Friday, April 20, 2018

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - April 20, 2018 edition

A fresh round of North Texas brewery blurbs includes news on four future brewing companies, a new look for an east side operation, and the start of distribution for a barbecuing brewpub.

Cheers!


G Town gets the green light in Greenville

The City of Greenville has approved plans for G Town Brewery, meaning the future brewpub can move on to the construction phase. Since closing on a site at 2824 Lee St., the company had been seeking the waiver of a moratorium on alterations to structures in Greenville's downtown district. That moratorium was rescinded in January, which cleared the way for G Town to initiate the standard permitting process.


Thirsty Bro debuts new logo, can designs

Things continue to be busy over at Thirsty Bro Brewing Co. of Royse City. In addition to signing on as a founding partner of the Royse City Griffins, an independent league baseball team set to begin play in 2019, the brewery recently debuted a new logo and initial packaging designs for two of its beers. Cans of Southern Belle Porter and Bro'd Trip English Style IPA are expected to hit retail later this year.


Brutal Beerworks raising funds via Indiegogo

Brutal Beerworks is the latest entity to turn to crowdfunding as a way to raise funds for its proposed project. The company, which hopes to set up shop in North Richland Hills, has established an open-ended goal of $75,000. Funds would go towards closing and construction on a location, equipment and the required permits. Click here to visit the campaign page, where you can learn more about the group and its plans.


Intrinsic begins North Texas distribution

After signing with Austin-based Flood Independent Distribution, the beers of Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery are now available at draft accounts around North Texas. The agreement took effect in April, after which a launch event was held at Opa Greek Taverna, the Garland brewpub's first outside account.


TABC approves two new North Texas operations

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) issued licenses for Flix Brewhouse Little Elm and Oak Cliff Brewing Co. of Dallas on back-to-back days earlier this month. Both operations are currently under construction, with Flix Little Elm slated to open at the end of April, and Oak Cliff Brewing targeting the end of May at the earliest.



Image credits (top to bottom, click to enlarge): G Town Brewery, Thirsty Bro Brewing Co., Brutal Beerworks, Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery, Flix Brewhouse, Oak Cliff Brewing Co.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Girls Pint Out establishes D-FW chapter

Image courtesy of Girls Pint Out Dallas-Fort Worth.

Aligning with a national mission to build a community of women who love craft beer, and who are an active, contributing part of the greater craft beer community, a chapter of Girls Pint Out has been created in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Formed by Sandra DiPretore, co-founder of Murphy's Law Brew Co. - a North Texas brewery in development, the local affiliate joins an organization that consists of more than 100 chapters in over 30 states.

"GPO is a national non-profit organization for women who enjoy craft beer," says DiPretore. "There are several chapters in Texas, but there hasn't been one in D-FW until now. I want it to be not only a way for women to get together and enjoy a pint, but also a way to further educate consumers and breweries alike."

Along those lines, Girls Pint Out events will offer a forum for discussion, education and fun. And joining the movement couldn't be simpler, since all it takes is showing up at an event to enjoy a pint.

"We'll have a casual meet-up on the third Thursday of every month on both the Fort Worth and Dallas sides of town," adds DiPretore. "Then, once a month, there will be a more formal meet up. For those, I am working on setting up food pairings, education classes, theme nights and more."

Official launch parties for Dallas-Fort Worth Girls Pint Out will occur at North Texas locations of Taps & Caps during the next two weeks. Celis Brewery of Austin has donated kegs for each event, with all sales to be donated to charity.


Dallas Launch:
  • Saturday, April 7 from 1-4 p.m. at Taps & Caps, Lewisville.
    Beneficiary: Dallas-Fort Worth Girls Pint Out - money raised will help fund the purchase of marketing materials and the development of future classes.

Fort Worth Launch:
  • Saturday, April 14 from 1-4 p.m. at Taps & Caps, Fort Worth.
    Beneficiary: Project 2713 - money raised will go to support inner-family adoptions which rarely qualify for government aid, enabling orphaned children to remain with loving family members.

Monthly Meet-up (brewery locations will rotate every month):



For more information on Dallas-Fort Worth Girls Pint Out (Facebook, Twitter), or if you are interested in hosting or sponsoring an event, contact Sandra DiPretore at dfw@girlspintout.org.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

My 2018 Big Texas tasting card

Image credits: Brewvolution, Braindead Brewing, AleSmith Brewing Co., Tupps Brewery, Celis Brewery,
Hemisphere Brewing Co., Division Brewing, 903 Brewers, Turning Point Beer, On Rotation, Real Ale Brewing Co.

Having completed its seventh installment this weekend, one might wonder if Big Texas Beer Fest (BTBF) is susceptible to the idea of a "seven year itch." Judging by the size and consistency of the crowds, though, I'd say such a sentiment isn't something that warrants discussion. Clearly, the craft beer love affair still lingers, and BTBF continues to be a can't miss event.

So, what went down during the 2018 festivities? Well, one of the highlights at this year's event was the eagerly-anticipated appearance of Turning Point Beer of Bedford. The area's newest brewing operation wasn't the only one making its first festival foray, though, as Division Brewing out of Arlington debuted as well. Both offered attendees a taste of three different beers on Friday, with Turning Point pouring two IPAs (Snowblower, Single Hoptions Enigma) and an imperial stout (Ebony an Ebony), and Division doling out a pale ale (Transmissions from Idaho 7), a stout (Ben Stout) and a saison (Born of Oak).

Also drawing interest was the booth of 903 Brewers, as the Sherman-based company trotted out a selection of eight high-ABV beers. Five were Sasquatch variants, one of which I would count among the best local beers I've had in 2018. That brew, Bordeaux Barrel-Aged Sasquatch, draws its defining character from casks sourced from Opus One Winery in the Napa Valley.

