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.