Thursday, December 29, 2022

2022 Year in review: The North Texas beer scene soldiers on

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One year ago, North Texas seemed on the cusp of eclipsing 100 breweries for the first time in history. Local brewers were still navigating a business climate impacted by the pandemic, but somehow nearly all managed to keep the beer flowing. Only three closures were recorded in 2021, which seemed remarkable considering the predictions of doom and gloom passed around by industry pundits the year before.

That said, some believe bills deferred could still be coming due, which means the ultimate tale of the pandemic and its impact may yet to be told. Case in point, pandemic pressures were specifically cited in the majority of the seven closures occurring throughout 2022.

Still, with six new openings, the local industry didn't take a step back as much as it simply held steady over the course of the last 12 months. As a result, the century mark still looms, but it remains to be seen if brewers will be able to sustain and build on current numbers in the face of market headwinds stemming from supply chain issues, cost inflation, staffing challenges and more.

So, who opened and who closed in 2022? Moreover, who's making moves to take their business to the next level? All will be revealed below, along with the annual economic snapshot, a short summary of storylines from the year in beer, and my usual rundown of favorite local pours.

The Business of Beer - Local Dealings

If there's one thing we've learned in recent times, it's that visiting a brewery is no longer just about bellying up to the bar for a pint of freshly-brewed beer. Indeed, the taproom experience has become a focal point, which makes sense considering it's where breweries stand to make the most profit on their output.

With that in mind, the 2021 year-in-review piece brought up how breweries were taking steps to attract new customers, expanding beverage offerings to include hard seltzer and/or kombucha, while also adding guest ciders and wines to their menus. And, let's not forget those non-alcoholic options for the little ones, designated drivers, or those who simply prefer not to drink and just want to hang out with the crowd.

Nevertheless, while a diverse lineup of drinks is a good thing, the availability of other attractions may be what keeps patrons from finishing a pint or a quick flight, then seeking further diversions elsewhere.

Along those lines, providing dedicated on-site food service is one way production breweries have supplemented operations the last couple of years, something in evidence with the 2022 introductions of the Taproom Eatery at Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland in July, and the Restaurant & Beer Garden at Wild Acre Brewing of Fort Worth in October.

Incidentally, changes at Wild Acre came to pass after Bishop Cider Co. of Dallas acquired the company's assets in May. Plans called for a renewed brand focus centered around the brewery's original El Paso St. location. With that, Wild Acre's Camp Bowie brewpub and a future Fairview site were passed on to new ownership. After rebranding, Boozie's Brewery & Gourmet Sandwiches of Fort Worth will be the first of these two entities to open on January 2.

Surveying other incremental upgrades undertaken in 2022, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café of Fort Worth unveiled The Back Room, an adults-only speakeasy attachment in September, while Say When Brewing Co. of Denison welcomed visitors into a comfortable and characterful new taproom setting in October.

Then, of course, there are cases where desired enhancements don't fit a brewery's existing space. Here, owners work from fresh blueprints to design all-new destinations with food, drinks, entertainment and other amenities available on site (think concert venues, vendor markets, expanded greenspaces, etc.). The sizable new campus premiered by Community Beer Co. of Dallas in February fits the mold, as will new large-scale facilities in the works for 903 Brewers of Sherman, Tupps Brewery of McKinney, and Rollertown Beerworks of Celina (in Frisco).

Expansion takes a different form for breweries pursuing satellite locations, where new customers are attracted through increased brand visibility. Cowtown Brewing Co. of Fort Worth went this route with the March opening of its Southlake taproom, with others to follow in the coming year as 3 Nations Brewing Co. of Carrollton establishes a presence in Anna, and Bankhead Brewing Co. of Rowlett builds its third locale in Farmers Branch.

Beyond that, Union Bear Brewing Co. of Plano is also at work on expansion ideas, and there are rumblings Manhattan Project Beer Co. of Dallas is considering a second spot as well. Oh, and don't be surprised if a recently-celebrated East Dallas brewpub suddenly announces the imminent opening of a second location on the opposite side of town.

As for other goings on, two firms currently operating under an alternating proprietorship at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine are hoping to construct their own brick-and-mortar buildings in the near future: Toasty Bros. of Denton, and Happy Hippie Brewing Co. of Richardson.

The Business of Beer - Statewide Statistics 

Brewers Association data from 2021 shows Texas ranking sixth in production nationally, with 1.14 million barrels of beer produced (up from 1.02 million in 2020). The state's total brewery count of 406 is 7th-best, but per capita numbers still lag (rising to 2 from 1.8 in 2020) as Texas continues to linger towards the bottom with a ranking of 47 in this category.

Moving on to total economic impact, Texas ranked third (steady compared to 2020), contributing over $4.9 billion to the economy. The state's brewing industry employed nearly 30,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2021 (up from 24,000 in 2020), paying almost $1.5 billion in wages and benefits, with an average annual salary of $49,984.

Image: Brewers Association.

Comings and Goings

For the first time since 2013, openings in North Texas numbered in the single digits, with only six new brewing companies debuting in 2022. Not only that, closures exceeded openings for the first time since the dawn of the modern craft beer boom (an era beginning with the opening of Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas in late 2011). It's worth mentioning, though, that the facilities of at least four reported closures will live on under new ownership as noted below.

Much like last year, new breweries are sprouting up in primarily suburban areas, with only a single new operation taking root in the larger cities of Dallas or Fort Worth in 2022 (10 out of 14 new openings in 2021 were in the suburbs). This trend is expected to continue, as the majority of the more than 20 future projects in development are being built in the 'burbs (click here for a list of breweries either under construction or in the planning stage).

Certainly, some upstarts are driven by a desire to operate outside of the competitive epicenters, but economic incentives are playing a role as well, as local governments look to attract businesses that will hopefully bring in more out-of-town visitors.

As for the total numbers entering 2023, there are now 93 active brewing companies in North Texas. Take into account side projects and breweries with multiple locations, and that translates to 91 different brands of local beer available for sale in the market.

Openings:

Brand Debuts (not counted as a new opening):

Brand Revivals (not counted as a new opening).

