Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cedar Creek, LUCK join forces for new brewpub in Farmers Branch

In a move that brings together two well-known members of the North Texas craft beer industry, Cedar Creek Brewery of Seven Points and Chef-Engineered of Dallas have announced a joint venture to open Cedar Creek Brewhouse & Eatery at Mustang Station Restaurant & Retail Park in Farmers Branch.

Cedar Creek Brewery, which originally opened in 2012, has continued to expand its presence in North Texas and beyond, while Chef-Engineered's first restaurant concept, LUCK at Trinity Groves, has also made a significant impression on both the craft beer and dining scene since its Dallas debut in 2013. With this coupling, both companies look to broaden their footprint in a growing, but competitive marketplace.

"While craft beer continues to make an impact in North Texas, and the desire for craft kitchens captures the attention away from chain restaurants, this partnership was an easy decision," says Jim Elliot, founder of Cedar Creek Brewery.

Mustang Station Restaurant & Retail Park is a 40,0000 square foot development owned by Western Securities (Cedar Creek Brewhouse & Eatery).

Cedar Creek Brewhouse & Eatery will combine an award-winning brewery with a from-scratch American regional comfort food kitchen. The idea takes the simple craft brewery one step further with the addition of a full-service restaurant that pairs each meal with a hand-crafted beer.

"Our hearty sandwiches, salads and entrees are the perfect addition to fresh, locally-brewed beer," adds Jeff Dietzman, co-founder of Chef-Engineered.

Current plans call for an opening to occur sometime in the third quarter of 2019. Cedar Creek Brewhouse & Eatery will be located at the intersection of Valley View Ln. and Bee St. in the city's Station Area mixed-use development.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Local events scheduled for Learn to Homebrew Day, November 3

Image credit: American Homebrewers Association.

This Saturday, November 3, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) hosts the 20th Annual Learn to Homebrew Day. It's a day for homebrewers to encourage non-brewing friends and family to learn how to make beer at home.

"This year, we celebrate 40 years of the AHA, and 20 years of Learn to Homebrew Day," says Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association. "In 1999, Learn to Homebrew Day was established to promote the most rewarding and delicious activity of all time - homebrewing. And there's never been a better time to give it a try. Each year, it's gratifying to see so many beginners, hobbyists and professionals coming together. What's also gratifying? Tasting your very own brew."

Over 300 local celebrations are expected to occur this year, with events happening both in the U.S. and abroad. As for gatherings in the Metroplex, at least two events are being put on in honor of the occasion.

Additional resources for prospective homebrewers can be found on the AHA's website, HomebrewersAssociation.org, as well as in publications like Zymurgy and the book How to Brew by John Palmer. The AHA also offers a free mobile app, Brew Guru®, which delivers money-saving deals on beer, food and homebrewing supplies, while also providing access to a variety of homebrew recipes.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Texas Ale Project releasing The Caucasian in cans

Image courtesy of Texas Ale Project.
Texas Ale Project of Dallas has announced the pending release of The Caucasian in cans.

Billed as a white Russian imperial stout, The Caucasian (9.0% ABV, 75 IBU) is brewed with cold-brewed coffee, Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans, toasted oak and milk sugar. It had been a draft-only offering since its debut in 2015, but now this popular winter release will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans during the month of December.

From a press release:

"This ale is truly a labor of love and it demonstrates the brewery's passion for innovation and fine ingredients. Brent Thompson, head brewer at Texas Ale Project, looks forward each year to hand-selecting the coffee for the cold brew in partnership with Michael Wyatt, owner of Full City Rooster Coffee Roasting Studio."

A release party for the 2018 edition of The Caucasian will take place at Texas Ale Project's facility in Dallas on Friday, December 7 from 4-9 p.m. In addition to live music and food pairings provided by Cuates Kitchen, the event will feature a screening of The Big Lebowski - the movie that inspired the beer's name.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - October 24, 2018 edition

New cans and new brands lead the way in this edition of the Conspectus, which also hits on the topic of the first cider company to open in Fort Worth.


