Friday, September 29, 2017

Gordon Biersch closing Park Lane location in Dallas

Image credit: CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries.

The Park Lane location of Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Dallas will close this coming Sunday, October 1.

Situated in the Shops at Park Lane development, the Dallas outpost opened in November 2009 and was the second Gordon Biersch franchise to be established in North Texas - following the Plano restaurant, which debuted in 2008.

A statement regarding the closure was issued by the brand's parent company, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries:

"Since Gordon Biersch in the Park Lane development in Dallas, Texas, opened nearly 8 years ago, the community has welcomed us with open arms, and continued to embrace us in the years that followed. Our last day of operation will be October 1, but we’ll always be grateful for the opportunity we had to serve our guests each day. We sincerely appreciate the overwhelming support we’ve received from the community throughout the years.  The Park Lane location will always hold a special place in our hearts and the area will continue to be one we monitor should viable locations come on the market. All of our employees will be provided with severance based on position and tenure with the restaurant or a transfer to any CraftWorks Restaurant & Breweries, Inc.-operated restaurants. In fact, we are pleased to announce that most of our employees have chosen to stay with us and transfer to various locations."

CraftWorks also confirmed that the Plano location will continue to operate as usual.

Sipping on 777, Shiner's new oak-aged IPL

Image courtesy of Gambrinus Co.

Released as the 12th offering in the Brewer's Pride series, samples of Shiner 777 IPL showed up at my door this week, along with the declaration that it "just might be the boldest Shiner you've ever put to your lips." Not only that, the brewery's new India pale lager was said to be "tripled-down delicious" as well.

Now, the tripled-down part is primarily in reference to the triple-7s in the beer's name. The origin of which comes from the fact that 777 is brewed with 7 varieties of hops, has 70 IBUs and it finishes out with an ABV of 7.0%. Of course, I'm sure those at the Spoetzl Brewery think the beer is delicious, too, so I suppose it's a bonus that the word "delicious" helps add a bit of alliterative flair to the adspeak.

On the topic of whether 777 is Shiner's boldest beer ever, that's more of a subjective statement. What can be said is that 777 is the strongest beer the brewery has produced - topping Wicked Ram's 6.0% ABV by a full percentage point. That, and 777 is a beer with some complexity, thanks to the mix of hops and time spent slumbering on southern oak staves.

The hops, in this case, cause 777 to exude more of an English influence, based on the beer's floral, earthy and herbal elements. So, don't read IPL and start thinking in terms of an American IPA.  There might be a faint pint note in the aroma, but I don't get a sense of citrus in 777. Really, if there's any fruit at all, it's more along the lines of an elderberry essence.

As for how it drinks, 777 is hop-forward, though a hint of caramel malt remains ever-present. It's a clean, medium-bodied beer that gets more herbal and woody as it warms, with the oak adding a tannic touch that serves to dry out the palate on the finish. There's some bitterness on the back end as well, but not enough that you'll be scrunching up your face like that old codger in the Keystone commercials.

Really, my only quibble with 777 has to do with a statement on the sell sheet suggesting the beer has a flavor "as big and fresh as a Texas pine" tree. If you ask me, 777 is more oaky than anything. But, either way, it makes for an enjoyable experience. Is it Shiner's boldest beer yet? I don't know if I'd say that, but 777 is certainly another good example of a continuing effort by the brewery to go beyond the ubiquity of its bock. And, boldest or not, it's one of Shiner's more interesting efforts to date.

Shiner 777 IPL will only be available for a limited time. Look for it on tap, in 24-ounce bombers, and in 12-ounce bottles as part of the brewery's Family Reunion six pack.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Unlawful Assembly unveils its initial offerings

Image courtesy of Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co.

Set to open in October as part of Legacy Hall in Plano, Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. (UABC) has announced its opening day lineup of craft beers.

