There are some new kids on the craft beer block and they go by the name Strange Union. Remember that name and if you are out and see them pouring, don’t walk, run to their table to sample their delectable libations. You do not want to miss out on the opportunity. While being fairly new to the brewing game, they have a wide variety of well layered and complex offerings. In all honesty, they are far better than they deserve to be at this point. What takes other brewers numerous tries and failures to accomplish, they make look easy. Not only do they have the passion for brewing, they have talent in spades.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down and have a tasting session with them and it was a mind opening pleasure. Strange Union is run by co-founders Danny Schwab and Nick Stolz along with their wives Morgan Schwab and Brandy Stolz. What started out as just a passion for good beer evolved into taking that leap and putting themselves out there for the world to judge. Right now, they are still limited to giving out samples at tasting events and competitions around DFW, the goal is to have their own tap room open towards the end of the year. It is definitely a journey I will follow closely. The beer is that good.
Chris- Tell us a little bit about how you got into this whole thing.
Danny- It’s somewhat a long story, but I’ll give you the abbreviated version. Essentially Nick and I, and our wives, Morgan and Brandy just have this passion and love for craft beer. So that love and passion evolved and we actually started traveling to drink craft beer in other areas. So from there, we’re out in Oregon drinking all these wonderful craft beers and we’re like, man, we should really think about making beer ourselves. We might be able to control the beers, the flavors, the taste, the smells and so that’s really where it evolved from. We eventually got back and just started kicking things around and I guess the rest is history.
Nick- I’ve been home brewing beer since 2006. I put serious investment in my home brew setup in 2015, but even then I kinda let it go by the wayside. Danny was like ‘Hey man, lets brew beer!’ and I was like ‘ugh, alright’, but we started brewing beer. All the time, like every weekend.
Chris- So what was the final push?
Nick- We are going all over the place, drinking beer in different cities and just thinking ‘I feel like we have something to enter into this arena. Not saying we can do it better than everybody else, but maybe we have our own take on it and so we decided to go for it.
Doug- What would you say is your favorite thing about doing what you do?
Nick- You know, I’ve never really considered myself a super creative person, but when it comes to brewing beer, I get to do something creative. So that’s really cool.
Danny- Making beers that we love to drink is tops on the list, but one thing that I’ve got out of brewing beer is not actually brewing the beer, it’s giving it away and bringing the beer out to tasting events. You know, when you pour a beer for somebody and you just get to see the reaction from someone drinking your beer for the first time. They may not know Strange Union, they’re out somewhere and they take a sip and their face just lights up. They are gushing when they talk about it. You see them walking away and sip, telling their friends and point at us telling them ‘you gotta go over and try this beer’.
Doug- In your current stable of beers, which is your favorite?
Danny- There are a lot of beer we have, that in my mind are just super delicious. Our Oat Milk Stout is pretty stand out. Currently, my favorite beer is this IPA that I’m drinking right now. In my opinion, it’s just amazing.
Chris- What makes your IPA different?
Danny- I wouldn’t say it’s different from other people IPAs out there. It’s just a new style, it’s got a lot of flavor, it’s a little bit more challenging to make.
Doug- What are some awards and accolades you guys have received?
Danny- Besides the normal good comments and accolades we get from people out there drinking our beers, the two big ones are the competitions we entered this past year. The first one being the ‘Deep Ellum Labor of Love’. We entered that competition and ended up walking away with ‘People’s Choice’, which was totally unexpected. It really motivated us to move along with trying to open this brewery as quickly as possible. The other competition we entered was the ‘Pride of Southside’ in Fort Worth. We were able to pull a win out there as well so it was super exciting.
Here is our take on a few of their more refined, ready-to-market, offerings. Each one is unique and have a personality of their own. Hopefully it shows in our tasting notes, but these were absolutely delicious. Stepping away from the table was a challenge. I still dream of that delicious IPA.
New England IPA.
D- Light golden in color with lots of haze. Light mouth feel with just the right amount of carbonation. Strong citrus/grapefruit taste. Quite refreshing. Very hop forward without the heavy bitterness of a traditional IPA. Just light lingering amount of bitter on the back of the tongue to keep you wanting more. I do want more. If you think you don’t like IPAs, this one is for you.
C- Loving the haze. That’s a visual signal for me to prep for amazing taste. Strong citrus and the perfect amount of sweetness, but not overpowering or artificial tasting. It like a beer-mosa (beer and orange juice). This one is dangerous. For a beer with a higher ABV it’s insanely easy-drinking. My favorite of our sampling.
Bonnie Braw- Oak Aged Wee Heavy
D- Dark amber in color. Smooth mouth feel. A very malty sweetness with hints of caramel. The oak does make an appearance, but is not overwhelming.
C- Probably my second favorite. I haven’t had too many Wee Heavies, but now I’m wondering what I’ve been missing. It seems as though Strange Union have mastered the art of making beers sweet without making “sweet beers”.
Collusion- Russian Imperial Stout
D- Heavy, creamy mouth feel. Very dark. Nice, roasted notes with the perfect amount of bitterness. Has a smooth roasted caramel aftertaste that is slow to fade. This is the perfect example of a quality stout.
C- A lovely stout. Heavy in all the right places. It coats your tongue and just kind of cuddles it like a warm blanket in winter. I’d be tempted to substitute this for dessert, but I must stress that it is NOT overly sweet. It’s quite nuanced, like a nice bourbon.