Thursday, March 26, 2020

White Labs introduces on-demand educational courses

Image credti: White Labs.

White Labs, a leading provider of fermentation products to the brewing industry for the past 25 years, is now offering its world-renowned educational courses online. In addition, as a way to provide brewers a forum to connect and learn as the industry feels the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the company is also offering free, online educational webcasts from now until April 30, 2020.

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. PDT, White Labs will broadcast a 60-minute educational webcast for home and commercial brewers that provides brewing insights, tips, tricks and even a little industry history. The first half hour will a feature a presentation by an industry leader, while the second half hour will be set aside for viewer questions.

Coming up on April 1, White Labs president, founder and CEO Chris White will discuss yeast starters, trending strains and styles throughout the years.

“Much has changed since White Labs was founded 25 years ago, but what has stayed constant has been our commitment to education and how we prioritize helping our community grow and thrive. This is especially important during these uncertain times, which is putting a strain on many in our industry,” says White. “Our goal with these webcasts is to provide support to this vibrant community of brewers by helping them continue to learn about yeast strains and brew even better products.”

 To sign up for the free webcasts, visit WhiteLabs.com and subscribe to the White Labs email list. All webcasts will also be added to the White Labs YouTube page.

For those looking for even more yeast education, White Labs is launching an online education portal for brewers to access at their convenience. New on-demand videos are released every month covering a range of topics, including the flavors of fermentation, reusing yeast, considerations of spontaneous and inoculated fermentations, wild yeast and bacteria handling.

Course prices will vary based on the length and technical content, but are as little as $79. Those interested can learn more at WhiteLabs.com/education.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Series of beers to honor prominent Fort Worth homebrewer

Gret Etzel poses with awards won at the 2015 Bluebonnet Brew-Off (Brian Schoolcraft).

In the coming months, the North Texas craft beer community will come together to honor the memory of one of their own, while also raising money for a great cause.

Greg Etzel, a Fort Worth resident and well-known figure in the local brewing scene, passed away in November of 2019 after a brave fight with stomach cancer. Greg was not only an accomplished and award-winning homebrewer, he also worked on weekends at Texas Brewing Inc., a homebrew supply store in Haltom City, and was a primary host of the shop's Come & Brew It Radio podcast.

Surviving Greg are his wife, Trish, and two newly-adopted sons. They were joined by over 250 people at Greg's celebration of life, where a plan was conceived to help the family going forward. Appropriately enough, the idea developed as those in attendance raised a glass of Greg's homebrew in tribute.

Working from Greg's own recipes, eight area breweries will produce beers in remembrance of him, with proceeds from sales going to ACH Child & Family Services. Chosen by Trish, the Etzel's worked with this agency on the adoption of their two boys - both of whom are still under three years old.

The first beer in the series will be a German-style weizenbock, crafted by Cowtown Brewing Co. of Fort Worth. It's set to debut on Greg's birthday, which falls on Thursday, March 12. Ahead of the release, Cowtown co-founder Shawn Kidwell shared his thoughts on what it means to be a part of the project, as well as how he and Greg bonded over more than just beer.

"Greg was one of those special people you felt like you had known your entire life, no matter how long you had actually known him.  Although we bonded over beer, our conversations often covered a lot of topics that had nothing to do with beer.

"One thing we talked about most frequently was our kids. He and Trish had adopted two sons, and my wife and I were in the process of adopting our son, who was born the same day Cowtown opened for business. One thing I will never forget is the day Greg and Trish walked into Cowtown for the first time after we opened with a trunk full of baby clothes and baby gear that their sons had outgrown. That is just one example of the incredible kindness and generosity I think everyone that came into contact with him experienced.

"So, when the idea for this project started to form, there was no question that we wanted to be involved.  We're honored to be releasing the first beer in this series, but we're really looking forward to the rest of the releases this year as we continue to celebrate Greg's life."

