Four Corners Brewing Co. Puts Another "B" in Blues, Bandits and BBQ This Weekend

Categories: Hophead
Mark Graham
Four Corners brewmaster John Sims
Oak Cliff's annual Blues, Bandits and BBQ this weekend isn't just an opportunity to gorge yourself on competition-worthy smoked meats. It's also a historic moment for Dallas -- the first chance to buy beer from Four Corners Brewing Co., one of the breweries featured in Lauren Drewes Daniels' excellent story this week about the DFW craft beer revolution.

Four Corners will provide Local Buzz, a golden ale made with rye and local honey Friday and Saturday at the festival site (715 W. Davis St., three blocks west of the Bishop Arts District).

"It's a collaboration between Steve [Porcari, one of the four owners] and me," brewmaster John Sims says. "It will probably be our flagship. We expect it to be the most popular."

A straight-from-the-fermenter sample cup gives credence to that notion. Even pre-filtering, the light, crisp and refreshing beer tasted very clean and smooth, with subtle hints of the honey and rye not overwhelming the beer.

"We put a little rye in to give a spicy balance, and it has a nice honey aroma," Sims says. "It's a fairly light offering, but not light on flavor. We had success with a fall version, a more full-bodied version, and trimmed it down to make it more of a year-round beer."

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Forget Solitaire Quarters. Make a Game of Drinking by Your Lonesome Beer-snob Self.

Categories: Hophead
I went to the Meddlesome Moth on a whim yesterday for the Wednesday special tapping, without having looked up the beer to be featured. It turned out to be Left Hand Chainsaw Ale, about which I knew not a thing. I was about to Google it, and then decided it would be interesting to drink it blind and see how my impression compared to the brewery's description.

Would I even be able to identify what style it was supposed to be? I realized this could be a fun if potentially humbling game for a beer nerd to play whenever one encounters a completely unfamiliar brew. You could play it with a friend, but it works fine as a one-person game on those occasions when you find yourself at a bar and need to distract yourself from the nagging feeling that your beer snobbishness and your drinking alone might somehow be related.

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Yet Another Brewery to Open in Dallas, Bringing an Award-winning Brewmaster

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Founder Kevin Carr plans to have Community Beer Company open in November, joining the ever-swelling ranks of Dallas and Dallas-area breweries that were little more than dreams just a couple of years ago.

Deep Ellum, Lakewood, Peticolas and FireWheel brewing companies are already established and available in bars (and lately stores, in DEBC's case), with Reunion and Four Corners also in the works, among many others in various stages of planning. Assuming they all make it out of the garage, and depending on the geographic distance one considers to be local, there could be 20 or 30 North Texas breweries in the next few years. But Carr isn't worried about a flooded market -- as long as the beer is good.

"I think the market can definitely support it," he says. "We're all concerned with making sure the entrants in the marketplace continue making a high-quality product so consumers keep coming back."

Making a high-quality product shouldn't be an issue for Community. Jamie Fulton, formerly the multiple award-winning brewmaster of The Covey in Fort Worth (which closed two years ago this weekend, matter of fact), will be in charge of the brewhouse.

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BrewFest VIP Ticket Give-Away! (Updated)

Categories: Hophead

See also: The Full Break Down on BrewFest

Update: spotramer1, and JustSaying won the tickets. See you all at BrewFest!

While scattered thunderstorms can always be a bummer, Saturday's forecast high temperature of 77 degrees has me seriously excited about this weekend's BrewFest. Weather aside, participating breweries range from corporate big bottlers like Anheuser-Busch all the way down to the little local guys like newcomer Lakewood Brewing Company.

Other local breweries participating include Peticolas (who will hopefully drop the Velvet Hammer), Rahr, Franconia, and Deep Ellum. Tickets are on sale here for $25, but $60 will get you in an hour early and access to VIP area with liquor sampling and catered food.

