Friday, March 29, 2024

Rollertown breaks ground on new Frisco HQ

Logo courtesy of Rollertown Beerworks. Insets © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D (click to enlarge).

Officially kicking off a project first announced in November 2022, Rollertown Beerworks of Celina broke ground today on what will become the company's new headquarters in Downtown Frisco.

The principals at Rollertown include Jonathan Rogers, co-founder and CEO, along with Ben Rogers and Jeff "Skin" Wade, co-founders and hosts of The Ben & Skin Show on 97.1 The Freak. They were joined at the event by Frisco city leaders and a list of sports and entertainment celebrities who also happen to be Rollertown investors:

Dirk Nowitzki, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks.
Travis Frederick, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.
Torii Hunter, formerly of the Minnesota Twins.
Matt Kemp, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dude Perfect, Frisco-based Sports and Comedy Group.

As for Rollertown's future home, it will be built on 2.9-acre tract at the northeast corner of Main St. and John Elliot Parkway. Buildings will be designed with an industrial look meant to play off their proximity to the BNSF railroad, while also paying homage to mills that once occupied the land.

Exterior views of the brewhouse, taproom and event lawn (Rollertown Beerworks, City of Frisco, PGAL).

Among the features are over 6,350 square feet of air-conditioned indoor hospitality space, including a two-level taproom with large porches and multiple bars, a 4,320 square foot outdoor beer garden, a 25,200 square foot great lawn connecting Frisco’s historic grain silos to the taproom’s porches (fronted by an 800 square foot performance stage), and a 15,000 square foot production hall featuring three different sized brewhouses (30-bbl, 7-bbl, 1-bbl).

"We are absolutely thrilled to be planting our flag in what is consistently recognized as one of the finest cities in the country," says Jonathan Rogers. "To join the family of companies based in Frisco that includes the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Stars, the Frisco Roughriders, the PGA of America, and Keurig Dr Pepper among many others is a true honor.”

Interior views of the two-story taproom (Rollertown Beerworks, City of Frisco, PGAL).

Rollertown Frisco will be equidistant from Toyota Stadium and Frisco’s Historic Downtown. This family and dog-friendly venue is meant to be a cornerstone of Frisco’s Downtown development plans and a beacon of community engagement.

“We’ve been brainstorming for years about how to find the best project for the silo tract to incorporate into our plans to redevelop historic downtown,” says Mayor Jeff Cheney. “We believe Rollertown Beerworks fulfills our vision to bring destination entertainment to the heart of our city. Research shows our residents want live music, brewery experiences, and historic downtown settings – all while being family friendly. Rollertown delivers."

Look for Rollertown Frisco to open in the summer of 2025.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Total solar eclipse brews and views at NTX bars and breweries

Image by kjpargeter on Freepik.

Unless you've been living under a rock of galactic proportions, you know a cosmic event of some significance is coming up on the calendar. A total solar eclipse is set to occur on Monday, April 8, with much of North Texas positioned in the path of totality.

Naturally, watch parties will be taking place at breweries and other craft beer-centric locales across the region. Most, but not all, events will have solar glasses on hand for attendees (quantities may be limited), while some will even be serving up special beers to mark the occasion. And, judging by a beer name appearing more than once, a certain song by Soundgarden is sure to be spinning at solar soirees around town.

In addition, those raising a "Toast to Totality" can pick up commemorative merchandise from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. Click here to view exclusive items designed by DeuxSouth Creative of San Antonio.

As for all the happenings going down in D-FW, check the listings and links below for details. Note, tickets are required for some events.

The brews:
  • Black Hole Sun Blackberry Berliner Weisse - 3 Nations Brewing Co.
  • Black Hole Sun Black Lager - 903 Brewers (available now).
  • Black Hole Sun Black Pilsner - Three Empires Brewing Co.
  • Brownie Totality Coffee Milk Stout - On Rotation (releases April 6).
  • Darker Shade of Ellum - Westlake Brewing Co.
  • Day Ruiner Barrel-Aged Blonde Barleywine - Martin House Brewing Co. (releases April 5).
  • In the Path of Totality Hazy IPA with Eclipse Hops - Celestial Beerworks.
  • Maximum Totality Cascadian Dark Ale - Autonomous Society Brewpub (releases April 5).
  • Moon Pie Full Grown Man - Tupps Brewery.
  • Path of Totality Stout Aged on Hazelnut, Coconut and Vanilla - 903 Brewers (available now).
  • Sunburst Wheat - Lakewood Brewing Co. (available now).
  • Total Eclipse of the Hops IPA - Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
  • Totality Black IPA - Railport Brewing Co. & Southern Roots Brewing Co.
  • Umbral Shadow Golden Stout with Pistachios, Marshmallows, Chocolate, Coffee and Vanilla - Keyworth Brewing Co. (releases April 5).
  • Umbraphile Golden Stout with Coffee, Vanilla and Chocolate - Division Brewing (available now).
  • Yellow Haze of the Sun Hazy Pale Ale - Odd Muse Brewing Co.

