Friday, March 31, 2023

Howling Mutt closing brewpub in Denton

Image credit: Howling Mutt Brewpub.

Howling Mutt Brewing Co. has announced it will cease operations in Denton.

Founded by Alex Manning and Justin Reed, Howling Mutt opened in September 2019, with the small-batch brewery and taproom encompassing a mere 1200 square feet. An enclosed patio area out back allowed for a bit more elbow room, and within that space the company frequently hosted outdoor concerts.

As far as its product offerings, house beers branded as "Haufen Beer" were regularly served alongside guest brews, with the focus always being on featuring other local breweries.

According to a social media post, Howling Mutt's last day of business will be Sunday, April 16, though it's implied there may be another chapter to come. 

Grapevine Main Street Fest to offer 'A Taste of Texas'

Image credit: City of Grapevine.

Announced during a special event at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine on Wednesday, the 2023 edition of Grapevine Main Street Fest will present a new option for craft beer fans in attendance.

Sponsored by Gaylord Texan, "A Taste of Texas" is a new tasting experience featuring products exclusively from breweries in the Lone Star State. This attraction is in addition to the "Craft Brew Experience," which has been a standard offering at the event for a number of years, though limited to brands under the Ben E. Keith distribution umbrella.

Hop & Sting, of course, is the City of Grapevine's hometown brewery. According to co-founder Brian Burton, the company has participated in Main Street Fest on a small-scale basis in the past, but this is the first year Hop & Sting has been an official event sponsor.

"We will be sponsoring the Gazebo Stage [for live music]," says Burton. "This will allow us influence on some of the acts, plus we'll have our own booth next to the gazebo with eight Hop & Sting beers on draft."

Upwards of 20 breweries or more from the Lone Star State will
participate in Taste of Texas at Main Street Fest. (City of Grapevine.).

As far as the overall attention being given to Texas breweries at Main Street Fest (many of which appear in the above poster shared during the Taste of Texas unveiling), this aspect has been a focus of Hop & Sting and others in the community for a number of years.

"We worked with the City of Grapevine to add the Taste of Texas event," add Burton, "bringing in over 20 Texas breweries new to the festival."

Main Street Fest will take place in Historic Downtown Grapevine from Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the event website at

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Voodoo Brewing to open first franchise in Texas

Image credit: Voodoo Brewing Co.

Building on an expansion plan that began with opening of its first taproom in 2012, Pennsylvania-based Voodoo Brewing Co. has formed a partnership to bring its brand of craft beer to North Texas.

Now under construction at 1015 Ikea Pl. in Grand Prairie, the local outlet will be owned and operated by Roland Rios, a longtime resident who has spent nearly 30 years in the paper manufacturing business. Rios has been wanting to open a pub for a few years, but rather than start from scratch in a new industry, he researched franchising opportunities and eventually landed on Voodoo.

"I came across Voodoo early last year," says Rios. "I immediately fell in love with their concept. My wife Nancy and I traveled to Pennsylvania to sample their beer and there was no turning back after that."

On how the partnership is structured, Voodoo recipes are produced in a 30,000 square foot production facility in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Finished beers are then distributed to each brewpub's satellite location. The company also provides guidance on other food and beverage aspects, but site-specific décor is mostly left to the locals.

"In addition to their crafted brews and their custom-crafted cocktails, they have a delicious [elevated pub] menu," says Rios. "I really like that they have a non-corporate culture and that their franchisees can have a lot of input on their individual pubs."

As the brewpub's address suggests, Voodoo Grand Prairie will operate in the shadow of an Ikea furniture store. The spot also has proximity to the city's EpicCentral entertainment district, placing it firmly in the midst of what promises to be a high-traffic hub.

"Grand Prairie has seen tremendous growth over just a couple of years," says Rios. "We wanted the first Voodoo Brewing Co. in Texas to be surrounded by equally great businesses. We found that spot right across the street from Ikea. In addition, they are building a Bass Pro Shop, Andretti Indoor Karting, and Shots Golf just walking distance from our pub. We couldn’t have found a better place."

