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Hibiscus Zinger is brewed with wheat and barley malt, along with a mix of
hibiscus, ginger root, lemon and orange peel (Armadillo Ale Works). 

Expecting the unexpected is now the norm with respect to Armadillo Ale Works of Denton, as the company continues to embrace the unusual when it comes to the creativity behind its beers. Whether it be in the ingredients or the approach, products like Honey Please (mesquite beans), Dapper Apple (apple juice, apple pie spice), Royal Champ (purple corn, champagne yeast) and Brunch Money (lactose, maple syrup, cacao nibs, vanilla, coffee) have demonstrated the willingness of founders Yianni Arestis and Bobby Mullins to brew outside the box.

The latest case in point is Armadillo's new spring seasonal, Hibiscus Zinger. The name alone may conjure up images of a certain herbal tea producer, but that just makes for a fitting parallel, considering this particular Zinger is being billed as a botanical ale. Or as its tagline artfully alliterates, "it's a wheat beer brewed with a bodacious blend of botanicals to create a zippy pink drink that'll add some zing to your spring."

Recipe components for Hibiscus Zinger consist of hibiscus, ginger root, lemon and orange peel. It's surely a distinctive set of ingredients, and as Mullins implies, any overuse could easily alter the course of a beer.

"It's a bit of a balancing act to blend the traditional aspects of a beer style with unorthodox ingredients or processes and still have a something resembling beer at the end," explains Mullins. "But, we're a brewery and what we make still has to taste like a beer. With that in mind, I try to draw inspiration from traditional styles and/or the BJCP guidelines, then I bend them innovatively to create something that's both familiar and unique."

A unique pilsner-like glass will be available during Hibiscus Zinger
pint nights during February and March (Armadillo Ale Works). 

At the same time, a good foundation is key no matter what elements are added to a beer, which means what's underlying the innovation has to be good as well.

"If you order a steak with a fancy truffle butter sauce, and the steak itself isn't any good, then all the sauce in the world wont fix it," says Arestis. "It's the same way with beer, and it's something we've been mindful of since day one. We are our own biggest critics, so we always want to make sure we have the fundamentals covered before we put our own spin on things."

Judging by a pre-release sample of the beer, Armadillo has hit the nail on the head in both regards with Hibiscus Zinger. A notable backbone of bready malt (i.e. the base beer) sets the tone for a brew that's been infused with the ideal amount of ginger, fresh florals and citrus peel (i.e. the botanicals). And, it's that tasteful touch that makes Hibiscus Zinger a delicate and drinkable blend that strikes a near perfect balance between botanicals and beer.

As for how best to enjoy it, Hibiscus Zinger is a great refresher on its own at a serving temperature of around 45°. Arestis also likes the idea of adding an orange garnish (gasp!) or even using Hibiscus Zinger as part of a spring-themed beer cocktail.

Either way, look for Hibiscus Zinger to debut Friday, February 23, at East Side Denton. After that, the beer will appear on tap at various pint nights set to occur across North Texas.


Friday, February 23
  • Release Party at East Side, Denton: 6-10 p.m.
Saturday, February 24
  • Pint Day at Craft Beer Cellar, Dallas: 2-5 p.m.
Wednesday, February 28
  • Pint Night at Bluffview Growler, Dallas: 5-8 p.m.
Thursday, March 1
  • Pint Night at Dallas Craft Co., The Colony: 4:45-8:45 p.m.
Friday, March 2
  • Special tapping at Craft and Growler, Dallas: 6-7 p.m.
Saturday, March 3
  • Food and Flight Pairing with Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. at Lakewood Growler, Dallas: 4-6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6
  • Pint Night at On Tap, Arlington: 5-8 p.m.
Wednesday, March 7
  • Pint Night at Ron's Corner Tavern, Bedford: 6-9 p.m.


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Image credit: 3rd Identity Films.

Representing a mash-up of local beer and local film, Braindead Brewing and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema have come together to introduce a beer inspired by subjects of the movie, Bomb City.

