Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lakewood latest legends to make up new Trilogy

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. has announced the release of three new beers, which taken together will represent a miniseries within its popular Legendary line of brews.

Being called The Trilogy, the name of the series was chosen based on the famous legend of The Three Fates from Greek mythology. As it goes, the three sisters - Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos - determined the fates of both Gods and mortals alike with their infamous thread of life. One sister spun the thread (birth), one sister measured the thread (life), and one sister cut the thread (death).

“We’ve always been forward thinking at the brewery, and we came up with this Trilogy concept to create an experience and anticipation for our Legendary Series fans,” said Wim Bens, founder & president of Lakewood. “Three different wood-aged beers will be released six months apart, each reflecting their own unique, beautiful characteristics. The first is Thread Spinner, an American barleywine aged in freshly-emptied bourbon barrels from our friends at Witherspoon Distillery in Lewisville.”

According to Bens, Thread Spinner is a “beast of a beer” that's ready to drink now or it can be preserved to age with the other two beers coming out next spring and fall. Regarding those others, Grand Allowance will be a wine barrel-aged wheat wine slated for a spring release, while Grim Shearer will be a barrel-aged rye wine that comes out in the fall.

As for the artwork featured on the packaging, the brewery
once again enlisted the artistic talents of illustrator Nathan Walker to create the visually dynamic bottle art for the series. Lakewood has previously used Walker’s illustrations for its Seduction Series and DFW collaboration brews.

“We want to capture someone’s attention immediately, and Nathan’s art is always phenomenal at doing just that,” stated Bens. “Once all three are released, you’ll be able to put the three bottles together for a beautiful, eye-catching triptych.”

According to a press release, Thread Spinner will be sold on draft and in 22-ounce bottles, with deliveries to begin the week of October 17.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Thirsty Bro readies first brewery in Royse City

In order to maintain a look reminiscent of when it was built, Thirsty Bro worked with the
Texas Historical Commission on improvements to the exterior of its 1920s-era building.

Craft beer continues to extend its reach across North Texas, with what will be the area's easternmost brewing operation nearing completion in Royse City.

Thirsty Bro Brewing Co. is in the final stages of construction as it prepares to open its doors in October. That's a little over six months after the project got a boost from a $25,000 grant approved by the town's city council in March. According to founder Terry Gordon, funds from the incentive were used to help improve the exterior of the building, which was originally built in 1920.

Located at 141 E. Main Street in downtown Royse City, the interior of the structure comprises about 2000 square feet. Roughly a third of that has been set aside for the taproom upfront, with the rest slated for production space in the back. In terms of design, the brewery incorporates an industrial motif, which serves to complement walls that feature a fair amount of exposed brick.

The taproom at Thirsty Bro is cozy and communal, and able to seat well over 50 people.

For Gordon, a long-time veteran of the beverage industry, the establishment of Thirsty Bro is the culmination of thought process that dates back to when he first became a member of workforce.

"Like a lot of people, my first job was in a restaurant," said Gordon. "While working there, it always stuck with me how people seemed to be happiest and the most content when sitting down to eat or drink. So, based on that I always thought I'd open a restaurant after I had gone through my regular career. Later on, though, I started homebrewing and my attention turned to starting a brewery. It's still a place where people can come, bring something to eat and have a few beers, so it pulls it all together."

On that note, while the brewery won't serve food onsite (and food trucks are not permitted by the city), menus will be available so patrons can order from one of the many local restaurants. Beer options, however, should be plentiful, with Gordon intending to offer up a range of light and dark styles in a portfolio to include beers like Bro-Mance Lager, Smokin' Ashes IPA and Big Bro Breakfast Stout.

"We'll probably have up to 10 beers on tap all the time, with six to eight regulars and a couple that will rotate," said Gordon. "Some will be seasonals, like a summer or winter ale, while others will be taproom specialties or beers in the works that we'd like to get feedback on. Eventually, I'd like put a mead on as well, just to do something a little bit different."

Left: Thirsty Bro's tap handles are hand-made, including a purple-headed version created for Gettin' Figgy Wit' It, a beer brewed with figs and apricots.

Right: Serving vessels at Thirsty Bro have a base similar to that of an IPA glass, with characteristics of a tulip up top.

Once both state and federal permits are secured, Gordon plans to open on a soft basis while brewing on a half-barrel pilot system. An official grand opening will occur after the brewery installs and gets up to speed on its 15-barrel production setup, which is expected to be delivered in mid-October.

As for how Thirsty Bro got its name, that was influenced by a popular surface water sport.

"I grew up in Florida around surfing, so I got in the habit of calling everybody 'bro' all the time" explained Gordon. "About a year and a half ago, I was driving to Denver with my wife, Catherine, and we were trying to come up with a name for the brewery. I wanted something with 'thirsty' in the name, so we put the two together to make Thirsty Bro and it just stuck."

Look for Thirsty Bro to start out as a draft-only operation, with canning to follow sometime in the future.

Thirsty Bro Brewing Co.
141 E. Main Street
Royse City

Revolver partners with Andrews for DFW distribution

Image courtesy of Revolver Brewing.

