Sunday, January 23, 2022

Craft Beer Careers job fair seeks to diversify Texas brewing industry

Images courtesy of Texas Craft Brewers Guild.

The state's first ever career fair focused exclusively on jobs in craft brewing is set to take place on Wednesday, January 26, at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine. Organized by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the event seeks to advance diversity and inclusion in the craft beer industry.

 "The last two years have been difficult on restaurants and breweries, and hiring continues to be a pain point,” says Samantha Glenn, co-founder of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café of Fort Worth and member of the job fair planning team. “This job fair allows breweries to get in front of candidates in order to plan for growth in their businesses and the brewing industry." 

Jobs at craft breweries go beyond brewing beer. These small, local businesses need diverse teams of professionals with a variety of backgrounds, skillsets, and interests to fill roles like general managers, office managers, accountants, marketing professionals, sales personnel, data analysts, hospitality and service, facilities managers, drivers, packaging technicians, and more.

“This job fair has a special significance for our organization,” says Meg Ellis, membership & business development manager for the Guild. "As a project of the Guild’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee, we’re really striving to reach folks who may have felt like there wasn’t a place for them in our industry.” 

The craft brewing industry globally has struggled with social justice and gender equity issues over the past few years. The members of the Guild’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee have a vision of a Texas craft beer industry in that is welcoming, reflects the diversity of the state’s population, and offers career pathways for any community member. 

“When we founded the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee, one of our main focuses was to promote these values through education and awareness. Not only by words, but by actions,” says Sheila Garcia, co-chair of the subcommittee. “Our job fair planning team has cultivated an opportunity to connect breweries with job seekers in new segments within the community, who may have not been reached out to previously. The more diverse our employees are, the better our craft beer community becomes!”

The career fair features businesses and job opportunities from across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Participating sponsors from the region include: Armadillo Ale Works of Denton, Denton County Brewing Co. of Denton, Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine, Funky Picnic Brewery & Café of Fort Worth, Siren Rock Brewing Co. of Rockwall and Texas Ale Project of Dallas.

Attendance is free for jobseekers, but space is limited and an RSVP is required. Visit the following link for event details and to register:

Jobseekers can also find and apply for careers in craft brewing any time at the Guild’s Texas Craft Brewing Industry Job Board:

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Southern Roots extends reach from Waco to Waxahachie

Bar and table seating options exist along with the production area in the main room (top center) at Southern Roots.
A smaller room upfront (top right) may be reserved for private events. All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Taking the first step in what looks to be an ambitious growth plan, Southern Roots Brewing Co. of Waco has established a second location in the North Texas suburb of Waxahachie. Now open at 421 S. College St. near the city's downtown district, the brewpub occupies a former freight depot dating back to the early 1900s.

Southern Roots debuted its original spot in fall 2018, making it a relatively young operation. Given that, it might come as a surprise to see the business branch out so early in its evolution. According to co-founder Dustin Evans, though, the plan all along has been to sow the seeds of the company in other markets rather quickly.

"We initially opened in Waco with the goal of opening several [other locations] within the next couple of years," says Evans. "We actually got delayed on that expansion due to COVID-19 (just like everyone else). With our emphasis being a taproom and restaurant experience, we felt like we could have several footprints across Texas."

On that note, for those who haven't visited, Southern Roots offers a selection of salads, wings and signature pizzas to go along with its portfolio of hand-crafted brews. A number of pies play off the brewpub's southern theme, with options like Southern Belle (Italian sausage, arugula, mozzarella, red pepper, honey) and Southern Sow (pulled pork, bacon, red onion, mozzarella, gouda, BBQ sauce) being among the offerings.

Surveying the beer side of things, Southern Roots has the capacity to tap upwards of 14 beers on an everyday basis. Here, state and local influences find their way into the naming of small-batch recipes emerging from a five-barrel brewhouse. Enjoyable examples include Hill Country Amber Lager and West of Czech Pilsner. Those beers are part of the brewpub's regular lineup developed in Waco, but patrons can expect local specialties to be brewed as well.

"We will keep all of our flagship beers on tap at both locations, however, we’ll split the other half of our local menu for 'Hachie' themed beers," says Evans. "We feel it’s really important to celebrate the town's history and definitely want to name/inspire beers on behalf of the community."

The building itself, of course, is also representative of Southern Roots' commitment to preserving the city's past. Then there's a chalkboard hanging in the brewpub's event area adding another bit of interest. This piece served as a scoreboard for a group of local friends who used to play dominoes in the space.

As for the future, Evans indicates the ownership group behind Southern Roots is already looking ahead with regards to the aforementioned growth plan.

"If all things go well," he declares, "we'll be getting started on our third location soon!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tangerine Queen now reigning year-round at Lakewood

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has announced the elevation of Tangerine Queen, an American wheat beer with orange peel and tangerine, to year-round status. This news coming fresh off the beer's debut as a new citrusy spring seasonal just last year.

