Thursday, December 31, 2020

Tupps unveils Blur's first seasonal hard seltzer

Image courtesy of Tupps Brewery.

Tupps Brewery of McKinney is closing out 2020 with the release of a new Blur hard seltzer designed to pair well with New Year's Eve activities.

“We thought it would be fun to craft a Champagne-flavored seltzer specifically to celebrate the New Year," says Chris Lewis, head brewer at Tupps/Blur. "This seltzer is full of bubbles, fruit-forward aroma and it finishes with a touch of Champagne flavor. It’s easy-drinking, low in sugar and low in calories. I’m pretty sure we are all ready for a fresh start in 2021 and here’s the perfect drink to bring to your New Year’s celebrations."

Tupps debuted the Blur brand with a variety pack of fruit infusions in September 2020. Champagne Bubbles is a seasonal seltzer, being the first one to hit the market.

“In 2021, we plan to launch seasonal hard seltzers all throughout the year," says Chase Lewis, sales and finance vice president of Tupps/Blur. "You will see some creative and delicious flavors from us that align with the season and even some holidays.”

Blur Champagne Bubbles is available now in six-packs of 12-ounce cans at retailers in Dallas-Fort Worth. Click here to find a location near you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 Year in review: Area breweries persevere through the pandemic

All logos and graphics the property of their respective owners.

Ah 2020, it's been a helluva year hasn't it? And not in such a way that you could describe it as a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. While positive things happened in the beer industry this past year, no discussion of 2020 should ever start with the word "good." In my mind, 2020 has been more a mix of the bad, the ugly and the fugly.

Naturally, the pandemic is primarily to blame. This unseen enemy rose up to invade our lives, and for many it has resulted in lost wages, lost fortunes or worse. The only real ray of light is the dire predictions of mass closures put out by the Brewers Association and others have thus far not come to pass.

Now, there have certainly been challenges. Brewers fought through various mandates and shutdowns in 2020, forcing them to pivot and modify daily operations just to stay afloat. Can you imagine what the state of the industry would be like if beer to-go was still a no-go? Had it not been legalized in 2019, this year in review piece would have surely taken a darker tone.

Leveraging beer to-go, online orders and curbside pickup became a part of everyday life, with some breweries packaging their products for the first time to make it happen. With bars and restaurants closed, this created a bridge for breweries to maintain a revenue stream until draft accounts were allowed to re-open.

Restaurants were first to resume service at limited capacity, but bars and taprooms were held back unless they sold a certain percentage of food. Because, of course, the presence of a pub pretzel at your table is going to keep you from catching the plague.

Applications for food and beverage certificates soon followed, converting breweries into "restaurants" in the eyes of the auditors. Except there was still the matter of making sure you were selling more food, merchandise, or literally anything else besides beer.

Somehow, though, breweries persevered while weathering the pandemic amid the tangle of regulations and red tape. In fact, there turned out to be quite a bit more news to cover here than I expected, with talk of expansions, changes at the top of one of the area's oldest breweries, and serious legal issues at one spot adding to the regular roundup of openings and closings, brand debuts, buzzy beers and more.

So, without further ado, let's say sayonara to 2020 with the annual summary of local industry activity, followed by the customary highlights from the North Texas year in beer.


The Business of Beer

Surveying notable business moves in 2020, three brewing companies expanded operations by opening satellite locations. Revolver Brewing of Granbury added an Arlington outpost in the form of BLD5 at Texas Live in Arlington, while Wild Acre Brewing Co. and Pegasus City Brewery kept to their home cities with the establishment of Wild Acre Camp Bowie in Fort Worth and Pegasus City Downtown Dallas, respectively.

Looking to expand in the future, four area breweries put plans in motion for the construction of new facilities. These include Tupps Brewery of McKinney, Fort Brewery & Pizza of Fort Worth, On Rotation of Dallas and Community Beer Co. of Dallas. Of these, all but the latter project have been formally announced.

Another, Woodcreek Brewing Co., closed its Rockwall facility in June, citing plans to transition to a new location. However, as of now, there is nothing new to report on that particular front.

Elsewhere, an ownership change occurred quietly at Franconia Brewing Co. of McKinney, after founder Dennis Wehrmann divested his interest in the firm during 2020. Now heading operations is Arvind Sharma, who represents the company as President and CEO.

Also in McKinney, Harvest Seasonal Kitchen made the decision to cease brewing operations once the pandemic hit earlier this year. The restaurant remains open, but there are no plans to resume brewing in the future.

Finally, questions surround the status of Nine Band Brewing Co. of Allen, after the company's owner was charged with a series of crimes. Nine Band's online presence has gone dark, and a partnership with Osage Casinos in Oklahoma is set to be dissolved.

As for an overall economic picture of the brewing industry in Texas, data from the Brewers Association for 2019 shows the state ranking eighth in production, with 1.18 million barrels of beer produced, and third in economic impact, contributing nearly $5.4 billion to the U.S. economy. These amounts are slightly higher compared to the 2018 survey, with the relative rankings staying the same.


Image: Brewers Association.

Comings and Goings

The pandemic didn't appear to limit growth in 2020, at least in terms of the total amount of brewing operations, but the local landscape has surely grown more complicated.

A half-dozen locales currently fall into the category of temporary closures. Two of these are due to new facilities being built by On Rotation of Dallas and Thirsty Bro Brewing of Royse City. As alluded to up above, however, uncertainty surrounds others in this group, meaning the brewery count for the close of 2020 is subject to change.

That said, summing up what we know, the number of brewing operations in North Texas presently stands at 88. Add in side projects, while lowering the number to account for breweries with multiple locations, and you find there are 85 different brands of local beer to choose from in the market. 

Openings:
  • Ash & Ember Brewing, Cedar Hill.
  • Beard Science Sour House, The Colony.
  • Big Spray Brewing, Princeton.
  • Cork & Brew, Commerce.
  • Craft and Growler, Dallas (added brewing operations).
  • Maple Branch Craft Brewery, Fort Worth.
  • Pathfinder Brewing, Hudson Oaks.
  • Pegasus City Downtown, Dallas (second location).
  • Revolver BLDG 5, Arlington (second location).
  • Rollertown Beerworks, Celina.
  • Vector Brewing, Dallas.
  • Wild Acre Camp Bowie, Fort Worth (second location).

Brand Debuts:
  • Happy Hippie Brewing Co. - alternating proprietorship with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine.
  • Motorboat Brewing Co. - alternating proprietorship with Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine.
  • Symbol Brewing Co. - side project of 3 Nations Brewing Co. of Carrollton (not counted as a new opening).

New Locations (not counted as new openings):
  • Edgewise Eight Brewing Co., Weatherford.
  • False Idol Brewing, North Richland Hills.

Permanent Closures:
  • The Collective Brewing Project, Fort Worth.
  • Deep Ellum Funkytown Fermatorium, Fort Worth.
  • New Main Brewing Co., Pantego.