New Locations (not counted as a new opening):
Permanent Closures:
  • Motorboat Brewing Co., Addison.
           - Was operating under an alternating proprietorship with Bitter Sisters Brewery of Addison.
  • Wild Acre Camp Bowie, Fort Worth.
           - New ownership in place, re-branding as Boozie's Brewery & Gourmet Sandwiches.

Source: Individual research.

The Year in Beer 
  • Heady local headlines

    January - Long-time Dallas brewery snatched up in Monster deal: Monster Beverage Corporation, maker of Monster Energy drinks, acquired CANarchy Craft Beer Collective, LLC in a move which includes the assets of Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas.

    March - Sour house shows its spontaneous side: Beard Science Sour House of The Colony debuted its Wild Sour, a beer featuring a complex mix of flavors derived from spontaneous fermentation.

    May - North Texas gets taste of first locally-crafted NA beer: Produced by Community Beer Co. of Dallas, Nada is a non-alcoholic IPA brewed with Mosaic, Sabro and Simcoe hops. The beer went on to win a silver medal in the Non-Alcoholic Beer category at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival.

    May - Pantera plays to craft beer crowd: The legendary metal band from Arlington expanded its relationship with Texas Ale Project of Dallas, announcing a new limited-edition series of Pantera-branded beers.

    July - A hot dog-flavored hard seltzer? What's the wurst that could happen? National media attention, Oscar Mayer offering a hot dog hook-up and more...all in a day's work at Martin House Brewing Co. of Fort Worth.

    July - North Texans can finally get Hammer-ed at retail: Well, Velvet Hammer-ed, that is. After a decade in business, Peticolas Brewing Co. of Dallas began limited retail distribution.

    September - Dallas beer honors Holocaust survivor: Jerzy, a Polish-style lager, from Celestial Beerworks of Dallas celebrated the life of Jerry Rawicki, a Holocaust survivor and grandfather to two members of the Celestial family.

    December - Reviving a local legend: Turning Point Beer of Bedford released Apricot Petite Golden Sour from The Collective Brewing Project, reproducing the recipe using equipment acquired from the former Fort Worth brewery.

  • Trending topics

    For today...

    If there was a trending style in 2022, it might be Cold IPA. Originally brewed by Wayfinder Beer of Oregon, Cold IPAs are designed to be dry, hoppy and bitter, with a crisp, clean finish. They are low gravity beers fermented at warmer temperatures with a lager yeast, while incorporating flaked rice and/or corn in the grist. Feel free to insert your own thoughts about how a Cold IPA is warm (like a Black IPA is dark, pale ale).

    North Texas breweries that have dabbled in the style since late 2021: Celestial Beerworks, Denton County Brewing Co., False Idol Brewing, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café, HopFusion Ale Works, Manhattan Project Beer Co., Oak Highlands Brewery, On Rotation, Soul Fire Brewing Co., Siren Rock Brewing Co., Turning Point Beer, Vector Brewing.

    Available now (according to the latest tap lists): Denton County Texas Cold Front, False Idol Energy (multiple variants), Manhattan Project Cold War.

    For tomorrow...

    Non-alcoholic beers are showing up more and more as a trending topic, but North Texas brewers have yet to hop on this particular bandwagon. Issues with cost, complexity, and the need for additional equipment, along with concerns about shelf life are perhaps the among reasons why the category has been slow to develop locally.

    Outside of Community Nada IPA, perhaps the only non-alcoholic beer to be released by a North Texas brewery, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café explored the low ABV (< 1%) realm with a low-alcohol barrel-aged peanut butter stout called All the Fluff, None of the Fun.

  • Not enough Noise in North Texas

    Only two area breweries, both based in Fort Worth, chose to participate in the Brave Noise effort. This collaboration originated in 2021 with the goal of fostering a safe and discrimination-free beer industry.

    Fort Brewery & Pizza released their take on Brave Noise Pale Ale in May, with proceeds supporting The Ladder Alliance. Neutral Ground Brewing Co. followed with their beer in June, which benefitted The Women's Center of Tarrant County.

  • Ten-year toasts on tap for 2023

    The list of names celebrating 10-year anniversaries in 2022 consisted of Peticolas, Lakewood, Cedar Creek, Revolver and Four Corners. From that group, products locals have been drinking for a decade include Four Corners Local Buzz, Peticolas Velvet Hammer, Revolver Blood & Honey, Elliot's Phoned Home Pale Ale from Cedar Creek, and The Temptress from Lakewood.

    Celebrating 10 years in 2023: Community Beer Co. of Dallas, Martin House Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, and 903 Brewers of Sherman.

  • North Texas award winnersClick here to review award-winning beers from 2022, with competition results from the Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, Texas Craft Brewers Cup, Best of Craft Beer Awards, North American Brewers Association International Beer Awards, United States Beer Tasting Championship, U.S. Open Beer Championship, U.S. Open Hard Seltzer Championship and more.

  • The 2022 list of Beer in Big D's preferred pours (new-to-market, or newly-discovered beers some blogger particularly enjoyed): 903 Almond Cookie Stout, Division DIBS, False Idol Perceptual Contortion, Lakewood Lion's Share X, Maple Branch Ringleader Barrel-Aged Doppelbock, Oak Cliff Red Wine Barrel Sombre, Odd Muse Barrel-Aged Woodpecker Lips, Pegasus City Brewha Flanders Red Ale, Rollertown The Magic Number 3, Vector Apfelholz Smoked Helles.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Pathfinder Brewery to close in Hudson Oaks

Image credit: Pathfinder Brewery.

Pathfinder Brewery has announced it will close, the news coming just short of two and a half years after the company opened in Hudson Oaks.

A project conceived from the ground up, Pathfinder was founded by Eric and Giancarla Addison. Its name was a reflection of the brewery's goal to present its beers in such a way as to help guide patrons along a chosen path in their craft beer journey.

According to a social media post, "between the massive increase in the value of the property, and the incredible increase in the costs of making beer," the owners decided it was "no longer desirable to operate a craft brewery."

Pathfinder's final day of operations will be Sunday, December 18. The property is for lease or sale, with brewing equipment available for purchase as well. Those interested should contact eric@pathfinderbrewery.com.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Rollertown tracking a new future in Frisco

Image courtesy of Rollertown Beerworks.

