Thursday, June 29, 2017

All aboard for Armadillo's new Land Yacht IPA

Image courtesty of Armadillo Ale Works.

After more than four years of being one of the few North Texas brewing operations to eschew the IPA, Armadillo Ale Works of Denton has altered course to produce a version of craft beer's most popular style.

Land Yacht IPA (7.3% ABV, 75 IBU) is set to embark on an introductory tour of the Metroplex, after which it will join Armadillo's core lineup alongside Honey Please, Royal Champ and Greenbelt Farmhouse Wheat. The beer is an American IPA that's been brewed to style, featuring a copious amount of Azacca, Mosaic, Citra, Columbus, and Centennial hops.

But why, you may ask, would a company that's known for its uniqueness decide to release a stylistic IPA at this point in its evolution? According to co-founder Yianni Arestis, it's all about doing the unexpected, which up to now has been a hallmark of Armadillo's approach.

"Normally, we cross style boundaries and use special ingredients in our beers to offer the consumer something tasty, interesting and truly different," says Arestis. "After coming out with seven beers like that, though, we felt it would be cool to show people we can brew to style with the best of them."

Special Land Yacht IPA glassware will be available at launch events occurring this weekend (Armadillo Ale Works).

Along those lines, you won't find any additives in Land Yacht IPA. With so many different takes on the IPA in the market these days, many falling in line with the current trend of adding fruit infusions, Arestis and co-founder Bobby Mullins chose to go against the grain in sticking to style. Accordingly, their first IPA foray is all about the hops, a characteristic that's been subtly built into the Land Yacht name.

"We wanted a name that hinted at the beer using 'a boatload of hops,' as well as something that alluded to going on a 'tropical flavor trip,'" says Arestis. "Since it's an American IPA, we figured a big, classic American car, a land yacht if you will, would make sense. Plus, the longhorns on the hood are an obvious tie-in to our Texas roots."

As for how it turned out, an early sample of Land Yacht IPA shows it to be a beer that gives off notes of sharp citrus and pine initially, with a ripe pineapple and tropical fruit character developing as it opens up. It's a little dank and a little musky with not a lot of bitterness, the latter meaning more emphasis was put on highlighting hop flavor and aroma. The beer is neither east coast or west in terms of a regional designation, but rather something that falls somewhere in the middle. Given that, instead of trying to pin it down, maybe just call Land Yacht IPA what it is...a really good, easy-drinking Armadillo-style IPA.

Land Yacht IPA will be available as a draft-only offering. Look for it on tap beginning this weekend at launch parties planned at the following locations.

Friday, June 30
  • East Side, Denton: 7-10 p.m.
Saturday, July 1
  • Lakewood Growler, Dallas: 4-7 p.m.
  • Brewed, Fort Worth: 6-9 p.m.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Celis signs with Andrews for North Texas distribution

Image credit: Celis Brewery.

Taking another step in its brand revival, Celis Brewery of Austin has signed with Andrews Distributing Co. for the delivery of its products to the North Texas market.

Celis Brewery originally arrived on the Texas scene in 1992, being founded by renowned Belgian brewer Pierre Celis. His daughter Christine now carries the mantle of the family name with her new venture, which will operate out of a 22,000 square-foot facility in Northwest Austin. There, Christine's team will brew Pierre’s famous Belgian-style recipes, including the award-winning witbier, Celis White.

Christine Celis, founder and CEO of Celis Brewery, says she is excited to watch the re-introduction of Celis’ beers in North Texas.

“Our beers from Celis Brewery were really popular in North Texas when we were first brewing in the 1990s. It is incredibly exciting to be back brewing Celis Brewery’s original recipes like the famous Celis White and Celis Grand Cru using the proprietary yeast from Belgium,” says Celis. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm we have received as we have started reintroducing our Celis beers this month. We are thrilled to be working with Andrews Distributing to make sure people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex can find Celis beers at their favorite locations.”

Kelli Hopson, Andrews craft brand manager, says the Andrews team looks forward to being a part of Celis’ growth and success in Texas.

“The Celis name is famous in the beer community and is synonymous with Belgian-style beer,” says Hopson. “All of us at Andrews are thrilled to work with this award-winning team and its world-class beers. We look forward to helping them expand their presence in their home state of Texas and connecting them with beer lovers in Dallas-Fort Worth.”

According to a press release, Andrews plans to launch Celis in North Texas the week of July 3. The initial rollout will include Celis White on draft, with beers like Pale Bock and Citrus Grandis IPA slated to arrive on draft in August. After that, consumers should expect to see all three beers in bottles come September.

