Friday, November 26, 2021

BrainDead to close in Deep Ellum

Image © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D

After more than six and a half years in business, BrainDead Brewing of Dallas has announced it will end its run in Deep Ellum and close at the end of business on Sunday, November 28.

Debuting in February 2015, BrainDead brought together the talents of Jeff Fryman (The Common Table), Sam Wynne (Flying Saucer, Rodeo Goat) and Andrew Huerter (Deep Ellum Brewing Co.). It was the first brewpub to operate in the Deep Ellum entertainment district since The Copper Tank closed across the street in 2001.

Speaking of which, BrainDead epitomized what the brewpub model is all about. The beer and food were both good, which meant your best option didn't involve drinking here and eating there (i.e., somewhere else) like it was at some brewpubs in North Texas during the late 1990s.

On the beer, Gritz (a cream ale) was among BrainDead's inaugural beer offerings - and I may have actually been the first to order a pint, but it was just the first of a wide range of recipes to be poured at a place where upwards of 25 different house beers were on tap daily.

Craft beer and food done right, this is what I'll remember about BrainDead. Well, that and Festicle, the small-scale sampling soiree the brewpub put on with the folks behind Big Texas Beer Fest. A beer geek's beer festival if there ever was one in North Texas, this event was an annual celebration of barrel-aged, wild and sour beers.

A post sharing the news on Facebook reads: "We are thankful for everyone that supported us through almost 7 years of brewpubbing in Deep Ellum, the best neighborhood there ever was."

If you ask me, those words are simply a case of best recognizing best.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Funky Picnic bands together with Midlake for music-inspired beer

Image courtesy of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.

Funky Picnic Brewery & Café of Fort Worth has announced the release of a new beer brewed in concert with Denton-based band Midlake. Courage & Pillars, an imperial Berliner weisse made with blueberry and cardamom, will be on tap Friday, November 26, in both the Funky Picnic taproom and at Tulips FTW, the venue where Midlake will play that evening.

Head Brewer Michael Harper has been a huge Midlake fan for years and he approached the band about a collaboration beer to coincide with their concert dates in Fort Worth. The band has a new album coming out March 18, 2022 featuring the song “Bethel Woods,” and the beer is inspired by that song.

Image courtesy of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.

“The track itself is named after the area where Woodstock was held [in New York], so we looked at what fruits are available in Bethel Woods this time of year and landed on blueberry,” says Harper. “The drums on the track are so crispy and so warm, so we needed something to balance out the sweet and tart of the blueberry, so we landed on cardamom.” 

Image courtesy of Midlake.

Harper describes Courage & Pillars as a beer to be savored, but easy drinking all the same, kind of like Midlake. He says the cardamom spice meets you first with warm and green earthiness, then soft and tart blueberry enters to round out the glass.

Enjoy Courage & Pillars on tap at Funky Picnic this weekend, or even better at Tulips FTW while listening to Midlake live in concert on November 26. Admission to the show is $15pp (click here to purchase tickets).

Monday, November 22, 2021

903, Tupps awarded medals at 2021 U.S. Open Hard Seltzer Championship

Image credit: U.S. Open Hard Seltzer Championship.

Results are in from the 2021 U.S. Open Hard Seltzer Championship, with 903 Brewers of Sherman and Tupps Brewery of McKinney appearing among the winners.

More than 60 hard seltzer-makers from across the U.S. and Canada submitted just short of 250 hard seltzers for evaluation at this year's competition, which is a collaborative effort with the Niagara College Teaching Winery, Brewery, Cidery and Distillery. Judges from Canada, England and the United States ranked seltzers in 18 different categories covering various fruit and herb infusions.

A list of winning seltzers from North Texas is provided below. You can also click here for a full competition summary.

903 Brewers, Sherman
  • Bronze for Pina Colada Hard Seltzer Slushy in the Pina Colada category.
  • Bronze for Bahama Mama Hard Seltzer Slushy in the Anything Goes category.
Tupps Brewery, McKinney
  • Bronze for Blur Strawberry Daiquiri in the Strawberry category.

Cheers and congratulations to 903 Brewers and Tupps Brewery!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Pizzeria turned brewpub closes in Richardson

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Pizza Americana, a neighborhood pizzeria turned brewpub in Richardson, has closed.

Originally opening in early 2019, Pizza Americana added brewing operations this past summer, after enlisting the services of Nano Brewing, LLC. - a company which provides full-service brewhouse management from concept to installation and production.

House beers were first poured in July at Pizza Americana, with the official brewery launch taking place just over a month ago in September. From the beginning, four recipes were offered on a daily basis, with the most creative being a bourbon barrel-aged stout brewed with Atomic Fireball candy.

As for Nano Brewing, LLC., despite the sudden end to what was its first installation, the firm's co-founder Michael Wilson says the short-lived partnership did allow the company time to prove out its concept. He adds they are actively working to open at another location.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Funky Picnic's food menu just got funkier

Clockwise from left: I'm Chicken You Out, TABC Sandwich, Mussels From Brussels (Funky Picnic Brewery & Café).

Starting today, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café of Fort Worth is featuring an expanded food menu from Chef Josh Rangel and his culinary team.

With the revamp, Funky Picnic has added up-scale appetizers and dinner entrees to the brewpub's already popular selection of sandwiches and burgers, while also bringing a renewed focus to beer pairing suggestions. Each item on the menu is paired with Funky Picnic beers brewed in-house by Head Brewer Michael Harper.

“These new menu items really allow us to better showcase the culinary skills of our incredible kitchen team while keeping the most popular sandwiches and burgers that our customers have come to love,” says co-founder Samantha Glenn. “Our team really focused on entrees that would pair well with our Funky Picnic beers, whether it is using the beer in the cooking process or having a pint alongside your meal.”

The menu includes healthier and heartier entrees like I’m Chicken You Out, a roasted lemon garlic half-bird, and the Mussels From Brussels beer-steamed mussels. Both are said to pair perfectly with Funky Picnic's Belgian tripel, The Child Must Not Be An Obstacle.

Several new vegetarian options, such as the Blueberry Flatbread and Roasted Cauliflower, were added to the appetizer menu, along with non-vegetarian options like the Bacon Bourbon Meatballs that debuted at the 2021 Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival last weekend.

