Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Brewers Association releases new insights on craft demographics

Photo: © Brewers Association.

This week, the Brewers Association released new data on the demographics of craft beer lovers, with results presented from a top down view, as well as from the perspectives of race and gender. A portion of that report is summarized here, along with additional data shared by the BA in an addendum breaking things down into defined market areas.

Beginning with the broader view, specifically the number of people in the U.S. drinking craft beer "at least several times a year," it was found that around 40% of legal drinking age adults - i.e. the 21 and up population - are occasional craft beer drinkers (68.5% male, 31.5% female). That number, sourced from a Neilsen - Harris on Demand poll, has increased slightly over the past few years, rising from a value of 35% in 2015.

If the focus is shifted to regular craft beer drinkers, though, the numbers are lower. According to Scarborough (a separate division of Nielsen), only 7.3% of adults polled in 2017 had consumed a craft beer in the last 30 days. That places roughly 17.5 million Americans into the category of what the Brewers Association calls "craft's core" consumer (68.9% male, 31.1% female).

As for how things stack up locally, supplemental data provides insight into those considered to be regular craft beer drinkers in Dallas-Fort Worth. Based on responses taken between June 2016 and November 2017, it was estimated that just over 280,000 people in D-FW had consumed a craft beer within 30 days. Of those, 68.7% were men, while 31.3% were female.

At least in terms of gender, that means the local market appears to be right in line with the national average. North Texas lags, however, when it comes to those reaching for a craft beer on a regular basis, since less than 4% of a population near 7.1 million fits that description.

Translation? There's still work to be done in getting more people on the path to drinking better beer in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Click here for more on the BA's look at the "Shifting Demographics of Craft Beer," including changes in demographics with respect to race/ethnicity.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Whistle Post closes in Pilot Point

Image credit: Whistle Post Brewing Co.

Effective as of the end of May, Whistle Post Brewing Co. of Pilot Point has ceased production and is now closed.

Founded by those behind Western Son Distillery, the brewery opened during the summer of 2016 in a building adjacent to the spirit maker. It remained a draft only business until early 2017, after which Whistle Post began distribution of Shoofly Texas Golden Ale and Rooster Shooter Texas Lager in bottles.

Those beers, along with products like Lizard Scorcher IPA, Shoofly Coconut Lime Ale and others, maintained a focus on easy-drinking, low ABV offerings, with strengths hovering just above and below 5%.

Deep Ellum joins CANarchy collective

Image credit: CANarchy.

Seeking to secure a fresh infusion of resources for increased production and distribution, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas has joined the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective.

Founded in 2011 by John Reardon, Deep Ellum has grown into the third largest independent craft brewery in Texas. Led by its flagship brews, Dallas Blonde and Deep Ellum IPA, the company grew 37% in 2017 while producing more than 45,000 barrels. Deep Ellum's products are currently only available in Texas, with the vast majority being consumed within 20 miles of the brewery.

“It’s been a hell of a ride for all of us at Deep Ellum and I believe this is just the beginning,” says Reardon. “We’ve been looking for the right partner to grow the Deep Ellum brand and I believe we’ve found that with CANarchy. They’re a group of like-minded people that have not conformed to the status-quo and have hit critical mass on the path of coming together and remaining independent. We’re all in.”

CANarchy got its start in 2015, led by Oskar Blues Brewery founder, Dale Katechis. The group provides a platform from which rapidly growing craft breweries seeking high level resources can expand and compete in the increasingly competitive craft beer segment, while maintaining independence. The platform is driven by individual brewery culture, giving brewers control of their businesses and brands, while providing resources and support to scale their respective operations.

“CANarchy’s culture thrives on collaboration among craft breweries blazing their own path and doing things their own way," says Katechis. "John and the Deep Ellum crew light the fire of craft beer in Dallas-Fort Worth and they will bring that same fire to our collective."

In addition to Oskar Blues, Deep Ellum joins a roster of brands whose current membership includes Cigar City Brewing, Perrin Brewing Co., Wasatch Brewery and Squatters Craft Beers. Using Cigar City as an example of CANarchy's impact, the Florida-based brewery entered the collective in June of 2016. After immediately addressing capacity issues, CANarchy was able to help Cigar City expand distribution and increase shipments 43% from 65,000 to 92,000 barrels in 2017.

“Deep Ellum Brewing has created a strong community and now they’re facing next-level challenges that we’ve seen before," says Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City. "Within CANarchy, we can solve those problems in our own way."

As for Deep Ellum, it's currently undergoing a large expansion, including the installation of a 60-barrel brewhouse at the company’s primary facility that is expected to come online within the next few months. The brewery is operating at maximum capacity and is projecting 55,000 barrels of production in 2018. Deep Ellum is also constructing a taproom in Fort Worth that will incorporate a five-barrel system and retail space that is scheduled to open in late fall of 2018.

“During my time at the University of Colorado I specifically remember my first can of Dale’s Pale Ale, and that experience is part of the reason I’m in this business," adds Reardon. "Joining a collective of such irreverent and disruptive founders and leaders is exactly what Deep Ellum has been looking for."

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Lakewood getting Jack'd up for summer

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Last summer, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland was one of a handful of local breweries invited to collaborate with iconic whiskey-maker, Jack Daniel's. Barrels for the initiative were hand-delivered to each brewery, with Lakewood using theirs to create a pair of special brews.

