Sunday, July 30, 2023

Lakewood saddles up Pony Pils, a new SMU-inspired brew

Image credit: Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has released a new beer inspired by the alma matter of Wim Bens, founder and president of the brewery. Bens graduated from Southern Methodist University of Dallas (a.k.a. SMU) in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in advertising.

As for the beer, Pony Pils is an America golden lager being billed as "The Beer of Mustang Nation." With an ABV of 4.5%, Pony Pils is "designed for a fun tailgate and game-day experience."

“I’ve been wanting to do a Pony beer for years, and I think that craft beer fans are ready to embrace the crispy bois (beer lingo for light and crisp craft lagers),” says Bens. “As a Mustang, I can’t wait to be on the boulevard on game day with a Pony Pils in hand.”

Pony Pils will also support Lakewood's first scholarship offering, with $1 from every case purchase going to the LBC Future Brewer STEM Scholarship. This initiative strives to "inspire the passions of the next generation of craft brewers.”

Regarding availability, Pony Pils is being delivered to limited draft accounts in July, with cans set to hit shelves in August. The goal, of course, is to hand-off Pony Pils to SMU fans in time for opening day on the gridiron, when the Mustangs meet Louisiana Tech at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday, September 2.

Take note, though, that while Pony Pils is being launched to kick-off football season, the beer will be available year-round.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Lakewood introduces The Lion's Den limited membership club

Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

For the first time in its 11-year history, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is instituting a new exclusive membership club. Limited to only the first 100 members, The Lion's Den will offer enrollees a wide range of membership perks, including a complimentary beer per visit - with no annual limit.

Members will also receive two Lion’s Den Member chalices – one for home and another that will “live” at the Lakewood Taproom. There's also a Lion’s Den Black and Gold Numbered Member Card which is good for 10% off Lakewood gear, food, beer-to-go and event space rentals; as well as early access to brewery event tickets.

On top of all that, privileges include a complimentary pack of Lakewood’s annual Bourbon Barrel Temptress and Lion’s Share releases, and a personal invite to the annual Lion’s Den Members Only “Den Party,” which will serve up an exclusive beer voted on by members.

“We’ve grown a dedicated fandom across Texas over the last decade,” says Wim Bens, founder and president Lakewood. “The Lion’s Den will offer our most devoted and die-hard fans access, fellowship, and a chance to delve deeper into the Lakewood experience. It’s a big deal for us and a smokin’ deal for members.”

Open for enrollment now through July 30, dues for The Lion’s Den are $80 down and $20 per month (plus tax) with benefits kicking in immediately, and membership can be cancelled at any time.

As for the official debut, a Lion's Den Launch Party is set for deadline day on Sunday, July 30. During the event, members can start enjoying their benefits while picking up their swag.

After that, the next open enrollment period will be in December.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Bourbon-n-Branch Brewing to close in Hudson Oaks

Image credit: Bourbon-n-Branch Brewing.

Bourbon-n-Branch Brewing has announced its intention to close in Hudson Oaks.

Founded by Brian Lixey and Joshua Tarbay, Bourbon-n-Branch had just celebrated its one-year anniversary after originally opening in July 2022.Tarbay, incidentally, joined the project after helping co-found Parker County Brewing Co. of Willow Park in 2017.

Regarding the name, Bourbon-n-Branch was a cocktail enjoyed by J.R. Ewing, a character played by Larry Hagman on the long-running television series Dallas. The drink and other infusions were a featured attraction at the brewpub, along with the occasional house beer brewed on a one-barrel system.

Community involvement was central to the concept as well, evidenced by a "Neighborhood Series" of beers calling attention to local landmarks, personalities, and neighboring businesses. Bourbon-n-Branch also offered a "Brewers Experience," which allowed participants the opportunity to design, produce and brand personalized beers. 

As for its final day, Bourbon-n-Branch will cease operations at the end of business on Saturday, July 22.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Area breweries win 11 medals at 2023 U.S. Open Beer Championship

Image credit: U.S. Open Beer Championship.
The U.S. Open Beer Championship has announced the winners from its fifteenth annual competition.

For the 2023 event, breweries submitted over 9000 beers representing 160 different categories. Incidentally, the U.S. Open now lays claim to judging more beers styles than any competition in the world.

As far as our local showing, eight breweries from North Texas were awarded 11 medals combined (6 silver, 5 bronze). First time U.S. Open medalists for 2023 include Celestial Beerworks of Dallas, Odd Muse Brewing Co. of Farmers Branch, Union Bear Brewing Co. of Plano, and the yet-to-open Armor Brewing Co. of Allen.

A rundown of winning beers from North Texas is provided below. You can also click here for a complete competition summary.