From a press release:
  • Idol Time: Passion Fruit Pineapple Wheat – In this unfiltered wheat ale, fermented with tart tropical fruits, we celebrate the times we can’t remember and the friends we won’t forget.
  • Peacemonger: Pilsner – You can defuse any tense situation with a little diplomacy and the right beer, especially one as agreeable as this European-style pilsner. It’s a crisp and slightly malty beer with a spicy, noble hop finish.
  • Rebel Faction: Farmhouse Ale – Rise up! This saison’s floral aroma, fruity and earthy flavors and subtle tartness will be the antidote for conformity.
  • Public Dissent: Pale Ale – This refreshingly crisp grapefruit and piney hop-flavored pale ale with caramel undertones stands up against the mainstream.
  • The Antagonist: Amber Lager – With a medium body, balanced caramel-like flavor and a dry finish, this beer is one that everyone will enjoy.
  • Blind Justice: IPA – West Coast meets Texas. A blend of six different hops makes this beer an amber slice of heaven. The mouthwatering IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of Mosaic, Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Magnum hops, balanced by a perfect level of malt body.

Unlawful Assembly will make the aforementioned six beers available year-round, supplementing that slate with a constantly rotating selection of seasonal and specialty brews.

“Whether you’re a craft connoisseur or you’re just fine with a light brew, UABC has got you covered,” says Tim Timbs, senior vice president of brewery stuff. “A lot of blood, sweat and … well, not really tears – but you get the point – have gone into creating these first six beers and we couldn’t be more proud of the result. Unlawful Assembly is about to turn heads in North Texas, and we can’t wait to start sharing these creative, collaborative and bold flavors with everyone – in just a matter of weeks.”

The company's beers are designed to pair with the diverse flavors to be showcased in Legacy Hall. And, like the chefs expected to occupy stalls in the artisanal food mecca, the brewers at Unlawful Assembly intend to infuse their creations with ingredients from around the globe.

“We’re bringing a rebellious spirit to this venture, so we won’t hesitate to use non-traditional ingredients in our beers, and we’ll be constantly pushing the envelope to explore unique flavor combinations,” says Tom Janik, brewmaster for UABC. “And because we’ll be rotating our taps on a regular basis, there will always be something new for our guests to discover.”

TKO Libations set to enter the ring in Lewisville

Image credit: TKO Libations.

The address might say Lewisville, but based on where the soon-to-be brewery is located, it's clear that TKO Libations is looking to carve out its own corner of the Metroplex.

One reason for that is because TKO is set up in the community of Castle Hills, a development more in proximity to the town of Hebron than what words on a mailbox might have you believe. Almost like its own little world, the neighborhood is a place with enough workspace and amenities that one imagines some residents never have to leave.

Given that, it's an ideal setting for a brewery looking to separate itself from the crowd, which founders Cory Kuchinsky, Kam Maude and Ty Sefton hope to do by way of an experimental approach to making beer.

"Our goal is to cater to those consumers who tend to jump from beer to beer," says Sefton. "We'll be doing all kinds of small varieties, and we plan to change things up a lot. Since we'll only be brewing with a seven-barrel system, we can shoot recipes off into separate holding tanks to create different flavor combinations."

That doesn't mean TKO won't have staples, but indications are that consumers should expect to try something new virtually every time they visit. In fact, insight into how the brewery will go about using the 20 taps it has available can be found in the beers being considered for opening day.

"Our initial lineup will include a blonde, a porter, a wheat beer and an IPA," reveals Sefton. "We may split each of those to make flavor variants as well, like a blueberry blonde and a seasonal porter (either a gingerbread or pumpkin coconut version). We also hope to brew a few British styles soon, like an ESB, a brown ale or a regular bitter, so we can use the beer engine we've acquired to provide hand-pulled cask ales!"

On top of everyday beers created in its seven-barrel brewhouse, TKO plans to experiment with sour beer production and
barrel-aging. For the latter, the founders intend to source various types of port, wine and whiskey barrels (TKO Libations).

At least to start, no matter what beers are being poured, you'll only be able to get TKO's libations at the brewery.

"We're not going to be distributing when we open," says Sefton. "We'll sell in-house at first, and then change things up based on support. If we grow to a certain point, they we'll probably start canning."

Patrons will have the option of getting beer to go, since the company will operate with a brewpub license. Growler fills will be available, and a crowler machine is already on site. Plus, Sefton has hinted that a few barrel-aged offerings may eventually make their way into bottles.

As for what TKO will serve besides beer, the brewery will make and sell its own craft soda, with coffee, tea and wine being on the menu as well. Food won't be made in-house, but consumers can grab a bite from roughly a half-dozen restaurants situated in the same retail center.

