Saturday, September 14, 2019

Lakewood inks distro pact with Hops & Vines

Image credit: Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has signed a deal with Hop & Vines Distributing for the delivery of its products to markets across Texas.

“We are pumped to join forces with the talented team at Hops and Vines Distributing,” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “Hops and Vines shares our dedication to quality, service, and bringing only the best craft beer to market. Since day one, our approach was to grow our distribution footprint organically, and now the time has come to share the beer love with almost all of Texas.”

According to a press release, Hops and Vines will roll out distribution to Waco, San Antonio and Houston in addition to the current Lakewood footprint over the next few months. The company will also take over distribution rights in the Austin market.

 “We are incredibly excited and proud to partner with Wim and the brewing talent at Lakewood, and to support and enhance their brand-building efforts throughout the state of Texas,” says Tristan Maldonado, co-founder and CEO of Hops and Vines.

Lakewood’s year-round beers include Lakewood Lager, Lakewood IPA, All Call Kölsch, Lemonale and The Temptress. Another full-time offering, Texas Porter, is set to be launched soon.

“Lakewood is perhaps best known for The Temptress, which is the #1-selling craft stout in the entire state of Texas, even though it’s currently only distributed in limited areas of the state," adds Maldonado. "We’re excited to bring The Temptress and Lakewood’s other highly creative beers to share with beer lovers across more of our great state.”

Hops and Vines will begin servicing Lakewood's retail accounts during the month of September. Lakewood will officially mark its entry into San Antonio at the San Antonio Beer Festival on October 19th, 2019.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

B-Funk is Lakewood's latest Barrelworks brew

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has announced the release of B-Funk, a new wild farmhouse ale from the brewery's Barrelworks program.

Three years in the making, B-Funk is the latest realization of what Lakewood describes as "a slowly growing and evolving sour and mixed-culture program." The beer is a blend of barrel-aged saisons from three different years with brettanomyces, lactobacillus and pediococcus cultures. It was packaged in 375 mL green, champagne-like bottles, then corked and capped before a multiple-month rest to allow it to naturally carbonate in the bottle.

"We've been playing around with wild beers since we started, but now that we have multiple years of barrel-aged beers in the cellar, the program is finally coming into its own," says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. "The ability to blend different vintages or even different beers together really increases our innovative edge."

B-Funk is only the second Barrelworks beer to see wide release, following Wild Manimal which first appeared on draft in 2015. Subsequent entries in the series, Cuvée de Vélo (three-year wild sour ale blend) and Passion Pony (wild ale with passion fruit), have only been sold in Lakewood's taproom.

"We’ve learned a lot from those previous beers, and B-Funk is a great example of getting all the things right," explains Bens. "We used a variety of old-world techniques and the result is amazing."

Look for B-Funk to be available on a limited basis in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with bottles and kegs hitting the market in September.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Franconia brings new mix to 2019 Original State Fair Brew

Image credits: Franconia Brewing Co., Fiesta Enterprises.

Continuing a series started in 2014, Original State Fair Brew (OSFB) has once again partnered with a North Texas brewery to create a new and exciting version of their annual State Fair-themed beer.

For this year's edition, the OSFB folks enlisted the help of Franconia Brewing Co. of McKinney, a choice that may surprise some given the brewery's usual strict adherence to tradition. The State Fair of Texas, of course, is famous for defying convention with its food and beverage offerings, often showcasing taste combinations that challenge even the most ardent explorers of new and unusual flavors.

So how, then, did this collaboration come to pass?

According to Franconia founder Dennis Wehrmann, it was a matter of convincing Fiesta Enterprises, the creators of the OSFB concept, to go in a different direction. In the past, local breweries infused ingredients to create State Fair beers reminiscent of funnel cake, corn dogs and pumpkin pie. This year, though, consumer will have the chance to conceive their own unique State Fair brew.

"People like to mix things with beer, so I introduced Fiesta owners Rudy and Justin Martinez to the idea of a snow cone system," says Wehrmann. "You start with a base beer, and then let customers mix it with other flavors."

The origin of the concept is a German-style radler, a beverage consisting of a 50/50 mix of beer and either soda or fruit puree. At the State Fair, the drink will be known as Barnyard Radler, with Franconia Wheat (a classic hefeweizen) forming the foundation of the system.

Consumers will be able to instill up to four different flavors in the beer, but suggested varieties you'll be able to order by name include Cattleman Cola (with Coca-Cola), Watermelon Wrangler, Strawberry Fields, and Pig-in-the-Mud Pumpkin.

"We tried a lot of flavors and these were the best combinations," explains Wehrmann. "Plus, our wheat beer works because it supports a lot of fruitiness to begin with."

Naturally, such mixes lie outside the realm of the Reinheitsgebot (a.k.a. the German Beer Purity Law), a guiding principle for Franconia since day one. But what makes this collaboration a fit, while also maintaining the spirit of the State Fair, is the fact that the brewery's role lies strictly with the base beer.

"We thought, why not leave the creativity to the customer," says Wehrmann. "They can use their imagination and choose the flavors they want to make the 'beer.' We just provide a starting point, which allows us to stay true to our roots."

The 2019 State Fair of Texas opens on September 27 at Fair Park and runs through October 20. In addition to Barnyard Radler, beer flights featuring Franconia Kölsch, Lager and Oktoberfest will be offered during the event at Trio on the Green and the Lone Star Roadhouse.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Rabbit Hole ending its run in Justin

Image credit: Rabbit Hole Brewing.

After more than five years in business, Rabbit Hole Brewing has announced it will close its doors in Justin.

Rabbit Hole debuted in December 2013, bringing with it a unique branding approach centered on author Lewis Carroll and his book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Beer names like Dark Snark, JabberBock, JubJub, and Off With Your Red played up the theme, drawing inspiration from Alice  and Carroll's other works, Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark.

The company was also well-known for its partnership with hockey Hall of Famer and former Dallas Star, Mike Modano. One of Rabbit Hole's original beers, Mike Modano's 561 Kölsch-style beer, paid tribute to Modano's career goal total, a number which stands as the current record for American-born players in the National Hockey League (NHL).