After closing on a deal to sell a majority interest to Tenth and Blake Beer Co., the craft and import division of MillerCoors, on Friday, Revolver Brewing of Granbury, Texas, announced it has entered into a partnership with Andrews Distributing for the delivery of its products in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Revolver was founded in 2012 by the father and son team of Ron and Rhett Keisler. The Keisler's were joined on the project by Grant Wood, who had made a name for himself as a brewmaster with Samuel Adams. The group then went on to create a portfolio of upwards of 20 beers, including the brewery's flagship brand, Blood & Honey American Ale.

Mike McGuire, president of Andrews Distributing, said the Andrews team looks forward to working with Revolver and supporting such a strong brewery.

"It's been great to watch Ron, Rhett, Grant and the entire Revolver team build such a strong brand in their short history," said McGuire. "Revolver has become a local craft staple in the Dallas/Fort Worth area due to their team's hard work and attention to detail, and we look forward to helping build their brands in our backyard for years to come."

A perspective on the partnership from Revolver's point of view was provided by co-founder Rhett Keisler, who indicated the coming together of the two companies made for a perfect fit.

"We are looking forward to working with the team at Andrews," said Keisler. "Andrews has a reputation in the market for quality and service, and that really fits well with our ethos of hard work and doing things right. We think the combination of our beers with the distribution power and knowledge of craft beer Andrews brings to the table is going to make for a powerful partnership in the market."

According to a press release, Andrews will begin distributing Revolver beers throughout North Texas, with the exception of Denton County, on September 12.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Have a beer on the Bankhead highway

Bankhead is the second brewing operation to take up residence in Rowlett (© Brian Brown/Beer In Big D).

Bringing forth the first brewpub in the city, Bankhead Brewing Co. is now open in Downtown Rowlett.

Ryan Pyle and Kevin Lefere are partners in the venture, which gets its name from an early cross-country roadway that had a stretch that ran through Downtown Rowlett. The Bankhead Highway, as it was known, was conceived in 1916 with the goal of connecting east-to-west with endpoints in San Diego, California, and Washington, D.C. It reached Rowlett in 1921, over 30 years before the city itself was incorporated in 1952.

As for Bankhead, the brewpub, it sits in the shadow of a historic water tower on Main Street. It's also mere minutes from the city's downtown Dart station which, along with developments like the Village of Rowlett, makes it part of a long-term revitalization effort that seeks to reshape the city center into a "vibrant, transit-oriented district where citizens and visitors work, play and live."

The brewpub is located adjacent to Rowlett's Historic Water Tower (© Brian Brown/Beer In Big D).

History and Bankhead's place in Rowlett's master plan aside, though, what's likely most important to readers of this blog is what the brewpub has to offer when it comes to beer. On that note, anyone looking to try a flight, half-pint or even a pint should go in expecting beers that are crafted by the book and brewed to style. And, let's not forget malty. A west-coast IPA is still to come, but other than a hoppy brown, the bulk of Bankhead's current offerings are malt-forward, though an ESB does feature what the brewpub accurately describes as an "approachable bitterness."

Sometimes one taster tray just isn't enough (© Brian Brown/Beer In Big D).

In fact, all of Bankhead's beers are right on the money when compared against tasting notes provided on the everyday menu. Still, for those that have yet to make the trip to the area's newest brewing operation, here's a rundown of the brewpub's lineup. The work of both Pyle and brewer Chad Moshier, what you'll find are beers of American, English and German origin with names that reference automobiles and alcohol.

  • Devil Wagon - Munich Helles Lager (4.4% ABV, 20 IBU): Some called automobiles devil wagons in the early 1900s, so the name of this beer fits in well with Bankhead's 1920s rustic-style atmosphere. As for the beer, it's a lightly sweet easy drinker, with grainy undertones and a dry finish.
  • Back Seat Driver - American Blonde Ale (4.8% ABV, 25 IBU): While few would argue that back seat drivers can be annoying, this light and refreshing blond ale couldn't have been more pleasant. It's malty with maybe a hint of fruit and almost no bitterness on the back end.
  • Gussy Up - American Raspberry Wheat (5.0% ABV, 19 IBU): Appropriately named, since it was the only somewhat fanciful offering on the board, this beer's subtle fruit infusion paired well with its grainy wheat base flavor.
  • Hoofer's Hef - Bavarian Hefeweizen (5.3% ABV, 12 IBU): A straight-forward hefeweizen, Hoofer's hits on the expected notes of banana and clove that are typical of the style.
  • Giggle Water - Vienna Lager (4.4% ABV, 20 IBU): With its clean feel and tasty toasted malt flavors, this was probably my favorite beer on the board. It's also low in strength, which means there's probably not enough "giggle water" (i.e. alcohol) in this beer to make you giggle much after a single pint.
  • Struggle Buggy - English ESB (6.5% ABV, 43 IBU): According to Google, the phrase "struggle buggy" has origins in the 1920s and has something to do with getting rambunctious in a car's rumble seat. Be that as it may, drinking the beer is far from a struggle based on the aforementioned approachable bitterness.
  • Janet's Brown - American Brown Ale (6.8% ABV, IBU): I'm not sure who Janet is, but whoever she is...she must like hops. That said, this is a brown ale that shows its American influence by way of the hoppy character, which tips the balance a bit away from the mostly caramel malt backbone.

Bankhead Brewing Co.
3840 Main Street