As for those wondering about the fate of some familiar favorites, Funky Picnic classics such as the massive TABC turkey sandwich, the wildly popular Cluck Norris fried chicken sandwich, and the pimento cheese-topped Funky Burger will remain on the menu.

Try these new creations at Funky Picnic today, or anytime during regular business hours. The brewpub is open six days a week, with service Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Lakewood, Oak Highlands recognized at 2021 San Diego International Beer Competition

Image credit: San Diego International Beer Competition.

Two area breweries are among the winners at the 2021 San Diego International Beer Competition.

Judging for this year's event took place in late September, with submissions broken down in to 61 different style categories. Winning breweries from North Texas included Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland and Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas. Both companies have been honored at this competition before, with Lakewood earning medals in 2017 and 2019, and Oak Highlands being recognized in 2018.

Winning beers from North Texas are listed below, or you can click here for a full competition summary.

Lakewood Brewing Co., Garland
  • Gold for Temptress in the Bold Stout category.
  • Bronze for Double Chocolate Temptress in the Chocolate and Chili Beer category.
Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas
  • Gold for Tipsy Goat in the German-Style Bock category.
  • Gold for Freaky Deaky in the Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale category.

Cheers and congratulations to Lakewood and Oak Highlands!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Fort Brewery debuts new digs, fresh new vibe in Fort Worth

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

A year after announcing plans to move the brewpub from its original location on Magnolia Ave., Fort Brewery & Pizza is now open and operating within its new space at 2737 Tillar St. in Fort Worth.

It's the latest step in the evolution of an enterprise under the guidance of owners Will Churchill and Corrie Watson. In early 2018, the two purchased and retooled what was then known as Chimera Brewing Co., itself a rebrand of Zio Carlo Magnolia Brewpub started in 2011.

As for what this particular transition entails, it's a case of out with the old, in with the new. Fort Brewery & Pizza has traded the small, 1920s-era brick building on Magnolia for a remodeled 25,000 square foot facility once home to a candy factory. And, while partially-exposed brick and reused shipping containers fit the reality of what is a repurposed structure, a clean and modern feel best describes the presentation at the new place. This translates to a different vibe compared to experiences had dating back to the very beginnings of the business.

Change may be a good thing, though, considering Fort Brewery & Pizza's added amenities. Public areas comprise an indoor taproom with a requisite array of wide-screen TVs, along with an expansive outdoor patio covered with a retractable roof. The latter includes features like a stage setup for live music, and a play area outfitted with artificial turf.

Oh, and anyone who ever had to park and walk on Magnolia will surely not want to discount the benefits of the brewpub's dedicated parking lot.

There's also the promise of expanded offerings on Fort Brewery & Pizza's beer and food menus. With regards to the liquid, upwards of 20 different house brews will be available, with core styles, seasonals, sour beers and seltzers expected to be a part of the everyday portfolio (click here to view the current lineup).

Food-wise, pizza pies still take center stage at the brewpub, with burgers, brats, sandwiches and salads supplementing the culinary side of things. Then there's this note on the opening menu calling attention to a "Detroit style pizza experience coming soon!"

It all amounts to fresh start for the Fort Worth firm, as the legacies of Chimera and Zio Carlo are now safely left to rest with memories on Magnolia. Indeed, with new digs in a new neighborhood, Fort Brewery & Pizza can now look to leave its own mark on the local craft beer scene.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Flying Saucer to host 15th annual BeerFeast in Fort Worth

Image credit: Flying Saucer Draught Emporium.

Beerknurds rejoice, as the beer-tasting extravaganza known as BeerFeast is set to return for its 15th annual installment at the Fort Worth Flying Saucer on Saturday, October 23 from 1-7 p.m.

Attendees to this year's event will be able to choose from beer samples provided by 50 local, national and international breweries. Offerings will consist of limited releases and hard-to-find brews, such as the following:

  • Boulevard Stuff of Legend - barrel-aged stout with vanilla and cocoa.
  • Brooklyn Black Ops 2020 - bourbon barrel-aged imperial Russian stout.
  • Firestone Walker Cinnamon Dolce Imperial Milk Stout.
  • Firestone Walker XXV Anniversary.
  • Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout with Cinnamon, Vanilla and Cocoa.
  • Rahr & Sons Rumpy - rum barrel-aged pumpkin Ale.
  • Odell Sippin' Tropical - wild ale with passion fruit, pineapple and tangerine.
  • Saint Arnold Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pumpkinator.
  • Turning Point Mazdarati - imperial stout with macadamia nut.

Tickets to BeerFeast 2021 are $45 per person, or $40 for Beerknurds. Included in the price, guests will receive a BeerFeast 2021 t-shirt, tasting glass and 12 two-ounce beer tastings. For more details, or to secure your admission, visit the official event website at

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Craft beer industry reconvenes for 2021 CBC, GABF awards in Denver

Photos © Brewers Association.

Members of the brewing industry came together for the first time since early 2020 last weekend in Denver, Colorado, for the 38th Annual Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) presented by the Brewers Association.

Normally held in the spring, the gathering was a hybrid event of sorts due to the pandemic, as this year's edition took place around the time of year the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is typically held. Since that event was cancelled once again, the competition portion of GABF and subsequent awards ceremony took place in conjunction with CBC.

As expected, the pandemic was a topic front and center, especially in relation to its effects on the industry over the past 18 months. Also of great importance, however, was the call for an industry awakening, as countless incidents of racism, sexism, discrimination and harassment have come to light within its ranks.

Below, you'll find a recap of key points raised on these matters during CBC discussions. A rundown of local GABF winners follows, along with notes on taproom (and other) trips made to discover items of interest outside the 2021 event.

State of the Industry

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about dire predictions as to the fate of small and independent breweries, with some fearing the coming of mass closures. Thankfully, this didn't come to pass, but production numbers did decline in 2020 for the first time since the 1980s. Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, cited a reduction in keg beer consumption (i.e., bars being closed due to the pandemic) as a contributing factor.

Data courtesy of the Brewers Association.

As for the annual "Brewery Count" update, there are now 8,848 active breweries in the U.S., which represents an increase of 439 breweries over last year. While this is the smallest year-to-year gain of late, it's still a pleasant surprise considering the alternative.

