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.