Every year the Great American Beer Festival competition sees thousands of entries from breweries across the country. From those many thousands this year, only 240 breweries scored some precious medal. Among them were three North Texas producers: Dallas’ own White Rock Alehouse and Brewery, Armadillo Ale Works in Denton, and Panther Island Brewing in Fort Worth.
Hey, we’ll raise a pint to that!
Last Friday, the GABF held a virtual awards ceremony during which the 2020 winners were announced by category. When it came time to dole out silver for the German-style maerzen, it went to White Rock Alehouse’s White Rocktoberfest (Colorado’s Irwin Brewing Co. took gold and Big Grove Brewery from Iowa City came in third).
Owner Greg Nixon and a few other White Rock Alehouse team members went over to brewer Blake Morrison’s house to watch the results come in. “We think we scared Blake’s neighborhood,” chuckles Nixon. “We let out quite the yell.” And rightly so, they beat out 139 others with their classic märzen-style lager—aka maerzen or märzenbier, which is German for March beer.
White Rock, which celebrates three years of beer brewing next month, has entered this beer every year but it looks like third year’s the charm. Nixon says Morrison is “meticulous in his ways and is always trying to improve things,” with each batch, and it seems like he finally struck that perfect balance of “layered toasty malt and just enough noble hop character.”
For such a young brewery such as theirs, the win is “fantastic,” says Nixon. “Each year you get your hopes up and it’s always disappointment when you don’t win.” But even just last year for the 2019 U.S. Beer Open, White Rock nabbed another silver in the hazy IPA category.
Tim Rogers, noted beer drinker and D editor, told me: “IMO, the best beer at WRA is the IPO IPA.” That’s a lot of initialisms to basically confirm that, yes, this is an award-winning beer.
Hopefully these triumphs become a regular occurrence for the brewery. “Being the only one in Dallas in one way feels good,” Nixon says, but he thinks we’re underrepresented in the beer world. “We want more wins in North Texas.”
Well, big ups to Denton’s Armadillo Ale Works who took home the gold for their Honey Please in the honey beer category. Likewise, Fort Worth brewery Panther Island Brewing won gold for Allergeez in the herb and spice beer category.
For now, toast to our Dallas W at White Rock Alehouse where their triumphant White Rocktoberfest is selling fast, but available on-tap for now (they’re planning on brewing more since y’all are so thirsty for it).
Tim can also attest to the brewery’s popularity over the weekend. He says the wait at WRA over the weekend was 30 minutes long, which I took to mean as an above average wait time. Clearly, a cold glass of their beer is well worth it.