Thursday, August 29, 2019

Two Franconia favorites returning to bottles

Image credits: Franconia Brewing Co.

The recent passage of legislation allowing breweries with a manufacturing license to sell beer to-go has inspired Franconia Brewing Co. of McKinney to re-release two of its popular beers in bottles.

First among them, Franconia Wheat (4.8% ABV) returns to packaged form after being relegated to draft-only status for the past four years. A true German-style hefeweizen, Franconia Wheat is one of the brewery's original beers, and one that will be available in bottles as a brewery exclusive from this point forward.

Initial packages of Franconia Wheat go on sale Sunday, September 1 (a.k.a. Beer-To-Go Day in Texas), during the brewery's Oktoberfest Kick-Off Party. Six-packs of both Franconia Wheat and Franconia Oktoberfest will be offered for just $5.99, a special price valid for one day only.

As for what else is on the horizon, Franconia Ice Bock (17% ABV) is also set to reappear in bottles. This too will be a brewery exclusive, with a limited run of individual 12-ounce bottles expected to be offered for sale in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Windmills Craftworks targeting early 2020 debut in The Colony

Front/east elevation (All images courtesy of Windmills Craftworks).

Construction is currently well underway on Windmills Craftworks, a brewpub concept coming soon to the Grandscape development in The Colony.

First established in Bangalore, India, the original location of Windmills Craftworks debuted in late 2012. Conceived as a combination microbrewery, jazz theater and restaurant, the Bangalore brewpub also features an extensive collection of books should patrons wish to indulge in a little light reading while enjoying a beer.

Interior (left) and exterior (right) seating areas.

A similar vibe is expected to infuse the North Texas locale, with the site's attractions set to reside within a multi-level structure consisting of over 16,000 square feet (a number which includes more than 3500 square feet of outdoor patio space). Final renderings attached herein reveal various aspects of the venue's design, with images showing front and back elevations, as well as portions of the interior and exterior public areas.

Rear elevation overlooking Grandscape's man-made lake to the west.

As for who will oversee beer production, Callaway Ryan has been hired as Director of Brewing Operations. Ryan's resume includes stints as a brewer at Surly Brewing Co. of Minnesota and Stone Brewing Co. of California, but he got his start in Texas by way of an apprenticeship at Live Oak Brewing Co. in Austin.

More recently, Ryan spent a year in India getting familiar with the culture and practices at Windmills Craftworks. Now that he's returned to the Lone Star State, he'll employ a 15-barrel brewhouse at the brewpub in The Colony, with plans to maintain a portfolio of 14 different house beers.

On the topic of timelines, equipment for the project has been acquired, according to the company's CEO, Ajay Nagarajan. Installation awaits further progress on the overall build out, a task Nagarajan hopes to have fully completed in time for an opening in early 2020.

Windmills Craftworks is located at 5755 Grandscape Blvd. in The Colony, where it shares a parking lot with Lava Cantina.

Oak Highlands, Rahr & Sons among regional winners at 2019 USBTC

Image credit: United States Beer Tasting Championship.

The United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC) has announced the winners from its 25th Annual Summer Competition.

A total of 538 beers from 174 breweries were evaluated at the 2019 event, with entries divided into 17 different categories. Regional winners were chosen in each category, then pitted against each other in order to determine a national grand champion.

Products from North Texas competed in the Rockies/Southwest division, with two local breweries taking top regional honors for multiple styles. Those award-winning brews are listed below, while a complete list of winners may be found by clicking here.

Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas
  • Charity, Regional Champion in the Amber/Red Ale category.
  • Swervy Spring Ale, Regional Champion in the Golden Ale/Kölsch category.
  • Tipsy Goat, Regional Champion in the Bock/Doppelbock category.

  • Rahr's Blonde, Regional Champion in the Dortmunder/Helles category.
  • Summertime Wheat, Regional Champion in the Wheat Beer category.
  • Paleta de Mango, Regional Champion in the Fruit Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to Oak Highlands and Rahr & Sons!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

On your mark, get set, beer to go!

Image credit: Texas Craft Brewers Guild, CraftPAC.

It's really happening! After over a decade of legal wrangling, production breweries in Texas are finally able to sell beer to go as of Sunday, September 1. And, judging by the number of events on tap that day, it looks to be a time of celebration all around North Texas. In fact, many breweries usually closed on Sunday will have special hours in honor of the occasion.

Details on where and when you can go, what you can get and more are provided below, with links to additional information included where available. Of course, there are also some relevant rules to be aware of, per the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), so those are listed here as well.

Things to know:
  • Purchases are limited to 288 ounces of beer per person/per day, regardless of format (any combination of bottles, cans, crowlers, growlers).
  • Current restrictions do not allow for to-go beer sales at Four Corners Brewing Co. of Dallas and Revolver Brewing of Granbury.
  • Companies operating under an alternating proprietorship arrangement are not able to sell beer to-go at the host facility. This applies to Manhattan Project Beer Co., Toasty Bros., and Trinity Forest Brewing Co.


