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.


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,

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.