Monday, October 24, 2016

From Cliffs To Craft beers: My Unbelievable Story

Monarch Pass, Colorado 2011
It was a cold brisk Friday evening in Colorado the night my life flashed before my eyes. I was on a frozen tundra two-lane road in the mountains headed back to Texas after a work assignment. Little did I know this near death experience of mine would form a inseparable bond with craft beer and the thrill of adventure.

It was March 4th, 2011 I was in a hurry to drive back to East Texas to attend my dad’s wedding that weekend and pack up my belongings to move to Colorado. The route from Grand Junction, CO to Longview, TX is 1,300 miles. Approximately 400 or so miles can be dangerous and shouldn't be taken lightly. I've been this way twice before so I knew what to expect. Many locals have warned me about the driving conditions even to the point of recommending that I take off my seat belt when going down a treacherous mountain pass. I've heard all the stories and shrugged it off as just an old folk tale.

Monarch pass is a popular spot for avid skiers in the area, not for rookie snow drivers like myself. Many people choose not to go this route because of the conditions of the road. It could be 40 degrees on the bottom and -10 degrees on top. I thought off all the warnings and decided to proceed anyways. After all, I had been this way already. This time was different. It was around 5:30 a.m. when I approached the summit of Monarch. The road gradually turned from a dry road to snowy and icy conditions. I assumed I was okay since I was following traffic in front of me. Usually it's wise to drive slower than the posted speed limit. I don't remember how fast or slow I was going, but obviously since I lost control, it was too fast. I was only a quarter of a mile from the top of the summit (11,120 ft) when out of nowhere... it happened.

I started to slide to the right, I panicked and made the horrible mistake of slamming on the breaks, the one thing that you never want to do on a mountain pass. As I started to turn even more, I realized that there weren't any guard rails, snow banks, or even any trees to slow me down. It was "straight off the edge". I clearly remember my white knuckle grip on the steering wheel and trying turn the vehicle the best that I could. I knew that if I went over sideways, it would cause the truck to flip and roll several times. Like something I've seen out of the movies, I went air borne over the edge only to be welcomed by a "runway" of snow. The truck dug in the snow and drifted for about 200 ft before coming to a stop.

I typically like being comfortable when driving long distances. Certainly a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops is comfortable, but not so much for this experience. I reached over the seat to find socks, waterproof work boots, and my insulated coveralls. I couldn't open the door because the snow was so deep that it was up to my windows. I rolled the window down to escape the disabled truck and climb back into the truck bed to put on my clothing. I grabbed my wallet, proof of insurance, and cell phone and headed out of the window to start my self-rescue.

The truck couldn't be seen from the road, local’s going home from skiing that day wouldn't be able to see me. This was a big problem since it was nearing night fall. Somehow I had to be a man and get to the top. I knew I couldn't get to the top without sliding and creating an avalanche on top of my truck. My hands were already numb and bleeding from clawing in the snow to get a grip. After several minutes of attempting to reach my highest point I did what is foreign to me, I gave up. My hands where on fire and felt like a frozen fish. Not nearly defeated yet, I was at least high enough to wave at cars going by.

After a few minutes I heard breaks squeal to a stop. A vehicle had seen me waving and stopped 50 feet above me. A skinny hiking looking guy approached and asked if everyone was okay. I said "Yes, I'm the only one, do you have a rope? I can't get up." He returned a few moments later with a 10 foot rope and tossed it down to me. He crawled down as far as he could go, held onto the end of the rope and stretched his arm out for me climb up his body as if it was a rock wall. Although, I still was about 10 ft from him. I dug into the snow, found some rocks sticking out, and prayed that my dead fingers could grip enough for me to make my way up the vertical incline. Finally I was making progress and he reached his hand out and I maneuvered around him to the rope and climbed my way to the top. It was such a relief to be out of the misery that I was in.

Salida, CO
I met Scott officially when I was warming up in his vehicle. Scott was traveling with his wife and two friends. They lived just over the pass in Salida, CO where they both where part owners in a local pizza place and brewery called "Moonlight Pizza and Brewpub". I was so relieved to be alive I was indebted to them. I wasn't into craft beer at the time, but I made a vow that I would always stop by Salida and pay my respects, eat some pizza, chat with Scott and drink some craft beer.