Over the past year, the City of Frisco has been actively working to secure a brewery (or breweries) within its borders. And, while two projects have already been announced, the most ambitious yet may come from a newly-formed partnership with Rollertown Beerworks of Celina.

Founded by Ben Rogers and Jeff 'Skin' Wade, hosts of "The Ben & Skin Show" on 97.1 The Freak, Rollertown is a relatively young company, having just opened in April 2020. Even so, an eye towards expansion has been in place from the very start.

"When we originally opened this spot in Celina, it was always meant to be a temporary location," says Jonathan Rogers, CEO of Rollertown. "Eventually, we were planning to move and occupy another building on this block, but once the pandemic hit, we realized lot of the people coming to the brewery are traveling to get here."

With that in mind, Rollertown began considering its options. Factoring into the equation was the idea that just like I-635 is considered "The Wall" for downtown dwellers, US-380 presents as a similar sort of barrier for suburbanites. In other words, patrons are perhaps only willing to go so far in the pursuit of better beer.

The talk then turned to Frisco as a destination, especially in light of the fact both the Dallas Cowboys and PGA Tour have recently relocated their headquarters to the city. Now you can add Rollertown to the mix, as the brewery looks to join those entities in being a draw for out-of-town entertainment traffic.

So, what will a new Rollertown HQ look like? Concepts are early in development, but Rollertown's vision for the future will be realized on a roughly 2.6-acre tract of land along Main St., between John W. Elliot Dr. and First St. in Frisco's Rail District. Active tracks run alongside the site, which shares space with the Frisco Grain Elevators. It's a fitting locale, given how the Rollertown name stems from when the railroad was built, and local businesses had to literally roll their buildings closer to the rail line in order to survive.

Once work is complete, the multi-faceted facility will represent quite an upgrade compared to Rollertown's current digs. In addition to a dedicated 11,000 square foot production space anchored by a 60-barrel brewhouse (up from the seven-barrel system employed in Celina), plans call for the construction of a separate 13,000 square foot, two-story structure to house the brewery's taproom and a rooftop deck.

Additional indoor features will include upwards of three resident food vendors, these set up in a miniature food hall-type environment. There will also be a seven-barrel brewing system installed in the taproom for the exploration of more offbeat recipe designs from the mind of head brewer Tommy Miller and potential collaborators.

"We're going to build a very experimental setup in the main taproom, with foeders and other kinds of tanks to brew with different techniques," says Miller. "We'll probably have about 50 taps, just doing tons of crazy stuff in there, while the big production facility in the back is going to be pumping out lagers."

Miller also hopes the small-batch system can be used as a tool to help reconnect with homebrewers. The purpose being to dedicate time to the culture and community that got the industry started in the first place, with the ultimate goal to help foster the next generation of North Texas craft brewers.

"Nobody has really taken up the mantle of the homebrewer since the demise of Brew Riot and Deep Ellum's Labor of Love, and that's kind of a shame," says Miller. "We want to have homebrewing clubs come in to brew a batch together and put it on tap, and we want to get back to having bigger homebrew competitions."

Regarding the makeup of the exterior grounds at Rollertown in Frisco, much attention will be paid to outdoor amenities as well, with the intention of giving patrons and their pets plenty of room to move around.

"Between two green spaces, we'll have about 30,000 square feet of turfed-off area," says Rogers. "It'll be fantastic for families, with an outdoor biergarten, a stage/pavilion and more, and it will allow us to host bigger and better events."

Naturally, concerts and large-scale beer festivals (think curated events like Festicle at Braindead, but on a grander scale) are on the agenda, but to hear Rollertown tell it, they have aspirations to leverage the venue to produce even crazier, spectacle-like gatherings.

As for the motivation behind it all, clearly such a move will make Rollertown much more available and accessible to a wider audience. Beyond that, though, it comes down to demonstrating a commitment to a couple of core concepts at Rollertown: inclusivity and opportunity.

"We'll have greater opportunities to team up with the right kinds of partners to celebrate the culture behind our events, like with the Japanese consulate for our Sumo wrestling exhibition, or the German consulate for Oktoberfest," says Rogers. "We want to do things the right way, because it allows for education and enrichment, which is what we're all about."

A timeline for the design and construction of Rollertown Frisco is still being established. The Celina brewery and taproom is expected to continue operations as normal throughout the development cycle and beyond.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

3 Nations opening satellite location in Anna

Image credit: 3 Nations Brewing Co.

Taking the next step in its evolution, 3 Nations Brewing Co. of Carrollton has announced the intention to open a satellite brewery and taproom in the City of Anna.

First arriving on the scene in 2015, 3 Nations began operations in Farmers Branch before making a big move to a much bigger spot in Downtown Carrollton late in 2019. Now, the company is looking to expand its reach, while also becoming the first business of its kind to reside in Anna.

So, what's behind the move?  According to business manager John Royer, there are multiple reasons to open a satellite taproom in the right places.

"Number one, it extends our brand.  [More] people get to experience 3 Nations," says Royer. "In addition, we make more money selling in our taproom than through distribution per unit.  Due to inflation, cans/lids/PakTechs, labels, case trays and grain have all gone up a bunch.  Our price, to date, has not gone up.  So, this is another opportunity to extend our brand AND create an additional revenue source."

The focus of the project is an existing structure located at 101 S. Powell Parkway in Anna. Formerly utilized as a police and finance facility for the city, the 5,200 square foot building will be renovated to bring it in line with the company's charter of being "a brewery focused on brewing good beer and creating a fun environment for the community."

Among the expected amenities, a small-batch brewing system will produce unique beers onsite, while the addition of an outdoor patio space is in the plans as well.

Look for the Anna location of 3 Nations Brewing Co. to open sometime around June 2023.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Say When Brewing swings open doors to new taproom in Denison

Image/Logo: © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D, Say When Brewing.

Since its market debut in January 2021, Say When Brewing Co. of Denison has operated as a production-only entity. A new taproom addition, however, means patrons are now able to visit the brewery's location, which sits just steps away from the city's downtown district at 111. S. Fannin Ave.

