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ETX Brewery: June 22nd, Dancin’, Jammin’, & Prancin’

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There’s a lot going on at the Brewery Downtown. ETX Brewing Co. is located at 221 S. Broadway, Downtown Tyler, etxbrew.com, facebook.com/ETXBrew, (903)630-7720. ETX Brewery offers onsite quality craft beers. Alongside it, The Porch at ETX offers wonderful food and a relaxed atmosphere. They are open Monday-Tuesday 11am-2pm, Wednesday-Thursday 11am-10 pm, Friday 11am-11pm and Saturday 11am-12am.

There is live music every Friday and Saturday starting around 8pm. Don’t hesitate to come by, have a drink and BE{ER} HAPPY! This month’s events are:

June 20th, July 18th (7-9pm): Painting with Pinot’s Palette – Pinot’s Palette comes to ETX Brewing Co. so that you can discover the artist in you. The third Thursday of each month, come out and have fun painting while you enjoy ETX Brew’s amazing beer and wine, plus delicious food from The Porch at ETX Brewing Co. Register at pinotspalette.com/tyler.

June 22nd (2-6pm): Summer Style Show – The Let’s Flamingle Fashion and Hair Show will feature Shear Decadence Hair Salon and Clothes by Gaudy Me. Raffle tickets are available to purchase to be entered for prizes, salon packages, and gift cards. A percentage of proceeds will benefit Wigs 4 Kids charity. There will be live music and vendors. There is free entry and free parking.

June 27th (7-9pm): Brews & Boards – Come out and play some board games and have a brew at ETX Brewing Co. There will be lots of games on hand to play and explore, and even someone who can teach you how to play. Brews & Boards is a program provided by the Tyler Public Library. It is free to come out and play!

July 11th (6-9pm): Pints & Pups – Benefiting the SPCA of East Texas, on the 1st Thursday of each month, bring your dog for this fun party on the patio. They are requesting a donation of a supply item needed for the care of the cats and dogs at the SPCA. The Porch at ETX Brewing Co. will offer free chips and salsa to those who bring a supply to donate. ETX Brewing Co. will also donate a portion of each beer sold to the cause.

July 13th (9am): Saturday Morning Cars & Tacos – Come and see some really cool classic cars and delicious breakfast tacos one Saturday each month.

July 11th (7-10pm): Jazz Jam – Come enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz with members from The University of Texas at Tyler Jazz. This free event is great for the whole family.

July 11th (6:30pm): Swing Dancing & Jazz Night – Let’s Swing! Swing Dancing with Tyler Swing Thing will be held the 2nd Thursday each month along with the Jazz Jam at ETX . There are free Swing Dancing lessons at 6:30pm, then dance to the jazz until 10pm. Everyone is welcome.

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside: What to do in Tyler on a Cold Winter’s Day

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By: Holli Fourniquet

There’s a saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Texas just wait a few hours.” That has certainly been true of our winter so far this year. So it’s understandable if you haven’t exactly prepared for cold weather when it hits. Not to worry; here is a quick guide to fun things you can do in Tyler even in cold weather if you happen to find yourself unprepared.

As self-proclaimed foodaholics, our first thought when a cold front hits is where to find some comfort food to warm our bellies. Chili is typically a good go-to meal for when cold weather hits, and here in Tyler, you can get chili in a couple different forms. There is the traditional bowl of chili. One of our favorites is found at Rick’s on the Square located in Downtown Tyler. This chili will give you the answer to that age-old question: should chili have beans or not? At Rick’s, that answer is definitely yes! The recipe is also a little on the spicier side, which makes this the perfect bowl of chili to warm you up!

Or if you’re tired of the same ole’ bowl of chili, why limit yourself to a bowl when you can have it on top of a hot dog! At The Stand, located at 16700 FM 2493, you can choose from regular to jumbo sized 100% beef hot dogs or choose from a delicious list of sausages including andouille, bratwurst, spicy boudin, and more; then just add chili to the top to complete your cold-weather meal. If you’re feeling particularly inventive, you can even add Fritos and cheese to make it a Frito pie hot dog.

Another great comfort food during cold weather is gumbo. Try some of the best gumbo this side of Louisiana at The Catch, located at 1714 S. Beckham Ave., or Bud Jones Bayou located at 500 E. Erwin St. Both restaurants serve up this heavenly Cajun creation to satisfy your every craving.

