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Revolver still bears craft-beer spirit despite MillerCoors ownership

Posted 7:02am on Friday, May. 19, 2017

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Although this adage might not exactly apply to Revolver Brewing, in some ways it describes the attitude that the founders are seeking to maintain despite some big shifts.

Most beer followers will remember the bombshell story from last August that the Granbury brewery was selling a majority stake to MillerCoors and joining its craft-competitive division Tenth & Blake. For independent beer fans, this was big news. With the sale of breweries becoming more common, seeing one of Texas’ rising stars go that route was unsettling for some.

Dedicated craft beer fans will boycott the brewery for its ties to big brewing; others will continue to drink their Blood & Honeys like nothing ever happened. Some anti-independent tactics from big brewers make the craft-loyal trepidatious for good reason. Whether Revolver falls in with any of that remains to be seen, but regardless, some changes already have happened.

A recent visit to the brewery shows a few obvious things. The brewery has expanded physically by leaps and bounds. With an expanded building to the north and added cooler space to the south, its capacity is far greater than it was before. There’s a new lab with some serious precision equipment that helps brewmaster Grant Woodfurther refine his brewing and fermentation process.

However, with all that shiny new equipment, the exterior of the brewery remains largely the same. Kids run around and play in the wood chips and rock piles while parents enjoy a few beers. A band plays under the covered pavilion while patrons observe from folding chairs. You wouldn’t really know anything was different at the brewery than it was at this time last year.

Perhaps the most obvious change that consumers have seen from Revolver is that more of its beers are readily available.

Coinciding with its sale to MillerCoors, Revolver abandoned self-distributing and signed a contract with Andrews Distributing. Having had the largest beer self-distribution operation in the state, this was no small shift. Pair that with its lawsuit that the brewery filed jointly with Peticolas and Live Oak breweries against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission concerning legislation that limited breweries from selling their rights to distributors, and it’s clear that this was no small decision.

The other recognizable change is the a wider variety of Revolver beers seen on shelves. The diversity of bottled offerings continues to increase. The latest of those is Full-Tang IPA.

Like most other Revolver beers, the goal of Full-Tang isn’t to punch you in the mouth with bitterness. Flavorful hops abound, but the beer is true to its name’s suggestion. It’s bursting with big, tangy hops with some citrus bite from the addition of orange peel.

It’s a refreshing take on the IPA and one that shows that the same brewers — led by Wood — are still focusing on making quality beer that challenges palettes in palatable ways.

It remains to be seen what more might change for Revolver over the years, but it appears that for now, the biggest change is that you’ll be seeing more of its beers than before.

Quick sips

903 Brewers turns four: After four years in business, far north North Texas’ 903 Brewers in Sherman is celebrating with a party in the parking lot of the old Sherman schoolhouse at 1002 N. Walnut from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Featuring 25 beers, the event has no cover charge, but if you want to drink, it’s $20 for a 4-ounce glass and eight samples.

Have a question or tips for Scooter? Shoot him an email at texasbrew@dfw.com. And for more beer columns and news, visit www . dfw . com / beer.

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