Monday, April 27, 2015

a day of ntx craft beer - ntx firkin fest & texas ale project grand opening

A humble cask ale with Jerry World behind
Eat your heart out Austin, TX, the North Texas beer scene is rising faster than your downtown condos. It's a popular past time for Austinites to give Dallasites a hard time (sometimes deservedly so) but if there's one thing that can't be denied, it's the quality of beer being put out by North Texas brewers and the intense demand from patrons. This past weekend, beer nerds enjoyed countless beer events all across North Texas, including the NTX Firkin Fest and the Texas Ale Project Grand Opening party. These were just two events I was able to attend, but there was also the Dallas Brew Bus and TUPPS Brewing Pre Grand Opening party going on that day.

NTX Firkin Fest

The firkin fest, put on by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, was an intimate event with industry folk and beer nerds alike enjoying a sometimes misunderstood method of serving beer. Fifteen breweries reached into their inner creativity and brought 30 different casks, ranging from brown ales with expensive coffee to pale ales stuffed with hops. Responsible driving got in my way of enjoying too many of the offerings, but I did enjoy being able to finally try the huge Sledgehammer from Peticolas and the mouth puckering sour red from Collective Brewing Project. While the casks were not ideal temperature, this was just one nit picky observation that couldn't possibly get in the way of enjoying a well structured event at a beautiful venue. Kudos to Texas Craft Brewers Guild and Adam Gonzales for putting this together in such a short amount of time.

Texas Ale Project Grand Opening

Newer kids in town Texas Ale Project put on one hell of a grand opening party with their ginormous downtown Dallas space and delicious ales. Two new beers were being offered during the party, an Extra Pale Ale that drank more like a hoppy pale ale (deliciously bitter) and a White Russian Imperial Stout. Inspired by The Dude, Brent Thompson, owner and founder of Texas Ale Project, described this 10% abv monster as a 'mind fuck.' Indeed it was. Notes of bourbon, vanilla and sweet sugar were accompanied by a luscious creamy body unlike any beer I've had due to the heavy amounts of lactose and a certain grain (trade secret, but I know what it is, and it'll cost you to know!). I don't care what the price point is, make more of this beer.

Just check out the pics below and try to tell me that the North Texas beer scene isn't freaking sweet. Cheers y'all!

For more information on the Dallas beer scene, follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

Firkin Awesome
Posted by You Stay Hoppy Dallas on Monday, April 27, 2015

Volunteers, the life blood of beer events

Texas Ale Project Grand Opening Hop Necklace

Texas Ale Project Grand Opening Crowd

Texas Ale Project Grand Opening Mustache

Texas Ale project Grand Opening Tap Room

Friday, April 24, 2015

for the love of craft beer - jake mcknight of haüs of growlers

Jake McKnight - Haus of Growlers
Jake McKnight

For the Love of Craft Beer - Jake McKnight of Haus of Growlers

Step those pretty little feet of yours into some of the most popular beer venues in Dallas and those baby blues may just lock onto a 64 oz glass contraption born for the ever important role of holding that elixir of life we call beer.

Growler. No, I'm not telling you to growl, I'm talking about growlers. Growlers have been around since the 1800s when fresh beer would be carried in covered buckets from the local pub to home, sometimes making gurgling/growl noises as CO2 escaped. Hence the term growlers.

Growlers have been a popular item in the craft beer renaissance, allowing people to bring home draught beer that may not be available in bottles or cans. Typical growler sizes include 32oz, 64oz and 128 oz, the bigger sizes being perfect for sharing with friends and family.

One Dallas man has decided to take this love for beer and growlers and turn it into a local business. Meet Jake McKnight, owner and founder of Haüs of Growlers, a growler customization company. Jake's the type of guy you instantly want to talk to; always smiling and conversing with fellow beer lovers. I recently sat down with him and found out more out about him and his love of beer. Jake started this venture back in 2013, getting the name out at the Big Texas Beer Fest. Afterwards, he began selling the customized growlers online and has already sold roughly 10K growlers. The screen prints range from the simple, like the Texas state outline with 'beer' written in the middle, to the elaborate, like an image of Charles Bukowski screaming. When asked if there was concern of the newly popular crowler taking away business, Jake didn't seem too worried because 'Haus of Growlers is a novelty, customization. You buy a Haus of Growlers growler because you fuckin' want to.' Indeed you do, and you can find these sweet growlers at places like LUCK, Community Beer Co. and Lakewood Growler. Now, onto some questions.

Haus of Growlers Growlers

What does craft beer mean to you?
Bringing together good people, over good conversation and laughs with good craft beer. I've met a lot of great people since being in the industry and I can now call them friends because of a simple, yet tasty beverage, craft beer!