Ceased Brewing Operations:
  • Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, McKinney - restaurant remains open.

Temporary Closures (not counted as new closures):
  • By the Horns Brewing, Mansfield - closed since onset of pandemic.
  • Nine Band Brewing Co., Allen - status unknown due to ongoing legal issues.
  • On Rotation, Dallas - closed original location to build new facility.
  • Thirsty Bro Brewing, Royse City - closed original location to build new facility.
  • Uncle Buck's Brewery & Steakhouse, Grapevine - closed since onset of pandemic.
  • Woodcreek Brewing Co., Rockwall - closed original facility to search for a new location.

Source: Individual research.

The Year in Beer
  • Community collaborations:

    Etzel memorial series: The North Texas craft beer community came together in 2020 to honor the memory of Fort Worth homebrewer, Greg Etzel. Known by many through his work with Texas Brewing Inc. and the shop's Come & Brew It podcast, Etzel passed away in November 2019 after a brave fight against cancer. Up to now, seven Tarrant County breweries have created memorial beers using Etzel's own recipes, with proceeds from sales benefiting charities chosen by his family.

    All Together: Organized by Other Half Brewing Co. of Brooklyn, New York, the All Together collaboration was designed to support members of the hospitality industry struggling due to the pandemic. Four breweries in North Texas contributed to the cause by brewing a version of Other Half's base recipe for All Together IPA. Proceeds from sales went to relief organizations and hospitality professionals in Dallas-Fort Worth.

    Black is Beautiful: Breweries worldwide joined Weathered Souls Brewing Co. of San Antonio in an effort to "raise awareness for injustices people of color face daily." In North Texas, nearly 20 area breweries participated in the Black is Beautiful initiative, each putting their spin on an imperial stout recipe provided by Weathered Souls. Proceeds from sales were targeted towards local community organizations focused on supporting police brutality reform and legal defense funds for the wrongfully-accused.

  • Crazed concoctions: Martin House Brewing Co. followed up the Best Maid pickle beer pandemonium of 2019 with new infusions featuring ingredients like buffalo wing sauce, Dunkaroos and Flamin' Hot Cheetos. These beers and others were a hit with consumers, while news outlets near and far mused at the mindset behind the Fort Worth brewery.

    Among other brews creating a buzz in 2020, Panther Island Brewing Co. of Fort Worth conjured up a reminder of popular convenience store pit-stops with Road Trip Snacks, a beer brewed with Buc-ee's Beaver Nuggets.

    And in Garland, snacks of a different nature were sourced by Lakewood Brewing Co. and Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery. The two breweries teamed up to create Twinkie beers inspired by the movie Zombieland.

  • Style trends: Hazy IPAs continued to cast a spell over the collective consciousness of the local craft beer community in 2020, with local "juice' producers like Celestial Beerworks of Dallas, Turning Point Beer of Bedford and Tupps Brewery of McKinney rolling out new varieties on the regular.

    Beyond the haze craze, hard seltzers remained in in high demand during 2020, with fruit-flavored product lines being introduced by the likes of Armadillo Ale Works of Denton, Tupps Brewery and more. Wild Acre Brewing Co. of Fort Worth even introduced a pickle hard seltzer called Magic Brine earlier this month.

    A bounty of fruit flavors can also be found in slushy-style beers built upon a Berliner weisse base. These are becoming a signature style at 903 Brewers of Sherman, a.k.a. the "Slushy Factory" according to signage the brewery has posted outside its door.

  • Sad farewells in the service sector: No recap of the past year would be complete without paying final respects to three beloved draft beer venues who closed their doors. As 2020 comes to a close, be sure to raise a glass in memory of The Common Table Uptown, LUCK at Trinity Groves and Flying Saucer Addison.

  • North Texas award winnersClick here to review award-winning beers from 2020. Coverage includes results from the Great American Beer Festival, U.S. Open Beer Championship, United States Beer Tasting Championship, and Best of Craft Beer Awards.

  • The 2020 list of Beer in Big D's preferred pours (new-to-market, or newly-discovered beers some blogger particularly enjoyed): 903 Fragile Like a Bomb, Division Macaroon Morning, False Idol La Vida Mocha, Funky Picnic Banjo Banjo Banjooo!!!!, HopFusion Etzel, Odd Muse Woodpecker Lips, On Rotation Some Kind of Oak Monster, Peticolas Not With That Attitude, Saint Arnold Commitment, Tupps Dive Bar Brunch, Turning Point/3 Nations Bedford County Barrel-Aged Stout, Vector/BrainDead Slightly Darker Black.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Tupps ringing in the new year with R.I.P. 2020

Image courtesy of Tupps Brewery.

With its latest release, Tupps Brewery of McKinney wants to give everyone a reason to celebrate the start of a new year, so the company is telling 2020 to R.I.P and never come back!

That sentiment is front and center on the label of R.I.P. 2020, a double dry-hopped IPA, along with a variety other graphics representing things we've all endured during 2020 - the pandemic, murder hornets, natural disasters, toilet paper shortages and more.

“This year has been a roller coaster," says Keith Lewis, founder and president of Tupps. "We have had to shift our business plan multiple times, close the taproom, amp up our beer-to-go process and the list goes on. This year has been a tough one for everyone. We wanted to create a beer that everyone can relate to and a beer that tastes top notch so we can end this year on a good note and celebrate.”

As for the beer itself, the recipe for R.I.P 2020 features a wide range of Tupps' favorite hop varieties, including Citra, Galaxy, Nelson, Sultana, Ella, Vic Secret, El Dorado, Azacca, Cryo Citra, Cryo Mosaic, Sabro, and Idaho-7. 

“We have great relationships with our hop suppliers, and have solid hop contacts with them," says Chris Lewis, head brewer at Tupps. "We packed this beer with our favorite hops making this IPA super hazy, juicy and drinkable.”

R.I.P. 2020 will be available on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans beginning this week. Consumers in Dallas-Fort Worth can purchase R.I.P. 2020 to-go at Tupps taproom in McKinney, or pick it up at Kroger, Market Street, Total Wine, Spec's, Goody Goody, Whole Foods, Central Market and other local craft beer and wine stores. The beer will also be sold at major retailers in Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Addison Flying Saucer shuttering after 25 years

Image credit: Flying Saucer Draught Emporium.

After nearly 25 years of shining as a craft beer beacon across the northern reaches of the Metroplex, the Addison outpost of the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium is ending its run, with last call set for close of business on December 31.

The Addison pub opened in February 1996, occupying of all things a former Colter's Barbecue building. It was the second Flying Saucer to debut, following the Fort Worth original which introduced the brand in 1994.  And in a curious bit of trivia, it was Kumar the Magnificent, a 70-something plate-spinning guru once featured on The Ed Sullivan Show, who entertained guests on the night of the official grand opening that March.

