Category Archives: Beer

Product Review: Grapevine Craft Brewery

Yes, my fellow football lovers, it is that time of the year … time for the Super Bowl.  While us North Texans are still reeling from the Cowboy’s 5 point loss to Green Bay (it was totally a catch), we still know Super Bowl Sunday is a very valid excuse for a damn good party. (After all, Americans eat more calories during the Super Bowl than any other day of the year!) So, naturally, we’re going to need some quality brews to go along with the game.

I tried three beers from Grapevine Craft Brewery … you know, for the good of the people. This 2-year old brewery was part of the surge of craft beer establishments here in NTX, and, while still new to the scene, GCB has already received some pretty big awards. In 2014, their Sir Williams English Brown Ale took home the gold medal from the Great American Beer Festival. (I know … we were impressed, too.)

The first of Grapevine’s beers that I tried was the Monarch, a classic American wheat beer. This is a light, crisp filtered beer which I daresay could please just about any palate. The clean flavor and easy drinkability would be a good option for those accustomed to drinking the usual domestic beers like Coors Light, Bud and that lot … but a decidedly better option. I could definitely see myself knocking back a few of these on a warm summer night.

GCB - Monarch

Next, I moved on to the Lakefire Rye Pale Ale. This beer had a much more distinctive taste than the Monarch. Here, part of the barley malt is substituted with rye, hence the name. I found that both the rye and hops lent a pretty strong flavor to this beer. This is a well-balanced RPA that I enjoyed, but it may not be a beer for everyone.

GCB - Lakefire

I saved my favorite for last – the Sir William’s English Brown Ale. There’s a good reason this brew snagged a gold medal in 2014. Even a novice brew enthusiast would appreciate this beer just as much as a more seasoned drinker. This beer is bold, yet is still balanced, and has a nice, smooth taste. It isn’t too overpowering or heavy, which makes it a great option to accompany a meal, such as my fresh off the grill cheeseburgers, or even to drink by itself.

GCB - Sir William's

 

Let’s not limit our creativity when it comes to using Sir William’s…Sir William’s chocolateyness was a nice addition to my vanilla bean ice cream. (Talk about an adult root beer float!)  As GCB says themselves, “The English do it right … but Texans do it better.”

And … coming to a shelf near you is GCB’s Nightwatch Oatmeal Stout.  Starting January 26th, Nightwatch, which was previously only on tap, became available in cans.   Nightwatch-ShadowCheck out GCB’s website for a list of grocery stores that stock their products.

 

Cheers!

Grapevine Craft Brewery
www.grapevineontap.com
Twitter | Instagram | Untapped

Rahr & Sons and Lakewood Brewing Company Collaboration

Local breweries, Lakewood and Rahr, recently joined forces to create an annual collaboration beer. This inaugural beer is a Belgian Dubbel (6.4%). This beer was brewed with German malt from Rahr and Belgian yeast and candi-sugar from Lakewood. Every year the style and flavor will change as well as which brewery is in charge of production. This year, Rahr was in charge, so next year it will be Lakewood’s turn.

It is available on tap at a few bars around D/FW as well as Spec’s for a limited time. I would highly recommend stopping by Spec’s and picking up a few liters for your fridge … I personally have gone back for seconds (and thirds). It is a very “drinkable” beer, and not too heavy.

Recently, I was graciously invited to a Rahr and Lakewood collaborative dinner where they proudly introduced this new beer. It was an entertaining night of dining with Fritz Rahr and Wim Bens at the amazing Bird Cafe. My next few posts will be highlighting each of the 7 beers I was able to taste during this dinner.

IMG_2637

2014 DFW Collaboration Beer:
Spec’s Price: $12.62 (per 22 oz. bottle)/ $139.69 (case of 12 bottles)

Rahr & Sons Brewery
701 Galveston Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76104
817-810-9266
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Lakewood Brewery
2302 Executive Drive, Garland, TX 75041
972-864-BEER
lakewoodbrewing.com | facebookTwitter Instagram

Bird Cafe
155 E 4th Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102
817-332-2473
birdinthe.netfacebookTwitter

Monday-Thursday | 11am-midnight
Friday-Saturday |11am-2am
Sunday |10am-10pm

Spaten Beer Dinner @ Cook Hall

Spaten I recently had the opportunity to check out Cook Hall’s new fall menu (read about it here). It was basically bomb.com (side note: I was kind of shocked to find that this URL doesn’t seem to be registered…hmm). That being said, I was SUPER excited when Cook Hall generously extended an invitation to check out one of their signature beer dinners! Cook Hall hosts a bi-monthly 5-course beer pairing dinner, with themes ranging from the creative (whiskey versus beer throwdown!), to the educational (i.e., brewery or variety specific pairings). October featured a Spaten Brewing beer dinner. Jackpot.