When owner Jason Fulenchek introduced the Say When brand last year, he did so with a portfolio of stylistic offerings: Local Motive IPA, Oatmeal Blonde and Texas Penny Copper Ale. The trio was first tapped at Green Growler, a nearby beer and wine bar in Denison (currently relocating), and from there the Say When name has turned up on tapwall menus at dozens of draft accounts across the northeastern part of the Metroplex.

Now, of course, Say When has a tapwall of its own. Housing more than 25 taps, three of these are currently occupied by the aforementioned beers, along with two further options - Dawn of Eternal Peace (a toasty and tasty German-style märzen), and Say When Stout (a Russian imperial stout described as "velvet pajamas in a glass").

As for the rest of taproom and its surroundings, the public and production areas at Say When exist in a unified space filling roughly 4500 square feet. And it's a comfortable and characterful setting to say the least, with dark wood furnishings and old-world accents adding to the feel of a structure built in the 1920s. Plus, the eye appeal is further enhanced by stained glass windows calling attention to the city's past as an early connection on the Katy Railroad (a.k.a. the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, or the MKT).

Something else notable about Say When is how it seems to play the part of a hometown, neighborhood pub perfectly. One reason was a gathering of Denison locals, whose ranks remained steady as residents shuttled in and out during a pleasant Saturday afternoon. Some stopped for a quick beer, while others pulled up a chair to join in on a bit of casual conversation.

What sealed it, though, was when one of the owners of Green Growler was met with a collective chorus of "Norm!" upon entry, apparently having already established himself as the modern-day version of the ever-present barfly character from the long-running television series, Cheers. This scene giving the impression that the people of Denison have a place to go where everybody knows their name.

Should you wish to down a pint with the denizens of Denison yourself, Say When is currently operating its taproom on a soft basis, with hours Friday and Saturday. An official Opening Weekend celebration is set for early next month, with festivities beginning on Friday, November 4.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Two former Wild Acre brewpubs re-branding as Boozie's

Image credit: Boozie's Restaurant Group.

According to a social media post, plans have been revealed for the re-branding of two brewpubs formerly under the umbrella of Wild Acre Brewing Co. of Fort Worth.

In May of this year, Bishop Cider of Dallas announced the acquisition of assets belonging to Wild Acre. And at the time, it was noted that Bishop Cider's path forward involved only the continued operation of Wild Acre's original brewery and taproom on El Paso St.

Regarding the brewpubs - Wild Acre Camp Bowie and a planned location in Fairview, they transitioned to a new ownership group including Chip Stroup, director of operations for Boozie's, and David Hollister, who served as food and beverage director at Wild Acre Camp Bowie. The partners intend to move ahead with a new head brewer and a new brand name.

Once the process is complete, Wild Acre Camp Bowie will become Boozie's Brewery & Gourmet Sandwiches. This locale will maintain the menu as-is, with the only planned changes being expanded hours, a revamped audio/video system and the addition of mixed beverages.

As for the Fairview spot, it will take on the name Boozie's Brewery & Texas Fare. Culinary offerings will differ, with steaks, chops and other items presumably-inspired by the Lone Star State.

Brewing operations at both sites will be overseen by Bobby Mullins, co-founder of Armadillo Ale Works, which closed earlier this year in Denton. Mullins is a multi-award-winning brewer, having won four medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup combined. One of his creations, a mesquite bean blonde ale called Honey Please, is one of only two beers from North Texas to ever win a gold medal at both competitions.

Boozie's Brewery & Gourmet Sandwiches will remain closed at 6473 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth during the transition, with an expected re-opening in early November 2022. A timeline for Boozie's Brewery & Texas Fare, to debut at 311 Town Place in Fairview, has not yet been shared.

Friday, October 14, 2022

A ten-year toast to the Temptress

Image credit: Lakewood Brewing Co.

Fresh off the celebration of its tenth anniversary, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is now a member of a select group. The company is one of only eight active breweries (more will join the list in 2023) to reach what is historically a rare milestone. Since 1857, the year the first known brewery was making beer in North Texas, less than 10% of those who opened have made it to the ten-year mark.

My introduction to Lakewood came when I met founder Wim Bens at a beer festival in early 2011. This was more than a year before the brewery made its debut in August 2012. Bens mentioned he was seeking feedback on test batches for styles being considered for Lakewood's opening day lineup. Subsequent meetings at Homebrew Headquarters followed, which led to my first taste of Temptress Imperial Milk Stout in June 2011.

Temptress was one of two stout recipes in the running, the other being a beer called King Henry. They originated from a split batch, Temptress finished with a London ale yeast prior to being sweetened with lactose and vanilla post-fermentation. King Henry, on the other hand, was unsweetened and fermented with a Belgian yeast.

Based on early returns, Bens would say, "We're leaning towards the Temptress."

Now 11 years later, Temptress has been a staple of Lakewood's portfolio since day one. And, according to sales director Kyle Jordan, it's the #1 selling craft stout in Texas (based on recent IRI data). Retail shipments of the beer total just under 23,000 cases per year, on average (draft sales are not included in this number).

Temptress itself is a rare breed as well, being one of only a handful of North Texas beers to be in continuous production for 10 years or more. Such longevity is impressive, considering how breweries must now operate in a market where consumers demand fresh, new releases on a daily basis.

Of course, it helps that Lakewood has kept things interesting for the whole of the last decade. Temptress has spawned over 10 different commercial varieties (not counting taproom one-offs), the best-selling versions since 2016 being Peanut Butter Temptress and French Quarter Temptress, in that order. It also forms the basis of one of the area's most sought-after barrel-aged beers, Bourbon Barrel Temptress.

Oh, and let's not forget the baked goods. Wackym's Kitchen, a locally-owned and operated bakery, took the beer and turned it into a confection, launching The Temptress cookies in May 2019.

Looking back over my notes from that initial tasting in 2011, I expressed the opinion that milk/sweet stouts were an under-represented style. At the time, this was certainly true since the only other one around was Left Hand Milk Stout -  an iconic representation of the style on the national level.

Well, after ten years of tempting local craft beer drinkers with its chocolatey goodness, I think it's fair to say Temptress is on its way to being recognized in a similar manner. That is, as one of the iconic beers of North Texas.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Funky Picnic reveals winners from their Smoke ‘Em Out Homebrew Competition

Image courtesy of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.

