Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Tupps Brewery moving to historic McKinney grain site

All images courtesy of Tupps Brewery.

Tupps Brewery will soon trade one historical setting for another, as the company is set to make a move closer to Downtown McKinney.

Since debuting in 2015, Tupps has occupied a 17,000-square-foot space at The McKinney Cotton Mill. However, the brewery has outgrown that location and will now expand to a spot with over 40,000 square feet on a 4.3-acre campus in the city's  Historic Mill District.

Helping to spur the project, the McKinney Community Development Corporation approved a grant in the amount of $11,333,262 for construction, and the McKinney Economic Development Corporation has provided a loan for use in purchasing additional equipment Tupps will use to meet growing market demand.

“The McKinney grain site is a perfect location to build our forever home as it fits the Tupps vibe and allows us to meet increased demand for our products while providing more space for additional customers visiting the brewery,” says Keith Lewis, founder and president of Tupps.

This new location will be an extension of Downtown McKinney in a grain processing factory that has been in operation for over 120 years. The layout will comprise a 12,000-square-foot taproom in the original grain-milling building, a state-of-the-art production facility and a retail shopping area housed in reused shipping containers.

Current view and future rendering of Tupps' new location.

“The city of McKinney is committed to revitalizing the eastside of our historic downtown area and I could not think of a better partner than Tupps to start this process. Tupps will bring much needed energy to this area which will attract other businesses and expand our historic downtown footprint,” says McKinney Mayor George Fuller.

On the production side, Tupps will operate in a 28,000 square foot facility. The building will incorporate a barrel-aging area housing over 200 barrels that will age unique beers to be available for sampling on selected tours and for sale in the brewery's beer-to-go store.

As for other amenities, Tupps is a family business to its core and will continue to welcome families both young and old. The brewery will have a unique playground for all ages and plenty of space to relax inside and out. To that end, in addition to a large outdoor stage hosting live music and theater performances, the site plan will include shops featuring local artists, craftsman, and food vendors.

Tupps has also pledged to continue its strong commitment to the community with charitable work. Tupps got started by brewing beer in Keith’s garage, so it wants to give other dreamers the ability to start their own business in a supportive environment.

Friday, July 17, 2020

On Rotation releases Black is Beautiful to benefit Campaign Zero's #8CantWait

On Friday, July 17, On Rotation of Dallas will release its rendition of Black is Beautiful, a beer brewed in collaboration with Marcus Baskerville and Weathered Souls Brewing Co. of San Antonio.

When it was announced, the Black is Beautiful project set goals to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face daily, and to raise funds for police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged. Upon learning about this, the team at On Rotation knew they had to join in.

“We had been thinking about the best way to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, and our favorite language is beer,” says Jacob Sloan, co-founder and owner of On Rotation.

Breweries participating in the initiative have taken an imperial stout recipe developed by Baskerville and Weathered Souls and added a touch of their own creativity. On Rotation made a few minor changes to the beer by adjusting the grain bill to their preferred balance and adding a significant amount of chocolate.

The beer was brewed, appropriately enough, on Juneteenth, and according to a press release it presents with "a chocolate and bready aroma and powerful cocoa flavor throughout." It's a big beer, with an ABV of 10.2%, but with the "luscious chocolate flavor and dry finish," the alcohol is said to not overwhelm the palate.

“For me, it’s a perfect chocolate cake in a glass — not sweet but chocolate through and through,” says Sloan.

Proceeds from sales of Black is Beautiful will benefit Campaign Zero, specifically the group's #8CantWait campaign. The #8CantWait initiative aims to drive eight policies proven to decrease police violence by 72 percent. Research shows the more restrictive use of force policies #8CantWait is fighting for can reduce killings by police and save lives.

Of note, On Rotation points out Dallas is only halfway there. While the city has enacted four of the eight #8CantWait policies, Dallas still has four more to go.