As for your chance to raise a final toast to Rabbit Hole, a message on the brewery's website indicates it will remain open through the next two weekends, with taproom hours September 6-7 and September 13-14.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Two Franconia favorites returning to bottles

Image credits: Franconia Brewing Co.

The recent passage of legislation allowing breweries with a manufacturing license to sell beer to-go has inspired Franconia Brewing Co. of McKinney to re-release two of its popular beers in bottles.

First among them, Franconia Wheat (4.8% ABV) returns to packaged form after being relegated to draft-only status for the past four years. A true German-style hefeweizen, Franconia Wheat is one of the brewery's original beers, and one that will be available in bottles as a brewery exclusive from this point forward.

Initial packages of Franconia Wheat go on sale Sunday, September 1 (a.k.a. Beer-To-Go Day in Texas), during the brewery's Oktoberfest Kick-Off Party. Six-packs of both Franconia Wheat and Franconia Oktoberfest will be offered for just $5.99, a special price valid for one day only.

As for what else is on the horizon, Franconia Ice Bock (17% ABV) is also set to reappear in bottles. This too will be a brewery exclusive, with a limited run of individual 12-ounce bottles expected to be offered for sale in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Windmills Craftworks targeting early 2020 debut in The Colony

Front/east elevation (All images courtesy of Windmills Craftworks).

Construction is currently well underway on Windmills Craftworks, a brewpub concept coming soon to the Grandscape development in The Colony.

First established in Bangalore, India, the original location of Windmills Craftworks debuted in late 2012. Conceived as a combination microbrewery, jazz theater and restaurant, the Bangalore brewpub also features an extensive collection of books should patrons wish to indulge in a little light reading while enjoying a beer.

Interior (left) and exterior (right) seating areas.

A similar vibe is expected to infuse the North Texas locale, with the site's attractions set to reside within a multi-level structure consisting of over 16,000 square feet (a number which includes more than 3500 square feet of outdoor patio space). Final renderings attached herein reveal various aspects of the venue's design, with images showing front and back elevations, as well as portions of the interior and exterior public areas.

Rear elevation overlooking Grandscape's man-made lake to the west.

As for who will oversee beer production, Callaway Ryan has been hired as Director of Brewing Operations. Ryan's resume includes stints as a brewer at Surly Brewing Co. of Minnesota and Stone Brewing Co. of California, but he got his start in Texas by way of an apprenticeship at Live Oak Brewing Co. in Austin.

More recently, Ryan spent a year in India getting familiar with the culture and practices at Windmills Craftworks. Now that he's returned to the Lone Star State, he'll employ a 15-barrel brewhouse at the brewpub in The Colony, with plans to maintain a portfolio of 14 different house beers.

On the topic of timelines, equipment for the project has been acquired, according to the company's CEO, Ajay Nagarajan. Installation awaits further progress on the overall build out, a task Nagarajan hopes to have fully completed in time for an opening in early 2020.

Windmills Craftworks is located at 5755 Grandscape Blvd. in The Colony, where it shares a parking lot with Lava Cantina.

Oak Highlands, Rahr & Sons among regional winners at 2019 USBTC

Image credit: United States Beer Tasting Championship.

The United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC) has announced the winners from its 25th Annual Summer Competition.

A total of 538 beers from 174 breweries were evaluated at the 2019 event, with entries divided into 17 different categories. Regional winners were chosen in each category, then pitted against each other in order to determine a national grand champion.

Products from North Texas competed in the Rockies/Southwest division, with two local breweries taking top regional honors for multiple styles. Those award-winning brews are listed below, while a complete list of winners may be found by clicking here.

Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas
  • Charity, Regional Champion in the Amber/Red Ale category.
  • Swervy Spring Ale, Regional Champion in the Golden Ale/Kölsch category.
  • Tipsy Goat, Regional Champion in the Bock/Doppelbock category.

  • Rahr's Blonde, Regional Champion in the Dortmunder/Helles category.
  • Summertime Wheat, Regional Champion in the Wheat Beer category.
  • Paleta de Mango, Regional Champion in the Fruit Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to Oak Highlands and Rahr & Sons!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

On your mark, get set, beer to go!

Image credit: Texas Craft Brewers Guild, CraftPAC.

It's really happening! After over a decade of legal wrangling, production breweries in Texas are finally able to sell beer to go as of Sunday, September 1. And, judging by the number of events on tap that day, it looks to be a time of celebration all around North Texas. In fact, many breweries usually closed on Sunday will have special hours in honor of the occasion.

Details on where and when you can go, what you can get and more are provided below, with links to additional information included where available. Of course, there are also some relevant rules to be aware of, per the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), so those are listed here as well.

Things to know:
  • Purchases are limited to 288 ounces of beer per person/per day, regardless of format (any combination of bottles, cans, crowlers, growlers).
  • Current restrictions do not allow for to-go beer sales at Four Corners Brewing Co. of Dallas and Revolver Brewing of Granbury.
  • Companies operating under an alternating proprietorship arrangement are not able to sell beer to-go at the host facility. This applies to Manhattan Project Beer Co., Toasty Bros., and Trinity Forest Brewing Co.


10 a.m.

3 Nations Brewing Co., Farmers Branch - Straight Outta Farmers Branch: Beer to Go.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills (customers must bring own growlers).

Community Beer Co., Dallas - Beer-To-Go Day.
  • Debut of Super Mosaic Triple IPA (taproom exclusive).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers.

  • Debut of B-Funk (barrel-aged Brett saison).
  • Specialty bottles, bombers, six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

  • Special taproom-only releases (click here for details).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

  • Debut of Full Grown Beast (Full Grown Man aged on coffee and chocolate).
  • Re-release of DDH IPA Series 2 and Northbound 75 Poblano Pale Ale.
  • Four/six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

11 a.m.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Beer-To-Go Launch.
  • Special tappings: Baril de Blue (chardonnay barrel-aged kölsch with blueberries), Barrel-Aged Regulator Doppelbock and Iron Joe.
  • The brewery will also institute permanent taproom hours occurring Wednesday through Sunday starting on September 4, with additional featured beers during launch week.
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers.

  • Debut of Hazy Sour IPA (taproom exclusive).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

12 p.m.