Of course, beer was and always has been the main draw at all of the Flying Saucer locations. In fact, the Addison Flying Saucer was ground zero for my own craft beer journey in North Texas. I was on assignment in another state when my craft beer epiphany occurred in late 1998, but once I moved back home, I quickly learned the Flying Saucer was the place to go for better beer.  Having lived north of the wall ever since, it was only natural for the Addison Flying Saucer to become my go-to spot, a status it maintained for a decade or more at least.

In addition to drinking my first Texas-brewed beer at the Addison Flying Saucer, I remember drinking my first Christmas beer there, and attending the first (of entirely too many) keep the glass nights there. I even remember the time a few buddies and I stopped in for Stone Brewery Night, when the beer in the spotlight was none other than Arrogant Bastard Ale. We had no idea what the beer was all about...just that it had a great name and a great logo, so it was a given we had to try it. By night's end, I had undergone what I now call my extreme beer epiphany. I think this was pre-Millennium, mind you, when big beers really weren't much of a big thing.

As for any additional firsts, I'm sure others occurred at the Addison Flying Saucer, for I certainly enjoyed many more beers there along the way.  Indeed, it's a mystery as to why I never joined the UFO Club. I surely would have had a plate or three by now, but I guess my focus was always on the beer and the experience, as opposed to achieving any accolades.

Along those lines, I always say it's the experiences I'll remember above all else when it comes to my time in the beer industry, and I can say I've had my share of them among friends over the years at the Addison Flying Saucer. So, here's one last cheers to a place that for me represents yet another unforgettable loss in what has been a completely forgettable year.




According a report in the Dallas Morning News, the lease was up on the Flying Saucer's location in Addison, with co-owner Shannon Wynne choosing not to renew it due to an inability to create adequate patio space.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Accolades abound for NTX breweries at 2020 U.S. Open Beer Championship

Image credit: U.S. Open Beer Championship.

Building on an already impressive history of wins at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, North Texas breweries were honored with 16 awards (6 gold, 7 silver, 3 bronze) at the 2020 edition of what's billed as "One of the Top 3 Beer Competitions in the USA." Comparing to results from 2019, locals improved upon the 13 medals area breweries brought home last year.

At the 2020 event, more than 6000 beers were judged across over 140 different categories. From that group, 10 North Texas breweries had entries counted among the winners. Eight of those breweries added to their lifetime U.S. Open win totals, while Tupps Brewery and Vector Brewing were recognized at the event for the first time.

See below for a list of winning beers from North Texas. You can also click here for a complete competition summary.


903 Brewers, Sherman
  • Silver for Kilt Switch in the Strong Scottish Ale category.
  • Silver for Classy Chassis in the French/Belgian Ale category.
  • Silver for Feisty Redhead in the Vegetable Beer category.
  • Gold for Lion's Share VIII in the Spirits Barrel-Aged Beer (non-whiskey) & Brandy Barrels category.
  • Gold for Sin Mint Temptress in the Experimental Beer category.
  • Bronze for Temptress in the Imperial Stout Specialty category.
  • Gold for Columbiana in the Rum Barrel-Aged Beer category.
  • Gold for Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Porter with Tart Cherries in the Barrel-Aged Fruit Beer category.
  • Silver for Tipsy Goat in the Heller Bock/Maibock category.
  • Gold for Black Curtains in the American Imperial Stout category.
  • Silver for Great Scot! in the Scottish Ale category.
  • Silver for Royal Scandal in the English Pale Ale category.
  • Bronze for Velvet Hammer in the Imperial Red Ale category.
Tupps Brewery, McKinney
  • Silver for Full Grown Man in the American Imperial Stout category.
  • Bronze for Slightly Darker Black in the American-Style Black Ale category.
  • Gold for The Little Guy in the Sessions Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Texas Ale Project signs pact with Andrews Distributing

Image credits: Andrews Distributing, Texas Ale Project.

Texas Ale Project of Dallas has announced a partnership with Andrews Distributing for the distribution of its products to areas within North Texas.

According to Kat Thompson, co-founder and CEO of Texas Ale Project, the new partnership will allow her team to focus on growth in new ways. 

“Texas Ale Project is both excited and humbled to be partnering with world-class distributor Andrews Distributing, to further grow and expand our business and distributor networks,” says Thompson. “Andrews has a strong team and reputation, and we are especially looking forward to leveraging their advanced sales and marketing capabilities to launch new items like our recently announced Pantera Golden Ale. One of our joint alignment goals for 2021 is to increase the accessibility of our beers and TAPWTR hard seltzers within the DFW metroplex and across Texas, and we are confident that Andrews is the right partner for executing those goals.”

David Holt, executive vice-president of marketing for Andrews, added that he looks forward to growing Texas Ale Project with the Andrews team. 

“We are committed to acquiring the right brands to build a portfolio that adds value for our customers,” says Holt. “To do so, we are committed to investing in local brewers that are connecting with Texas beer lovers. Texas Ale Project and their prior distributor partner FullClip have done a fantastic job building the brands with consumers. This opportunity allows Andrews to expand brand awareness for the Texas Ale Project portfolio.”

Beginning December 30, Andrews will sell Texas Ale Project’s brands to both on- and off-premise accounts in their DFW footprint, including Tarrant and Collin counties that were previously serviced by FullClip Craft Distributors. FullClip will continue to distribute Texas Ale Project beers in Denton County north of Highway 121 and Parker County. The teams also have plans to expand to Andrews’ South Texas footprint in the future.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Lakewood reaches final level of IPA series with Boss Fight

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.


Advancing to the final stage of its yearlong IPA series inspired by retro gaming and the almighty hop, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland urges consumers to get their game face on in preparation for the Boss Fight!

A monster double dry-hopped imperial hazy IPA, Level 4: Boss Fight features a blend of choice hops from New Zealand, including Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Sunrise and Riwaka varieties. According to the brewery, this mix creates an aroma with notes of tropical fruit, citrus and stone fruit. As for Boss Fight's finish and feel, Lakewood describes Boss Fight as well-balanced with a reserved bitterness.

“We’re at the end of our year-long DDH series and it’s been a blast, but before we kiss 2020 goodbye we gotta fight the Boss!” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “This series has been a bright spot in a year that’s been anything but in the beer industry. It’s been a welcome distraction and has made us better brewers for lots of new innovation to come in 2021.”

Level 4: Boss Fight will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans beginning the first week of December. Look for it at select retailers, or head to Lakewood's Drive-Thru to pick it up to-go.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Turning Point to tap its take on Etzel IPA recipe

Image credit: Turning Point Beer.

Thus far, Tarrant County breweries have covered a variety of different styles while brewing beers in honor of Fort Worth homebrewer, Greg Etzel. However, an IPA recipe sourced from Etzel's archives has yet to be explored. That changes this week, as Turning Point Beer will release KevIKE the Crusher, its take on an IPA by Etzel featuring a strain of Norwegian kveik yeast.

