Thursday, July 2, 2020

Tasty to-go options for your holiday beer run

Image credits: Brewers Association, HopFusion Ale Works, Peticolas Brewing Co., Division Brewing, Brutal Beerworks.

Given the current state of affairs due to Covid-19, the 2020 edition of National Independent Beer Run Day couldn't be happening at a more appropriate time. Set for July 3, National Independent Beer Run Day was created by the Brewers Association to encourage consumers to purchase craft beers produced by small and independent brewers ahead of their Independence Day celebrations.

In North Texas alone, products from over 80 local and independent brewing operations are sold at bars and breweries across the area. Many outlets are temporarily closed under orders of the state, meaning beer to-go is the only way to go for these businesses literally fighting to stay afloat.

With that in mind, I've compiled a short list of favorites I've enjoyed over the last few months, each of which was purchased during a local brewery visit for beer to-go. All are still available, should you plan on making a pre-Independence Day beer run for celebratory supplies.


Brutal Beerworks - Hop Drop (New England IPA, 8.0% ABV)
  • A single hop hazy IPA brewed with only Mosaic hops, Hop Drop features a full spectrum of fruit flavors, with elements of berry, citrus, stone and tropical fruit.
  • Available in single 16-ounce cans.

Division Brewing - Macaroon Morning (Coconut Porter, 6.8% ABV)
  • Inspired by a chocolate coconut candy, this is a case where the added flavors actually add to the base beer, as opposed to overpowering it. The balanced interplay of the coconut and underlying porter works to create a coconut macaroon in a can.
  • Available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.

HopFusion Ale Works - Port Wine Barrel-Aged Fur Slipper (Imperial Milk Stout, 10% ABV)
  • I've said it before, but for me bourbon barrel beers have become a bit ubiquitous, so finding this available curbside was a treat. As for my overall impression, this slipper is a sipper with ample strength and a noticeable port presence.
  • Available in single 16-ounce cans.

Peticolas Brewing Co. - The Duke (Barley Wine, 12.0% ABV)
  • The Duke isn't new, but the onset of Covid-19 was a catalyst for putting it in cans. It's fruity and boozy, thanks to a balanced mix of of alcohol and esters, but also entirely too easy to drink considering the ABV of 12%. Plus, it's hard to beat the availability of a barley wine on a daily basis.
  • Available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Hop & Sting expanding product range and reach

Image courtesy of Hop & Sting Brewing Co.

Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine, an entity striving to be one of the most diverse craft breweries around, is now available all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The 9000-square-mile economic and cultural hub of North Texas is rich with community and generational diversity, and the brewery is a welcoming atmosphere to all who want to drink and learn about the refreshing complexity and science of craft beer. However, D-FW stretches for nearly 100 miles end-to-end, making it a trek for many.

Recognizing that fact, Hop & Sting has been building relationships in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Garland, Irving, McKinney, Frisco, Denton and Rockwall to ensure their beers reach the diverse audiences they celebrate.

For craft beer fans from baby boomers to Gen Z, Hop & Sting puts out beers of tradition and trend to quench the thirst of those craving new styles as they discover and engage in the diversity of craft beer. The production schedule and expertly-conducted canning days support the brewery’s ability to maintain a variety of brew styles locally-owned shops and growler bars need to keep customers coming back for more.

“We have enough core beers to keep tap lines stocked with a new brew monthly throughout the year.” states co-owner Brian Burton. “It comes down to being deliberate about brewing beers that are approachable by all and enjoyable to people from all walks of life.”

In addition, Hop & Sting's products support various charities providing assistance to those in need ranging from children to animals, public servants to education. It’s important to the brewery team to get their product out as far as possible to support the livelihood of businesses and nonprofits affected by their work.

One Hop & Sting beer produced to that end is Miracle Wheat. This American-style wheat beer benefits The Miracle League of Southlake, an organization which removes barriers keeping children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime.

As for other current and future offerings, available now is the brewery's latest limited release, Weisser Time (5.4% ABV), a beer described as a "clove and banana-balanced hefeweizen." Then later this month, look for Hop & Sting to unveil its version of Black is Beautiful. Created in collaboration with Weathered Souls Brewing Co. of San Antonio, proceeds from the sale of Black is Beautiful will go to Beersgiving, a North Texas group advocating for diversity in the brewing industry.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

House beers now pouring at Craft and Growler

Craft & Growler's debut house beer, One and a Half Years Later,
is available on tap and in crowlers (
© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The name of the beer says it all. Craft and Growler's initial offering, One and a Half Years Later, is an IPA that recalls the length of time it took for the Dallas growler shop to get its in-house brewing project underway.

Equipment for the initiative has been onsite since May 2019, but the first production brew day didn't occur until late last month. Craft and Growler's brewer, Brendan Smith, fired up the kettle on May 23, with the startup recipe chosen to be a SMaSH IPA. Brewed with two-row pale malt and Cascade hops, the resulting beer is nicely balanced, with a flowery aroma, citrus flavors and a mildly bitter bite.

One and a Half Years Later is also crystal clear, its clarity appearing as a stark contrast to the current wave of hazy IPAs. And while hazy beers are surely a hot commodity, choosing to do a SMaSH IPA was more about differentiating from another type of beer commonly produced when breweries are starting out.

"I didn't want to do just a blonde as a test batch as many seem to do," says Smith. "So, I figured why not spend a bit more on hops and make it a SMaSH?"

As for future style selections, Smith is working on a hefeweizen, with a hazy pale ale, gose and fruited Berliner weisse in the plans as well. In addition, Craft and Growler's SMaSH IPA is set to return, with subsequent hop varieties chosen by way of customer feedback. The overall goal, of course, is to build up a stable of originals to supplement the shop's everyday product mix.

"Eventually, as we get the system dialed in and perfect our process, we'd like to have four-to-six house beers on at any one time," says Smith.

Another notable aspect of Craft and Growler's journey to this point is how it was able to lean on industry relationships built since opening in 2012. Smith singled out no fewer than nine local brewers who provided advice and encouragement during the process of getting the shop's brewhouse ready for use.

Along those lines, it's no surprise to learn that collaborations with area brewers are also on the agenda at Craft and Growler.

"We are in talks to do collabs with Celestial Beerworks and 903 Brewers," adds Smith, "but others have expressed interest in working with us and we'll be happy to work with anyone."

With that, Craft and Growler takes its place as an active North Texas brewing operation. It may have taken one and a half years to get here, but those pitching in to help proved once again the community of craft beer is alive and well.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Deep Ellum closes Funkytown Fermatorium

Image credit: Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas, a member of the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective,  has announced the permanent closure of its Funkytown Fermatorium in Fort Worth.