Beyond that, given the ongoing haze craze, a mention of New England IPAs is in order. Tupps Double Dry-Hopped IPA #2 led local options, with others consisting of 3 Nations Haze Wizard, Franconia Hazy Dhaze, Humperdinks Misty Mountain Hops, Malai Kitchen Denali IPA, Manhattan Project Double Half-Life and Turning Point Snowblower. Not surprisingly, results were varied, and whether or not this one or that one truly constituted a NEIPA was likely a matter of debate at some point in the evening. Either way, all came across as good IPAs, regardless of stylistic semantics.

As for the usual roundup of festival favorites, a six-pack of notable brews can be found below. Standard disclaimers apply...these beers are new to the market, or at least new to me, which is why you won't see a list of known whales in what follows.

Cheers!


AleSmith Speedway Stout with Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee: Earthy roast and flavors of dark chocolate dominate this Speedway variant made with cold-brewed coffee from the Caribbean.

Braindead Piper at the Gates of Dawn: A tasty Scotch ale with a wee bit of roast, thanks to the infusion of Noble Coyote coffee beans. Oh, and it gets bonus points for the Pink Floyd debut album reference.

Celis Raspberry: If memory serves, Celis Raspberry represents the first fruit beer I ever tried. Of course, that was back when the original Celis Brewery was operating in Austin during the 1990s. And like all of the returning recipes, this beer brings back memories of days gone by.

Hemisphere Black Sacrament: Solid and straightforward, Black Sacrament is an imperial stout that stands on its own without any additive ingredients.

On Rotation Grisette w/ Lemon, Ginger & Grapefruit: A fruity and funky refresher, with a touch of spice, a hint of tartness and a slightly bitter edge.

Real Ale Mysterium Verum Cease & Desisyphus: A rum barrel-aged version of Sisyphus, this beer features rich flavors of caramel and molasses, with a vanilla flourish in the finish.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bluffview Growler adding small-batch brewhouse


Image credit: Bluffview Growler.

Just over a year after it began filling growlers near the Park Cities neighborhood of Dallas, Bluffview Growler is looking to add to its business by offering patrons the option of house-brewed beer.

Dale Czech, who co-owns both Bluffview Growler and Lakewood Growler with wife Stacie, was a homebrewer before he opened the Lakewood shop in early 2014. He'll utilize those skills, while teaming with Ross Frederick and Mason MacPhail from the Dallas Homebrew Collective, to craft small-batch recipes covering flavor profiles not well represented in the local market.

"We ordered a one-barrel system, which we'll use to fill two or three taps to complement our existing lineup," says Czech. "This will be a fun project for us, and we view it as a way to evolve our craft offerings by producing experimental beers with fresh ingredients and hops that are more difficult to brew on a larger scale."

On the subject of styles, Czech let it be known that hazy, juicy IPAs are something that's definitely on the team's radar. Beyond that, though, indications are that style choices will generally fall in line with the season.

As for when this will all take place, federal and state license applications are currently pending. Once those go through, test batches will be run initially, which means it'll likely be closer to the summer before production gets underway. When that happens, expect to see Bluffview beers on tap in house, as well as at the Lakewood location.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Beer by way of Beetle and Bus: German autos adorn Franconia's 10th anniversary packaging

Case boxes in the form of a classic Volkswagen Pickup will include six packs of all
four of Franconia's anniversary brews (all images courtesy of Franconia Brewing Co.).

Following an announcement earlier this month revealing plans for its yearlong 10th anniversary celebration, Franconia Brewing Co. of McKinney has released images of package designs the company has created for its line of anniversary brews.

Individual six packs of four distinct styles will be shipped on a quarterly basis, according to the schedule outlined below. That doesn't mean you'll have to wait to try all four beers, however, since the full range will be brewed all year long and sold in special mixed cases (see the lead image above) at select locations around North Texas.

Regarding the package designs, Franconia founder Dennis Wehrmann decided to go with imagery inspired by a classic German automobile brand as a way to balance the fact that recipes for three of the four anniversary beers have origins outside of his homeland.

"We chose to do something out of the ordinary with our 10th anniversary beers, only one of which is based on a traditional German style," says Wehrmann. "We're a German brewery, though, so we thought we needed to add a German element to all the beers to recognize our heritage. And, what better way to do that than to design the packaging around a German icon like Volkswagen."

Images of label and six-pack carrier designs are provided below, as are tasting notes taken from pre-release samples. As for availability, look for anniversary mixed cases and six-packs of Hazy Dhaze to begin arriving at retailers towards the end of March.


Spring

Hazy Dhaze (New England IPA, 6.8% ABV): Franconia's foray into the realm of New England IPAs is brewed with wheat and oats to promote the style's characteristic cloudiness, while a mix of Denali, Calypso and Lemondrop hops is used to create the beer's "juicy" element.

Six-pack carrier design: Volkswagen Bus.



Summer

Fun in the Sun (Belgian Blonde, 8.1% ABV): Easy drinking and sneaky strong, a traditional Abbey ale yeast infuses Fun in the Sun with a complex mix of funk, fruit and spice.

Six-pack carrier design: Volkswagen Thing.



Fall

Full Steam Ahead (California Common, 5.1% ABV): Franconia's entry into the steam beer category hits the nail on the head in terms of style, with its grainy malt backbone and pronounced hop presence.

Six-pack carrier design: Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.



Winter

Chicken Dance (Bordeaux-Aged Wheat Bock, 8.2% ABV): The brewery's original winter seasonal, Winter Wheat, is aged on Bordeaux to give the beer a woody, vinous character, with hints of dark fruit and toasted malt rounding out the flavor profile.

Six-pack carrier design: Volkswagen Beetle.




