More than 6300 beers were judged at the 2018 competition, with entries split into 112 different categories. From that pool, eight local breweries were recognized for their beers, including one which garnered the U.S. Open's top overall prize. That accolade went to Peticolas Brewing Co. of Dallas, who brought home the title of Grand National Champion, a.k.a. Top Brewery of 2018, after winning a total of five medals (three gold, two silver).
A summary of all North Texas honorees is provided below, with a complete list of medalists to be found by clicking here.
This edition of the Conspectus features updates on a number of new names to the North Texas scene, including two that readers may be hearing about for the first time.
Outfit obtains TABC approval, targeting late summer opening
In late May, a brewpub license was issued for Outfit Brewing by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Set to be located at 7135 John Carpenter Freeway in Dallas, owner Jordan Young is targeting mid-August for the brewery's debut. Upwards of eight beers will be on tap for the event, with a Belgian-style blonde ale, a saison, a citra-forward IPA and a red IPA expected to be part of the lineup. Also being considered for opening day are recipes for an additional IPA (or two), a lager and a kölsch.
Krootz Brewing under construction in Gainesville
Residents in Cooke County should take note that an entity to be known as Krootz Brewing Co. has filed an application for a brewpub license with the TABC. Currently under construction at 315 W. Elm St. in Gainesville, CEO Chad Sykora hopes to open the doors of the brewpub-to-be in a few months. Due diligence and the build-out are the primary focus of the company right now (social media and a website are pending), according to Sykora, who says Krootz will serve food from a limited menu alongside a portfolio of small-batch brews.
False Idol scouting locations, plans to contract brew
A name just recently appearing on the scene, False Idol Brewing is a new project in development for North Texas. The group is still looking to nail down a location, preferably in a city that doesn't already have a brewery, which means the opening of a brick and mortar location is probably a year away. That said, founder Dominique Van Ausdall intends to pursue a contract agreement with a local brewery in order to get False Idol products on the market by the end of the year.
Pathfinder breaks ground in Hudson Oaks
It's been over a year since Pathfinder Brewery first announced its intention to build a facility from the ground up in the Parker County community of Hudson Oaks. Progress has been slow, but it appears things are moving along now that ground has been broken on the project's site off Cinema Dr., just north of City Lights Theatre. For a look at how things are shaping up so far, cllick here to see a short video showing the current state of construction.
Siren Rock moving forward in Rockwall
Earlier this month, the Rockwall City Council voted to amend its municipal code to allow a brewery to exist in the city's downtown district. That means Siren Rock Brewing Co. can advance to the next step in the development process, which involves getting a special use permit approved. Along those lines, founders Cory and Eva Cannon are working with the city on a site plan specific to their location off S. Goliad St. near Rockwall's Historic Downtown Square.
“We are excited about our partnership with Hops and Vines Distributing," says Shannon Carter, founder of the brewery. "They are dedicated to ensuring our beer reaches the market at its peak of freshness, and product quality is paramount to our brewery.”
Founded in 2015, Hops and Vines is billed as San Antonio's first and only independent craft beer, wine and spirits distributor. According to its website, the company's mission is to "assist small brewers and winemakers with developing their footprint, cultivating their brand recognition, and driving volume."
To that end, the following Shannon products will be included in initial shipments to Hops and Vines, with additional labels to be announced soon: Shannon Irish Red, Shannon Mór IPA, Shannon Blackberry Crystal Wheat and Shannon Pussy Willow Pilsner.
"We are excited to bring Shannon Brewing's award-winning portfolio to San Antonio," says Tristan Maldonado, CEO of Hops and Vines. "The Hops and Vines team is very impressed with Shannon’s beer and the brewery’s dedication to using pure Texas spring water, natural ingredients, and a unique brewing process. Shannon’s beer is perfect for our market.”
This week, the Brewers Association released new data on the demographics of craft beer lovers, with results presented from a top down view, as well as from the perspectives of race and gender. A portion of that report is summarized here, along with additional data shared by the BA in an addendum breaking things down into defined market areas.
Beginning with the broader view, specifically the number of people in the U.S. drinking craft beer "at least several times a year," it was found that around 40% of legal drinking age adults - i.e. the 21 and up population - are occasional craft beer drinkers (68.5% male, 31.5% female). That number, sourced from a Neilsen - Harris on Demand poll, has increased slightly over the past few years, rising from a value of 35% in 2015.
If the focus is shifted to regular craft beer drinkers, though, the numbers are lower. According to Scarborough (a separate division of Nielsen), only 7.3% of adults polled in 2017 had consumed a craft beer in the last 30 days. That places roughly 17.5 million Americans into the category of what the Brewers Association calls "craft's core" consumer (68.9% male, 31.1% female).
