I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “when life gives you lemons…” Well, a few weeks back, we found ourselves muttering those exact words. In another session of “is this really happening to us” brewing, we once again found ourselves with a stuck lauter and inoperable grain rakes. To put that in non-knurd speak, we weren’t able to separate the sugar water from the grain and we couldn’t scoop the bottom of the tank to try and get things flowing again. (Equipment issues galore). As we found ourselves just about to admit defeat, which in this case would have been dumping several thousand dollars of beer down the drain, Drew had a plan.

With 18 barrels of wort (out of a potential 35) already collected, and a brix reading of 17.02 Plato, this batch wasn’t going down without a fight. We added 14 pounds of Pacific Northwest hops to the kettle and then dry hopped with an additional 13 pounds of whole leaf Chinook, which had us moving in the right direction. The first few samplings weren’t all that impressive, but once the whole leaf Chinook began doing its thing, we knew we had something special. With Darkest Hour still needing a few more weeks of tank time and our lineup lacking in terms of “holiday ale,” we were handed Festivus – a Cascadian Dark Ale, a black IPA, or whichever name you prefer.

In an odd way, we’re very proud of this beer. Although it was a complete disaster of a brew day, the end product is nothing short of awesome. We’ve got just under 36 kegs available for release, but for a beer too weird to live and too rare to die, I highly recommend tracking down a pint. A few kegs will be making their debut at our Grand Opening this Saturday and a few more will be out and about next week. At the end of the day, we are just shepherds of an organic process that can take a turn at every corner. This time we got lucky. And made some damn good lemonade.

Cheers and beers,

John Reardon


  1. Guy says:

    interesting story. missed the opening but will have to stop by and give it a try

  2. Pingback: 6 Dallas Holiday / Winter Beers

  3. Pingback: 6 Holiday Beers for Dallas | cravedfw

  4. Had 2 pints at Trinity Hall on Sunday. Festivus was great! Funny that it was an accident! It had a bit of a wild edge to it. 

  5. Joel Kemmitz says:

    Had a chance to try it at the tour on the 31st and was very impressed.  That was one hell of a batch of lemonade!