Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Chambers Creek Brewing coming to Maypearl

Image credit: Chambers Creek Brewing Co.

Ellis County will soon be home to a new brewery near its western edge, as Chambers Creek Brewing Co. is now under construction in Maypearl.

According to founder Lyle Chambers, plans for the project involve the setup of a small-batch brewery and taproom in an existing structure located at 319 N. Main St. The choice of locale is fortuitous, since the brewery would seem to pair well with a neighboring business across the street.

"We are remodeling a 1940s gas station for our nano-brewery," says Chambers. "Next to us is an amazing barbecue placed called Hissy Fits, with a small music venue attached to it. They have live Texas country music every 2nd and 4th Saturday."

As for how Chambers will approach his portfolio, he'll offer hard seltzers in addition to beer, while following the usual plan of having an array of regulars and rotators on tap, albeit with a twist.

"I plan on having 2-3 beers always on tap, and 3-4 that will be constantly rotating," says Chambers. "I also want to do a concept where people can request a type of beer, and then I will brew it and have it ready for them to drink in 1-2 months."

Chambers hopes to have the brewery open by mid-spring.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A first look at what's to come at Windmills in The Colony

Windmills in The Colony is the second brewpub designed and built by Total Environment Hospitality (all images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The long-awaited debut of Windmills, a brewpub concept first established in Bangalore, India, by Total Environment Hospitality, is set to take place later this month in the Grandscape development of The Colony.

It was August 2019 when plans for Windmills were revealed in this space. According to CEO Ajay Nagarajan, an early 2020 opening was pushed back due to delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, but now Windmills is putting the final touches on a refined brewpub showplace unlike any other in North Texas.

Windmills offers multi-level seating inside and out, with patio options overlooking a manmade waterway.

Along with a fully-appointed brewery, attractions within Windmills' two-story, 14,000 square foot facility include spacious dining areas, two full bars, a performance stage, multi-level seating inside and out, and an expansive selection of carefully-curated books. As a whole, the combination makes Windmills a restaurant, brewery, library and live music venue all rolled into one.

On the culinary side, an elevated menu overseen by Adam Harkless, Windmills' executive chef, goes well beyond everyday pub grub. Starters, stuffed breads, kebabs, entrées and desserts are inspired by Texas traditions and East Indian influences (think spices like curry, cardamom, cumin and cinnamon).

Select samples provided at a socially-distanced preview event are described with images below. Not pictured, Texas Twinkies (smoked, honey glazed and bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese, gouda and pulled pork) are forecast to be a particular favorite among patrons.

Left: Cheese Curds Pakora - fried white cheddar cheese curds, mint-yogurt dipping sauce.
Middle left: Prime Filet Dorado - bacon-wrapped prime filet, black-eyed pea succotash, mole poblano sauce, roasted broccolini.
Middle right: Carrot Halwa Cake - carrot halwa and orange upside-down cake, citrus salad, orange chips, French vanilla ice cream.
Right: Sour Cherry Kulfi - pistachio/saffron kulfi, ruby chocolate, chick pea noodles, saffron-pistachio sauce, sour cherry compote, sweet basil seeds.

In the brewhouse, Windmills has equipped Cal Ryan, director of brewing operations, with a 15-barrel, three-vessel system paired with an array of seven fermenters and 14 serving tanks. From the latter, no fewer than 14 house-brewed beers will be served on a daily basis.

Among them, customers will discover a mix of new and old world styles, with recipes originating from America, Belgium, Germany and beyond. Ryan says the opportunity to brew a diverse range of styles is one of the things that attracted him to Windmills, since he was most recently a brewer in San Diego, California, where it's all about the almighty IPA.

Highlights from a tasting of initial offerings were a Coffee Porter, made with beans sourced from Addison Coffee Roasters, and a Tropical Saison, infused with mango, passionfruit and pineapple (a beer which pairs wonderfully with elements of the food menu). Also notable, a hefeweizen is the best seller at Windmills' original location in India, so naturally it slots into the local lineup as well (see image caption below for the complete opening day slate).

Opening day beer styles: Blonde, Pilsner, Saison, Tropical Saison, Vienna Lager, Amber, Hefeweizen, Pale Ale, IPA, Hazy IPA, DIPA,
Blackberry Sour, Coffee Porter, Imperial Stout. Flights and full pours will be available on site, with crowlers and growlers to take home.

Altogether, Windmills is an ambitious and unique venture. With its sophisticated dining element, the promise of world class jazz and the availability of intellectual reading pursuits, the new spot presents as a multi-faceted venue where visitors can indulge in the finer things in life while enjoying, of course, a finely-crafted beer.

As for when you can experience the eclectic atmosphere yourself, Nagarajan expects Windmills to go live during the last week of January. The brewpub will begin with a soft launch, followed by an official grand opening to be held at a later date.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Say When Brewing taps debut beers in Denison

Photo © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D. Graphics the property of Say When Brewing Co.

The City of Denison in Grayson County has a new brewery within its borders, as Say When Brewing Co. now has its first round of offerings on the market.

Say When Brewing is located at 111 S. Fannin Ave., with the brewery's equipment housed in a century-old (or more) building in the heart of Downtown Denison. Currently, the facility only operates as a production space, but indications are a taproom will be incorporated at a later date.

For that reason, Say When Brewing's debut brews are pouring at Green Growler, a beer and wine bar literally right around the corner from the brewery. The following three beers are available by the pint, in flights, and in 32- or 64-ounce growlers. And, based on my initial impressions, each represents a straight-forward representation of a classic American style.

  • Oatmeal Blonde Ale (6.2% ABV, 18 IBU): A clean and easy drinker with a slightly sweet pale malt character, a hint of grain and a faint finishing bitterness.

  • Texas Penny Copper (4.1% ABV, 37 IBU): By the book American amber balancing caramel malt character with a light-to-moderate mix of floral and fruity hop varieties.

  • Local Motive IPA (5.8% ABV, 75 IBU): Hop-forward with a noticeable bitterness, this beer is a classically-styled West Coast IPA with elements of citrus, pine and resin.

A look at filings with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) shows only keg approvals for these beers thus far, so the expectation is they will be draft-only for the time being. Packaging in cans is assumed to be in the plans, though, based on product graphics shared on the brewery's Facebook page.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Oldest brewing operation in North Texas is no more

The bar and brewing operation occupied the second floor at Uncle Buck's (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Bass Pro Group, LLC has confirmed Uncle Buck's Brewery & Steakhouse will no longer operate within Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Grapevine.

Originally established as Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse by a Michigan-based brewpub chain in 2000, Bass Pro purchased the restaurant and re-branded it in 2008. Naturally, Uncle Buck's played up an outdoor theme, with the brewery side of the business producing beers like Bass Kickin' Pale Ale, Old Angler's Amber and Four Stroke 60 IPA.

Uncle Buck's continued to operate alongside Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing what was assumed to be a temporary closure in March 2020. At the time, Uncle Buck's was recognized as the oldest active brewing operation in North Texas, having been around for nearly 20 years.

As for the space, an email from Bass Pro indicates the company is "exploring opportunities to create an enhanced customer experience in the future."