More surprising is data showing the rate of brewery closings did not accelerate during the pandemic, which raises the question of how breweries are surviving. Watson noted Americans still drink the same amount of beer as before, just at different places. For breweries able to quickly pivot operations to focus on packaging beer to-go, this resulted in "at the brewery" sales numbers remaining relatively strong. Beyond that, he pointed to federal aid programs (for those who were approved for such things), and credited the tenacity and resilience of brewers.

A charge to bring about change

In response to a callout regarding a disturbing number of cases involving racism, sexism, discrimination and harassment occurring in the craft beer industry, initiatives seeking to promote diversity, equity and inclusion were introduced at CBC.

Images courtesy of the Brewers Association.

Attendees had access to a conference roadmap of seminars and workshops, entitled THRIVE, designed to empower "craft brewing community members to build safe, inclusive, and equitable cultures where everyone who makes, sells, and enjoys craft beer can thrive."

Industry groups joined together to create the BRU Coalition, with the "objective to leverage the combined reach of the organizations to drive industry-wide adoption of evidence-based best practices for preventing discrimination, harassment, and violence within the brewing industry." Members include the Brewers Association, Cicerone Certification Program, Master Brewers Association of the Americas, Pink Boots Society, and the American Society of Brewing Chemists.

Two area breweries among GABF medalists

Overall, a total of 9,680 beers from 2,192 breweries were evaluated at this year's GABF, with 290 medals awarded across 97 categories covering 175 different beer styles. And, as per usual, the most-entered categories were associated with IPAs. The largest number of submissions were in the "Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale" category with 427 entries, followed by "American-Style India Pale Ale" with 404.

Two local breweries were awarded medals, both garnering GABF recognition for the first time. Congratulations are in order for Westlake Brewing Co. of Dallas and Cowtown Brewing Co. of Fort Worth (click here for a full competition summary).

Westlake Brewing Co., Dallas: Gold for Peter Porter in the
Brown Porter category (Photo © Brewers Association).

Cowtown Brewing Co., Fort Worth: Silver for High Brau in the Dortmunder
or German-Style Oktoberfest category (Photo © Brewers Association).

Taproom (and other) trips

  • I generally have a theme in mind when deciding on what breweries to visit while attending events out-of-state. Oftentimes, it's a simple as finding a group of breweries I haven't experienced in proximity to each other. On this occasion, though, I decided to find a brewery with a view. A quick search led me to Cabin Creek Brewing in Georgetown, Colorado, a small-town spot set up on the shores of Georgetown Lake. For best results, grab a flight and head up to the second-floor balcony.
Photo © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.
  • We'll call this a case of curious consumption. Here at home, when a new brewery opens, the first keg to kick is almost always some kind of IPA. Well, at Smash Face Brewing in Denver, a different story was being told, as the only beer available at this month-old brewery was an IPA. This, after the house lager, pilsner and session beers had all run out.
Photo © Enstrom Toffee & Confectionery.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Turning Point unveils expansive taproom upgrade

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Turning Point Beer has taken what was once a barrier to its inception and turned it into a jumping-off point for a new era at the three year-old brewery.

A gymnastics business originally occupied the spot adjacent to Turning Point's debut location at 1307 Brown Trail in Bedford. The gym's owners voiced opposition to the brewery during the development phase, but the Bedford City Council allowed the project to move forward despite the objection. Turning Point then went on to open its doors in March 2018.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the gymnastics company eventually chose to relocate. This presented Turning Point with the opportunity to enhance operations without having to move itself, so owners Jon Paul Goytia, Alex Knight and James Peery took over the lease on the neighboring property. After renovations were completed over the summer, Turning Point pulled the curtain back on the revamped space in early September.

Turning Point's new taproom offers patrons more beer options, along with more room to move around.

Comprising roughly 12,000 square feet, Turning Point's new playground has twice the usable area compared to where the brewery got its start next door. A substantial portion of the space is furnished with the comfort of the taproom crowd in mind, as seating options abound throughout, while a smaller expanse is home to additional production equipment. The hardware was acquired from The Collective Brewing Project, and the intent is to put it to work in honor of the former Fort Worth brewery.

Appropriately enough, Collective co-founder Mike Goldfuss is the man behind the taproom build-out. His firm, Goldfuss Construction Services, has worked behind the scenes at a number of recently-opened brewing locales, including On Rotation at the Braniff Centre in Dallas, and Cedar Creek Brewhouse & Eatery at Mustang Station in Farmers Branch.

As for other amenities within the walls of the new taproom, note the brewery has also upped the ante on its list of available liquids. From now on, visitors will be able to pick from upwards of 30 beers on tap daily. And, if opening weekend was any indication, there will be more options among styles you've come to expect from Turning Point - like IPAs, sour beers and stouts - with other ales and few lagers mixed in for good measure.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Lakewood releases Big D IPA #003

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has begun shipping the latest in its limited "Big D" line of double dry-hopped IPAs. 

According to a press release, Big D IPA #003 (8.5% ABV) is a fresh take on the series "that delicately merges bold citrus and stone fruit flavors with a semi-sweet body to provide a crisp, succulent sip."

“As we’ve been making IPAs over the years, I’ve looked for new ways to utilize hops to really amplify their unmistakable character,” says Justin Hatley, innovation brewer at Lakewood. “Today we benefit from some of the best and most thorough hop research in generations, courtesy of the very growers themselves. So, when Hopsteiner, one of the best suppliers around, tells me they have a new, bold blend of hops called Trident designed to impart some of the fruitiest flavors possible, I had to try them!”

Using copious amounts of this blend, Lakewood imparted its unique floral bitterness into Big D IPA #003, along with notes of orange, mango, and kiwi.

"Using old homebrew hopping techniques and a healthy dry hop dose of the Trident hop blend, I think Big D #3 is my favorite in the series thus far," adds Hatley. "Big, juicy, fruity flavors with just enough bitterness for my old-school IPA palate. Give it a go, trust me, I’m sure this’ll put hop heads over the top!”

Big D IPA #003 is currently available statewide on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Locals land 16 medals at 2021 U.S. Open Beer Championship

Image credit: U.S. Open Beer Championship.

The hits just keep on coming for North Texas at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, as area breweries have landed 16 medals (6 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze) at the 2021 competition. In fact, including this year's tally, North Texas brewing companies have brought home more than 100 medals from the U.S. Open during the course of the last 10 years.