10 a.m.

3 Nations Brewing Co., Farmers Branch - Straight Outta Farmers Branch: Beer to Go.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills (customers must bring own growlers).

Community Beer Co., Dallas - Beer-To-Go Day.
  • Debut of Super Mosaic Triple IPA (taproom exclusive).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers.

  • Debut of B-Funk (barrel-aged Brett saison).
  • Specialty bottles, bombers, six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

  • Special taproom-only releases (click here for details).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

  • Debut of Full Grown Beast (Full Grown Man aged on coffee and chocolate).
  • Re-release of DDH IPA Series 2 and Northbound 75 Poblano Pale Ale.
  • Four/six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

11 a.m.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Beer-To-Go Launch.
  • Special tappings: Baril de Blue (chardonnay barrel-aged kölsch with blueberries), Barrel-Aged Regulator Doppelbock and Iron Joe.
  • The brewery will also institute permanent taproom hours occurring Wednesday through Sunday starting on September 4, with additional featured beers during launch week.
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers.

  • Debut of Hazy Sour IPA (taproom exclusive).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

12 p.m.

Armadillo Ale Works, Denton - Beer 2 Go Day.
  • Wizard Staff Packs (mixed 12-pack cans).
  • Four/six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Debut of Awkward Phaze Hazy IPA.
  • Four/six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

  • Labor of Love 8 Homebrew Competition & Festival at 5 p.m. ($10pp, click here to purchase tickets).
  • Six-pack cans, crowlers.

  • Crowlers.

Four Bullets Brewery, Richardson - Beer-To-Go Celebration.
  • Specials on merchandise.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Big Ass Cans (32-ounce), growler fills.

  • Launch of Dixon's Hazy Pale Ale in cans benefiting Dallas Pets Alive (taproom exclusive).
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Special tappings: Tequila Barrel-Aged Acheron, Who Wants Cream and Lemon Icebox Pie.
  • Two/four/six-pack cans.

  • Debut of Red Ale Redemption (Texas red ale) and Nautty Pumkn' (pumpkin/pecan ale).
  • The brewery will also begin a series of monthly limited releases, with two new beers expected each month.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Growler fills.

Old Town Brewhouse, Lewisville
  • Raffle for first ever six-pack to go on the house.
  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Four-pack cans, crowlers.

  • TAP Paks (mixed six-pack cans), growler fills.

  • Six-pack cans, growler fills.

  • Six-pack cans, crowlers, growler fills.

1 p.m.

  • Oktoberfest tapping, re-release of Franconia Wheat (brewery exclusive).
  • Six-pack bottles just $5.99.

1:30 p.m.

Four Corners Brewing Co., Dallas - Tour de Beer2Go with Bikes & Growlers.
  • Tour stops: Oak Cliff Brewing Co., Pegasus City Brewery and Peticolas Brewing Co.
  • Four Corners will only be selling beer for on-premise consumption.

2 p.m.

Pegasus City Brewery, Dallas - Beer-To-Go Day.
  • Bottles, six-pack cans (including variety packs), crowlers, growler fills.

  • VIP entry at 12 p.m., commemorative glassware ($50pp, click here to purchase tickets).
  • Growler fills.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Trinity Forest is calling, with beer

Image credit: Trinity Forest Brewing Co.

Debuting in late July, the region's newest brand of beer is one that hopes to promote the protection of a local urban oasis some North Texans may not know about.

Trinity Forest Brewing Co. (TFBC) is a Dallas-based company whose namesake is the Great Trinity Forest, a 6000-acre woodland that stands as one of the largest urban hardwood forests in the country. Located a mere 10 miles southeast of Downtown Dallas, the park's trails and bounding waterways (Trinity River, White Rock Creek) are home to a variety of outdoor activities.

It's also an area being eyed by TFBC for a permanent location, a seemingly suitable site choice for a brewery built on the concept of enjoying the outdoors with a craft beer in hand.

"We know where we want to be," says Ricky Del Bosque, co-founder and head brewer at TFBC. "Our long-term goal is to establish a destination brewery just outside the City of Dallas near the Great Trinity Forest."

While development activities continue on that front, TFBC will brew its recipes under an alternating proprietorship agreement with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine. An initial offering, Trinity Forest SMaSH IPA, is already out on the market, as is Trinity Forest Blonde Ale. Others, including a hazy IPA, will roll out as TFBC expands its lineup over the next few months.

"I want to brew all around good beers, but also beers that are trending at the moment, hence the upcoming Trinity Forest Haze IPA." explains Del Bosque. "Beyond that, I'm looking to get label approvals for a red ale, a porter, and a double IPA for fall and winter."