“We experimented and came up with Jack’d Up Lemonale and Tennessee Temptress, paying homage to the Jack Daniel's cocktail favorites, Lynchburg Lemonade and Jack & Cola,” says Wim Bens, owner of Lakewood. “We wanted to create two amazing and unique beers for this project, so we took our flagship Temptress and put a new twist on it, and built Lemonale from the ground up.”

Described as a refreshing take on a southern favorite, Jack’d Up Lemonale is a kettle-soured wheat beer brewed with a mix of Citra and Lemondrop hops. The beer was aged for six months in the aforementioned barrels, then enhanced with an infusion of 120 pounds of freshly-squeezed Meyer lemons.

As for Tennessee Temptress, that beer is based off of Lakewood's popular imperial milk stout, The Temptress. Also aged for six months, this Temptress variety was refermented on over 500 pounds of sweet cherry puree. The added treatment is said to have provided a touch of sweetness, while also helping to round out the beer's edges.

Both offerings are draft only and available now in the brewery's taproom, with deliveries to select accounts scheduled to begin next week.

In addition, representatives from Jack Daniel's and Lakewood will be hosting a beer dinner at The Libertine Bar on Wednesday, June 27. The event will feature the two collaboration beers, as well as a selection of Jack Daniel’s top-shelf whiskeys.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Funky Picnic joining Fort Worth's Near Southside neighborhood

Image credit: Funky Picnic Brewery & Café

With four breweries already in its midst and one just outside its boundary, the Near Southside area of Fort Worth easily fits the description of a craft beer destination. The district's appeal will only get greater come next year, though, with the arrival of yet another addition in the form of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.

Stalwarts of the North Texas homebrewing scene over the last few years (having competed and won awards at Brew Riot and Martin House Brewing Co.'s Riverside Shootout), Funky Picnic is a collaborative effort between Samantha Glenn, Collin Zreet, Jenni Hanley and John Koch. The quartet was originally known as The Fort Brewing Co., but an existing trademark forced a name change before the founders could push forward with the project.

Now set to be established in Near Southside, Funky Picnic will be nestled near three of its neighbors once it opens the doors at 401 Bryan Ave. HopFusion Ale Works, The Collective Brewing Project and Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. are all within walking distance of the aspiring brewpub's location, while Fort Brewery & Pizza and Wild Acre Brewing Co. are just over a mile away.

Regarding the space itself, Funky Picnic will occupy the southern end of the structure on Bryan Ave., giving them more than 4,000 square feet of usable space to work with. That allotment will be divided between production area (anchored by a seven-barrel brewhouse) and a café, with the latter featuring a full menu allowing patrons to partake in a casual meal while enjoying their beer.

As far as timelines go, permitting and construction on the site are the first items on the group's agenda. Should all go as planned, North Texans should expect to see Funky Picnic debut in the spring of 2019.

For more on Funky Picnic, follow the brewpub on Facebook, or visit its website at

Rahr & HopFusion win medals at 2018 North American Beer Awards

Image credit: North American Brewers Association.

You might say there's something to be said for session beers, at least considering the fact that two local breweries brought home medals in session beer categories from the recently-completed North American Beer Awards.

Put on as part of the annual Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls, Idaho, judging for the 2018 North American Beer Awards took place May 29-June 1. Entries were evaluated according to the 2018 North American Beer Awards Style Guide, with criteria based on "classic, historical and well-established styles of beer, as well as recognized industry advancements updated to reflect the marketplace."

In terms of results, a total of 297 medals were awarded in 99 different categories. North Texas winners are noted below, with a complete list of medalists to be found by clicking here.

HopFusion Ale Works
  • Bronze for Go Easy in the Session-Style IPA category.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
  • Gold for Adiós Pantalones in the Session Beer category.
  • Bronze for Ugly Pug in the Schwarzbier (Black Beer) category.

Cheers and congratulations to HopFusion and Rahr & Sons!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hop & Sting purchases Grapevine facility

Image courtesy of
Hop & Sting Brewing Co.
Effective June 1, Hop and Sting Brewing Co. has signed a contract to purchase assets of Grapevine Craft Brewery.

Talks between the two companies were originally focused on allowing Hop & Sting to contract brew at the facility in Grapevine, but discussions eventually morphed into something more. Now, with an agreement in place, Hop & Sting will have a place to call home, while brewing in one of the area's best brewing facilities.

It's a coming home of sorts for the Hop & Sting team, which consists of Brian Burton, Jon Powell and Lane Joseph, all of whom worked at Grapevine Craft Brewery in the past.

"It has been a long road starting Hop & Sting, but we finally have a home in a great community," says Burton."I am also excited to get back into a facility that I helped commission."

“I’m especially stoked to be brewing some of the same beers that were developed in my parents barn, less than 10 miles away," adds Powell. "It feels good to be back home again."

“It’s been a very exciting process getting Hop and Sting off the ground," says Joseph. "I am thrilled to be back in the Grapevine facility doing what I love!”

