/Strong Bock category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Grapevine resumes canning ahead of return to retail

Image credit: Grapevine Craft Brewery.

Nearly one year ago, Grapevine Craft Brewery made the decision to cease distribution of its products throughout the State of Texas. Now, however, the company has regained the right to self-distribute its brands in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, which means a return to local retail shelves is at hand.

According to a press release, the brewery will continue to operate its contract brewing subsidy, North Texas Brewing Co., but plans are to reinstate shipments of house brands to area grocers and craft beer retailers. At this time, though, only cans will be sent to outside accounts, as draft beer will continue to be served exclusively in Grapevine's taproom.

"It's because of great industry partners and friends that contract brewing has provided a platform for a sustainable business," says Gary Humble, CEO of Grapevine Craft Brewery. "Beyond that, we continue to see great success on the local level in our taproom and beer garden, and fans have continued to support our small business. We love people and we love our community. We could not be more excited to have the opportunity to once again make our beers available to our friends in stores across DFW.”

Six-packs of Lakefire Rye Pale Ale and Sir William's English Brown Ale will hit shelves across the region beginning the third week of July. After that, keep an eye out for the new Railcar Double IPA (ABV 8.5%). Originally marketed as Grapevine's highly-regarded Brewers' Reserve Double IPA, Railcar is set to make its debut in four-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Two new breweries on tap for Parker County

Craft beer continues to expand its reach across North Texas, as news comes of a two new breweries planned for Parker County. The opening of either would represent the first new brewery to operate in the county since before Prohibition, when W.F. Both & Co. was producing beer in Weatherford up until it closed in 1879.
Image credit: Parker County Brewing Co.

The first of these is Parker County Brewing Co., a venture in Willow Park headed up by Ryan Stewart and Joshua Tarbay. Currently under construction at 225 Shops Blvd., in a development called the Shops at Willow Park, the brewpub-to-be will offer beer, wine and cider on tap alongside food prepared in its full-service pizza kitchen. According to Tarbay, cask ale will also be on the menu at Parker County Brewing once it opens in the fall of this year.

Image credit: Pathfinder Brewery, LLC.

Also in the works, though a little further out on the development calendar, is Pathfinder Brewery. Eric Addison is leading that project after moving to Texas from California, where he spent time running his own homebrew shop. Currently, Addison is working to develop plans for Pathfinder's building, which will be built from the ground up on a site off Cinema Dr. in Hudson Oaks. Branding is still in the early stages as well, says Addison, who hopes to be open by the summer of 2018.

Stat up-to-date on the progress of the two breweries mentioned herein by following each company's Facebook page (Parker County Brewing Co., Pathfinder Brewery).

Thursday, June 29, 2017

All aboard for Armadillo's new Land Yacht IPA

Image courtesty of Armadillo Ale Works.

After more than four years of being one of the few North Texas brewing operations to eschew the IPA, Armadillo Ale Works of Denton has altered course to produce a version of craft beer's most popular style.

Land Yacht IPA (7.3% ABV, 75 IBU) is set to embark on an introductory tour of the Metroplex, after which it will join Armadillo's core lineup alongside Honey Please, Royal Champ and Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat. The beer is an American IPA that's been brewed to style, featuring a copious amount of Azacca, Mosaic, Citra, Columbus, and Centennial hops.

But why, you may ask, would a company that's known for its uniqueness decide to release a stylistic IPA at this point in its evolution? According to co-founder Yianni Arestis, it's all about doing the unexpected, which up to now has been a hallmark of Armadillo's approach.

"Normally, we cross style boundaries and use special ingredients in our beers to offer the consumer something tasty, interesting and truly different," says Arestis. "After coming out with seven beers like that, though, we felt it would be cool to show people we can brew to style with the best of them."

Special Land Yacht IPA glassware will be available at launch events occurring this weekend (Armadillo Ale Works).

Along those lines, you won't find any additives in Land Yacht IPA. With so many different takes on the IPA in the market these days, many falling in line with the current trend of adding fruit infusions, Arestis and co-founder Bobby Mullins chose to go against the grain in sticking to style. Accordingly, their first IPA foray is all about the hops, a characteristic that's been subtly built into the Land Yacht name.