Originally released in 2017 by Dallas-based 3rd Identity Films, Bomb City tells the true story of punk artists in Amarillo that got into a brawl leading to the death of the film's main character, a 19-year old punk musician named Brian Deneke.

As it turns out, Deneke was an avid homebrewer and even traveled with a dog called Stout. Naturally, that's what led to the collaboration, which has resulted in a beer inspired by Deneke's story and a beer he makes for friends during the course of the film.

Sunshine Fist Magnet (11.2% ABV) is an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with molasses and dry-hopped with Amarillo hops. The beer gets its name from Deneke's punk scene nickname and a song that was written about him (of the same name) by the band, Against All Authority.

Available first at the Cedars location of Alamo Drafthouse, Sunshine Fist Magnet will be tapped to coincide with a special one-time screening of Bomb City on Tuesday, February 13 at 8:10 p.m. Representatives from Braindead, along with the filmmakers behind Bomb City, will be on hand at the event to discuss both story and beer during a live Q&A session (click here to purchase advance tickets).

Following that, look for Sunshine Fist Magnet to be available on tap at Braindead.
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With brewery news from the east, west, north and south parts of North Texas, this edition of the Conspectus seemingly has all of the cardinal points covered.

Cheers!


Thirsty Bro readies beer for wide distribution

Having completed a series of equipment upgrades, Thirsty Bro Brewing Co. of Royse City has ramped-up production as it prepares to introduce its beer to a wider market. Initial shipments to draft accounts are scheduled to roll out next week, with Bro'd Trip IPA, Mo Bro IPA, Southern Belle Porter and Sweet Cherry Blonde making up the initial allotment. Packaged products are in the plans as well, but a move to canned beers won't occur until later this year.


Area's newest brewpub now open in Willow Park

Following a soft opening on Super Sunday, Parker County Brewing Co. is now operating in Willow Park. House beers are a few weeks away, but the brewpub is currently serving guest taps and selections from an Italian-inspired menu. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday,11 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Shannon packages Irish Coffee Cream Ale

Shannon Brewing Co. of Keller has released cans of its Irish Coffee Cream Ale. A collaborative effort with Dallas-based White Rock Coffee, the beer is the brewery's Irish Cream Ale aged on coffee and vanilla beans. The finished product is said to feature a nutty element, along with baked fruit notes, subtle vanilla and a rich coffee flavor.


Railport receives TABC approval

Set to be the first brewing operation to exist in Waxahachie, Railport Brewing Co. has obtained its production permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Construction on the brewery is still ongoing, but ownership hopes to open the doors sometime in the late February/early March time frame.


Billion Dollar beer on the bill at Four Bullets

Debuting at its taproom taproom on Friday, Billion Dollar Blonde Ale is the latest creation from Four Bullets Brewery of Richardson. The beer promises to be yet another easy-drinking addition to the company's portfolio, at least based on an image posted showing Billion Dollar Blonde in the pose of a poolside potation. A low ABV factors into things as well, with the beer coming in at just under 5.2%.




Image credits (top to bottom): Thirsty Bro Brewing Co., Parker County Brewing Co., Shannon Brewing Co., Railport Brewing Co., Four Bullets Brewery.
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Image courtesy of 903 Brewers
(click to enlarge).
Returning after a successful run last year, 903 Brewers is bringing back Galentine's, an event series focused on the delivery of uplifting messages to women's shelters across North Texas.

Attendees to one of five planned Galentine's Pint Nights will have the opportunity to deliver positive thoughts by either crafting their own unique Galentine's card, or by simply signing a community card that will be made available (all craft supplies and cards will be provided). Cards will then be delivered to area women's shelters in time for Valentine's Day.

As for what beers will be tapped during these events, selections will vary by location. Likely candidates include core brews like Cerveza Por Favor, Republic of Texas and Mandarina Jolie, as well as seasonals like Winter Sasquatch and Birthday Sasquatch.

See below for a list of scheduled events, and remember that while Galentine's is billed as a ladies' night out, gentlemen are also welcome to attend.


