As we continue to hunker down across North Texas, a lot of breweries have marched on, as well as they can, through these very strange times.
The last time we spoke with Wim Bens of Lakewood Brewing Company, he was a bit frazzled figuring out how to transition to a drive-thru brewery. And even more stressed about his taproom employees. That seems like months ago and by the looks of social media, they found their footing.
When asked if there have been any surprises between now and then, Bens says, “Pick a day.”
Then he asks me, “Good surprises or bad surprises?”
I got the sense that bad surprises would make me want to cry in a beer, and since I had a deadline to meet, I chose good.
“Oh, that’s a lot easier,” laughs Bens. “Tips in the drive-thru. Our customers have been very generous. I don’t think that everyone understands that, by and large, tips are the majority of a lot of our taproom employees' pay. That goes for just about everyone in the service industry.”
Like many others, they’re also still producing beer despite these very unpredictable times. It’s easy to understand why some might want to sell only what they have in stock.
Oak Cliff Brewing Co. explains it’s important to keep things rolling, because the beer to go does provide a decent amount of business, plus there’s the tips that help employees, as Bens mentioned.
“A bit further forward looking,” says Joel Denton, owner of Oak Cliff Brewing Co., “it takes time for beer to develop and mature. For example, our lagers take eight weeks to finish, so we want to ensure we're not caught empty-handed when things start to open back up.
“A lot further forward looking, we still plan on being here a year from now, and one of the beers we're brewing this week will be aging in bourbon barrels for the next 12-plus months.”
So, following is a set of birth announcements, if you will, for local beers born during the first month of the great shelter-in-place of 2020. Mazel tov!
Lakewood Brewing Co. recently released a Double Chocolate Temptress with the help of Yelibelly Chocolates out of Addison. The imperial milk stout is infused with double Belgian chocolate and single-origin cocoa nibs. It’ll be on shelves and available at their drive-thru soon.
Lakewood also made a beer baby with Hypnotic Donuts, which was set to launch during the Dallas Donut Fest, but since we can’t have fun things right now, they decided to go ahead and release it into the wild. Hypnotic Bluebeery Blonde is an ale brewed with lactose, blueberries and 175 pounds of blueberry cake donuts.
If you’re looking for engagement with people, Lakewood is hosting a virtual happy hour and tasting class from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23.
Oak Cliff Brewing Co. wins the contest for best label, hands down. Before all this started they were working on the design and had some space for text and settled on this prophetic quote from Oak Cliff’s very own Stevie Ray Vaughan:
“You see, we are here, as far as I can tell, to HELP each other; our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our enemies. That is to HELP each other and not hurt each other.”
OCBC’s Strawberry Kiwi Paleta Weisse is a special release and was brewed with lactose and aged with fresh strawberries and kiwi. It’s actually almost gone, but they’re working on their third Paleta Weiss special release, which should be out this week and is made with cucumber and lime. Find some in their really cool crowlers for curbside pickup from 2 to 7 p.m. daily.
Community Beer Co. did online presales for a double dry-hopped version of Medical Grade Haze, and it sold out in about 24 hours. But their regular old hazy India pale ale Medical Grade Haze is still available.
Manhattan Project Beer Co. released Succession Plan, a West Coast IPA that was a collaboration with BC Hop Farms to celebrate the passing of said farm from one generation to the next (hence succession). There was supposed to be a big taproom-only release and party this month. Instead the beer has been canned and is available to go.
As for the tasting notes, MPBC writes on their website, “The nose. It is downright divine. It smells like a pine forest floor.”
First of all, 3 Nations Brewing is hosting virtual Planes, Trains and Automobiles-themed trivia Thursday. If you feel like getting beat, log on. (Yeah, I talk trash. What of it?) How ’bout dem Bears? Then, Sunday evening they’ll gather again for a Sportsball trivia.
They’ve released four new beers, including Essential IPA, GPA, a Belgium cherry ale and vanilla gold, and Devout Horchata Imperial Stout. They have four (four!) more on deck, including a Spot On Sour and Sour Straw Berliner Weisse. 3 Nations is all in for the hustle award!
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ODD Muse Brewing in Farmers Branch has welcomed to the world Positive Vibrations, named after a Bob Marley tune, which beckons us all to help one another on the way.
Positive Vibrations is a 7.4% American IPA with “a floral front and finishes with light notes of tropical fruit,” according to their Facebook page. You can call in to-go orders. They often have dinner collaborations, so check out their site before heading over.
Martin House Brewing Co. in Fort Worth released two “very small batches” of Dankey Kang, a super dank American IPA, and Hot Takis, a spiced sour with lime. Yes, a Hot Takis beer. They went on sale at noon on 4/20 and, who knows man … who knows … Probably gone already. They made less than 200 four-packs of each. Maybe if we all ask super nice, they’ll bring it back down the road.
Martin House also released The Castaway: Painkiller, a three-month rum barrel-aged imperial sour with orange, pineapple and coconut. It should be at their normal retailers throughout the state. As well, they have a new watermelon sour that they swear is amazing "IF you like watermelon." So, moral of the story is, don't buy their watermelon sour if you don't like watermelon.