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.