Some people just like to stay in when it’s cold, and that’s ok. Stop by FRESH by Brookshire’s to pick up your cold-weather comfort food, made fresh by a chef and ready for you to heat and eat at home. Here you will find seasonal soups, chili, casseroles, and family packs of tamales. Everything you need to warm your belly from the comfort of your own home sitting in front of the fire.

Speaking of staying in on a cold day; you’re going to need a good book to keep you company. Head over to the Tyler Public Library where you will find books and more. The Tyler Public Library is not your typical library. Of course, you will always be able to check out that best seller you have been meaning to read, but you can also check out movies or participate in one of their many events. The Tyler Public Library offers everything from Family Movie Nights and Lego Block Parties to various classes such as sewing and career training to author meet and greets. It’s definitely a place you might want to get familiar with this winter.

To get your blood circulating on a cold day, you might go shopping. Whether you’re looking for a great bargain or something more high-end, Tyler has all the shopping you could want. Plus, if you stay in Tyler to shop, you won’t have to fight the traffic of a bigger city in this cold winter weather.

The typical retail therapy shopping, however, is not all Tyler has to offer if you are looking for some interesting cold-weather recreation. One of Tyler’s newest fun shops is El Guapo Records located at 257 S. Broadway Ave. in Downtown Tyler. El Guapo Records specializes in vintage and new vinyl as well as the occasional live entertainment. After that head right next door to Moon Rivers Naturals. Here you will find body products like soaps and essential oils using local, organic, and real ingredients. Or since you have a cold day and nothing to do, search through some of Tyler’s best antique, junk, and consignment shops to find your next treasure at Ye Olde City Antique Warehouse.

A cold day might be the perfect day to try out one of Tyler’s microbreweries: True Vine Brewing Company or the newly opened ETX Brewing Co. located at 221 S. Broadway Ave., Downtown Tyler. Before you protest that the weather is way too cold to sit outside and drink a beer, hear me out. Research has shown that beer can combat stress, boost your memory, makes skin more beautiful, and can even be used as a cold remedy. In addition to the health benefits, True Vine Brewing also points out, “Because it’s cold outside, your beer will maintain the same temperature it was poured at until it’s consumed.” Both microbreweries have semi-enclosed to enclosed spaces as well as heaters for the cold days. Plus, at True Vine Brewing, anytime the weather dips below 40 degrees, beers are only $4. So get out there and drink a local craft beer!

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay in. If there’s one thing Tyler is known for, it’s for the area’s natural beauty year-round. Bundle up and take a hike to explore the nature in the area. Tyler State Park is a great place for a hike. Tyler State Park’s trails vary from easy to challenging, but each trail promises beautiful scenery amongst some of the largest pines in East Texas. The Trails cross several different forest types and offer amazing views you can’t see anywhere else. This is also the perfect place for bird watching as you hike along the trails, with more than 200 species of birds identified at the park, and it is home to a number of East Texas animals including white-tailed deer, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, reptiles, armadillos, opossums, and more.

There is plenty to do in Tyler on a cold day; these are just a few of our favorites. Warm up in some of the best ways possible this winter. Soon you will be singing along with Elsa from Frozen, “The cold never bothered me anyway.”

For more ideas on these and other things to do in Tyler go to VisitTyler.com.

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SportsZone Bar and Grill: A Cornucopia Culture of Downtown

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The SportsZone Bar and Grill:

A Cornucopia Culture of Downtown

By Barbara Greenbauer

The SportsZone Bar and Grill on the Square in Downtown Tyler is now a go-to spot to eat, hangout and get your fill of sports- themed fun and entertainment.

Josh Collins, local owner and operator, wants everyone to know that “Downtown has a new lunch spot” and it’s a great local bar and grill that is all about community with a “Cheers-type mentality, where everyone is welcome.”

The place is light, bright, and filled with sports memorabilia, with a great-looking bar and high tabletops galore. With a brand new revamped menu, the SportsZone is ready to bring you great food in a space with a different vibe than your regular sports scene. It’s never a loud, in-your face crowd, there’s plenty of parking Downtown, and plenty to do inside.

While you try your hand at the pool or foosball tables, you can chow down on a great burger with a side of waffle fries. You will really get your fill of sports, as the restaurant is lined with 10 big screen TV’s. The view from any seat in the house is stellar. There is always a Texas team on the screen somewhere in the restaurant. There’s even TV’s in the restrooms because they don’t want you to miss a second!

Dart aficionados can try their luck at the dart boards or try your hand at a game of beer pong.