"We wanted a name that hinted at the beer using 'a boatload of hops,' as well as something that alluded to going on a 'tropical flavor trip,'" says Arestis. "Since it's an American IPA, we figured a big, classic American car, a land yacht if you will, would make sense. Plus, the longhorns on the hood are an obvious tie-in to our Texas roots."

As for how it turned out, an early sample of Land Yacht IPA shows it to be a beer that gives off notes of sharp citrus and pine initially, with a ripe pineapple and tropical fruit character developing as it opens up. It's a little dank and a little musky with not a lot of bitterness, the latter meaning more emphasis was put on highlighting hop flavor and aroma. The beer is neither east coast or west in terms of a regional designation, but rather something that falls somewhere in the middle. Given that, instead of trying to pin it down, maybe just call Land Yacht IPA what it is...a really good, easy-drinking Armadillo-style IPA.

Land Yacht IPA will be available as a draft-only offering. Look for it on tap beginning this weekend at launch parties planned at the following locations.

Friday, June 30
  • East Side, Denton: 7-10 p.m.
Saturday, July 1
  • Lakewood Growler, Dallas: 4-7 p.m.
  • Brewed, Fort Worth: 6-9 p.m.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Celis signs with Andrews for North Texas distribution

Image credit: Celis Brewery.

Taking another step in its brand revival, Celis Brewery of Austin has signed with Andrews Distributing Co. for the delivery of its products to the North Texas market.

Celis Brewery originally arrived on the Texas scene in 1992, being founded by renowned Belgian brewer Pierre Celis. His daughter Christine now carries the mantle of the family name with her new venture, which will operate out of a 22,000 square-foot facility in Northwest Austin. There, Christine's team will brew Pierre’s famous Belgian-style recipes, including the award-winning witbier, Celis White.

Christine Celis, founder and CEO of Celis Brewery, says she is excited to watch the re-introduction of Celis’ beers in North Texas.

“Our beers from Celis Brewery were really popular in North Texas when we were first brewing in the 1990s. It is incredibly exciting to be back brewing Celis Brewery’s original recipes like the famous Celis White and Celis Grand Cru using the proprietary yeast from Belgium,” says Celis. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm we have received as we have started reintroducing our Celis beers this month. We are thrilled to be working with Andrews Distributing to make sure people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex can find Celis beers at their favorite locations.”

Kelli Hopson, Andrews craft brand manager, says the Andrews team looks forward to being a part of Celis’ growth and success in Texas.

“The Celis name is famous in the beer community and is synonymous with Belgian-style beer,” says Hopson. “All of us at Andrews are thrilled to work with this award-winning team and its world-class beers. We look forward to helping them expand their presence in their home state of Texas and connecting them with beer lovers in Dallas-Fort Worth.”

According to a press release, Andrews plans to launch Celis in North Texas the week of July 3. The initial rollout will include Celis White on draft, with beers like Pale Bock and Citrus Grandis IPA slated to arrive on draft in August. After that, consumers should expect to see all three beers in bottles come September.

For more information on Celis and the brewery's upcoming events, visit

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rahr & Sons recognized at 2017 North American Beer Awards

Image credit:
North American Brewers Association.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth has once again been awarded medals at a national competition, this time being recognized for three of its beers at the 2017 North American Beer Awards.

The North American Beer Awards, which is held in conjunction with the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest, is an event put on by the North American Brewers Association. The competition, now in its 21st year, is judged based on style guidelines compiled by the North American Brewers Association Style Advisory Committee. Beers are evaluated in 92 categories by a panel of brewers, certified judges and other industry professionals.

This year, Rahr & Sons brought home the following medals:

  • Gold for Regulator in the Doppelbock category.
  • Silver for Ugly Pug in the Schwarzbier (Black Beer) category.
  • Silver for Iron Joe in the Coffee Beer category.

A full list of winners may be found by clicking here.

Cheers and congratulations to Rahr & Sons!

Lakewood French Quarter Temptress now out in four-packs

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Partnering once again with Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters for its annual release, French Quarter Temptress from Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is now available.