For more information on Celis and the brewery's upcoming events, visit

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rahr & Sons recognized at 2017 North American Beer Awards

Image credit:
North American Brewers Association.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth has once again been awarded medals at a national competition, this time being recognized for three of its beers at the 2017 North American Beer Awards.

The North American Beer Awards, which is held in conjunction with the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest, is an event put on by the North American Brewers Association. The competition, now in its 21st year, is judged based on style guidelines compiled by the North American Brewers Association Style Advisory Committee. Beers are evaluated in 92 categories by a panel of brewers, certified judges and other industry professionals.

This year, Rahr & Sons brought home the following medals:

  • Gold for Regulator in the Doppelbock category.
  • Silver for Ugly Pug in the Schwarzbier (Black Beer) category.
  • Silver for Iron Joe in the Coffee Beer category.

A full list of winners may be found by clicking here.

Cheers and congratulations to Rahr & Sons!

Lakewood French Quarter Temptress now out in four-packs

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Partnering once again with Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters for its annual release, French Quarter Temptress from Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is now available.

On the market for the first time in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles, French Quarter Temptress is a beer that's said to capture the spirit and attitude of New Orleans. It's brewed with chicory and barrel-aged coffee beans, the latter having been aged in freshly-emptied bourbon barrels for months.

“A lot of people mistakenly think this is a barrel-aged beer because they hear the word ‘barrel’ and automatically assume the beer came from a barrel,” said Wim Bens, founder of the brewery. “We always like seeing people’s reactions when we tell them that the beer wasn’t aged in a barrel, but the coffee beans we used in it were. The chicory adds a nice depth of sweet spice to the beer, and gives it that little je ne sais quoi.”

Deliveries of French Quarter Temptress began this week in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Shipments to other Texas markets are slated to occur in the coming weeks.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Texas Ale Project named official beer of the 2017 NFFC

Image credit: National Fantasy Football Convention.

Looking to introduce its products to a wider audience, Texas Ale Project has announced a new tie-in which will see its brand recognized as the official beer of the 2017 National Fantasy Football Convention (NFFC).

The NFFC, for those that aren't aware, is a collaborative venture founded by a group that includes former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo. It was originally slated to debut in 2015, but legal wranglings led to its cancellation the past two years. Now set to occur at Fair Park in Dallas from July 14-16, the three-day event will feature exhibits, performances and parties, where fans can interact with more than 50 current and former NFL players.

"We're truly excited about our new partnership with the NFFC. This is a unique opportunity to grow our brand and bring football fans and quality craft beer closer together," says Kat Thompson, CEO and co-founder of Texas Ale Project. "We appreciate the NFFC's support of local businesses like ours."

As part of the festivities, Texas Ale Project will host the NFFC After Party at its location in the Dallas Design District on Saturday, July 15. Admission to the after party is included in the price of a convention ticket, which can be obtained by visiting In addition, take note that attendees may use code TAP17 to receive $20 off the regular ticket price.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Community introduces Passiflora White IPA

Image courtesy of Community Beer Co.

Being billed as a new, refreshing summer offering, Community Beer Co. of Dallas is set to release Passiflora White IPA.

Named for the passion fruit flower, Passiflora follows the style of a white IPA in that it's cross between an American IPA and a Belgian witbier. In this case, though, Community has put it's on spin on the style by adding a generous amount of passion fruit puree to a beer that's brewed with a blend of Mosaic and Citra hops.

"We're big fans of hoppy beers here at the brewery, and we wanted to brew something that pairs perfectly with summertime weather," says Jamie Fulton, brewmaster at Community. "Passion fruit is a slightly tart, tropical fruit which compliments the flavors and aromas of the hop blend. The signature spicy Belgian yeast ties the whole beer together, resulting in a very drinkable, hop-forward IPA that craft beer fans are sure to enjoy!"

Look for Passiflora White IPA to be available during the summer months, both on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles. An official launch party for the beer will be held at Community's taproom in the Dallas Design District on Thursday, June 29 at 5 p.m.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Draft maintenance the focus of new North Texas company

Image credit: Texas Draft Services.

For many breweries, there was once a time when a single person served in the capacity of owner, brewer, salesperson and delivery driver all in one. Today, though, there's a call for more specialized services as breweries expand and the number of accounts they service continues to grow. It's seen with distribution, but also in the realm of things like on- and off-premise sampling events. It's the natural order of things, as breweries look to free up employees to focus more of their time on the production of quality beer.