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

May the schwarzbier with you: Rabbit Hole releasing latest Bluebonnet brew

Image credit: Rabbit Hole Brewing.

Continuing a tradition started in 2016, Rabbit Hole Brewing of Justin will again release a commercial batch of an award-winning brew from the country's largest single-site home brewing competition, the Bluebonnet Brew-Off.

Skroob's Black Lager (4.53% ABV) is a German-style schwarzbier with a name that references Spaceballsand a well-known line from the film, "May the Schwartz be with you." Featuring hints of chocolate and dark roasted malt, the beer is based off a recipe created by Robert Brown, who competed in the 2017 edition of the Bluebonnet as a member of the Houston-based Foam Rangers Homebrew Club.

In terms of awards, Brown's creation won gold in the Dark European Lager category during last year's competition, while also ranking third for Best of Show. As for Brown himself, he has taken his talents overseas, and is now the head brewer at 7 Bridges Brewing Co. in Viet Nam.

It'll be here in North Texas, though, where Skroob's Black Lager will make its debut, tapping first at the 2018 Bluebonnet. Now in its 32nd year, the event will take place Friday and Saturday, March 23-24, at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel. From there, the beer will be distributed in limited quantities, being made available on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Shannon adding new pilsner to its portfolio

Image courtesy of
Shannon Brewing Co.
Shannon Brewing Co. of Keller has announced a new addition to its year-round lineup in the form of Pussy Willow Pilsner (5.9% ABV, 25 IBU), a beer named for the blooming tree representing luck, good fortune, and prosperity - three things those behind the brewery think everyone can use.

Said to be "perfectly balanced with a subtle malt backbone and a light hop flavor," Pussy Willow Pilsner is brewed with Pilsen, Vienna and Munich malts, along with a blend of Tettnang and Saaz hop varieties. The beer is then lagered for over 40 days to create what the company describes as a "very approachable pilsner."

A launch party for Pussy Willow Pilsner will be held at the brewery on Friday, March 23. After that, pending label approval, Pussy Willow Pilsner will be available on draft and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans throughout Shannon's distribution footprint.

Friday, March 9, 2018

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - March 9, 2018 edition

The Conspectus returns after a month-long hiatus with news on two recently-opened entities, three breweries in development, and an update on what's new in cans.

Cheers!


New Main now pouring guest taps in Pantego

New Main Brewing Co. officially debuted in Pantego with a grand opening event on February 24. Currently operating as a taproom, the company hopes to purchase equipment and initiate brewing operations later this year. In the meantime, visitors to New Main can expect to find a selection of 20 predominantly Texas-based craft beverages on tap during regular business hours occurring six days a week (Tue-Sun).


Brewing operations underway at Parker County

Announced in a Facebook post, Parker County Brewing Co. of Willow Park completed its first commercial brew day on March 3. Presumably fermenting away, the inaugural offering is said to be an American-style stout brewed with four types of malt and a mix of Cascade and Centennial hops.


Turning Point brewing in Bedford

Production is underway at Turning Point Beer in Bedford, as the company looks to build up stock ahead of its grand opening on March 17. Over a dozen house beers are expected to be available to those attending the event, and judging by posts appearing on Turning Point's Facebook page, a handful of hazy IPAs are sure to be a part of the proceedings.


Steam Theory receives TABC license

Steam Theory Brewing Co. of Dallas is now officially licensed, after its permit was approved and issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) on February 28. Construction on the company's site in Trinity Groves is ongoing, but an official opening is still a few months away.


Happy Hippie launches crowdfunding campaign

Looking to establish a brewery on the north side of town, Happy Hippie Brewing Co. has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Founder Michael Frederick has set an open-ended goal of $75,000, an amount he hopes to use for construction costs and the purchase of equipment. Currently, Happy Hippie is still looking for a home, but at last report Frederick was targeting a spot in the City of Richardson.


Candemonium

A fresh round-up of year-round (Pegasus offerings) and seasonal beers (all the others) being sold in cans for the first time...
  • Legal Draft Bock Trial (7.0% ABV):  Doppelbock, available in 12-ounce six-packs.
  • 903 Friday Slide (10.47% ABV): Irish car bomb milk stout, available in 12-ounce six-packs.
  • Panther Island Sweet Fang (5.0% ABV): Chocolate peanut butter milk stout, available in 12-ounce six-packs.
  • Rabbit Hole Jabberbock (6.56% ABV): Maibock, available in 12-ounce six-packs
  • Martin House The Morrigan (12.28% ABV): Barrel-aged blonde barleywine, available in 12-ounce two-packs.
  • Tupps Full Grown Scallywag (12.1% ABV): Coconut vanilla imperial stout, available in 12-ounce four-packs.
  • Pegasus City Cannoneer (7.43% ABV): Bold amber, available in 12-ounce six-packs.
  • Pegasus City Sixth Floor (5.4% ABV): Easy porter, available in 12-ounce six-packs.

(click to enlarge)



Image credits (top to bottom): Brian Brown/Beer in Big D, Parker County Brewing Co., Turning Point Beer, Steam Theory Brewing Co., Happy Hippie Brewing Co., Legal Draft Beer Co., Panther Island Brewing Co., 903 Brewers, Rabbit Hole Brewing, Martin House Brewing Co., Tupps Brewery, Pegasus City Brewery.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

2018 NTX Pink Boots Brew Day set for March 8


Image credit: Pink Boots Society. 
Looking to raise the profile of women's roles in the beer industry, local chapters of the Pink Boots Society (PBS) will craft special beers in collaboration with supporting breweries during the month of March.

"Pink Boots groups all across the world will brew collaboration beers this month, with our North Texas chapter participating for the first time ever this year on Thursday, March 8," says Andrea Gillum, Pink Boots member and co-owner of The Thirsty Growler. "This date marks International Women's Day 2018, and it's almost one year to the day since we formed the North Texas Pink Boots Chapter."