Turning Point, of course, is known for its ability to harness the hop, so it's not surprising to learn that series organizer Nigel Curtis had the Bedford brewery in mind when it came to deciding who'd be asked to re-create an Etzel IPA.

"We're a hazy IPA brewery, and Nigel though we could execute it best," says James Herrington, production manager at Turning Point. "We brewed it using all the ingredients Greg used, but we brewed it to our process."

As for Herrington and the Turning Point team's connection to Greg, it's another story of bonds being formed through the local homebrewing community.

"I knew Greg through Cap and Hare Homebrew Club when I first started homebrewing about nine years ago, and everyone at the brewery knew Greg from Texas Brewing, Inc.," explains Herrington. "Greg was a genuinely great person who helped everybody. We all loved him and just want to return all the help he gave us."

KevIKE the Crusher will be available at Turning Point beginning on Wednesday, December 2, with 100% of proceeds from sales benefiting charities chosen by the Etzel family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Deep Ellum debuts winter beer for Texans

Image credit: Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

With its latest release, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas is hoping to help Texans enjoy all the cozy flavors of winter without cold weather side effects like numb toes and frozen windshields. 

Deep Winter Golden Porter (7.3% ABV) is a seasonal brew bundling flavors of cocoa nibs and coffee. And, according to the brewery, it's as confusing as driving in Texas during winter, since it features plenty of sweetness and roast, even though it's light in color with no bitterness.

“Pulling inspiration and techniques from previous brews, we created a wonderful dichotomy of roasted coffee in a rich golden porter," says Brian Morris, innovation brewer at Deep Ellum. "Deep Winter is packed full of complex aromas and flavors extracted with a cold brew method using a custom selection of coffee beans from our neighbors at Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.”

Look for Deep Winter Golden Porter on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans. The beer is available now at select retailers across Texas, as well as at the brewery's taproom in Deep Ellum.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Texas Ale Project announces beer and music pairing with Pantera

Images courtesy of Texas Ale Project.

A North Texas-born beer and music collaboration in the works between Dallas-based craft brewery, Texas Ale Project, and legendary Texas music icons, Pantera.

Set to be debut in 2021, Pantera Golden Ale (5.4% ABV) is the first beer to bear the Pantera name. Brewed with a blend of Cascade and Citra hops, Pantera Golden Ale will be "crushable with a clean finish."

“We love creating fine ales and enjoy all kinds of music," says Brent Thompson, co-founder and brewmaster at Texas Ale Project. "We’re very excited to unite these two passions together under our roof, this time in partnership with the almighty Pantera. I couldn’t be more pumped about this project.”

Formed in 1981, Pantera hailed from Arlington and made a name for itself with an "intense new sound that changed the path of metal" music. The band was also known for its party reputation, with the choice of a "golden ale" being reflective of the lighter, approachable beers members would typically drink during Pantera's glory days in the 1990s.

Pantera Golden Ale is expected to be released on March 1, 2021. It will be sold at retailers across Texas, while also being available through Tavour, a craft beer delivery service offering direct-to-consumer shipping in the United States.

More information on release events and product availability will be published in January 2021.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Rollertown launching “Hazy Gonna Set it Off” Turkey Day beer program

All images courtesy of Rollertown Beerworks.


It's already been a big year for fans of D-FW radio personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff 'Skin' Wade. The duo first debuted a new "Ben & Skin" show on 97.1 The Eagle in February, following that with the April opening of their own brewery and taproom, Rollertown Beerworks in Celina. Now, they're looking to generate even more excitement with the announcement of a special beer program meant to take Turkey Day to the next level.

Rollertown is launching its First Annual "Hazy Gonna Set it Off" program, a tribute to Rogers' legendary “Gravy Gonna Set it Off” story of personal Thanksgiving failure. Rogers retells the story on the air every year, and it has created a cult following among D-FW radio fans that, for many, signals the start of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“This story represents personal holiday failure on a grand scale,” says Rogers. “It has been a great way to make fun of myself over the years to lift people’s spirits and to get them ready for the Thanksgiving holiday.”


The program is headlined by two new beers, limited edition merchandise tied in to the story, and limited edition 22-ounce bottles of three brews crafted to act as a tasting companion to your Thanksgiving meal. Beers is the program consist of:

Belgian Barnyard (4.2% ABV, 24 IBU): a crisp table saison with a sweet, light body and a hint of tartness. Bursting with flavors of pomegranate, yuzu, and lemongrass, Belgian Barnyard is designed to act as a Thanksgiving appetizer.

Hazy Gonna Set it Off Double IPA (9% ABV, 65 IBU): the program's namesake is double dry-hopped with Galaxy, Sultana, and Nelson Sauvin hops, along with Sauvignon blanc grape must. With notes of wine grapes, ripe pineapple, mango, grapefruit, and blood orange, Hazy Gonna Set it Off is designed to complement the main Thanksgiving course.

War Daddy (10% ABV, 55 IBU): a dark-as-night imperial stout with strong flavors of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and cacao nibs. Cold-brewed through coffee roasted by KLLR Coffee, Wardaddy is designed to be served as Thanksgiving dessert.


Tune in to 97.1 The Eagle on Friday, November 20, where Ben & Skin will unveil the program live on-air around 2:05 p.m. They will retell the Thanksgiving story during Friday's show from 4-5 p.m., and then again during a socially-distanced event at the brewery on Wednesday, November 25.

Sales of the program elements go live at 2:05 p.m. on Friday by way of the brewery's website (click here), with customers able to pick up their purchase during taproom hours through Wednesday.

Collectible Hazy Gonna Set it Off bottles are $20 and limited to 750 units. Each bottle features a wax-dipped closure, a custom sticker designed by local artist Mik Jimenez, and is personally signed and numbered by Ben & Skin. Those who miss out on this limited bottle can still acquire 16-ounce crowlers of the namesake beer for their holiday enjoyment. Wax-dipped Belgian Barnyard and Wardaddy bottles will sell for $15.

For fans seeking the full production, the brewery is offering 100 “Set it Off” packages for $50. Packages contain one bottle each of Hazy Gonna Set it Off, Belgian Barnyard and Wardaddy, along with two Hazy-branded red reusable cups (a key component of the Gravy story). All of which is bundled in custom Hazy Gonna Set it Off carriers.

A portion of proceeds from Hazy Gonna Set it Off will go to benefit Grace Bridge, a Celina-based charitable organization providing food, clothing and other necessities to those in need. Rollertown also encourages consumers to donate directly to Grace Bridge via the organization's website at www.gracebridge.us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

On Pegasus City's spiffy new downtown drinkery

Pegasus City's downtown taproom sits across from the Magnolia Hotel, home to a modern-day
rooftop installation of the city's iconic red Pegasus (All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The last time beer production took place in the heart of Downtown Dallas, the country was just coming out of the dark period of Prohibition. A number of breweries and brewpubs have resided in other areas of downtown, specifically in Deep Ellum and the West End, but Pegasus City Brewery's new satellite at 1508 Commerce St. is the first brewery to open in the vicinity of its location since the mid-1930s.*

Given the history, it seems appropriate for Pegasus City to be the one to bring beer operations back to this part of the city, seeing as how the brewery's branding is done in the Art Deco style. The movement, which originated in the 1920s, continued to develop while rising in popularity during the 1930s.