At this year's event, breweries from around the world sent in over 8000 beers for evaluation, with those entries representing over 140 different styles. Among the winners were 11 local brewers, with first time honorees including Pathfinder Brewery of Hudson Oaks, along with Cowtown Brewing Co. and Maple Branch Craft Brewery of Fort Worth.

A list of winning beers from North Texas is provided below. You can also click here for a full competition summary.

903 Brewers, Sherman
  • Silver for Fragile Like a Bomb in the Imperial Stout Extreme category.
  • Gold for Mile Marker 12 in the Triple IPA category.
  • Bronze for Low Hood in the Belgian Tripel category.
  • Silver for Cold Fort Worth Beer in the American Premium Lager category.
  • Silver for Coco Añejo in the Coconut Beer category.
  • Silver for Coalition Coffee Stout in the Coffee Beer category.
  • Gold for Tipsy Goat in the Heller Bock/Maibock category.
  • Gold for Freaky Deaky in the Aged Beer category.
  • Bronze for Tejano Pecano in the Nut Beer category.
Pathfinder Brewery, Hudson Oaks
  • Gold for 3 Dragons in the Belgian Quadrupel category.
  • Silver for Great Scot! in the Scottish Ale category.
Tupps Brewery, McKinney
  • Bronze for Full Grown Man in the American Imperial Stout category.
  • Bronze for Monospace: Nelson in the New Zealand IPA category.
  • Bronze for Squoze in the Vegetable Beer category.
  • Gold for Dreamsicle Capsized Kayak in the Specialty/Anything Goes category.
  • Gold for Dave's Perfect Pils in the Kellerbier or Zwickelbier category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Deep Ellum delivers new IPA Variety 12-Pack

Image credit: Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas has announced the release of a new IPA Variety 12-Pack featuring four of the brewery's hoppiest offerings.

With a product mix including cans of Deep Ellum IPA, Easy Peasy Session IPA, Manic Confidence Hazy Enough IPA and the current rotator from the all-new Hop Seeker series, the pack is described as "an eclectic, hop-forward compilation of India Pale Ales crafted in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas."

The Deep Ellum IPA Variety 12-Pack is available now all across Texas.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Lakewood unveils act two of music-centric beer series

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is ready to take the stage with act two of its 2021 music-inspired series, Lakewood Live.

Lakewood Live Vol. 2 is an imperial rice lager brewed with green, pillowy pounds of imported matcha. According to a press release, "the matcha pairs beautifully with the crispness of a full-bodied lager, both uniting to deliver a truly sublime sip that delivers on Lakewood’s promise of 'Seriously Fun Beer'."

“I've always wanted to take a shot at an imperial lager,” says Justin Hatley, innovation brewer at Lakewood. “I never liked ones I've had in the past as they can come off as too sweet. Even if we're clocking in at 7% ABV, I still want it to drink like a smooth, crisp lager. When the idea of a matcha beer came up I knew I had the right beer in mind. With the addition of Loral and Meridian hops, it's a delightful floral lager. My only regret is it isn't green!”

Look for Lakewood Live Vol.2 on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce cans wherever craft beer is sold. As with the inaugural beer in the series, this edition is launching alongside an official Spotify playlist curated by the staff at Lakewood. Click here to listen to "Live from Lakewood - Vol. 2."

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Second Rodeo ready to ride in Fort Worth

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

For the first time since 1997, beer is again being brewed in the Fort Worth Stockyards, as Second Rodeo Brewing has begun production ahead of a mid-September opening on Mule Alley.

Second Rodeo is the latest concept from Brain Storm Shelter, whose portfolio includes Truck Yard venues in Houston and Dallas, along with both a Truck Yard and Beard Science Sour House in The Colony (a fourth Truck Yard is currently under construction in North Fort Worth). And, while Second Rodeo sports a different name, elements of Truck Yard's design are an integral part of the experience.

Given the above, Second Rodeo clearly isn't Brain Storm Shelter's first project, a fact that plays into the naming of the place based on the saying, "This ain't my first rodeo." The taproom motif, though, takes the rodeo aspect a step further in drawing inspiration from local cowboy culture and the history of the Texas Prison Rodeo in Huntsville.

Beneath an expansive covered patio featuring a retractable roof, Second Rodeo's
outdoor design and decor matches that of Brain Storm Shelter's Truck Yard locations.

Along those lines, indoor areas at Second Rodeo have thematic touches like iron bars lining the stairways and balconies, tap handles with handcuffs, and a mock jail cell off in one corner (guests are asked to kindly refrain from using the cell's mock latrine!). Plus, if you've ever toured Alcatraz, you'll notice how the walls, painted signs, and light fixtures have a familiar jailhouse feel as well.

Outside, Second Rodeo is essentially an incarnation of Truck Yard, with Adirondack chairs, park benches, and an open-air stage set up underneath a retractable roof. The main difference being the absence of any actual trucks, as food (cheesesteaks, funkified chicken wings) will be served by way of self-service kiosks.

Regarding the beer, Brew Boss Dennis Wehrmann oversees brewing operations at Second Rodeo, just as he does at Beard Science. Production is taking place on a 15-barrel system, and while sour beers are the focus at Beard Science, a variety of styles will be brewed at Second Rodeo for consumption onsite or at other company locales.

Tap handles with handcuffs, a mock jail cell, and iron bars throughout are just
some of the elements brought together to create Second Rodeo's indoor jailhouse theme.

"We will have a total of 10 house beers on tap, and out of those, six will always be the same," says Wehrmann. "We will also brew for all the other Truck Yards in the Metroplex after we open."

In addition, visitors to the Stockyards will be allowed to purchase beer at Second Rodeo to enjoy anywhere on the grounds.

"We bought a little mobile-canning line to do some cans," says Wehrmann, "because the Stockyards is licensed for open containers, so you can take a beer and walk around."

Second Rodeo's equipment array includes a 15-barrel
brewhouse, stacked fermenters, and horizontal lagering tanks.

Patrons will be able to choose from a house beer lineup set to include a blonde ale, Mexican lager, amber ale, hefeweizen, dunkelweizen, and an IPA. Other options will consist of seasonal rotators, such as an Oktoberfest, and Beard Science offerings like the Sour House's cucumber lemon sour and hibiscus hard seltzer.