On the market for the first time in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles, French Quarter Temptress is a beer that's said to capture the spirit and attitude of New Orleans. It's brewed with chicory and barrel-aged coffee beans, the latter having been aged in freshly-emptied bourbon barrels for months.

“A lot of people mistakenly think this is a barrel-aged beer because they hear the word ‘barrel’ and automatically assume the beer came from a barrel,” said Wim Bens, founder of the brewery. “We always like seeing people’s reactions when we tell them that the beer wasn’t aged in a barrel, but the coffee beans we used in it were. The chicory adds a nice depth of sweet spice to the beer, and gives it that little je ne sais quoi.”

Deliveries of French Quarter Temptress began this week in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Shipments to other Texas markets are slated to occur in the coming weeks.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Texas Ale Project named official beer of the 2017 NFFC

Image credit: National Fantasy Football Convention.

Looking to introduce its products to a wider audience, Texas Ale Project has announced a new tie-in which will see its brand recognized as the official beer of the 2017 National Fantasy Football Convention (NFFC).

The NFFC, for those that aren't aware, is a collaborative venture founded by a group that includes former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo. It was originally slated to debut in 2015, but legal wranglings led to its cancellation the past two years. Now set to occur at Fair Park in Dallas from July 14-16, the three-day event will feature exhibits, performances and parties, where fans can interact with more than 50 current and former NFL players.

"We're truly excited about our new partnership with the NFFC. This is a unique opportunity to grow our brand and bring football fans and quality craft beer closer together," says Kat Thompson, CEO and co-founder of Texas Ale Project. "We appreciate the NFFC's support of local businesses like ours."

As part of the festivities, Texas Ale Project will host the NFFC After Party at its location in the Dallas Design District on Saturday, July 15. Admission to the after party is included in the price of a convention ticket, which can be obtained by visiting In addition, take note that attendees may use code TAP17 to receive $20 off the regular ticket price.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Community introduces Passiflora White IPA

Image courtesy of Community Beer Co.

Being billed as a new, refreshing summer offering, Community Beer Co. of Dallas is set to release Passiflora White IPA.

Named for the passion fruit flower, Passiflora follows the style of a white IPA in that it's cross between an American IPA and a Belgian witbier. In this case, though, Community has put it's on spin on the style by adding a generous amount of passion fruit puree to a beer that's brewed with a blend of Mosaic and Citra hops.

"We're big fans of hoppy beers here at the brewery, and we wanted to brew something that pairs perfectly with summertime weather," says Jamie Fulton, brewmaster at Community. "Passion fruit is a slightly tart, tropical fruit which compliments the flavors and aromas of the hop blend. The signature spicy Belgian yeast ties the whole beer together, resulting in a very drinkable, hop-forward IPA that craft beer fans are sure to enjoy!"

Look for Passiflora White IPA to be available during the summer months, both on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles. An official launch party for the beer will be held at Community's taproom in the Dallas Design District on Thursday, June 29 at 5 p.m.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Draft maintenance the focus of new North Texas company

Image credit: Texas Draft Services.

For many breweries, there was once a time when a single person served in the capacity of owner, brewer, salesperson and delivery driver all in one. Today, though, there's a call for more specialized services as breweries expand and the number of accounts they service continues to grow. It's seen with distribution, but also in the realm of things like on- and off-premise sampling events. It's the natural order of things, as breweries look to free up employees to focus more of their time on the production of quality beer.

That's one reason why David Herrera created Texas Draft Services, the area's first full-service draft maintenance business. Yet, while his firm's work helps lighten the load for brewers, it's just one aspect of the company's overall mission.

"Draft maintenance plays a vital role in the on-premise beer scene, and many accounts are not fully educated on the importance of clean beer lines," says Herrera. "At Texas Draft Services, we hope to provide a reliable, quality control solution, but we also want to help educate the North Texas market on the finer points of proper draft maintenance."

It's a subject that needs to be addressed, Herrera believes, based on things has seen in his time working for Andrews Distributing and, more recently, Full Clip Craft Distributors.

"True line cleanings are not being done in today's market," explains Herrera."What I mean by that is faucets are not being broken down during each cleaning, the right amount of caustic is not being used, and those doing the work are not giving the cleaning solution enough time to do its job. Procedures are being rushed without enough attention to detail."