Lagers

First, a little about Spaten Brewing Company: They have been around the block a time or two. This Bavarian brewery has been one of the leading exporters of German beer for over a century. Spaten is pretty much committed to kickin’ it old school when it comes to their brewing philosophy; they continue to brew in the tradition of the German Purity Law, circa 1516 (!), decreeing that beer should only be brewed using malt, hops, and water. Shocking revelation that a historic German brewery would do things by the book, I know.

Cook Hall prepared a five-course menu featuring thoughtful and creative beer and food pairings throughout the evening.

We started out sampling Spaten’s Premium Lager (Munich Helles Lager/5.2%). This crisp, balanced lager was notably drinkable, and paved the way for our delicate yet delicious starter, Roasted Beet Salad, served with blue cheese, dried fruits, and nuts. The tender, sweet beets paired nicely with the maltiness of the Lager.

Lager and Beet Salad
Lager and Beet Salad

2nd Course brought us Spaten’s Oktoberfest (Marzen/Oktoberfest/5.9%)- one of the sanctioned beers of Oktoberfest Munich (i.e. “THE” Oktoberfest…sorry, Addision/Lake Highlands/McKinney!). This smooth, full-bodied Marzen, with its malty aroma, was slightly bitter yet balanced with hints of caramel. Paired with the creamy, decadent, Butternut Squash Soup with oyster mushrooms, this duo could not have been a more perfect way to welcome fall (Seriously…this soup is everything. Please come try it before it goes away).

Oktoberfest and Butternut Squash Soup
Oktoberfest and Butternut Squash Soup

3rd Course featured Spaten Franziskaner (Hefeweizen/5.0%), the brewery’s Bavarian wheat beer. Spaten’s hefe is lightly malty with  a creamy finish, bringing lovely notes of banana and clove to the table. The Franziskaner paired nicely with our next dish, Gulf Shrimp & Smoked Bacon, with papaya mustard and avocado. The smooth, wheaty finish of the hefe was a match made in Heaven for tangy notes of chili and cumin in the papaya mustard.

Franziskaner and Gulf Shrimp
Franziskaner and Gulf Shrimp

4th Course, they brought out the big guns; Spaten Optimator (Doppelbock/7.6%). I love a good doppelbock, and Optimator is about as good as it gets. This sweet, malty offering is heavy-bodied, and features notes of caramel and licorice. It was a rich, indulgent accompaniment for our main course, the Braised Short Rib with ginger and chive spaetzle. Oh man, this was the good stuff. The short rib was fork tender, and the ginger and chive were a lovely, surprising twist on this traditional German noodle dish.

Braised Short Rib
Braised Short Rib

The 5th and final offering was Spaten’s Dunkel (Munich Dunkel Lager/5.5%).  This medium-bodied dunkel is lightly sweet and moderately, complex, with caramel and toffee flavors. If you have never enjoyed a thoughtfully selected beer with dessert, you have been missing out, my friends. The Dunkel paired beautifully with Caramel Roasted Pairs, served with brown butter ice cream. Lighter caramel notes from the beer intensified the richer caramel flavors in this dessert dish, and it really worked.

Dunkel and Pears
Dunkel and Pears

Bravo, Cook Hall. Bravo, Spaten.

Cook Hall beer dinners are hosted on a bi-monthly basis. Each 5 course meal includes one full-sized beer, and tasting sizes of four subsequent beers. The cost is $55 per person (tax & gratuities not included)- a great deal! Presently, the next beer dinner is planned for early December (firm date and menu TBD- check back here for updates). Space is limited, so make your reservation ASAP!

 

Cook Hall Dallas at the W DALLAS – VICTORY
cookhalldallas.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas (Victory Park)
214.397.4111

Mon – Thurs. 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Fri/ Sat. 11:30 AM – 11:00 PM
Sun. 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Reservations available online at Cook Hall Dallas, or via Opentable

Yard House Measures Up

If you can’t find something to love at Yard House, you either hate good food, cold craft beers, and carefully mixed cocktails … or you’re wrong. Addison’s newest watering hole, Yard House, is a place where with so many choices that repeat visits are a must.

The drink menu offers up an impressive (and massive) list of American and international craft beers, cocktails, wine and sake.  For those counting calories, but needing to indulge in an adult beverage, the drink menu includes a selection of cocktails between each 150-200 calories such as the Citrus Crush, Skinny Margarita, and Juniper Fusion.  In addition to an already abundant amount of options, the restaurant mixes it up with a rotating selection of brews for their Chalkboard series.

