Franconia Brewery Tour

With all the attention on so many of the new breweries opening, I realized that I had never been to the second oldest brewery in DFW, Franconia Brewing Company. So this past Saturday, instead of watching OU blow UT out of the water while drinking buckets of schwill, we opted for the 11am brewery tour in McKinney. Franconia has done a good job of getting their beer out to the public, and you can find at least one of their brews at almost any decent bar in the metroplex. They make German style beers and quality is their number one priority. There are many things that make Franconia stand out, but the first is that their brewery tour actually includes a formal tour. Many if the other brewery tours are really just a way for the brewery to have customers out and legally drink on their premises. Franconia does too, but instead of simply hanging out in their facility, the owner and brewmaster, Dennis Wehrmann, gives an approximately hour tour full of brewing knowledge and Franconia’s history. I won’t give it all away, but Dennis was born into the brewing tradition and takes it very seriously. He is also very entertaining and likes to keep the tour full of jokes. I walked away from this tour with a ton of respect and admiration for this brewery and I highly encourage anyone to check them out. Now, to the beer! They were pouring their Kolsch, Wheat, and Dunkel to begin the tour, and after we got the opportunity to try their Fallenbock. I had previously tried their Kolsch and Wheat, so I started with the Dunkel. It is a dark brown color with light roasted notes on the nose followed by malty sweetness. The flavor is more malt forward with hops balancing out any residual sweetness to produce an extremely drinkable beer that is full of flavor. It was not thick at all and the natural carbonation was moderately-low, which seemed to allow the malt and fruity yeast esters to be more evident. After the tour, I tried the 8.5% Fallenbock which was just being released that day. This seemed to be a doppelbock and was a bit hoppier than I anticipated, yet once again, extremely balanced. Very little roasted character in this one and it seemed a bit drier than the Dunkel, which made it all too easy to drink at its ABV. On suggestion of Dennis, my third beer was half Fallenbock and half Wheat. This was a very enjoyable mix for me, with the wheat adding subtle bannana sweetness to the dryness of the Fallenbock. I highly suggest this blend. I really enjoyed how informative and personal the tour was. The brewery is still only 3 employees, despite their relatively large production (probably around 5000 barrels annually). They are soon to be completely off the grid energy-wise, as they are currently constructing a power plant which will capture heat energy from their brewing processes, as well as methane gas from their spent grains. It is a must visit for any craft beer enthusiast in DFW.

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Lazy Bones Hopeful to Start Rebuilding in September

info hereGood news from the owners of Lazy Bones concerning the rebuilding of the bar and grill: on August 21 at 730pm, they will be appearing in front of the Grapevine City Council (in order to begin rebuilding.  They are applying for a use change, and said that if all goes according to plan, they should begin rebuilding by next month! 

So, here’s what you can do top express your support for Lazy Bones (there will be plenty of time to be lazy once they’re back open!).  If you are a Grapevine resident you are allowed to speak at the meeting, but if you can’t make it or are not a resident, you can email your support to sbatte@grapevinetexas.gov

The agenda item numbers are CU12-31 and HL12-05.  Let them know you want Lazy Bones back and as quickly as possible!  I know I sure do. 

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Promoting Local Biz with Non-Local Products

Good reporting by The Observer about a local non-profit using Andrews Beverages (Miller-Coors’ controlled distribution company) as the sponsor. Apparently they didn’t even think to ask any of the local breweries, even though they aim to promote local businesses. Nice job Downtown Dallas Inc. Maybe those of us who enjoy local businesses should let the folks at DDI know that if they want to see Dallas thrive, like we all know it is very capable of, then they should probably promote our unique local businesses instead of the same ole stuff we can find in any and every market across the US! I know I’ll be contacting them, and you should too.

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Legislative News

Hey folks.  I’ve been doing a lot of research on craft beer consumption and sales lately, and figure I should share some of what I’ve discovered. 

All of this is according to the report on the economic impact of the craft brewing industry issued by the Texas Craft Brewers’ Guild earlier this summer.  The report is authored by the great economist turned brewer, Scott Metzger, who founded and operates Freetail Brewing down in San Antonio.  He is a great ambassador for the craft brewing industry and a great source for all things relating to the effort to change Texas brewing regulations.  Watch his blog, Brewed and Never Battered, to keep up with what’s going on and who you can contact to show your support of these legislative changes.  I will do my best to keep up with it, with an emphasis on our local area as well.