Beyond that, Second Rodeo will carry a stock of guest beers, spirits, and wine as part of its everyday drink menu.

As for when you can saddle up to Second Rodeo yourself, the spot is scheduled to open on Thursday, September 16. From there, the brewery/foodarama/live music venue will offer service daily beginning at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Truck Yard tapping 200 year-old kegs for Trucktoberfest

Image courtesy of Truck Yard.

In light of Dennis Wehrmann's recent move from his previous venture to Beard Science Sour House in The Colony, some may be curious as to the fate of annual Oktoberfest tappings drawn from his family's 200 year-old kegs. Well, wonder no more, as the Brew Boss will continue this popular pastime during Trucktoberfest events happening at Truck Yard locations in September.

“I’m excited to tap one of my personal 30-liter Oktoberfest kegs!" says Wehrmann. "Sharing this great tradition with Truck Yard is a great honor for me. The outdoor beer garden-style setting at Truck Yard is the perfect environment to enjoy something so special.”

According to a press release, the inaugural Trucktoberfest will feature a lineup of adult, kid, and dog-friendly activities including a stein holding contest, a pretzel eating contest, wiener dog races and a yodeling competition. And, there will of course be an Oktoberfest beer, with Truck Yard's take sharing the same name as the celebration.

“The 200+ year old wooden keg belonged to my great, great grandfather, who started our first family brewery in Germany in 1800," says Wehrmann. "We will fill the keg with our Oktoberfest beer, called 'Trucktoberfest,' that we brewed specially for this event. It is brewed as a traditional German Oktoberfest beer with German malt, hops and a Munich lager yeast. Enjoying this traditional German beer that is made locally alongside other local American and Oktoberfest beers at the event will certainly be a highlight for everyone."

Trucktoberfest takes place September 18-19 at Truck Yard Dallas and Truck Yard The Colony . The event is free to attend, but guests can click here to sign up for the various contests. To learn more, visit Truck Yard's social media channels for further details.

Ceremonial "Trucktoberfest" keg tapping schedule:

Saturday, September 18: Truck Yard The Colony at 2 p.m.
Sunday, September 19: Truck Yard Dallas at 3 p.m.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Bankhead now fermenting in Funkytown

Bankhead Fort Worth is open daily, with hours from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. (all images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

It's been nearly five years since Bankhead Brewing Co. opened its original concept in Rowlett during the fall of 2016. Named for the Bankhead Highway, one of the earliest transcontinental roadways in the nation, the brewpub has since remained an arguably underrated destination for good food coupled with solid, stylistic house beers.

In more recent times, the company has undergone a change in ownership. This event was followed by the announcement in April of plans to expand the business by taking over a space in Fort Worth previously occupied by Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Funkytown Fermatorium. Located at 611 University Dr. in the city's Cultural District, Bankhead Fort Worth opened on a soft basis in July, with an official grand opening taking place on August 1.

In tune with the brewpub's namesake, the Bankhead Highway, artwork and decor is inspired by the American automobile.

So, what's the new spot like? Well, to borrow a known's a case of second verse, same as the first. And really, this is an appropriate turn of phrase in more ways than one.

To begin with, former visitors of the Fermatorium will see many similarities when stepping foot into Bankhead Fort Worth. This is because the conversion of the ready-made restaurant and brewery was a turn-key transition. From the looks of it, the company simply swapped out the signage, along with elements of artwork and decor...and voila, a newly-branded brewpub.

Indoor murals portray popular Bankhead offerings like Adios Bitchachos, a Mexican lager.

As for Bankhead Fort Worth's primary attractions, that being the beer and food, fans of the Rowlett locale will feel a sense of familiarity as well. The culinary menu is much the same (pizzas, sandwiches, salads and soups), as is the standard portfolio of brewhouse offerings, the latter of which includes popular selections like Adios Bitchachos (Mexican lager) and Hoofer's Hef (German-style hefeweizen).

What this means is, Bankhead regulars can enjoy essentially the same experience regardless of whether they frequent the company's brewpub in Rowlett or Fort Worth. The atmosphere and setting may differ a bit, but once you settle into your surroundings you'll hardly notice, as you enjoy the quality and consistency that's been a hallmark of Bankhead's approach since day one.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Deep Ellum introduces Hop Seeker rotating IPA series

Image credits: CANarchy/Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas is embarking on a quest to track down the world's finest hops for inclusion in recipes designed for its new Hop Seeker rotating IPA series.

The first release in this line of beers is Hop Seeker West Coast IPA (7.3% ABV, 40 IBU). "Brewed for the hop-huggers, the lupulin lovers, and hopsplorers of every sort," Hop Seeker features Mosaic hops sourced from the Pacific Northwest. According to a press release, the resulting beer is said to start off gentle with fruity aromas, while finishing with piney bite.

“For this initial release we pulled inspiration from some of our favorite breweries on the west coast that are making huge waves with IPAs," says Brian Morris, head brewer at Deep Ellum. "Consider this a tribute to everything we love about the modern revival of the west coast IPA. Clear, crisp, and packed with some of our favorite hops.”

Hop Seeker West Coast IPA is available now on draft and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans all across Texas.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Familiar names among winners at 2021 USBTC summer competition

Image credits: United States Beer Tasting Championship, Oak Highlands Brewery, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Lakewood Brewing Co.

Building on recent wins at the 2020-21 winter edition of the United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC), Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland, Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas, and Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth secured additional honors at the organization's 27th Annual Summer Competition.

The USBTC's summer event drew 775 entries from 177 breweries, with these beers evaluated across 18 different style categories. From this pool, six North Texas beers from the above list of breweries were named Regional Champion in the Rockies/Southwest Division.

Local winners are summarized below, or you can click here for a full competition summary.

Lakewood Brewing Co., Garland

  • Lakewood Live - Vol 1, Regional Champion in the Belgian/French Specialty category.

  • Tipsy Goat, Regional Champion in the Bock/Doppelbock category.
  • Golden Mustache, Regional Champion in the Dortmunder/Helles category.
  • Summertime Wheat, Regional Champion in the Wheat Beer category.
  • Fritz's Funkberry, Regional Champion in the Sour Beer category.
  • Adios Pantalones, Regional Champion in the Session Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

903 Brewers to build spacious new facility in Sherman

903 Brewers is working with Method Architecture on the design of its
new home at 3232 Northgate Dr. in Sherman (903 Brewers/Method Architecture).

