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.