Equally fitting is the building itself, and its proximity to where a modern-day version of Pegasus City's namesake takes flight. Part of a complex of structures associated with Dallas Power and Light, the Art Deco skyscraper housing Pegasus City Downtown was constructed in 1931. 

Not only that, it sits cater-corner to the Magnolia Hotel. First known as the Magnolia Petroleum Building, it was the original home of the city's iconic red Pegasus (the company's logo) installed in 1934. A new winged-horse sits atop the building today, where it now watches over the area's newest brewing operation.

And like they say, sometimes things just come together.

Enjoy one of Pegasus City's 18 beverage options while seated in socially-distanced spaces inside and out.

Moving on to amenities, Pegasus City Downtown features a taproom, patio and small-batch brewhouse. Naturally, the inside is adorned with Art Deco elements, the decor complemented by period photographs and antiques. Beer and sodas are poured from 18 taps behind a bar centering the space, with the production area visible through a large-paned window off to the side. Seating options are socially-distanced due to prevailing conditions related to the pandemic, but this allows for the creation of nice little nooks where visitors can enjoy a pint with a bit of relative privacy.

Outside, you'll find an expansive patio with views of the Magnolia Hotel and other surrounding structures. Once again, seating is dispersed, and it's worth noting this area filled up quickly on the day of my visit. I arrived just as Pegasus City Downtown opened at 2 p.m. on a Sunday, and all seats were taken within the hour.

Regarding consumables, beers currently on tap represent familiar favorites, so site exclusives are still in the works. The taproom also offers small bites, non-alcoholic drinks and dog treats as options for patrons and their pets, respectively.

As far as an overall impression, Pegasus City Downtown is quite an upgrade compared to the Tiny Tap at the brewery's production facility in the Design District. The spot is impressive to say the least, being a unique and stylish setting that surely stands out among taprooms in North Texas. Indeed, walking in you almost wonder if there ought to be a dress code, but rest assured casual attire is welcome here - all the better if your t-shirt is stained with Pegasus City beer.



* Schepps Brewing Corp. operated at 1076 Young St. near present-day Pioneer Plaza from 1934-1939. The company was succeeded by Time Brewing, Inc. (1939-1941) and Dallas-Fort Worth Brewing Co. (1941-1951). Another brewery existing close by was Simon Mayer's Berliner Weiss Beer Brewery (1894-1899), part of Mayer's Garden at the intersection of Elm St. and Stone Pl. (this site now occupied by Santander Tower).

Christmas coming early at Hop & Sting

Image credit: Hop & Sting Brewing Co.

Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine is calling for an early Christmas with the release of its seasonal Christmas Cookie Ale. Previously a taproom exclusive, the beer is being packaged for the first time this year.

A press release describes Christmas Cookie Ale as "a tasty treat with sugar, spice, and everything nice." With an ABV of just 5%, the beer is of lower strength compared to other winter ales, making for an "easy drinking delight" you'll want to leave out as a treat for Santa.

“Christmas Cookie is an amber ale blended with cinnamon and vanilla to give you that taste of the holiday season, like a fresh-baked cookie on Christmas morning,” says Jon Powell, co-owner of Hop & Sting. “Our Taproom customers can’t get enough of this beer and actually ask about it year-round, so we’re thrilled to be able to share it across DFW and help get everyone in the holiday spirit.”

Christmas Cookie Ale will be available on draft and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans. Look for it at local bars, restaurants and retailers beginning this weekend, or stop by the brewery's taproom to enjoy it on tap today.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Panther Island to tap Etzel's next BIG thing

Image credit: Panther Island Brewing.

Continuing the tour of Tarrant County breweries who have signed on to create beers in honor of Fort Worth homebrewer, Greg Etzel, Panther Island Brewing has announced the release of the sixth entry in the series, Greg's BIG Chocolate Stout (7.0% ABV).

Panther Island's assistant brewer, Sandra DiPretore, led the effort at Panther Island, after learning about the project from organizer Nigel Curtis. Both were acquainted with Etzel by way of a mutual association with area homebrew supplier, Texas Brewing, Inc. of Haltom City.

"I wanted to be a part of this project as soon as Nigel started putting it together," says DiPretore. "I came to know Greg through the Come and Brew It Radio Podcast, and as my editor for Stubby's Texas Brewing Homebrew Blogs. He was the kind of guy who was insanely talented but absolutely humble and I think that has been showcased brilliantly with every brewery release."

As for the beer, DiPretore honored Etzel's recipe for a chocolate rye oatmeal stout and brewed it exactly as he wrote it. That goes for the beer's name as well, since "Greg's BIG Chocolate Stout" is what Etzel called the recipe, and as DiPretore puts it, "he called it like it is."

Greg's BIG Chocolate Stout goes on tap at Panther Island on Wednesday, November 18 at 4p.m. The beer is a taproom-only release and supplies will be limited, with a portion of proceeds benefiting charities chosen by the Etzel family.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Garland breweries team for Zombieland Twinkie beers

Image credits: Lakewood Brewing Co., Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.


Capturing that 2020 end-of-the-world zombie vibe, Lakewood Brewing Co. and Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery have come together to make two unique beers inspired by the cult movie favorite, Zombieland.   The pairing is said to have been a " no braaaaaaaainer," considering the opening scene of the franchise is set in Garland, Texas, home of the two breweries.

In the film, Woody Harrelson's character is obsessed with Hostess Twinkies, so each brewery has created a Zombieland Double Tap Collab beer using the snack cakes as an ingredient. According to a press release, Lakewood conjured up a blonde stout brewed with banana, coffee and original Twinkies (11.2% ABV), while Intrinsic features the Chocolate Twinkie in their cream stout (10% ABV). 

Lakewood and Intrinsic have also partnered with local artist Brad Albright to illustrate the cans as well as a custom 3D poster. The breweries will be holding a social media contest where fans can tag their friends for a chance to win a poster signed by the artist, and they will also have prints and 3D glasses to give away to the first 100 guests at each location.

The Zombieland Double Tap beers are taproom only releases. They will be available at their respective breweries starting Friday, October 30 at 11 a.m.

North Texas Craft Beer Conspectus - October 26, 2020 edition

Image credits: Franconia Brewing Co., Symbol Brewing Co., Steam Theory Brewing Co., Smittox Brewing Co.


The Conspectus, otherwise known as the 'in case you missed it update,' has been missing in action for months, but I suppose that's just another thing we can pin on the pandemic. In any case, activities are picking back up at area breweries, so here are a few recent items that may be of interest.