Tuesday, February 6 from 6-9 p.m. - The Thirsty Growler, The Colony.

Friday, February 9 from 5-8 p.m. - The Taproom Bar at Whole Foods Market, Colleyville.

Saturday, February 10 from 12-3 p.m. - The Taproom Bar at Whole Foods Market Cityline, Richardson.

Monday, February 12 from 5-8 p.m. - Craft and Growler, Dallas.

Wednesday, February 14 from 5-10 p.m. - Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
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Image courtesy of Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland has released Grim Shearer, the tenth individual release in the brewery's Legendary Series, and the third and final installment of its Three Fates miniseries.

Stylistically described as a rye wine, Grim Shearer (11.4% ABV) was aged over eight months in rye whiskey barrels. What's emerged from that time away is a beer featuring flavors of maple, toffee, sun-dried cherries and subtle rye spice.

“We’re excited to complete this story and series of beers, showcasing the amazing qualities that come with varying malt bills to complement different [types of] barrels," says Wim Bens, founder & president of Lakewood.

Grim Shearer follows previous entries in the Three Fates miniseries, Thread Spinner (a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine, released fall 2016) and Grand Allowance (a chardonnay barrel-aged wheat wine, released spring 2017). Originally slated to appear six months apart, the culmination of the trilogy comes 16 months after Thread Spinner was first placed on the market.

“We love seeing how the personality of each beer comes through, how the difference in age and cellar time influences each beer, and how they relate to each other when tried side-by-side,” added Bens. “It’s been a long project, but one we’ve really enjoyed.”

Look for Grim Shearer on tap and in 22-ounce bottles across North Texas.


Label designs for the Three Fates series were created by Nathan Walker. See more of his work at All the Pretty Colors.
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Image credit: Best of Craft Beer Awards.

Now in its fifth year, the 2018 Best of Craft Beer Awards competition was held this past weekend in Bend, Oregon. Five North Texas breweries were honored at the event, which resulted in area brewers bringing home a total of six medals.

Beer styles were evaluated against the 2017 Brewers Association Guidelines, the only exceptions being the addition of special categories for Northeast-Style IPAs and Fruited Berliner Weisse beers. Overall, 145 breweries from 35 states won awards this year, with medals handed out in 86 different categories.

This list of North Texas winners is given below, or you can click here for a complete rundown of the 2018 results.


Bitter Sisters Brewing Co.
  • Gold for Family Trip Belgian Tripel in the Belgian-Style Tripel or Pale Strong Ale category.
  • Gold for Local Legend in the Sweet Stout or Cream Stout category.
  • Bronze for Deep Ellum Lager in the Other Lager category.
  • Gold for Hoopsnake Hefeweizen in the German-Style Wheat Beer category.
  • Bronze for Rapture Fusion Brown Ale in the American-Style Brown Ale category.
  • Bronze for Bourbon Barrel Irish Red in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Pale to Amber Beer category.

Cheers and congratulations to all!

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All images courtesy of 903 Brewers.

Since surfacing in Sherman during early 2014, Sasquatch sightings have become a regular occurrence around North Texas. Sightings of the beer from 903 Brewers, that is, as opposed to the manifestation of some mythical creature. Then again, a guy in an ape-like suit has played a part in the story of both beverage and beast. Thankfully, though, a reliance on fuzzy photographs isn't necessary to identify what's arguably one of the area's more recognizable beers.

"Sasquatch is the beer we're known for," says Jeremy Roberts, co-founder of 903. "That's thanks to winning a silver medal for the beer at the Great American Beer Festival, winning back-to-back medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, and being named one of the top ten stouts brewed in America by Beer Info."

Nowadays, Sasquatch is more a family of beers, rather than a single, solitary beast. It can be found seasonally in different forms, including Winter Sasquatch (with holiday spice), Birthday Sasquatch (with fudge and toasted marshmallow) and Barrel-Aged Sasquatch.

