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 www.facebook.com/CelisBeers.


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 GoNFFC.com. 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 http://texasdraftservices.com. 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 hccvet.org. In addition, veterans interested in pursuing a career in the brewing industry may send their resume and cover letter for consideration to info@texasaleproject.com.

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 cold...ice cold...it'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.
Lakewood

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 beer...at 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
Dallas

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.

Cheers!


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 RidersBaseball.com, 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.