Tag Archives: Beer

Breckenridge Brewery (Breckenridge, CO)

In anticipation of the upcoming Breck Trek nights in Dallas this week, I stepped in to the actual Breckenridge Brewery for a pint and a tour. The state of the art brewery recently moved to a brand new facility in the Littleton neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. The beautiful mix of industrial metal and rustic wood creates the perfect atmosphere for beer connoisseurs and curious minds alike to enjoy an afternoon learning about the beer making process. I may not know much about beer, but the smell of the brewery alone was enough to make me want to start home brewing.

I started the tour with a nice glass of the Bumps N’ Jumps Session IPA, which is an exclusive and limited collaboration between Breckenridge and Vail (two awesome CO ski resorts). It accompanied the tour beautifully with light bitterness and full hop flavor. We then learned about the German-engineered tanks that are used in the facility the process and some of the things that make Breckenridge Brewery unique. My favorite tidbit was the fact that all of the spent grain (grain that the brewery no longer needs, which has been separated from the sugary liquid that will eventually be turned into beer) goes directly to a local farmer to feed his cattle. Efficiency, people.

The best stop on the tour was the barrel room, where all of the barrel-aged beer is stored for a period of time to absorb the taste and smells of the barrels themselves (much like aging a spirit). This room smelled like HEAVEN. The aromas of wood and rum and vanilla all played so well together that I refused to leave. They have several beers on rotation through the barrel room, but one beer that they always have available is their Whiskey Barrel Aged 471 Double IPA with Citra hops, which gives off aromas of tropical fruits and citrus flavors. 

You may think that a brewery tour is all there is to do at the Breckenridge Brewery … EHHH! After the tour, I got to indulge myself in lunch at the Farm House, their on-site restaurant. Rustic rocking chairs, plush and comfy seating, and a stone fireplace provide for a mountain-esque ambiance. We started our meal with—what else—a flight of beer. Up for review was the Nitro Orange Chocolate Stout, the Break IPA, the Ophelia Hoppy Wheat, and the Whiskey Barrel Aged 471 Dry Hopped with Citra IPA. All were delicious and has citrus-y flavors, but my favorite was the Ophelia for its lightness and Mosaic hops. 

Up to the challenge of satisfying my hunger were several plates, which we shared as to try the most items. We chose the chicken pot pie, the venison chili mac and cheese, and the salmon with risotto and asparagus. I don’t know which I enjoyed more because I didn’t stop to breathe between bites … everything was that good. As for desert, and my stomach said “no” but my eyes and my head said “OH YEAH, BABY. You have months before bathing suit season.” Guess which won? We indulged anyway and ordered the Apple Galette, a warm apple pie/strudel served in a cast iron skillet and topped with house-made vanilla porter ice cream.

This experience was the perfect lead in to the Breck Trek tour, which will be traveling across the US to give the other states a taste of the Colorado lifestyle. Live music, beer education, and of course Breckenridge Brewery beer sampling will occur at every stop on the tour. The Breck Trek will hit Dallas the week of January 16th, check out times and locations here

BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY
breckbrew.com
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2920 Brewery Lane, Littleton, Colorado 80120
303-623-2739

Breck Trek | Facebook 

Product Review: Don Chelada

If there’s one thing I don’t undervalue it’s the art of convenience. Particularly, when it comes to tailgates, beach-side sipping, or floating the river, I want a drink that travels easy and carries the party with it. Enter: Don Chelada. Between this company’s bottled michelada mix and rimmed Styrofoam cups with pre-packaged spices, all you really need is your favorite beer to achieve optimal day-drinking status.

I have to say Don Chelada’s Styrofoam cups are a fascinating thing. It’s one of those million dollar ideas I wish I would have thought of. Offering three flavors of Lemon Lime, Spicy, or Original, the rather large cups come with a “Mega Moist Rim” of natural ingredients, including chili powder, lemon powder, sea salt, chili powder, sugar, pepper, citric acid, and silicone dioxide (for, you know … “anti-clumping”). Inside you’ll find the corresponding spice mix, depending on awaiting an introduction to your beer of choice, which may depend on your cup flavor. Bonus points: the rich formula allows the addition of another beer, which you will obviously want to add. The key here (and make sure you read this carefully) is to pour slowly and let the drink sit for a minute afterwards. This allows for the suds and spice mix to settle into the beer.