Collaboration brews will incorporate a custom Pink Boots Blend of hops, featuring varieties supplied by YCH Hops. Made up of a mix of Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Loral hops, the proprietary blend is described as "fruity but not overly tropical, with more dominant citrus and herbal notes."

As for what type of beer the local chapter will create, the group led by Georgina Solis, brewer at Peticolas Brewing Co., will take on a classic craft beer style.

"The only requirement this year was to use the PBS hop blend," explains Solis. "Style was up to us and we decided on an American Pale Ale (mostly because of the hops), with the majority of the malt bill being English Maris Otter to incorporate the theme behind it all, International Women's Day. Because the majority of the grist is Maris Otter, we are adding a small amount of an experimental malt that will contribute a slight tartness to balance the foundation of this brew, and for the hops, it’ll be lower on the bitterness with a mouthful of citrus, fruity, and earthy flavors and aroma."

To be called Pinky Boots, the beer will be brewed at Oak Highlands Brewery, where co-owner Brad Mall has pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds from sales to PBS. Money raised will help fund Pink Boots' scholarships and other educational efforts, according to Gillum, who hopes the project will also encourage other women in the industry to join the 26 active members that currently make up the North Texas chapter.

"We are proud to be a part of this tradition, and proud to promote the PBS mission of advancing women in the craft beer industry through education," says Gillum.

Pinky Boots will debut as a draft-only release during an event to occur on March 24 at Oak Highlands (further details will be forthcoming). After that, look for the beer to be available on tap at select venues across North Texas.



For more information on the event or to learn how to become a member of the North Texas Pink Boots Chapter, email pbsntx@pinkbootssociety.org.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Special beers and a taproom to come for Franconia's 10th Anniversary

Image courtesy of Franconia Brewing Co.

On Monday February 26, 2018, Franconia Brewing Co. became only the second North Texas-based production brewery since Prohibition to be in business for 10 years. To celebrate this milestone, the brewery has plans for not only for a series of anniversary beers, but also for a rather significant addition to its facility in McKinney.



The back-story (from a press release):

"Since opening its doors in February 2008, Franconia Brewing Co. has been dedicated to providing world class German-style beer to drinkers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area using only the best ingredients. Franconia is more than just a local brewery, it is the essence of true Bavarian brewing. By combining local accessibility to North Texas with our German heritage, Franconia is able to provide the fine people of North Texas with a taste of some of the most genuine and freshest Bavarian beer available. Ten years later, Franconia is still one of the few breweries known for its quality and consistency.

Founder Dennis Wehrmann and others at Franconia champion the 'Green movement,' adopting many practices to help improve the environmental concerns in North Texas, such as recycling their mash into local cattle feed, operating in a state-of-the-art energy efficient building, and using solar panels for their power needs - thus making themselves stand apart from most other breweries.

It is that 'better beer,' along with a commitment to sustainability and community involvement, that has helped keep Franconia growing steadily in the increasingly competitive marketplace of the Texas craft beer industry over the last 10 years.

'The overwhelming support the community has continuously shown has been crucial to the brewery's success,' claims Wehrmann, who also attributes his success to the steady flow of attendees to the brewery tours he has held every Saturday since Franconia's inception."



As for how the brewery intends to commemorate its run, a year-long "10 Year Anniversary Celebration" will highlight the close relationship between brewery and community in several ways. First and perhaps foremost, the City of McKinney has approved the building of a "Bier Garden/Tap Room" on the premises right next to the current brewery. Expected to be completed this year, the existence of the taproom means Franconia will be open for business beyond its regular Saturday tours.

On top of that, consumers can look forward to the following four anniversary brews:

Hazy Dhaze - New England IPA.
Fun in the Sun - Belgian Blonde.
Full Steam Ahead - Steam Beer/California Common.
Chicken Dance - Bordeaux Aged Wheat Bock.

These beers will be released individually on a quarterly basis throughout the year, and also as part of a special anniversary case package (containing all four anniversary brews), to be made available at select locations throughout the year.

More information on the anniversary beers (artwork, tasting notes) and plans for the taproom will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Stay in the know by following Franconia on Facebook.

Lakewood enters the American IPA fray

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

After years of brewing other variations on the style (namely a Belgian IPA, a session IPA and a black India pale lager), Lakewood Brewing Co. has released its first American-style IPA.

Lakewood IPA (7% ABV, 50 IBU) is brewed with a mix of Mosaic, Citra, Mandarina, and Bravo hops. That combination adds notes of papaya, tangerine and grapefruit to a beer the brewery says is a great choice for seasoned hop heads and those who may be new to the style.

"We’re excited to finally release an American IPA, a style many fans have been asking for,” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “It’s bittersweet (no pun intended), as this beer is replacing our retired IPAs – Hop Trapp and Hopochondria.”

A launch party for Lakewood IPA is scheduled for Friday, March 9, at Happiest Hour in Dallas. The evening will feature happy hour pricing on all Lakewood beers from 4-8 p.m., with swag and glassware giveaways to go on while supplies last.

As for when and where you can get it outside of the event, Lakewood IPA is available now in North Texas, both on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans. Shipments to other markets will follow in the coming weeks.

Additional launch events are also in the works, with details on those to be revealed on the brewery's social media channels.


Monday, February 26, 2018

Gordon Biersch to close last North Texas location, March 4

Image credit: CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries.

By way of a post on its Facebook page, the Plano location of Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant has announced it will close this Sunday, March 4.

Opening in The Shops at Legacy in 2008, the Plano restaurant represented Gordon Biersch's first foray into North Texas. A Dallas location on Park Lane followed in 2009, but that too closed in October of last year. Both arguably filled a niche by arriving on the scene prior to the current craft beer boom, with Gordon Biersch even opting to distribute bottled beer to Texas for a short time.