Many times, I have stopped by over the years and each time Scott has remembered me and that fate of a night that merged our lives together. Our stories have changed some since that night and I started a new life in Colorado surrounded by some of the best craft beer in the entire world. Moonlight Pizza expanded into a brewpub and has become one of the must see restaurants spots in the Colorado high country. 

Scott and his wife are on the right

Looking back at my time in Colorado, much of my crazy adventures can be attributed to knowing that I truly have lived life to the fullest and have never settled for the mundane life. I attribute that to my pursuit of craft beer and the never ending journey of discovering the next hand made craft beer from local people just like Scott.

 Putting a face with a beer not only what makes it personal, but it also allows you to see the other stories behind the pint. I'm thankful for Scott and his friends coming back from Vegas that night, if it wasn't for their generosity I don't know if id be around to discover the art of craft beer. So next time you are in Salida, stop in and say hello to my friends and get one of my favorite beers there- the Moonlite Cream Ale!

The Happy Chappy (Jeff)  

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing"

Thursday, October 13, 2016

15 Restaurants for Craft Beer in East Texas

Craft beer from a local restaurant is a joy that can be experienced by all! If you don’t know which restaurants to go to, we got you covered fam. 

But all restaurants have craft beer right? Wrong! There are restaurants in East Texas that are happy to serve the average beers that are often preferred by the distributors.  

Okay, so what constitutes as a craft beer restaurant?  It is a restaurant that is owned by people that care about both supporting smaller breweries and rewarding loyal customers with fresh rotating craft beer!

Try a craft beer at one of these area restaurants and enjoy a great meal to! (in no particular order)

1. Rotolo's | Longview and Tyler

With two different locations in East Texas, Rotolo's has committed to bringing the freshest craft beer by focusing on local breweries and the taps are constantly changing. The newest store in Longview has a rewards loyalty program known as "Brew Crewe".  You can go to Longviews Untapped page for an updated list of their beers.  Rotolo's in Tyler has Trivia night on Wed, and will often host events supporting local breweries.

2. BJ's Restaurants | Longview and Tyler

BJ's is a corporate restaurant that does several things very well.  Bringing craft beer to the masses!  Each state has its own brewery that produces the brews for their restaurants across the state.  BJ's hosts several beer pairing dinners through the year that we highly recommend going to.  They also recently won 2 awards at the Great American Brew Fest in Denver for their quality beers.  Oh and did we mention the delcious pizza? 

3. Rose City Draft House | Tyler 

Cleverly named, Rose City Draft House was a breath of fresh air when it came upon the Craft beer scene a few years ago.  With 57 craft beers on tap, this draft house is the craft beer oasis in the area.  From Trivia nights, pint nights, brewery nights, and BYOP (pizzas) nights, Rose City has set a golden standard for a place of community and fellowship among a pint of beer.  Cheers!

5. Fosters Place | Pickton

Fosters Place is a hidden gem that is truly worth seeing.  It is known for the BEST craft beer selection in the entire area!  Art Foster is able to get many beers that the East Texas markets cannot get by personally driving to Dallas himself and bringing back hard to find brews.  Fosters is also open on Sundays for those traveling back from DFW to East Texas.   It is well worth the detour if you don't mind seeing the country side!  You will rewarded with the best beer around and excellent pub style food.

6. Pint and Barrel Draft House | Palestine 

Located in the Old Palestine area, Pint and Barrel is a family run restaurant that was opened by an employee of Saint Arnold Brewing Co. The Pub has a great selection of craft beer to choose from and the food selection is priced just right.  When passing by Palestine, stop in for a pint and enjoy the friendly atmosphere!

7. Charlies Backyard Bar and Grill | Marshall


 Located in a historic 1850's New Orleans Style Plantation home, Charlie's is the pride of Marshall.  Known primarily as an outside concert venue, Charlie's is also known for their craft beer selection on tap.  All 10 taps are craft beer, with 8 being from Texas!  We are excited to celebrate with them in welcoming Great Raft Brewing into East Texas markets! Charlie's will be one of the first places to get the Shreveport brewery.