The cups serve as a great product for the right kind of consumer. Personally, I had a bit of trouble blending the package of spices into my beer, but I could envision this as a staple for enhancing your average beer at tailgates, fraternity parties, trips to the lake, or even as a hangover remedy. Out of the two products, I enjoyed the liquid mix better as I found it was easier to incorporate with my beer – but, maybe I just need to work on my pouring technique.

You can go a step further personalizing this with even more spice, garnishes, or maybe an additional splash of alcohol. It’s your michelada and you can drink it how you want to.

Check out Don Chelada’s website for more recipes, such as the below, Tequila Tropical. Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching and this might just be your best move.

Don Chelada Tequila Tropical
1.5oz tequila
Mineral Water
Lemon Lime Soda

Add to your Don Chelada Michelada Cup: ice and 1.5oz tequila. Fill with equal parts mineral water and lemon lime soda. Stir lightly, let sit for a minute and enjoy.

Don Chelada Michelada Cups
6 Piece Party Pack, $13.74
Party Pack Case – 36 Pieces, $64.44

Don Chelada Michelada Mix
25 oz. Bottle, $10.99


DON CHELADA

donchelada.com
Facebook | Twitter | instagram.com/donchelada

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

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!

Henderson Tap House has a lot to offer

Though the “I’d tap that” slogan of Henderson Tap House may conjure images of another classic Dallas dive bar, the upscale interior and swanky cocktail menu will get you to rethink those gym shorts and sweatshirt. But, don’t worry because this place is home to people of all ages, moods, and drink types.

The brick garage-like entrance houses a large, covered patio with long picnic tables and high-tops, which are crucial for the prime outdoor drinking weather quickly approaching. Walk inside and you’ll find leather seats, comfy couches, high tables, and long open seating in the back to accommodate the big crowds that swarm this place. Even though seating can become hard to find at times, Henderson Tap House offers two large, spacious bar areas on either side of the establishment. The place may get packed and depending on what section you are sitting in the service can be slow, but ordering a drink isn’t hard if you go up to the bar. Henderson Tap  House is still fairly new, so I’ll give it a pass for now, but I look forward to when the timeliness of the service matches the charm of the servers and the taste of the indulgent menu.

One of my favorite aspects of this full-service sports bar and restaurant is the tap room enclosed by large glass windows, allowing drinkers to see the vast 50-plus local and craft beers they have to offer. Though, the Revolver Blood & Honey is my normal go-to, I had the opportunity to try three of the restaurant’s popular cocktails.

Wyatt Berry Fizz: Bombay Sapphire gin, fresh lemon and lime juices and raspberry schnapps topped with a splash of soda and served over ice in a pint glass. The gin pairs well with the berry notes of the schnapps to make it refreshing, but not too sweet.

Moscow Bull: Three Olives Citrus, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer in a mason jar. The ginger beer sold me on this cocktail.

Spicy Paloma: Pepe Zevada “Z” Tequila Blanco tequila, fresh lime, jalapeño juice, sliced jalapenos, agave nectar and grapefruit juice served over ice in a pint glass. The bar’s version of a margarita, this drink was not my favorite because I am a margarita snob after trying most of Dallas’s favorite cocktail. The jalapenos bring a little kick, but the spice didn’t balance well with the other flavors.

Henderson Tap House is a prime location for large groups and individuals that are looking to stick around for a while. The food menu is extensive with dishes like wood-fired pizza, fish tacos, lobster mac n’ cheese, and even warm cookies with a shot of milk. The full menu is offered until 10:30 p.m. nightly, and the pizza oven keeps burning until 1:30 a.m.

Whether you are looking to catch a game, chow down, grab a drink, dance, party with strangers, or enjoy the sunny weather on the patio, this place is your destination. Keep it classy … or get a little weird with their “Upside Down Rodeo Clown”.

Do Muck About

As I’ve mentioned in past reviews, I don’t like to travel outside of my bubble (that bubble usually encompasses the 3 miles around my current home). I was summoned to Addison to try out The Mucky Duck, an uber-local pub in Addison Circle … and I’ll be back. I’d say the best way to describe TMD is that it’s Cheers without the fat postman and with an Indian statue at the door.