Even worse, some accounts are literally pouring profits down the drain, something Herrera's refers to as the "true cost" of what might otherwise be advertised as a free line cleaning.

"Instead of running water to clear out the cleaning solution, many people will use beer to flush the lines," says Herrera. "Not only does this waste beer and cut potential profits for the account, there's also no guarantee that the cleaning solution has been cleared from the line. Using water and checking its PH level before and after cleanings is a better option, and one that would save lost beer and profits."

The need for company like Texas Draft Services is all the more compelling if you consider the fact that no oversight exists in the State of Texas as to how line cleanings should be done. It's a surprising revelation, when you consider how active (or overactive, depending on your point of view) a certain regulatory agency is in policing other facets of the industry .

"In many states, there are legal requirements related to draft beer maintenance and who is responsible for it," says Herrera. "An example is Ohio, where establishments must go through a third party to have their draft systems maintained. In Texas, though, there are no regulations and anyone can perform a cleaning."

Recognizing this lack of direction at the state level, Herrera and his team work from a set of best practices derived from the Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality Manual. It's a guide that sets industry standards for the operation and maintenance of draft systems, such that operators can achieve maximum dividends from their investment in serving technology.

Of course, as Herrera is quick to point out, providing consumers a quality craft beer experience is equally important.

"We honestly want to make the Metroplex a better place when it comes to on-premise consumption," says Herrera. "That's something that will help small brewers as well, especially if we're talking about a customer's first impression of a beer or brewery. If we can make sure every beer tastes the way it should, then we've given that product a chance to be the beer of choice for a particular consumer."

More information on Texas Draft Services, including further discussion of the issues mentioned above, can be found on the company's website at In addition, those interested in delving into the dollars and cents side of things can click here to view a presentation produced by the Brewers Association entitled "Economics of Draft Quality."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Shannon utilizes new yeast in creating Super Saison

Image courtesy of
Shannon Brewing Co.
Earlier this month, Shannon Brewing Co. of Keller let it be known a new beer was in the works in the form of Shannon Super Saison. What wasn't immediately revealed, however, is the fact that this imperial Belgian-style saison was brewed with a new yeast strain.

Shannon and another company in Milwaukee, WI, are the first two commercial breweries in North and South America to ferment beer with Fermentis SafAle BE-134. According to Kevin Lane, technical sales manager for Fermentis, the strain is ideal for use in saisons. In addition to lending fruit and spice elements to a beer, SafAle BE-134 is characterized by a particular high attenuation.

The attenuation factor surely played a role in selecting the yeast for use in Shannon Super Saison, which is notable for its added strength.

"Fermentis has been a great partner and we are very proud to be the first brewery in the U.S. to brew with this yeast," says founder Shannon Carter. "Our Super Saison was a true challenge for this yeast. The beer had an original gravity (OG) of 18.7 and a final gravity (FG) of 1.2, giving the beer an ABV of 9.5%. The aroma is beautiful, with hints of citrus and some clove, while the taste is effervescent and refreshing with a slight alcohol kick in the finish."

Lane would appear to agree with Carter's assessment, based on his impression of how the beer turned out.

"I've tasted the beer that Shannon is working on and I am very excited about the finished product," adds Lane. "I will be there when it launches for sure."

Look for Shannon Super Saison to be available for a limited time on draft and in cans. The beer will debut in the brewery's taproom on Friday, June 9, prior to being tapped for Shannon's upcoming Dad Fest event, occurring on Saturday, June 10.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Texas Ale Project crafts Good to Go to support veterans

Image courtesy of Texas Ale Project.

Looking to give back and make a difference in the lives of veterans, Texas Ale Project (TAP) of Dallas has created a special beer to benefit Honor Courage Commitment, Inc. (HCC). It's an organization that provides education and training to veteran entrepreneurs.

The beer, dubbed Good to Go Pale Ale (5.3% ABV, 32 IBU), came to be after TAP founders Kat and Brent Thompson met with the veterans of HCC. Entrepreneurs and members of a military family themselves, the Thompsons came away from that meeting excited about the opportunity to help veterans start their own businesses, while building successful lives back home. To that end, Good to Go was developed with the mission of empowering veterans, with a portion of the proceeds from its sales to be donated to HCC.