Big changes are in the works at 903 Brewers of Sherman, as the eight-year-old company is eyeing a major expansion aimed at sustaining current and future growth.

Central to the plan is the ground-up construction of a new, two-story facility on a five-acre plat at the northwest corner of Northgate Dr. and West FM 1417. The land comes courtesy of a grant from the City of Sherman and includes an additional five acres for future development.

A need for more production space is the catalyst behind the project, according to Jeremy Roberts, who founded 903 with wife Natalie. Once the build-out is complete, all operations will move to a more than 30,000-square-foot structure on the site, with 23,000 square feet allotted for production, and 7,000 square feet reserved for indoor public areas.

"We have outgrown our current facility," says Roberts. "The ceilings in our current production space are 14-feet high, while the ceilings in the new facility will be 30-feet tall. This will enable us to purchase much larger tanks that we will be able to store inside."

Along those lines, 903 intends to upgrade all facets its production setup to take advantage of the added headroom.

A covered patio along the east and north elevations of 903's new building will
provide 10,000 square feet of premium outdoor space (903 Brewers/Method Architecture).

"We are purchasing a new brewhouse from W.M. Sprinkman," says Roberts. "We will be adding tanks, and we have purchased Real Ale Brewing Co.'s old canning line. With the new space, we will have the capacity to brew up to 40,000 barrels of beer per year."

Regarding amenities, 903's new home will have a taproom and restaurant on the inside, with accessible areas on two floors. In fact, visitors will be able take a self-guided tour along pathways above the production floor, allowing for a bird's-eye view of the brewhouse.  On the outside, a covered patio will attach to front and side elevations of the building, spanning a total of 10,000 square feet.

Design-wise, visual elements of 903's original taproom are being carried over, which should provide a sense of familiarity for anyone who might be nostalgic about the old place.

"We are doing our best to keep the same feel," says Roberts. "Our architect is doing a great job keeping the red and white brick like our current taproom."

As for the timeline, Roberts hopes to break ground in September, with construction projected to take from 12 to 18 months.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Siren Rock taps craft beer with character in Rockwall

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Reaching the culmination of a four-year journey to fruition, Siren Rock Brewing Co. is open and now pouring its brand of "handcrafted beer" with "irresistible character" in Rockwall.

Founded by Cory and Eva Cannon, Siren Rock is described as a destination brewery, and its 13,000- square foot facility comes across as exactly such a thing. Considering the structure alone, the brewery's eye-catching exterior appears like a landmark of libations set against the backdrop of the city's historic downtown district.

Taproom seating options include stools at the bar, community tables, and cozy corner setups.

Within the grounds, all elements of the brewery have an expansive feel. Whether you choose to hang out inside the taproom, or in one of two outdoor beer gardens, you get the impression there's more than enough room to move around. Plus, there's an attention to detail throughout, with each public area being well-appointed and accommodating for patrons of all types.

Design detail also enters into the presentation of Siren Rock's beer portfolio, where the "character" aspect of the company's tagline is something to be taken literally. Identified as individual characters, each beer at Siren Rock has a personality, as evidenced by the imagery and naming of selections like The Prima Diva (American blonde ale), The Divine Monk (Belgian witbier) and, yes, even The Gentle Lover (peach double IPA).

Front-and-back beer gardens at Siren Rock feature shaded tables, cornhole boards and more.

Personally, I had full pours of The Fiery Rebel, a red rye ale, and The Magnetic Muse, a chocolate milk stout. If these and tasters of the house IPAs are any indication, visitors can expect to enjoy a range of well-crafted and approachable beers suitable for any season.

On that note, Siren Rock's full core lineup will eventually consist of 12 beers. Recipes are the realm of Hayes Cooper (formerly of Hofbräuhaus Chicago), Siren Rock's head brewer and vice president of production. Standards are brewed by Cooper on a 30-barrel system supplied by ABE Beverage Equipment, while taproom-only beers will emerge from a small-batch, three-barrel setup.

Left: A full pour of The Fiery Rebel, an "outlandishly malty" red rye ale.
Right: Stylistic options at Siren Rock include beers with American, Belgian and German influence.

As for other amenities, hard seltzers are being served for non-beer drinkers, with mojito lime, fruit punch, and pineapple mango among flavors available to sip on in Siren Rock's taproom. A full kitchen exists onsite as well, with culinary offerings being added daily.

All of this and more can be experienced at Siren Rock as the company operates on a soft basis with hours from 3-10 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday, and 12-10 p.m. on Friday-Sunday. An official grand opening event is also in the works, with festivities set to take place on Saturday, July 31.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Chambers Creek becomes Maypearl's first brewery

Chambers Creek couples with neighboring restaurant Hissy Fits to provide a one-stop
shop for beer and barbecue in Maypearl (All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The craft beer scene in North Texas continues to expand its reach geographically, as the newest brewery to open its doors has done so in the Ellis County town of Maypearl.

Founded by Lyle Chambers, the self-named Chambers Creek Brewing Co. slots into a spot at 319 N. Main St. in the city, along route FM-66. If the latter stretch sounds familiar, it's the road you take off I-35E to get to Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie. Except now, you go past the gates of the fair and drive on for another 10 miles.

Once you arrive in the heart of Maypearl, Chambers Creek is essentially the first thing you see, along with a neighboring business, Hissy Fits Barbeque. The two firms share the same structure, with the brewery now occupying a former gas station dating back to the 1940s.

On the space and setup, Chambers Creek is the epitome of a small-batch brewery in a small town. Maypearl's commercial district only extends a few blocks, with Chamber Creek's spot occupying just over 2000 square feet. Within those bounds, a pilot-sized brewing system is tucked behind a bar inside the main building, with a larger taproom area situated in the gas station's old garage.

Small-batch offerings during Chamber Creek's grand opening party included Dad Joke, a cream ale with an ABV of 5.7%.

Beyond that, an outdoor patio offers some additional streetside seating, though Chambers hopes to one day develop an area out back to provide more room to move around.

As for the liquids, four beers and a house-made pineapple and black cherry hard seltzer were on tap during grand opening festivities last weekend. Beer styles consisted of a bock, a cream ale, an IPA, and an oatmeal stout. Of those, Maypearl Bock (6.0% ABV, 16 IBU) was my favorite beer on the menu, thanks to its clean, dark and drinkable nature.