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Music and Beer at Untapped Bring Trinity Groves Alive

Categories: Hophead
Danny Hurley
Saturday's Untapped fest combined the best of my two favorite worlds, beer and music, by putting equal importance on both. Each was strong enough to stand on its own.

The beer selection is usually an afterthought at music fests, its only purpose to boost the revenue, while the music selection at beer fests generally consists of an inoffensive cover band or a DJ whose selection might as well be the jukebox at an SMU Boulevard bar on Sorority Night. Untapped, with a music lineup curated by Spune and a diverse lineup of more than 100 beers from about 50 breweries, drew a crowd of dedicated drinkers and fans only interested in the tunes. Some of the VIP cardholders who'd arrived right at the 11 a.m. open to taste the rare and exclusive brews were visibly baffled by Zhora's electronic Ray-Bans pop. And I ran into a friend who didn't even bother with a sample cup or drink ticket, having no interest in beer or day drinking. It was by far the youngest and most diverse crowd I've ever seen at a beer fest. If this festival turns even one PBR drinker into a craft-beer aficionado, it has done its job.

Nick Rallo kept a journal of his amber-hued impressions of the music. As for the beer, it was almost uniformly great, from my morning eye-opener of Dogfish Head 120 Minute, the much sought-after Holy Grail of IPAs, to the last foamy sip of Lawn Ranger, a fine cream ale from the area's newest brewery, Cedar Creek.

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Martin House Brewing Company to Pour at Video Art Series, and Details on Two Upcoming Fests

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The Dallas-area beer scene is growing almost too quickly to keep track of, with news of another brewery coming almost monthly and enough beer festivals in the near future that hardcore suds lovers should consider opening a liver-transplant savings account.

Fort Worth's Martin House Brewing Company is the project of Deep Ellum Brewing Co. intern Cody Martin, his wife, Anna Martin, and co-founder David Wedemeir. It's among the latest start-ups in the area and is unique in that the company is committed to canning rather than bottling its product. Cody says that officially the company is looking at a spring 2013 launch but that it could actually happen much sooner than that. Kegs will precede cans by a month or so, pending TABC approval of the can labels. Negotiating on two different properties near downtown and the Stockyards, and both close to bike path trailheads, he plans on tours and cycling events being a big part of the business.

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What a Week for Beer in Dallas

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Via Lakewood Brewing Company's Facebook.
This is one of the most eventful weeks ever for beer aficionados in Dallas.

First off, yesterday marked the release of Houston brewery Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve 12. Divine Reserve is a series irregularly released special, rare single-batch offerings. Each is inspired by an entry in the Big Batch Brew Bash. This one is an old ale with an ABV of 10 percent, and the brewery recommends aging it for a year or more. I got a six pack yesterday at the Park Place Whole Foods and was told it was the last one -- apparently store employees got the first crack at buying them, and they weren't shy about snatching them up. Release date is something of a social event and competition; Twitter is ablaze with the hashtag #DR12, offering leads on where to score it -- after the tweeter has already procured his, of course. It seems the release will be staggered, as not every store had theirs for sale. Check with your favorite beer stores to see if they have any; Spec's and Total Wine were planning to sell theirs today. It may be worth it to call stores that already said they're out, as it's possible that people who reserved some failed to pick theirs up. I'll offer my thoughts on it after I have a chance to try it.

Yesterday also saw the release of a new Deep Ellum Brewing Co. beer, Wealth and Taste, a 9.5 percent ABV Belgian-style golden strong ale made with muscat grape juice, grapefruit peel, rose hips and chamomile flowers. Half the batch was aged in Chardonnay barrels, then blended with the regularly fermented portion.

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Belgians Celebrate Independence Saturday. Brew Lovers Celebrate Belgian Beer Week Now.

With Belgium's Independence Day falling on Saturday, retailers and pubs specializing in good beer are celebrating all week with specials on Belgian beers, starting last night and running through Saturday -- though the celebration runs through next week with the Libertine Bar's Belgian Beer Dinner Tuesday the 24th.