-Cheers!

Franconia releasing first ever cans

There have been some changes at Franconia Brewing Co. of McKinney, where new ownership is in place and new packaged products are on the way. The brewery is canning beers for the first time in its history, with a pilsner called Run for the Pils and two varieties of Walker Texas Radler (pineapple and peach) now available. An official launch party for the three beers will be held at Franconia on Saturday, November 7.


Symbol shares plans for second round

Carrollton-based 3 Nations Brewing Co. recently announced the creation of a side project to be known as Symbol Brewing Co., the news coming with the release of the brand's first three beers. A second round of offerings is already in the works, with the following beers expected to arrive in December: Symbol Hazy Double IPA (8.5% ABV, 35 IBU), Pastry Gose with Passion Fruit, Orange and Guava (4.7% ABV, 5 IBU), Pecan Porter with Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate and Coffee (7.0% ABV, 32 IBU).


Steam Theory kicks off unique collaboration

Steam Theory Brewing Co. of Dallas has unveiled a barrel-aging project it began working on over the summer. The brewpub got together with 18 Texas distilleries to create a series of barrel-aged brews that will be presented in flights along with the base beer and a sample of the original spirit. One beer, a Balcones Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged IPA, has debuted thus far, with others to be shared in the coming months.


Smittox Brewing Co. launches crowdfunding campaign

Seeking to establish the first black-owned brewery in the area, Smittox Brewing Co. has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Readers may recall founder Kuumba Smith has collaborated on beers with Martin House Brewing Co. (Short Order Porter) and Vector Brewing (Black is Beautiful) in the past. Smith hopes to locate his brewery off U.S. Highway 75 (Central Expressway) in either Allen or Plano. Click here to view the campaign.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Beersgiving, Pink Boots hosting Learn to Homebrew Day event, November 7

Image credits: Beersgiving, Dallas-Fort Worth Girls Pint Out, Pink Boots Society - NTX Chapter, North Texas Beer Week.


In association with the American Homebrewers Association's annual effort to "promote the most rewarding, and delicious activity of all time - homebrewing," Beersgiving and Pink Boots Society - NTX Chapter will host a Learn to Homebrew Day event during North Texas Beer Week on Saturday, November 7.

Set to be held at Kido Family Ranch in Grandview, Texas, the festivities are billed as an opportunity to bring professional mentors together with budding homebrewers to increase diversity throughout S.T.E.M careers in brewing. Multiple fermentation workshops will be held for educational dives into beer, cider, mead, kombucha and wine. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase mini-fermentation kits to take home, where they will be able to complete the fermentation process and enjoy their handmade spirits responsibly.

Additional partnerships with North Texas Beer Week and Dallas-Fort Worth Girls Pint Out, will provide coverage at the local and national level. In addition, a virtual get together entitled 'Beersgiving: Barrel-Aged Conversations' will feature a question and answer session with industry professionals providing mentorship for those seeking to enter the industry.

Learn to Homebrew Day is open to the public, and anyone with curiosities about homebrewing or the craft beer industry is invited to attend. More information, as well a link to purchase tickets for the event, may be found on the official website, beersgiving.info/learntohomebrew.

Learn to Homebrew Day
Saturday, November 7, 2020
10:00 AM: Mill & Mash In
Grandview, TX 76050

Friday, October 23, 2020

Lakewood introduces Seduction Sampler mix pack

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.


Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has released products from its Seduction Series in cans for the first time, unveiling a mix pack featuring one new variety and two familiar favorites.

Contained in what's billed as the Seduction Sampler are two cans each of returning variants, Coconut Temptress and Sin Mint Temptress, along with two cans of the brewery's newest taste temptation, Cherry Vanilla Temptress.

"We’ve always wondered what would happen if we put Temptress in a can," says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. "We’ve been toying with the idea of canning Temptress and we thought doing a variety pack with some fan favorites as well as a new Seduction variant would be a great way to experiment with packaging. I’m excited to bring back Coconut and Sin Mint for the die-hard fans as well as trying something new with Cherry Vanilla."

The Seduction Sampler is available now at select retailers. It can also be purchased to-go at the Lakewood Drive-Thru.

Friday, October 16, 2020

North Texas breweries nab three medals at 2020 GABF

Image courtesy of the Brewers Association.


In a year that has been anything but ordinary, the persistence of the pandemic forced the Brewers Association to move the 2020 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony to a virtual format for the first time in its history. Once the pivot was made, 8,806 beers from 1,720 breweries were judged across 91 different categories. From those entries, 272 medals were awarded to 240 breweries, with a trio of North Texas brewers landing among the winners.

Surveying the locals, it's worth noting Armadillo Ale Works has achieved a rare double with the beer Honey Please. The brewery's mesquite bean blonde ale is the second North Texas beer to win a gold medal at both the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup. In other words, Honey Please has now been recognized as the best honey beer in America, and also the world.

As for the area's other honorees, Panther Island Brewing upgraded its 2015 GABF silver for Allergeez with gold in 2020, while White Rock Alehouse & Brewery brought home its first ever GABF medal for White Rocktoberfest.


Armadillo Ale Works, Denton
  • Gold for Honey Please in the Honey Beer category.
Panther Island Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Gold for Allergeez in the Herb and Spice Beer category.
White Rock Alehouse & Brewery, Dallas
  • Silver for White Rocktoberfest in the German-Style Maerzen category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Maple Branch sprouts citified sanctuary in Fort Worth

A taster of Vienna Waits 4 You, a Vienna lager and one of eleven beers making
up Maple Branch's initial lineup  (All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).


The newest brewing operation in North Texas is now open in Fort Worth, as Maple Branch Craft Brewery has taken root in The Foundry District on the city's west side.

Founders Stuart and Allyssa Maples first revealed their plans for Maple Branch in the fall of 2019, sharing their vision of a craft beer destination with design elements inspired by nature. And, judging by the beer garden alone, what the couple has developed is nothing short of a true urban oasis.

Upon entry, visitors step through an iron gate and into an outdoor expanse comprising nearly 7000 square feet. Greenery abounds there, with color provided by freshly-planted trees and ivy encompassing an external wall of the brewery building. Within these surroundings, an array of picnic tables is centered around a fountain uniquely-adorned with Maple Branch's tree-like tap handles.

An iron gate guides you towards Maple Branch's expansive beer garden.

Moving inside, another 7000 square feet of space houses the taproom and production areas. Simply-appointed with dark wood decor, the spacious setting is furnished with a mix of high-top and community tables, along with individual stools for those wishing to hang out at the bar.

Therein, a menu of light snacks (pretzels, hot dogs and chips) is offered-up alongside non-alcoholic sodas (Sprite and Coke), select wines and a budding portfolio of house beers. Though if your hunger grows a bit greater, you can also get burgers delivered by way of the neighboring M&O Station Grill.