With these closures, the Gordon Biersch brand will no longer be represented in North Texas, and the brewpub's parent company, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, will no longer have an active brewing entity in the area. Craftworks does, however, continue to operate a number of Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom franchises in the region. These can be found in Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland and Cedar Hill.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Shannon set to deliver Blackberry Crystal Wheat

Image courtesy of
Shannon Brewing Co.


Wanna see somethin' purple?

Come March, that's a question the folks at Shannon Brewing Co. are likely to ask someone looking to try something new. The new thing in this case being a spring/summer seasonal beer by the name of Blackberry Crystal Wheat (6.2% ABV).

Available statewide beginning March 14, Blackberry Crystal Wheat is a kristallweizen brewed with real blackberry puree. The infusion is said to give the beer a refreshing and subtly dry fruit flavor, not to mention a striking purple color.

The official launch of Blackberry Crystal Wheat will coincide with the brewery's annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration, set to occur on Saturday, March 17 (click here to purchase tickets). In addition to food and live music, the event will feature over 20 Shannon beers on tap, including a number of barrel-aged varieties.

Beyond that, consumers can expect to find Shannon Blackberry Crystal Wheat on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rahr & Sons readies new year-round offerings, moving Midnight Cab to cans

 Image credit: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.


Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth has announced additional details related to the release of three beers appearing on its 2018 production calendar.

The first of these is Adiós Pantalones, a beer brewed with lemon and lime that Rahr & Sons is billing as a Cerveza de Sesión (session ale). One of two new entries into the brewery's year-round lineup, Adios Pantalones is described as a refreshing, light-bodied beer that can be enjoyed with just about anything.

Also set to join Rahr & Son's regular rotation is Paleta de Mango, a mango and lime beer crafted with Mexican pequin chiles. Originally brewed as a collaboration with Casa Cervecera Morenos of Mexico, it was created for the Cerveza México trade show in Mexico City this past November. The result proved to be popular, so the decision was made to brew it again and make it a new full-time fixture.

These two beers will debut during a special Cinco de Mayo event to be held at the Fort Worth brewery on May 5, 2018. Tickets for the event, which includes an appearance by the world's first metal mariachi band, Metalachi, are on sale now at the following location: https://rahrandsons-brewing-company.ticketleap.com/metalachi/.

As for the last of the aforementioned three beers, Rahr & Sons will package the seasonal favorite, Midnight Cab, for the first time this year. For those who may not be familiar, Midnight Cab is a black saison that's been aged in French oak cabernet barrels. Featuring notes of white pepper, black tea and currants, the beer will hit the market beginning in April. Look for it on tap and in four-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Armadillo Ale Works springs Hibiscus Zinger

Hibiscus Zinger is brewed with wheat and barley malt, along with a mix of
hibiscus, ginger root, lemon and orange peel (Armadillo Ale Works). 

Expecting the unexpected is now the norm with respect to Armadillo Ale Works of Denton, as the company continues to embrace the unusual when it comes to the creativity behind its beers. Whether it be in the ingredients or the approach, products like Honey Please (mesquite beans), Dapper Apple (apple juice, apple pie spice), Royal Champ (purple corn, champagne yeast) and Brunch Money (lactose, maple syrup, cacao nibs, vanilla, coffee) have demonstrated the willingness of founders Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins to brew outside the box.

The latest case in point is Armadillo's new spring seasonal, Hibiscus Zinger. The name alone may conjure up images of a certain herbal tea producer, but that just makes for a fitting parallel, considering this particular Zinger is being billed as a botanical ale. Or as its tagline artfully alliterates, "it's a wheat beer brewed with a bodacious blend of botanicals to create a zippy pink drink that'll add some zing to your spring."

Recipe components for Hibiscus Zinger consist of hibiscus, ginger root, lemon and orange peel. It's surely a distinctive set of ingredients, and as Mullins implies, any overuse could easily alter the course of a beer.

"It's a bit of a balancing act to blend the traditional aspects of a beer style with unorthodox ingredients or processes and still have a something resembling beer at the end," explains Mullins. "But, we're a brewery and what we make still has to taste like a beer. With that in mind, I try to draw inspiration from traditional styles and/or the BJCP guidelines, then I bend them innovatively to create something that's both familiar and unique."

A unique pilsner-like glass will be available during Hibiscus Zinger
pint nights during February and March (Armadillo Ale Works). 

At the same time, a good foundation is key no matter what elements are added to a beer, which means what's underlying the innovation has to be good as well.

"If you order a steak with a fancy truffle butter sauce, and the steak itself isn't any good, then all the sauce in the world wont fix it," says Arestis. "It's the same way with beer, and it's something we've been mindful of since day one. We are our own biggest critics, so we always want to make sure we have the fundamentals covered before we put our own spin on things."

Judging by a pre-release sample of the beer, Armadillo has hit the nail on the head in both regards with Hibiscus Zinger. A notable backbone of bready malt (i.e. the base beer) sets the tone for a brew that's been infused with the ideal amount of ginger, fresh florals and citrus peel (i.e. the botanicals). And, it's that tasteful touch that makes Hibiscus Zinger a delicate and drinkable blend that strikes a near perfect balance between botanicals and beer.

As for how best to enjoy it, Hibiscus Zinger is a great refresher on its own at a serving temperature of around 45°. Arestis also likes the idea of adding an orange garnish (gasp!) or even using Hibiscus Zinger as part of a spring-themed beer cocktail.

Either way, look for Hibiscus Zinger to debut Friday, February 23, at East Side Denton. After that, the beer will appear on tap at various pint nights set to occur across North Texas.