8. Juls | Tyler

The "Pride of Tyler" is commonly referred to as the place for "anyone at anytime".  Jul's opened in 2014 with the vision of a "multi dimensional" restaurant with fine and casual dining while providing an "Austin influenced" atmosphere for their customers.  It is the only restaurant that boasts only Texas craft breweries on tap (20).  They were the first restaurant to get True Vine on tap, and are often the first ones to get rare rotating beers.  Stop in and enjoy fine food, fresh beer and good folks!

9. Auntie Skinner's  | Jefferson

Along the banks of the Caddo Lake you can find the old port town of Jefferson which is home to some of the most historical buildings in Texas.  Auntie Skinner's was opened in 1983 in the old international building that was built in 1866.  The owners have kept the building true to it's character and  carry some of the better craft beers in the area long before it was trendy to do so.  Auntie Skinners is a staple in East Texas, and if you haven't been before you may want to visit Jefferson during Mardi Gras. As the cajuns say, "LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!" 

10. Maklemores Ale House | Nacogdoches 

Located deep in the heart of the "Piney Woods", Maklemore's was opened in 2014 to offer a relaxing hangout spot for patrons of all ages seeking the newest artisan craft ale.  The extensive craft beer selection and bottle cooler is enough to make any grown man weep.  You can find the list of the regular bottles on their Beer Menu List.  Stop by on Thur. or Sun for Pint night or even catch a few college kids playing guitar.  All around, Maklemore's is the place to go!

11. Stanleys BBQ | Tyler

Do you enjoy the smells of BBQ wafting through the air?  What about enjoying a Texas craft beer while watching a band play on a patio in the summer night?  Good beer and even better BBQ, Stanley's has been in East Texas staple since 1960 and has been serving up delicious pork and ribs. The owners have recently added a full stock bar with a wide variety of craft beers to go along with 70 different whiskeys to warm you up in the winter months.  Come out to Stanley's, order the famous "Mother Clucker" and wash it down with a good 'ol fashioned Texas Craft Beer!

12. Duke's Burgers & Sports Co. | Canton

Van Zandt County might be considered the edge of the East Texas Pine Curtain, but it's also the crossroads for good burgers and craft beer.  Duke's is one of the last places to stop on I-20 before you drive into DFW and they certainly get our attention with their fantastic craft beer selection!  Dukes focuses on making burgers with fresh meat from local farmers and getting the latest craft brews.  This is the closest you can get to getting some of the harder to get craft beers without having to drive into DFW.  Stop by next time you need a pit stop and enjoy your fav. sporting event while drinking some craft!

13. Pecan Point Brewing  | Texarkana 

Pecan Point Gastropub & Brewery is the best of two worlds.  You can go in for a in-house made craft beer and also gaze at their menu of guest beers on tap as well.  From the house made infused spirits to the gastropub style food, this place certainly does mean it when they say, "Eat Local, Drink Local".  Stop by the next time your passing through Texarkana to view the beautiful historical building downtown and grab a Peachweizen brew to enjoy!

14. Lone Star Ice House | Longview

This honky tonk sports bar is connected to the Electric Cowboy dance hall, where you can catch a show or two of some authentic Texas Red Dirt music while enjoying a Texas craft beer.  There are 24 beers taps as well as several other craft beers in bottles. The next night out on the town, grab your cowboy hat and boots and stop in for a cold one! (ps: Frosted mugs are for light beer drinkers!)

15. Roast Social Kitchen | Tyler

After a successful venture with Stanley's BBQ, the owners wanted to open a "farm to table" restaurant that focuses on fresh local food, house made infused spirits (barrel aged), fine wines (on tap... a first in East Texas!), and of course, craft beer! From the fresh pizza to the good folks behind the counter, you don't want miss out on this experience. It truly is a "social kitchen" with delectable pizza and even better beer!