Armadillo Ale Works, Denton - Beer 2 Go Day.
  • Wizard Staff Packs (mixed 12-pack cans).
  • Four/six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Debut of Awkward Phaze Hazy IPA.
  • Four/six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

  • Labor of Love 8 Homebrew Competition & Festival at 5 p.m. ($10pp, click here to purchase tickets).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers.

  • Crowlers.

Four Bullets Brewery, Richardson - Beer-To-Go Celebration.
  • Specials on merchandise.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Big Ass Cans (32-ounce), growler fills.

  • Launch of Dixon's Hazy Pale Ale in cans benefiting Dallas Pets Alive (taproom exclusive).
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Special tappings: Tequila Barrel-Aged Acheron, Who Wants Cream and Lemon Icebox Pie.
  • Two/four/six-pack cans.

  • Debut of Red Ale Redemption (Texas red ale) and Nautty Pumkn' (pumpkin/pecan ale).
  • The brewery will also begin a series of monthly limited releases, with two new beers expected each month.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Growler fills.

Old Town Brewhouse, Lewisville
  • Raffle for first ever six-pack to go on the house.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Four-pack cans, crowlers.

  • TAP Paks (mixed six-pack cans), growler fills.

  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

1 p.m.

  • Oktoberfest tapping, re-release of Franconia Wheat (brewery exclusive).
  • Six-pack bottles just $5.99.

1:30 p.m.

Four Corners Brewing Co., Dallas - Tour de Beer2Go with Bikes & Growlers.
  • Tour stops: Oak Cliff Brewing Co., Pegasus City Brewery and Peticolas Brewing Co.
  • Four Corners and will only be selling beer for on-premise consumption.

2 p.m.

Pegasus City Brewery, Dallas - Beer-To-Go Day.
  • Bottles, six-pack cans (including variety packs), crowlers, growler fills.

  • VIP entry at 12 p.m., commemorative glassware ($50pp, click here to purchase tickets).
  • Growler fills.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Trinity Forest is calling, with beer

Image credit: Trinity Forest Brewing Co.

Debuting in late July, the region's newest brand of beer is one that hopes to promote the protection of a local urban oasis some North Texans may not know about.

Trinity Forest Brewing Co. (TFBC) is a Dallas-based company whose namesake is the Great Trinity Forest, a 6000-acre woodland that stands as one of the largest urban hardwood forests in the country. Located a mere 10 miles southeast of Downtown Dallas, the park's trails and bounding waterways (Trinity River, White Rock Creek) are home to a variety of outdoor activities.

It's also an area being eyed by TFBC for a permanent location, a seemingly suitable site choice for a brewery built on the concept of enjoying the outdoors with a craft beer in hand.

"We know where we want to be," says Ricky Del Bosque, co-founder and head brewer at TFBC. "Our long-term goal is to establish a destination brewery just outside the City of Dallas near the Great Trinity Forest."

While development activities continue on that front, TFBC will brew its recipes under an alternating proprietorship agreement with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine. An initial offering, Trinity Forest SMaSH IPA, is already out on the market, as is Trinity Forest Blonde Ale. Others, including a hazy IPA, will roll out as TFBC expands its lineup over the next few months.

"I want to brew all around good beers, but also beers that are trending at the moment, hence the upcoming Trinity Forest Haze IPA." explains Del Bosque. "Beyond that, I'm looking to get label approvals for a red ale, a porter, and a double IPA for fall and winter."

As for availability, TFBC's beers will be draft-only to start, but consumers can expect limited runs of packaged products in the near future.

"We're going to stick with kegs for now while we build our brand," says Del Bosque, "but we're able to can at Hop & Sting, and it would be crazy not to take advantage of that!"

For now, though, seek out TFBC brews on tap at select locales in and around Dallas.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

August brings Peanut Butter Temptress, latest Lion's Share from Lakewood

Images courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Not one, but two new releases are on the way from Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland, just as it prepares to host its Seventh Anniversary Party on Saturday, August 10.

The first of these is the latest batch of Peanut Butter Temptress, a beer that made its Seduction Series debut in 2018. Set to be on shelves as soon as this week, Peanut Butter Temptress will be sold on tap and in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles.

"When we started getting angry calls from fans last year, we knew we had a hit on our hands," says Wim Bens, president and founder of Lakewood. "We actually had someone call the brewery and say ‘I heard you guys had a hard time making that beer. FIGURE IT OUT!' Well, this year we made about 50% more and used a literal TON of peanuts to make enough."

As for the second beer, Lion's Share VII is the company's anniversary ale. The 2019 edition is a grisette, an easy-drinking style of beer originating in the Hainaut region of Belgium.

"When we brew our annual Lion's Share beer, we make sure to make it very special," explains Bens. "This year we brewed an imperial grisette and aged it in Sauvignon Blanc barrels. We then blended it with a fresh batch, fermented in stainless. We also adjusted our brewing process to make a beer that draws inspiration from the hazy IPA craze. The result is a beautiful combination of old and new world beer styles.”

Lion's Share VII will also be available on draft, but Lakewood has a surprise in store for consumers looking to pick up the product at retail.

"The other unique thing about Lion's Share VII is the packaging," says Bens. "Traditionally Lion’s Share beers have come in a collectible, boxed 22-ounce bottle. This year we wanted to change it up and make a ‘share-pack’. There will be two 12-ounce bottles in a collectible box, so you and a friend can share…or not.”

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Second Rodeo concept coming from builder of By the Horns, Beard Science

Second Rodeo Brewing Co. will exist along the western edge of Mule Alley in the
Fort Worth Stockyards (Stockyards Heritage Development Co., click image to enlarge).

Details are starting to emerge related to a third brewing operation being developed by Jason Boso, the man behind Twisted Root Burger Co. and Truck Yard.

Second Rodeo Brewing Co. is currently under construction along Mule Alley in the Fort Worth Stockyards. According to a Proposed Tenant Plan posted by Stockyards Heritage Development Co. (dated July 16, 2019), Second Rodeo will occupy a 14,740 square foot space that backs up to Marine Creek. The project is described as a brewpub/music hall, with features to include seating under a retractable roof.