Taproom staff will be maintained through the transition, and there are no plans to make significant changes to the name of the facility. It will simply be referred to as Hop and Sting at Grapevine Craft Brewery. Popular Grapevine brands will also continue to be brewed and made available alongside new and exciting Hop and Sting brands like Northeast Texas IPA, Remedio Southwest Wit and Galactic Haze Belgian White IPA.

On the question of contract brewing, Burton says that aspect of Grapevine's business will continue on a small scale. The focus there will be on up-and-coming brewing companies looking to get their brand out in the market, just like Hop & Sting was when it got started.

Hop & Sting at Grapevine Craft Brewery is located at 906 Jean St. in Grapevine. For more information on the companies, visit their websites at and

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Drink in lakeside libations at White Rock

Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

It's been a little over a month since White Rock Alehouse & Brewery unveiled its initial beer offerings in Dallas, and even longer since food service began at the restaurant late last year, but this past week afforded me my first opportunity to pop in and check out what one of the area's newest brewpubs has to offer.

Blake Morrison, whose resume includes stops at Cedar Creek Brewery and, more recently, Whistle Post Brewing Co., is the man behind the beer at White Rock, a place where visitors can expect to find an array of everyday beers supplemented by multiple seasonal selections.

"As of now, our mainstays at White Rock will be Urban Parakeet Pale Ale, Big Thicket Blonde Ale, Bonnie Barge Coffee Brown Ale, and IPO IPA," says Morrison. "Our IPO IPA is a rotating New England-style IPA that will have a new recipe each time."

Among White Rock's 36 taps, guest can choose from upwards of six house brews
served alongside a selection of guest beers (Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Indeed, IPO IPA was already into its second iteration by the time of my visit, with the current incarnation sporting a pale yellow appearance with notes of citrus peel, tropical fruit and a slight finishing bitterness. It won't be the only IPA at the brewpub, however, as Morrison has plans to explore West Coast influences for the upcoming White Rock IPA.

That beer, while likely to end up as an additional year-round option, will first debut as one of White Rock's three summer seasonals. Others set to be released include Bringin' Mexi Back, a Mexican lager, and Texas G(IRL), and India red lager brewed with the 2018 Pink Boots Blend of hops. Created by the Pink Boots Society, the blend features a mix of five hop varieties supplied by YCH Hops - Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Loral.

As for picking a favorite among the beers on tap now, I would probably go with Big Thicket Blonde Ale. It's got a hint of sweetness, to go along with a floral and fruity character, that's a perfect match for outdoor drinking, whether that be by the pint while kicking back on the brewpub's expansive patio, or out of a growler while lounging by White Rock Lake.

Judging by my experience, though, you can't go wrong with any of the currently available brews, especially if you're the type that enjoys straight-forward styles (with an occasional twist) that are well-balanced, flavorful and easy to drink. For that, it seems, is what White Rock is about, whether you're drinking inside or out.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Railport opens first brewery in Waxahachie

Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Now officially in business after a grand opening event on Saturday, Railport Brewing Co. has established itself as the first known brewery to operate in the City of Waxahachie and Ellis County.

Founded by Richard Womack, Railport is set up in a 1940s-era building located near the Waxahachie Downtown Square. The structure itself sits on a tract of land occupying a little less than an acre, with the overall site plan split between the production area, an intimate taproom, and an outdoor space with games and room for a food truck.

Regarding production, Railport's brews are currently being produced in one-barrel batches on a pilot system. A larger brewhouse has already been installed, but Womack's team is taking it slow as they work their way up to bigger batch sizes.

"We're taking baby steps," explains Womack. "We don't know what we have yet, as far as what beers are going to hit, so I wanted to start with small batches while we develop our recipes based on what people want."

Beers on tap now in Railport's taproom are being produced on a pilot system (left)
while recipes are dialed-in on the company's new, larger-scale equipment (right).
(Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D)

Another aspect of the company's measured approach is a desire to maintain consistency, according to Womack, who spent a number of years as a homebrewer before refining his skills in the Journeyman Brewer Program at Eastfield College in Dallas. Taking part in that curriculum also afforded Womack the chance to meet Will Boller, who has since taken on the role of head brewer at Railport.

"I want to brew all of our beers, especially the four core products, several times as we transition to the main system," says Womack. "We're already brewing some larger batches, but we'll drink those ourselves until we get comfortable with the process and our consistency."

Presently, the brewery's lineup consists of Honey Hush Blonde Ale, Railyard Ghost Wheat Ale, Caboose Hop SMaSH IPA and Bandit Sweet Stout. Look for a tripel to be offered as well, along with another type of IPA. And yes, to answer the inevitable question, Railport does intend to tinker with the popular hazy and milkshake varieties of the IPA style.

As for what else the future holds, the brewery will be a draft-only operation for the time being, with Womack expecting to explore packaging options in roughly 8-12 months. Bottles are his preference, but he concedes that the popularity of cans is something he'll have to consider.

Also pending is distribution to outside accounts. That means anyone looking to try the newest North Texas beers will have to "hop on the train" and head to Waxahachie, where Railport will be open on Saturdays from 2-6 p.m. to start.

Friday, May 25, 2018

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - May 25, 2018 edition

The business of beer comes to the forefront in this edition of the Conspectus, with news bites on branding, packaging, production and licensing.