The company's Funkytown Fermatorium opened in March 2019, providing Deep Ellum with a westside Metroplex location apart from its original facility near Downtown Dallas. The outpost featured a full onsite kitchen, along with a small-batch brewhouse producing exclusive recipes for local Panther City patrons.

In a Facebook post, Deep Ellum cited "the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," as well as its "inability to serve beer to-go due to Texas House Bill 3287," as factors in the decision.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Ash & Ember brings first brewery to Cedar Hill

All photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Pandemic or not, the roster of North Texas breweries continues to grow, as evidenced by this weekend's opening of Ash & Ember Brewing in the City of Cedar Hill.

Located just off U.S. 67 at 226 Texas St., Ash & Ember is the first brewery in Cedar Hill. Its facility sits a fair distance away from other like businesses, with no other breweries existing within a 10-mile radius. This, according to co-founder Brian Krajcirovic, played a role in site selection as he and business partner, Timothy Martin, were deciding on where to establish the enterprise.

Now up and running, Ash & Ember occupies a 5000 square foot building. Currently, the company is utilizing about half of the space for its taproom and production areas, with the rest reserved for the possible addition of a lounge-like room in the future.

For production, Ash & Ember employs a five-barrel brewing system and four 10-barrel
fermenters. Beer names call attention to points of interest around the City of Cedar Hill.

As for the here and now, Ash & Ember's opening day offerings were Lumber Yard Lager, High Pointe Porter and Tower Red IPA. All were easy-drinking styles of moderate strength, and such characteristics will be the norm for most brews produced onsite. Bigger beers will occasionally appear, but the focus at Ash & Ember is on making what Krajcirovic refers to as "beers for the beer drinker."

In terms of the brewery's overall portfolio, Krajcirovic says recipes will rotate. At a minimum, though, patrons can expect Ash & Ember's tap wall to feature a light beer, something dark and an IPA on a typical day, with future selections to include a German-style hefeweizen and a Scottish wee heavy.

Once the pandemic passes, taproom hours will take place on Fridays at Ash & Ember, with tour packages set for Saturdays, and to-go only service available Tuesday through Thursday. Of course, for now it's to-go only all the time, so stay tuned to social media (FacebookInstagram) for updates on operations at the area's newest brewery.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Funky Picnic goes big with Greg's Big Honey Lager

Image: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Funky Picnic Brewery & Café
represents the latest entity to access the rolodex of recipes created by local homebrewer Greg Etzel, with the Fort Worth brewpub set to tap its contribution to the series of beers honoring his memory later this week.

Greg's Big Honey Lager, an imperial honey lager boasting an ABV of 11%, will debut at Funky Picnic this Thursday, June 25. Like previous memorial beers, proceeds from sales will benefit charities chosen by the Etzel family, including ACH Child & Family Services, Direct Relief (Covid-19 Relief)Team Conner Childhood Cancer Foundation and Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation.

"We decided to pick the honey lager because it allowed us to brew a unique and big beer, much like Greg himself," says Collin Zreet, co-founder of Funky Picnic.

According to Zreet, those at the brewpub had never tried the beer, so they relied on the recommendation of friend, fellow homebrewer and organizer of the tribute series, Nigel Curtis. And, it seems everyone is pleased with the choice, considering Funky Picnic plans to enter Greg's Big Honey Lager in the National Honey Board's 2020 Honey Beer Competition.

As for how Funky Picnic approached its interpretation of the recipe, the commercial description for Greg's Big Honey Lager says it all:

"A tribute to Greg. His recipe, his idea, we just tried to do it justice. An 11% lager with generous amounts of honey and citrus aroma, and a clean, sharp finish.

"Drink it for Greg."

Friday, June 5, 2020

Weathered Souls recruiting brewers for Black is Beautiful campaign

Image credit: Weathered Souls Brewing Co./KD Designs.

Weathered Souls Brewing Co. of San Antonio is asking breweries worldwide to raise a glass in unison by participating in a collaborative effort meant to "raise awareness for injustices people of color face daily."

Over 675 breweries have joined the Black is Beautiful initiative, each pledging a commitment to the long-term work of equality, while also donating 100% of proceeds from sales of a collaboration beer to organizations in their own communities supporting police brutality reform and legal defense funds for those who have been wronged.

As for the beer, Weathered Souls is providing the base recipe for an imperial stout, this type of beer chosen "to showcase the different shades of black." Participating breweries are encouraged to put their own spin on the beer, as well as the label art, which has space left over for breweries to add their logo. Labels for the project have been created by KD Designs, with The Creative Mango offering discounts to all who use their services for printing.

A list of North Texas breweries involved in the project follows, along with notations of chosen beneficiaries where available (many are still working out details, so updates will follow).


Armadillo Ale Works, Denton
  • Beneficiary: The Innocence Project, an organization that works to exonerate the wrongly-convicted through DNA testing, and to bring reform to the justice system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.
False Idol Brewing, North Richland Hills
  • Beneficiary: Big Thought, a group equipping youth in marginalized communities with the skills and tools they need to imagine and create their best lives and a better world.
  • Beneficiary: Tarrant County Community Bail Fund, a campaign by United Fort Worth to raise funds for those not convicted of a crime, but who remain incarcerated because they can't afford bail.
  • Beneficiary: Beersgiving, an organization advocating for diversity in the brewing industry.
  • Beneficiary: NAACP - Dallas, an organization whose mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons, and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
  • Beneficiary: Know Your Rights Camp, a campaign for youth to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment and interacting with law enforcement.
Odd Muse Brewing Co., Farmers Branch
  • Beneficiary: Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT), an organization whose mission is to create a radically inclusive city by addressing race and racism through narrative change, relationship building and equitable policies and practices
On Rotation, Dallas
  • Beneficiary: $8CantWait, a project by Campaign Zero designed to drive eight policies proven to decrease police violence by 72%.
  • Beneficiary: Know Your Rights Camp, a campaign for youth to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment and interacting with law enforcement.
Vector Brewing, Dallas
  • Beneficiary: Dallas Black Dance Theatre, an organization whose mission is to create and produce contemporary modern dance performances and educational programs that reach diverse communities.