“We really support the Downtown culture,” says Collins. “We can be the spot to go to before or after a show at Liberty Theater. I don’t think folks in Tyler realize how many people live and work Downtown and the community continues to grow.”

The Bar and Grill supports local events like Red Dirt BBQ and Music Festival, Hit the Bricks 2nd Saturdays, and the Rose City Farmer’s Market, “to support and spread the word about the great things happening Downtown,” said Collins.

Step inside the bar and grill and you will want to hang out, use the free Wi-Fi, watch some TV, and taste what the kitchen has to offer.

The edible options at the SportsZone are fast and healthy too. Lunch variables include an out of this world chipotle black bean veggie burger, seared tuna salad, and a grilled chicken salad. Lunch is served Monday-Friday 11am-2pm.

The bar and grill, open 7 days a week, features a great mixture of fare, from “Beginners” like onion rings, pickle fries, frito chili pie, chili cheese waffle fries, “Not your Mamas’s Churros,” humus and naan bread, and battered corn bites.

For more hearty appetites, try the ultimate BLT, fried chicken sandwich, chicken fingers, or their spectacular wings. Their wings are uniquely double-baked with choice of BBQ, lemon pepper, flaming hot or special Zone sauce. The new chickenless wings are so good that you won’t even realize that they are vegetarian! They can also handle to-go orders, but guarantee fast and efficient service during the peak lunch hours. “We want to be known as the new Tyler lunch destination,” said Collins.

The “Out of the Oven” pizzas include margarita, Hawaiian, or the much requested, “Build your own” with toppings including pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, Canadian bacon, black olives, mushrooms, jalapenos, and roasted tomatoes. You can get a super lunch special with a slice of pizza, side salad and a drink for just $8.

The bar is a fully-stocked cornucopia of Texas liquors and beers and the bartenders are super friendly and accommodating. From Lone Star, Shiner, Deep Ellum and ET Brewery, and True Vine – you’ll find it at SportsZone. Every Tuesday, if it’s made in Texas, it’s on special. And if you are looking for something more exotic, the bar can handle almost any drink imaginable, all you have to do is ask!

There are always specials and giveaways going on – from Happy Hours to buckets of beer. Check their website and Facebook regularly to see what’s happening. “A lot of our patrons are regular customers, but by word of mouth and social media, we’ve begun attracting a new group of folks who love being Downtown and taking advantage of all we have to offer,” said Collins.

Come grab a drink, see a game and have a great meal at The SportsZone Bar and Grill, located at 115 E. Erwin, Downtown Tyler on the Square. Like them on Facebook at SportsZoneTyler, or Sportzonetyler.com. You can contact them at (903)266-9132. They are open Sundays 12pm-12am, Monday-Friday 11am-12am, Saturday 12pm-1am.

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ETX Brewing Company: Good Times Are Brewing Downtown

By Johnny Griffith

If you ask ten different people on the street what comes to mind when they hear the word “beer,” odds are you’ll get ten distinctly different answers. Ask the same question of Brian and Matt Gilstrap and you’ll get one answer: family.

Brian and Matt, along with Brian’s wife Annie, are the founders and operators of ETX Brewing Company, Tyler’s second brewery to open and the newest addition to the growing downtown rebirth here in the Rose City.

Originally born in Arlington, both the brothers Gilstrap moved around Texas over the years after attending Texas State University in San Marcos. Brian and Annie met in college where he majored in Business Finance, and Matt majored in Computer Science. Following a move by Brian and Annie to Tyler in 2005 due to a promotion and now living in different parts of the state, Matt and Brian would come together to hang out for the weekend and began brewing beer as a hobby. Twelve years later, they realized their longtime vision of transforming the hobby into a business and now genuinely live their motto for ETX Brewing, “Do What You Love, Love What You Do.”

When the vision became a reality, Matt sold his house in Austin, left his job, and moved to Tyler to help with the task of taking the brewery from the garage to the masses. After considering several different locations, the Gilstrap’s finally settled on a former tire service center just off downtown on S. Broadway. After several months of hard work, the vast majority of which was done themselves, the crew at ETX Brewing Company opened their brewery and taproom in January of this year to rave reviews and thirsty crowds.