Funky Picnic Brewery & Café has announced the winners from its inaugural Smoke ‘Em Out Homebrew Competition. Announced in July, the first-of-its-kind event was a collaboration between Funky Picnic and TexMalt, a fellow Funkytown firm that specializes in the production of locally-malted grains.

Area homebrewers submitted 24 beers to the competition, with entries ranging from traditional rauchbiers to smoky sour concoctions. Recipes were designed around a quantity of smoked San Jacinto 2-Row Heritage Malt, supplied by TexMalt.

A panel of eight judges, consisting of homebrewers, maltsters, general smoke beer enthusiasts and professional brewers from across Dallas-Fort Worth, narrowed those entries down to the top three. Winning beers, along with a Brewer's Choice selection are listed below. The Brewer's Choice honoree will brew the winning recipe at Funky Picnic, who will then release the beer in their taproom on a future date.

1st Place: Smoked English Porter, John Skelton.
2nd Place:  Smoked Irish Red Ale, Big Country Homebrewers Association.
3rd Place:  Juniper Berry Mixed-Fermentation Smoke Beer, Joshua Hayes.

Brewer's Choice: Smoked Irish Red Ale, Big Country Homebrewers Association.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

2022 Great American Beer Festival celebrates 40 years of beer

Cheers to 40 years of beer at GABF (Photos © Brewers Association)!

Returning to its normal in-person format after two years of being competition-only, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) celebrated its 40th anniversary this weekend in Denver, Colorado. The event, which began in 1982 with just 24 breweries in attendance, played host to nearly 500 breweries in 2022.

The latter number was down significantly from pre-Covid times, when roughly 800 breweries were on hand in 2019. Attendance was limited for patrons as well, but even with curbs in place the Thursday night session was the first in recent memory not to sell out.

This resulted in a smaller event on paper, though it didn't feel less crowded considering the festivities took place in a smaller section of the Colorado Convention Center. Lines seemed longer at popular booths - think Dogfish Head, Firestone Walker and Russian River, not to mention the annual gathering of the masses for a microscopic pour of Utopias from the folks at Samuel Adams. 

Lower attendance also extended to local participants, with only four North Texas breweries present and pouring at the festival - 903 Brewers of Sherman, Denton County Brewing Co. of Denton, Peticolas Brewing Co. of Dallas and Twin Peaks Brewing Co. of Irving. While each enjoyed steady traffic, 903 was noticeably busy as it served a variety of slushy beers and sweet stouts to a lengthy and persistent queue.

An expanding presence outside of Texas has helped to raise the visibility of 903, as the brewery now distributes to over ten states in the country (with more to come). Plus, 903 was one of at least two hometown breweries to hold events at Denver accounts this weekend. The other being False Idol Brewing Co. of North Richland Hills, a group that is quietly working to build a larger out-of-state distribution network as well.

Regarding trends, while IPAs remain king, lighter beers seemed more in vogue this year. Given the season, you'd expect to find plenty of märzen and Oktoberfest beers, and there are always pilsners-a-plenty, but to my eyes Mexican-style lagers were also much more in abundance. There certainly didn't seem to be as many stouts (only a handful of which were of the pastry variety), and forget about finding any barleywines - I think I tried every one of the half-dozen or so listed on the MyGABF app. I guess bigger isn't better in the current market environment, though I did find a few gems...

Favorite beers included an Oak Barrel-Aged Flanders Red Ale from Moody Tongue Brewing Co. of Illinois (the ONLY Flanders on the floor), Kelly's Private Stash Barrel-Aged Barley Wine from Third Eye Brewing Co. of Ohio, and Sandstone Whiskey Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter from Well 80 Artisan Brewing of Washington. Oh, and for the obligatory IPAs - Spirit of the West from Westbound & Down Brewing Co. of Colorado, and Polar Bear Toenails from Precarious Beer Project of Virginia (both medal winners in 2022).

As for the competition, local results and a rundown of key numbers can be found below. Following that, I offer up my regular roundup of select taprooms I visited outside the festival.

Cheers! 


Competition results

Judges evaluated 9,904 beers from 2,154 breweries during this year's competition, awarding 300 medals across 177 style categories. Once again, IPA categories garnered the greatest number of entries, with "American Style IPA" taking the lead, followed by "Juicy or Hazy IPA." Rounding out the top five were three German-based styles, those being "German-Style Pilsener," "German Wheat Ale," and "German-Style Maerzen."

Six breweries from North Texas brought home medals, which is the most area wins in a single year since 2015. For those curious, the graphic below shows how the region has fared overall at GABF since the start of the modern craft beer boom.

Source: Individual research.

First time winners in 2022 included 3 Nations Brewing Co. of Carrollton, Edgewise Eight Brewing of Weatherford, Maple Branch Craft Brewery of Fort Worth, and Windmills of The Colony. Among repeat honorees, Community Beer Co. of Dallas landed its sixth GABF medal, while White Rock Alehouse & Brewery of Dallas snagged its second.

Incidentally, the White Rock win is notable in that it occurred in the highly-competitive and second-most entered category, "Juicy or Hazy IPA," where it went up against 374 other hoppy brews.

Gold

  • Windmills for Sonidero - American Amber Lager.

Silver

Bronze


Founders Stuart and Allyssa Maples and crew from Maple Branch Craft Brewery gather to celebrate their win (left), while owner Kevin Carr (right)
offers a thumbs-up after receiving Community Beer Co.'s award at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival (Photos © Brewers Association).