Friday, February 23
  • Release Party at East Side, Denton: 6-10 p.m.
Saturday, February 24
  • Pint Day at Craft Beer Cellar, Dallas: 2-5 p.m.
Wednesday, February 28
  • Pint Night at Bluffview Growler, Dallas: 5-8 p.m.
Thursday, March 1
  • Pint Night at Dallas Craft Co., The Colony: 4:45-8:45 p.m.
Friday, March 2
  • Special tapping at Craft and Growler, Dallas: 6-7 p.m.
Saturday, March 3
  • Food and Flight Pairing with Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. at Lakewood Growler, Dallas: 4-6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6
  • Pint Night at On Tap, Arlington: 5-8 p.m.
Wednesday, March 7
  • Pint Night at Ron's Corner Tavern, Bedford: 6-9 p.m.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Beer meets film for Sunshine Fist Magnet

Image credit: 3rd Identity Films.

Representing a mash-up of local beer and local film, Braindead Brewing and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema have come together to introduce a beer inspired by subjects of the movie, Bomb City.

Originally released in 2017 by Dallas-based 3rd Identity Films, Bomb City tells the true story of punk artists in Amarillo that got into a brawl leading to the death of the film's main character, a 19-year old punk musician named Brian Deneke.

As it turns out, Deneke was an avid homebrewer and even traveled with a dog called Stout. Naturally, that's what led to the collaboration, which has resulted in a beer inspired by Deneke's story and a beer he makes for friends during the course of the film.

Sunshine Fist Magnet (11.2% ABV) is an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with molasses and dry-hopped with Amarillo hops. The beer gets its name from Deneke's punk scene nickname and a song that was written about him (of the same name) by the band, Against All Authority.

Available first at the Cedars location of Alamo Drafthouse, Sunshine Fist Magnet will be tapped to coincide with a special one-time screening of Bomb City on Tuesday, February 13 at 8:10 p.m. Representatives from Braindead, along with the filmmakers behind Bomb City, will be on hand at the event to discuss both story and beer during a live Q&A session (click here to purchase advance tickets).

Following that, look for Sunshine Fist Magnet to be available on tap at Braindead.

Friday, February 9, 2018

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - February 9, 2018 edition

With brewery news from the east, west, north and south parts of North Texas, this edition of the Conspectus seemingly has all of the cardinal points covered.

Cheers!


Thirsty Bro readies beer for wide distribution

Having completed a series of equipment upgrades, Thirsty Bro Brewing Co. of Royse City has ramped-up production as it prepares to introduce its beer to a wider market. Initial shipments to draft accounts are scheduled to roll out this week, with Bro'd Trip IPA, Mo Bro IPA, Southern Belle Porter and Sweet Cherry Blonde making up the initial allotment. Packaged products are in the plans as well, but a move to canned beers won't occur until later this year.


Area's newest brewpub now open in Willow Park

Following a soft opening on Super Sunday, Parker County Brewing Co. is now operating in Willow Park. House beers are a few weeks away, but the brewpub is currently serving guest taps and selections from an Italian-inspired menu. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday,11 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Shannon packages Irish Coffee Cream Ale

Shannon Brewing Co. of Keller has released cans of its Irish Coffee Cream Ale. A collaborative effort with Dallas-based White Rock Coffee, the beer is the brewery's Irish Cream Ale aged on coffee and vanilla beans. The finished product is said to feature a nutty element, along with baked fruit notes, subtle vanilla and a rich coffee flavor.


Railport receives TABC approval

Set to be the first brewing operation to exist in Waxahachie, Railport Brewing Co. has obtained its production permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Construction on the brewery is still ongoing, but ownership hopes to open the doors sometime in the late February/early March time frame.


Billion Dollar beer on the bill at Four Bullets

Debuting at its taproom taproom on Friday, Billion Dollar Blonde Ale is the latest creation from Four Bullets Brewery of Richardson. The beer promises to be yet another easy-drinking addition to the company's portfolio, at least based on an image posted showing Billion Dollar Blonde in the pose of a poolside potation. A low ABV factors into things as well, with the beer coming in at just under 5.2%.





Image credits (top to bottom): Thirsty Bro Brewing Co., Parker County Brewing Co., Shannon Brewing Co., Railport Brewing Co., Four Bullets Brewery.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Galentine's 2018: Join 903 Brewers in support of area women's shelters

Image courtesy of 903 Brewers
(click to enlarge).
Returning after a successful run last year, 903 Brewers is bringing back Galentine's, an event series focused on the delivery of uplifting messages to women's shelters across North Texas.

Attendees to one of five planned Galentine's Pint Nights will have the opportunity to deliver positive thoughts by either crafting their own unique Galentine's card, or by simply signing a community card that will be made available (all craft supplies and cards will be provided). Cards will then be delivered to area women's shelters in time for Valentine's Day.

As for what beers will be tapped during these events, selections will vary by location. Likely candidates include core brews like Cerveza Por Favor, Republic of Texas and Mandarina Jolie, as well as seasonals like Winter Sasquatch and Birthday Sasquatch.

See below for a list of scheduled events, and remember that while Galentine's is billed as a ladies' night out, gentlemen are also welcome to attend.


Tuesday, February 6 from 6-9 p.m. - The Thirsty Growler, The Colony.

Friday, February 9 from 5-8 p.m. - The Taproom Bar at Whole Foods Market, Colleyville.

Saturday, February 10 from 12-3 p.m. - The Taproom Bar at Whole Foods Market Cityline, Richardson.

Monday, February 12 from 5-8 p.m. - Craft and Growler, Dallas.

Wednesday, February 14 from 5-10 p.m. - Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Lakewood seals Three Fates with Grim Shearer

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has released Grim Shearer, the tenth individual release in the brewery's Legendary Series, and the third and final installment of its Three Fates miniseries.