Four Bullets, Thirsty Bro preparing first packaged products

Inaugural canning runs are scheduled for next month at Thirsty Bro Brewing Co. of Royse City and Four Bullets Brewery of Richardson.

At Thirsty Bro, variety four-packs are in the works with cans of Heff Dat Hefeweizen, Mo Bro IPA, Southern Belle Porter and Sweet Cherry Blonde (not pictured) to be included. Shipments to accounts throughout Dallas-Forth Worth are expected to begin after cans are filled on November 1.

Four Bullets has chosen Billion Dollar Blonde for its first foray into cans, with packaging to occur in mid-November. Six-packs of Billion Dollar Blonde will then roll out to retailers in and around Dallas and Richardson.

TABC approves permits for Soul Fire and Edgewise Eight

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) granted licenses for two future North Texas entities in October.

In Roanoke, demolition and site preparation is complete on the downtown space to be occupied by Soul Fire Brewing Co., with construction to begin once a building permit is obtained from the city. If all goes according to plan, Soul Fire will open in early spring 2019.

Edgewise Eight Brewing continues to scout locations out west in Parker County.The group applied for a brewing permit to allow them to explore other options for production in the meantime.

Two breweries on tap for North Richland Hills

Not one, but two brewing operations are set to debut in North Richland Hills next year, now that Brutal Beerworks and False Idol Brewing have secured locations in the city.

Brutal Beerworks will be established on an end-cap in the Harwood Plaza development at 8447 Boulevard 26 (3400 square feet), while False Idol will open less than a mile away in a former auto shop at 7924 Maplewood Ave. (4100 square feet).

Locust establishes first cidery in Fort Worth

The first cidery to operate in Fort Worth opens this week in the city's Near Southside neighborhood. Locust Cider is a Washington-based company with three locations in its home state. The firm's Texas outpost is located at 710 S. Main St., which puts it on the same block as Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

Image credits (top to bottom): Thirsty Bro Brewing Co., Four Bullets Brewery, Soul Fire Brewing Co., Edgewise Eight Brewing, Brutal Beerworks, False Idol Brewing, Locust Cider.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Deep Ellum bringing back Barrel-Aged Four Swords, October 26

The 2017 edition of Barrel-Aged Four Swords
Belgian Style Quad (CANarchy/Deep Ellum Brewing Co.).

Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas has announced the return of Barrel-Aged Four Swords Belgian-Style Quad, with initial deliveries expected to begin October 26.

Four Swords was originally added to Deep Ellum's portfolio in late 2013, with a barrel-aged version rolling out a year later. Past editions of Barrel-Aged Four Swords have utilized Cabernet and whiskey barrels, but Deep Ellum chose to age Four Swords in new oak barrels for this latest release.

"The charred oak compliments the roasted malts, while dark fruit esters add a layer of complexity to the beer," says Ty McDonnough, lead brewer at Deep Ellum. "Four Swords has a strong fruity aroma with a sweet oaky finish, which pairs well with rich foods such as smoked ribs and delicate desserts."

According to a press release, dried cherries and figs mingle with notes of toffee, rustic oak, marshmallow and vanilla in the finished beer, with the combination resulting in a "delicately balanced and complex specialty brew that clocks in at 10.5% ABV."

Look for Barrel-Aged Four Swords to be available on draft and in 22-ounce bottles.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Get pours for the posse at Cowtown in Fort Worth

(Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Among the more than 20 brewery or brewpub openings to happen in North Texas over the last two years, only one occurred in Fort Worth. That drought was relieved a bit this weekend, however, with the debut of Cowtown Brewing Co. in the northern section of the city.

Founded on the idea that "great beer deserves equally great barbecue," the barbecue aspect of the business may still be a few days away, but Cowtown's beer began flowing on Friday night. A mix of German classics, IPAs, and off-the-menu stouts made up the opening day menu, providing patrons with a mix of modern and traditional styles.