The bock is also billed as "the beer that started it all" for the brewery, which suggests it'll be a standard on the day-to-day tap list. Other beers are expected to rotate in regularly, with recipes for a Belgian tripel and a Vienna lager currently on Chamber Creek's radar.

Should you be thinking of making the trek yourself, Chambers Creek is open on Saturdays, with hours from 12-8 p.m. Be prepared to park on a patch of grass, if need be, and be sure to get there early to fuel up at Hissy Fits, as the food goes fast - I should know, since I arrived too late to grab some grub myself.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Sampling "beer" snacks you can buy at the store

"Beer" products now on sale at your local market (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

What's in a name? Well, if it's a food item found on local store shelves with "beer" in the name, you'd naturally expect to experience something beer-like in the flavor. The thing is, though, not every implied infusion actually contains beer.

For example, Mrs. Renfro's Craft Beer Salsa is made with beer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., a fellow Fort Worth business. Yet, on the coupling of two other Cowtown companies, there's not a drop of Martin House beer in a Best Maid Beer Pickle.

Indeed, on the grocery aisle, "beer" is a term to be taken either literally or figuratively, depending on the product. Even then, beer as an ingredient doesn't always translate to "beer" as a tasting note in the literal cases, while all bets are off when it comes to food items trying to be "beer-flavored" without the benefit of beer.

In any case, below you'll find notes on nine products for sale in North Texas with beer (or ale, porter, etc.) in the name or the ingredients. Some have beer, some don't. And, of course, some have the taste beer, while others taste like nothing of the sort.

Harpoon Alehouse Cheddar
:  For this product, cheese curds are soaked in both Harpoon IPA and Harpoon Dark (a Munich-style dunkel) from Harpoon Brewery of Massachusetts . The result is a firm, crumbly cheese with a strong flavor element likely attributable to the beer, though I don't really get the "hoppy" impression noted in the commercial description.

Maker: Vermont Farmstead Cheese Co. (South Woodstock, Vermont).

Purchased at: Market Street.

Red Dragon Cheddar Cheese with Wholegrain Mustard & Ale: Its packaging lists "ale" as an ingredient, but a further search suggests this cheese is blended with a Welsh brown ale. Red Dragon is a soft and creamy cheddar, with a well-balanced taste profile. A mild mustard flavor is most prominent, with a bit of brown ale coming out in the aftertaste.

Maker: Somerdale International (Wellington, Somerset, England).

Purchased at: Central Market.

Sierra Nevada Mustard
: Two varieties of mustard incorporating beers from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. of California are available on local shelves. The first, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Honey Spice Mustard, is sweet and spicy with an earthy element and a smooth texture. As for the other, Sierra Nevada Porter & Spicy Brown Mustard is bolder and grainier, coming across as a darker version of French's Spicy Brown Mustard.

Maker: Frank's Famous Foods (Lafayette, California).

Purchased at: Market Street.

Boardwalk Craft Beer Pretzels:
 Beer isn't among the ingredients, so we'll assume these Pilsner and Stout-flavored pretzels are designed to mimic the respective beers. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Either way, both are salty and sawdust-like at their core. The Pilsner pretzels are herbal with some sweetness, while the Stout pretzels have traces of brown sugar and cocoa powder, along with an intense, sort of dipped-in flat brown ale kind of flavor.

Maker: Boardwalk Food Co. (Sarasota, Florida).

Purchased at: Central Market.

Mrs. Renfro's Craft Beer Salsa
: Made with Texas Red American Amber from Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, Mrs. Renfro's Craft Beer Salsa is Pace-like, but more complex as it delivers a moderate kick with a noticeable malt sweetness in the finish.

Maker: Renfro Foods (Fort Worth, Texas).

Purchased at: Kroger.

Wackym's The Temptress Cookies: Infused with The Temptress Imperial Milk Stout from Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland, what emerges from this pairing is a chocolatey, malty butter cookie that makes for an ideal snack pairing with the beer for which it's named.

Maker: Wackym's Kitchen (Dallas, Texas).

Purchased at: Central Market.

Best Maid Beer Pickles
:  No beer is used in the pickling process for Best Maid's beer pickles. Instead, the company adds lemon and coriander to the brine to model the flavor profile of The Salty Lady from Martin House Brewing Co. of Fort Worth. What emerges is a tart, salty pickle with a hint of lemon essence.

Maker: Best Maid Pickles (Fort Worth, Texas).

Purchased at: Market Street, Best Maid Pickle Emporium.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Lakewood's latest is loaded up and truckin'

Special edition taproom-only crowler labels of The Bandit will
be available at the brewery on July 2 (Lakewood Brewing Co.).

Complete with limited edition (crowler) label imagery featuring Pontiac's classic Firebird Trans Am, Lakewood Brewing Co. is conjuring up memories of the movie Smokey and the Bandit  with its latest release, an American-style lager billed as The Bandit.

According to a press release, The Bandit is a nuanced, yet approachable beer that's light but not lacking in flavor or body. Moreover, The Bandit promises to be a "go-to by summer's end" as it helps to keep consumers' ever-present thirst at bay during the Texas heat.

“I’ve always be a fan of a certain beer from Colorado that you might find at fancy banquets,” says Justin Hatley, innovation brewer at Lakewood. “I tried to emulate that but with a touch more Saaz hops to bring a bit more aroma than an average American lager. And it's brewed with flaked rice instead of flaked corn. Not hoppy, but balanced. Clean and crisp.”

The Bandit is a draft-only release. Look for it on tap and in crowlers beginning this Friday, July 2, in the Lakewood Taproom. A statewide rollout is set to follow, with The Bandit arriving at draft accounts next week.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Oak Cliff readies first barrel-aged offering

Images courtesy of Oak Cliff Brewing Co.

Oak Cliff Brewing Co. is preparing a release which will represent a first for the Dallas-based firm in more ways than one.

"Bourbon Barrel Sombre is our very first venture into packaging and also our first barrel-aged beer, so we are very excited to get it out to D-FW craft beer drinkers," says Matthew Ayres, director of sales at Oak Cliff.

