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.

Takeaways:
  • 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).