For more on the #BlackIsBeautifulBeer collaboration, visit the initiative's website at https://blackisbeautiful.beer/.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

False Idol's opening week puts wolf pack on the prowl

False Idol debuted with six beers in cans (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

In March 2019, founders Dominique Van Ausdall and Brandon Pitzer debuted the False Idol brand with the first in a series of beers released under license at another local brewery. Since then, they've held to a vision of opening day at the company's permanent home in North Richland Hills, with beers flowing inside a packed taproom and overflow crowds spilling out into the parking lot.

Images of a grand gathering had to be put on hold, however, thanks to the pandemic. So, with a thirsty wolf pack waiting, False Idol chose to persevere through the pause by shifting all efforts to full-scale production. This, even knowing options might be limited when it came time for delivery due to the economic shutdown. Thankfully, though, the company hit on a stroke of luck right when the initial run was ready.

"The loss of taproom sales for an opener is a big hit, but kegs sales were better than expected," says Van Ausdall. "We were fortunate to have sold out kegs to FullClip Craft Distributors for Dallas-Fort Worth distribution the week before most places seemed to open back up as normal."

Thus began an opening week Van Ausdall's describes as "interesting to say the least." In addition to kegs, False Idol packaged six beers (two IPAs, two stouts, a hefeweizen and a blonde ale) for sale in four-packs in time for its premier. These, in turn, were doled out by way of beer drops occurring across the area.

Among the beers, one of the better hazy IPAs I've enjoyed of late, Cut the Red Tape, has been the brewery's best seller so far. Fans of the beer will be happy to know it's set to return, but in general stouts and IPAs will rotate at False Idol (in terms of both style and strength), with alternatives like a pilsner and a mango passionfruit Berliner weisse added to the mix as well.

"We have a lot in store, and balanced offerings is the plan," explains Van Ausdall. "We want to make sure we can provide beer for all walks of life when people come to the taproom, drink our beer around Texas, or buy our cans to-go."

As for what's ahead, False Idol intends to resume work on the hospitality side of the business, with production continuing to ensure a consistent supply of kegs and cans remains in the market. 

"We put all our money and focus on getting beer brewed and canned, so the next step is getting our taproom ready for guests in the next month or two," says Van Ausdall. "One bright spot is Covid allowed us to focus on one thing and get the process down. So, when we add the taproom to the mix we should be ready to roll."

Friday, May 22, 2020

Quarantine beer to benefit bartenders

Image credit: Quarantine Brewing/Hop & Sting Brewing Co.

A new beer produced at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine is providing beer drinkers an opportunity to serve those who serve us.

According to a press release, Quarantine Bartender Bail Out is an all-American ale brewed with American 2-row barley, American hops and an American yeast strain. In addition, the beer features an infusion of elderberry, "to give it a special sense of doing what's best for you and your friends as we are coming out of isolation and social distancing."

Quarantine Bartender Bail Out goes on sale at Hop & Sting's taproom beginning Saturday, May 23. Limited to only 4000 cans, Quarantine Bartender Bail Out may be purchased in four-packs for $16, or $5 for individual cans.

A portion of proceeds from sales of Quarantine Bartender Bail Out will go to support those in the service industry who have lost their jobs. Merchandise promoting the release is also available at www.quarantinebeer.com. Leave a tip with purchase, and 100% of that money goes directly to servers and bartenders.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wild Acre honors Etzel with Greg's Key Lime Pie Sour

Image: Wild Acre Brewing Co.

If you've yet to visit one of the area's newest brewing locales, head to Wild Acre Brewing Co.'s new Camp Bowie location in Fort Worth this weekend to sample the latest beer crafted in memory of renowned homebrewer Greg Etzel.

Continuing a tradition started in March, Wild Acre brewers Jerrod Womack and Ryan Hoffman drew a recipe from Etzel's own archives in order to create Greg's Key Lime Pie Sour (5% ABV, 6 IBU), a beer brewed with lactose, vanilla beans and key lime juice.

As for what inspired them to participate in the effort, Womack, who last saw Etzel at a birthday party he threw for one of his youngest kids, pointed to personal connections both he and Hoffman shared with Greg.

"I got involved with this project because Greg was a solid dude," says Womack. "I'd known him from hanging out at homebrew events, and I worked with him at Texas Brewing, Inc. [in Haltom City].

"It turned out that Ryan went to high school with Greg in Stephenville. We both met up at Cowtown Brewing Co. to choose a beer to brew, and Ryan chose Key Lime. He has the same feelings about Greg as I do. Greg was a really awesome guy to know and be around."

Look for Greg's Key Lime Pie Sour on tap at Wild Acre Camp Bowie beginning on Friday, May 22. The brewery will donate $1 from every pint served to a fund established to support the Etzel family.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Make hay for Lakewood's take on a PB&J

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Beginning today, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is tapping its latest Temptress delight in the form of Barrel-aged Peanut Butter & Jelly Temptress.

The last batch of the base beer, Peanut Butter Temptress, sold out at retail in less than 10 days, but Lakewood held some back and set the remainder to rest in bourbon barrels. From there, the brewery topped things off with an infusion of fresh fruit and nuts to create its own interpretation of a popular childhood treat.

"Our little brewing elves have been busy at work cooking up new taproom releases, and the latest one is a treat we all need right now,” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “We took barrel-aged Peanut Butter Temptress and added fresh Oregon raspberries and an extra boost of peanuts. The result is pretty friggin’ awesome! It’s like your favorite sandwich, but all grown up.”

Barrel-aged Peanut Butter & Jelly Temptress is a taproom-only release. It can be purchased at the Lakewood Taproom Drive-Thru in 16-ounce crowlers (single cans), as well as in new, unused 32 and 64-ounce growlers.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Second Greg Etzel memorial beer to benefit Direct Relief

Image courtesy of Brutal Beerworks.

The newest entry in an ongoing series of beers honoring the memory of Fort Worth homebrewer Greg Etzel is set to debut this week, with the release of Etzelbock (5.8% ABV) by Brutal Beerworks of North Richland Hills.

Etzelbock follows the beer that kicked-off the series, Wetzelbock, a weizenbock brewed by Cowtown Brewing Co. of Fort Worth. Like the first beer, Etzelbock is based on one of Etzel's own homebrew recipes, but as the name implies, Etzelbock adheres to the standards of a traditional German bock beer. The style selection being a purposeful departure from the everyday lineup at Brutal Beerworks, which tends to feature a variety of IPAs, sour beers and stouts.

"We wanted to do a beer style that we typically don't do, and Greg's Tic Tok Bock was a perfect choice for us," says Eric Johnson, co-founder at Brutal Beerworks.

As for why he thought it was important for the team at Brutal Beerworks to get involved in the project, Johnson's reasoning was simple and succinct as he added, "We did a beer in Greg's honor because he was an all-around great person to everyone."