Of course, those are just the Sasquatch siblings you'll encounter out in the wild. Small-batch offerings have emerged from time to time at 903's taproom, and just last summer the company starting bottling varieties to be sold as brewery exclusives.

"One of the reasons we converted to a brewpub license was to be able to do brewery-only releases," explains Roberts. "Plus, Sherman is a beautiful one hour drive north, and we want people to come see us. Brewery-only releases have given more people a reason to visit, which is what we want, because we're excited about converting the old Lee School building into our future taproom."

Left: Bottle Club members have access to Barrel-Aged Maple Sasquatch, Ogre Imperial Oatmeal Stout,
Coffee Coconut Barrel-Aged Sasquatch, Scotch Barrel-Aged Sasquatch, Red Wine Barrel-Aged Sasquatch and more.

Right: Special glassware available to those attending Sasquatch's Fourth Birthday Party on Saturday, February 3.

Along those lines, 903 announced a new line of brewery exclusives in early January. The series, which will be doled out individually over the course of 2018, consists of beers like Barrel-Aged Maple Sasquatch, Coffee Coconut Barrel-Aged Sasquatch and Barrel-Aged Birthday Sasquatch.

Those beers and others can be obtained by way of the new 903 Bottle Club, with memberships available at shop903.com. Joining the club provides members with guaranteed access to a total of eight specialty beers (all packaged in either 22-ounce or 750mL bottles), not to mention exclusive glassware and a year's worth of discounts on brews purchased in the taproom.

Consumers can also get a taste of the three beers mentioned above by making the trip to Sherman this weekend for Sasquatch's Fourth Birthday Party. Going on Saturday from 12-5 p.m., the event will also feature a tapping of two other Sasquatch varieties: IronRoot Republic Barrel-Aged Sasquatch and Barrel-Aged Sasquatch with cacao nibs and vanilla. No ticket is needed to attend, but you'll want to arrive early for a chance to pick up special Birthday Sasquatch glassware.

As for what the future holds for Sasquatch and its brethren, rest assured there are even more varieties in the works.

"We have a new beer coming out called Friday Slide," reveals Roberts. "It's Sasquatch aged in Jack Daniel's barrels with coffee liqueur and Irish cream."
Look for that brew to arrive in March.
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Image courtesy of
Noble Rey Brewing Co.
Looking to expand its reach to overseas markets, Noble Rey Brewing Co. of Dallas has announced a partnership with Neodif, a beverage retailer based in Nantes, France.

Noble Rey's can designs were the catalyst in bringing the two companies together, as Neodif took notice of the brewery's distinctive packaging. Samples were then requested and shared, leading to an agreement giving the French company exclusive rights to produce, package and sell Noble Rey's beers in France and potentially other locations throughout Europe.

Ahead of the launch, founders Chris and Kindra Rigoulot were joined by head brewer Tommy Miller as they toured potential contract breweries in France and Belgium with Neodif’s managing director, Gildas Hays. The trip was undertaken in order to choose which facilities would be the best fit for production.

Two Noble Rey recipes, Vertigo (a double IPA) and Sex in a Canoe (an American light lager) ,were chosen for the first wave of production, which began at the end of 2017.

Both beers have been specifically reformulated for the European market by Miller, with the first cans expected to hit shelves at the end of February. As for where to get them, France's largest chain store, Carrefour, will carry Noble Rey products exclusively at the start.


Noble Rey can designs are the work of TILT and graphic designer John Rubio.
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Along with new release recaps, updates on a handful of North Texas breweries in development are included in this edition of the Conspectus, as is information on Mug Club memberships at a long-time local restaurant.

Cheers!


Nine Volt gets packaged at Pegasus City

Pegasus City Brewery of Dallas has packaged its Nine Volt D.P. & L Tripel, choosing unique 750mL ceramic flip-top bottles as the vessel for delivery. Availability is limited, however, with only Craft Beer Cellar and select Dallas locations of Spec's currently stocking the beer.