As for how things stack up locally, supplemental data provides insight into those considered to be regular craft beer drinkers in Dallas-Fort Worth. Based on responses taken between June 2016 and November 2017, it was estimated that just over 280,000 people in D-FW had consumed a craft beer within 30 days. Of those, 68.7% were men, while 31.3% were female.
At least in terms of gender, that means the local market appears to be right in line with the national average. North Texas lags, however, when it comes to those reaching for a craft beer on a regular basis, since less than 4% of a population near 7.1 million fits that description.
Translation? There's still work to be done in getting more people on the path to drinking better beer in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Click here for more on the BA's look at the "Shifting Demographics of Craft Beer," including changes in demographics with respect to race/ethnicity.
Seeking to secure a fresh infusion of resources for increased production and distribution, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas has joined the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective.
Founded in 2011 by John Reardon, Deep Ellum has grown into the third largest independent craft brewery in Texas. Led by its flagship brews, Dallas Blonde and Deep Ellum IPA, the company grew 37% in 2017 while producing more than 45,000 barrels. Deep Ellum's products are currently only available in Texas, with the vast majority being consumed within 20 miles of the brewery.
“It’s been a hell of a ride for all of us at Deep Ellum and I believe this is just the beginning,” says Reardon. ”We’ve been looking for the right partner to grow the Deep Ellum brand and I believe we’ve found that with CANarchy. They’re a group of like-minded people that have not conformed to the status-quo and have hit critical mass on the path of coming together and remaining independent. We’re all in.”
CANarchy got its start in 2015, led by Oskar Blues Brewery founder, Dale Katechis. The group provides a platform from which rapidly growing craft breweries seeking high level resources can expand and compete in the increasingly competitive craft beer segment, while maintaining independence. The platform is driven by individual brewery culture, giving brewers control of their businesses and brands, while providing resources and support to scale their respective operations.
“CANarchy’s culture thrives on collaboration among craft breweries blazing their own path and doing things their own way," says Katechis. "John and the Deep Ellum crew light the fire of craft beer in Dallas-Fort Worth and they will bring that same fire to our collective."
In addition to Oskar Blues, Deep Ellum joins a roster of brands whose current membership includes Cigar City Brewing, Perrin Brewing Co., Wasatch Brewery and Squatters Craft Beers. Using Cigar City as an example of CANarchy's impact, the Florida-based brewery entered the collective in June of 2016. After immediately addressing capacity issues, CANarchy was able to help Cigar City expand distribution and increase shipments 43% from 65,000 to 92,000 barrels in 2017.
“Deep Ellum Brewing has created a strong community and now they’re facing next-level challenges that we’ve seen before," says Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City. "Within CANarchy, we can solve those problems in our own way."
As for Deep Ellum, it's currently undergoing a large expansion, including the installation of a 60-barrel brewhouse at the company’s primary facility that is expected to come online within the next few months. The brewery is operating at maximum capacity and is projecting 55,000 barrels of production in 2018. Deep Ellum is also constructing a taproom in Fort Worth that will incorporate a five-barrel system and retail space that is scheduled to open in late fall of 2018.
“During my time at the University of Colorado I specifically remember my first can of Dale’s Pale Ale, and that experience is part of the reason I’m in this business," adds Reardon. "Joining a collective of such irreverent and disruptive founders and leaders is exactly what Deep Ellum has been looking for." Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Effective as of the end of May, Whistle Post Brewing Co. of Pilot Point has ceased production and is now closed.
Owned by the group behind Western Son Distillery, the brewery opened during the summer of 2016 in a building adjacent to its sister operation. It remained a draft only business until early 2017, after which Whistle Post began distribution of Shoofly Texas Golden Ale and Rooster Shooter Texas Lager in bottles.
Those beers, along with products like Lizard Scorcher IPA, Shoofly Coconut Lime Ale and others, maintained a focus on easy-drinking, low ABV offerings, with strengths hovering just above and below 5%.
With brewing operations no longer active, Western Son will now concentrate efforts on the on the production of its vodka and gin lines, with the Whistle Post building set to be transformed into an expanded tasting room for those spirits in the near future.
Last summer, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland was one of a handful of local breweries invited to collaborate with iconic whiskey-maker, Jack Daniel's. Barrels for the initiative were hand-delivered to the brewery, after which Lakewood set to work on the creation of two special brews.
“We experimented and came up with Jack’d Up Lemonale and Tennessee Temptress, paying homage to the Jack Daniel's cocktail favorites, Lynchburg Lemonade and Jack & Cola,” says Wim Bens, owner of Lakewood. “We wanted to create two amazing and unique beers for this project, so we took our flagship Temptress and put a new twist on it, and built Lemonale from the ground up.”