As for availability, TFBC's beers will be draft-only to start, but consumers can expect limited runs of packaged products in the near future.

"We're going to stick with kegs for now while we build our brand," says Del Bosque, "but we're able to can at Hop & Sting, and it would be crazy not to take advantage of that!"

For now, though, seek out TFBC brews on tap at select locales in and around Dallas.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

August brings Peanut Butter Temptress, latest Lion's Share from Lakewood

Images courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Not one, but two new releases are on the way from Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland, just as it prepares to host its Seventh Anniversary Party on Saturday, August 10.

The first of these is the latest batch of Peanut Butter Temptress, a beer that made its Seduction Series debut in 2018. Set to be on shelves as soon as this week, Peanut Butter Temptress will be sold on tap and in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles.

"When we started getting angry calls from fans last year, we knew we had a hit on our hands," says Wim Bens, president and founder of Lakewood. "We actually had someone call the brewery and say ‘I heard you guys had a hard time making that beer. FIGURE IT OUT!' Well, this year we made about 50% more and used a literal TON of peanuts to make enough."

As for the second beer, Lion's Share VII is the company's anniversary ale. The 2019 edition is a grisette, an easy-drinking style of beer originating in the Hainaut region of Belgium.

"When we brew our annual Lion's Share beer, we make sure to make it very special," explains Bens. "This year we brewed an imperial grisette and aged it in Sauvignon Blanc barrels. We then blended it with a fresh batch, fermented in stainless. We also adjusted our brewing process to make a beer that draws inspiration from the hazy IPA craze. The result is a beautiful combination of old and new world beer styles.”

Lion's Share VII will also be available on draft, but Lakewood has a surprise in store for consumers looking to pick up the product at retail.

"The other unique thing about Lion's Share VII is the packaging," says Bens. "Traditionally Lion’s Share beers have come in a collectible, boxed 22-ounce bottle. This year we wanted to change it up and make a ‘share-pack’. There will be two 12-ounce bottles in a collectible box, so you and a friend can share…or not.”

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Second Rodeo concept coming from builder of By the Horns, Beard Science

Second Rodeo Brewing will exist along the western edge of Mule Alley in the
Fort Worth Stockyards (Stockyards Heritage Development Co., click image to enlarge).

Details are starting to emerge related to a third brewing operation being developed by Jason Boso, the man behind Twisted Root Burger Co. and Truck Yard.

Second Rodeo Brewing is currently under construction along Mule Alley in the Fort Worth Stockyards. According to a Proposed Tenant Plan posted by Stockyards Heritage Development Co. (dated July 16, 2019), Second Rodeo will occupy a 14,740 square foot space that backs up to Marine Creek. The project is described as a brewpub/music hall, with features to include seating under a retractable roof.

Current projections suggest a grand opening of the Mule Alley venue will occur in early 2020. As for Boso's other brewpub concepts, By the Horns Brewing Co. opened this past January in Mansfield, while Beard Science (expected to be a wild and sour beer house) is still being built at Truck Yard The Colony.

Friday, August 2, 2019

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - August 2, 2019 edition

Image credits: False Idol Brewing, Noble Rey Brewing Co.,
Happy Hippie Brewing Co., Howling Mutt Brewing Co.

It's been a minute since the last round of ICYMI updates in May, but the Conspectus is back with news on continuing development activities as well as Noble Rey's rebirth.


Noble Rey brand reborn

The group behind last year's purchase of Rockwall's Woodcreek Brewing Co. has added another name to its portfolio with the acquisition of the Noble Rey Brewing Co. brand. Noble Rey recipes are now being produced at Nocona Beer & Brewery while ownership scouts locations for a new taproom facility (presumably in Dallas). Select draft offerings are said to already be back on the market, with cans soon to follow.

Happy Hippie to start production at Hop & Sting

Also in the market for a home is Happy Hippie Brewing Co., with the firm currently targeting the Richardson area as a place to put down roots. While the search continues, look for Happy Hippie to begin production by way of an alternating proprietorship agreement with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine. If all goes according to plan, initial shipments of Happy Hippie beer will occur in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Crowdfunding in the cards for Howling Mutt

With TABC approval in hand, Howling Mutt Brewing Co. is working to clear the final hurdles in its effort to open a brewery in Denton. To assist with those endeavors, the company is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Howling Mutt has set a goal of $6,000 for the project, with funds to be used to offset unexpected costs incurred during the course of development.

False Idol obtains TABC approval

The TABC approved a brewpub license for False Idol Brewing in July. False Idol was brewing batches under license at Oak Cliff Brewing Co. of Dallas, but its focus will now shift towards getting its operation up and running in North Richland Hills. Once equipment is in place, look for False Idol to brew beer for distribution while it prepares its taproom (which will include an element of on-site food service) for a full public opening later this year.