“Since citrus are winter fruits, we decided to release Tangerine Queen at the peak harvest season,” says Wim Bens, president and founder of Lakewood. “Tangerine Queen was a huge hit for us last year, so we decided to make it a year-round offering. It’s just such an easy drinking beer with tangerine aroma up front, sweet citrus in the middle, and a soft finish. Perfect for any day of the year.”

To be available on tap and in six-packs of 12-ounce cans, a fresh batch of Tangerine Queen will begin appearing on shelves across Texas next month.

As for a seasonal replacement, word has it Lakewood has another Queen in the works for the coming spring.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Tulsa's NEFF Brewing now shipping five gluten-free beers to Texas

Image credit: Tori Graham & Ryan Graham - @beercatbrett.

NEFF Brewing, a dedicated gluten-free craft brewery based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is looking to call attention to its lineup of gluten-free beers now available across Texas. Gluten-free recipes from Neff Brewing first began appearing on North Texas shelves in July, with additional beers arriving this past fall.

According to a press release, NEFF Brewing's beers differ from other craft beers because they are brewed with a variety of grains and artisanal malts that are naturally gluten free. The company uses ancient grains of millet, buckwheat, rice, and quinoa to create beers that are allergen free, yet still crafted for full flavor to compete well with "regular" craft beers in the market.

Beers available locally include

  • Apollo Blonde - a crisp, easy-drinking American blonde ale.
  • Astronaut Cookies - an oatmeal stout with roasted coffee flavors, as well as mild chocolate and nutty notes.
  • Ignition Switch - a flavorful Belgian-style pale ale.
  • No Barriers IPA - a classic IPA with piney, dank and citrus-like aromas and flavors.
  • Raspberry Pride - a fruited kettle sour with a clean, refreshing raspberry flavor.

It's worth noting how a number of these beers have fared well in recent competitions, winning awards in non-gluten-free categories at both state and international beer competitions. Apollo Blonde (bronze), Ignition Switch (bronze) and Raspberry Pride (gold) were recognized at the 2020 Oklahoma Craft Beer Awards, while Ignition Switch (bronze) was also honored at the 2020 U.S. Open Craft Beer Championship.

Look for products from NEFF Brewing at craft beer-friendly retailers like Beer Geeks (Rockwall), Brü City (Euless), Bubble & Squeak Craft Beer & Wine (Forney), Craft Beer Cellar - Dallas, Southside Cellar (Fort Worth), The Bearded Monk (Denton) and more.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Funky Picnic pairs with Chef Victor Villarreal for beachy beer dinner

Chef Josh Rangel (left) and Sous Chef Parker Gordon (right) of Funky Picnic are partnering with Chef Victor Villarreal (center) for the brewpub's La Playa Beer Dinner. The culinary team worked with head brewer Michael Harper to pair the flavors of the beer and food (Funky Picnic Brewery & Café).

Funky Picnic Brewery & Café of Fort Worth will present its first beer and food pairing of the new year on Monday, January 24. The brewpub's La Playa Beer Dinner is set to feature five seafood and beer pairings curated by Chef Victor Villarreal of La Onda restaurant, and Chef Josh Rangel of Funky Picnic.

"One of the unique things that sets Funky Picnic apart is that we are the only restaurant in Fort Worth with a Certified Cicerone on staff, as co-owner Collin Zreet has been professionally trained in the art of pairing beer and food,” says Chef Rangel. “This is a similar certification to the Sommelier program in the wine world, and makes for a unique dining experience as we walk you through the flavor pairings of each course.”'

Each Funky Picnic beer dinner debuts a brand new beer created by head brewer, Michael Harper, specifically for the meal at hand. Harper works with the kitchen team on creating a unique brew that reflects the flavors and theme of the beer dinner. For this round, Harper and Chef Villarreal created a citrus farmhouse saison to pair with the cured salmon gravlax course.

“Chef Villarreal and I quickly hit it off and got excited about the idea of using charred citrus in a crisp and easy-drinking beer,” says Harper. “This farmhouse saison is very light-bodied with a huge pop of citrus and just enough malt body to keep things interesting, and will pair well with nearly any seafood dish.”

The La Playa Beer Dinner also includes ceviche salad paired with a citrus pilsner, and mango ice cream topped with short bread crumble and bowfin caviar paired with Funky Picnic’s latest Hazy IPA. Click here to see the complete menu and to reserve your seats for this culinary event (tickets are $90pp all-inclusive, or $70pp for just the food portion).

As for other gatherings Funky Picnic has planned, a Brewing Up Love Beer Dinner is on the calendar for February 14-15, followed by a Vegan Beer Dinner with Blue Zones Fort Worth on March 28.