Sixteen-ounce cans of Etzelbock will go on sale at Brutal Beerworks beginning on Wednesday, May 6. A portion of proceeds from sales of the beer will be donated to Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization providing targeted assistance to communities recovering from disasters like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Temptation times two: Lakewood delivers Double Chocolate Temptress

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has partnered with an Addison-based chocolatier to create Double Chocolate Temptress, the newest temptation in its popular Seduction Series.

“One of the dominant flavors in Temptress is the chocolate malt," says Wim Bens, founder of Lakewood. "It’s what makes Temptress so big and rich. So why not go BIGGER? We partnered up with our friends at Yelibelly Chocolates and put our brewer and their chocolatier brains together to do just that.”

According to a press release, Double Chocolate Temptress features a copious amount of single origin cacao nibs, as well as a healthy dose of Belgian chocolate to make it a chocolate lover’s dream. The resulting beer is said to be full of chocolate flavor and complexity, making it perfect for sipping around the fire pit with s’mores, or as a dessert pairing with fresh berries.

“We are so delighted to work with Lakewood on this brew," adds Yeli Marshall, Yelibelly's owner and chief chocolate officer. "Yelibelly Chocolates has paired and infused our chocolates with Lakewood beers for years now. This is a perfect next step in our partnership."

Double Chocolate Temptress will be sold in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles at retail to start, with kegs rolling out for when bars and restaurants are able to open again.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Rollertown rolls on, opens in Celina

Rollertown rolled out Wardaddy Vanilla & Coffee Imperial Stout, along with three
other beers during its Grand Opening Weekend (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Pulling up to the car line for the drive-thru debut of Rollertown Beerworks on Friday, I couldn't get the Steve Winwood song, "Roll With It," out of my head. Naturally, the word "roll" in the title had some measure of influence, but there was more to it in my mind. I mean, what else is there to do but 'roll with it' when you're faced with opening a brewery during a pandemic?

Yet, that's the call co-owners Ben Rogers and Jeff 'Skin' Wade, a.k.a. the guys behind The Ben & Skin Show on FM 97.1 The Eagle, had to make when they decided to open the doors to Celina's first brewery. Except it was car doors they were opening in order to deliver the goods on Rollertown's first day.

Of course, none of this was part of the plan. Not just having to open during a pandemic, mind you, but the whole idea of cans as well. The original intent was for Rollertown to be a taproom-focused operation. Hence, packaging was a pivot, requiring the acquisition of a can seamer, along with a few late-night canning runs to make it all happen.

Despite the change of direction, opening weekend seemed to go off without a hitch. Lines moved quickly as local residents, and likely more than a few radio listeners, lined up to grab "Inaugural Brew" pre-orders that sold out beforehand. Offerings included Rollertown Light lager, The Big German Kölsch, Juice Serum Juicy IPA and Wardaddy Vanilla & Coffee Imperial Stout.

Of those, the one referring to 'The Big German' himself, Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, was probably my favorite (the stout was a close second). Clean and refreshing, The Big German is a kölsch with some complexity, being a bit bready with notes of honey and lemongrass.

As for what's next on the to-do list for head brewer Tommy Miller, another round of the first four beers is on the agenda, as is a pilsner fermented with a strain of kveik yeast. For updates on when they'll be ready, follow Rollertown on social media for details (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Friday, April 17, 2020

Panther Island has Road Trip Snacks at the ready

Image credit: Panther Island Brewing.

This weekend, prepare to make a pit stop at Panther Island Brewing of Fort Worth, as the brewery is set to release its first production batch of Road Trip Snacks (4.8% ABV).

Otherwise known as the beer with Buc-ee's Beaver Nuggets, a test run of Road Trip Snacks was rolled out in early February, but the 12-gallon batch sold out within hours. This time, though, Panther Island went bigger, using 100 pounds of Beaver Nuggets to create a 60-barrel batch, which ends up equating to roughly 700 cases to go around.

As for differences between the two batches, the only change to Road Trip Snacks was a slight reduction in strength.

"The test batch was higher [6% ABV]," says Ryan McWhorter, founder of Panther Island, "but I lowered it to around 5% to be a little more approachable and drinkable for all types of beer drinkers."

Six-packs of Road Trip Snacks go on sale at the brewery today, Friday, April 17 at 2 p.m. Eager beavers can pre-order online by clicking here, or simply call ahead before making the trip.

Beginning April 20, the beer will also be available at select retailers around Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as at the six North Texas locations of Buc-ee's: Denton, Ennis, Fort Worth, Melissa, Royse City and Terrell.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pink Boots NTX releases first canned collaboration

Image credit: Hop & Sting Brewing Co.

Working in collaboration with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine, The Pink Boots Society - NTX Chapter has released its first canned beer for distribution. Aptly named “She’s Intense,” the beer represents the intensity of the group's work to bring more women into the craft beer S.T.E.M. career path throughout North Texas, as well as the beer's intense triple dry hop schedule, which included the 2020 Pink Boots hop blend.

The brew day for She's Intense was led by Betsi Good of Plano's Union Bear Brewing Co., with assistance provided by Danii Oliver of Island to Island Brewery, an area project in development. The session also included educational demonstrations for chapter members Angi Thomas, alcoholic beverage writer of The Undeniable Vixen, and Lorinda Pinto, cellar person at Martin House Brewing Co. of Fort Worth.

Throughout the day the women welcomed young girls into the brewhouse, teaching them about S.T.E.M. aspects involved in the manufacture of fermented beverages. Industry professionals also came by in support of Women’s History Month, and to witness history in the making for women of craft beer in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“This brew day happening at Hop & Sting comes from a personal standpoint for me," says Jeremy Fernald, sales manager at Hop & Sting.  "I have a one-year old daughter, Carden, and recently did a homebrew so she could be a part of what I love to do.  I think it's absolutely vital for her to follow her passion when she's ready to do so and I'll be right there to cheer her on.”

As for the beer itself, She's Intense (8.5% ABV) is described as a delicious and surprisingly easy drinking brew with a smooth mouthfeel and a soft, balanced bitterness. It features an array of fruit flavors, with a tropical aroma and notes of pine.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of She's Intense will be donated to the Pink Boots Society, benefiting women who earn a living from the beer industry.

“It's part of our business to share a part of ourselves and our product to help or advocate for our community," says Brian Burton, co-founder of Hop & Sting. "We also understand how hard it is to break into the brewing industry. When we meet people who are willing to work hard to do what we do, we are happy to give advice or act as mentors. We don't care who you are, who you know, or what you look like. If you have the right work ethic, we'll find a place for you. That place may be with us, or with a brewery we know and respect.