Taproom trips

  • My first brewery visit outside the festival was to what might best be referred to as the church of Colorado Springs craft beer. Local Relic Artisan Ales is part of a cooperative space set up inside a former church, which also houses a restaurant, along with wine and cocktail bars. Creative house beers at Local Relic are poured alongside a curated selection of guest taps - which on this particular day included beers from Jester King Brewery of Austin.
Local Relic's beers are available on tap, or in bottles to go. (Photos © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).
  • Continuing explorations I began last year with a visit to Cabin Creek Brewing in Georgetown, Colorado, I once again sought out destinations with a bit of outdoor ambiance. Having good beer is one thing, but it certainly doesn't hurt to create a destination where an intangible or two is added to the taproom experience. Breweries like Red Leg Brewing Co. in Colorado Springs, along with Evergreen Brewery and Lariat Lodge Brewing Co. in Evergreen provide just that.
Left-to-right: Red Leg Brewing Co., Lariat Lodge Brewing Co., Evergreen Brewery (Photos © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).
  • I've yet to visit the original location of Bruz Beers in Midtown Denver, but the company's satellite taproom off Colfax Ave. in Downtown may be my new favorite haunt. Hypeheads should seek their treasures elsewhere, because Belgian-style beers are the specialty here. Dubbel, tripel, quad, grisette, saison, bière de miel...the list goes on.
Belgians big and small are the specialty at Bruz Beers in Denver (Photos © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Monday, September 26, 2022

903 Brewers snags gold, silver at 2022 U.S. Open Hard Seltzer Championship

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

The 2022 edition of the U.S. Open Hard Seltzer Championship is now complete, with 903 Brewers of Sherman upgrading from a pair of bronze medals awarded in the 2021 competition to a gold and silver this year.

Held at the U.S. Open Event Center in Oxford, Ohio (also home to the U.S. Open Beer Championship), the 2022 festivities attracted nearly 250 submissions sent in by more than 75 hard seltzer-makers hailing from the U.S. and Canada. Entries were then broken down and judged across 32 different categories, a number which increased compared to last year, when only 18 categories were available.

Winning seltzers from 903 Brewers are listed below. You can also click here for a full competition summary.


903 Brewers, Sherman
  • Gold for Zombie Hard Seltzer Slushy in the Mixed Fruit category.
  • Silver for Blackberry Cheesecake Hard Seltzer Slushy in the Cake & Pie category.

Cheers and congratulations to 903 Brewers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Funky Picnic unveils speakeasy vibe in The Back Room

Images courtesy of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.

Funky Picnic Brewery & Café of Fort Worth has taken steps to expand its offerings and customer base, as the company has built upon its existing restaurant with a new speakeasy bar and pizza kitchen branded as The Back Room at Funky Picnic.

Joining the busy nightlife scene in the city's Near Southside and South Main Village neighborhoods, The Back Room is an adults-only lounge specializing in craft cocktails and beer. Located directly next door to the original brewpub, The Back Room will feature Funky Picnic's house brews as well as shareable bottles of Lambic and mixed fermentation beers from breweries around the world.

“When the opportunity to expand into a connecting space became available, we wanted to focus on creating a unique, yet complimentary experience for our Funky Picnic customers,” says co-founder and general manager Samantha Glenn. “This led us to creating The Back Room with a more sophisticated speakeasy vibe, along with later operating hours for the 21 and older crowd.”

Funky Picnic has also unveiled new menu options from Chef Josh Rangel and Sous Chef Parker Gordon, including specialty pizzas and Back Room-exclusive appetizers. The new 10” pizzas, available in both the restaurant and speakeasy space, range from a classic Margherita to a Steak Pizza featuring an olive oil base, bleu cheese, mozzarella, grilled steak, mixed greens, and a balsamic drizzle.

“The Back Room will be an intimate space within the overall Funky Picnic concept where we can focus more on unique and experimental beer and cocktail experiences,” says co-founder and Certified Cicerone Collin Zreet. “In addition to limited single keg releases from head brewer Michael Harper, The Back Room will be the only place in Fort Worth to enjoy authentic Belgian Lambic on-site, alongside other mixed fermentation beers from breweries like Jester King Brewery in Austin to give customers a unique and enjoyable new experience at Funky Picnic.”

The Back Room opens Friday, September 23rd at 3p.m., with regular operating hours going forward set for Friday - Sunday from 3- 11 p.m.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Rickhouse is first brewery to make beer in Mineral Wells

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

You could say things are a little "Crazy" in the City of Mineral Wells. It's the home of Crazy Water, after all, a mineral water company that's been hydrating Texans since 1881. Driving through town, signs and "Crazy" business names call attention to this fact, as does the presence of the Crazy Water Hotel.

It's in the aforementioned hotel that Rickhouse Brewing has set up shop in a prime corner spot on the ground floor. Open since April, Rickhouse is the work of Brian Miller and Alan Clarke. It's the first known brewery to exist in Mineral Wells, a place where the primary attractions - at least according to one local - are eating, drinking and shopping.

If that's indeed the case, then Rickhouse should make for a good fit, considering it identifies as a drinking destination. It may be a brewery first and foremost (with production equipment in full view), but Rickhouse also offers other beverages, including a selection of wines and non-alcoholic sodas for those seeking to sip on something other than beer.

As for the main draw, if you will, Rickhouse beers pour from upwards of 20 taps installed behind the bar. During my visit, eight standards and two rotators were available, with everyday options consisting of a lager, blonde ale, kölsch, two IPAs, an Irish red, a German hefeweizen and an oatmeal stout. A seasonal märzen was among the rotators, as was my favorite beer on the board, a Cascadian dark called Ghost Riders Black IPA.

Rickhouse Brewing is located at 401 N. Oak Ave. in Mineral Wells, occupying a corner spot on the ground floor of the Crazy Water Hotel.

Visitors to Rickhouse should also know beer and other consumables (snack offerings, beverages, etc.) may be enjoyed in the taproom, or alternatively in an adjacent public area which connects to other boutiques and small businesses making up the "Shops at the Crazy" section of the hotel. Either way, the digs are well-polished, casual and comfortable no matter where you decide to stop and sit a spell.

And, if you're wondering about the Rickhouse name, it actually references the distilling industry and the warehouses used to store and age whiskey. Given that, one would assume a barrel-aged beer or two might make an appearance at some point. As it stands now, though, the portfolio presents as a stylistic slate...which is to say there's nothing too crazy going on in terms of the recipes at Rickhouse just yet. 

Well, besides maybe using Crazy Water as an ingredient.

