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.

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