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 ( 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.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Three NTX breweries recognized at 2020 USBTC winter event

Image credit: United States Beer Tasting Championship.

Three local breweries are among the winners at the 26th Annual United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC) Winter Competition.

This year's winter event drew 465 entries from 154 breweries, with those beers evaluated across 17 different categories. As always, regional winners were chosen in each category, then matched against each other in order to determine an overall grand champion.

One North Texas beer, The Temptress from Lakewood Brewing Co., was named a Winter Grand Champion, while 10 local brews were recognized as Regional Champions. Check out the list of locals below, or click here to see a complete competition summary.

Lakewood Brewing Co., Garland
  • The Temptress, Grand Champion in the Imperial Stout category.
  • Barrel-Aged Temptress, Regional Champion in the Whiskey-Aged Porter/Stout category.
  • Cuvée De Vélo, Regional Champion in the Non-Whiskey-Aged Beer category.
  • Texas Porter, Regional Champion in the Porter category.
  • French Quarter Temptress, Regional Champion in the Bean Beer category.

Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas
  • Chump Change, Regional Champion in the Whiskey-Aged Beer category.
  • Freaky Deaky, Regional Champion in the Belgian-Style Ale category.
  • Oktoberfest, Regional Champion in the Vienna/Märzen Lager category.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Winter Warmer, Regional Champion in the Strong Ale category.
  • Iron Thistle, Regional Champion in the Scottish-Style Ale category.
  • Paleta de Mango, Regional Champion in the Experimental Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Lakewood introduces new lippy libation

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is adding a little sass to its year-round lineup.

Please 'N Thank You is a hop-forward West Coast-style pale ale brewed with Amarillo, Cascade and Mosaic hops. According to a press release, the beer starts with a very nice hop aroma and finishes with a bright and assertive hoppiness leaving you thirsting for more.

“Growing up in the south, we can sometimes get a little sassy - but only in the most polite way” says Lakewood founder Wim Bens with a wink. “Ending any sentence with 'please and thank you' is right up there with 'bless your heart' when it comes to southern passive sassiness. And this beer doesn’t make any excuses.”

Look for Please 'N Thank you on draft and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans at craft beer-friendly locations throughout Texas, as well as at the Lakewood Taproom.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Deep Ellum has 'Confidence' in new IPA

Image courtesy of Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas has announced a new IPA it believes is hazy enough to satisfy your craze for haze.

Manic Confidence (6.5% ABV, 15 IBUs) is described as a "a hot tropical island vacation dissected and reconstructed in the form of a refreshingly juicy craft brew." Crafted with a mix of Galaxy, Enigma, Comet, Strata, Citra and Idaho 7 hops, Manic Confidence is said to deliver a maniacal amount of hop flavor and complexity that floods the taste receptors, resulting in a salivating joy that leaves you craving more.

“When building Manic Confidence, we knew we had to go into it with two things in mind - embodying the mentality that has gotten us to where we’re at as a brewery, and using waaaaay more hops in a beer than we ever have," says Deep Ellum's Innovation Brewer, Brian Morris. "You can even see our manic nature as a brewery in the hops that we featured in this beer. Manic Confidence has an incredible tropical fruit profile of aromas and flavors including pineapple, mango, starburst candy and white gummy bear.”

About that mentality, Deep Ellum Marketing Manager Maegan Eason explained where the beer’s name originated: “In a brewery meeting, someone referred to the Deep Ellum brand as ‘cocky,’ and our founder, John Reardon, said, ‘we’re not cocky. We’re manic confident.’”

Look for Manic Confidence in six-packs of 12-ounce cans starting March 1. The beer is also on tap now at the original Deep Ellum Dallas Taproom and the Funkytown Fermatorium in Fort Worth.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Panther Island puts Beaver Nuggets in beer

Image credit: Panther Island Brewing.

Anyone who's taken a road trip in Texas has probably been to a Buc-ee's, the gas station/convenience store found alongside major roadways throughout the Lone Star State.

In fact, many would argue that stopping at Buc-ee's is a sort of rite of passage for passersby, whether it be for the chance to mix and mingle with what seems like the entire Texas traveling public, or to grab an oversized soda and a sackful of Buc-ee's brand snacks.

Regarding the latter, perhaps the most popular snack item at Buc-ee's is Beaver Nuggets. Love 'em or hate 'em, these caramel-coated corn puffs are revered to the point that some would consider them an iconic Texas taste temptation.

So, why bring this up?

Because Panther Island Brewing of Fort Worth put them in a beer. And while Beaver Nuggets may be just as polarizing as Marshmallow Peeps - a candy that crept into a beer at another Fort Worth brewery, we're at the point now in the craft beer universe where we no longer ask why...we simply say...why not?!

Beaver Nugget Brown Ale goes on tap this Friday, February 7, starting at noon. A small-batch offering, the beer is said to be super-limited and only available in the taproom - for now.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Deep Ellum adds DTX to year-round lineup

Image courtesy of Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company has announced the release of DTX Golden Ale, a new offering that will replace Deep Ellum Lager in the brewery's year-round lineup. Described as crisp, light and refreshing, DTX Golden Ale (4.8% ABV, 15 IBUs) is named in tribute to the company’s hometown of Dallas, Texas.

“DTX is a refreshing take on a golden ale,” says Deep Ellum’s Innovation Brewer, Brian Morris. “Simplicity, balance and approachability were driving factors for designing this beer. DTX hosts a beautiful interplay of pilsner malt and delicate hop character.”

According to a press release, DTX Golden Ale is seen as a foil to the to the brewery’s well-known Dallas Blonde, which pokes fun at the city’s stereotypes - a joke rooted in affinity for the place.

"Deep Ellum believes that there is nothing better than a hometown brew: it’s the happy hour go-to, the one that makes you proud of where you live, the one that you consider getting inked at least twice, it’s at every house party and all of your out-of-town friends crave it. Thus, DTX Golden Ale is a taste of Dallas - a celebration of the city’s arts scene, music, colors and flavors, because it’s a great place to visit and an even better place to be from."

Look for DTX Golden Ale to appear on tap at select locations, with six-packs of 12-ounce cans coming soon. Consumers can also find DTX Golden Ale at the original Deep Ellum Dallas Taproom or the Funkytown Fermatorium in Fort Worth.