Rickhouse Brewing has operating hours seven days a week. Check it out if you find yourself in Mineral Wells and looking to partake the imbibing aspect of the city's favored pastimes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Bourbon -n- Branch taps first house beer in Hudson Oaks

Top image: Bourbon -n - Branch Brewing Co.
Bottom (left-to-right): Exterior, Bourbon Drip Rye Pale Ale, The Goat, Interior Bar (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Head to the newly-minted Bourbon -n- Branch Brewing Co. in Hudson Oaks, and you'll likely notice a certain theme. It's a Dallas sort of thing, but it's not about the city itself, but rather a lead character in the popular television series of the same name which premiered in 1978.

Founded by Brian Lixey and Joshua Tarbay (the latter formerly of Parker County Brewing Co.), Bourbon -n- Branch gets its name from a favored cocktail of J.R. Ewing. Naturally, the drink is served here, along with a number of other infusions from a full bar featuring...what else...whiskey varieties from Kentucky, Texas and beyond.

House beers will also occasionally be dipped with bourbon, so to speak, as evidenced by the debut offering, Bourbon Drip Rye Pale Ale (9.0% ABV). More IPA-ish than the moniker implies, the beer was fermented with Hungarian oak chips soaked in TX Whiskey from Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. of Fort Worth. The bourbon is somewhat hidden in the resulting beer, but it's still a tasty opener featuring notes of rye and citrus peel upfront, with wood tannins and an ever-so-slight bourbony burn in the finish.

And while we're on the topic, beer recipes at Bourbon -n- Branch are brewed on a one-barrel system, and as such they are very limited. Given that, patrons thirsty for a beer should know house selections are supplemented by upwards of 25 guest taps pouring local and national craft brews, along with a few domestic macros as well.

As for what there is to eat, Bourbon -n- Branch serves up a menu of appetizers, Akaushi Wagyu burgers, flatbread pizzas and boneless wings. House specialties like The Goat (a pizza with white crème sauce, smoked sausage, black figs, feta cheese and rosemary) are labeled as J.R.'s Favorite, while a burger selection called Who Shot J.R. harkens back to the famous cliffhanger episode which concluded season three of Dallas.

Beer, bourbon and a taste of Texas-inspired television history...that's the draw at Bourbon -n- Branch Brewing Co., a place perhaps best described as a modern brewpub with a bit of a western vibe. Urban cowboys are surely welcome, so maybe don your best Stetson, slip on a pair of boots and mosey on in seven days a week. Bourbon -n- Branch opens daily at 11 a.m.

Bishop Cider's newest Cidercade now open in Fort Worth

Image courtesy of Bishop Cider.

Bishop Cider of Dallas has announced the newest location of its Cidercade entertainment venue is now open in Fort Worth.

Located just south of downtown near the TCU campus at 1813 W. Bowie St., the Fort Worth outlet is the largest Cidercade yet at over 25,000 square feet. The space houses nearly 300 classic and modern arcade games that are free to play once guests have paid the $10 daily admission or $15 monthly membership fee. In addition, patrons can shoot pool, play basketball, air hockey, foosball, skeeball, shuffleboard, DDR, Guitar Hero, or bubble hockey.

“Fort Worth was the natural next choice for a Cidercade location,” says Joel Malone, CEO and co-founder of Bishop Cider. “It’s an incredible city with a growing population of families, cider drinkers, gamers and young people looking for a great time."

As far as other amenities, guests can enjoy artisan pizzas cooked in one of multiple Italian rotary stone hearth pizza ovens on-site. And to quench their thirst, Cidercade offers a selection of dozens of hard ciders and hard seltzers on tap, all made by Bishop Cider. On top of that, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

“This is our biggest Cidercade location yet, so we were able to add new experiences and games that we don’t have at other locations,” adds Malone. “We pulled out all the stops. This one is awesome!”

Bishop Cider also has plans for new Cidercade locations in Arlington and Dallas. Cidercade Arlington is slate to open around the end of 2022 at a location near downtown Arlington and AT&T Stadium. Bishop Cider will also relocate and drastically expand Cidercade Dallas, but it will remain open at its current location until construction has been completed at the new site near Love Field Airport. The new spot, debuting sometime in 2023, will be 10 times larger and feature concepts, games, and activities that aren’t offered anywhere else in Texas.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Oak Highlands, Rahr & Sons build on wins at 2022 USBTC Summer Competition

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

Winners from the 28th Annual Summer Competition of the United States Beer Tasting Beer Championship (USBTC) have been announced, with Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas and Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth repeating past history and again landing on the list of winners.

The 2022 edition of the USBTC's summer event drew 726 entries from 180 breweries. Submissions were examined across 18 different style categories, with the best beers separated out by region. Regional Champions then competed to determine a national Grand Champion.

At the close of judging, eight North Texas beers were named Regional Champion in the Rockies/Southwest Division, while one beer - Tipsy Goat from Oak Highlands - went on to be named Grand Champion in the Helles Bock category.

A complete rundown of local winners is given below, or you can click here for a full competition summary.

Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas
  • Monk's Lunch, Regional Champion in the Belgian/French Specialty category.
  • Wit-House, Regional Champion in the Belgian Wit category.
  • Tipsy Goat, Regional and Grand Champion in the Helles Bock category.
  • Golden Mustache, Regional Champion in the Dortmunder/Helles category.
  • DFDub, Regional Champion in the Wheat Beer category.
  • ClassiRyed Strong Ale, Regional Champion in the Multigrain category.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Fort Worth
  • Ruff Ale, Regional Champion in the Fruit Beer category.
  • Brut Rose, Regional Champion in the Fruited Sour Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to Oak Highlands and Rahr & Sons!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Autonomous Society set to open in The Cedars, August 13

Image © Joey Stewart.

The area's newest craft beer destination is set to debut this weekend, as Autonomous Society Brewpub prepares to open its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday, August 13.

Founded by Dean Weaver, Autonomous Society is located at 1928 S. Akard in The Cedars neighborhood of Dallas. The brewpub itself occupies a 1940s-era structure comprising over 5000 square feet, while overall site amenities include a ten-seat bar, a window bar and tables, an outdoor patio, board games, dominoes and multiple televisions for showing sporting events.

As for the food and beverage offerings, paninis and pretzel bites will be the primary culinary attraction once the kitchen is up and running, likely in the next month. On-site beer production is pending as well, thanks to supply chain issues delaying parts necessary to complete the equipment set-up.