Braindead says yes, we can

Crowlers are a thing at Braindead Brewing in Dallas, now that the brewpub has installed a can seamer on site. Happiness Comes From Within, a New England IPA, was released in the 32-ounce can format on Monday, along with the promise of more beers to come in the future.

Flix Brewhouse now open in Little Elm

In late April, Flix Brewhouse opened its latest cinema/brewery in Little Elm. On-site brewing operations will mostly follow a list of corporate recipes, but head brewer Derrick Rima will have some flexibility to create special house beers on occasion. The Little Elm theater is the first of two planned locations for North Texas, with an additional outpost in the works for Mansfield.

Tillman readies first gypsy brew

Gypsy brewer Barrett Tillman of Black Man Brewing has bottled his inaugural release, Gesho Forest Rustic Ale. Set to debut on draft at Small Brewpub on Tuesday, June 19 (Juneteenth), Tillman describes the beer as a "rustic ale with gesho leaves, cinnamon tree bark and hickory wood." Consumers can secure take-home bottles on the day of release by purchasing them in advance at Public sales will take place later, beginning on June 23.

Canning underway at Old Town

Old Town Brewhouse of Lewisville initiated the first canning run under the company's new moniker in early May (Old Town was formerly known as Cobra Brewing Co.). Six-packs of Can't Get Enough Amber Ale began arriving at retail locations last week. No doubt the beer is best enjoyed while listening to Bad Company's self-titled debut album.

Hop & Sting shifts production to Grapevine

Hop & Sting Brewing Co. is now producing beer at North Texas Brewing Co. (a.k.a. Grapevine Craft Brewery), after making the decision to move operations to secure more production time and space. In addition to helping Hop & Sting increase its market presence, the change also enables the company to serve its products in Grapevine's taproom.

Chimera re-branding as Fort Brewery & Pizza

After being sold to the principals behind Kent & Co. Wines and other Fort Worth ventures, Chimera Brewing Co. will now be known as Fort Brewery & Pizza. The re-branding puts the focus of the business primarily on pizza and beer, though salads and bar bites remain as additional food options. A launch party for the new brand will occur at the brewpub on June 6.

Pick up beer to-go at Panther Island

Looking to add the ability to sell beer to-go, Panther Island Brewing Co. has switched over to a brewpub license. Consumers can now fill growlers and/or pick up cans of Panther Island brews from its facility in Fort Worth.

Image credits (top to bottom, click to enlarge): Braindead Brewing, Flix Brewhouse, Black Man Brewing, Old Town Brewhouse, Hop & Sting Brewing Co., Fort Brewery & Pizza, Panther Island Brewing Co.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Armadillo Ale Works makes Denton debut

Available as a taproom exclusive, the initial batch of Armadillo's experimental
New England IPA squeezes out a fair amount of juice (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D)

Sometimes a simple statement says it all, and if you've followed the journey of founders Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins, then the phrase 'Armadillo Ale Works is open in Denton' likely tells you all you need to know.

Surely, most are aware of how Armadillo got started, stopped, and got started again. A Kickstarter campaign effectively launched the brand in 2011, but securing a location took longer than expected, forcing the company to pursue interim production agreements at breweries in Dallas and Grapevine. All along, though, the goal was to get back to Denton, a city Armadillo has always called home.

Now, that dream has been realized. An on-site coffee shop, Cryptozoology, began service in mid-April, but the brewery poured beer from its own taproom for the first time on Friday. And, as it turns out, the combined operation is something Arestis and Mullins had in mind from the start. All the better that Armadillo ended up at 221 S. Bell Ave., a spot that is arguably at the epicenter of Denton's daily grind.

"This was always the plan," explains Arestis. "Bell Ave. is busy all-day, every day, with a stream of cars going both ways all the time. Now that we're here, people can come by for coffee in the morning on their way to work, and then swing by for a beer on the way home."

Speaking of beer, Friday's tap list consisted of three familiar offerings, Honey Please (gold medal winner at the 2018 World Beer Cup), Land Yacht IPA and Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat, while the fourth represented something new. The debut beer being the first batch of an experimental New England IPA that's currently on draft as a taproom exclusive.

Left: Production/office space occupies more than two-thirds of the available 18,000 square feet that make up Armadillo's facility.
Right: With 5000 square feet and a seating capacity of nearly 300, Armadillo's taproom epitomizes the beer hall atmosphere and experience.
(Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D)

There's more to come, of course, as Armadillo works to build up its day-to-day portfolio.

"We're hoping to start off with around six beers for the official grand opening, adding Brunch Money and WunderMelon to what's on tap now," says Arestis. "Eventually we'll work our way up to 12, so Bobby is finally going to be able to brew some recipes he's been sitting on for quite a while."

In terms of pricing, patrons can expect to pay a flat rate. All beers are $5, with standards served in a 16-ounce glass and specialty brews arriving in a 10-ounce size. Flights are on the menu as well, priced at $10 for a lineup of four five-ounce pours.

On top of that, other beverage options will include tea and soda, the latter coming as welcome news for those who recall drinking Bee's Knees Lemonade Soda Pop and Clawfoot Ginger Cream Ale early in Armadillo's history.