 -The Honorable Mentions- 
Longview |  Bootlegger GrillLil Thai HouseFuzzy's Taco
Tyler | Old Chicago'sTorchy'sTwisted RootRepublic Icehouse
Nacogdoches | The Liberty Bell  Greenville | Ashen Rose
Marshall | OS2Pazzeria  Jefferson | McGarity's Saloon

The Happy Chappy (Jeff)

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing"

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Beer

 The craft beer “boom” we are experiencing is wonderful for beer lovers everywhere providing greater variety of and easier access to craft beer. With this variety comes the struggle of choosing what to drink for both craft beer “connoisseurs” and those new to craft beer alike. Having access to a large variety of beer is a double edged sword. On one side you have a great selection for avid craft beer drinkers, and on the other an intimidating and often confusing array of beers to someone who is thinking about trying craft beer.

     As a craft beer lover who has been at it a while, I have tried a wide spectrum of beers and relish the chance to try something new any chance I get. This was not always the case however. When I first started to drink craft beer I only enjoyed beer that was similar to the rich savory foods and other drinks I enjoy such as black coffee. I drank only stouts, porters, and darker lagers and ales. I believe it is only natural for people to stick to something familiar while trying something new. The problem this can cause, just like it did for me, is once you have favorite types of craft beer you stop branching out. It is very important to know what your favorite types of beer are so that you can find and enjoy those kinds beers. However, it is equally important to constantly try new beers from different breweries for the sake of expanding what we know of beer and, as I have personally experienced, find a new beer that becomes a favorite from a style of beer you never even knew existed.

     One of my favorite parts of craft beer culture is sitting down at a bar or in a tap room and striking up a conversation with a stranger about beer. Just last week I spent several hours relaxing at Rotolos Pizzeria in Longview, Texas. The owner and bartender happen to both be fellow craft beer lovers and have the best selection in town of craft beer on tap. If a keg is getting low and they have a new craft beer they want to put on tap they will let me know so me and my friends and try to “pop” the keg that is low and get the new one tapped. I ordered a couple pints of the beer that was almost out in hopes of getting the next beer on so I could try it. We always get excited to try something new and when the keg “popped” we got excited and they went back to switch it out. A gentleman who was sitting next to me at the bar after seeing our excitement turned to me and said, “I know this is probably a stupid question, but what does it mean when you pop a keg?” I was quick to tell him it wasn't a stupid thing to ask at all, and explained what it meant and why we were excited. We talked for a while after that about beer and where we were from and what we liked. Before long people around us overheard and joined in. I know a good amount about craft beer, but still have a million things to learn about beer. My favorite place to learn more is through conversations with brewers, owners, and patrons alike. Craft beer culture is a living breathing thing made up of the people who love it. As you try new beers from new places you will not only find yourself asking more questions from the likeminded people around you , but you will find yourself answering questions and education people who want to know more about the beers they drink or would like to try. The next time you're out enjoying a good beer on tap try to start a conversation with the person drinking next to you. Never talk down to someone who may not know a beer term or who has never tried a certain beer that is very common. Try to connect to the people around you and you may be the one who helps someone try and enjoy craft beer for the first time in their life.

     I implore experienced craft beer drinkers, and those new to craft beer alike, to try every new beer you can get your hands on! While there is truth to the general tastes and bodies of the many styles of craft beer; they can also be wildly different. I've had lagers that tasted like stouts, and IPAs that tasted like porters, and so on. Craft beer is categorised for the way it is brewed but they can taste wildly different from any other beer in that same style. I spent too long not even trying most IPAs and sours because I didn't think I liked any of them based on the one or two I had before. We all have prejudices against different types of beers based on our own palates and favors we like, but don't judge all beers within any group, or even brewery, based on a few.The more beers you try the harder it is to keep track of which beers you have or haven't had as well as how much you enjoyed it. I personally use the app Untappd which is free to catalog my beers and rate them. It is a fantastic tool, and has enhanced my craft beer experience. Don’t let your pride get in the way of trying a new beer just because you think you may not like it. Just remember your favorite beer might be the next one you try.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Zero to Nine: Craft Breweries in your Backyard