Rios is hoping to complete construction by mid-April, with a grand opening to follow shortly thereafter. 

For more on Voodoo Brewing Co. and its products, visit You can also stay up-to-date with goings on at Voodoo Grand Prairie by following the brewpub on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Chambers Creek in Maypearl sold, brewing ops to end

Image credit: Chambers Creek Brewing Co.

Less than two years after pouring its first house beers in Maypearl, Chambers Creek Brewing Co. has been sold. Indications are the new owners plan to carry on the business - eventually under a different name, but they will discontinue on-site brewing operations.

Lyle and Mary Chambers opened Chambers Creek in July 2021, tucking the small-batch operation into a 2000 square foot space located in the heart of Maypearl's downtown district. Chambers Creek's top offering was probably Maypearl Bock, a recipe billed as "the beer that started it all for the brewery."

According to a social media post, the company will be under new management as of April 1, 2023.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Grab a beer and a burger at Brew Aleworks in Granbury

Beer and food options at Brew Aleworks include Charleston Amber (red ale, lower left) and The Hawaiian
(turkey burger with teriyaki sauce and fresh bell pepper, lower right). All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Locales for enjoying a craft beer at the source are a little lean in the far southwest region of North Texas, but late last year a new destination emerged with the opening of Brew Aleworks in Granbury.

Brew Aleworks is a sister business to Brew Drinkery & Bistro, a taproom/restaurant in the city, both of which are operated by owner Christian Piatt. In fact, the first Aleworks recipes were tapped at the Drinkery beginning in mid-July. Production initially took place at Hop & Sting Brewing Co. of Grapevine, while construction was completed on the new spot.

Open now since September, Brew Aleworks occupies a roughly 3000 square foot retail space located at 715 Autumn Ridge Dr. in Granbury. The brewpub presents with a bar and grill-type setup, albeit with 1920s Prohibition-era styling. Art deco artwork and fixtures enhance the flapper feel, which further extends to house beer identifiers like Bugsy Lager, Jitterbug Pale Ale, Charleston Amber and Speakeasy Stout.

Those beers join a year-round portfolio which also includes 33 Hefeweizen, Dizzy Blonde, and Lucky Light Lager. Classic and straightforward styles top-to-bottom, in case you hadn't noticed, the amber and pale ales being personal favorites. Each is crafted on a seven-barrel system at Brew Aleworks, with seasonal rotators and an occasional barrel-aged beer (currently a doppelbock) supplementing the everyday lineup. 

On the food side of things, appetizers, gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads appear on the menu. And if you go with a burger, know you have a number of options to choose from, not only with regards to patty-type (beef, bison, lamb, turkey, black bean), but with the fries on the side as well (regular, Cajun, black truffle parmesan).

As for other beverages, soda, sparkling water and NA beers are kept on hand for non-drinkers, while wine, cider and hard seltzers are available for those not into beer, but wanting the extra kick.

Brew Aleworks is open six days a week, with operating hours on Tuesday-Sunday. Give 'em a try should you find yourself in need of good beer and good grub in Granbury.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Three Empires aims to become Frisco's first brewery

Photo © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Last night, the Frisco City Council approved a request to prepare an ordinance for a Special Use Permit (SUP) paving the way for the establishment of what would be the city's first brewery. To be known as Three Empires Brewing Co., those behind the venture have leased a spot at 6990 Main St. in The Rail District of Downtown Frisco.

Owners David and Mandalyn Wible intended to open just down the road at what was to become the Main Street Food Hall. When that project fell through, they signed on with Nack Development, owners of The Ford Building - a structure dating back to 1911 that was once the site of an automobile dealership selling Model A's and Model T's.