Current projections suggest a grand opening of the Mule Alley venue will occur in early 2020. As for Boso's other brewpub concepts, By the Horns Brewing Co. opened this past January in Mansfield, while Beard Science (expected to be a wild and sour beer house) is still being built at Truck Yard The Colony.

Friday, August 2, 2019

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - August 2, 2019 edition

Image credits: False Idol Brewing, Noble Rey Brewing Co.,
Happy Hippie Brewing Co., Howling Mutt Brewing Co.

It's been a minute since the last round of ICYMI updates in May, but the Conspectus is back with news on continuing development activities as well as Noble Rey's rebirth.


Noble Rey brand reborn

The group behind last year's purchase of Rockwall's Woodcreek Brewing Co. has added another name to its portfolio with the acquisition of the Noble Rey Brewing Co. brand. Noble Rey recipes are now being produced at Nocona Beer & Brewery while ownership scouts locations for a new taproom facility (presumably in Dallas). Select draft offerings are said to already be back on the market, with cans soon to follow.

Happy Hippie to start production at Hop & Sting

Also in the market for a home is Happy Hippie Brewing Co., with the firm currently targeting the Richardson area as a place to put down roots. While the search continues, look for Happy Hippie to begin production by way of an alternating proprietorship agreement with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine. If all goes according to plan, initial shipments of Happy Hippie beer will occur in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Crowdfunding in the cards for Howling Mutt

With TABC approval in hand, Howling Mutt Brewing Co. is working to clear the final hurdles in its effort to open a brewery in Denton. To assist with those endeavors, the company is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Howling Mutt has set a goal of $6,000 for the project, with funds to be used to offset unexpected costs incurred during the course of development.

False Idol obtains TABC approval

The TABC approved a brewpub license for False Idol Brewing in July. False Idol was brewing batches under license at Oak Cliff Brewing Co. of Dallas, but its focus will now shift towards getting its operation up and running in North Richland Hills. Once equipment is in place, look for False Idol to brew beer for distribution while it prepares its taproom (which will include an element of on-site food service) for a full public opening later this year.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Pegasus City spreading its wings downtown

 Taking flight at The Tiny Tap (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).
Two years after opening its original facility in the Design District, Pegasus City Brewery of Dallas has announced it will expand with a second location to be established in the Dallas Power and Light building at 1508 Commerce St.

Set in the heart of Downtown Dallas, the 1930s-era structure is a fitting choice given how the city's history has influenced the Pegasus City brand. In fact, a perfect example of that is the brewery's Nine Volt D.P.& L Tripel, a beer named after the building itself.

According to a press release, Pegasus City's new space will feature a small-batch brewing system, with an indoor taproom and outdoor beer garden comprising the public areas. The company says its goal is to highlight the history of the building and the city as it creates "a taproom environment welcoming to all."

As for timelines, work is just beginning, but Pegasus City hopes to makes its downtown debut in the spring of 2020. Once that happens, expect it to be business as usual in the Design District, where The Tiny Tap will maintain its regular hours.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Lakewood gets a little hazy with Melon Baller

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is set to join the haze craze with the late-summer debut of Melon Baller Hazy IPA.

Taking its place as the third beer in the brewery's Limited Can Series line, Mellon Baller (6.9% AB) is brewed with fresh cantaloupe, along with a blend of Loral, Citra, Bravo and Huell Melon hop varieties. The new beer follows Earthly Highs and Muy Importante in the small-batch series, which the company says has been well-received by fans, not only for its inventive brews, but also for the "kick-ass can designs" created by artist Cory Say.

“We’ve been toying around with some recipes and are finally ready to embrace the haze." says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. "We wanted to make a hazy IPA but make it a little more fun by brewing it with two types of ‘melon’ - Huell Melon hops that add ripe melon and bright fruit aromas, plus fresh cantaloupe to boost the fruit-forward hop profile and create a soft palate."

Look for Melon Baller to be available on tap and in four-packs of 12-ounce cans beginning in early August.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Last remaining Humperdinks locations to close

Image credit: Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewpub.

Following a bankruptcy filing in February, the Arlington Voice is reporting that the remaining Arlington and Dallas (W. Northwest Highway) locations of Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewpub are set to close.

Humperdinks opened its first Dallas pub on Greenville Ave. in 1976. Locations were added in later years, with brewing operations going online at various sites beginning in 1995. For those projects, Humperdinks partnered with Ram International/Big Horn Brewing Co. of Washington to develop brewpubs in Arlington (1995), Dallas - at W. Northwest Highway (1997) and Greenville Ave. (remodeled, 1997), and Addison (1998).

In the time since, Humperdinks beers won numerous awards at the Great American Beer Festival. Eleven medals (four gold, five silver, two bronze) were bestowed on the company between 2001 and 2012, with the best performance coming in 2001. On that occasion, the combined entity Big Horn Brewing Co./Humperdinks of Dallas was named Large Brewpub of the Year.

As for the here and now, the Arlington Humperdinks had been the longest running brewing operation in North Texas. The Addison brewpub stopped making beer in 2005 (closing in 2017), while the Greenville Ave. locale shuttered just this past February. Other, non-brewing restaurants once existed in Irving and Richardson as well.

Operations will cease at close of business Sunday, July 14, at both the Arlington and W. Northwest Highway restaurants.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Walking Beam balancing beer and food in Bridgeport

Flights at Walking Beam consist of four rather generous
five-ounce pours ( Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Craft beer's sphere of influence continues to reach untapped regions of North Texas, with a recent western expansion resulting in the addition of Walking Beam Brewing Co. to the ever-growing roster of local breweries.

Located near the confluence of US-380 and TX-114 in Bridgeport, Walking Beam is that city's first brewing operation, and the first in Wise County as a whole. The spot opened in late February, after owner John Townsend built out a 4,000 square foot space at 1019 Halsell St. in Bridgeport's downtown district.

Come to find out, though, Walking Beam isn't Townsend's first foray into the beer business. In the late 1980s, Townsend contracted with Jones Brewing Co. of Smithton, Pennsylvania, to produce a recipe he developed for Olde Town Ocean City Beer. The brand's namesake was the resort town of Ocean City, Maryland, where Townsend's grandfather was a physician for 40 years.