What is your number 1 desert island beer?
Shit son, thats like asking what is my favorite growler, that's tough! For me, my go to anytime beer is Sierra Nevada. But, if I were stranded on a desert island, shit, first thing that comes to mind is the Community Beer Co. Witbier

Where do you see Dallas craft beer in 5 years?
Hopefully thriving just as much as it is now. Now, granted, the DFW area is quite large and there is still plenty of room for growth, but I don't see all the breweries making it, which is a shame, but that's just the nature of the beast, hopefully I am wrong about that. It's great to see a majority of the local bars and restaurants supporting the craft beer scene. I don't see that changing, I only see it getting better. If the bar or restaurant isn't joining the movement already, they had better hurry up or they will be left behind.

For more information on the Dallas beer scene, follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

Jake McKnight Drinking Beer
Jake McKnight in the wild

Monday, April 13, 2015

5 underrated beers in dallas

5 Underrated Beers in Dallas

Everyone loves rooting for the underdog, it's one of the best aspects of watching sports. The same can be said of the beers in Dallas. Velvet Hammer this and Temptress that. Sure, they're great beers, but sometimes you get so tangled up with the hoopla of the popular beers it becomes easy to forget the others. However, the underdogs are the backbone that hold the beer industry together, and with that, here are five underrated AND delicious beers in Dallas.

*Disclaimer: I realize this is a completely subjective list, so I would like to know what some of your favorite underdog Dallas beers are too!*

*These are not the 5 MOST underrated beers in Dallas, these are just beers I feel don't get as much love as they should.*

Franconia Wheat

Franconia seems to get overlooked all of the time, and I don't understand why. Sure, their wheat beer (an ode to the German hefeweizen) isn't on par with Live Oak Hefe (no hefe is really) but it can stand on its own. There is a distinct earthiness derived from their yeast that I can't quite pinpoint, but it gives it depth that some hefes just can't achieve.

Malai Kitchen ThaIPA
Malai Kitchen ThaIPA

Malai Kitchen ThaIPA

Malai Kitchen is more restaurant than brewpub focused, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go there for their house beer. Their Thai inspired IPA has a delicious herbacious quality that pairs perfectly with their fresh Thai/Vietnamese foods and a nice bitterness that helps bring out that Thai spice that we all love so much. $3 all day Sunday, just do it.

Community Wit
Community Wit

Community Wit

This award winning witbier doesn't get as much spotlight as some of the other beers from Community, but it should. This homage to the style made popular by Austin's very own Pierre Celis has a delightful tartness and creamy mouthfeel that makes for a perfect summer drink.

Four Corners Block Party
Four Corners Block Party

Four Corners Block Party

Living in the shadows of the popular Local Buzz and El Chingon, Block Party can get pushed aside even though its sweet malty flavors and lighter body make this porter drinkable in even the hottest of summer months or the coldest of winter months.

Lakewood Lager

Like Marsha from the Brady Bunch, Temptress seems to always get the spotlight. But, much like Jan, the Lakewood Lager seems to be a misunderstood nerd (not that I would know what that's like). The Vienna lager style ain't flashy, but its malty sweetness and light caramel notes make it a perfect companion with summer and smoked meats. This is Texas after all.

There it is, five underrated beers in Dallas. What are your favorite underrated Dallas beers?

Also try these newer breweries: Texas Ale Project Naked Truth, Nine Band Pale Ale, Small Brewpub Cheap Beer

For more information on the Dallas beer scene follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

north texas firkin fest

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild is heading up a fantastic event in North Texas, the first annual North Texas Firkin Fest on April 25 at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

'What the firk is a firkin?' you may be asking yourself. Put simply, a firkin is a vessel in which unfiltered and unpasteurized beer has been allowed to re-ferment and carbonate naturally without the use of artificial CO2. This process gives the beer a more subtle and creamy (sometimes flat) mouth feel. The firkin is also a great tool for creativity, allowing additional ingredients to be added to further (sometimes obliterate) the complexity of the beer. For a more thorough look at firkins and real ale, check this old post I did and the opinions around adding additional ingredients to the firkin.

The subtle nuances of this 'Real Ale' has been revered over by beer enthusiasts for centuries, and now you have a chance to experience it too. Just check out the beer list below (more to come), and make sure to clear your calendar for this one. Cheers!

For more information on the Dallas beer scene follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

Community Beer

Public Ale ESB with EKG Hops
Style: English Style Extra Special Bitter
5.5% ABV | 38 IBUs
Description: A traditional English Style Ale at its best! Public Ale ESB has won back to back Gold medals at the GABF in '13 and '14, and we've created an even more unique version with this firkin. Dry hopped with East Kent Golding (EKG) hops to produce a slightly hoppier finish highlighting earthy, spicy, herbal and piney notes. This beer features a 100 English grain bill festering Maris Otter and Crystal malts, and is known for its well roundedness and balanced drinkability.