The views:

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Maple Branch, Flix Mansfield among winners at 2024 Best of Craft Beer Awards

Image credits: Best of Craft Beer Awards, Maple Branch Craft Brewery, Flix Brewhouse.

This past weekend, the 2024 Best of Craft Beer Awards competition was held in Redmond, Oregon, with two Tarrant County breweries landing among the winners.

Now in its tenth year, the Best of Craft Beer Awards has grown to be the third largest professional brewing competition in North America. At this year's event, more than 1850 submissions were received for evaluation against style guidelines covering 55 categories and subcategories.

From the entry pool, judges awarded 169 medals to 123 breweries located worldwide. On the North Texas medalists, Maple Branch Craft Brewery of Fort Worth previously won a Best of Craft Beer award in 2022, while Flix Brewhouse Mansfield appears on the honoree list for the first time.

Local winners and their beers are highlighted below. For more on the 2024 Best of Craft Beer Awards, click here for a full competition summary.

Flix Brewhouse, Mansfield
  • Luna Rosa, Bronze in the Fruit & Field Beers category.

Maple Branch Craft Brewery, Fort Worth
  • Monkey Business, Gold in the German Wheat Beers category.
  • Lion's Den, Silver in the Bocks category.

Cheers and congratulations to Maple Branch and Flix Mansfield!

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Neutral Ground closing brewery in Fort Worth

Image credit: Neutral Ground Brewing Co.

Neutral Ground Brewing Co. has announced it will close its brewery in Fort Worth.

Owners Sean Doublet and Stan Hudson got inspiration for the brewery's name from a historical reference to the disputed border between Texas and Louisiana after the Louisiana Purchase. The "neutral ground" was a hostility-free zone set aside to allow for safe trade until the matter was resolved.

Their choice also made for a symbolic fit, since Doublet and Hudson came together to open the brewery after having been born on opposite sides the border themselves.

Taking further influence from Texas' neighboring state, Neutral Ground's flagship beer recalled the Christian feast day of Epiphany, which in Louisiana marks the beginning of Carnival season. This is the time King Cakes are made, so Epiphany was brewed with cinnamon and nutmeg to create a King Cake-inspired ale.

Reasons for the closure have not been revealed, but Neutral Ground will celebrate its third anniversary on Saturday, March 23, before shutting down operations after the close of business on Friday, March 29.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Voodoo Brewing adds second NTX spot in Plano

The menu at Voodoo Brewing Co. - Plano features beers like Wynona's Big Brown Ale (a "spontaneous" release),
and Cajun-inspired food items like the Bayou Salad with Blackened Chicken ( all images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Voodoo Brewing Co. of Pennsylvania has debuted its second franchise taproom in North Texas, this time in the heart of Historic Downtown Plano.

Located at 1001 14th St., Voodoo Plano is owned and operated by Jennifer and Jeremy Dartez. The brewpub sets up in a 3,900 square foot spot on the ground floor of Morado Plano, a five-story development described as an "ultra-modern" apartment community.

Given the locale and how the space was designed, it's obvious upon entry a different sort of vibe is in order at Voodoo Plano compared to its area predecessor which opened in May of 2023, Voodoo Grand Prairie. The latter, anchoring one end of a retail center, has a suburban bar and grill-type feel, while Voodoo Plano has more of a neighborhood pub quality.

Different yes, but it's all part of how Voodoo partnerships work. Not only do franchisees have the freedom to make design decisions which give each brewpub its own unique personality, they can also add a bit of personal flavor choice to the food offerings.

Along those lines, Voodoo Plano takes a cue from the fact that its name is synonymous with New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. As such, the menu has a Cajun flair with items like po'boys, beignets and boudin balls being notable additions to the parent company's base menu of burgers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and more.

As for the beer, the bulk of the lineup consists of house beers brought in from The Keystone State, with year-round recipes like Good Vibes West Coast IPA and Voodoo Love Child Belgian Tripel supplemented with both seasonal and spontaneous releases (one of which, Wynona's Big Brown Ale gets high marks). You'll find a little bit of Bayou State influence here as well, with guest selections from Abita Brewing Co. of Covington, Louisiana.