As for Townsend's current venture, Walking Beam is a brewpub in the traditional sense. House beers are brewed on a one-barrel system behind the bar, while a full-service kitchen serves a menu of appetizers, gourmet pizzas and salad bowls to round out the offerings. In fact, maintaining a balance between the beer and food side of things is what gives rise to the "Walking Beam" name. It's a reference to the Texas oil industry, where a "walking beam" is the pivoting arm of a pumpjack's counterbalance mechanism.

In that vein, oilfield lingo is attached to many of the beers at Walking Beam, with options like Bell Nipple Triple, Roughneck Red and Wildcatter Wheat being part of the brewpub's rotating portfolio. Others with seemingly separate citations include She Bang Saison, Candeed Belgian Ale and Chocolate Rocks, the latter being a nitro chocolate stout that was probably the best beer on tap the day of my visit.

Should you be considering a trip yourself, know that available selections may be had in flights (four, five-ounce tasters) or full pours at Walking Beam. That goes for guest beers and ciders as well. Beertenders will also fill growlers for prospecting patrons seeking new tastes to take home.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Lakewood joins with Jack on new summer collab

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co

Following the success of two collaborations in 2018, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is again joining with Jack Daniel's Distillery to produce a unique barrel-aged beer.

Last year, the brewery teamed up with Jack Daniel's for Jack'd Up Lemonale and Tennessee Temptress. A new vintage of Tennessee Temptress is coming this fall, but Lakewood has something new and different in mind for summer.

“When Jack came knockin’ after our successful beer collabs last year, we jumped at the chance to continue creating new and fun beers,” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “This year we decided to continue to draw inspiration from Jack’s Country Cocktails line to make Jack’d Up Punch. It’s a blonde ale aged in freshly emptied and hand-delivered Jack barrels -- and then refermented with a silly amount tangerines, peaches and cherries. At 6.3% ABV it’s the perfect barrel-aged summer beer.”

Jack’d Up Punch will be a draft-only release available starting in mid-July.

Honors pour in for North Texas at the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship

Image credit: U.S. Open Beer Championship.

In recent times, North Texas has made a habit of winning at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, and the local industry has done it again with 13 awards at this year's competition. Combine that with numbers from 2017 and 2018, and North Texas breweries have brought home 40 medals from the U.S. Open over the past three years.

As for the 2019 event, over 7000 entries were received from breweries around the world, with beers broken down and judged across more than 130 categories. Emerging from that group, eight North Texas breweries were honored. Among them, five represent repeat winners, while three collected wins for the first time (Armadillo Ale Works, Bitter Sisters Brewery, White Rock Alehouse & Brewery).

Below is a rundown of recognized beers from North Texas. For others, click here for a complete list of winners.

903 Brewers, Sherman
  • Gold for Sasquatch Reserve in the Aged Beer category.
  • Silver for Greenbelt in the American Specialty Wheat category.
  • Bronze for Sisters Quad in the Belgian Quadrupel category.
  • Gold for Bourbon Barrel Temptress in the Barrel-Aged Strong Stout/Porter category.
  • Silver for Sin Mint Temptress in the Experimental Beer category.
  • Gold for Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vanilla Porter with Tart Cherries in the Wood/Barrel-Aged Fruit Beer category. 
  • Silver for Charity in the German Altbier category.
  • Gold for Great Scot! in the Scottish Ale category.
  • Bronze for Royal Scandal in the English Pale Ale category.
  • Bronze for Same Time Next Year in the Märzen/Oktoberfest category.
  • Bronze for Velvet Hammer in the Imperial Red Ale category. 
  • Bronze for Paleta de Mango in the Chili Pepper Beer category.
  • Silver for IPO IPA in the New England/Juicy/Hazy IPA category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Brutal Beerworks a new Mid-Cities stop for hops

Brutal Beerworks' week three taplist included Mother Heffer, a milk stout,
and Collider, a hazy Pineapple IPA (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

North Richland Hills is the latest North Texas city to welcome its first-ever brewing operation, as Brutal Beerworks is now up and running at 8447 Boulevard 26, in the southeastern section of the Fort Worth suburb.

Founders Eric Johnson, Sallie McIntyre and Jason Perez form the team behind Brutal Beerworks, a name which has been a mainstay on the homebrew competition circuit for a number of years. The group converted a 3400 square foot retail end cap in order to make the business a reality, opening the space to a standing-room only crowd on June 16.

Early visitors lined up to try inaugural offerings which included a half-dozen IPAs, two flavored stouts and a German-style kölsch thrown in for good measure. A similar array of selections was found when I stopped in for a few beers (and crowlers to-go) this past weekend, but a Belgian amber brewed with boysenberries was added to the mix as well. That beer, called Valkyrie, was the preferred pour for me among those I tried, with Electric Haze Machine being the favored hazy IPA.

The brewery's location in North Richland Hills features an open layout that helps
maximize available elbow room (Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D, click for a larger version).

Regarding the location itself, Brutal Beerworks is the second brewery to pop up near the Mid Cities region of North Texas, following Turning Point Beer's debut in Bedford last year. Eventually, they'll both be joined by False Idol Brewing Co. (also in North Richland Hills) to form a triad along the TX-183/TX-121 corridor between Dallas and Fort Worth. Once they all are established, a mere five miles will separate the three breweries.

Getting back to the here and now, though, look for Brutal Beerworks to rotate its lineup regularly while pouring upwards of 16 beers on a weekly basis. And based on early returns (not to mention the group's history at amateur events in the past), expect hops to continue to play a big role in the brewery's portfolio.

As for when to visit, Brutal Beerworks is currently set up as a late-week destination, with hours Thursday through Sunday.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A look at 2018 North Texas production numbers

(Click image to view a larger version).

Each year the Brewers Association releases production data in the May/June issue of The New Brewer. The above chart compiles that information for breweries operating in North Texas, breaking it down into subgroups based on size.

Note that not all breweries publish their production numbers and some only share estimates, so the actual breakdown above may vary slightly compared to what is shown.

