Supporting Their Team, Supporting Local

Soccer season (or at least MLS) is officially upon us. FC Dallas opened the year with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Impact, and despite the weather, supporters were there in full force. Their party, however, started at 7:30 on Friday night. The annual 24 hour tailgate brought the season into style with with camping out, barbecuing, and, of course, beer.

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All bundled up, supporters groups of FC Dallas, including Lone Star Legion, the Dallas Beer Guardians, and Dallas Football Elite, all got together to celebrate the dawn of the new season. Although national beers were present, craft and Texas beers were in control. Kegs and bottles of local brews could be seen everywhere, and everyone was sharing.

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Events like this are great for local breweries. Visiting fans and locals that haven’t been exposed to local brews get the chance to try new things. This can, and often does, lead to them supporting local breweries in the future. There are few events where people willingly part with their favorite beers for nothing, and this free advertisement for breweries can do wonders. 

When I first started hanging out with supporters groups, I hadn’t been exposed to local breweries. I didn’t even really know there were any in the area. The first local brew I had was from Franconia, and it was given to me by someone who convinced me that I needed to try something local. Fast forward to now. I’ve tried beer from almost all of the local breweries, and I’m writing this blog.

I don’t claim to know everything about craft beer. I’ll be the first to admit that. I wouldn’t, however, have anywhere near the amount of knowledge I do without events and people like these. If you look, you can find a tailgate for almost every event that can allow you to try new beers. If you’re just getting into the local brew scene, or if you have a friend that just can’t put down that Bud Light, see what you can find. Try new beers. You never know, next time it could be you offering someone a new kind of beer.

Craft Beers and Economic Impact

The beer industry is huge. Everywhere you turn, you can find an ad for Budweiser, Miller, and many other breweries. What about craft breweries? How much do they impact the economy? According to studies by the Brewers Association and Texas Craft Brewers Guild, Texas craft breweries contributed $608 million in 2011 and $2.3 billion in 2012 to the Texas economy. The impact of breweries in Texas is expected to reach $5.6 billion by the end of the decade.

At the end of 2011, there were 78 actively licensed breweries in the state (up from 52 in 2010). The expansion of craft breweries in North Texas since then has gone up even more, with roughly 20 breweries producing or in planning stages to build.

In 2012, Texas ranked second in brewery economic impact (following only California, $4.7 billion). It ranked third in labor income produced and fourth in number of employees related to the craft brewing industry. While those are impressive stats, there are 2 things that need to be taken into account: Texas craft beer only accounts for 12.3% of craft beer and only 0.7% of all beer consumed in Texas, and Texas ranks in the bottom 10 states in breweries per capita.

Now, what does this mean for Texas craft beers, especially in North Texas? A lot, simply. With one of the highest populations in the state and enough land to build on, breweries in North Texas have an extreme amount of potential. The owner of Franconia Brewing Co. in McKinney named his brewery after an area that has the highest density of breweries in the world, and he wants to see North Texas become something similar. Brewers in this area are very close knit and pride themselves in producing great beers. More breweries means higher recognition of the area and higher sales for everyone. For this area, it also means more economic impact and more jobs.

Bottom line: Don’t underestimate the power of a good brew.

Tapping Beers at Untapped

Music festivals in Texas are a standard. SXSW, Austin City Limits, and Fun Fun Fun Fest all allow people to get together, listen to some music, and (usually) drink some good beer. Those major festivals pose a problem for North Texans: they’re all in Austin. This is where Paste Untapped Festival comes in. Hosted in four different cities throughout the year, Untapped gives North Texans two chances during the year to try out local brews and listen to some good music. On March 8th, Untapped comes back to Fort Worth. The review last year’s inaugural festival was mixed, so hopefully the second attempt will work out some of the issues they had. 

Barrel Aged Beers Coming More and More

Adding alcohol to alcohol. Depending on your tastes, that could be good or bad. North Texas breweries are doing it more and more often, and Lakewood Brewing Co. is adding to the list with four new tappings. In conjunction with Goodfriend, a burger joint in Dallas, Lakewood is offering two beers aged in tequila barrels. Each of the beers has two different additions. Four different variations of two beers should make for a good event and great drinks!