In 2011 the closest craft brewery to my home in Longview, Texas was Deep Ellum Brewing Company 133 miles away in Dallas. If I wanted to visit the next closest brewery I had to drive another 36 miles to Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. in Fort Worth. Today I just have to drive a little over 3 miles to Oil Horse Brewing in downtown Longview. I can drive 59 miles to Shreveport and hit 3 breweries in 3 miles. Within 100 miles of my home are now 9 craft breweries that did not exist 5 years ago. From zero to nine in 5 years. It is easy to take for granted the ease with which we can now drink fresh craft beer at the source. Saddling up to a bar at one of my favorite taprooms has become second nature but I still remember not very long ago the smoke filled bar at Buffalo Wild Wings was our only chance at finding more than light beers on tap in my town. The explosion of new breweries in our area has drastically changed the beers we are drinking and where we are drinking them. When you read the numbers on craft beer sales in the United States remember any beers sold at a taproom are not included so those numbers are drastically lower than the actual number of craft brews being consumed. I’m pretty sure these days I drink more craft beer straight from the brewery than I buy at a grocery or liquor store. Having 3 breweries just over the Louisiana border allows me to do something we can’t do in Texas; Bring a growler of fresh beer home from a craft brewery. I think it is important to highlight our local breweries that bring fresh craft beer just a hop, skip and and a jump away.

Cedar Creek Brewery

In 2012 Cedar Creek Brewery began production and didn’t take long before placing East Texas beers on the map by winning Gold at the Great American Beer Festival with their Belgian-style Dubbel. In contrast to the new multi-million dollar breweries you see popping up around the nation founder Jim Elliot and brewer Damon Lewis repurposed dairy equipment for the original 10bbl brewhouse and fermentation vessels. It wasn’t until 2014 that their flagship beer, Dankosaurus, was added to their year round lineup. In 2015 they added Plowboys Cafe to the taproom serving delicious burgers, salads and sandwiches to those who visit them in Seven Points.

Great Raft Brewing

According to their website “Great Raft Brewing is a Shreveport, Louisiana based craft brewery dedicated to making creative, authentic beer and helping to build a great beer culture within communities it serves.” I’d say the description fits them perfectly. Saying I was excited about the 2012 launch of Great Raft would be an understatement. From day one they have done so many things right that many craft breweries get wrong. From the beer, to the taproom to their marketing founders Andrew and Lindsay Nations seemed to have their fingers on the pulse of local craft beer lovers. They took time to plan out the details and it shows. The hiring of chief brewer Harvey Kenney was one of the the best moves they have ever made. Great Raft sold the first locally brewed beer in Shreveport on October 15, 2013. On December 20th of that year they gave us the perfect Christmas gift by opening Shreveport’s first local brewery taproom to the public. Over the past few years Great Raft has continually impressed craft beer lovers across the country with their excellent seasonals and keep the fans coming back for their special events. Great Raft has shown no signs of slowing down as they recently launched their sour program under the leadership of Malari Coburn. They also have announced after expanding distribution across the entire state of Louisiana they are now bringing their beers to Arkansas and East Texas.

Red River Brewing Company

“With roots in the local home brewing community, our mission is to bring high quality local beer to high quality local people….or vagrants like us, too.”

In the fall of 2013 Red River Brewing Company became a commercial craft brewery under founders Robert McGuire, Jared Beville, and Beau Raines. Their first beer was Hay Ryed and it has remained their flagship beer for the past 3 years. On April 2, 2016 Red River Brewing Company marked the next step in their evolution with the grand opening of their first taproom at their brand new brewery just south of I-20 in downtown Shreveport. The beautiful facility also ushered in the era of bottled 6-packs for the brewery. Along with their flagship and seasonal brews the taproom also offers tasty eats from local caters and food trucks. You can also feed your competitive side by playing corn hole or Kubb against your friends or a complete stranger who happens to have good taste in beer. On Thursday September 29th Red River will debut a special beer, Penalty Bock made for Shreveport Mudbugs Hockey at their home opener.