  • Smaller breweries dominate the North Texas landscape, with the majority producing less than 1000 barrels per year. On top of that, the number of breweries producing more than 1000 barrels has not changed significantly over the past three years.
  • Current and soon-to-be adopted legislation caps taproom sales, including beer sold to-go, at 5000 barrels per year. Only 10 local breweries open during all or part of 2018 made more than 5000 barrels, meaning most could have sold their entire output on-site without being up against the cap.
  • Three of the five largest breweries in North Texas are owned by other entities: Revolver Brewing (MillerCoors), Deep Ellum Brewing Co. (CANarchy Craft Beer Collective), Four Corners Brewing Co. (Constellation Brands).

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A-tisket, a-tasket, a 15-beer basket: Funky Picnic now open in Fort Worth

Funny Accent, an English ESB, is one of many classic styles
on tap at Funky Picnic (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Currently in the midst of a soft opening event, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café is now serving up its brand of beer and bites in the Near Southside neighborhood of Fort Worth.

The first day of operations was on Wednesday, June 26, but judging by the full house seated at the brewpub on Saturday, many are getting their first taste of what Funky Picnic has to offer this weekend. Naturally, house-made beer and food are the main attractions, but Funky Picnic's location on Bryan Ave. has an added benefit.

Indeed, one aspect many will find appealing is Funky Picnic's proximity to three other breweries: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., HopFusion Ale Works and The Collective Brewing Project. Couple that with its full-service food aspect, and Funky Picnic could well be viewed as ground zero for a Fort Worth family beer gathering. Imagine fueling up at Funky Picnic prior to spending the day on a self-guided tour of its brewery brethren.

A family-friendly lounge just off the front entrance of Funky Picnic is stocked with a variety of toys, book and games (left).
Fermenters in the brewhouse feature names of former Texas Rangers like Nolan 'Ryan', 'Pudge' Rodriquez and Rusty 'Greer' (right).
(Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D, click images to enlarge).

Of course, you'll want to have a beer at Funky Picnic first, where upwards of 15 rotating selections will be on tap once the brewpub is at full capacity. Expect a mix of classic and creative styles to be the norm, with tasters, half-pours and full pints being available.

Should you go the taster route, choose a standard flight of four or, better yet, opt for "The Whole Picnic." The latter is appropriately served in a 15-slot wooden taster tray fashioned in the shape of a picnic basket. This accoutrement, like other wood furnishings found at Funky Picnic, was crafted by a Forth Worth design and woodworking company called Brother Sister Design.

As for what's on tap at the moment, spot-on standards include Vibes (German kölsch-style lager), You Wanted a Wit (Belgian witbier) and Funny Accent (English ESB). Though, if you're looking for something slightly more whimsical, you can't go wrong with the tasty Belgian Waffle (Belgian tripel with maple syrup).

Still to come, head brewer Michael Harper has a pilsner and a Mexican-style lager on deck, and he's also working to restock two IPAs that sold out early on. From there, new recipes will appear as Funky Picnic preps its portfolio for grand opening festivities on July 20.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Twin Peaks debuts new Mexican-style lager

Image courtesy of Twin Peaks Brewing Co.

Twin Peaks Brewing Co. of Irving is "fueling its own fiesta" with the introduction of a cool new beer created for the hottest days of the year.

La Güera, which translates as "the blonde,"  is a Mexican-style lager brewed with high end corn for "a touch of sweetness and depth of color." It's billed as a satisfying refresher, best enjoyed when dressed with a slice of lime.

“I’d been wanting to create a Mexican-style lager for a long time and we figured it would be perfect if it could make its debut just in time for summer,” says Coty Bell, brew master for Twin Peaks. “We brewed the pilot batch back in November and started tweaking it to create the perfect brew. After much experimentation, we’re ready for it to make its debut! We’re confident that La Güera will be a successful addition to the Twin Peaks menu and we can’t wait for our guests to try it out.”

Look for La Güera on tap at Twin Peaks locations in Texas. According to a press release, it and other selections are available now at select restaurants for a special price - enjoy 22-ounce drafts for just $3.50 through July 7.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Krootz Brewing Co. holds grand opening in Gainesville

BT Justice, a vanilla porter, is one of seven beers
on tap at Krootz (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Cooke County's first brewery has been up and running for a few weeks, but Krootz Brewing Co. made its official debut with a grand opening event this past Saturday in Gainesville.

Founded by Chad Sykora, Krootz is set up with easy access to I-35 at 315 W. Elm St in Gainesville's downtown district. The company's facility comprises around 3600 square feet, split between production area, a taproom, and an additional public space with a second bar and stage.

The larger common area opens up to the city's recently-revamped Farmers Market, a community gathering spot that has among its amenities a food truck lot accessible through the brewery's back door. There, snack seekers are afforded the added convenience of being free to roam the market and an outdoor gaming area with beer in hand.

And speaking of beer, the initial approach at Krootz involves getting back to the basics of making the barley and hop-based beverage. When I first contacted Sykora last year, he spoke about the brewing industry's focus on the chase for the next big thing. In his mind the seemingly endless experimentation has created a gap in the market, with consumers left with a lack of options in the realm of go-to beers.

Along those lines, the starting lineup at Krootz features a number of traditional styles. Standards like a blonde, a pale and an IPA are supplemented with a shandy, a vanilla porter and an imperial milk stout. A juicy hazy pale ale also makes the list, but that's the only beer on the current menu that hits on one of the highly sought-after styles of today.

Of course, Krootz is just getting started, and the beertender was quick to point out that more brews are in the works. For now, though, the brewery is sporting a straightforward and sessionable range of beers with only one reaching an ABV of over 6.6%.

As for how to grab a taste, those interested will have to get up to Gainesville, as Krootz is presently only selling its beers in house. Distribution is also said to be in the plans, but once that happens deliveries may be limited to local businesses.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Oak & Eden Whiskey taps Rahr & Sons for small-batch spirits collaboration

Image credit: Oak & Eden Whiskey.

Dallas-based spirits maker Oak & Eden Whiskey has announced the pending release of a new small-batch series of whiskies crafted in collaboration with Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth.

The Ale Series will comprise spirits made using Oak & Eden's unique process of finishing its fully-aged whiskey on a patented five-inch-long spiral cut of wood (or "spire") in the bottle.