This pub not only offers incredible daily specials, but hosts trivia on Wednesday nights with a stand-up comedian that looks like Jamie Kennedy as the trivia master. He doesn’t just ask straight-forward trivia questions, but he throws in some multiple choices, current events, and even “name that tune” questions. That night at TMD, I not only learned that sheep excrement is sometimes made into paper, but I also learned that french fries (and theirs are amazing) are, as odd as it sounds, delicious covered in gumbo.

Speaking of their food, on Wednesdays fish and chips are half off and not only would I get the dish again, but I’d pay full price. Another Wednesday treat we enjoyed was the Three Olives vodka that was a mere $3 after 8 p.m. Our table partook in shots of the root beer vodka (get the one without the whipped cream mixed in) and mixed drinks to go along with our fish and chips. I was hoping to order a snakebite but was the DD so had to limit myself to a couple drinks over the three-hour visit.

The wait staff at TMD was very nice and welcoming; one waiter recognized that we’d never been in and checked on us a few times throughout the evening. While a little slow, I’d say the service was pretty good.

Extras: free WiFi, lots of TVs, enclosed patio, darts, large craft beer selection

Drink strength: 4
Overall: 4.7

The Mucky Duck
www.themuckyduckaddison.com | @themuckyduckbar
5064 Addison Circle, Addison, TX | (972) 233-9362

Specials:
Monday | $3 Drafts 8 p.m. – close
Tuesday | “Loyalty Card Night” Exclusive food and drink specials for loyalty card holders 8 p.m. – close
Wednesday | 1/2 off Fish & Chips (All Day), Pub Trivia at 8 p.m. (get there by 7:30) and $3 Three Olives vodka 8 p.m. – close
Thursday | Free Taco Bar 6-8 p.m., Live Music 8-11 p.m., and $3 Crown & Down 8 p.m. – close
Saturday | Live Music 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Sunday | $3 Crown and Down (All Day)

Daily Happy Hour:
Monday-Thursday | 3-8 p.m.
Friday | 3 p.m. – close
Monday-Friday | 1/2 price appetizers until 8 p.m.

barcadia

I thought it was about time to write up one of my most frequented spots in Dallas… I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t do it justice – but here it goes.

Barcadia is a formerly-hipster hangout that has been invaded by the usual Dallasites. You can still find some tattooed, plaid-clad, bearded/pink-haired people, but I am afraid to say most of them have moved on … except for on a Wednesday when they return to Barcadia to play Street Fighter II and Skee Ball with a PBR in hand.

If you haven’t yet been to Barcadia and live in Dallas, shame on you. This bar has so much character and even offers free games on a Tuesday … that’s right … free 80s arcade games. They have a bevy of game choices: Astroids, Mario Brothers (both original and new), Donkey Kong Junion, Ms. Pac Man, Q*Bert, Millipede, Star Wars, Spy Hunter, Robotron, Phoenix, Joust, Galaga, Defender, Tempest, pinball, and, not to be outdone, three giant jenga sets with entertaining graffiti.

I can only think of one bad night I had at Barcadia and it wasn’t the bar’s fault at ALL. The drinks are strong, induce a fun party atmosphere, and inspire irresponsible behavior. The music is fanTAStic along with the fun bar art, TVs are HD and easily seen, and the porch is HUGE and encourages you to meet your table neighbors.

Barcadia tips: watch your feet when playing Jenga in sandals, never give the bartender a hard time but DO flirt, don’t talk to strangers in the bathroom, drink PBR

Drink strength: 4 
Overall: 4.8 (I can’t give up the 5 yet!)

Barcadia
www.barcadiadallas.com
1917 North Henderson Avenue | (214) 821-7300

Specials:
happy hour | Monday-Saturday | til 8 p.m.

Monday | 1/2 price food, happy hour all night
Tuesday | $3 Texas beers, FREE GAMES!
Wednesday | most pints $3 
Sunday | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $12 bottomless mimosas (or $4 each), $4 bloody marys, $5 fresh fruit mojitos | 3 p.m. – 2 a.m. | $4 you-call-its