“[Co-founder] Jon Powell and I have trained, hired, or mentored quite a few people in the industry.  Specifically, we've done so with quite a few women. Most recently, we have mentored Betsi on multiple systems and standards. Even though we are at different breweries, we don't stop being mentors.”

She's Intense is available now in six-packs of 12-ounce cans at Hop & Sting's location in Grapevine. The beer will also be sold at retail, with deliveries expected to begin soon.



Join members of the Pink Boots Society -NTX Chapter, Hop & Sting Brewing Co., and others for a She's Intense Digital Release Event, taking place live at Denton County Brewing Co. on Sunday, April 19 (click here for more information).

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Lakewood reaches Level 2 of limited IPA series

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Advancing to the next level of its yearlong IPA series inspired by the almighty hop and retro gaming, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has released the sequel to Level 1: Jungle Run Tropical IPA.

Level 2: Temple Hop Hazy IPA (7.5% ABV) raises the stake of the brewery's Small Batch Series by bringing together a mix of Amarillo, Citra and Azacca Cryo hops. The resulting beer is said to be a big, juicy and crushable creation.

“I’m stupid excited about this series," says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “We challenge ourselves with making 'Seriously Fun Beer' every day, and this series really delivers. For this series we celebrate all things hop.”

Look for Level 2: Temple Hop Hazy IPA in six-packs of 12-ounce cans at select retailers. The beer is also available to-go at the Lakewood Taproom Drive-Thru.

Local brewers join All Together collaboration to help hospitality professionals

Image courtesy of Other Half Brewing Co./Stout Collective.

The spirit of community within the craft beer family is apparent again, as breweries around the world are taking part in an open-ended beer collaboration designed to support members of the hospitality industry.

Organized by Other Half Brewing Co. of Brooklyn, New York, All Together is an initiative that seeks to raise awareness and provide relief to workers struggling in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the program, Other Half is offering participants the tools they need to brew, brand and promote the collaboration beer, All Together IPA. The beer's base recipe has been created by Other Half, while resources for label design, label printing, and an online presence for the project are being provided by Stout Collective, Blue Label Packaging Co., and Craftpeak respectively.

Local brewers are free to add their own twist to the beer, with the only stipulation being that a portion of the proceeds go to hospitality professionals in the brewer's local community. Up to now, over 550 breweries from 39 countries have joined the cause, including the following North Texas companies:

Turning Point Beer, Bedford
Celestial Beerworks, Dallas
False Idol Brewing, North Richland Hills

Turning Point's take on All Together IPA is on sale now, and can be purchased online for curbside pickup. Beers from Celestial, False Idol and Panther Island are currently in the works, so be sure to follow each brewery on social media for updates on availability.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Lakewood releases new Barrelworks blend, Rest in Peaches

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Emerging from a sour beer wonderland set up in a small, nondescript South Garland warehouse, Lakewood Brewing Co. has released Rest in Peaches, the latest beer in the brewery's Barrelworks series.

"The cave," as founder Wim Bens calls it, is a room filled with an amazing aroma of sweet alcohol and wood. The walls are insulated up to a foot thick and are very cave-like indeed, with the air kept cool year-round at a constant temperature 64 degrees.

Barrels from all types of spirits, even absinthe, line the walls on racks in Lakewood's "sour room."

“Some of our barrels are three, four, and five years old," says Bens. "The beauty of our sour program is we have been building it slowly, and now we have a library of beers to blend.”

Sights from Lakewood's "sour room."

As for Rest in Peaches, Lakewood blended a variety of barrels and vintages of beers. The two base brews were an amber lager with peaches, aged four years in bourbon barrels, and a wheat wine aged three years in wine barrels.

Those were blended with more peaches and apricots prior to being packaged in 375ml champagne bottles. The bottles were then corked and capped and left to rest some more. After months and months of conditioning and refermentation, the result is a pleasantly tart beer with deep complexity.

“We don’t release many beers from our Barrelworks program,” says Bens. “This is a labor of love and time. The beer tells us when it’s done. So, that could be six months or five years.”

Rest in Peaches is currently only available to-go at the Lakewood Taproom Drive-Thru.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Vector stays the course, opens with curbside service

Keyframe: Sabro, a  DDH hazy IPA, was one of five beers on tap
during Vector's opening weekend (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The newest North Texas brewing operation is a prime example of how things don't always go according to plan. Sure, every business overcomes obstacles, but who could have predicted the need to navigate a government shutdown followed by the nearly complete lockdown of the entire U.S. economy.

Such is the story of Vector Brewing, a Dallas-based project started by Craig and Veronica Bradley in early 2018. From the shutdown, which stalled small business loans in early 2019, to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic altering its opening date, Vector Brewing's path to pouring beer for Lake Highlands locals has been anything but straight and narrow.

Nevertheless, the Bradleys have chosen to "trust the journey" from the beginning, seeing setbacks as mere stepping stones on the road to making Vector Brewing a reality. So, naturally, they decided to push through the pandemic and open the only way possible in the current environment - that is, on a limited basis with curbside service to-go.

Along those lines, Vector Brewing debuted a pared-down menu to perspective patrons Friday evening. And, judging from early returns, Lake Highlands residents were ready. By Sunday night, the brewpub had run through 700 pounds of pizza dough, while filling nearly 1500 crowlers. In other words, Vector's beer and scratch pizzas were a hit.

"Opening amidst a pandemic certainly wasn’t the way we expected or wanted to open our doors," says Bradley, "but it was still amazing to see the amount of fans, friends, and family from all over who came out in support. We definitely didn’t expect that amount of love and generosity from so many, and we can’t thank everyone enough. It exceeded every expectation and then some."

Of course, this is just the start for Vector Brewing. Once things settle down in the world, an expanded menu will be in the offing, and there's still the matter of getting a chance to experience the ambiance of the brewpub's indoor and outdoor space (encompassing ~8000 total square feet, with 2300 square feet set aside for the patio).

Beer will flow continuously, though, with new recipes from head brewer and blender Tommy Gutierrez rolling out on the regular. His first run of fermentations included an American light lager, a German pilsner, a West Coast-style pale ale and two IPAs. As for what's in the queue, stouts, sour beers and more are also in the works. Of particular interest, Duotone, a smoothie fruit sour popular among fans (and myself) during preview tastings, is set to return as well.