Rahr Soaked Malted Oak takes Oak & Eden's bourbon whiskey and infuses it with a heavily-toasted American Oak spire soaked in Rahr & Sons Iron Thistle Scottish Ale, while Rahr Soaked Hopped Oak consists of the company's rye whiskey infused with a lightly-toasted American Oak spire soaked in Rahr & Sons Dadgum IPA.

“This has been a collaboration like no other,” says Joe Gillidenzopf, CEO of Oak & Eden. “Most people wouldn’t think beer and whiskey would go hand-in-hand, but the unique combination of sweet, oaky notes coming from our whiskey, mixed with the depth and character of Rahr & Sons' beers produces a rich sensation of whiskey on the palate with beer on the finish.”

Look for The Ale Series to debut in June, with bottles expected to be on shelves in Texas and Oklahoma by early July.

For more information on The Ale Series, visit

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

HopFusion medals at 2019 NABA International Beer Awards

Image credit: North American Brewers Association.

HopFusion Ale Works of Fort Worth has won an award for the second year in a row at the 2019 NABA International Beer Awards.

Sanctioned by the North American Brewers Association (NABA), the event has at times been referred to as simply the North American Beer Awards. Now it its twenty-third year, the competition was held once again in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Entries were judged against the 2019 North American Beer Awards Style Guide, with medals doled out in 96 different categories.

As for HopFusion, the company landed a silver medal for Bailiwick, a British pub ale currently available at the brewery as a taproom-only offering. For information on other top beers, click here to see a complete list of winners.

HopFusion Ale Works
  • Silver for Bailiwick in the Ordinary Bitter/Best Bitter (ESB) category.

Cheers and congratulations to HopFusion!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Nine Band signs with Sipp Industries to produce Major Hemp HIPA

Image credit: Sipp Industries, Inc.

Nine Band Brewing Co. of Allen has signed an agreement with California-based Sipp Industries, Inc. for the production and national distribution of the West Coast company's Major Hemp HIPA.

Sipp Industries is notable in that it's the first publicly-traded firm in the U.S. to focus primarily on production and sales of hemp-infused beer. By way of established partnerships, it currently markets Major Hemp HIPA in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Illinois, but with the Nine Band accord, Sipp Industries has set its sights on Texas and beyond.

"We're ecstatic to be working with owner Keith Ashley and his team at Nine Band," says Ted Jorgenson, president of Major Hemp - a wholly owned subsidiary of Sipp Industries. "The Texas market is enormous and Nine Band has relationships with some of the largest distributors in the state.  We now possess the capabilities to expand nationally and are currently speaking with distributors in major markets about Major Hemp HIPA.”

The formulation for Major Hemp HIPA was developed by Sipp Industries and launched in November 2018. Like similar beers recently released in Texas (New Belgium The Hemperor, Noble Rey Certified Dank), Major Hemp HIPA utilizes the hemp seed, which is free of both THC and CBD.

According to a press release, Nine Band intends to begin production this month, with plans to deliver Major Hemp HIPA to California and other large markets across the country. Presently, the brewery is working together with Sipp Industries to gain necessary label and recipe approvals from the appropriate governing bodies.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Armadillo finds path to TRVE enlightenment

Image credit: Armadillo Ale Works.

If you need help summoning a Serpent, who better to call upon than Colorado's most metal brewery? Indeed, Armadillo Ale Works of Denton has done just that in collaborating on a new beer with Denver-based TRVE Brewing Co.

TRVE, for those that don't know, is a small brewery located south of Downtown Denver. Inside it's dark (in more ways than one) and generally crowded, with most patrons attired in obsidian tones. This, of course, all set to a soundtrack of brutal beats streaming from the sound system.

Then, there's the beer. With selections like Seitan, Scorn, Cursed and Exhumation, TRVE's lineup reads like a dark passage delivered from the depths of hell.

Not exactly a natural fit next to Armadillo-named brews like Brunch Money, Honey Please and Quakertown, but that didn't stand in the way of co-founders Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins when the opportunity arose for Armadillo to explore a different direction.

So, how did such a night and day coupling come together?

"I met TRVE's head brewer and Denton native Zach Coleman in the early days of Armadillo," says Mullins. "We recently reconnected while Zach was in town visiting family and agreed to do a collaboration."

Enter the Serpent. Seven Serpent, that is, a golden ale brewed with 700 pounds of corn tortillas, lemon and lime peel, and salt. On top of that, the beer is fermented with a Scandinavian kveik yeast - because, Mullins declares, it's metal AF. And while the metal pedigree might be a bit off-brand, Seven Serpent stays true to Armadillo's longstanding commitment to the use of new and innovative ingredients.

"This beer highlights masa, which originates back to the Aztecs," explains Arestis. "They worshiped corn and thought it to be the source of life (they believed man was created from corn). Based on that, we are calling the beer 'Seven Serpent,' which is the English translation for Chicomecōātl, the Aztec goddess of corn, food, and drink."

With respect to the beer's sensory experience, Arestis describes it as sessionable with the flavor of corn tortillas backed by a little salt and lime. As for the aroma...

"When we were making Seven Serpent, the brewery smelled like tacos and beer," adds Arestis. "It was the best-smelling brew day ever!"

Seven Serpent will debut on Saturday, June 1, as part of Armadillo's Brewery and Taproom One Year Anniversary Party. After that, look for the beer to be available at retail in six-packs of 12-ounce cans.

The two parties also brewed a beer at TRVE using Colorado corn (instead of tortillas). That version is currently undergoing a mixed fermentation in oak barrels with kveik yeast and TRVE's house strain. It will be available in Denver later this year.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Funky Picnic set to open in Fort Worth, June 26

Image credit: Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.
Initial batches are underway and a date has been set at Funky Picnic Brewery & Café, as the company prepares to open its doors in the Near Southside neighborhood of Fort Worth.

A labor of love for homebrewers turned co-founders Samantha Glenn, Collin Zreet, Jenni Hanley and John Koch, the project has been in the works since the group first came together as The Fort Brewing Co. prior to 2014. Now realized as Funky Picnic Brewery & Café, what they've developed is a beer and food destination "built upon a shared love of beer, bread and the great outdoors."