Rahr & Sons publishes 2018 production schedule

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth is the latest brewery to provide consumers insight into its 2018 production schedule. Notably absent from the list are Bucking Bock, Snowmageddon and The Regulator. As for other changes, Paleta de Mango (a mango lime chile kölsch) and Adios Pantalones (a session beer with lemon and lime) will join the year-round lineup, though neither beer will enter the market until March.


Legal Draft launches new premium American lager

Nowhere But Texas, the newest beer from Legal Draft Beer Co., was unveiled during an event at the brewery in Arlington last evening. The beer, which is a premium American lager, takes its name from a popular song penned by the Steve Helms Band, and its release coincided with the premier of the song's music video.


Eno's welcoming new members to its Mug Club

Beginning February 1, Eno's Pizza Tavern will accept new members into its Mug Club. Memberships, available at a cost of $50, include a 17-ounce personalized mug, taller pours, a free birthday beer and discounts on food. Those interested may apply in person, either at Eno's original Bishop Arts location, or at the company's new restaurant in Forney.


Seguin beers now available in North Texas

According to a social media post, Seguin Brewing Co. is now shipping its products to North Texas. Available exclusively at area Total Wine locations, consumers can purchase the following Seguin beers in six-packs of 12-ounce cans: 9-Pin Kölsch, Bock-N-Röhl, Honey Pecan #5 Cream Ale and Lake Breeze Blonde.


New brewery blurbs

A brewpub license for Turning Point Beer has been approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The company's facility is currently under construction in Bedford.

The Manhattan Project Beer Co. took ownership of a property in Dallas last week. To be located at 2215 Sulphur St., those behind the effort are now in the process of submitting construction plans to the City of Dallas for approval.

Also working through the approval process, Celestial Beerworks hopes to have permits in hand soon in order to begin construction on its facility at 2530 Butler St. in Dallas.

Brewing operations are no longer part of the plan at Navarro County Brewing Co. of Corsicana. Citing excessive costs and development delays as reasons for abandoning the brewing aspect of the project, the ownership group will instead focus on building a taproom and growler fill station.


Image credits (top to bottom): Pegasus City Brewery, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., Legal Draft Beer Co., Eno's Pizza Tavern, Seguin Brewing Co., Turning Point Beer, Celestial Beerworks, The Manhattan Project Beer Co.
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Image courtesy of Revolver Brewing.

Changes are afoot at Revolver Brewing, as the Granbury-based company has a number of new things in the works as it prepares for the coming year.

Perhaps chief among these changes is the move to cans. Blood & Honey, Sidewinder, Full-Tang IPA (now a year-round offering) and the brewery's new Long-Range Pils will be canned, with beers in the new format set to go on sale statewide on February 19.

"These beers will be available in six-pack sleeved boxes at most retail stores that carry craft beer," says Wood.  "This makes it so much easier to bring your favorite Revolver beers to the river, the poolside, the golf course - all those places where bottles are not welcome."

Speaking of Long-Range Pils, on top of being a new addition to the brewery's portfolio for 2018, that beer represents Revolver's first commercial foray into lagers. Bringing together ingredients from both at home and abroad, Long-Range Pils is a German-style pilsner with a little touch of America that's designed to go the distance with you.

"As a brewer, I am very excited that we have moved into the lager side of the brewing family tree," says Wood. "We’re brewing Long-Range Pils with Bohemian Pilsner malt from Germany, along with U.S. Mosaic, Czech Saaz, and German Saphir hops. Bavarian lager yeast brings all the ingredients together.  With an alcohol level under 5% by volume and bitterness units in the high 20’s, it's a sessionable lager with some depth of flavor to keep it interesting."

Long-Range Pils will debut on draft ahead of the package release to give consumers a taste of what's to come in cans a few weeks later. The first kegs will tap at the brewery this weekend, with draft accounts seeing deliveries beginning January 29.

Wood also shared the news that Revolver is planning to venture outside of Texas for the first time in its history. Come spring, the company will begin shipping beer to New Mexico. All four of the aforementioned core products will be making the trip west, as Revolver looks to introduce its brand of beer to the Land of Enchantment.
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