True Vine Brewing Company

While founded in 2011, True Vine Brewing Company finally became Smith County’s first licensed brewery in November 2013 with the first keg sold in January 2014. The brewery describes itself as “More than just Tyler’s 1st craft brewery, True Vine strives to create true, authentic community through love and integrity in all that we do. From our artistically driven beers to our Back Yard events, our goal produce them with excellence. Each specialty handcrafted beer at True Vine represents depth of concept and flavor and is meant to be enjoyed around a table with old friends and new.” Starting out on tap at some of Tyler’s favorite restaurants and bars True Vine soon launched their monthly Open Taps event at the brewery. Now in addition to Open Taps their backyard taproom is open every Thursday and Friday allowing the community more chances to gather together and enjoy a fellowship around a fresh pint of Mermaids & Unicorns. In the summer of 2016 their canning program was kicked off with distribution across East Texas. FUN FACT: Just this week the brewery gained international notoriety when a Reddit post highlighted the fact their True Culture cans have “For Harambe” stamped on the bottom.

Big Thicket Brewery

Big Thicket Brewery proudly proclaims to be Deep East Texas' first brewery. According to the brewery “It all began with a dream of creating and sharing quality, hand-crafted ales with friends and family in the Lufkin area.” They also say “Big Thicket Brewery is a small-town brewery that celebrates the local history and pride of East Texas while also keeping with the time-honored tradition of independent brewing.” Since October 2014 Big Thicket has been providing craft beer to the people of East Texas in the heart of Lufkin. The taproom opened in January 2015 and is open Tuesday - Saturday so they give you plenty of options on when to stop in for a pint of Lone Star Electric Imperial IPA or even a tasty root beer! Towards the end of 2015 they began selling their bottled brews in local stores.

Pecan Point 
Gastropub & Brewery

Pecan Point Brewing opened in October 2014 in a historic building located in downtown Texarkana, Texas. What sets Pecan Point apart from other local breweries is the fact that they have a full restaurant and bar. Chef Rebecca Williams serves up some of the best food in town while Jason K. Williams creates custom cocktails made with house-infused spirits. Designed by Brooklyn-based architect Justin Scurlock, Pecan Point's interior “peels back the layers of the building's history to reveal the beauty of the original structure.” Guests are allowed to choose between the “intimate atmosphere of the Dining Room or the communal experience of the Beerhall.” All in all everyone should be able to find a dish and a drink they will enjoy at Pecan Point.

Flying Heart Brewing

When Flying Heart Brewing opened it’s doors to the public on May 1, 2015 it was obvious the owners had put a lot of work into the former Bossier City Fire Station #6. Only a short walk from Horseshoe Casino, Flying Heart finds itself in the middle of the action. While not as large or ambitious as the breweries in Shreveport, Flying Heart has carved out a spot for itself with craft beer lovers in the Ark-la-tex. The taproom is open on Friday and Saturday and you can usually find a food truck pulled up to the patio serving food to those enjoying a cold pint and live music. They even have their own Pokestop and a nearby Pokemon Gym so you can enjoy a beer while catching a Charmander!

Athens Brewing Company

On April 30, 2016 brewers Brittany Pierce & A.J. Campbell brought their dream to life as they opened the doors of Athens Brewing Co.'s taproom to the public. Housed in a historic 1925 three story building on the downtown Athens square which was formerly the Henderson County Courthouse Annex. On June 19th Father Frick of the St Matthias Episcopal Church performed a blessing of the brewery which was attended by people from all over East Texas. The blessing must have worked because since then the brewery has seen tremendous success! On Sept. 24th the brewery opened it’s restaurant during the breweries grand re-0pening. The taproom is open Thursday - Sunday and plays host to live music, kids finger painting and other events regularly. The brewery features a dog friendly patio called The Alleyway full of beer garden games as well. These brewers are not afraid to experiment and the results are plenty of unique beers that you will not find in your average East Texas taproom.