So, when will TKO hold its first main event? Final inspections are underway as we speak, meaning the inaugural brew day is imminent. Once that happens, Sefton says it's a matter of working through their brew schedule to prepare for the debut. At this point, a grand opening is still a few weeks away, but expect an official announcement on that topic to occur in mid-to-late October.

Track brewery developments by following TKO Libations on its social media channels:  FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pegasus City trots out Texican in cans

Pegasus City uses a unique yeast blend to create a mix of Mexican
and German lager flavors in Texican (Pegasus City Brewery).

Fans of Pegasus City Brewery in Dallas can now enjoy #porchapproved products on their own porch, now that the company has begun canning its year-round offerings.

Earlier this week, Armadillo Mobile Canning was on-site at Pegasus City to package Texican Black Lager. That's just first beer that will roll out in the new format, though, according to Adrian Cotten, co-founder and creative director at the brewery.

"Texican is the first to be canned, with Highpoint Porch Ale coming next in mid-to-late October," says Cotten. "Eventually, we want to can all five of our core beers (including Cannoneer Bold Amber, Sixth Floor Easy Porter and Nine Volt D.P.L. Tripel), and we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to help us do so in the next few weeks."

As for where you can pick up cans of Texican today, six-packs are on shelves at a number of accounts in Dallas.

"We wanted to make sure we got into some local stores first, so we are already at North Oak Cliff Beer & Wine in the Bishop Arts District, as well as River Cut Rate Liquor and Last Stop/Stop-N-Save in The Cedars," says Cotten. "We will be delivering cans to Total Wine, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's locations very soon."

Details on future shipments, along with particulars related to the aforementioned crowdfunding campaign, will be posted on Pegasus City's social media channels as they become available.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Go beerserk with Rabbit Hole's newest brew

Graphics for Shield Biter recall the rooks of the the Lewis chessmen - a set of game pieces
discovered on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland during the year 1836 (Rabbit Hole Brewing).

Are you ready to go beerserk? If so, then you'll want to reach for the latest offering from Rabbit Hole Brewing of Justin.

Shield Biter is a strong Scotch ale (otherwise known as a wee heavy) that's described as an animalistic 8% ABV brew, with notes of lightly-toasted bread and biscuity malt complimenting ruthlessly rich caramel and dark fruit flavors.

Signature Shield Biter glassware will be available while supplies last at
launch events occurring on Thursday, September 14 (Rabbit Hole Brewing).

According to a pre-release note, the inspiration for the beer is drawn from the Viking Age - a period that dates from the late 8th century to the mid-11th century in Northern European and Scandinavian history.

"Old Norse literature paints the picture of a Berserker, a near mythical warrior, as wild and fierce as an animal. So resilient, their skin was said to be able to resist fire and iron, and so savage, they are traditionally depicted as gnawing on their own shields!"

Look for Shield Biter to be available on tap for a limited time beginning Thursday, September 14. Launch parties are scheduled at a number of establishments on Thursday as well, with festivities set to occur at Dallas Craft Co. Keller, East Side Denton and LUCK.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Eno's to host inaugural TEXtoberfest, September 24

Image Credit: Eno's Pizza Tavern.

Known for its involvement in the annual Brew Riot Homebrew Competition, Eno's Pizza Tavern is introducing a new event this fall to be held at its location in the Bishop Arts District.

TEXtoberfest is being billed as a festival that will celebrate Oktoberfest season in true Texas style. In preparation for the affair, Eno's will transform its back lot into a festive biergarten, where local breweries will sample their wares to the tune of live local music.

Those attending the celebration will receive a commemorative mug and sampling card, allowing them to enjoy brews from Peticolas, Deep Ellum, Four Corners, Oak Highlands, Community, Bishop Cider, Tupps and The Manhattan Project. Each guest will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite seasonal brews, with the winning beer in each category to be named a TEXtoberfest Peoples' Choice winner.

As for other attractions, Eno’s plans to expand on its regular menu of pizzas and pastas for the event, with a sausage and charcuterie-inspired popup serving treats to pair with the craft beer offerings. In addition, TEXtoberfest will feature a best boots competition, as well as stein-hoisting and pretzel-eating contests.