Stylistically described as a rye wine, Grim Shearer (11.4% ABV) was aged over eight months in rye whiskey barrels. What's emerged from that time away is a beer featuring flavors of maple, toffee, sun-dried cherries and subtle rye spice.

“We’re excited to complete this story and series of beers, showcasing the amazing qualities that come with varying malt bills to complement different [types of] barrels," says Wim Bens, founder & president of Lakewood.

Grim Shearer follows previous entries in the Three Fates miniseries, Thread Spinner (a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine, released fall 2016) and Grand Allowance (a chardonnay barrel-aged wheat wine, released spring 2017). Originally slated to appear six months apart, the culmination of the trilogy comes 16 months after Thread Spinner was first placed on the market.

“We love seeing how the personality of each beer comes through, how the difference in age and cellar time influences each beer, and how they relate to each other when tried side-by-side,” added Bens. “It’s been a long project, but one we’ve really enjoyed.”

Look for Grim Shearer on tap and in 22-ounce bottles across North Texas.



Label designs for the Three Fates series were created by Nathan Walker. See more of his work at All the Pretty Colors.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

North Texas scores six medals at 2018 Best of Craft Beer Awards

Image credit: Best of Craft Beer Awards.

Now in its fifth year, the 2018 Best of Craft Beer Awards competition was held this past weekend in Bend, Oregon. Five North Texas breweries were honored at the event, which resulted in area brewers bringing home a total of six medals.

Beer styles were evaluated against the 2017 Brewers Association Guidelines, the only exceptions being the addition of special categories for Northeast-Style IPAs and Fruited Berliner Weisse beers. Overall, 145 breweries from 35 states won awards this year, with medals handed out in 86 different categories.

This list of North Texas winners is given below, or you can click here for a complete rundown of the 2018 results.


Bitter Sisters Brewing Co.
  • Gold for Family Trip Belgian Tripel in the Belgian-Style Tripel or Pale Strong Ale category.
  • Gold for Local Legend in the Sweet Stout or Cream Stout category.
  • Bronze for Deep Ellum Lager in the Other Lager category.
  • Gold for Hoopsnake Hefeweizen in the German-Style Wheat Beer category.
  • Bronze for Rapture Fusion Brown Ale in the American-Style Brown Ale category.
  • Bronze for Bourbon Barrel Irish Red in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Pale to Amber Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Celebrate Sasquatch with 903 Brewers, February 3

All images courtesy of 903 Brewers.

Since surfacing in Sherman during early 2014, Sasquatch sightings have become a regular occurrence around North Texas. Sightings of the beer from 903 Brewers, that is, as opposed to the manifestation of some mythical creature. Then again, a guy in an ape-like suit has played a part in the story of both beverage and beast. Thankfully, though, a reliance on fuzzy photographs isn't necessary to identify what's arguably one of the area's more recognizable beers.

"Sasquatch is the beer we're known for," says Jeremy Roberts, co-founder of 903. "That's thanks to winning a silver medal for the beer at the Great American Beer Festival, winning back-to-back medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, and being named one of the top ten stouts brewed in America by Beer Info."

Nowadays, Sasquatch is more a family of beers, rather than a single, solitary beast. It can be found seasonally in different forms, including Winter Sasquatch (with holiday spice), Birthday Sasquatch (with fudge and toasted marshmallow) and Barrel-Aged Sasquatch.

Of course, those are just the Sasquatch siblings you'll encounter out in the wild. Small-batch offerings have emerged from time to time at 903's taproom, and just last summer the company starting bottling varieties to be sold as brewery exclusives.

"One of the reasons we converted to a brewpub license was to be able to do brewery-only releases," explains Roberts. "Plus, Sherman is a beautiful one hour drive north, and we want people to come see us. Brewery-only releases have given more people a reason to visit, which is what we want, because we're excited about converting the old Lee School building into our future taproom."

Left: Bottle Club members have access to Barrel-Aged Maple Sasquatch, Ogre Imperial Oatmeal Stout,
Coffee Coconut Barrel-Aged Sasquatch, Scotch Barrel-Aged Sasquatch, Red Wine Barrel-Aged Sasquatch and more.

Right: Special glassware available to those attending Sasquatch's Fourth Birthday Party on Saturday, February 3.

Along those lines, 903 announced a new line of brewery exclusives in early January. The series, which will be doled out individually over the course of 2018, consists of beers like Barrel-Aged Maple Sasquatch, Coffee Coconut Barrel-Aged Sasquatch and Barrel-Aged Birthday Sasquatch.

Those beers and others can be obtained by way of the new 903 Bottle Club, with memberships available at shop903.com. Joining the club provides members with guaranteed access to a total of eight specialty beers (all packaged in either 22-ounce or 750mL bottles), not to mention exclusive glassware and a year's worth of discounts on brews purchased in the taproom.

Consumers can also get a taste of the three beers mentioned above by making the trip to Sherman this weekend for Sasquatch's Fourth Birthday Party. Going on Saturday from 12-5 p.m., the event will also feature a tapping of two other Sasquatch varieties: IronRoot Republic Barrel-Aged Sasquatch and Barrel-Aged Sasquatch with cacao nibs and vanilla. No ticket is needed to attend, but you'll want to arrive early for a chance to pick up special Birthday Sasquatch glassware.

As for what the future holds for Sasquatch and its brethren, rest assured there are even more varieties in the works.

"We have a new beer coming out called Friday Slide," reveals Roberts. "It's Sasquatch aged in Jack Daniel's barrels with coffee liqueur and Irish cream."

Look for that brew to arrive in March.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Noble Rey announces European expansion

Image courtesy of
Noble Rey Brewing Co.
Looking to expand its reach to overseas markets, Noble Rey Brewing Co. of Dallas has announced a partnership with Neodif, a beverage retailer based in Nantes, France.