On the brewery side, Funky Picnic promises to offer "craft beer for every taste." Led by Michael Harper (formerly of Oak Highlands Brewery and Texas Ale Project), the company's portfolio will mix classic styles with creative and unexpected combinations. Recipes will range from a crisp, refreshing pilsner, to a saison-tripel hybrid brewed with prickly pear cactus, agave nectar and pink peppercorns.

Regarding the culinary aspect, Chef Josh Rangel will serve artisan sandwiches, along with a selection of appetizers, salads and desserts (vegan options will also be available). Naturally, customers can expect beer to be incorporated into many menu items, some of which include beer cheese fondue, beer bacon jam, and house-made pickles dilled in pale ale.

As for when this all comes together, Funky Picnic will debut its spot at 401 Bryan Ave., Suite 117, on Wednesday, June 26. Following that, look for an official grand opening event to take place in July.

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - May 29, 2019 edition

Image credits: Krootz Brewing Co., HopFusion Ale Works,
Craft and Growler, Siren Rock Brewing Co., Trinity Forest Brewing Co.

In addition to the regular rundown of development activities, this edition of the Conspectus includes a license change for a Fort Worth brewery, the opening of a new brewery to the north, and the planned start of brewing operations at the area's original growler shop.


HopFusion changes license type, to begin selling beer to go June 4

HopFusion Ale Works of Fort Worth is the latest local firm to switch from a manufacturer's permit to a retail/brewpub license, a move which enables the brewery to sell beer to go under current law. Look for HopFusion to begin selling six-packs, crowlers, growlers and kegs for off-premise consumption on June 4.

Krootz Brewing Co. now open in Gainesville

Established as the first business of its kind in Cooke County, Krootz Brewing Co. opened its doors to the public on April 26. The company is currently serving a menu of small bites with its beers while preparations are made for an official grand opening event slated for June 15.

Craft and Growler adding brewing operations

According to a Facebook post on May 20, Craft and Growler has purchased equipment with the intention of brewing house beers at its location in Dallas. Craft and Growler was the first growler shop to open in North Texas, but it will the second such entity to add brewing operations after Bluffview Growler did so earlier this year.

An article posted by the Dallas Observer indicates Craft and Growler hopes to begin brewing by late summer.

Future Fermentations

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has approved a manufacturing permit for Siren Rock Brewing Co. of Rockwall. At last report, the start of construction was pending on the project, which is set to be located at 310 S. Goliad St.

Trinity Forest Brewing Co. of Dallas obtained its TTB (federal) approval this month. With a TABC permit already in hand, the group plans to brew its first production batch at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. on June 7.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Rahr & Sons scores silver for Ugly Pug at 2019 NorCal Brew Competition

Image credit: NorCal Brew Fest.

Accolades are in order for Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., as the Fort Worth brewery has followed up recent wins in Southern California with an award at the 2019 NorCal Brew Competition.

Put on in association with the Sonoma County Fair, the NorCal Brew Competition is a relatively new event, having only been in existence since 2017. The competition accepts entries from across the U.S., with submissions broken down into 16 consolidated categories.

Rahr & Sons received recognition for Ugly Pug, a German-style schwarzbier the brewery has produced since the year it opened in 2004. As for other winners, click here for a complete rundown of competition results.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
  • Silver for Ugly Pug in the European Amber, Dark and Strong category.

Cheers and congratulations to Rahr & Sons!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tap takeovers go next level at The 2nd Tap

Think of The 2nd Tap as a pop-up shop for your
local brewery (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

A concept looking to push tap takeovers to the next level has taken root at the Dallas Farmers Market (DFM), as The 2nd Tap is now open and serving craft sodas as it awaits a permit to sell beer from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).

The brainchild of David Herrera and Charles Nelson, The 2nd Tap has slotted into the DFM booth formerly occupied by now-closed Noble Rey Brewing Co. of Dallas. And, while there will be cosmetic changes to the bar area the brewery used as a satellite taproom, its original function will remain the same - only different.

"While trying to decide what we wanted to do with the space, we thought it would be cool to continue what Noble Rey was doing," says Nelson. "We liked the idea of using the spot as a secondary taproom, but instead of having it be for just one brewery, we wanted to rotate it."

Thus, the idea of a "taproom takeover" was born. The setup: one brewery, eight taps, and a three-week residency. Then, literally, rinse and repeat.

In terms of motivation, establishing The 2nd Tap allows the partners to support the local brewing industry beyond work both are doing as part of Herrera's draft maintenance venture, Texas Draft Services (TDS).

"When cleaning lines as part of TDS we're helping breweries behind the scenes," explains Herrera. "But, we wanted to get out front and do more by showcasing breweries and helping them build their brands. Especially now with so many out there, some don't have the capital to go out and do a ton of marketing."

As for how they'll go about implementing their plan, Herrera and Nelson want to celebrate all facets of the breweries they'll feature. That goes for the beers in a company's portfolio, as well as the brand image a brewery seeks to convey.

"We want to work with the personality of a brewery," says Herrera. "We feel like we can bring attention to a brand by coming up with fun events where people are engaged and they develop an emotional tie to the beer. If that happens, it creates a following for the brewery."

Events could involve showing a scientific exhibit while a space-themed brewery is on tap, or setting up a mechanical bull while working with a brewery from Fort Worth. Anything goes, especially if it means getting away from the standard pint night. The goal is to identify what constitutes the norm in terms of industry events and to then do the opposite.

"Another big thing is how the name of the game now is what's new or what's limited with regard to beer," adds Nelson. "That sometimes makes it hard to find a brewery's core beers on tap. There's this idea that it's easier to sell new beers, so core beers don't get a lot of rotation. By tapping both core and seasonal beers, we get the added benefit of reminding customers about beers they may have forgotten."

Ultimately, though, The 2nd Tap is about putting an ounce or 16 of enjoyment back into the beer scene.

"We're just two guys trying to have a good time in this industry, like anyone else," says Herrera. "We want to make beer fun again, so you can expect silly and quirky events from us (think back-to-school parties were milk stouts are served in mini milk cartons). We'll play some good music and we'll drink some good beer, all while giving back to our local breweries."

Or taken another way, they're getting back to the whole idea of craft beer and community.