As for future beers in the series, the list of recipes and release dates is as follows (subject to change):
  • March: Cowtown Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Weizenbock.
  • April: Brutal Beerworks, North Richland Hills - Bock.
  • May: Wild Acre Brewing Co., Fort Worth - IPA, Key Lime Pie Golden Sour
  • June: Funky Picnic Brewery & Café, Fort Worth - Honey Lager.
  • July: HopFusion Ale Works, Fort Worth - Baltic Porter, Czech Dark Lager.
  • August: Panther Island Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Chocolate Rye Stout.
  • September: Turning Point Beer, Bedford - TBA.
  • October: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Almond Joy Stout.

Other breweries wishing to participate may reach out to Nigel Curtis of Texas Brewing Inc. via email at nigelcurtis@att.net.

Readers can also donate directly to ACH Child & Family Services by way of the company's website at achservices.org.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Beersgiving among BA's 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Grant recipients



The Brewers Association (BA) has announced the recipients of its 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Event Grants program. This year, 14 events were selected from 69 applications to receive grants totaling $50,000.

Among those receiving a grant is the Fort Worth-based organization, Beersgiving. Founded by Danii Oliver of Island to Island Brewery, and Eric Jackson of the lifestyle brand Uncap Everything, Beersgiving brings civilian and military families together for a day of craft beer, local bites and industry-focused S.T.E.M. experiments for kids.

Since the creation of its Diversity Committee in 2017 and the hiring of its first-ever diversity ambassador in 2018, the BA has taken continued, proactive steps to advance diversity and inclusivity among brewers and beer lovers.
  • In 2019, the BA released a five-part series of best practice guides laying the groundwork for addressing, creating, and managing a diversity and inclusion program.
  • In May, the inaugural class of diversity and inclusion event grant recipients was announced, with a total of $20,000 awarded to six recipients.
  • The BA also completed its first benchmarking survey of brewery owner and employee diversity in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity; and in December published a free “We Welcome Everyone” poster available for download in Spanish and English for breweries and beer businesses.
  • For 2020, the BA will publish a series of case studies written by diversity ambassador Dr. J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, Ph.D., that spotlight best practices in action, and will also introduce a pilot mentorship program.

“It’s inspiring to see so many organizations striving to connect and welcome new people to beer and each other,” says Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association. “While there is still much work to be done, we are proud to continue our commitment to nurture a more diverse and inclusive craft beer community and we congratulate this year’s grant recipients.”

As for Beersgiving, future events scheduled for the Dallas-Fort Worth area include Family Afternoons Out, April 18 at Brutal Beerworks in North Richland Hills, and Barrel-Aged Conversations, May 30 at Peticolas Brewing Co. in Dallas. Tickets for both events are available now by way of Eventbrite.



To learn more about Beersgiving, visit http://beersgiving.info, or follow the project on social media: FacebookInstagram.

Friday, February 28, 2020

903 Brewers creates call to action in a can

Image credit: 903 Brewers.

During this all-important election year, it's critical for all who are eligible to get out and vote. But, don't settle for just the obligatory "I Voted" sticker after you perform your civic duty, because now there's an "I Voted" beer as well.

New from 903 Brewers of Sherman, I Voted (6.5% ABV) is a raspberry and blueberry cream ale designed to reward those casting a vote to have their voices heard. And seeing how the flavor elements of I Voted are suitably red (raspberry), white (cream ale) and blue (blueberry), as is its wrapping regalia, you might say the beer is representative of a call to action in a can.

Of course, election-themed beers aren't a new thing, but many get their names from well-known expressions or a clever play on words. Then again, some breweries just have a beer called "Election Day." The creation from 903 Brewers, however, might be the first to utilize the phrase so omnipresent on stickers emerging from your local polling place.

As for what inspired I Voted, part of it relates to brewery co-founder Jeremy Roberts' campaign for the office of Grayson County Commissioner Precinct 1. In a more general sense, though, Roberts believes we need to encourage more people to exercise their right to vote across the board.

Along those lines, I Voted won't be a one-and-done offering. While the initial run of kegs and six-packs is available now ahead of the Texas Primary on Tuesday, March 3, consumers can expect fresh batches to appear in time for subsequent elections in the future (i.e. May midterms, November general elections, etc.).

So, go vote and get your sticker, along with a new badge of honor in the form of a beer.