"We're brewing a hoppy lager this week, followed by a DDH DIPA," reveals Bradley. "Vernal, our maibock is chugging away in the tank, and our imperial stout is getting close to finishing up, where a good portion will go into bourbon barrels and the rest will go on tap."

Beyond that, Bradley says, there's "more to come soon."



For more on Vector Brewing, visit www.vectorbrewing.com, or follow the brewpub on social media (Facebook, Instagram).

Thursday, March 26, 2020

White Labs introduces on-demand educational courses

Image credti: White Labs.

White Labs, a leading provider of fermentation products to the brewing industry for the past 25 years, is now offering its world-renowned educational courses online. In addition, as a way to provide brewers a forum to connect and learn as the industry feels the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the company is also offering free, online educational webcasts from now until April 30, 2020.

Each Wednesday at 10 a.m. PDT, White Labs will broadcast a 60-minute educational webcast for home and commercial brewers that provides brewing insights, tips, tricks and even a little industry history. The first half hour will a feature a presentation by an industry leader, while the second half hour will be set aside for viewer questions.

Coming up on April 1, White Labs president, founder and CEO Chris White will discuss yeast starters, trending strains and styles throughout the years.

“Much has changed since White Labs was founded 25 years ago, but what has stayed constant has been our commitment to education and how we prioritize helping our community grow and thrive. This is especially important during these uncertain times, which is putting a strain on many in our industry,” says White. “Our goal with these webcasts is to provide support to this vibrant community of brewers by helping them continue to learn about yeast strains and brew even better products.”

 To sign up for the free webcasts, visit WhiteLabs.com and subscribe to the White Labs email list. All webcasts will also be added to the White Labs YouTube page.

For those looking for even more yeast education, White Labs is launching an online education portal for brewers to access at their convenience. New on-demand videos are released every month covering a range of topics, including the flavors of fermentation, reusing yeast, considerations of spontaneous and inoculated fermentations, wild yeast and bacteria handling.

Course prices will vary based on the length and technical content, but are as little as $79. Those interested can learn more at WhiteLabs.com/education.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Series of beers to honor prominent Fort Worth homebrewer

Gret Etzel poses with awards won at the 2015 Bluebonnet Brew-Off (Brian Schoolcraft).

In the coming months, the North Texas craft beer community will come together to honor the memory of one of their own, while also raising money for a great cause.

Greg Etzel, a Fort Worth resident and well-known figure in the local brewing scene, passed away in November of 2019 after a brave fight with stomach cancer. Greg was not only an accomplished and award-winning homebrewer, he also worked on weekends at Texas Brewing Inc., a homebrew supply store in Haltom City, and was a primary host of the shop's Come & Brew It Radio podcast.

Surviving Greg are his wife, Trish, and two newly-adopted sons. They were joined by over 250 people at Greg's celebration of life, where a plan was conceived to help the family going forward. Appropriately enough, the idea developed as those in attendance raised a glass of Greg's homebrew in tribute.

Working from Greg's own recipes, eight area breweries will produce beers in remembrance of him, with proceeds from sales going to ACH Child & Family Services. Chosen by Trish, the Etzel's worked with this agency on the adoption of their two boys - both of whom are still under three years old.

The first beer in the series will be a German-style weizenbock, crafted by Cowtown Brewing Co. of Fort Worth. It's set to debut on Greg's birthday, which falls on Thursday, March 12. Ahead of the release, Cowtown co-founder Shawn Kidwell shared his thoughts on what it means to be a part of the project, as well as how he and Greg bonded over more than just beer.

"Greg was one of those special people you felt like you had known your entire life, no matter how long you had actually known him.  Although we bonded over beer, our conversations often covered a lot of topics that had nothing to do with beer.

"One thing we talked about most frequently was our kids. He and Trish had adopted two sons, and my wife and I were in the process of adopting our son, who was born the same day Cowtown opened for business. One thing I will never forget is the day Greg and Trish walked into Cowtown for the first time after we opened with a trunk full of baby clothes and baby gear that their sons had outgrown. That is just one example of the incredible kindness and generosity I think everyone that came into contact with him experienced.

"So, when the idea for this project started to form, there was no question that we wanted to be involved.  We're honored to be releasing the first beer in this series, but we're really looking forward to the rest of the releases this year as we continue to celebrate Greg's life."

As for future beers in the series, the list of recipes and release dates is as follows (subject to change):
  • March: Cowtown Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Weizenbock.
  • April: Brutal Beerworks, North Richland Hills - Bock.
  • May: Wild Acre Brewing Co., Fort Worth - IPA, Key Lime Pie Golden Sour
  • June: Funky Picnic Brewery & Café, Fort Worth - Honey Lager.
  • July: HopFusion Ale Works, Fort Worth - Baltic Porter, Czech Dark Lager.
  • August: Panther Island Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Chocolate Rye Stout.
  • September: Turning Point Beer, Bedford - TBA.
  • October: Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth - Almond Joy Stout.

Other breweries wishing to participate may reach out to Nigel Curtis of Texas Brewing Inc. via email at nigelcurtis@att.net.

Readers can also donate directly to ACH Child & Family Services by way of the company's website at achservices.org.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Beersgiving among BA's 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Grant recipients



The Brewers Association (BA) has announced the recipients of its 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Event Grants program. This year, 14 events were selected from 69 applications to receive grants totaling $50,000.

Among those receiving a grant is the Fort Worth-based organization, Beersgiving. Founded by Danii Oliver of Island to Island Brewery, and Eric Jackson of the lifestyle brand Uncap Everything, Beersgiving brings civilian and military families together for a day of craft beer, local bites and industry-focused S.T.E.M. experiments for kids.

Since the creation of its Diversity Committee in 2017 and the hiring of its first-ever diversity ambassador in 2018, the BA has taken continued, proactive steps to advance diversity and inclusivity among brewers and beer lovers.
  • In 2019, the BA released a five-part series of best practice guides laying the groundwork for addressing, creating, and managing a diversity and inclusion program.
  • In May, the inaugural class of diversity and inclusion event grant recipients was announced, with a total of $20,000 awarded to six recipients.
  • The BA also completed its first benchmarking survey of brewery owner and employee diversity in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity; and in December published a free “We Welcome Everyone” poster available for download in Spanish and English for breweries and beer businesses.
  • For 2020, the BA will publish a series of case studies written by diversity ambassador Dr. J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham, Ph.D., that spotlight best practices in action, and will also introduce a pilot mentorship program.

