Thursday, January 18, 2024

Lakewood taps next generation of brewing talent with UTA

Image credits: Lakewood Brewing Co., The University of Texas at Arlington.

Expanding on its educational efforts, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is working with another local university to help bring up the next generation of brewing talent.

Lakewood's latest collaboration is with The University of Texas at Arlington, an institution offering a new Brewing and Fermentation Science Certificate. Dylan Parks, Ph.D., biology assistant professor of instruction and former Lakewood lab technician, is head of the four-course certificate program, and the brewery is helping provide hands-on experience for participants (students, hobbyists, or those simply curious).

Designed to teach concepts from the ground up, Dr. Parks has developed a curriculum including the following courses:

  • The Science of Brewing
  • Fermentation Science
  • Brewing Lab
  • Sensory Evaluation, QA/QC, and Product Design

There will also be a requirement for a 16-hour internship at a local fermentation or brewing facility, for which Lakewood is one of the first to participate.

“Hands-on experience is critical to anyone that is going to go on and work in a production facility, whether it be a winery, brewery, cidery, or distillery,” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “It’s important to have an educated workforce, or to even power someone’s future hobby – that’s how I started, and I’m stoked to help others go that path.”

Bens is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, a school he also worked with following the launch of Pony Pils, a beer Lakewood made for Mustang fans. After a successful debut this summer, SMU added Pony Pils to its concession offerings at home football and basketball games. The beer also has an associated scholarship, with $1 from every case sold going to the LBC Future Brewer STEM Scholarship.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Funky Picnic launches Dry Bar Pop-Up, a mocktail experience

Mocktail offerings in The Back Room at Funky Picnic: I Know That She's Pretty (top left), Mule Love This Too (top right), Mochaccino Martini (bottom).

Over the last couple of years, it's been noted how breweries have begun to offer alternative drinks and experiences as a way to expand their customer bases. Following through on this approach seems particularly important in light of Dry January and the growing demand for alcohol-free alternatives.

As such, The Back Room at Funky Picnic Brewery & Café has launched its Dry Bar Pop-Up, bringing a refreshing twist to the world of mocktails and sober lifestyles. The Dry Bar Pop-Up will kick off this weekend, January 11-13 from 5-9 pm, and will continue to enchant guests with celebrations of liquor-free flavor on select dates throughout the month.

At the heart of the Dry Bar experience is the innovative Build-Your-Own Mocktail Bar, where patrons collaborate with skilled bartenders to craft customized drinks. From selecting glassware to choosing syrups, garnishes and more, the Build-Your-Own Mocktail Bar offers a unique and interactive journey into the art of mocktail mixology.

Funky Picnic’s Dry Bar Pop-Up also features an array of signature mocktails, including year-round favorites like Resolution Solution, a tantalizing blend of hibiscus, ginger, lemon, lime, Topo Chico, and tajin. Other standouts include I Know That She's Pretty (pink lavender syrup, lemon juice, angostura bitters & soda water), Mule Love This Too (apple butter, lime juice, ginger beer), and the Mochaccino Martini, a sober twist on the classic espresso martini.

"We are thrilled to introduce the Dry Bar Pop-Up to our community," says Samantha Glenn, co-owner of Funky Picnic. "With the rising interest in mindful drinking and Dry January, we wanted to create a space where individuals can savor exceptional mocktails and celebrate their commitment to a sober lifestyle."

While some of the signature mocktails are year-round staples available on the Funky Picnic menu, the full list of Signature Mocktails and the Build-Your-Own Mocktail Bar will only be available during select dates in January in Funky Picnic’s private event space, The Back Room (check the brewpub's website for details). Funky Picnic’s full food, beer, and cocktail menus will also be available, making it a perfect date night to keep resolutions going strong.