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

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!