As for the aforementioned grand opening, that event will occur over two weekends early next month (June 1-3, June 8-10). In the meantime, the brewery side of the business will operate on a soft basis with hours as follows: Mon-Thu 2-10 p.m. and Fri-Sat 2 p.m. - midnight. Combine that with Cryptozoology's hours, Mon-Sat 7 a.m. - 2 p.m., and that means Armadillo's facility is open morning, noon and night.

Or as Arestis put it, "We're going to be running this thing from 7 a.m. to the late hours, pretty much every day of the year."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

JubJub taking roost at Rabbit Hole

Images courtesy of Rabbit Hole Brewing.

Soon, a couple of odd birds will take roost at Rabbit Hole, as the Justin-based brewery releases two new beers for summer.

The first of these is JubJub, a classic German hefeweizen that's said to shine as bright as its namesake. The namesake, in this case, being the Jubjub bird from the world of Lewis Carroll. Yet, while the Jubjub was a creature to be wary of in Carroll's work (appearing in Jabberwocky  and The Hunting of the Snark), a pre-release note promises the beer will be something to savor.

"There is little reason to fear this JubJub, as it is the perfect summer quaff.  Cloudy by design, the soft malted wheat flavor is perfectly complimented by a bold finish of banana and clove derived from the beer's signature yeast still in suspension."

Also in the works is a variation of JubJub infused with a touch of tangerine.

"By adding a dash of whimsy and a hint of folly to JubJub, the complex aroma and flavor of JubJub Tangerine was created.  The strong, sweet citrus note of tangerine expands the already bold clove and banana flavors of the classic hefeweizen to a realm that is all its own."

So, when can consumers expect to have these birds in the hand?

Look for JubJub to be available on draft beginning May 22, with a taproom debut set to occur during Rabbit Hole's annual Summer in Wonderland celebration on Saturday, May 26 (click here to purchase tickets for the event).

As for JubJub Tangerine, look for that bird to land in early June.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Texas Ale Project wants to add your name to the next great craft beer

Image courtesy of Texas Ale Project (click to enlarge).

Looking to break new ground in the search for the next craft beer, Texas Ale Project of Dallas has announced a research and development project built on the idea that innovation can come from anywhere. The R&D Series, as it's being called, will be a rotating line of beers developed from ideas collected from both inside and outside the brewery.

“We’re encouraging our staff, our distributors, and customers alike to send in their creative ideas for future beers in this series,” says Kat Thompson, co-founder and CEO of Texas Ale Project.

The first R&D beer is Hawaiian Roadrunner (5.0% ABV, 28 IBU), a tropical blonde ale that draws inspiration from free-range chickens that roam the Hawaiian Islands. Brewed with guava, pineapple and Simcoe hops, the beer exudes a fresh tropical fruit aroma that "will sweep you away to the Hawaiian Islands for a virtual summer vacation."

Cans of Hawaiian Roadrunner will feature the signature of Texas Ale Project co-founder and brewer, Brent Thompson, but the name on the next can could be yours.

“The signature represents someone that made a major contribution to the creative development of an R&D Series beer," adds Kat. "We want this to be a fun, collaborative effort.”

Concepts for the series can be submitted via the contact page on the brewery's website. Ideas will be vetted for not just innovation, but also taste, appearance, aroma, and overall genuine quality. Selected beers will be representative of Texas Ale Project’s mission to provide high quality, great tasting craft beers that the brewery takes pride in.

As for when consumers can get their hands on Hawaiian Roadrunner, the beer will be available on draft and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans beginning May 28. Launch events are also on the bill, with a Reveal Party set to occur Friday, June 1 from 4-9 p.m., at Texas Ale Project's facility in the Dallas Design District. Following that, the Official Release Party for Hawaiian Roadrunner will be held at Truck Yard Dallas on Friday, June 8 starting at 4 pm.

Lakewood launches 21 days of giveaways for Zomer Pils fans

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co. (click to enlarge).

Hot on the heels of the annual release of its summer seasonal, Zomer Pils, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is launching a new text-to-win "How I Zummer" program for fans of the beer and brewery.

From May 21-June 11, Zomer (Flemish for summer) lovers that text "Zummer" to 99888 will be entered to win special prizes. A total of 21 daily winners will receive a Lakewood Brewing summer swag bag including a beach towel, koozie, sunglasses, lip balm & stickers. Plus, 10 grand prize winners will win a custom Adirondack Lounge Chair, perfect for relaxing poolside with a cold Zomer Pils.

“We always look forward to Zomer season around the brewery,” says Lakewood founder Wim Bens. “It’s such a crushable, easy-drinking beer that we can’t get enough of it. And since we started dry hopping it last year, it’s now even more enjoyable, if that’s such a thing.”

Brewed with Belgian pilsner malt and dry-hopped with a combination of Lemondrop and noble hop varieties, Zomer Pils is described as a light, crisp, and refreshing beer, with a slight, citrus peel zing.

“We like having that go-to summer beer that helps our fans cool off,” adds Bens. “When you think summer beer, we want you to think zummer beer.”

Look for Zomer Pils on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Books on beer: Exploring the realm of Eclectic IPA

Image courtesy of Brewers Publications.

Dick Cantwell likes to say every beer has a story. So here, in his fourth book for Brewers Publications, is the story of Eclectic IPA. Though, truth be told, it's not so much a narrative as it is an idea book, focusing less on the "how to" and more on the "what to try" when pushing the boundaries of the IPA.