Large batch selections included Rhinestone Cowboy (German kölsch), Sim City IPA (DDH IPA brewed with Simcoe hops), The Last Kaiser (imperial märzen Oktoberfest) and my personal favorite, Spalt Bier (German altbier brewed with Spalt hops). Two additional double dry-hopped IPAs made up the small batch section of the menu, with Amarillo On My Mind (DDH IPA brewed with Amarillo hops) said to be a best seller.

Beyond those beers, co-founder and head brewer, Shawn Kidwell, says he's got a double IPA and a doppelbock currently fermenting in the tanks. Naturally, those fall into the company's short-term plan, while things like fruited sour beers (targeted to pair with barbecue desserts) and barrel-aged offerings are items in the works for further down the road.

With beer on the inside and barbecue on the outside, Cowtown looks to offer the
best of both to folks in Fort Worth (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).
"We're kind of figuring out how to work within our space right now, but long-term we'll get into sour beers and barrel-aging," says Kidwell. "For sour beers, I want to be careful and make sure we keep things isolated, and for our barrel program to work we'll probably have to make the barrels part of the decor."

Cowtown's beers are draft-only for now, but the brewpub's setup provides it with the ability to offer up to twelve beers on tap from the bar. A can seamer is also installed on site, allowing customers to grab beer to-go in the form of 32-ounce crowlers.

Regarding an official welcoming event, that's likely to take place a few weeks after Cowtown gets the smoker out back fully up and running.

"We wanted to get open as soon as we could, just to work out the kinks and get everything in order," says Kidwell. "Once we're settled on both the beer and barbecue side, we'll schedule the grand opening party. So, come in now for the beer, but come back for the barbecue!"

Going forward, Cowtown will be closed for brewing operations on Mondays and Tuesdays, but open for business during the latter part of the week. Posted hours are Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. - 12 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Otherworldly art and offerings on tap at Celestial Beerworks

A large external mural greets visitors as they enter the brewery's taproom
at 2530 Butler Street (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D). 

Should you feel a slight tug as you drive through the northwestern section of Dallas, don't be alarmed. It's just a cosmic force telling you the time has come to visit Celestial Beerworks, as the brewery is now open in the city's Medical District.

Matt and Molly Reynolds founded Celestial on the premise of bringing together the couple's three favorite things - art, science and beer. It's appropriate, then, that the company's space sets up as a sort of out this world escape, with cosmic renderings setting the stage for a brewery universe where beers are "Celestial" bodies.

Stop in and sip on space-themed selections like Kepler (IPA), One Small Step (pale ale) and One Giant Leap (DIPA), while spotting constellations depicted on the walls. Those beers are just a preview of what's to come, though, as the brewery is operating on a soft basis while working to build up its portfolio.

"Now that we're open, I can finally turn my brewing brain back on and start to think about recipes," says Reynolds. "We plan to have up to seven or eight beers ready for the grand opening. There will be IPAs, but we've also got an imperial stout and a pale wheat session beer in the tanks right now."

Looks can be deceiving from the outside, but inside Celestial has ample elbow
room with seating options inside and out (Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

On that note, Reynolds admits he's a fan of hoppy beers (he built a following brewing them during his first stint in the industry at Malai Kitchen), but consumers can expect Celestial to serve up a variety of styles. Reynolds also mentioned that the brewery will do some barrel-aging, with the first foray into that territory being a coffee stout that's set to spend six months resting in a Maker's Mark vessel.

Regarding availability, early indications are that the taproom will be the primary place to purchase and enjoy Celestial's products, at least for the time being.

"Starting out, we're going to focus on sales here at the brewery," say Reynolds. "Once things get settled, we may look into mobile canning and some limited distribution, but for now we'll pour beer in the taproom and offer crowlers to-go."

As for the official debut, a grand opening celebration will happen on Halloween. After that, Celestial will begin regular taproom hours, with the brewery likely to be open later in the week and on weekends.

Soft opening hours:
Friday, October 12: 4-10 p.m.
Thursday-Friday, October 18-19: 4-8 p.m.
Saturday, October 20: 2-8 p.m.

Hoppy Halloween Grand Opening Celebration:
Wednesday, October 31: 4 p.m. - 12 a.m.