Legion Russian Imperial Stout with Blackberries
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
9.9% ABV | 70 IBUs
Description: Black as Texas crude, our Russian-Style Imperial Stout allures with its thick, tan head and aromas of bittersweet cocoa and roasted malt. Twelve different malts compose the grist of this beer, adding layers of complexity and significant alcohol content. We've taken this huge stout and aged it on organic blackberries to increase the depth of flavor and add a sweeter, fruity component complimenting the roasted chocolate and coffee flavors of the base beer!

Deep Ellum Brewing

Capt'n Fantastic
Style: Dry Hopped Oatmeal Pale Ale
6% ABV | 35 IBUs
Description: What we have here is a cask of our Oatmeal Pale Ale. We dry hopped it with El Dorado and Simcoe. We wrote a Haiku in it's honor.

Style: Neo-American Brown Ale with Coffee
6.6% ABV | 32 IBUs
Description: This is a cask iteration of our Oak Cliff Coffee Ale. This one is "Venti" if you will. We added another generous dose of coffee and some rum infused cinnamon sticks, the rum courtesy of Witherspoon Distillery in Lewisville, Texas.'s pretty epic.

Peticolas Brewing

Sledge Hammer
Style: Triple Imperial Red Ale
11.5% ABV | off the charts IBUs
Description: Velvet Hammer on steroids

Operation Collaboration
Style: IPA
8% ABV | 75 IBUs
Description: Our collaboration with Green Flash Brewing. Two English malts and two experimental hops. Dry hopped with hops #07270 and #06277. Dank, but tropical

Rabbit Hole Brewing

Ethiopian Rapture
Style: American Brown Ale
5.7% ABV | 33 IBUs
Description: We have taken our World Beer Championships Gold Medal Rapture Fusion Brown Ale and cask conditioned it with Mystical Coffee’s Ethiopian Coffee, adding rich, complex coffee flavors to an already amazing Brown Ale.

Simcoe and Six
Style: English Pale Ale
6.0% ABV | 69 IBUs
Description: Another World Beer Championships Gold Medal was awarded to our 10/6 English Pale Ale.   We have cask conditioned this English style beer with Simcoe hops, which adds a distinctive American grapefruit and pine note to the aroma of this traditional hoppy English brew.

Rahr & Sons Brewing

Oak Aged Regulator
Style: Dopplebock
8.5% ABV | 30 IBUs
Our GABF Bronze medal winning German style dopplebock, aged on toasted American oak spirals

Iron Joe
Style: Strong Scotch Ale
8.0% ABV | 35 IBUs
Our GABF Silver medal winning Scottish style ale, infused with Noir cold brew coffee from Fort Worth's Avoca Coffee Roasters

Real Ale Brewing

19th Anniversary Baltic Porter
Style: Baltic Porter
7.7% ABV | 34 IBUs
Description: A big day deserves a big beer so we are pleased to introduce our 19th Anniversary Baltic Porter. A relatively obscure sub-style of porter, this imposing brew honors the roots of its heritage. Like its English counterparts, it is malt forward with the focus on dark malt character. Our porter is a heartier brew like the inspirational beers of the Baltic region. Join us in celebration and discovery with this robust ale.

Citra Dry-Hopped Full Moon Rye IPA
Style: IPA
6.2% ABV | 50 IBUs
Description: Full moons in the Hill Country are legendary. People literally write songs about them. And Downtown Blanco illuminated by a full moon? Unforgettable. Inspired by that striking view, Full Moon is a new take on our original flagship beer. Malted rye and barley are complemented by generous helpings of Simcoe and Citra hops, resulting in a bold, full-bodied American IPA. Casks have been conditioned with an additional dryhop of Citra for a bright orange and tropical hop aroma and flavor.

Saint Arnold Brewing

Divine Reserve 15
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
10.1% ABV | 46 IBUs
Description: This Divine Reserve was inspired by the winning entry of the 2007 Big Batch Brew Bash homebrew competition, brewed by Mike Heniff, a highly decorated local Houston homebrewer. Russian Imperial Stouts are very big and very black and this one is no exception.

Divine Reserve 14
Style: Belgian Strong Golden Ale
10% ABV | 30 IBUs
Description: The beer pours a bright golden color. The nose is a mixture of phenolics from the Belgian wit yeast and light citrus from the American hops with a touch of graininess. Rye adds sweetness and complexity to the pilsner and aromatic malts. The spice of the rye is somewhat subdued at lower temperatures but becomes more apparent as the beer warms.