So now to the meat and potatos of this post:

– Texas has seen licensed craft breweries (defined as less than 75,000 barrels of annual production) increase from 2 in 1997 to 78 by the end of 2011.
– Texas craft breweries have increased production by 80,972 barrels, or 218%, from 2007 to 2011. 
– Of that above mentioned increase in production, 23.5% came from new breweries with 76.5% from already existing breweries. 
– Since 2008, overall beer sales have DECREASED by 3.7% while overall craft beer sales have INCREASED by 41.3%.  During this same time period, Texas craft beer sales have increased 167.5%.
– In 2011, Texas craft breweries contributed $608 million to the Texas economy and employed 1,244 people. 

Long story short, consumers are increasingly demanding high quality craft beer with a increasing preference for locally produced products.  Anyone not living under a rock here in DFW could’ve told you that!  With all the breweries recently established having so much success, it’s been hard to miss, even for casual beer drinkers. 

All this is being compiled in an effort to pass new regulations during the upcoming 2013 legislative session.  Senator John Corona, of the 16th district here in Dallas County, and Senator Leticia Van de Putte, of the 26th district in Bexar County, are forming a committee of industry stakeholders to evaluate current regulations and proposed legislation.  As more information concerning this comittee become available, I will post about it, but in the mean time, I urge you to contact these representatives and let them know you support changes to brewing regulations.  One particular point if emphasis to them should be the necessity to avoid giving the comitte too much influence from macro-breweries and their distributors, since these entities are the few who benefit immensly from the current regulatory environment. 

You can find the full report on the economic impact of the Texas craft brewing industry here

Also of interest may be this summary of current and proposed regulations, along with their effect on the industry.  This was released by the House Research Comittee earlier this summer and presents arguments both for and against new regulations.

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A night out at the Oak St Draft House

Stopped by the Oak St Draft House in Denton tonight, and am currently enjoying a Peticolas Brewing Company Velvet Hammer for the first time.  It’s a malt forward beer, but incredibly balanced, especially for a 9% abv.  I’ve wanted to try it for a while now, but could never afford to have such a high gravity brew than drive home from Dallas.  Well, now all I’ve got is a walk home. 

The beer is great, and seems much more suited to a fall evening rather than this 90 plus summer night. 

This is my first at this establishment, but enjoyed a St. Arnold’s Endeavor this afternoon while watching the Rangers spank Ervin Santana and the Angels.

So I’m now having a Real Ale Brewing Devil’s Share, which is the Devil’s Backbone aged on oak wine barrels.  It’s nose is dominated by oak, which is almost reminiscent of bourbon, but yet the taste is very smootg and has red wine undertones which blend nicely with the yeast and hops.  If they can reduce the bourbon like notes (probably by using the oak barrels over again), it will be a great special release.

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Back with a vengeance…sorta

I’m sure anyone who was reading this site has given up on me, but hopefully you all went to Dallas Brew Scene to get all the updates on beer events in the area.  Those guys have an awesome site full of resources, including a great Happy Hour guide and even beer lists for certain bars.  If you haven’t checked them out already, make sure you do so.

So I won’t be posting about all the weekly events anymore, but I will post stuff about beer reviews (Deep Ellum Brewing is about to start bottling!), food, and pretty much anything I want.  I do still have some brewery updates and stories in the works.  So make sure you have notifications set up, like the Facebook page, check out the Twitter, to get updates on new posts.

That being said, there is the Taste of Dallas going on this weekend, and there is a beer tasting ticket option.  For $28 you get entrance to the event, plus 12 two ounce pours of beer.  More info here.

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Lazy Bones Update

A bit of good news concerning the recently burnt down Lazy Bones Bar and Grill in Grapevine.  Demolition of the building is complete and the owners are trying to begin rebuilding ASAP. 

The city of Grapevine, however, has said that the approval of the demolition was contigent upon the building applying for landmark status.  Yes, for the building which no longer exists! 

What that means, is that every design detail has to be approved by the Historic Building Commission, which of course means more time and less control for the owners.

I’m trying to find out contact info for the commission so folks can express support for Lazy Bones and let the commission know that the sooner this modern day landmark can be rebuilt, the better.

Stay tuned…and read the article here.

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