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Live and Local: Franconia Brewing has big plans for 2013
Kelsey Kruzich / Staff Photo: McKinney-based Franconia Brewing is celebrating its fifth anniversary in February. Owner Dennis Wehrmann will release five limited release beers this year to celebrate the milestone.
Collin County's only brewery turns 5 years old this year and is celebrating in style.
While McKinney-based Franconia Brewing doesn't officially hit the milestone until February, owner Dennis Wehrmann has already rolled out the first of five limited edition beers to mark the occasion.
"We are releasing one beer for each year we have been open," Wehrmann said. "We normally brew German beers, but we are stepping out of our comfort zone with these five beers."
The first beer, Franconia Oatmeal Stout, has been on tap for several weeks but is still available throughout the area. The second, a Double IPA, will be released in mid March. Details are not available on the remaining three beers, but they will surely be a departure from the hefeweizens, bocks and pilsners traditionally turned out by the brewery's staff of five.
Wehrmann came to America a little over a decade ago from his native Germany. While he can be opinionated on what makes a good beer and the value of sticking with traditional German styles, that can be expected from a man whose family entered the brewing business in 1800 and has remained active ever since.
The family tradition can also be tasted in some of Franconia's beers, which are occasionally served out of a 200-year-old wooden cask that was originally used by Wehrmann's great-great-grandfather. The cask doesn't show up often, but it typically makes appearances at special events such as beer fests and during Dallas Beer Week.
While Wehrmann is steeped in German tradition, he set out for America shortly after graduating with a master's degree from Doemens Brewmasterschool in Munich in 1999. He got a job as the head brewer at Two Rows restaurant in Dallas before opening his own brewery.
"We want people to look at us as the local neighborhood brewery that brews German beer the right way in Texas," he said. "We want people to feel at home when they see our tap handle and establish a connection between people and their hometown brewery."
In addition to the special beers, the brewery plans to hold an anniversary party in the spring once the weather warms up.
Another way to enjoy Franconia beers is by touring the brewery. Tours are offered at the brewery, located at 495 McKinney Parkway, at 11 a.m. each Saturday. Tours are $5 and include free samples.