Calling it an idea book has to do with style specifics and Cantwell's repeated reminders to not worry about taxonomy. Eclectic IPAs, incorporating the flavors of fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, or coffee and chocolate, don't meet a defined style guideline. Well, other than the fact that they are all just American IPAs - albeit with a bit of augmentation. In other words, there isn't just one way to do things when working in this medium. Moreover, when crafting this type of beer, it doesn't matter what a recipe ingredient is called or how you classify it...what matters is whether you have the makings of a delicious IPA.

Now, that's not to say you should throw caution to the wind with regards to eclectic IPAs and their ingredients. Naturally, there are things to consider. For example, is that exotic herb you've discovered safe and palatable? Or, worse yet, will it be a key ingredient in your new hemlock IPA?

Indeed, the choice of ingredients is one thing, but deciding how (e.g. raw versus cooked, whole versus processed) and when to use them (e.g. hot side or cold side) is quite another. Oh, and let's not forget about balance, and how it's best not to approach flavor presence "through the metaphoric use of a Tom & Jerry mallet."

Those topics and more are examined in the book, as Cantwell offers a wide range of ideas in both text and tabular form that encourage experimentation. Of course, there are an abundance of recipes as well, which serve as a jumping-off point to kick-start your explorations.

As for going beyond that, Cantwell says it's entirely up to you. His ideas are just that, and Eclectic IPA is a book that's meant to be built on. For it's you, the reader/brewer, that will assume the role of "interpretive opportunist," as you seek to add your own personal touch to craft beer's most popular style.

Eclectic IPA is published by Brewers Publications (pre-release copy provided for review). It's available for purchase now on the publisher's website, with copies expected to be on sale at retail in early June.

Dick Cantwell co-founded Elysian Brewing Co. of Seattle, Washington, in 1996. He is currently the director of brewing operations at Magnolia Brewing Co. in San Francisco, California. His writing credits include Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (1998), The Brewers Association's Guide to Staring Your Own Brewery, Second Edition (2013) and Wood & Beer: A Brewers Guide (2016).

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Notes from Nashville, Part 2: A taste of Music City

Image: Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Following up Tuesday's article on the business aspects of this year's Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, here's a look at what Music City has to offer in terms of its beer.

All together, I visited six different breweries between time sitting in on economic, political and even historical seminars during the conference. I wasn't able to get to all the spots on my list, but I did manage to hit roughly a third of the breweries that exist in and around the immediate Downtown Nashville area. Thoughts on each are presented below, in no particular order.

As for recommendations, if you're looking to grab a bite to eat in an area with a number of breweries nearby, I'd suggest heading to an urban neighborhood called The Gulch. The district is home to restaurants like Peg Leg Porker, for the BBQ fiends, and Party Fowl, for those who've got a hankerin' for hot chicken. From there, three breweries are within easy walking distance - Yazoo Brewing Co.Jackalope Brewing Co., Tennessee Brew Works, with two more just a few blocks away - New Heights Brewing Co., Czann's Brewing Co..


Bearded Iris Brewing

To be clear, Bearded Iris does make other types of beer, but it was a little ironic to be ordering from a menu with the heading "Cultivate Variety," when every item on it (at the time) was some type of IPA. In any case, I worked my way through four beers of varying haze and juice content, eventually settling on DDH Chief of Chiefs as my choice for the leader of the tribe.

Left: Foeders for thought at Bearded Iris Brewing.
Right: Overlooking the framework of Black Abbey's brewing operation.
(Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D)
Black Abbey Brewing Co.

With beers of American, Belgian, English, German and Scottish influence, Black Abbey's portfolio was a melting pot of styles. Some were crafted by the book, while others featured a slight twist (The Champion is an American pale ale with smoked malt). Regardless of recipe, balance was a common descriptor across the board, which made for an array of well-executed, approachable beers. The place gets points for having a cask engine as well, from which I sampled The 5 Points, a West Coast IPA conditioned with licorice root.

Smith & Lentz Brewing Co.

Set up east of Downtown Nashville, Smith & Lentz was the only brewery in this survey where I drank a lager. Actually, I drank two, a Vienna lager and a pilsner. Both were solid, but the German Pils was the star of the show at this particular taproom. Parliamentary Mild, an English mild ale infused with coffee, came in a close second.

Tennessee Brew Works

With its multi-level indoor/outdoor setup, the taproom at Tennessee Brew Works was probably the most unique one I encountered on this trip. It was also the only brewhouse to employ a mash filter (at least that I noticed), which ended up being the centerpiece of conversation as I drank a pint of Country Roots, a smooth stout brewed with sweet potatoes.

Left: A musical theme permeates the place at Tennessee Brew Works.
Middle: Barrels reaching New Heights are sourced from a variety of Tennessee distilleries.
Right: Yazoo gets its name from a river in the founder's hometown.
(Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D)
New Heights Brewing Co.

It may have been the smallest taproom of those I visited, but New Heights certainly wasn't short on beer. A dozen house brews were supplemented by a quartet of special releases, all of which were barrel-aged takes on the brewery's imperial stout, Navel Gazer. Of those, I took a shot (pun intended) of a version aged for 15 months in Eagle Rare barrels. Nothing wrong with a little pick me up, but were I to return my first pour would be a pint of Coffee & Cream, a coffee and vanilla cream ale.