Other Belgian-inspired dinners include one at the Bottle Shop, on Greenville Avenue across the street from the Libertine, with food pairings created by People's Last Stand chef Josh Black. Also, tonight's glass night at Holy Grail Pub in far north Plano is an opportunity to pick up the very unusual glassware for Pauwel Kwak, traditionally served in a round-bottomed hourglass-looking thing that requires a wooden stand. The Belgian strong ale is an outstanding brew, and worth the trouble. For a comprehensive listing of events, once again I defer to Plano Craft Beer Examiner Brian Brown for compiling an excellent selection of beer goings-on, Belgian and otherwise.

Last night The Common Table's weekly Monday night Pour Man's Beer Dinner focused on Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews -- big ones. None had an ABV lower than 9 percent. While three of the four were the same style, quadrupels, each of the beers revealed differences both subtle and pronounced when tasted in successive order.More »

Giveaway: Two Seats at Tonight's Weihenstephaner Beer Dinner at the Libertine

Categories: Hophead
Tonight at 7 o'clock, the Libertine Bar offers a beer dinner featuring beers from Weihenstephaner, a Bavarian brewery -- the world's oldest, in fact. In that time, they've clearly mastered the brewing art. Their Korbinian is my personal favorite doppelbock, and the others to be featured ain't half bad either. Click here for the full menu.

As usual, the meal is $50 per person (though the excellent staff works their tails off, so tip generously -- they certainly pour generously). But you have a chance to win two seats.

Because it's the world's oldest brewery, leave in the comments a story about the oldest drinker you know. For instance, my grandpa drank Carlo Rossi every day until he died at 81. Even though he was nearly blind, he could spot a young lady with a big butt from 100 yards. Whenever he'd visit, he'd go out drinking with my brothers and me, and would get my middle brother to round up all his female friends and have a big-butt "contest." Incredibly, my brother's friends would go along with this and take turns sitting in the old man's lap. Maybe it was because he was so charming, regaling them with stories such as our favorite, about when he visited his hillbilly relatives and they tried to give him parting gifts of a giant slobbering dog and then a shit-flinging monkey. Anyway, girl after girl would sit in his lap, smiling the whole time and letting him forget for a few moments that he had just about every affliction known to man. He never said who the winners were. The only winner, of course, was him.

So tell us in the comments about your favorite old drinker for a chance to win. After you post it, send me an email letting me know which story was yours. You can share a tale even if you can't go, but be sure to let me know you can't make it. Contest closes at 5 p.m. I'll contact the winner shortly thereafter.

The winner is "dab," with her story about her Pe-Paw and his Hot Carlings.

BeerFeast Was a Truckload of Fun

Categories: Hophead
Every time I go to a Flying Saucer beer festival, or BeerFeast or whatever they want to call them, I ask myself, "Why don't I go to these more often?"

And then I remember -- distance. My fantasy is that the chain opens an outpost in Dallas proper within walking or at least biking distance from my house. But even a half-hour to 45-minute drive away, they're always worth the trek, even if it means exercising some serious restraint waiting inside the bar for a while after fest's end to reach some semblance of sobriety.

The "feast" in the name of Saturday's BeerFeast at the Flying Saucer on the Lake location referred to the food trucks on site, a new twist in the Saucers' festivals. I wasn't able to get there until a couple hours before the close, but right on time to get a taste of the Jester King/Mikkeller collaboration Whiskey Rodeo, one of the sporadic special tappings, and a few mini-burgers from my favorite mobile food dispensary, Easy Slider.

Rather than a full rundown, I'll just list a few notable brews.

Favorite: Whiskey Rodeo. The imperial stout Beer Geek Rodeo at the Big Texas Beer Fest was one of a few well-done pepper beers that have made me come around on the addition of spicy peppers as more than just a gimmick. This barrel-aged version was even better, with the vanilla notes from the bourbon complementing the smooth coffee stout taste and subtle heat.

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