Expanding on the beer, eleven Maple Branch brews were available on the day of my visit, a number expected to climb to greater than 25 once the brewery gets more recipes in rotation. Currently, German styles (a bock, helles, hefeweizen and more) fill a number of slots on the tapwall, with others occupied by two stouts and a couple of IPAs.

Left/Right: Taproom and production areas at Maple Branch.
Middle: Flights at Maple Branch are appropriately served in a maple leaf-shaped tray.

My chosen flight board contained Love, Cologne (kölsch), Vienna Waits 4 You (Vienna lager), Rushin' & Rollin' (Russian stout) and Igoe or You Go (milkshake IPA). Of those, the Vienna was probably the favorite, but the complete quartet was enjoyable and easy to drink.

With that, a first impression would seem to suggest Maple Branch sets up as a worthy diversion for residents of West Fort Worth. Patrons can kick back with a patio pint in the brewery's citified sanctuary, where the owners have curated a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of the Metroplex.

Not only that, the brewery's timely debut presents a chance to branch out from the benign dealings of daily life amidst a pandemic. All the protocols are in place at Maple Branch, so why not get out and grab a beer at a spot where they've got your comfort quotient taken care of.

 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tupps hitting the hard seltzer market with Blur

Image courtesy of Tupps Brewery.


Craft brewing is no longer just about beer, as more and more local and national brewers are turning to hard seltzer as a way to diversify their product lines. The latest North Texas entity to take the leap is Tupps Brewery of McKinney, as the company is set to introduce its Blur Hard Seltzer line later this week.

“We’ve always been interested in exploring new products, says Keith Lewis, founder and president of Tupps. "The seltzer growth has been incredible, so once we found time in our production schedule, we knew it was go-time. With Blur we wanted to take the craft spirit we’ve cultivated at Tupps and put our stamp on the seltzer category. It has been a fun process working with my daughter and two sons to refine these flavor combinations."

Blur will be available in a variety 12-pack box to start, with six-packs of individual flavors to follow. The four "flavor combinations you never knew you needed" include: Mango Dragon Fruit, Lemon Blueberry, Passionfruit Watermelon and Hibiscus Apple. Each has only 105 calories, 2 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram of sugar.

“We taste tested so, so many different flavors, says Chris Lewis, head brewer at Tupps. "I’m actually surprised at how quickly we all agreed on these four flavor combinations. We all came to love the taste and really look forward to everyone enjoying these seltzers."

An official launch party for Blur will take place at Tupps on Saturday, October 3, from 12-9 p.m. Customers will be able to enjoy free seltzer samples, along with live music and a Blur-inspired menu served by the Barley Gastrovan food truck.

“We hope to host many launch parties and pop-up tasting events all over DFW in the coming weeks, says Katie Baker, marketing and events director at Tupps. "We know with Covid-19, things have been a bit off and weird, but we want to keep this a fun and exciting launch for everyone.”

Look for Blur Hard Seltzer at Kroger, Market Street, Central Market, Spec's Total Wine and other DFW wine/liquor stores.


Lakewood's latest IPA promises level-up big hazy experience

Image credit: Lakewood Brewing Co.

Now reaching level three of its yearlong IPA series inspired by retro gaming and the almighty hop, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has announced the release of Level3: Dungeon Escape.

Billed as a double dry-hopped imperial hazy IPA, Level3: Dungeon Escape was brewed with Denali, Citra and Cashmere Cryo hops to create a "level-up big hazy experience." According to a press release, the beer has a big, dank and fruity aroma with tropical notes of pineapple and papaya.

“We’re gearing up for the boss fight and need all our IPA points for the win!” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “This series has been so much fun and the beers keep getting bigger and bolder. Level 3 certainly delivers for the hop haze craze.”

Level3: Dungeon Escape will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans beginning Friday, October 2. Look for it at select retailers, or visit the Lakewood Drive-Thru to pick up beer to-go.


Thursday, September 24, 2020

3 Nations launches Symbol Brewing side project

Image credit: 3 Nations Brewing Co.

A new North Texas brand is debuting this week, the concept behind it built around three little words: "Simply. Good. Beer."

From the team at 3 Nations Brewing Co. of Carrollton, Symbol Brewing Co. is an initiative designed to give head brewer Gavin Secchi the opportunity to experiment with recipes falling outside the bounds of the brewery's everyday lineup.

"Symbol Brewing is our innovative, rotating line of beers focused towards craft beer lovers," says John Royer, business manager at 3 Nations. "Our 3 Nations beer portfolio, like most local breweries, tends to be a consistent lineup of great tasting beers. Gavin is a strong brewer with a lot of recipes and we want to take advantage of this opportunity."

Regarding the "simply good beer" elements of the brand's identity, those words apply not only to what's found inside Symbol Brewing's cans, but also to how its products will be portrayed in the marketplace.

"The marketing is minimalistic and meant to be 'all about the beer,'" explains Royer. "We believe that symbols create conversation, so rather than naming beers we just wanted to create relevant symbols."

As for what consumers can expect in terms of availability, the Symbol Brewing line is intended to be a series of limited edition, one-off beers.

"We will rotate three new exciting brews created by Gavin every other month," says Royer. "This is a limited series as we just don’t have the capacity to brew larger amounts of Symbol Brewing beers.  It is just our way of having fun and keeping it fresh."

The initial run of Symbol Brewing beers is shipping now to select retailers across North Texas. Styles include Pastry Gose, Strawberry Hefeweizen and West Coast IPA. Look for them in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

HopFusion picks Baltic porter for honorary Etzel beer

Image courtesy of HopFusion Ale Works.


For the fifth release in the series of beers being made to honor local homebrewer Greg Etzel, HopFusion Ale Works of Fort Worth will delve into a darker color spectrum with its chosen recipe.

Simply entitled Etzel, the eponymous offering is a Baltic-style porter with an ABV of 8.7% and 36 IBU.

"We chose Greg's Baltic porter because it was one of his favorite beers to brew and he had won many awards with this recipe," says Matt Hill, co-founder of HopFusion.

With that in mind, Hill and fellow HopFusion owner Macy Moore plan to enter Etzel in several upcoming competitions. The hope, of course, being to build upon the recipe's heritage by winning a few additional awards.

"Greg was a great person, great brewer, and a great friend," adds Hill. "It was a no-brainer to be involved with this project, and I felt honored that we were chosen to brew one of his beers."

Etzel Baltic Porter will available on tap at HopFusion beginning Thursday, September 10. As with other beers in the series, a portion of the proceeds from sales will go to charities selected by the Etzel family.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Oak Highlands, Rahr & Sons winners again at USBTC

Image credits: United States Beer Tasting Championship, Oak Highlands Brewery, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.


Continuing runs dating back multiple years, two local breweries have once again taken regional honors for their beers at the United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC). Including tallies from 2020, Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas and Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth now boast overall USBTC win totals in the double digits.