Yazoo Brewing Co.

Recommendations for Yazoo seemed to center around brewery's Embrace the Funk series, but this place is no slouch when it comes to its year-round selections. Along those lines, my top picks from Yazoo's everyday lineup would be Dos Perros, and American brown ale, and Gerst Amber. The latter is an homage to the original Nashville Brewing Co., which was renamed the William Gerst Brewing Co. in 1893.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Notes from Nashville, Part 1: The 2018 CBC and the State of the Industry address

Photo: Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

The shifting sands of the craft beer landscape were a topic of much discussion last week, as industry players met for the Brewers Association's (BA) annual Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Key issues at hand included the inevitable economic slowdown, a subject that gave rise to conversations on how current and future breweries can best position themselves for the coming headwinds.

Speaking on the "State of the Industry," Bart Watson, chief economist for the BA, detailed declines in pricing and volume growth, while also providing perspective on the outlook going forward.

"Total beer was down 1% in 2017, whereas the craft market was up 5% by production volume," said Watson. "Looking at growth over time, we had double digit growth rates for six out of ten years, but we've settled into a longer-term growth pattern in the mid-single digits. That might be disappointing, but I think this is more realistic as a long-term growth rate and is something we should come to expect."

Slower growth is one reason 2017 saw an uptick in closings, with 165 such events being the highest number seen in the modern craft era. That's less than 3% of the entire industry, though, and less than the nearly 5% closure rate observed in North Texas alone (three closings out 65 local brewing operations during 2017).

Despite these closures, Watson pointed out that there are still a lot of people looking to open a brewery. The BA recorded 997 openings in 2017, bringing the total number of breweries operating all or part of last year to 6266. And, more are coming. Based on TTB data from the end of Q1 2018, there are nearly 9200 active brewing permits in the U.S.

So, how best to compete in such a crowded market? A panel of industry veterans offered their two cents on how to maintain focus in the face of the craft beer headwinds.

  • Eric Ottoway, CEO of Brooklyn Brewery: "It's not headwinds, it's reality. Until about two years ago, we were living in la la land. It didn't matter what you did, you opened your doors and grew 25% a year automatically. That's not reality. Now, reality is settling in and all of us have to [realize] we've got businesses to run."

  • Laura Bell, CEO of Bell's Brewery: "As we start to look at the shift in the industry, we remind ourselves is that it's not enough to be a great brewer. The headwinds are forcing us to be really good business people and to really think about business from a strategic planning perspective versus just making great beer."

  • Chris Cramer, CEO & co-founder of Karl Strauss Brewing Co.: "We've been around long enough to see down cycles before. One of the things we learned from the 1990s is that you have to have a strong business plan, you have to have capital sufficiency, and you have to focus on those things that make you important to your core customers."

  • Natalie Cilurzo, co-founder and president of Russian River Brewing Co.: "Pay attention to what your customers are asking for and what your employees are saying. If you're making beer that you like to drink and it isn't selling, it doesn't matter. If you're employees can't get behind it, they aren't going to help promote your business and sell your product to customers."

  • David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker Brewing Co.: "This is not a job, it's a lifestyle, and there are real sacrifices to make. Everybody in the chain needs to be engaged. People you work with, your wholesalers, your retailers and your consumers. It's a little bit of a religion. And if you're not ready for that I would disengage right now. You need to know you are. You need a plan. If you haven't got 2019 in the bag by Memorial Day of 2018, you're reacting rather than being proactive. You need to be positive. Don't diminish others to elevate your brand. Focus on yourself, focus on the beers you make, your story and what you're trying to do."

Adding to those insights, Watson was joined by Paul Gatza, director of the BA, in suggesting that brewers need to find ways to differentiate. Along those lines, Gatza talked about digging into what beer drinkers are thinking. These days, it's not just about drinking the beer anymore. It's about the experience, and if brewers can find ways to elevate the experience (what's new, what's different, blur the lines, blending of beverage categories, macro trends), that may be a way to innovate.

Watson added that brewpubs are one type of place where "experiences" tend to occur. Not only that, great beer plus great food can be a differentiator in a competitive market. It's a thought process that certainly applies to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, considering production breweries outnumber brewpubs in the region more than two-to-one.

Either way, no matter how breweries choose to battle the headwinds, it's all about finding ways to stay in the race. And, like it or not, as David Walker suggests, it's going to be a survival of the fittest.

"I love to run, and there's nothing better than a good hill in a race to sort people out," said Walker. "We're just hitting a hill at the moment. When we get to the other side, we're going to be running next to the people we should be running next to. It's just a natural evolution."

More metrics:

On being the shiny new penny: Breweries opening since 2014 grew up to 50% in 2017, while breweries that opened in 2013 or earlier grew only about 1%. The message: things are great while your brewery is the shiny new penny, but once the gleam wears off, you'll need to make sound business decisions if planning to be around for the long haul.

Production not reaching capacity: New data introduced tracks the gap between production capacity and actual production. As for how wide the gap is today, the industry would have to grow 5% a year for 12 years to reach capacity. The message: when making expansion decisions, think about whether there are better ways to spend your money in the short term (e.g. quality control, invest in your people).

