Saturday, February 11, 2023

North Texas nabs 17 medals at 2023 Texas Craft Brewers Cup

Image: Texas Craft Brewers Guild.

The second annual installment of the Texas Craft Brewers Cup is now in the books, with 12 North Texas breweries heading home from Austin with some nifty new craft beer bling. Not only that, Vector Brewing of Dallas was also named Brewery of the Year in the Under 600 bbl Group.

A Texas-only craft beer competition, the Texas Craft Brewers Cup is presented by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. Judging takes place in the weeks ahead of the organization's annual meeting, during which winners are announced during a special awards ceremony.

Surveying statistics from the 2023 event, 852 entries from 147 Texas breweries were sorted and judged across 27 medal categories (Hazy IPA being the largest with 61 entries). Each of those categories contained a mix of related sub-styles defined by guidelines published by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Overall, a total of over 150 different beer styles were represented at the judge's table.

And on the participation metric, 147 competing breweries translates to approximately 35% of the more than 400 brewing companies currently operating in Texas. That's roughly on par with the participation level in 2022.

As for the local winners, 17 North Texas beers were recognized, with their medals breaking down as follows: 8 Gold, 6 Silver, and 3 Bronze. Area honorees are summarized below, or you can click here for a full competition summary.

  • Smoked Porter, Bronze in the Smoke & Chili Beer category.
  • Double Stars, Silver in the Strong Hoppy Beer category.
  • Polymath, Bronze in the American & International Lager category.
  • Neato Bandito, Gold in the Golden, Blonde & Light Ales category.
  • First of His Name, Gold in the Stout & Porter category.
  • Banjo! Banjo! Banjoooo!, Gold in the Smoke & Chili Beer category.
  • Lion's Share X, Gold in the Barrel & Wood Aged Beer category.
  • Mechanical Grizzly, Silver in the Chocolate & Coffee Beer category.
  • Battle of Britain, Gold in the Barleywine & Strong Ale category.
  • Raspberry Fields, Bronze in the Fruit & Field Beer category.
Odd Muse Brewing, Farmers Branch 
  • 500 Pesos, Silver in the American & International Lager category.
  • Juice Serum, Gold in the Hazy IPA category.
  • The Divine Monk, Silver in the Belgian & Farmhouse Ales category.
  • Moonsmoke, Gold in the Experimental, Hybrid & Specialty Beer category.
  • Pho Sho, Gold in the Fruit & Field Beer category.
  • Open Rhythms, Silver in the Session & Standard Hoppy Pale Ales and Lagers category.
  • Big Thicket Blonde, Silver in the Golden, Blonde & Light Ales category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Thursday, February 9, 2023

"Beer to You" bills seek to allow home delivery from Texas breweries

Members of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild gather for TCBG Lobby Day at the Texas Capitol (Photo: Emily Love).

Two bills introduced this week in the Texas Legislature seek to allow direct-to-consumer shipping and delivery from Texas breweries and brewpubs. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild (TCBG), along with its political action committee arm, CraftPAC, has strongly advocated for such an action as a means of supporting small businesses, increasing consumer choice and convenience, and creating more manufacturing jobs for Texans.

Dubbed the "Beer to You" bills and sponsored by Texas State Senator Pete Flores (SD 24) and State Representative Shelby Slawson (HD 59), Senate Bill 752 and House Bill 2003 seek to level the playing field with Texas wineries, grocery stores, liquor stores, and restaurants who already enjoy legal pathways to get their products on customers’ doorsteps. Currently, breweries and brewpubs are explicitly prohibited from engaging in home delivery, shipping, or even working with third party delivery apps for pick up from their facilities.

“In an era where consumers can have anything delivered to them with a swipe of a finger, convenience is paramount in the retail market and your license type shouldn’t be the barrier between your product and the customers that want it,” says Jon Lamb, owner of Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co. and Government Affairs Chair for the TCBG. “You can have wine shipped directly to your doorstep from a Texas winery, a six pack of beer added to your grocery delivery, or a margarita added to your taco and queso order. It's time to end the prohibition on breweries and brewpubs reaching their customers in this same way.”

Past actions by the Texas Legislature include a 2005 law allowing wineries to ship their products directly to consumers. The state's wine industry has blossomed since, growing from around 40 wineries in 2005 to more than 400 today. Not only that, Texas now ranks second in direct wine sales volume with more than 600,000 cases shipped annually to enthusiasts’ doors.

More recently, the Texas Legislature made temporary pandemic-era delivery privileges for bars and restaurants permanent with the 2021 passage of House Bill 1024, popularly known as the “Margs to Go” bill.

“The Texas Legislature has already demonstrated its support for the safe and legal delivery of alcoholic beverages to Texans’ doorsteps,” says Caroline Wallace, Executive Director of the TCBG. “With Beer to You, the Texas Legislature has an opportunity to support the growth of beer tourism in Texas as brewery visitors send products home, join beer clubs, and support their favorite small beverage producers regardless of proximity.”

Texans who want to support the fight for Beer to You can visit to take action, either by signing a petition or making a monetary donation to CraftPAC.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Oak Highlands finishes with four winners at 2023 USBTC Winter Competition

Freaky Deaky, a Belgian-style tripel from Oak Highlands, is a four-time USBTC winner (Oak Highlands Brewery).

Results are in from the 29th Annual Winter Competition of the United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC), with Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas being the lone North Texas entity to appear on the winners list.

Overall, a total of 568 beers from 173 breweries were entered and examined across 19 different style categories. As before, the USBTC picked regional winners in each category - North Texas breweries compete in the Rockies/Southwest division, with those beers advancing to a final round to determine a national grand champion.

One interesting note from this year's event is that winners were not declared in five categories within the Rockies/Southwest division. Perhaps that's a sign more North Texas brewers should consider entering the competition.

As for Oak Highlands, four of the brewery's entries received regional honors. Those beers are listed below, or you can click here for a full competition summary.

Oak Highlands Brewery, Dallas

  • Bourbon Barrel Freshman 15, Regional Champion in the Whiskey-Aged Beer category.
  • Devil's Snare, Regional Champion in the Porter category.
  • Freaky Deaky, Regional Champion in the Belgian-Style Ale category.
  • Vanilla Porter, Regional Champion in the Bean Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to Oak Highlands!