All posts by John Fortunato

BRAINDEAD BREWING

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DALLAS, TEXAS

Open during 2014, Dallas-based BRAINDEAD BREWING quickly became friendly competition for neighboring Deep Ellum Brewing.

A no-frills pub with a mind-blowing 30-plus taps of proprietary beers and ales, Braindead’s best fare may well be the one-off barrel aged elixirs, robust Imperial Stouts and brettanomyces-laden sour ales.

Serviced by an 18-stool polyurethane-wooded bar with diamond plate backing and unique refrigerator-doored tap mounts, this roomy freestanding site also features a spacious front deck with fireplace and umbrellas as well as a street-side black railroad engine.

Several wood tables and booths plus two vast community tables and stacked liquor barrels consume the interior. Illuminating palletized drum-shaded lamps light the facility. In the back, large brew tanks hold the serious suds I’ll quaff with my friend, Jeff, during a 2-hour stopover, November ’17.

Out of the four ‘Core’ offerings, only Gritz, a pre-prohibition-styled cream ale, will be missed.

Zesty beige-yellowed dry-hopped wheat ale, Nimbus, brought lemony grapefruit tanginess to grassy herbal notions.

Pleasantly off-dry Red gathered raw-honeyed grapefruit tartness, crisp cereal grain toasting, mild grassy hop bittering and quaint candied spicing.

Easygoing Export Extra Stout coalesced mild espresso bean, dark chocolate and chalky cocoa bittering with dried black currant spicing above dark toffee malts.

Approachable Imperial Pale Ale, P-Wing, let sweet honeyed malts contrast piney hops while orange-juiced tangerine and peach tanginess briskly surfaced.

Fruit Loops-like Belgian Pale Ale, Fumble Brag, allowed dry-hopped floral fruiting to access herbaceous whims as sugared grapefruit, orange and white grape spicing took hold.

Leafy Octoberfest, Gemutlich, let dry fig-apricot fruiting lightly creep into biscuit-y cereal malts and astringent hop resin.

Elegantly tart saison, Good Morning Dave, brought limey grapefruit souring to horse-blanketed hay dryness.

Distinct compost-wafted sour ale, Dr. Dreipricot, regaled orange-peeled apricot puree with sour-candied lemon peel bittering over wild oats.

Softer thirsts should imbibe the three lagers found on this initial perusal.

Simple Mexican Dark Lager, Cerveza Oscura, a mocha-malted moderation with muted mango fruiting and mellow toffee hints sufficed. As did light Polish-style pilsner, Exhausted Nihilist, musky malt liquor-like fodder with mild grassy-hopped astringency and biscuit-y malts. Another, wildflower-honeyed Honey Lager, stayed dry as floury grist consumed grassy hop astringency, unripe fig tartness and herbal notions.

Things got much more interesting with the complex dark ales to follow.

Mincemeat-like Imperial Stout, We Own The Night, draped bitter Blackstrap molasses over spicy dried fruiting, dark chocolate malts, cold-brewed coffee tones and tarry hops (gaining tertiary tobacco chaw, maple oatmeal and  walnut illusions by the bittersweet mocha finish).

On the sweeter Imperial Stout side, creamily resilient We Own Brunch poured Blackstrap molasses and dark chocolate syrup atop sweet vanilla, sugared coffee, maple oats and cinnamon spicing, leaving slight burnt wood notions at the back end.

Luxurious Imperial Wheat Porter aged in bourbon, Hammer Of The Gods 2017, seduced its creamy chocolate-coated sweetness with bourbon, burgundy and port tones as well as vanilla-sugared cinnamon and nutmeg spicing.

Didn’t get to try these barrel aged elixirs: Given To Rye To Rye Brown Ale aged in Whiskey barrels; red wine-barreled raspberry-pureed Sexport Stout; oak-aged Memory Hole Barleywine; bourbon-rye-barreled dubbel, Priory Of Orion.

www.braindeadbrewing.com

 

FOUR CORNERS BREWING CO.

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DALLAS, TEXAS

One mile south of Deep Ellum’s arts community in South Dallas’ light industrial Cedars district, FOUR CORNERS BREWING CO. outgrew its initial spot near the Aquarian and now consumes two large, well-maintained buildings as of October 2017.

Moving its brewing operations to a separate storage facility also utilized for prodigious canning and increased keg capacity, Four Corners decided to keep their sizable taproom independent.