“It’s inspiring to see so many organizations striving to connect and welcome new people to beer and each other,” says Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association. “While there is still much work to be done, we are proud to continue our commitment to nurture a more diverse and inclusive craft beer community and we congratulate this year’s grant recipients.”

As for Beersgiving, future events scheduled for the Dallas-Fort Worth area include Family Afternoons Out, April 18 at Brutal Beerworks in North Richland Hills, and Barrel-Aged Conversations, May 30 at Peticolas Brewing Co. in Dallas. Tickets for both events are available now by way of Eventbrite.



To learn more about Beersgiving, visit http://beersgiving.info, or follow the project on social media: FacebookInstagram.

Friday, February 28, 2020

903 Brewers creates call to action in a can

Image credit: 903 Brewers.

During this all-important election year, it's critical for all who are eligible to get out and vote. But, don't settle for just the obligatory "I Voted" sticker after you perform your civic duty, because now there's an "I Voted" beer as well.

New from 903 Brewers of Sherman, I Voted (6.5% ABV) is a raspberry and blueberry cream ale designed to reward those casting a vote to have their voices heard. And seeing how the flavor elements of I Voted are suitably red (raspberry), white (cream ale) and blue (blueberry), as is its wrapping regalia, you might say the beer is representative of a call to action in a can.

Of course, election-themed beers aren't a new thing, but many get their names from well-known expressions or a clever play on words. Then again, some breweries just have a beer called "Election Day." The creation from 903 Brewers, however, might be the first to utilize the phrase so omnipresent on stickers emerging from your local polling place.

As for what inspired I Voted, part of it relates to brewery co-founder Jeremy Roberts' campaign for the office of Grayson County Commissioner Precinct 1. In a more general sense, though, Roberts believes we need to encourage more people to exercise their right to vote across the board.

Along those lines, I Voted won't be a one-and-done offering. While the initial run of kegs and six-packs is available now ahead of the Texas Primary on Tuesday, March 3, consumers can expect fresh batches to appear in time for subsequent elections in the future (i.e. May midterms, November general elections, etc.).

So, go vote and get your sticker, along with a new badge of honor in the form of a beer.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

New Main closing Pantego Brewery

Image credit: New Main Brewing Co.

Citing failed negotiations with its landlord, New Main Brewing Co. has announced it will close.

Founded by husband and wife, David Clark and Amanda Daniels, New Main was the first brewery to exist in the City of Pantego. The business opened its doors in February 2018, functioning as a taproom initially as it awaited a federal brewing license. Once regulatory approval was acquired, the opening round of house beers was served the following July.

Regarding its concept, New Main's approach was built around the idea of encouraging consumers to "embrace curiosity" by branching out beyond their comfort zone. Classic recipes, dubbed "main" beers, were offered as a baseline, then infused with added flavors to create a taste of something new. And through these "new main" brews, the hope was beer drinkers would discover flavor combinations they liked as much or more than a familiar favorite.

As for how New Main will end its run in Pantego, a two-year anniversary party takes place on Saturday, February 29. After that, the brewery will serve patrons through the final day of operations on Sunday, March 15.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Revolver trots out BLDG 5 Tap Room at Texas Live

Opening night images from opening night at Revolver's BLDG 5 Tap Room at
Texas Live in Arlington (Photos: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Completing work on a second location outside of Granbury, Revolver Brewing opened the doors to its new BLDG 5 Tap Room at Texas Live in Arlington on Thursday.

Revolver has been a presence in the North Texas beer scene since fall 2012, and while the company has undergone physical growth in Granbury during the last seven years, this is company's first foray outside its original borders.

"Around this time in 2012, we were scraping and leveling ground to pour the foundation for what would become BLDG 1 in Granbury," says Grant Wood, co-founder and brewmaster at Revolver. "Over the years, we've expanded in Granbury to BLDG 2, BLDG 3, and BLDG 4, so that's where the BLDG 5 name comes from. Basically, this is the fifth building of the brewery."

The name is just one way Revolver has worked to maintain a connection to Granbury with the BLDG 5 project, something Wood says was an important factor in the design and development of the new venture.

"We wanted to make sure we made a connection to Granbury," explains Wood, "so we brought some of the elements of Granbury to Texas Live. The picnic tables, the big bench, a bunch of toolboxes and old tools from the brewery bring in the feels, the textures of Granbury. It's the Granbury experience, plus."

Of course, a big part of the experience is beer, and to deliver on that Revolver has installed a three-vessel, 10-barrel brewhouse at Texas Live. Built by W.M. Sprinkman of Wisconsin, it's similar to what Revolver is using in Granbury, albeit "nicer, with a little upgrade and some automation," according to Wood.

On that note, brewing operations have yet to commence at BLDG 5 (beers currently on tap were brewed in Granbury), but the first brew day is slated to take place early next week. From there, it'll take six-to-seven weeks for production to get to where all beers are brewed in house.

"The first brew we'll make at BLDG 5 is a beer we call Five Flags," reveals Wood.  "It's a pale ale-type beer with five different hops from five different nations. It's a very old recipe, and one of the first I made in Granbury. It didn't make the cut as a commercial-scale beer at the time, so I'm kind of dusting it off and updating it a little bit."

Beyond that, consumers should expect a regular rotation of recipes to appear on the tap wall at BLDG 5. In fact, Wood doesn't foresee brewing any one beer twice for the first few months. At the same time, though, he's not discounting the possibility of a flagship BLDG 5 beer down the road.

"We have to be aware of what the public is saying," says Wood. "When we get liquid to lips and get feedback...then, maybe a certain beer will take off where people say we really like this, and it becomes a mainstay. Then, we'd have a beer on tap as BLDG 5's signature."

Revolver also intends to take advantage of the centralized location of BLDG 5, relative to Dallas and Fort Worth, by distributing select BLDG 5 beers at some point.

"Beers made here are primarily for the taproom," adds Wood, "but if some are particularly desirable, we'll get them out to have other folks tasting them."

As for other BLDG 5 amenities, a menu of bar bites is available to patrons, with selections created by fellow Texas Live tenant, Lockhart Smokehouse. A private event space called the Founder's Room is also under construction on-site, with this area to be used to host tastings, beer dinners and the like for upwards of 60-70 people.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Local students brew up new brand for Lakewood

Dean Marilyn Wiley of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business shakes the hand of Ryan Meigs, creative
director for Lakewood, while President and Founder Wim Bens holds the trophy (Lakewood Brewing Co.)

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland recently partnered with University of North Texas (UNT) students on a class project that now has the potential to turn in to a new brewery brand.