According to David, plans call for the renovation of a 1300 square foot space within those walls. Roughly 200 square feet will be reserved for the production area (one-barrel system with five small-scale fermenters), with a taproom bar, walk-in cooler and seating to fill out the rest. Modifications will also be done on the exterior elevations to let a little bit of the outdoors in.

"We'll have a roll-top garage door in front, with a little bit of outdoor seating," says Wible. "Then, we'll also put in a back door that can access the common area behind the building to get that indoor/outdoor experience."

In terms of offerings, Three Empires hopes to debut with upwards of eight beers. Look for a portfolio of straightforward ales to start, with an American-style pale ale, hazy IPA, witbier and a blonde among the styles being considered. Any lagers would come later, once production is in full swing and the daily lineup is fully-stocked.

Should you wish to enjoy a beer outside the confines of the taproom, Three Empires will have growlers and also do limited canning for to-go sales. Beyond that, things will be kept pretty close to home in terms of outside distribution.

"We'll probably do some light distribution, but nothing on a big scale," says Wible. "We want to keep it local and be a local brewery. We'll just walk up and down Main St. to see who would be interested in having our beer."

As for timelines, everything depends on getting through construction and the permit process. If all goes well, Three Empires could be pouring beer as soon as this summer.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Say hello to Howdy Beer, a Colorado craft pilsner

Howdy Beer is a pilsner brewed for patio time (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

It's been a minute since a beer mail made its way to my door, but that drought recently ended with the delivery of a Colorado-based crispy lager which is now available in Texas.

Say hello to Howdy Beer (4.5% ABV), a Western pilsner originally created by The Post Brewing Co. - a "chicken and beer" establishment with over a half-dozen locations across Colorado. I've visited the original spot in Lafayette myself, so I'll just add it's a place where comfort food pairs well with an array of classic craft beer styles.

As for Howdy Beer, it's bright and quaffable with crackery malt, floral aromas and a light touch of lemongrass. It's brewed "with Western livin' in mind," which they say applies to enjoying a craft beer on the river, in the mountains, or on the porch. Here in Texas, though, you'll most likely end up on the patio or poolside while enjoying this warm weather refresher.

So, how does Howdy get here? It comes to us by way of Stem Ciders of Lafayette after being brewed and packaged by Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. of Denver. The cider company purchased the rights to Howdy Beer in early 2022, with plans to increase production and distribute the beer to states outside of Colorado. Texas, as it turns out, was one of the first on the list.

Now that it's here, you too can introduce yourself to what's billed as "the friendliest beer in America." Look for Howdy Beer on tap or in six-packs of 12-ounce cans at the following North Texas locations:



Sunday, March 5, 2023

Boozie's Brewery & TX Fare set to open in Fairview

Logo: Boozie's Brewery & TX Fare.
All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Fresh off a preview event showcasing its culinary offerings on Saturday, Boozie's Brewery & TX Fare looks to open as early as this week in Fairview.

House beers are pending, but once the doors open Boozie's Fairview will begin food service with a menu of starters, sandos, specialty entrees, sides, salads and desserts from Chef David Hollister. And as the name implies, a Texas flair is featured throughout the menu, though there are noticeable Latin and South American influences as well.

Beyond the sampled plates pictured below, options include items like Fried Quail Legs, Portobello Tacos Ranchero, Smoke Braised Verde Short Rib, Ancho Brown Sugar Pork Chop, and a Griddled Flank Steak Chimichurri with Street Corn.

And to drink? If spirits are your thing, a number of creative cocktails are crafted from a fully-stocked bar. But if not, typical non-alcoholic options (water, soft drinks, etc.) are supplemented by eight Fizzie's brand house-made craft sodas (cherry cola, cotton candy cream soda, ginger beer, lemon-lime/grapefruit soda and more). One of which, by the way, forms the basis of the brewpub's Root Beer Float.

