Two relatively new North Texas micro-brewers snared gold medals this weekend at their first Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver, considered a highly prestigious industry brew-off. Some micros and brewpubs try for years to snare a third-place bronze.
Community Beer Co., a micro in Dallas’ Design District that opened only in January, scored a gold medal for its Public Ale, an English-style Extra Special Bitter.
It was created by Community head master Jamie Fulton, the former owner of the well-regarded Fort Worth brewpub The Covey, which closed three years ago. Public Ale scored a silver at the U.S. Beer Open in July.
Public Ale is available on tap in Fort Worth at Flying Saucer and Pour House, but the win is expected to help Community pick up some more local spigots soon.
Another North Texas startup, Cedar Creek Brewery in Seven Points, near Cedar Creek Lake, won with a Belgian-style Dubbel, an abbey ale, in a tough category with 88 entries. Cedar Creek opened in July 2012.
Cedar Creek beers are available in Fort Worth at Brewed, Live Oak Music Hall, T&P Tavern, Zio Carlo’s, Roy Pope Grocery, Central Market and Trader Joe’s; and at World of Beer Arlington.
Community and Cedar Creek received two of the 10 medals won by Texas micro- and craft breweries at the GABF, which is sponsored by the artisan industry’s Brewers Association.
Other golds were grabbed by Bitterama, an herb-infused bitter from Austin’s Namaste Brewing at the Whip In; and a German-style schwartzbier called Black Thunder from Austin Beerworks,
Silvers went to Houston-based Saint Arnold for its summer pils and to Blanco’s Real Ale Brewing Co. for its Brewers Cut, a German-style alt.
Saint Arnold also took a bronze for Weedwacker, a German-style wheat ale, while three other bronzes went to Austin operations: Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery for its Elba, a spiced wheat ale; Jester King Brewery for its Belgian-style wild yeast/sour ale Atrial Rubicite and Pinthouse Pizza for its Blind Jack Brown Porter.
At the otherwise crowded GABF on Friday night, there were relatively few people sampling Community’s Pub Ale or other highly drinkable brews. Instead, there were longer lines for micros better known to Coloradans, and even for PBR.
That’s a shame. They passed up inspired brews from Fulton.
“Public Ale was a brand new recipe I made for Community,” Fulton e-mailed when asked what led him to brew the winning beer, the best in a field of 58 Extra Special Bitter beers. “It’s inspiration was from the grandfather of ESBs: Fuller’s ESB.
“Kevin Carr, the founder of Community, really wanted something similar to the Fuller’s, and our Public Ale was my answer. It’s English through and through from the yeast to the Maris Otter English pale malt to the Goldings hops.”