Weaver, incidentally, began homebrewing over 30 years ago, and he has garnered multiple awards and accolades for his “Deanitude” brand of beers. Putting that experience into everyday practice, he'll make small batches utilizing a one-barrel brewhouse feeding a quartet of four-barrel fermenters at Autonomous Society - with plans to add two more fermenters in the future.

"We’ll be double batching on my one-barrel brewhaus to half-fill the fermentation vessels," says Weaver. "The goal is to get a four-barrel brewhaus in the near future (hopefully, within 12 months) to lighten our workload and increase our output."

Bar and table-top seating options fill the space at Autonomous Society Brewpub in The Cedars (Image © Joey Stewart).

So, what can patrons expect in terms of style options? Based on Weaver's response, the answer would seem to be one of internationally-inspired classics trumping current trends.

Case in point, Weaver plans an initial portfolio consisting of a double IPA, imperial red, Munich helles and a saison. From there, he’ll follow up with a festbier, English strong bitter (pub ale), English porter and most likely a Scottish wee heavy.

And, if that all sounds good, just wait...there's more.

"On deck, we’ll get a Belgian wit, Belgian dark strong (quad), Czech dark lager, classic American pils, American IPA (West Coast), Vienna lager, rye IPA, imperial red with coffee, and an imperial milk stout with cherries," adds Weaver. "I’ve got a whole lineup, but those are some that have done very well in competition."

For now, though, the brewpub's 24 taps will be filled with guest beers furnished by local, independent breweries.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Funky Picnic to host Smoke ‘Em Out Homebrew Competition

Image courtesy of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.

Calling attention to a relative rarity among specialty beers, Fort Worth-based neighbors Funky Picnic Brewery & Café and TexMalt have teamed up to create a first-of-its-kind all smoked beer competition.

Naturally, this unique event will highlight all things smoky, including traditional smoked beer styles like rauchbier and lichtenhainer, but it also will allow participants to get creative with open-ended freestyle categories. Entrants will receive up to 5 lbs. of smoked San Jacinto 2-Row Heritage Malt from TexMalt to design their recipes around.

The goal, of course, is to create a well-made smoked beer, exhibiting a balance of beer and smoke. Competition entries should have enough smoke to enjoy the subtle nuances in the flavor and aroma of the wood used, yet be light enough in this regard to tell that there is a beer behind all that smoke.

Online registration is open now through August 28th. Entries will be judged by experienced brewers, beer judges, maltsters, and all-around smoked beer enthusiasts. Winners will be selected for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards based on technical style categories, as well as a Brewer’s Choice award that will be brewed at Funky Picnic and placed on the tap wall.

For more information, or to throw your own hat into the smoke ring (if you will), visit the official competition website at: https://www.funkypicnicbrewery.com/smoke-em-out-homebrew.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

More on plans for Armor Brewing Co. in Allen

Image credit: Armor Brewing Co.

Last night, the Allen City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to amend its land use code allowing Armor Brewing Co. to make modifications necessary to operate a brewpub at the address of 9 Prestige Cir.

Mike and Jennifer Todryk first made their plans known for Armor Brewing Co. in July of last year. The couple purchased the site formerly occupied by Nine Band Brewing Co., which up to that point had been in business as a production brewery. Now, though, they intend to refurbish the facility, making it more of a family-friendly, dinner and drinks-type entertainment destination.

Image credits: Armor Brewing Co., Plan B Group (click for larger view).

According to a presentation at the Council meeting, the taproom of the previous firm will be remodeled into a restaurant, with a new 1250 square foot kitchen extension added along the west elevation (formerly a patio). In addition, a portion of the front parking lot will be re-purposed to create a new covered patio comprising nearly 2300 square feet.

Total cost of the renovations, including additional building upgrades (new cooler to the north, decorative awnings, etc.), interior finish-out and more is expected to be in the $2.5 million range.

Look for Armor Brewing to debut the new digs later in 2022.

Monday, July 11, 2022

North Texas hauls in 19 medals at 2022 U.S. Open Beer Championship

Image credit: U.S. Open Beer Championship.

Medals, medals and more medals for North Texas - that seems to be the theme when winners are announced at the annual U.S. Open Beer Championship. And, this year is no different.

As for a few details, the 2022 edition of the event drew more than 9000 entries from breweries around the world, with those broken down into 150 different categories for evaluation. Reviewing the list of winners, eleven breweries from North Texas were awarded 19 medals combined (6 gold, 5 silver, 8 bronze). From that group, False Idol Brewing of North Richland Hills represents the area's lone first-time honoree, while Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas appears for the first time since 2016.

Winning beers from North Texas are summarized below. You can also click here for a complete competition summary.


903 Brewers, Sherman
  • Silver for Fragile Like a Bomb in the Aged Beer category.
  • Gold for Low Beams in the American/German Light category.
  • Silver for Cold Fort Worth Beer in the American Premium Lager category.
  • Silver for Dallas Blonde in the Golden or Blonde Ale category.
False Idol Brewing, North Richland Hills
  • Gold for Banquet Boy in the American Lager/Pilsner category.
  • Gold for Feisty Blonde in the Honey Beer category.
  • Silver for Mi Familia in the American-Style Fruit Beer category.
  • Bronze for The Hop Root Beer in the Root Beer - Kids category.
  • Gold for Muy Importante in the American-Style Fruit Beer - Lime category.
  • Gold for Bavarian Classic in the Munchner Helles category.
  • Bronze for Red Wine Freaky Deaky in the Wine Barrel-Aged Beer category.
  • Bronze for Freaky Deaky in the Aged Beer category.
  • Bronze for Great Scot! in the Scottish Ale category.
  • Bronze for Velvet Hammer in the Imperial Red Ale category.
  • Bronze for Top Shelf in the Experimental Beer category.
  • Bronze for Golden Opportunity in the Ukrainian Golden Ale category.
  • Gold for Midnight Delight in the Imperial Porter category.
  • Silver for Chocolate Reign in the Imperial Stout Specialty category.
  • Bronze for Dreamsicle Kayak in the Specialty/Anything Goes category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!