Even though successful microbreweries are still a fairly new phenomenon in North Texas, we've had an avid homebrew scene since homemade beer was finally legalized in 1978. By my count, there are around two-dozen homebrew clubs based in DFW today and the oldest -- the North Texas Homebrewers Association -- has been active since 1983 or 1984. (Apparently, no one can really remember the exact date of inception. It seems they may have been drinking a little at the time.)
In keeping with this tradition, Ed Koranda and five other friends, co-workers, and neighbors have been getting together to brew beer in Grapevine for the last four years. The homebrew club calls themselves Mox Nix Brewery, which Ed told me comes from the German phrase "Macht Nichts" -- "it doesn't matter."
"Every one has a normal job; we just do this because it's a fun hobby," says Ed.
Since 2011, they've made regular appearances at the Bluebonnet Brew-Off, the largest single site homebrew competition in the US, and BrewRiot, Bishop Arts' badass annual homebrew celebration/contest. While I was talking to Edrecently, I realized that Mox Nix were the ones who presented my favorite overall beer from this past BrewRiot -- their infinitely delicious Texas Breakfast Stout.
Last fall, they competed in Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s "Labor of Love Fest of Ales Homebrew Competition" and were named Best in Show amongst over 40 other competitors. Mox Nix's winning beer was a weizenbock, which Ed described as a big, strong wheat beer that they lightened up just enough to still be drinkable in the heat of a Texas summer.
The brewers at Deep Ellum Brewing Co. were so impressed that they invited Mox Nix to brew 1000 gallons of their winning beer on DEBC equipment for public release. "It was so much fun," says Ed. "We showed up at 6 a.m. to meet with [DEBC head brewer] Jeremy, then we were able to dump in the hops and barley and push some buttons."
"I was a little surprised that the process is the same as what we do at our homes with our equipment. I knew it would be on a larger scale, of course, but it showed us that our science really is solid."
Mox Nix's Weizenbock -- labeled "DEBC Labor of Love #1" -- will be officially released this Friday, July 25, at a launch party at The Rustic. The beer will also be available in 22 ounce bottles at retail stores in the following weeks.
For now, the six brewers are content with just being really good at their hobby. But, Ed did admit that going pro with their own microbrewery is a "pipe dream."
"We're just going to enjoy this ride and see where it takes us."