  • Silver for R&D Sticke Altbier in the Historical Beer category.
  • Bronze for Classy Chassis in the French/Belgian Ale - Belgian-Style Blonde Ale category.
  • Silver for Ground Control in the Mixed Culture Brett Beer category.
  • Bronze for Mailer Daemon in the New England/Juicy DIPA category.
  • Silver for Raspberry Field in the American Berry/Fruit Beer - Raspberry category.
  • Bronze for Bavarian Classic in the Münchner Dunkel category.
  • Bronze for Barrel-Aged Vanilla Porter with Tart Cherries in the Barrel-Aged Fruit Beer category.
Odd Muse Brewing Co., Farmers Branch
  • Silver for Fun Tolerance Grapefruit IPA in the American Berry/Fruit Beer - Grapefruit category.
Union Bear Brewing Co., Plano
  • Silver for Union Bear Bock in the Bock category.
  • Silver for Union Bear Foeder Saison in the Foeder and Cask-Aged Beer category.
  • Bronze for Dreamsicle Kayak Specialty/Anything Goes category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

Friday, July 7, 2023

Siren Rock hires award-winning industry veteran as new head brewer

Image courtesy of Siren Rock Brewing Co.

Siren Rock Brewing Co. of Rockwall has announced the hiring of a new head brewer, bringing in a long-time local industry veteran with more than 10 years experience working in breweries across Dallas-Fort Worth. 

Matt Pennington began his career as an intern at Armadillo Aleworks of Denton prior to joining Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas as a lead brewer in 2014. From there, he accepted the position of head brewer at Oak Highlands Brewery of Dallas in 2016, eventually transitioning to a similar role while helping to open Windmills of The Colony during 2020.

“Matt brings experience, passion for our brand, and innovative new ideas we think will make you love Siren Rock more," according to Cory Cannon, co-founder and president of Siren Rock. “Along with his continued thirst for knowledge and deep passion for great craft beer, we know he is a fantastic addition to our team."

While at Oak Highlands, Pennington was instrumental in developing recipes that won multiple national awards, including placements at the United States Beer Tasting Championship, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), and the U.S. Open Beer Championship. His most recent recognition came just last year while working at Windmills, when he won a gold medal for an amber lager at the 2022 GABF.

The competition results speak for themselves, but in addition to brewing exceptional craft beer, Pennington has spent his career improving production processes by creating and overhauling detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These elements of his skillset will be central to his work at Siren Rock going forward.

“Quality and consistency are my main priority in every aspect, and I am excited to continue to grow the great Siren Rock brand,” says Pennington. “I believe the growth Siren Rock has experienced is just the beginning, and I am looking forward to creating new beers, refining our internal processes to see even greater efficiencies, and seeing what else the future holds.”

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Revolver adds new Blood to year-round lineup

Blood brothers in beer: Blood & Honey and Blood & Honey Light from Revolver (Photo © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Counted among the many North Texas breweries celebrating 10-year anniversaries of late is Revolver Brewing of Granbury. Debuting in October 2012, the company has gone on to become one the area's largest production operations, rolling out in the neighborhood of 30,000 barrels of beer 2022 (combined numbers, according to the Brewers Association, including the Revolver Brewhouse satellite in Arlington).

And yes, the brewery was acquired by MillerCoors in 2016. Despite what some may think of that, Revolver can also boast to having the top-selling locally-made craft beer in its portfolio. The company's flagship, Blood & Honey, has been a staple of Revolver's lineup since day one, making it one of the few North Texas beers to remain in continuous production for the last decade.

Now, popularity aside, where and when to drink Blood & Honey is a pertinent question. The beer's 7.0% ABV might be a bit much for lakeside loungers basking in the heat of a typical Texas summer day. Recognizing this, Revolver recently launched Blood & Honey Light, a year-round beer made with the same ingredients (blood orange peel, local honey and spices), but with a lower ABV of only 4.5%.

So, how does Blood & Honey compare with its slimmed-down sibling?

Sipping the two beers side-by-side, Blood & Honey Light is breadier, while the original is, well...bloodier. The honey and spice character is less upfront in the Light version, allowing the beer's bready base (malted two-row barley and wheat) to show a bit more. Conversely, Blood & Honey presents with fuller flavors, as it highlights the interplay of sweet honey notes offset by a more noticeable bitter orange peel element.

Blood & Honey is also heavier on the palate, though that and the above comparison just shines a spotlight on Blood & Honey Light's reason to be in the first place. The new beer offers an easier-drinking alternative with enhanced refreshment, all the while not sacrificing the flavors that built the Blood & Honey fanbase.

Look for Blood & Honey in six-packs of 12-ounce cans and bottles wherever Revolver beers are sold. Consumers can also pick up a Blood & Honey 50/50 mix-pack, featuring six cans each of Blood & Honey and Blood & Honey Light.