With art from local artists hanging on the walls and beer brewed on site in the facility visible from the bar, flowing through the taps, ETX Brewing Company has the feel of something you’d find on either South Congress in Austin or downtown Ft. Worth. There is a decidedly modern feel, but not so much that the character of the owners doesn’t show through. Brian and Matt kept the roll-up doors of the former service center in place, which allows the bar area to have a more open feel and beckons passersby on South Broadway to stop in and take a break from their hectic schedules.

I recently sat down with Matt and Brian to talk with them about the Brewery and sample some of their libations.

Johnny: Of all the things you could be doing in life, why a brewery?

ETX Brewery: Brewing quality beer has been a hobby and a passion for the brothers for many years now. Four and a half years ago Brian and Annie had twins born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation weighing in at 11 oz. and 9 oz. They were immediately care-flighted to a higher level NICU in Dallas, where they spent the next 4.5 months. Matt made the drive every other weekend to spend time with them in the hospital. At that point, perspective on life, in general, changed forever. Life is far too precious and short to not be spending it doing what you love.

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Johnny: What was THE beer that hooked you into the craft scene?

ETX Brewery: Unanimously, Dogfish Head 60min IPA was the beer we all shared together and loved.

Johnny: How did you get from your first batch of homebrew to a full blown brewery?

ETX Brewery: A lot of reading and educating ourselves on new techniques. We were constantly striving to make better beer each time. Practice! Practice! Practice! And of course, sampling the product and asking others for feedback.

Johnny: What have been some of the biggest challenges to get to this point?

ETX Brewery: With any new business, there are challenges of finances and construction, but the nature of opening a brewery brings additional legal hurdles, deciding on the size of equipment, and what beers to commit to brewing. Add to that the fact that we pretty much did all of the work on the brewery ourselves, it gives us a deep appreciation of where we are now.

Johnny: How much of a foothold does craft beer have in east Texas at this point?

ETX Brewery: Craft beer is just on the cusp of becoming big here in east Texas. For a large majority of east Texans, they are new to experiencing craft beer and especially to visiting a brewery. Our goal is really to provide an education to help people understand more about craft beer and what to look for when choosing a brew.
Johnny: How important was the location in the downtown area?

ETX Brewery: We were thrilled to have found a location in the downtown area. We love being a part of the revitalization that is happening Downtown! With all of the amazing businesses going in on and around the square, Downtown Tyler is turning into a “must see” for locals and visitors alike.

Johnny: What will customers be able to do at the brick and mortar location? Buy beer? Drink beer? Fill growlers? Hear live music?

ETX Brewery: Our tap room will have a variety of beers available at all times, which will be changing on a regular basis. Customers will be able to come in and sample or purchase these varieties by the pint. We will have live music on a regular basis, too. Our goal is to be a fun, laid back atmosphere to relax and enjoy a good brew with good company. We are also currently in the works to plan monthly events where a majority of the proceeds will go back to local charities here in east Texas.

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Johnny: What is the beer lineup currently?

ETX Brewery: We currently have 6 beers on tap:

  • Test Batch 1 – An American Pale Ale, a bright filtered Golden Ale
  • Red House Wheat – An American Wheat unfiltered with slight notes of orange
  • 1846 IPA – Easy drinking and flavorful from the heavy dry hopping with El Dorado hops
  • Test Batch 2 – Blonde Ale, unfiltered and dry-hopped after fermentation to add a floral aroma
  • Coffee City Stout – A Stout made with coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal (made with Belgian chocolate and locally roasted coffee from Coffee City USA)
  • Hitching Post – Amber Ale, a perfect balance of malt and hops producing caramel notes and a malty sweetness

Coming soon: Black IPA – A Mexican Lager, American pale ale

We also have a non-alcoholic Root Beer which we make in house.

Johnny: I know you just opened, but what’s next on your agenda for ETX Brewing?

ETX Brewery: We’d like to improve the site and make a friendly space for food trucks, so we have something in the works for that as well as an area out back for live music and more seating. The response has been fantastic so far, and the atmosphere downtown is bringing more traffic back to the area, so we want to make sure we’re in a position to take care of the people who decide to spend their time hanging out with us.

Johnny: What kind of experience are you hoping new customers will take away from ETX Brewing?

ETX Brewery: We hope they will walk away with a better understanding of craft beer. A lot of people are afraid to try a craft beer when they see it on a menu at a restaurant. We want to take that fear away and empower the customer to know what they are looking for in craft beers.

ETX Brewing Company is located at 221 S. Broadway in Downtown Tyler. For more info call (903)630-7720, find them on www.facebook.com/ETXBrew or go to etxbrew.com.

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