Ruby Red Cocktail
Ruby Red Cocktail

Given the ample selection of beers, I thought it only proper to go with a tall, cold draft brew,  Blood and Honey from Revolver, before going back to more familiar territory with an Upper Manhattan cocktail, featuring a peach puree that added a nice touch to this well balanced drink. My better half opted for two of the house martinis (one at a time of course), the Ruby Red and the Strawberry Fields, both of which she would have liked to order seconds of. But lo, reason prevailed on a Tuesday night and she stopped at one (of each).

Yard House craft beer
Blood & Honey

The food menu (whose length rivals the drink menu’s) has a nice selection of food — animal, vegetable or mineral. From a wide selection of bar snacks to full-blown meals, there is something that can and will satisfy anyone’s booze-fueled whims. Carnitas tacos, spicy Thai chicken pizza, Hawaiian poke stack … the bottom line is that you should go to the Yard House hungry!  Take my advice and try the Mac & Chesse – chicken, bacon and wild mushrooms mingle with pasta in a decadent cheese sauce with hints of truffle. If that’s not the perfect food to go with one of Yard House’s craft brews, I don’t know what is.

Picture courtesy of Yard House

The interior of Yard House is just the right mix of modern upscale and contemporary casual. (Think Kona Grill meets BJ’s Brew House.) It’s a great place for a little after-work drink or a fun first date where you may need some distractions. There is an outdoor patio, which would be a great place to relax, drink a beer and watch a game or two.  The large, central  bar is a great place to pull up a chair and admire the 100s of beer taps all waiting to be pulled.

Yard House Bar Addison, TX

No one can go to Yard House and not talk about the music. The playlist was the absolute perfect mix of everything from classic rock to modern day hits varying from rock to reggae and everything else in between. It took everything in me not to get up and start dancing, but there may have been some head bobbing going on.

Give Yard House a try-and if you see a bald fellow rockin’ out…it’s not me.

Yard House
www.yardhouse.com | (972) 716 – 4004
5100 Belt Line Road, Dallas, Texas 75254
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Happy Hour:
Monday – Friday: 3 pm to 6 pm,
Sunday – Thursday: 9 pm to 11 pm

  • $1 off domestic pints and well drinks
  • $2 off craft & import pints and goblets, domestic half yards,  Fresh and Skinny™, beer cocktails and mules, call & premium spirits and wine by the glass
  • $3 off house martinis
  • $4 off craft & international half yards

 

DFW Beer & Brewers Index

Some of my buddies over at iliveindallas.com put together a 2014 Beer & Brewers Index.  Here’s some info about it and a link to download it directly:

…the most comprehensive, most complete, and most up-to-date repository of beers and brewers in Dallas-Fort Worth (at this point in time). Sorry, for the superlatives, but I can promise you, every word is true. Today we are announcing DFW Beer & Brewers Index . This local buzz almanac will give you a run down of every beer and brewer (including 19 up-and-coming) in the DFW area. It doesn’t stop at the year-round beers – it covers seasonal as well, so you know what to warm yourself with in the winter, and keep you cool in the summer. This directory of beer and brewers may be hard to digest in one sitting, but will act as a a reference guide to get your local fix when you need it. Every true local beer buff or supporter must have a copy to be able to call him/herself that. Download it here.

In this 26 page archive of awesome you’ll find:

  • 8 Dallas-area brewers with 87 beers from neighborhoods like Trinity Groves.
  • 4 Fort Worth-area brewers with 38 beers from neighborhoods like West 7th.
  • Specific addresses of all 18 already established breweries
  • 6 brewers with 46 beers outside the city, but still close enough to make the hike
  • Tour times of all the major breweries
  • A list of the 20 breweries soon to open
  • A list of 81 of the Best Places to Find Local Beer by City
  • Background info on 18 established breweries

Download the guide here

Holy Hefe-Weizen – Chamberlain’s Bavarian Brau Haus

With less than two months to Addison Oktoberfest and our fearless (and never drinkless) leader Susie out of town, I was treated to a preview of Chamberlain’s Brau Haus.  A little background first…

Addison’s Oktoberfest has been one of the city’s most popular events since it kicked off in 1987.  With a tenure of nearly 3 decades, the festival is widely considered one of the most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations outside Munich and has been recognized by USA Today and Forbes as one of the Top Oktoberfest celebrations in North America. From September 18 – 20 it will be home to all things weizenbier, sauerkraut and sausage.

Despite one’s inclination to think the event is aimed at adults or those interested solely in drinking beer and eating, it’s actually a very family-friendly event with a variety of activities suitable for the little ones, including carnival games, rides and music. There is even a 5K and 1 mile run benefitting Dallas-based Wipe Out Kid’s Cancer (WOKC).