At its core, the beer is a barrel-aged version of Sombre, Oak Cliff's imperial stout brewed with house-made caramel sauce and vanilla. In this case, though, the base beer was altered slightly before aging to lower the ABV, making the finish smoother with a more balanced overall flavor.

"We took our staple imperial stout and put it into Jim Beam bourbon barrels in May of 2020, right in the thralls of the pandemic, when absolutely nothing was certain," says Ayres. "After letting it rest for a full 12 months, dark chocolate is the most forefront flavor, with other tasting notes including raisins, dried fruit, sherry and vanilla."

Bourbon Barrel Sombre will be sold primarily in 12-ounce, wax-dipped bottles.

As for how and when to get Bourbon Barrel Sombre, Oak Cliff is targeting an early July debut, with pricing and distribution taking a cue from the effects of the aforementioned pandemic.

"We are trying to price the beer as friendly as possible for people's wallets after the year we've all had," say Ayres. "Availability will almost exclusively be at independent mom-and-pop beer shops across D-FW, as well as at our brewery. Format will be 12-ounce, wax-dipped bottles, with a limited number of slim kegs going to accounts that were essential in keeping us alive and on our feet during 2020."

In other news, fans of Oak Cliff will be interested to know cans are also in the works for some of the brewery's most popular everyday beers. Not only that, Oak Cliff has six more barrel-aged releases planned for later this year, some of which will appear around the time of the brewery's third anniversary in September.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Local team places at 2021 National Homebrew Competition

Image credit: National Homebrew Competition/American Homebrewers Association.

The 2021 National Homebrew Competition (NHC) has concluded, with a North Texas team placing among the winners.

Recognized as the world's largest international amateur beer competition, this year's NHC drew more than 5,045 entries from 2,037 homebrewers located around the world. On June 19, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) awarded more than 120 medals in 40 categories to amateur brewers of beer, mead and cider.

From our local ranks, Jeff Poirot and Nicholas McCoy joined forces to place second among 101 competitors in the Specialty IPA category. Poirot and McCoy, who are members of the Draft Punk homebrew club, previously brought home awards in 2017 and 2018. On top of that, they were also named Team Homebrewers of the Year at the 35th Annual Bluebonnet Brew Off, held earlier this year.

Looking back, NHC winners in prior years who have gone on to brew professionally include Clifton Ellis (2017), currently of Edgewise Eight Brewing in Weatherford, and Damon Lewis (2009, 2010), formerly of Cedar Creek Brewery in Seven Points.

For more, click here for a complete list of winners.

Lakewood drops Big D IPA #002

Images courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

In February, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland introduced a new line of double dry-hopped IPAs dubbed "Big D." Now, the Big D IPA series is back with its second installment, Big D IPA #002.

According to a press release, Big D IPA #002 (8% ABV) is dry-hopped with a mix of Lotus, Azacca and Sultana hops. This is said to result in a "remarkably refreshing and quaffable" beer with notes of orange zest, caramelized pineapple, and fresh vanilla.

“My goal was to brew a beer for, honestly, me!” says Justin Hatley, innovation brewer at Lakewood. “As a huge fan, I wanted to find the best of both worlds when it comes to IPAs, bridging the gap from the traditional New-England style hazy with its strong fruit forward flavor, and the West-Coast tradition of crisp, bitter dankness. Big D IPA#002 is the perfect marriage of both, complimenting instead of compromising on the vision of each!”

Big D IPA #002 is currently available statewide on draft and in four-packs of 12-ounce cans.

Friday, June 18, 2021

On Rotation now flight ready at The Braniff Centre

A mural behind the brewhouse depicts the Dallas skyline as seen from the south end of Love Field (All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The move from its original location in Lakewood is now complete, as the "craft beer laboratory" known as On Rotation has officially landed at The Braniff Centre at Love Field. With the new digs comes a new business model, which is reflected in the company's new name - On Rotation Brewery & Kitchen.

Adding an on-site kitchen, of course, is the new spin. And as the name implies, the food at On Rotation is expected to share equal billing with the brewery aspect.

“By taking our time and working with people who know the food business well, we were able to put together a menu that we feel works with almost any flavor we have on tap,” says Lindsay Sloan, co-owner of On Rotation. “From the very beginning, we never wanted our food to come second, which is why we didn’t open a kitchen in our first location. The menu we’ve put together shows you we were serious about that. The food is an equal part of the experience.”

Summing up On Rotation Brewery & Kitchen in three words - chicken, biscuits and beer.
Left: Chicken Tenders with Five Sauce Selections. Center: Thai Peanut Chicken Sandwich. Right: Biscuits with Honey & Jam.

Led by Devin McFarland (formerly of The Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Lucia Dallas and Top Knot), On Rotation's food program centers on gluten-friendly fried chicken. Menu options include bone-in chicken plates, tenders, sandwiches and salads, with offerings intended to complement whatever stylistic twists and turns arise from the brewhouse.

“We have a range of flavors to work with between the tap list, our menu, and our housemade sauces,” says McFarland, kitchen manager at On Rotation. “And, beyond just what you can order day one, we’re going to be able to do some very special things when we host beer dinners and more adventurous pairings.”

As for the brewpub's practice of frequently rotating an array of small-batch beers, things are expected to remain much the same in that department. 

"We wanted to keep the setup as a three-barrel system, so we started with the same equipment - the same brewhouse and the same original fermenters out front," says Jacob Sloan, co-owner of On Rotation. "We added two sets of stacked tanks to take advantage of the high ceilings, and also a canning line. So, we'll start doing cans to fill up the fridges out front for beer to-go."

Seating options at On Rotation Brewery & Kitchen are available indoors throughout the taproom, or outdoors within three distinct patio areas.

Dan Heinzerling (formerly of Humperdinks Restaurant & Brewery) is heading up brewing operations, bringing with him over 20 years of experience in the industry.  He's got the system running full-bore to start, with two IPAs, a dry-hopped pilsner, and a seltzer currently occupying On Rotation's four fermenters.

Those beers are set to fill one of 40 slots on the brewpub's tap wall. Breaking them down, on Rotation will eventually serve selections from 37 standard taps, along with two others on nitro, and then a Lukr side-pour faucet providing for a slow pour pils.

Once staffing levels allow, look for On Rotation Brewery & Kitchen to be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. For now, though, the brewpub will open only for dinner Tuesday through Sunday beginning next week.