That's one reason why David Herrera created Texas Draft Services, the area's first full-service draft maintenance business. Yet, while his firm's work helps lighten the load for brewers, it's just one aspect of the company's overall mission.

"Draft maintenance plays a vital role in the on-premise beer scene, and many accounts are not fully educated on the importance of clean beer lines," says Herrera. "At Texas Draft Services, we hope to provide a reliable, quality control solution, but we also want to help educate the North Texas market on the finer points of proper draft maintenance."

It's a subject that needs to be addressed, Herrera believes, based on things has seen in his time working for Andrews Distributing and, more recently, Full Clip Craft Distributors.

"True line cleanings are not being done in today's market," explains Herrera."What I mean by that is faucets are not being broken down during each cleaning, the right amount of caustic is not being used, and those doing the work are not giving the cleaning solution enough time to do its job. Procedures are being rushed without enough attention to detail."

Even worse, some accounts are literally pouring profits down the drain, something Herrera's refers to as the "true cost" of what might otherwise be advertised as a free line cleaning.

"Instead of running water to clear out the cleaning solution, many people will use beer to flush the lines," says Herrera. "Not only does this waste beer and cut potential profits for the account, there's also no guarantee that the cleaning solution has been cleared from the line. Using water and checking its PH level before and after cleanings is a better option, and one that would save lost beer and profits."

The need for company like Texas Draft Services is all the more compelling if you consider the fact that no oversight exists in the State of Texas as to how line cleanings should be done. It's a surprising revelation, when you consider how active (or overactive, depending on your point of view) a certain regulatory agency is in policing other facets of the industry .

"In many states, there are legal requirements related to draft beer maintenance and who is responsible for it," says Herrera. "An example is Ohio, where establishments must go through a third party to have their draft systems maintained. In Texas, though, there are no regulations and anyone can perform a cleaning."

Recognizing this lack of direction at the state level, Herrera and his team work from a set of best practices derived from the Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality Manual. It's a guide that sets industry standards for the operation and maintenance of draft systems, such that operators can achieve maximum dividends from their investment in serving technology.

Of course, as Herrera is quick to point out, providing consumers a quality craft beer experience is equally important.

"We honestly want to make the Metroplex a better place when it comes to on-premise consumption," says Herrera. "That's something that will help small brewers as well, especially if we're talking about a customer's first impression of a beer or brewery. If we can make sure every beer tastes the way it should, then we've given that product a chance to be the beer of choice for a particular consumer."

More information on Texas Draft Services, including further discussion of the issues mentioned above, can be found on the company's website at In addition, those interested in delving into the dollars and cents side of things can click here to view a presentation produced by the Brewers Association entitled "Economics of Draft Quality."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Shannon utilizes new yeast in creating Super Saison

Image courtesy of
Shannon Brewing Co.
Earlier this month, Shannon Brewing Co. of Keller let it be known a new beer was in the works in the form of Shannon Super Saison. What wasn't immediately revealed, however, is the fact that this imperial Belgian-style saison was brewed with a new yeast strain.

Shannon and another company in Milwaukee, WI, are the first two commercial breweries in North and South America to ferment beer with Fermentis SafAle BE-134. According to Kevin Lane, technical sales manager for Fermentis, the strain is ideal for use in saisons. In addition to lending fruit and spice elements to a beer, SafAle BE-134 is characterized by a particular high attenuation.

The attenuation factor surely played a role in selecting the yeast for use in Shannon Super Saison, which is notable for its added strength.

"Fermentis has been a great partner and we are very proud to be the first brewery in the U.S. to brew with this yeast," says founder Shannon Carter. "Our Super Saison was a true challenge for this yeast. The beer had an original gravity (OG) of 18.7 and a final gravity (FG) of 1.2, giving the beer an ABV of 9.5%. The aroma is beautiful, with hints of citrus and some clove, while the taste is effervescent and refreshing with a slight alcohol kick in the finish."

Lane would appear to agree with Carter's assessment, based on his impression of how the beer turned out.

"I've tasted the beer that Shannon is working on and I am very excited about the finished product," adds Lane. "I will be there when it launches for sure."

Look for Shannon Super Saison to be available for a limited time on draft and in cans. The beer will debut in the brewery's taproom on Friday, June 9, prior to being tapped for Shannon's upcoming Dad Fest event, occurring on Saturday, June 10.