Tickets for TEXtoberfest are on sale now at Advance tickets are $25 per person, with the amount increasing to $35 if purchased at the door.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Visit local breweries to help victims of Hurricane Harvey

For those seeking a way to assist families affected by Hurricane Harvey, look no further than your local brewery for ways to help. A list of breweries known to be either accepting donations or hosting events to benefit victims of the storm is given below.

If you have questions on what to bring to certain locations, please contact the brewery/brewpub directly.


3 Nations Brewing, Farmers Branch
  • Collecting donations, Monday-Friday at the brewery (refer to the list in the image above).
Audacity Brew House, Denton
  • Collecting donations at the brewery through Thursday, September 7 (refer to the list in the image above).
Bitter Sisters Brewery, Addison
  • Thursday-Friday, September 1-2: The brewery will donate 10% of taproom sales to the American Red Cross.
Chimera Brewing Co. Fort Worth
  • Collecting donations, daily at the brewpub (non-perishable foods, clothes, shoes, diapers and personal hygiene products).
Community Beer Co., Dallas
  • Donate time, money or tools through the brewery's The Greater Good initiative (click here to help).
Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Dallas
  • Buy a ticket to Sunday's Labor of Love event, and DEBC will donate an amount equivalent to the cost to relief funds for those affected by the storm (click here to purchase tickets).
Denton County Brewing Co., Denton
  • Friday, September 1: The brewery will donate 20% of taproom sales to Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
Good Neighbor Brews, Wylie
  • Friday-Sunday, September 1-3: The brewery will match all donations made to the Houston SPCA.
Grapevine Craft Brewery, Grapevine
  • Collecting donations at the brewery through Saturday, September 2 (personal hygiene, baby items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo).
HopFusion Ale Works, Fort Worth
  • Collecting donations at the brewery for the next two weeks (non-perishable foods, diapers, water, flashlights, batteries, pet food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, toilet paper, baby wipes).
Lakewood Brewing Co., Garland
  • Sundays in September: Proceeds from every pint sold will go to a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Legal Draft Beer Co., Arlington
  • Saturday, September 16: Collecting donations and setting aside 20% of beer sales to support relief funds for those affected by the storm.
Noble Rey Brewing Co., Dallas
  • Now through Monday, September 11: The brewery will donate a portion of the proceeds from all package sales, plus $1 from every pint of Sex in a Canoe and Tactical Combat Firefighter sold in the taproom to Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas
  • Friday, September 29: The brewery will donate 10% of the sales, plus all tips, from its monthly Family Night event to Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
Panther Island Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Friday-Sunday, September 1-3: The brewery will donate $10 from every tour package to J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund.
Pegasus City Brewery, Dallas
  • Saturday-Sunday, September 2-3: The brewery will donate all proceeds from the sale of its Beer Floats to Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.
Peticolas Brewing Co., Dallas
  • Friday-Saturday, September 1-2: The brewery will be collecting donations (water, non-perishable foods, toiletries, baby items and pet food).
Rabbit Hole Brewing, Justin
  • Friday-Saturday, September 1-2: The brewery will be collecting donations (diapers (both children and adult), wipes, formula, paper towels, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, flashlights, batteries, body soap, shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, cleaning supplies, canned goods, non-perishable foods, water, towels, clothes, tampons and pads, medicine (pain reliever, fever reducer, antacid, etc.), toys, first aid kits, shoes, chainsaws, trash bags, gloves, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, brooms, baby items, blankets and cots).
Revolver Brewing, Granbury
  • The brewery is working to create a special beer to benefit victims of the storm, with 100% of the proceeds from sales to be donated to the American Red Cross and select Houston charities.
Shannon Brewing Co., Keller
  • Collecting donations daily for the next two weeks.
Small Brewpub, Dallas
  • The brewpub is donating 100% of sales from Oak Cliff Ale to help victims of the storm.
Texas Ale Project, Dallas
  • Saturday, September 2nd: The brewery will be collecting donations (new clothes, shoes, pillows, pillow cases, towels, blankets, toiletries, diapers, pack n’ plays and other baby items).
Wild Acre Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Now through Wednesday, September 13. The brewery will be collecting donations (non-perishable food, diapers, water, flashlights, batteries, pet food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, toilet paper, baby wipes, baby formula, and hand sanitizer).

Note: A number of breweries ( Braindead - via Bowls & Tacos, Collective, Martin House, Tupps) have already collected and passed along donations.