Noble Rey's can designs were the catalyst in bringing the two companies together, as Neodif took notice of the brewery's distinctive packaging. Samples were then requested and shared, leading to an agreement giving the French company exclusive rights to produce, package and sell Noble Rey's beers in France and potentially other locations throughout Europe.

Ahead of the launch, founders Chris and Kindra Rigoulot were joined by head brewer Tommy Miller as they toured potential contract breweries in France and Belgium with Neodif’s managing director, Gildas Hays. The trip was undertaken in order to choose which facilities would be the best fit for production.

Two Noble Rey recipes, Vertigo (a double IPA) and Sex in a Canoe (an American light lager) ,were chosen for the first wave of production, which began at the end of 2017.

Both beers have been specifically reformulated for the European market by Miller, with the first cans expected to hit shelves at the end of February. As for where to get them, France's largest chain store, Carrefour, will carry Noble Rey products exclusively at the start.



Noble Rey can designs are the work of TILT and graphic designer John Rubio.


Friday, January 26, 2018

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - January 26, 2018 edition

Along with new release recaps, updates on a handful of North Texas breweries in development are included in this edition of the Conspectus, as is information on Mug Club memberships at a long-time local restaurant.

Cheers!


Nine Volt gets packaged at Pegasus City

Pegasus City Brewery of Dallas has packaged its Nine Volt D.P. & L. Tripel, choosing unique 750mL ceramic flip-top bottles as the vessel for delivery. Availability is limited, however, with only Craft Beer Cellar and select Dallas locations of Spec's currently stocking the beer.


Rahr & Sons publishes 2018 production schedule

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth is the latest brewery to provide consumers insight into its 2018 production schedule. Notably absent from the list are Bucking Bock, Snowmageddon and The Regulator. As for other changes, Paleta de Mango (a mango lime chile kölsch) and Adios Pantalones (a session beer with lemon and lime) will join the year-round lineup, though neither beer will enter the market until March.


Legal Draft launches new premium American lager

Nowhere But Texas, the newest beer from Legal Draft Beer Co., was unveiled during an event at the brewery in Arlington last evening. The beer, which is a premium American lager, takes its name from a popular song penned by the Steve Helms Band, and its release coincided with the premier of the song's music video.


Eno's welcoming new members to its Mug Club

Beginning February 1, Eno's Pizza Tavern will accept new members into its Mug Club. Memberships, available at a cost of $50, include a 17-ounce personalized mug, taller pours, a free birthday beer and discounts on food. Those interested may apply in person, either at Eno's original Bishop Arts location, or at the company's new restaurant in Forney.


Seguin beers now available in North Texas

According to a social media post, Seguin Brewing Co. is now shipping its products to North Texas. Available exclusively at area Total Wine locations, consumers can purchase the following Seguin beers in six-packs of 12-ounce cans: 9-Pin Kölsch, Bock-N-Röhl, Honey Pecan #5 Cream Ale and Lake Breeze Blonde.


New brewery blurbs

A brewpub license for Turning Point Beer has been approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The company's facility is currently under construction in Bedford.

The Manhattan Project Beer Co. took ownership of a property in Dallas last week. To be located at 2215 Sulphur St., those behind the effort are now in the process of submitting construction plans to the City of Dallas for approval.

Also working through the approval process, Celestial Beerworks hopes to obtain permits soon in order to begin construction on a building at 2530 Butler St. in Dallas.

Brewing operations are no longer part of the plan at Navarro County Brewing Co. of Corsicana. Citing excessive costs and development delays as reasons for abandoning the brewing aspect of the project, the ownership group will instead focus on building a taproom and growler fill station.



Image credits (top to bottom): Pegasus City Brewery, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Legal Draft Beer Co., Eno's Pizza Tavern, Seguin Brewing Co., Turning Point Beer, Celestial Beerworks, The Manhattan Project Beer Co.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Revolver reveals plans for new cans, a new beer and New Mexico

Image courtesy of Revolver Brewing.

Changes are afoot at Revolver Brewing, as the Granbury-based company has a number of new things in the works as it prepares for the coming year.

Perhaps chief among these changes is the move to cans. Blood & Honey, Sidewinder, Full-Tang IPA (now a year-round offering) and the brewery's new Long-Range Pils will be canned, with beers in the new format set to go on sale statewide on February 19.

"These beers will be available in six-pack sleeved boxes at most retail stores that carry craft beer," says Grant Wood, brewmaster at Revolver.  "This makes it so much easier to bring your favorite Revolver beers to the river, the poolside, the golf course - all those places where bottles are not welcome."

Speaking of Long-Range Pils, on top of being a new addition to the brewery's portfolio for 2018, that beer represents Revolver's first commercial foray into lagers. Bringing together ingredients from both at home and abroad, Long-Range Pils is a German-style pilsner with a little touch of America that's designed to go the distance with you.

"As a brewer, I am very excited that we have moved into the lager side of the brewing family tree," says Wood. "We’re brewing Long-Range Pils with Bohemian Pilsner malt from Germany, along with U.S. Mosaic, Czech Saaz, and German Saphir hops. Bavarian lager yeast brings all the ingredients together.  With an alcohol level under 5% by volume and bitterness units in the high 20’s, it's a sessionable lager with some depth of flavor to keep it interesting."

Long-Range Pils will debut on draft ahead of the package release to give consumers a taste of what's to come in cans a few weeks later. The first kegs will tap at the brewery this weekend, with draft accounts seeing deliveries beginning January 29.

Wood also shared the news that Revolver is planning to venture outside of Texas for the first time in its history. Come spring, the company will begin shipping beer to New Mexico. All four of the aforementioned core products will be making the trip west, as Revolver looks to introduce its brand of beer to the Land of Enchantment.