As for the hold up on house beers, a delayed forklift delivery is to blame according to Bobby Mullins, director of brewing operations at Boozie's (and formerly of Armadillo Ale Works in Denton). The hauler's arrival is imminent, giving Mullins hope he'll be moving things around and firing up his 10-barrel brewhouse in the coming days.

Starter: Salsa Verde & Queso - Crema, Cotija, Cilantro.
Entrée: Hatfield Pork Milanesa - Tortilla-Breaded Hatfield Pork Loin, Fried Okra, Grilled Corn Aji Verde, Hot Honey, Fried Egg.
Entrée: Sourdough Chicken Fried Steak - Akaushi Wagyu Eye Round, Black Pepper Cream Gravy, Roast Garlic & Green Onion Mash.
Dessert: Double Chocolate Brownie - Callebaut Chocolate, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Cajeta, Toasted Peans, Golden Raisins, Cocoa Nibs, Candied Jalapeño.

When he does, Mullins will be working to build up a portfolio of 16 Boozie beers. His initial lineup will consist of 4 lagers (bock, helles, pilsner, Mexican), three IPAs (single, double, hazy), a Berliner weisse, hefeweizen, porter, stout (12% ABV) and others. The most unique, though, might be a mezcal cocktail-inspired sour beer brewed with oak-smoked malt, tamarind, hibiscus and sal de gusano (a.k.a worm salt).

"We'll be casting a wide net over the beer rainbow to see what the people here in Fairview like," says Mullins. "I have a hunch what will stick...the lagers, the IPAs, but we'll see what sticks and just kind of rotate through and adjust from there."

Another interesting tidbit is Boozie's actually has bigger plans for its beer program down the road. 

"We've got a third location, and demo started on that last week," reveals Mullins. "It'll be in the automotive building at the old Star Telegram complex in Fort Worth [685 John B. Sias Memorial Parkway]. That will become our production hub and we'll distribute to our locations."

A timeline hasn't been nailed down, but when the production site goes active, Boozie's Fairview will continue to brew small batches on site (with a modest canning operation set up for beer to go). A locale in Fort Worth - Boozie's Brewery & Gourmet Sandwiches, which opened earlier this year, is pouring guest beers for the time being as brewing hardware is not currently installed.

As for when the first beers will be tapped at Boozie's Fairview, Mullins intends to have beer ready in three-to-four weeks.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Eight years in, On Rotation still turning out new taste temptations

Image courtesy of On Rotation Brewery & Kitchen.

Prolific production has been a defining element at On Rotation Brewery & Kitchen of Dallas since the company opened in 2015. Now approaching its eighth birthday, On Rotation has brewed and released 371 unique recipes over the course of its existence - 31 of which hit the tap wall in 2022.

Among new formulations debuting during 2022, On Rotation brewed a brown ale, a kölsch and a bière de garde for the first time in its official history. And, while IPA and pale ale styles were the predominant new offering, the brewpub kept things interesting by staying true to its "craft beer laboratory" label and exploring new yeast strains, including thiolized-variants, in some of the IPAs.

These exploits, of course, occur on top of work put in to brew house standards that have been around since beginning like Jalapeño Saison and Café Au Lait. Plus, there's a balance that has to take place when trying to squeeze in new beers while also keeping those recurring recipes in the rotation. On that note, On Rotation will be looking to increase its capacity in 2023 in order to brew more beers across the board.

As for what this is all leading into, the purpose is to promote the brewpub's aforementioned eighth anniversary. A party is set for this Saturday, March 4, with the festivities to feature a theme built around a popular aviation-based action thriller.

"We're doing it TOP GUN style, and it should be a fun party," says Jacob Sloan, co-founder of On Rotation. "We'll have new beer releases, some special anniversary shirts (and aviator sunglasses, of course), and live music throughout the day."

Click here for all the celebratory details, and be sure to check out On Rotation's "2022 in Review" post for a deeper dive into what all went down at the Dallas brewpub this past year.