Sunday, November 19, 2023

Wriggly Tin adds new wrinkle to the Dallas beer scene

All photos © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

On a Saturday in December 2019, a spot local beer lovers had come to know as Small Brewpub closed its doors in Oak Cliff. It was a unique little place (literally), with good food and an eclectic range of brews borne out of what, at the time, was one of the more creative approaches to beer-making in the local scene.

It was a loss, but there were rumblings another chapter would be written down the road. Time passed, with word eventually getting out that Small co-founder Aaron Garcia and partner Jacob Boger were working on a new habitat on S. Haskell St. in the shadow of Fair Park. Small Brewpub would not return, but Small Beer Works was now a thing as part of a new project called Wriggly Tin.

Small patrons once wondered if beers like Black Pepper Pils and Underdog IPA would see the light of day again. Four years later, these indeed appear along with other creations (Oro Moro Dark Lager, Hart German Helles) on the menu at Wriggly Tin, which officially opened earlier this month.

Wriggly sets up as an attractive destination for patio pours near Dallas Fair Park.

So, what exactly is a Wriggly Tin?

Well, if you're talking about what inspired the name of the place, it has to do with the corrugated sheets of iron covering the half-circle shaped structure the brewpub calls home. The U.K. military called these wavy or wrinkled sheets of metal wriggly tin.

If you're talking about Garcia and Boger's vision for the business, though, Wriggly Tin is a "cocktail, wine, and pizza joint that also sells Small Beer Works beer."

And, that's just the sort of vibe you get upon visiting. With the brewhouse hidden beyond the dining room and kitchen indoors, house beer production is only one Small part of a larger scheme. Whether it be lager-leaning recipes designed for a more diverse range of beer drinker, the universal appeal of pizza offerings from Chef Desmon Coleman, or all the little touches coming together to shape the entirely handmade decor, the approach celebrates "what the common people of the world love."

Denizens of Dallas love a patio too, by the way, and Wriggly Tin has one checking all the boxes of an urban beer oasis.

Enjoy beer offerings like Hart, a German-style helles lager, inside the dining room or outside in the open air.

Also important is the welcoming nature about the place, starting with the attentiveness of the staff, which includes knowledgeable beer tenders willing to guide patrons through sample sips as they decide on an order. The presence of ownership actively circulating through the crowd, something seemingly more and more rare, was noticeable as well.

It all makes for the kind of place you want to settle in and stay awhile...not just for a quick beer and a bite, but more for an evening of dinner and drinks without distraction (no televisions were sighted). Perhaps this explains why Wriggly Tin is only open late afternoons and evenings (Wed-Sun, 4 p.m. - 12 a.m.) leading into the weekend.

Wriggly Tin may not be a full-on revival of Garcia's former business, but the new venture is driven by the same guiding principles behind what became a craft beer fan favorite. So essentially, it's a new space with an old soul, and that's no small thing. Then again, a "Small" thing is probably exactly what it's meant to be.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Brutal Beerworks closing in North Richland Hills

Image credit: Brutal Beerworks.

Brutal Beerworks has announced it will close its brewery in North Richland Hills.

Founded by Eric Johnson, Sallie McIntyre and Jason Perez, the company opened in July 2019 as the first brewery in the city. From there, Brutal Beerworks embraced a more modern approach in featuring an ever-changing lineup of hazy IPAs, stouts, and the brewery's popular Gusherz line of fruited sour beers.

As apropos as it is given the circumstances, the Brutal name was a reference to the difficulties in opening and maintaining a brewery in the face of market challenges and other everyday responsibilities. That message coming through loud and clear in a social media post sharing the news.

"We’ve fought tooth and nail to keep the brewery going, but due to our lease coming to an end and rent prices shooting through the roof, we are no longer able to keep moving forward. "

Operations will continue through the final day of business on Saturday, December 2.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Shannon Brewing Co. closes in Keller

Photo © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Shannon Brewing Co. of Keller is now closed.

Founded by Shannon Carter, the self-named business debuted in September 2014. The brewery was unique in using a fire-brewing process to produce its beers, which were made with pure Texas spring water from a neighboring bottler.

In terms of marketing, Carter's own personal heritage influenced the firm's slogan, "Texas Brewed with Irish Roots," as well as the choice of its flagship offering, Shannon Irish Red. Other popular beers in Shannon's portfolio included the company's Chocolate Stout and Irish Coffee Cream Ale.

A private equity group, NTX Cask Mates, acquired Shannon Brewing Co. in early 2023. Carter remained active in day-to-day activities until July, at which point he moved on to pursue other endeavors. Operations continued on until just recently, but ultimately the decision was made to discontinue the brand.

Despite the news, Shannon Brewing Co. enjoyed a longer run than most in the North Texas market, its closure coming after a full nine years in business.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

False Idol medals at 2023 Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer

Image credit: False Idol Brewing.

Marking its territory as the site of arguably one of the area's better barrel programs, False Idol Brewing of North Richland Hills has been honored with an award at the 2023 Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer (FOBAB).

Started in 2003, FOBAB is put on by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. The event is the largest and most distinguished festival of its kind in North America. At this year's competition, over 300 entries were submitted, with brewers vying for awards across 12 distinct categories.

False Idol received a bronze medal for Two Faced Terror (14% ABV), an English-style barleywine aged for 17 months in bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill Distillery, and then for another 7 months in barrels from 1792. The beer was a limited batch released by the brewery in late October - cans of which sold out quickly.

For more on the 2023 FOBAB, click here to view a complete list of winners.

False Idol Brewing, North Richland Hills

  • Bronze for Two Faced Terror in the Barleywine/Wheatwine category.

Cheers and congrats to False Idol Brewing!

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Temptations on tap during Stout Month at Lakewood

Images courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Today is International Stout Day and it marks the beginning of Stout Month at Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland.

The festivities will feature tappings of new exclusive brews all month long, as well as the availability of several Temptress variants including Sin Mint, French Quarter, Gingerbread, Double Stuffed, S'mores and Pumpkin Spice Latte Temptress.

Then, once December arrives, Stout Month will conclude with the return of the ever-popular Bourbon Barrel Temptress (BBT). As in year's past, the brewery will host two days of events celebrating the release, with BBT VIP Day happening on Friday, December 1, followed by BBT Day on Saturday, December 2. The weekend also will feature the introduction of Temptress Light. 

More details will be shared on Lakewood's social media channels in the coming weeks, but for now a schedule of November releases is provided below.

Thursday, November 2
  • Balcones Bourbon Barrel-Aged French Coast Temptress with Boysenberries.
  • Dry Stout.
  • Live Vol. 3 - Norwegian Imperial Stout with Juniper Berries and Honey.
Thursday, November 9
  • Balcones Barrel Temptress aged in a Tequila-Finished Rye Whiskey Barrel.
Thursday, November 16
  • Balcones Barrel Temptress aged in Single-Malt Whiskey Barrel #14140.
Friday, November 24
  • Balcones Barrel Temptress aged in Bourbon Barrel #18313.
Friday, December 1 - Saturday, December 2
  • 2023 Bourbon Barrel Temptress.
  • Temptress Light.
  • Various vintages of Bourbon Barrel Temptress.