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From left to right: Clif, Colt, and Barney Ellis.

Beer, as an early motivator for agrarian life, may have played a crucial role in civilizing mankind, but it took the craft beer movement to democratize its consumption. Case in point: Fort Worthians have any number of beer drinking experiences to choose from, ranging from food-centric joints like The Bearded Lady and Pouring Glory to self-styled English pubs and bars that boast innumerable craft beer offerings. Amidst this still nascent backdrop, three family members have a unique vision for their Weatherford brewpub — one that doesn’t forget beer’s communal nature.

If all goes to plan, Edgewise Eight Brewing will open its doors around this time next year in downtown Weatherford. Edgewise founding partners Barney, Colt, and Clif Ellis (father and two brothers, respectively) have a vision that puts the family friendly environment in the fore while not forgetting that great beer keeps customers coming back. To that second point, Edgewise will be powered by a seven- to ten-barrel system that will keep 12 house brews on tap accompanied by four taps that will offer a combination of ciders, wines, and beers from outside businesses. The brewpub will also have community style seating, standard gastropub food offerings, and minimal flat panel TV distractions.

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“We want people to socialize and not stare at a monitor,” Barney said. “It’s not just about the beer. We want them to have an experience.”

Clif, who holds nearly two dozen homebrewing competition awards (including a Great American Beer Fest Pro-Am gold medal) likened the brewpub vision to a German beer hall. He noted that, combined, the three family members have over 100 years of experience living and working in Weatherford.

“We understand the needs and wants of this community,” he said. “People are stuck on the idea that beer needs to be the experience. Your beer doesn’t have to be the experience. The environment can be the experience, and the beer can enhance that. One thing that bothers me is that [many in the craft beer industry] are rallying behind being 20 percent of the market share. Why is that your goal? If I presented that model to any other Fortune 500 company, they’d walk me out. So we found the 20 percent of people who like to find new adventures in beer. Now, we have to bridge that other 80 percent.”

Colt noted that craft beer has become synonymous with “local,” making Weatherford a prime location for a brewpub, even with newcomer Parker County Brewing Company recently setting up shop. The community will “rally” behind Edgewise, he said.

“People don’t want to have the ‘local’ Taco Bell,” he wryly noted. “You want something like Avoca.”

Lagers (Red, White, and Smooth), Irish Reds, hazy New England IPAs (IBUtiful), hefeweizens, stouts, and sours are just a few of the offerings that will runneth over when Edgewise opens next year. Oh, and there’s the 817 Amber. Clif retro-engineered this brew with eight malts, one hop, and a seven percent ABV in mind. Brewed in collaboration with Panther Island Brewing, 817 Amber will be released March 9 at the Northside brewery. Soon after, the ale will be available on draught at The Boardroom Whiskey and Cigar Lounge and throughout many bars and pubs in Fort Worth.

The Edgewise vision takes account of Weatherfordian’s pride in craftsmanship. The brewpub experience doesn’t have to be described in craft beer parlance. A response like, “That beer was so good I’ll have another,” will do just fine.

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On Tap this Week:

Miller Lite Presents Texas Born and Brewed. March 3

From MillerCoors: In celebration of Texas Independence Day (March 3), MillerCoors is hosting a first-of-its-kind country music concert. It’s the company’s way of giving back to the community. MillerCoors has operated the Fort Worth Brewery since 1969. It’s the birthplace of Miller Lite, which was first brewed in 1975. Performing artists include Pat Green, Wade Bowen, Mike Ryan, Latin Express, and George Dunham & The Bird Dogs. Doors open at 2pm. MillerCoors Brewery is located at 7001 S. Freeway, Ft. Worth, TX.

Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. Releasing Two New Year-Round Beers

From Rahr: Adiós Pantalones will be a Cerveza de Sesión (session ale) brewed with lemon and lime. It comes in at 4.5 percent ABV and is an easy drinking, approachable beer.

Paleta de Mango is sure to be a palate pleaser with juicy mango and lime paired with a twist of Mexican Pequin Chiles. At 5 percent ABV, this medium-bodied beer is reminiscent of paletas de mango con-chile, a popular flavor of Mexican ice-pops.

Fort Worth Weekly’s Third Annual Celebrity Chili Cook-Off. March 4

Last year, 18 of the city’s most well-known chefs fought it out in the only cooking competition that matters in Texas: a chili cook-off. This year, Fort Worth Weekly’s 3rd Annual Celebrity Chef Chili Cook-Off returns bigger, better, and spicier.

There will be live music all day, prizes, swag, cooking demos, drinks, and of course, everyone who buys a ticket will have a chance to sample and vote for their favorite and crown that chef: The Best Chili Cook in Fort Worth.

A $5 donation from every ticket sold will benefit Cook Children’s. Purchase tickets here.

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