The city has yet to ban chokeholds and strangleholds, require a warning before shooting, establish a duty to intervene, or ban shooting at moving vehicles. Citizens can get involved and contact Dallas’ Mayor Eric Johnson about these policies at

In the meantime, show your support for Black Lives Matter and Black is Beautiful by purchasing “chocolate cake” stout this Friday at On Rotation. The taproom will be open at noon for curbside pickup of crowlers and growlers. Customers may pre-order online at

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Pathfinder finds its way to Hudson Oaks

Pathfinder's facility in Hudson Oaks consists of 10,000 square feet, with
1500 square feet allocated for the taproom (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

After navigating a long and winding road to establishment, Pathfinder Brewery is now open in Hudson Oaks.

Pathfinder is a venture founded by Eric and Giancarla Addison. I first contacted Eric in July of 2017, subsequently learning about their plan to build a brewery from the ground up, a relative rarity in North Texas where most have looked to renovate an existing space. Originally, Addison hoped to be up and running a year later, but issues with contractors stretched the timeline out to three.

"It was an ambitious project to say the least," says Addison.

Regarding the location, one reason Addison chose Hudson Oaks was due to a lack of options in Fort Worth. Another was the ability to operate under a brewpub license without having to meet the 51% food revenue rule enforced elsewhere.

"We do want to have a kitchen someday," says Addison, "but Hudson Oaks is great because their license allows for a brewery without food."

For now, though, the focus will be on the beer and overall brand experience. Pathfinder's name reflects on how everyone interested in craft beer is on a journey, so visitors can expect to see beers presented in ways that help individuals plot their own course.

"As folks explore different styles and widen their palates, more and more styles become interesting," explains Addison. "Our mission is to help people find their path to beer they like. So, we have various 'Paths':  Fruited, Texan, Barrel-Aged, Belgian, etc.  Each path gives folks a chance to experience new styles, and flavors and aromas.  There are many paths to great beer, and we want to help folks travel those paths."

The first round of offerings at Pathfinder, appropriately called the "Opening Path," consisted of Highway 180 Pale Ale, Kangaroo Kölsch and Texas Wheat Ale, along with variants in the form of Road Trip (coffee kölsch) and Citrus Slice (fruited wheat ale). This mix of classic styles, supplemented by beers with a bit of a twist, is representative of how the company intends to approach its everyday portfolio.

"It is fun to try the latest fad beer, but nothing beats coming back to a style that you can enjoy time and again," says Addison. "If you like variety, don’t fret, we plan on brewing many one-offs and seasonal beers just to keep things interesting, but not so often you get worn out chasing the newest twist on a beer style."

Pathfinder is currently open Tuesday through Saturday for to-go sales only in line with mandates connected to the Covid-19 pandemic. Look for expanded on-site hours to occur once restrictions are lifted.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tupps hopes to raise $25,000 for Red Cross

Image credit: Tupps Brewery.

In early April, Tupps Brewery of McKinney created a variety 12 pack box to sell at retail, with the profits to be donated to the American Red Cross. The aim of the initiative, called Help Now, was to raise awareness for more blood donations, money for those who have lost their jobs, and food donations to replenish food banks.

“Help Now has been a huge success! We have had a couple of months under our belt and we want to give a super shoutout to all the people that helped us get to where we are on this, especially corporations who matched some of our donations.” says Keith Lewis, founder and president of Tupps.

The first run of Help Now 12-packs helped the brewery donate almost $10,000 to the Red Cross, and now Tupps wants to keep it going with round two.

A new goal to raise $25,000 has been set, and the hope is the second round can be even more impactful than the first. More and more people continue to file for unemployment, while missing rent and mortgage payments, and to compound things further, the Red Cross is running critically low on blood. Natural disasters do not slow down during a pandemic and the need for blood is at an all-time high.

“If you weren’t able to participate in round one, definitely come out and get the product for round two," adds Lewis. "Inside this box are 12 total beers with a selection of National Standard, our light American ale, and our Juice Pack, hazy pale ale."

More information regarding the Help Now project, as well as a list of retailers carrying the 12-pack, can be found on the brewery's website at

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.