Other beverages include Voodoo's Elxr hard seltzers, wines, spirits, hand-crafted cocktails, and a bevy of non-alcoholic options like root beer, sodas, and a Nitro Crème Brûlée Coffee drink courtesy of The Thirsty Growler in The Colony.

Voodoo Brewing Co. - Plano held its grand opening today, but going forward the brewpub will serve patrons seven days a week, with hours starting at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Stub's Texas Pils leads list of new beers at Lakewood

Images courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland is adding a number of new beers to its portfolio.

The first of these is Stub's Texas Pils (4.5% ABV), a year-round offering described as a "clear, crisp and refreshing pilsner with a balanced, smooth finish."

“Classic beer styles have survived a long time for a good reason. Like we say in Texas, ‘If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.’ We created an uncomplicated beer, with quality ingredients, to enjoy at the end of your complicated day,” says Wim Bens, founder and president of Lakewood. “We’re going back to beer flavored beer. Stub’s is a beer you can grab for any occasion.”

Look for Stub's Texas Pils on tap and in cans throughout Texas. Packaged products are going for "inflation busting" prices of $8.99-$9.99 for a six-pack and $18.99 for a 12-pack.

Also new are two variations of Lakewood's popular Temptress Imperial Milk Stout. Irish Cream Temptress (9.1% ABV) is available now, while Cookies 'n Cream Temptress (9.1% ABV) is set to hit shelves in April.

Then, there's Sunburst Wheat (5.5% ABV), the brewery's new spring/summer seasonal. Said to "taste like a Texas sunset," this American-style wheat beer with soft hints of fruit will debut statewide in time for the total solar eclipse on April 8.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Three Wide now wide open in Fort Worth

All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D.

Three Wide Brewing Co. has opened in Fort Worth, as the business is celebrating its highly-anticipated debut with Grand Opening festivities this weekend. Located at 16230 Three Wide Dr., the brewery lies just west and within earshot of Texas Motor Speedway (TMS).

For team members Matt Morriss and Tom Anderson, Three Wide represents a return from down the 'Rabbit  Hole,' if you'll recall the Alice in Wonderland-themed brewery the two helped establish just four miles down the road in Justin. With this new venture, they've joined forces with Hau Lau, Roger Ma and Helen Ma, along with yet another former Rabbit Hole crew member in Joshua Mercer, who takes on the role of head brewer at Three Wide.

Of course, motorsports fans will know "three wide" is a racing term referring to when cars run side-by-side-by-side across the width of the track. Three Wide's moniker was surely influenced by its proximity to TMS, and it's almost a given the brewery will become a default destination for pre- or post-race day shenanigans.

One reason is because Three Wide has the makings of a beer drinking, sports-watching mecca. With a bank of eight large widescreens above the main bar, another four encircling an arena-like scoreboard dropping down from the ceiling, and additional TVs along the walls, Three Wide isn't just some bar where you go to watch THE game, it's a brewery you go to when you want to watch ALL the games.

Plus, patrons can enjoy the ambiance both inside and out on two levels. Downstairs, a covered patio extends the dining area outside, while the upstairs adds a second bar, seating overlooking the brewhouse, and an open-air balcony.

Options to eat - Footlong Bratwurst (sauerkraut, caramelized onions, Dijon mustard,
grilled baguette), and drink - Wake Up Call (Belgian-style pale ale with coffee).

Another reason is the eats and drinks. Liquid-wise, Three Wide will pour upwards of 20 house beers into proper glassware on a daily basis. And, fermentation has clearly been underway for a while, since 19 taps were flowing on opening day. Initial style options included six IPAs (English, hazy, double hazy, rye, West Coast, double West Coast) and two stouts, along with a variety of Belgian, English and German offerings.

Oh, and if anyone was wondering about new takes on former Rabbit Hole recipes making an appearance at Three Wide, one candidate may be a brown ale called Heart of Glass. It's said to be "truly rapturous."

On the culinary side, Three Wide's kitchen is led by Roger Evaristo, who appropriately enough has done some cooking for NASCAR. The Brazilian-born chef owns Azores Craft Sausages & Charcuterie in Roanoke, so Three Wide is essentially a second location. Look for his menu to feature snacks, burgers, sandwiches, Neapolitan-style pizzas and more.

Beyond all that, there are attractions like to-go beers (coming soon), board games, giant Connect Four, live music bookings, and something to do with a speakeasy or private event area lurking behind a rotating bookcase. And, let's also not overlook the barrel stacks in the production space. The latter promising barrel-aged beers to be discovered sometime down the road.

Three Wide Brewing Co. offers service daily, with hours beginning at 11 a.m.