Teams from Dr. Lou Pelton's Applied Market Problems class, offered by the UNT G. Brint Ryan College of Business, were challenged with developing a new brand concept and comprehensive marketing strategy for the company.

“Great brands have to be rooted in an insights-driven concept to connect with consumers," says Ryan Meigs, creative director for Lakewood. "We made it clear we would be heavily weighing the concept in the final presentations.”

The ultimate goal for student teams was to create market awareness and brand ambassadors that would organically spread the word about their new product and Lakewood as a brand.

“Our initial impressions were that the students were very interested in the project. It seemed like half the class stayed after the presentation to ask questions. We were impressed with the depth of thinking and how quickly they jumped into research mode,” says Meigs. “We even hosted several students on a few occasions at the brewery for tours. They continued to ask thoughtful questions and were very engaged in the process.”

When it came time for teams to reveal their final concepts, both Meigs and President and Founder Wim Bens were there to choose the winning idea.

“All of the presenters had great ideas and interesting thoughts, but we felt “Team Peach” really took their concept and wove it throughout every facet of their presentation. It was clever, and we felt like something our target audience would react to and work well,” explains Meigs.

"Team Peach" consisted of Marco Hernandez, Gina Duronio, Katie Abshire and Bristal Buford. The group took home first place for their brand “No Huckin Way,” a huckleberry wheat beer.

“The opportunity for students to engage in real-world, real-time marketing improves their preparedness for careers and professional development,” says Dr. Pelton.

What first began as an innovative way to incorporate practical experiences into the classroom, has now transformed into a potential new brand for Lakewood to “put in the hopper.”

“The more [our leadership team] talked about the concept, the more it sounded like a good idea. I spoke with one of our brewers and we decided to do a pilot batch,” says Meigs.

Members of “Team Peach” will be able to taste the very same product they conceptualized in the classroom; and if all goes well, store shelves may very well be full of “No Huckin Way,” too.

Lakewood will host the students and UNT faculty on Friday, February 21, to try the beer for the first time.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Hop & Sting adds Sir William's to NTX Strong series

Image credit: Hop & Sting Brewing Co.

Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine is expanding its charity beer offerings with the addition of a recipe inherited from the Grapevine Craft Brewery brand.

Sir William's English Brown Ale is now one of four full-time beers making up what Hop & Sting calls its NTX Strong lineup of charity beers. A core brand at Grapevine Craft Brewery (acquired by Hop & Sting in June 2018), Sir William's was awarded a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, as well as a silver medal at the 2016 event.

“Before starting Hop & Sting, my co-founder Jon Powell and I were part of the team that brewed the gold medal winning batch of Sir William's," says Brian Burton, co-founder of Hop & Sting. "Sir William's is a wonderful beer and we wanted to keep it in our lineup. It is still the same great recipe that we all loved, and it is a natural fit for our NTX Strong lineup."

Regarding the choice of charity for Sir William's, Powell says adding a beer to benefit local law enforcement officers was a no-brainer.

“Our first responders and their families serve our communities," explains Powell. "It is a small token of our immense appreciation to dedicate another beer to give back to those heroes."

As of today, the NTX Strong series at Hop & Sting looks like this:

The NTX Strong program also includes a rotating tap that gives to a new local charity every month, and events like the brewery's Charity Bingo Night are used to help pitch in as well. Groups besides those mentioned above who benefit from Hop & Sting's efforts include Grapevine AMBUCSPro Players FoundationLupus Foundation of AmericaPink Boots Society NTX ChapterSecond Chance SPCAGallant Few and more.

Fifty cents of every pint, $1 of every six-pack sold in the taproom and 5% of offsite beer sales go to those sponsored. In its first year after acquiring the facility in Grapevine, Hop & Sting gave over 1% of their overall revenue to charity. And, it's notable that the company considers its charity commitment as overhead, since rather than only giving a percentage of profits, Hop & Sting writes donation checks before the owners pay their own salaries.

“I’m truly happy we are able to give back through our NTX Strong program," adds Lane Joseph, co-owner and CTO at Hop & Sting. "Drinking beer and helping people, it doesn’t get any better than that!"

Look for NTX Strong beers on draft at select retailers and in the taproom at Hop & Sting. Miracle Wheat is currently the only NTX Strong beer available in cans, but Sir William's (March), Fire Engine Red (Summer) and 3113 Oktoberfest (August) are expected to be packaged in the months ahead.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Bitter Sisters, HopFusion honored at 2020 Best of Craft Beer Awards

Image credit: Best of Craft Beer Awards.

Bitter Sisters Brewing Co. and HopFusion Ale Works have been awarded medals at the 2020 Best of Craft Beer Awards competition.

Judging for the event was carried out by a select panel of BJCP judges, industry pros and vetted brewers. Entries were evaluated against the 2019 Brewers Association Style Guidelines, with prizes handed out in 95 different categories. This year, a total of 285 medals were awarded to 170 breweries from 33 states.

Both winning breweries from North Texas have won Best of Craft Beer Awards in the past. In fact, Family Trip from Bitter Sisters is a three-time honoree, having taken gold in 2018 and bronze in 2017.

As for other medalists, click here for a complete list of winners.

Bitter Sisters Brewing Co., Addison
  • Gold for Family Trip in the Belgian-Style Tripel category.
HopFusion Ale Works, Fort Worth
  • Gold for Tejano Lager in the Australasian, Latin American or Tropical-Style Light Lager category.

Cheers and congratulations to Bitter Sisters and HopFusion Ale Works!


Lakewood launches next level line of IPAs

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is going full-tilt with its 2020 Small Batch Can Series, drawing inspiration from retro games in the design of a line of IPAs that will "level up" with each release.

This first of these, Level 1: Jungle Run (6.5% ABV), is an unfiltered IPA brewed with a variety of tropical fruits including soursop, mango, pineapple and pink guava. The beer has also been dry-hopped with generous amounts of Citra, Meridian and Amarillo hops.

“We had so much fun with last year’s [small batch] releases," says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. "This year it’s all about the IPA and retro games. We’re releasing four seriously fun beers and every release will see the alcohol go up as well as the hop intensity."

Subsequent beers in the series will release quarterly and be called Level 2: Temple Hop, Level 3: Dragon Escape and Level 4: Boss Fight. Artwork on the cans will transition from one release to the next, creating a collectible set.

"For the artwork, we partnered with the incredibly talented Jay Roeder (www.jayroeder.com) to bring the retro-gaming inspired look to life," adds Bens.

Look for Level 1: Jungle Run on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce cans throughout Texas and at the Lakewood taproom.