Annotated Blogroll

  • Dallas Brew Scene (http://www.dallasbrewscene.com/): Dallas Brew Scene is a well known blog in the Dallas area. Their website is currently under construction, but they are often quoted and liked to by other blogs and individuals.The spread information about events and breweries in the DFW area. They’ve also got a forum page where people can discuss breweries and brews.
  • Dallas Beer Snobs (http://dallasbeersnobs.blogspot.com/): Dallas Beer Snobs focuses on finding the perfect pairing of beer and food. The author, Bon Vivant, has been blogging for almost 4 years. He and his friends attempt to expand the tastes of readers and give them opportunities to try new things. Their focus is on Dallas, but they do include other areas. They review bars and restaurants and give “brutally honest opinions.”
  • Brews News (http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/brews_news/): Brews News is a blog on Dallas Observer. They blog about a wide range of brew related topics. The author, Lauren Drewes Daniels, blogs about food in the Dallas area but has a large following from the brew scene.
  • BrewDallas (http://brewdallas.com/): Not as frequently updated, BrewDallas is about finding, discussing, and drinking beer in the Dallas area. This blog has become much more Twitter oriented, but the author shares links from other brew based sites.
  • SideDish (http://www.dmagazine.com/restaurants/): SideDish is is a blog on D Magazine’s website. Though not completely focused on beer, they have kept up with the expanding brew scene in Dallas and often feature articles about breweries and beers. There are posts from multiple authors, and they are linked to from other blogs regularly.

Twitter List

  • Brew Dallas (@BrewDallas): “Everything Beer in Dallas” is a pretty self explanatory bio.
  • Dallas Brew Review (@DFWBrewReview): Covers brews and breweries in the Dallas area. Shares articles and videos.
  • Dallas Brew Scene (@DallasBrewScene): “Our mission is simple – to help cultivate and grow the #craftbeer scene in #NTX through interaction and education. Urging you to get out and#drinklocal!”
  • Drink Local NTX (@DrinkLocalNTX): Spreads information about the ongoings of DFW breweries.
  • DFWBeerScene (@DFWBeer): “Covering the happenings of DFW breweries and their events! Need a good brew? Buy from DFW!!”
  • BeerSnobDFW (@BeerSnobDFW): Beer connoisseur (or as he puts it, “snob”) who spreads information about local brews.
  • North Texas Beer (@NorthTexasBeer): “Drink local, North Texas … Drink On! Responsibly.” The promote happenings of local breweries.

Attention Journal Exercise

I started at 10:32 and finished at 12:32.

  • 10:32 – Turned on Mac and opened WordPress
  • 10:37 – Opened Facebook tab
  • 10:41 – Switched to Engadget tab (1 of 13 tabs open)
  • 10:42 – Switched to Gizmodo tab
  • 10:47 – Checked work email
  • 10:48 – Checked text messages on phone
  • 10:49 – Opened Twitter tab
  • 10:55 – Checked text messages on phone
  • 10:56 – Checked Twitter on phone
  • 10:57 – Checked Facebook on computer
  • 10:58 – Opened Gawker on computer
  • 11:00 – Opened YouTube on computer
  • 11:20 – Checked text messages on phone
  • 11:22 – Checked Facebook on phone
  • 11:24 – Checked Twitter on phone
  • 11:29 – Reopened YouTube on computer
  • 11:31 – Checked Facebook on computer
  • 11:31 – Reopened YouTube from link on Facebook
  • 11:35 – Turned everything off, practiced some mindfulness techniques
  • 11:40 – Started reading textbook
  • 12:15 – Finished reading
  • 12:17 – Checked twitter on phone
  • 12:25 – Checked text messages on phone
  • 12:27 – Checked Facebook on phone
  • 12:30 – Checked Twitter on phone

This just backed up what I already knew: my attention is terrible. I had at least 10 tabs open at a time. I switched through them without cause, and often had applications open on my phone and computer. The page I had open for the longest was YouTube, and even then, the videos I was watching were relatively short (3-4 minutes). Because I’ve had previous experience with mindfulness, I was able to do those exercises (mostly breathing) and finish the reading without distraction. Then, I immediately got back on my phone until the second hour was up (and I fell asleep).

About This Blog

Since 2011, almost 20 new breweries have opened in North Texas. Once limited to national brands and styles, people in the DFW area have been given the unique chance to try new styles and flavors of beer. This blog serves to explore some of these up and coming breweries and their brews. From tour experiences to beer descriptions, readers will receive testimonials from beer aficionados. Bottoms up!