As to be expected, the pandemic has put a crimp on competition results for 2020, but the USBTC powered through and went ahead with its 26th Annual Summer Competition. During the event, 595 beers from 164 breweries were judged across 18 different categories. Like before, regional winners were chosen in each category, with those beers moving on to a subsequent round to determine a national grand champion.

Products from Rahr & Sons and Oak Highlands competed in the Rockies/Southwest division. A breakdown of their winning beers is provided below, or you can click here for a full competition summary.

Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas

  • Resting Bitter Face, Regional Champion in the Imperial IPA/Red Ale category.
  • Tipsy Goat, Regional Champion in the Bock/Doppelbock category.
  • Golden Mustache, Regional Champion in the Dortmunder/Helles category.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Texas Red, Regional Champion in the Amber/Red Ale category.
  • Summertime Wheat, Regional Champion in the Wheat Beer category.


Cheers and congratulations to Oak Highlands and Rahr & Sons!

Friday, August 21, 2020

On Rotation on the move to The Braniff Centre

Rendering of On Rotation's future location at The Braniff Centre (On Rotation).

Five years after opening in the Lakewood neighborhood near White Rock Lake in Dallas, On Rotation Small Batch Brewery & Taproom is moving to a new retail space at The Braniff Centre at Dallas Love Field, the former home of Braniff Airlines

The move will allow On Rotation to add a number of new spins to its operation. In addition to expanding its production capacity, the brewery will start packaging its beers in cans, and it will also build an onsite kitchen.

“While we never wanted to leave Lakewood, we spent two years looking for a location in Dallas that would offer us the chance to build On Rotation into a true brewpub experience, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stretch our legs at The Braniff Centre,” says Jacob Sloan, owner and co-founder of On Rotation. 

Not lost in the transition, On Rotation will continue to offer 40 ever-rotating taps of craft beer, cider and hard seltzer, along with a select wine list. The existing three-barrel brewhouse that has powered On Rotation to date will also make the move, with new fermentation tanks expected to double On Rotation’s brewing capacity. 

“Our focus has always been on making craft beer approachable yet captivating,” says Lindsay Sloan, owner and co-founder of On Rotation. “We curate every beer we offer to evoke excitement and compel you to share that experience. Our additional capacity will allow us to share more brews more often.”

The new location will comprise 4600 square feet, with amenities to include three distinct outdoor patios. 

“We all know beer tastes better outdoors in Texas,” says Jacob. “We made an outdoor experience one of our requirements in seeking a new location to expand. Our patio will be a place for sharing stories, good food and, of course, beer with friends and family.” 

Much as On Rotation’s brewing and beer operations are hand-crafted, fresh and highly curated, the Sloans are building a food menu to match, featuring fried chicken in all its forms with a supporting cast of Southern-inspired sides and shareable appetizers. 

“When we first started On Rotation, we wanted to be judged on the quality of our beer, not our appetizers,” says Lindsay. “With five years under our belt, we have the experience to do this right and offer a stellar menu that will complement our beers.”  

Not discounting the to-go experience, On Rotation’s future home will offer the convenience of a “minimart” for beer to-go and takeout order pickup. 

“We don’t want anyone to feel like they have a lesser experience with our food or beer by taking it home,” says Jacob. “And what feels more like home than a bucket of fried chicken and beers?” 

Construction at The Braniff Centre is set to begin in a few weeks. An opening date has not been set, but the Sloans hope to debut the new location early in 2021.  Until then, On Rotation will continue to brew at their Lakewood location. While currently closed to in-house customers, the brewery is open seven days a week for curbside pickup of crowlers and growlers — and soon, 4-packs of 16-ounce cans. Call ahead or order online at on-rotation.com/order.


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Deep Ellum releases fruit-forward football seasonal

Image courtesy of Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

With the promise of fall football just around the corner, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas is inviting consumers to "go sideways this season with a new hazy IPA."

According to a press release, Lateral Haze (7.5% ABV, 25 IBU) is a tropical hazy IPA brewed in honor of the greatest game on earth - football. Billed as "the only part of game day guaranteed not to disappoint.," the beer is said to be dank, hoppy and fruit-forward with the flavor and aroma of fresh pineapples.

"With Lateral Haze, we set out to make the perfect companion for football season," says Brian Morris, head brewer at Deep Ellum. "A triple-option of sorts, Lateral Haze is triple dry-hopped with three different hops (Amarillo, Simcoe and Idaho-7) that come together to provide a beautifully tropical drinking experience."

Lateral Haze is available now through October in six-packs of 12-ounce cans. Look for the beer at select retailers across Texas.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Ten years ago today: One beer writer's retrospective, penned amid a pandemic

Source: Individual research.

Ten years ago today, I started writing about craft beer. And my, how things have changed.

Who could have imagined we'd be in the situation we are now, where breweries are hanging on day-to-day and we have no idea what rule changes the next hour may bring? Indeed, there's a lot of uncertainty going forward because of the pandemic, but for posterity's sake let's look back on the last ten years for maybe a minute or two.

Ten years ago today, there were nine brewing operations in North Texas, with roughly another dozen or so in planning around the entire state. Today, we have 84 active brewing companies with more than 30 new projects being developed in North Texas alone.

Ten years ago today, there were no brewery taprooms. Drinking beer at a brewery meant taking a tour, enjoying a few samples and getting some glassware to take home. And beer to-go? That was a no-no until late last year. Today, taprooms are rampant, though breweries have had to alter operations temporarily because of current conditions. And beer to-go? It's a go, and thank goodness, because it's been key in keeping our beloved breweries afloat.

Ten years ago today, the local panorama of pubs serving something other than imports was a tad bit limited. We had established locations of the Flying Saucer, Ginger Man and Londoner (various locations have opened and closed for all three), along with a trio of newcomers all less than a year old: The Common Table Uptown (gone, but not forgotten), Holy Grail Pub and Meddlesome Moth. Today you can drink beer in a plethora of pubs, restaurants and even grocery stores if the mood strikes...and daily mandates allow.

Ten years ago today, we mostly drank beer out of bottles. No local breweries canned their beers, and there was no such thing as a crowler. We had growlers, but only at brewpubs, as the growler shop was a non-entity. Today, dozens of growler shops fill jugs and seam crowlers on a daily basis. The only issue there being a looming can shortage, once again due to that whole ongoing pandemic thing.

Ten years ago today, things weren't great, but they were surely getting better. Since August 2, 2010, I've covered the debut of 100 brewing companies and 25 closures, not to mention the comings and goings of countless numbers of pubs, restaurants, events and other supportive projects.

And yet today, despite all of the growth, things aren't great again, all because of an invisible enemy.

But we hope they will get better.

Do what you can to support your local pubs, restaurants and breweries, so we have more good than bad to talk about in another ten years time.

Cheers, stay well and #SaveTexasBreweries!