Sunday, June 30, 2019

A-tisket, a-tasket, a 15-beer basket: Funky Picnic now open in Fort Worth

Funny Accent, an English ESB, is one of many classic styles
on tap at Funky Picnic (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Currently in the midst of a soft opening event, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café is now serving up its brand of beer and bites in the Near Southside neighborhood of Fort Worth.

The first day of operations was on Wednesday, June 26, but judging by the full house seated at the brewpub on Saturday, many are getting their first taste of what Funky Picnic has to offer this weekend. Naturally, house-made beer and food are the main attractions, but Funky Picnic's location on Bryan Ave. has an added benefit.

Indeed, one aspect many will find appealing is Funky Picnic's proximity to three other breweries: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., HopFusion Ale Works and The Collective Brewing Project. Couple that with its full-service food aspect, and Funky Picnic could well be viewed as ground zero for a Fort Worth family beer gathering. Imagine fueling up at Funky Picnic prior to spending the day on a self-guided tour of its brewery brethren.

A family-friendly lounge just off the front entrance of Funky Picnic is stocked with a variety of toys, book and games (left).
Fermenters in the brewhouse feature names of former Texas Rangers like Nolan 'Ryan', 'Pudge' Rodriquez and Rusty 'Greer' (right).
(Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D, click images to enlarge).

Of course, you'll want to have a beer at Funky Picnic first, where upwards of 15 rotating selections will be on tap once the brewpub is at full capacity. Expect a mix of classic and creative styles to be the norm, with tasters, half-pours and full pints being available.

Should you go the taster route, choose a standard flight of four or, better yet, opt for "The Whole Picnic." The latter is appropriately served in a 15-slot wooden taster tray fashioned in the shape of a picnic basket. This accoutrement, like other wood furnishings found at Funky Picnic, was crafted by a Forth Worth design and woodworking company called Brother Sister Design.

As for what's on tap at the moment, spot-on standards include Vibes (German kölsch-style lager), You Wanted a Wit (Belgian witbier) and Funny Accent (English ESB). Though, if you're looking for something slightly more whimsical, you can't go wrong with the tasty Belgian Waffle (Belgian tripel with maple syrup).

Still to come, head brewer Michael Harper has a pilsner and a Mexican-style lager on deck, and he's also working to restock two IPAs that sold out early on. From there, new recipes will appear as Funky Picnic preps its portfolio for grand opening festivities on July 20.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Twin Peaks debuts new Mexican-style lager

Image courtesy of Twin Peaks Brewing Co.

Twin Peaks Brewing Co. of Irving is "fueling its own fiesta" with the introduction of a cool new beer created for the hottest days of the year.

La Güera, which translates as "the blonde,"  is a Mexican-style lager brewed with high end corn for "a touch of sweetness and depth of color." It's billed as a satisfying refresher, best enjoyed when dressed with a slice of lime.

“I’d been wanting to create a Mexican-style lager for a long time and we figured it would be perfect if it could make its debut just in time for summer,” says Coty Bell, brew master for Twin Peaks. “We brewed the pilot batch back in November and started tweaking it to create the perfect brew. After much experimentation, we’re ready for it to make its debut! We’re confident that La Güera will be a successful addition to the Twin Peaks menu and we can’t wait for our guests to try it out.”

Look for La Güera on tap at Twin Peaks locations in Texas. According to a press release, it and other selections are available now at select restaurants for a special price - enjoy 22-ounce drafts for just $3.50 through July 7.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Krootz Brewing Co. holds grand opening in Gainesville

BT Justice, a vanilla porter, is one of seven beers
on tap at Krootz (Photo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Cooke County's first brewery has been up and running for a few weeks, but Krootz Brewing Co. made its official debut with a grand opening event this past Saturday in Gainesville.

Founded by Chad Sykora, Krootz is set up with easy access to I-35 at 315 W. Elm St in Gainesville's downtown district. The company's facility comprises around 3600 square feet, split between production area, a taproom, and an additional public space with a second bar and stage.

The larger common area opens up to the city's recently-revamped Farmers Market, a community gathering spot that has among its amenities a food truck lot accessible through the brewery's back door. There, snack seekers are afforded the added convenience of being free to roam the market and an outdoor gaming area with beer in hand.

And speaking of beer, the initial approach at Krootz involves getting back to the basics of making the barley and hop-based beverage. When I first contacted Sykora last year, he spoke about the brewing industry's focus on the chase for the next big thing. In his mind the seemingly endless experimentation has created a gap in the market, with consumers left with a lack of options in the realm of go-to beers.