For more on the work being done by Honor Courage Commitment, Inc., visit HCC's website at In addition, veterans interested in pursuing a career in the brewing industry may send their resume and cover letter for consideration to

As for Good to Go, the beer will be sold on draft and in six-packs of 12-oz cans. Look for it wherever TAP beers are sold.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lakewood shipping summertime drinkable duo

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Summer seems to finally have arrived in North Texas, and with it comes two seasonal releases from Lakewood Brewing Co.

The first of these offers a new spin on an old favorite, as Zomer Pils (draft, cans) is now dry-hopped with Lemondrop and noble hops to give the beer a touch of citrus flavor, along with a grassy element. With the changes, consumers should expect a beer that maintains its thirst quenching quality, but now with an added flair.

"We're excited to re-release Zomer with this little hoppy twist," says Wim Bens, founder and president of the brewery. "We honestly didn't think this beer could get any more refreshing, but we proved ourselves wrong with this brew."

As for the other summertime beer, Artsy Tartsy (draft only) has been tapped for wide release after first being a taproom/special event-only beer. This time, though, Lakewood has added peaches in order to take the beer to another level. 

"Artsy Tartsy is just as refreshing, with a slightly fruitier spin on it," says Bens. "We chose a Berliner weisse since the style pairs so well with fruit, and nothing screams summer quite like fresh peaches. The added tartness, low ABV and bitterness make the beer highly drinkable."

Look for both beers to be available throughout DFW beginning this week, with shipments to other markets happening in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

On the BrewHaHa and Four Corners' new spot in The Cedars

Image credit: Go Oak Cliff.

For years now, Brew Riot has been one of a handful of local events that celebrate the homebrewer...a.k.a. the origin of the craft beer movement. This year, though, Brew Riot wasn't meant to be. The festival's growth over its first eight years has forced organizers to seek out a new place to hold the event, which they say will return bigger and better in 2018.

In its place for 2017, though, fans of Brew Riot were presented with an alternative in the form of the first ever Dallas BrewHaHa. Produced by Go Oak Cliff, the same folks behind Brew Riot, the placeholder event (as it's been called) went down this past weekend, bringing with it a new vibe and a new venue with which to celebrate craft beer culture.

The vibe, in this case, had more of a standard weekend festival-type feel, with vendors, artisans and food tents replacing the surroundings of the bustling Bishop Arts neighborhood. It was different, but not in a bad way, being simply a more everyday way for the craft beer community to come together.

With respect to the venue, BreHaHa was held at the new facility of Four Corners Brewing Co. in The Cedars (located at 1311 S. Ervay St.). Set up on a two-acre tract of land in that South Dallas neighborhood, the brewery's new digs sit opposite the historic Ambassador Hotel. A warehouse built on the spot in 1925 has been renovated to house the company's 16,000 square foot production space, which will be offset by a taproom-to-be under construction inside an existing building off its front elevation. That structure, incidentally, once served as stables for the hotel across the way (see image captions for more on Four Corners' new location).

The Ambassador Hotel hovers over the front of Four Corners' location in The Cedars. A taproom is under construction in the building to the right (off-image). It will an feature an event space, on-site food service, and a small-batch brewing system as its centerpiece (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Four Corners is replacing its original 30-bbl system with a new setup anchored by a four-vessel 50-bbl brewhouse (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

It was the beer, though, that ultimately brought everyone together for the BrewHaHa, as just short of 30 homebrew teams signed up to compete and sample their latest creations.

Among them were at least two entities that hope to be open and serving the public by this time next year. Oak Cliff Brewing Co., working to set up shop at Tyler Station in Oak Cliff, served up a portfolio led by a twosome of tasty lagers - Oak Cliff Export and Bishop Black Lager, while Steam Theory Brewing Co., under construction in Trinity Groves, poured a Dank IPA and the wonderful Wee Piggy (a bourbon barrel-aged wee heavy).

Also looking to join the professional ranks at some point is Celestial Beerworks, which showed an affinity for hops with brews like Kepler (a New England-style IPA) and Gravitational Collapse (American pale ale). Yet another, Bleshoux Brewing, produced my favorite beer of the day, a spice-infusion by the name of Chai Times Blonde Stout.