Oil Horse Brewing Company

In 2016 co-founders Jack Buttram and John Oglesbee brought Longview’s first craft brewery to life. On May 7th Oil Horse Brewing Company opened the newest East Texas brewery and taproom to the public and quickly won over many craft beer lovers. Originally open every other Saturday they have now expanded to be open every Friday as well. As demand for their beers grew several Oil Horse beers found their way onto taps across the city. You can frequently find live music and food trucks at the brewery and people of all ages enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the downtown location. These brewers are not afraid to tinker with their recipes as is seen with their popular Moon Pool Belgian Tripel which keeps getting better with each batch brewed.

Zero to 11?

If you are willing to drive just a tiny bit further here are two more local craft breweries worth a visit. They are only 1.5 miles apart in the booming tourist community Hochatown, Oklahoma. Along with the beauty of Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow Lake, Mountain Fork River, many restaurants serving Oklahoma’s best craft beer, and three wineries it’s easy to see why so many people take time to relax and recharge while living on Hochatime!

Beavers Bend Brewery

In April, 2016 Beavers Bend Brewery relocated from Idabel to Hochatown, Oklahoma. They have settled into their brand new brewery and taproom located right outside Beavers Bend State Park. Located next door to a winery and across the road from the famous Grateful Head Pizza Oven & TapRoom, Beavers Bend Brewery is in the heart of Hochatown. Brad Reesing does a great job providing refreshing beers for the endless stream of locals and tourists who fill up the patio regularly. Chances are no matter when you are in the area Beavers Bend will be pouring beers as they are open everyday except Tuesday. Their taproom not only serves glasses of beer but can sell you packaged beer to go or fill your growler. Swing by after kayaking the river and enjoy a pint of Bigfoot Brown while enjoying live music on the patio!

Mountain Fork Brewery

July 2016 saw Hochatown become a two brewery town! Mountain Fork Brewery's taproom began serving up pints, growlers and Crowlers. Conveniently located next to Chef Tabb Singleton's The Moon Tower Bar And Grill, Mountain Fork is sure to have a beer you'll enjoy. Their massive gift shop houses a rare find in this area. While you pick up a hat or pint glass you can also buy home brewing equipment and supplies! After only two months there are already big plans for a major expansion. A new gift shop is in the works attached to the new taproom which will seat 100 guests. The new brewery will have 10 times the capacity to keep up with the growing demand for craft beer in McCurtain County.

On The Horizon

East Texans will soon have a few more options when they want to visit a local craft brewery. Here are a few breweries that are in the works. Check back often as we will keep you up to date on their progress.

Fredonia Brewery

138 N Mound St Nacogdoches, TX 75961

According to their website Fredonia Brewery plans on "setting up in a 20,430 square foot space with high ceilings to allow for tall fermenters and equipment. This will allow for room to brew, grow, and have a tap room. A 15 barrel brew house will fill four 30 barrel fermenters. A canning line will allow for packaging to sell our beer through local retailers, and expand our market continually." They mention plans for the taproom to be open Thursday-Saturday as well as contract brewing for a very popular food truck beer garden in Dallas. Planned beer styles include cream ale, amber ale, pale ale, IPA and porter. Fredonia hopes to open by December 16, 2016 which will be exactly 190 years since the Fredonia Rebellion began.

ETX Brewing Company

221 S Broadway Ave Tyler, TX 75702

Downtown Tyler will soon be home to ETX Brewing Company. With a taproom that offers a view into their production area ETX Brewing Co. plans on opening this December. Ten beers will be available in the tasting room with five year round beers and five rotating brews. With the motto "Do what you Love and Love what you do!" it is easy to see why they decided to open a craft brewery. Their ultimate goal is to "share our love for quality craft beers with all of East Texas" and they are already planning many fun events to benefit locals once they are open. The taproom is a major component of the brewery and is planned to be open 4 days each week.

Tyler Brewing Company

Tyler, TX

Tyler will soon become the "Ft. Collins of East Texas" when it becomes home to 3 craft breweries. Not much has been publicly announced but as soon as a location is finalized we should hear more. Keep an eye on Tyler Brewing Company's Facebook page for info over the coming months.


Joel Patrick Heflin