Along those lines, the starting lineup at Krootz features a number of traditional styles. Standards like a blonde, a pale and an IPA are supplemented with a shandy, a vanilla porter and an imperial milk stout. A juicy hazy pale ale also makes the list, but that's the only beer on the current menu that hits on one of the highly sought-after styles of today.

Of course, Krootz is just getting started, and the beertender was quick to point out that more brews are in the works. For now, though, the brewery is sporting a straightforward and sessionable range of beers with only one reaching an ABV of over 6.6%.

As for how to grab a taste, those interested will have to get up to Gainesville, as Krootz is presently only selling its beers in house. Distribution is also said to be in the plans, but once that happens deliveries may be limited to local businesses.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Oak & Eden Whiskey taps Rahr & Sons for small-batch spirits collaboration

Image credit: Oak & Eden Whiskey.

Dallas-based spirits maker Oak & Eden Whiskey has announced the pending release of a new small-batch series of whiskies crafted in collaboration with Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth.

The Ale Series will comprise spirits made using Oak & Eden's unique process of finishing its fully-aged whiskey on a patented five-inch-long spiral cut of wood (or "spire") in the bottle.

Rahr Soaked Malted Oak takes Oak & Eden's bourbon whiskey and infuses it with a heavily-toasted American Oak spire soaked in Rahr & Sons Iron Thistle Scottish Ale, while Rahr Soaked Hopped Oak consists of the company's rye whiskey infused with a lightly-toasted American Oak spire soaked in Rahr & Sons Dadgum IPA.

“This has been a collaboration like no other,” says Joe Gillidenzopf, CEO of Oak & Eden. “Most people wouldn’t think beer and whiskey would go hand-in-hand, but the unique combination of sweet, oaky notes coming from our whiskey, mixed with the depth and character of Rahr & Sons' beers produces a rich sensation of whiskey on the palate with beer on the finish.”

Look for The Ale Series to debut in June, with bottles expected to be on shelves in Texas and Oklahoma by early July.

For more information on The Ale Series, visit

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

HopFusion medals at 2019 NABA International Beer Awards

Image credit: North American Brewers Association.

HopFusion Ale Works of Fort Worth has won an award for the second year in a row at the 2019 NABA International Beer Awards.

Sanctioned by the North American Brewers Association (NABA), the event has at times been referred to as simply the North American Beer Awards. Now it its twenty-third year, the competition was held once again in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Entries were judged against the 2019 North American Beer Awards Style Guide, with medals doled out in 96 different categories.

As for HopFusion, the company landed a silver medal for Bailiwick, a British pub ale currently available at the brewery as a taproom-only offering. For information on other top beers, click here to see a complete list of winners.

HopFusion Ale Works
  • Silver for Bailiwick in the Ordinary Bitter/Best Bitter (ESB) category.

Cheers and congratulations to HopFusion!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Nine Band signs with Sipp Industries to produce Major Hemp HIPA

Image credit: Sipp Industries, Inc.

Nine Band Brewing Co. of Allen has signed an agreement with California-based Sipp Industries, Inc. for the production and national distribution of the West Coast company's Major Hemp HIPA.

Sipp Industries is notable in that it's the first publicly-traded firm in the U.S. to focus primarily on production and sales of hemp-infused beer. By way of established partnerships, it currently markets Major Hemp HIPA in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Illinois, but with the Nine Band accord, Sipp Industries has set its sights on Texas and beyond.

"We're ecstatic to be working with owner Keith Ashley and his team at Nine Band," says Ted Jorgenson, president of Major Hemp - a wholly owned subsidiary of Sipp Industries. "The Texas market is enormous and Nine Band has relationships with some of the largest distributors in the state.  We now possess the capabilities to expand nationally and are currently speaking with distributors in major markets about Major Hemp HIPA.”

The formulation for Major Hemp HIPA was developed by Sipp Industries and launched in November 2018. Like similar beers recently released in Texas (New Belgium The Hemperor, Noble Rey Certified Dank), Major Hemp HIPA utilizes the hemp seed, which is free of both THC and CBD.

According to a press release, Nine Band intends to begin production this month, with plans to deliver Major Hemp HIPA to California and other large markets across the country. Presently, the brewery is working together with Sipp Industries to gain necessary label and recipe approvals from the appropriate governing bodies.