Inside a rustic red brick-walled edifice with painted proprietary beer banners, epoxy floors, exposed pipes and high ceilings, the meticulous, yet spare, taproom (with open kitchen) features a 12-seat left side bar with aluminum-chaired wood tables, a few comfy lounge couches and upside down assorted lamps. Neon lettering above the bar spells out the brewery’s moniker while windowed silver tanks store smaller beer batches and a stage area in the rear hosts local entertainers.

Across the way, Four Corners sprawling brewing operations take up an entire factory-sized compound. Part of the Cedars’ recentralized urban cosmopolitanism, this rooster-symbolized brewery currently crafts six year-round offerings and a few special one-offs.

On my sunny Saturday afternoon November ’17 visit, I try their six staples alongside two new recipes.

First up, dry golden ale, Local Buzz, utilized locally sourced honey to spice up its musky brown tea likeness and toasted rye breading.

Sessionable pilsner-malted Sol Y Luna stayed brisk as carbolic lemon fizz tickled earthen-grained fennel, straw wheat and spelt crisping.

Dry-hopped amber ale, Heart ‘O Texas, slipped lemony grapefruit tanginess into mild toasted grains.

Honeyed citrus gave El Super Bee its misty zest over corn sugared pale malts. 

Murkily piney fruited India Pale Ale,  El Chingon, let grassy hop resin seep into cedar, floral and citric illusions.

Bitterly mocha-smoked oatmeal stout, Notorious O.A.T., surrounded treacly black chocolate with cola nut, dried prune and leathery grain nuances.

As for the one-off specialty beers, cereal-grained Homie Brew Texas Steam Beer plied mild sour fruiting to millet, wheat and alfalfa grist.

Best bet: easygoing East Coast-styled IPA crossover, El Oso White, a spicy tropical-fruited moderation, brought floral-bound grapefruit, orange, peach and mango tanginess to mild piney hop bittering and lightly sugared pale wheat malting.

Bringing just a hint of Mexican spirit to proudly mainstream Texas beers, Four Corners relies on centrist brews for casual tastes.

www.fcbrewing.com

 

PEGASUS CITY BREWERY

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DALLAS, TEXAS

Residing at a well-maintained warehouse in Dallas’ Design District (five miles northwest of Deep Ellum’s arts and entertainment neighborhood), PEGASUS CITY BREWERY concentrates on crafting five endlessly approachable core beers as well as a few reliable seasonals since opening July ’17.

At the right side entrance, a natural varnished wood bar top invites customers to the modest pub. Eight tap handles service the eight-stooled bar where a wood-engraved, black-outlined, white lettered Tiny Tap sign sits atop the bar. Across the way, two overhead garage doors saddle a large-ceilinged lounge area with wrought iron patio furnishings and a massive rear brewing area.

On my November ’17 jaunt, I grab a seat in the lounge and sample all seven currently available draught offerings.

Easygoing Summer Special Blonde Ale, a polite Belgian-styled moderation, brought honeyed citrus tones to the fore as mild grassy hop astringency contrasted light banana-clove sweetness and minty lavender herbage.

Another seasonal offering, Big D Jamboree Festbier, let raw-honeyed dryness seep into dried fig, nutty caramel and baked bread illusions for a crisp marzen styling.

As for the Core 5, “deceptively easy-to-drink” Nine Volt DPL Tripel unveiled white grape esters and bittersweet orange tanginess to complement its candi-sugared spicing and contrast its earthen grain bottom.

Crisply clean Cannoneer Bold Amber coalesced grain-roasted caramel malting with dewy earthiness and chestnut illusions.

Mild flagship beer, Highpoint Porch Ale, an English mild, delivered roasted mineral graining to casual honeyed nuttiness and latent vegetal nuances.

Dry-toned Sixth Floor Easy Porter relied on dewy compost earthiness to scour its day-old roasted coffee souring, bittersweet Baker’s chocolate mustiness and desiccated plum snip.

Dark-roasted German-Mexican-styled Texican Black Lager relegated its maize-flaked South of the Border influence for Germanic oats-sugared mineral graining and toffee malting (picking up latent prune and raisin fruiting).

www.pegasuscitybrewery.com

COMMUNITY WIT ‘N WILD

On tap at Taverna Rossa, complex oak-barreled witbier strays from usual orange-peeled coriander identity as brettanomyces-soured white burgundy aging adds dry white and red grape esters, herbal deluge and floral whims to uncompromising hybrid. Bayer aspirin-like orange tartness, soapy lemon souring and mild pineapple-papaya-mango conflux recede as chamomile, hibiscus and daisy illusions find minimal space.

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