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From left to right: Samantha Glen, Collin Zreet, Jenni Hanley, John Koch. Photo by Edward Brown.

You heard it here first — picnics are making a comeback. Well, they will be next spring at least when Funky Picnic Brewery & Café opens its doors in South Main Village.  

I dropped by to see the progress. The 4,600-square-foot space cohabits a large, vacant building just east of South Main Street and nearby familiar Near Southside stalwarts HopFusion Ale Works and Shipping & Receiving. Funky Picnic co-owners/co-founders Samantha Glen, Collin Zreet, Jenni Hanley, and John Koch greeted me.

“We will have a seven-barrel brew house,” Glen said. “We want to sell most of our beer in-house and  distribute to select places.”

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The kitchen, she added, will serve artisan sandwiches, fries, chips, fruits, and picnic-themed sides along with quirky desserts (s’mores, mason jar cheesecakes). Both the food and beer can be bought to-go. It’s not that the Funky Picnic team doesn’t want customers to stick around. (There will be around 100 seats, including couches, to perch on.) But a nearby greenspace (still under construction) will complete the Funky Picnic experience, the co-owners said. Brewpub crowlers and silicone pint glasses will make for easy and safe beer transportation. Indeed, the looming silhouette of rising apartments nearby hints at the upcoming community now taking root. The park will be accessible via pedestrian walkway, Glen said.  

“We want [our brewery] to have a community feel,” Hanley said. “We’d love to have people sitting at the bar, talking about the beers.”

Koch noted that all the co-founders started this journey as homebrewers.  

“We want to be open to the brewing community,” he said.

Educational signage, mini brewery tours, brewing events — all are ways Funky Picnic plans to further its beer education cause. Funky Picnic also plans to throw brewpub conventions aside via suggestion cards. Customers will be invited to suggest beer ingredients a la the popular cooking show Iron Chef. Hopefully, minus the squid.

The team has come a long way in a relatively short time since winning the People’s Choice award at the 2014 Dallas homebrew event Brew Riot. That success was followed by a first-place win, and subsequent release of Holidazed and Confused, at Martin House’s Riverside Shootout.

Funky Picnic’s head brewer is yet to be announced, as is the chef. In the meantime, the co-founders are keeping busy, brushing up on restaurant and bartending industry skills. Funky Picnic’s co-owners appear to be keen on reading tea leaves. Fort Worth needs more picnics, and we’re always open to a new, hip brewery.

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On Tap this Week:

Rahr & Sons’ 9th Annual Oktoberfest 5K! September 29

From Rahr: Throw on your lederhosen and grab your running shoes for Rahr & Sons’ 9th Annual Oktoberfest 5K! Costumes are highly encouraged for the fun run that has raised $79,000 to benefit local nonprofits since its start. Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m. Register online at rahroktoberfest5K.com.

Board Game Social at The Collective Brewing Project. September  16

From Friend & Foe: Hey girls and guys! Every third Sunday, we will be at the Collective Brewing Project 2-5pm. $5 dollars to play. We will have tons of game each time — both new and popular games. Feel free to bring your own as well.

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