Described as a refreshing take on a southern favorite, Jack’d Up Lemonale is a kettle-soured wheat beer brewed with a mix of Citra and Lemondrop hops. The beer was aged for six months in the aforementioned barrels, then enhanced with an infusion of 120 pounds of freshly-squeezed Meyer lemons.
As for Tennessee Temptress, that beer is based off of Lakewood's popular imperial milk stout, The Temptress. Also aged for six months, this Temptress variety was refermented on over 500 pounds of sweet cherry puree. The added treatment is said to have provided a touch of sweetness, while also helping to round out the beer's edges.
Both offerings are draft only and available now in the brewery's taproom, with deliveries to select accounts scheduled to begin next week.
In addition, representatives from Jack Daniel's and Lakewood will be hosting a beer dinner at The Libertine Bar on Wednesday, June 27. The event will feature the two collaboration beers, as well as a selection of Jack Daniel’s top-shelf whiskeys.
With four breweries already in its midst and one just outside its boundary, the Near Southside area of Fort Worth easily fits the description of a craft beer destination. The district's appeal will only get greater come next year, though, with the arrival of yet another addition in the form of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.
Stalwarts of the North Texas homebrewing scene over the last few years (having competed and won awards at Brew Riot and Martin House Brewing Co.'s Riverside Shootout), Funky Picnic is a collaborative effort between Samantha Glenn, Collin Zreet, Jenni Hanley and John Koch. The quartet was originally known as The Fort Brewing Co., but an existing trademark forced a name change before the founders could push forward with the project.
Regarding the space itself, Funky Picnic will occupy the southern end of the structure on Bryan Ave., giving them more than 4,000 square feet of usable space to work with. That allotment will be divided between production area (anchored by a seven-barrel brewhouse) and a café, with the latter featuring a full menu allowing patrons to partake in a casual meal while enjoying their beer.
As far as timelines go, permitting and construction on the site are the first items on the group's agenda. Should all go as planned, North Texans should expect to see Funky Picnic debut in the spring of 2019.
You might say there's something to be said for session beers, at least considering the fact that two local breweries brought home medals in session beer categories from the recently-completed North American Beer Awards.
Put on as part of the annual Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls, Idaho, judging for the 2018 North American Beer Awards took place May 29-June 1. Entries were evaluated according to the 2018 North American Beer Awards Style Guide, with criteria based on "classic, historical and well-established styles of beer, as well as recognized industry advancements updated to reflect the marketplace."
In terms of results, a total of 297 medals were awarded in 99 different categories. North Texas winners are noted below, with a complete list of medalists to be found by clicking here.
HopFusion Ale Works
Bronze for Go Easy in the Session-Style IPA category.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
Gold for Adiós Pantalones in the Session Beer category.
Bronze for Ugly Pug in the Schwarzbier (Black Beer) category.
Cheers and congratulations to HopFusion and Rahr & Sons!
Talks between the two companies were originally focused on allowing Hop & Sting to contract brew at the facility in Grapevine, but discussions eventually morphed into something more. Now, with an agreement in place, Hop & Sting will have a place to call home, while brewing in one of the area's best brewing facilities.
It's a coming home of sorts for the Hop & Sting team, which consists of Brian Burton, Jon Powell and Lane Joseph, all of whom worked at Grapevine Craft Brewery in the past.
"It has been a long road starting Hop & Sting, but we finally have a home in a great community," says Burton."I am also excited to get back into a facility that I helped commission."
“I’m especially stoked to be brewing some of the same beers that were developed in my parents barn, less than 10 miles away," adds Powell. "It feels good to be back home again."
“It’s been a very exciting process getting Hop and Sting off the ground," says Joseph. "I am thrilled to be back in the Grapevine facility doing what I love!”
Taproom staff will be maintained through the transition, and there are no plans to make significant changes to the name of the facility. It will simply be referred to as Hop and Sting at Grapevine Craft Brewery. Popular Grapevine brands will also continue to be brewed and made available alongside new and exciting Hop and Sting brands like Northeast Texas IPA, Remedio Southwest Wit and Galactic Haze Belgian White IPA.
On the question of contract brewing, Burton says that aspect of Grapevine's business will continue on a small scale. The focus there will be on up-and-coming brewing companies looking to get their brand out in the market, just like Hop & Sting was when it got started.
Hop & Sting at Grapevine Craft Brewery is located at 906 Jean St. in Grapevine. For more information on the companies, visit their websites at hopandsting.com and www.grapevineontap.com.