Surveying others on hand, longtime Brew Riot participants like Mox Nix Brewery (currently collaborating with Cobra Brewing Co. on beers like Raspberry Rye and Citra Blond) and Knowles Brothers Craft Brewing continued to impress, the latter even rolling out a ridiculous 18.5% ABV imperial stout called By-Tor.

They led a wave of relative newcomers (i.e. groups that have only been around a year or two) that combined to produce a range of interesting beers that didn't seem to take any current trends too seriously. Teams just made good beer, for the most part and, in fact, I'd say the quality of the beers offered was as good or better than it has ever been...whether we be talking about Brew Riot or other area homebrew extravaganzas.

As for what else I tried, a handful of notable brews are listed below. Those who created them may be unfamiliar, but who knows...someday one might be a household name. Cheers!

Bigtone Brewing - Zaragosa Mexican Coffee Stout
Brutal Beerworks - Hop Suey
Driveway Brewing - Barrel-Aged Krew Brew (vanilla milk stout).
East Dallas Brewing Co. - Vienna Lager
Holy Brewing - Barrel-Aged Honey Tripel

* Visit Go Oak Cliff's Facebook page to see additional images from the event.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shiner harvests the Hill Country for Peach Wheat

Image credit: The Gambrinus Co.

When a little white box from the little brewery in Shiner shows up at my door in the spring or summer, it's a fairly safe bet that some sort of fruit beer is in the offing. Just consider what the Spoetzl Brewery has produced during warm weather months over the past few years. Beers like Ruby Redbird, Prickly Pear and Strawberry Blonde have all hit the market once the mercury started rising in the Lone Star State.

In each of those instances, the fruit used to make the beer was harvested right here in Texas, which is a trend that continues with the latest beer in Shiner's Brewer's Pride series, Hill County Peach Wheat (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU). It's a beer that's brewed with a mix of 2-row and wheat malt, along with other natural flavors, but the peaches are what brings "the Hill Country to your hand."

Peach Wheat makes for a fine poolside potation (The Gambrinus Co.).

Now, make no mistake, Hill Country Peach Wheat is peachy, and not in a contrived way like a lot of beers that claim to feature the fuzzy fruit's flavor. It's just that other than a hint of wheat grain in the finish, peaches more or less dominate the palate. So, the question of the beer's appeal would seem to come down to whether the peach presence is too much of a good thing.

On that note, my impression of Hill Country Peach Wheat follows almost directly in line with what I thought about Shiner Prickly Pear. When the beer is's a refreshing and effervescent beverage that stops just short of the soda-like quality I sensed when drinking Ruby Redbird. Let it get too warm, though, and it feels as if the sweetness starts to linger just a little bit too long.

Be that as it may, Hill Country Peach Wheat almost certainly isn't meant to be a sipping beer. Rather than setting aside time to savor a beer like this, you're more likely to shotgun it on a hot summer day. Just keep it cold and keep it koozied, if that's the case, and you'll be good to go should you decide to pop a Peach Wheat poolside.

Like all Brewer's Pride release, Shiner Hill Country Peach Wheat will only be available for a limited time. Look for it on tap, in 24-ounce bombers, and in 12-ounce bottles as part of the brewery's Family Reunion six pack.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Backcountry Brewery closes Rowlett location

Image credit: Backcountry Brewery.
Fifteen months after opening for business, Backcountry Brewery has closed its Texas location in Rowlett.

Based in Frisco, Colorado, Backcountry began operations in Rowlett after agreeing to purchase the equipment of the defunct FireWheel Brewing Co. in December 2015. The brewery held its grand opening the following February, eventually going on to brew and package four of its beers on-site for distribution to the local market.

Along those lines, cans of Backcountry's Amber, Pale Ale, Double IPA and Texas IPA will be sold at retail until inventory is exhausted, however, it's unclear if product shipments will continue from the company's brewpub in Colorado, which remains open.

The Rowlett closure, which was announced on Facebook, became effective as of May 13.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lakewood, Rahr & Sons medal at 2017 San Diego International Beer Competition

Image credit: San Diego
International Beer Competition.
Two local breweries continue to impress the judges in California-based competitions, as both and Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. have followed up recent wins in Los Angeles with additional medals awarded at the 2017 San Diego International Beer Competition.