On September 18-20, Chef Richard Chamberlain hosts Chamberlain’s Brau Haus, a full-service restaurant, for the second year in a row.  Chamberlain & Co. will deliver a Deutschland dining experience worthy of curing the most serious cases of the travel bug for those yearning to go to Munich … or it may make the bug bite harder. (Either way ….) A brief glance of the menu at the pre-Oktoberfest tasting event and I knew it to be wise to preemptively loosen my tie, unbutton the top button on my dress shirt, and get comfortable. (I still don’t know why they didn’t encourage us to wear sweatpants.)

The Brau Haus menu features a packed 3-course meal with Paulaner beer pairings throughout.  I was somehow able to restrain my usual tendency of partaking in a second round of table snacks typically offered at restaurants (no shame), in this case, fresh German pretzels.

Our first course included (get ready): a sampling of smoked rainbow trout with a horseradish cream and pickled onions, Bavarian ham with German mustard and a cucumber, dill and tomato salad.  Winner of this course: the trout.  It was was cooked as you would expect it to be at restaurant of Chamberlain’s caliber, perfectly.  The horseradish cream and pickled onions were spot on and seemed to include nearly all the different aspects of taste – salty, bitter, sweet, etc.

The second course featured Bavarian braised pork with onion potatoes and a paulaner jus along with a trio of German Sausages.  As if more was needed to justify my indulgence, house made sauerkraut and bacon filled up the remaining space on my plate.  Winner of the second course: the pork.  The Chamberlain’s crew served up pork that was so tender the meat seemed to gently and gracefully fall onto the fork as if yearning to be eaten.  (How’s that for meat poetry?)

It was a serious internal debate whether there was room for the warm cinnamon apple strudel top with a salted caramel sauce, but don’t worry logic and reason prevailed. (All this coming from a guy who typically eats pretty healthy.)

Tickets for the 6:30pm or 8:30pm dinner on the 18th, 19th or 20th or for Oktoberfest’s other packages need to be purchased by September 4th as quantities are limited.  The$49 Brau Haus package gets you:

  • admission to Oktoberfest (a $10 value)
  • the 3 course tasting meal with  Paulaner beer pairings
  • a Paulaner Oktoberfest 1 litre beer stein with a bier or wine flight
  • (the best part) your choice of a $25 gift card to either Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House or Chamberlain’s Fish Market

Needless to say, Chamberlain’s Brau Haus dining experience should be reason enough to visit Addison’s 2014 Oktoberfest celebration.   Add to it the Draught Haus, an authentic Munich-style beer hall with a Texas twist in at the Addison Conference Center, more food and fun and there I’d be interested to know your rationale for not going.

To buy your tickets to Chamberlain’s Brau Haus or for additional event and package information, visit the Oktoberfest 2014 website.

Oktoberfest 2014 | Addison Circle Park | September 18-21
MORE DETAILS HERE …

Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House
www.chamberlainssteakhouse.com
Facebook | Twitter: @ChamberlainSTK
5330 Beltline Road, Dallas, Texas 75254
(972) 934 – 2467

*Many thanks to Chamberlain’s, Paulaner and the city of Addison for my meal!

The Ritas

bud light ritaIf you’re looking for a sweet addition to your cooler, I would suggest trying any of the four flavors of Bud-Ritas from your local grocery store. I’d say that the best part about these Ritas is the alcohol content—they weigh-in at 8%, so it’s a good bang for your buck. But, unless you have a major sweet tooth, I would steer anyone who has not tried these margaritas to not buy them expecting a great tasting beverage. Instead, I recommend using these 8oz cans as a mixer. They are much more pleasant as a flavorful addition to your light beer of choice while taking in some sun at the pool or lake this summer (and they add an extra boozy punch to your drink)!

The original, Lime-a-Rita, is great considering how fast it can be prepared (pop open the can and pour over ice), yet, as previously mentioned, it’s too sweet for my taste. The other three flavors, Straw-Ber-Rita, Raz-Ber-Rita, and Mang-O-Rita, were on par with the other flavors—just a bit too sweet to drink the entire small 8 ounce can.

PRO TIP: I recommend the Raz-Ber-Rita to any TCU horned frog fan in search of a purple drink to add to your tailgate lineup. (Used as a mixer, of course … because, tailgating.)

To sum up my experience with “the Ritas”, I would say throw them in the cooler at the pool or beach as a sweet addition to your beer. Use caution if choosing to drink them straight from the can- get ready for a sugar coma.

 

Twitter: @TheRitas

www.budlight.com/our-beers/Bud-light-lime-Ritas.html