Style trends: Hoppy styles (IPA, DIPA, Session IPA, Fruit IPA, American Pale Ale) accounted for more than 75% of growth in 2017, with lighter styles (blonde ale, cream ale, kölsch, pilsner, wheat ale) leading among the remaining 25%.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Oak Highlands honored at 2018 San Diego International Beer Competition

Image credit: San Diego International Beer Competition.

It seems the brewing industry has hit upon an awards season of sorts, as results from the 2018 San Diego International Beer Competition have been released after the completion of judging at the event in mid-April.

Working from a more refined list of styles compared to other recent competitions, the 2018 installment of the San Diego International Beer Competition accepted entries to only 56 categories (including ciders and meads). Beers were judged in a closed, blind event according to guidelines derived from those published by the Brewers Association.

Perusing the list of winners, only one recognized brewery hails from North Texas, as Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas was awarded a gold medal for its year-round tripel, Freaky Deaky.

Oak Highlands Brewery
  • Gold for Freaky Deaky in the Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale category.

The win represents the second notable honor bestowed upon Oak Highlands in recent months. Earlier this year, the brewery was named Grand Champion in the Low_ABV Aged Beer category for Red Wine Hypocrite at the 2018 United States Beer Championship.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Banner night for North Texas at the 2018 World Beer Cup

Image credit: Brewers Association.

This evening in Nashville, Tennessee, four breweries from North Texas were called to the podium to receive medals at the 2018 World Beer Cup (WBC). It was a banner year for the region, since four medals represents the most North Texas has won in a single year since the advent of the WBC.

Known as the most prestigious beer competition in the world, this year's WBC recognized beer excellence in 101 different categories. Styles were judged based on the 2018 World Beer Cup Style Guidelines, with a total of 8234 entries submitted by 2515 breweries from 66 countries.

Surveying local honorees, all four of the breweries listed below medaled at the WBC for the first time, though it's worth noting that Armadillo and Revolver have previously won medals for Honey Please (bronze, 2017) and Anodyne (gold, 2016), respectively, at the Great American Beer Festival.

Armadillo Ale Works
  • Gold for Honey Please in the Honey Beer category.
Revolver Brewing
  • Gold for Anodyne in the Other Strong Beer category.
Twin Peaks Brewing Co.
  • Silver for Double Barrel Knotty in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer category.
Wild Acre Brewing Co.
  • Gold for Thunder Hug in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

For more on the 2018 World Beer Cup, click the following links to view the Winners List and 2018 WBC Fact Sheet.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Area brewers recognized at 2018 Los Angeles International Beer Competition

Image credit: Fairplex.

Following an event held the weekend of April 21-22, four local breweries have been recognized for their work at the 2018 Los Angeles International Beer Competition.

The event, which celebrated its 18th year, accepted entries from around the world. Judges were tasked with the evaluation of beers in 95 different categories based on the 2017 Brewers Association Style Guidelines. Honors for North Texas brewers are summarized below, with a complete list of winners to be found by clicking here.

Community Beer Company
  • Silver for Citra Slice in the Session India Pale Ale category.
  • Silver for Köbesse Kölsch in the German-Style Kölsch category.
  • Honorable Mention for True Love in the American-Style Sour Ale category.
  • Bronze for Irish Goodbye in the Irish-Style Red Ale category.
  • Bronze for It's Always Something in the Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale category.
  • Gold for Summertime Wheat in the South German-Style Hefeweizen category.
  • Silver for Oktoberfest in the German-Style Maerzen category.
  • Bronze for Paleta de Mango in the Chili Pepper Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Brooklyn Brewery bringing Beer Mansion to Dallas, June 15-16

Image credit: Brooklyn Brewery.

Beer Mansion, an unconventional and eccentric beer bash put on by Brooklyn Brewery of New York, will pop up for the first time in Dallas this summer.

According to a press release, Beer Mansion is a multi-party celebration consisting of four one-of-a-kind parties happening under the same roof. Each with distinctly different vibes, celebrations set to occur within the confines of the Mansion are described as follows:

  • The Show: Catch live music performances by local artists such as Otis the Destroyer and more, curated by Nine Mile Records.
  • The Bazaar: Shop local vendors like Hypnotic Donuts and Good Records.
  • The Speakeasy: Enjoy refined beers, along with craft beer cocktails from Balcones Distilling.
  • The Arcade: Get your game on with cutting-edge consoles and cabinet-style classics not seen since the 1980s, all supplied by Free Play Arcade.

As for food and drink, partygoers will have access to unlimited beer tastings from seven different breweries including Braindead Brewing, Lakewood Brewing Co. and Brooklyn Brewery, with bites to be provided by Bowls & TacosFlying Saucer Draught Emporium and others.

Happening at the 2616 Commerce Event Center on Friday and Saturday, June 15-16, tickets for Beer Mansion are on sale now. Three separate sessions are being offered (Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night), with ticket prices ranging from $20 for regular admission to $35 for The Tasting Experience. The latter option features benefits like early entry, signature Spiegelau glassware, a complimentary food item and access to the Tasters Quarters. Note that in each case, beer sampling tickets may be purchased separately for an additional $15.

To reserve your spot, click here for a link to the ticketing page, where you'll also find complete details on the festivities.

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.


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

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.


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.