In existence since 2007, the San Diego International Beer Competition honors top breweries from around the world through the judging of styles as defined by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). Entries are evaluated by BJCP-certified judges and select industry professionals, with this year's event recognizing standouts in 57 different style categories.

A list of medals awarded to the aforementioned breweries from North Texas is given below, with a complete list of winners to be found by clicking here.

Lakewood Brewing Company
  • Gold for Goatman in the American-Style India Black Ale category.
  • Silver for Rahr's Blonde in the European Lager category.
  • Bronze for Iron Thistle in the Scottish-Style Ale category.

Cheers and congratulations to the winners!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Revolver releases Full-Tang for the first time in bottles

Image credit: Revolver Brewing.

After first appearing on the scene last summer as a draft-only offering, Full-Tang IPA from Revolver Brewing is out this week for the first time in bottles, and it's likely already resting on a retail shelf near you.

Full-Tang (7.2% ABV, 50 IBU) is an IPA that's brewed with tangerine peel, along with four different hop varieties (Saphir, Mandarina, Apollo and Citra), to fulfill the brewery's "tangerine-fueled" quest to design a stellar IPA.

In fact, two of the hop varieties used - Mandarina and Saphir - are noted for their tangerine qualities, with Mandarina sometimes being described as a "tangerine machine." Brought together with flavors imparted by the addition of Apollo and Citra hops, the resulting brew features a mix of tropical and citrus fruit flavors backed by an engaging floral essence.

Packaged in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles, Full-Tang IPA's official release date was May 8, with availability forecasted to last through July. After that, expect to see Redshift Spiced Red Ale to land on local shelves, with bottles of that beer slated to hit the market during the first week of August. For more on that and other products to come later this year, check out Revolver's complete 2017 release schedule on the brewery's website.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rahr & Sons to present check to USS Fort Worth Support Committee, June 17

Image credit: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

In the latest example of its commitment to philanthropy, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. will present a check for $5594 to the USS Forth Worth Support Committee next month.

The money was raised through the sale of the brewery's American-style session ale, The Fort Worth. A portion of all sales of The Fort Worth are donated annually to the Committee, which provides moral support to the crew and families of the USS Fort Worth.

Officers from the USS Fort Worth will be on hand for the presentation of the check, which will occur during Rahr & Sons regular tasting event on Saturday, June 17 from 1-3 p.m. Admission to the event will be $10pp, with attendees receiving a commemorative pint glass and three beer samples.

In related news, Rahr & Sons has also reached its initial $10,000 fundraising goal related to efforts benefitting the work of charity: water. Combining these numbers with money raised through other initiatives, the brewery has now raised more than $160,000 for numerous nonprofit organizations since 2004.

"Supporting our community is a key aspect of Rahr & Sons' mission statement," says co-owner Erin Rahr. "We feel fortunate that our business growth has allowed our definition of community to expand with it, so we are able to have a positive impact on people around the world."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Local breweries honored at 2017 Los Angeles International Beer Competition

Image credit: Fairplex.
Winners were recently announced at the 2017 Los Angeles International Beer Competition, with three local breweries garnering recognition.

Now in its 17th year, the Los Angeles International Beer Competition seeks to recognize the finest in commercial beers and is open to any licensed brewery or brewpub from around the world. In addition to entries from 29 U.S. states, beers judged in the 2017 event were received from countries as far away as Croatia and Vietnam.

Drawing from a pool of 1460 entries sent in by 240 breweries, awards were handed out in 95 different categories according to the following breakdown: 88 Gold, 89 Silver, 81 Bronze and 35 honorable mentions.

As for North Texas, area breweries taking home medals are summarized below (click here for a full list of winners):

Community Beer Company

  • Gold for Legion in the Imperial Stout category.
  • Bronze for Texas Helles in the Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest category.
  • Silver for Sin Mint Temptress in the Experimental Beer category.
  • Honorable Mention for Bourbon Barrel Temptress in the Wood-and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category.
  • Bronze for Midnight Cab in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

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.