Photo courtesy of Shiner Beer.

Lewis and Clark, Sonny and Cher, SpongeBob and Patrick. Duos float in and out of pop culture at hummingbird speed. But few have quite as much staying power as beer and barbecue. So, it’s only natural that one of Texas’ most iconic breweries would want to break out the smoker.

According to a release, Shiner Beer is untapping a new market with the April 1 grand opening of K. Spoetzl BBQ Co. Housed at the newly expanded Spoetzl Brewery, the eatery will welcome carnivores seven days a week.

Pitmaster Tommy Schuette, the former proprietor of the Shiner Barbeque Co., will lead the charge with the state’s holy trinity of smoked meats, including brisket, sausage, and ribs. Other favorites like pulled pork and chicken will be served alongside a meaty assortment of salads, loaded potatoes, and sandwiches.

Of course, no Texas barbecue joint can get away with skimping on the sides. Potato salad and pinto beans are served throughout the week, but weekend guests get a little extra. Diners can also opt for green beans, coleslaw, creamed corn, and giblet rice from Thursday through Saturday.

In celebration of K. Spoetzl BBQ’s debut, samples will be passed out between 10:30 am-6 pm on April 1. QR codes will also be scattered across the grounds giving visitors a chance to win gift cards, shirts, hats, and more. Diners will also be given a free beer token for every $25 spent at the restaurant that day.

In addition, budding influencers can post a picture of Schuette to social media to get a coupon for 10 percent off. (As a rule, pitmasters do not need a yassify filter.)

After the grand opening celebration, K. Spoetzl BBQ will be open daily. Hours are 10 am-4 pm, so plan accordingly.

Photo courtesy of Visit Lubbock

Crafting the perfect sip-and-stay vacay in Lubbock

Bottoms Up

Did you know that around 80 percent of all grapes sourced by Texas wineries come from the High Plains AVA in West Texas? Or that Lubbock has its own signature cocktail? The city's craft beer scene has also exploded in the past five years.

All of this means that the West Texas city is now bubbling up with ideas for a refreshing getaway, whether you're a hophead, oenophile, or even a mocktail maven.

Curious to taste these bevvies for yourself? Here's what's brewing in Lubbock:

Cheers for beers

Two Docs Brewing Co.: The double doctors in the brewery's name are Dr. Eric Cunningham (a veterinarian) and Dr. Tyson Purdy (a family medicine practitioner), cousins who took their love of beer public in 2019. Located in the Cultural District, the environmentally-conscious brewery is known for its Buddy Hoppy IPA, Lubbock Light lager, and Two Docs Bock.

The Brewery LBK: USA Today crowned this newish brewery the Top Brewpub in the Nation, and it's a title head brewmaster Sally Taylor and general manager Mike Nghiem don't take lightly. The beers are a mix of classic profiles and inventive flavors, with plenty of seasonal rotations and nods to Hub City. Try the Low Hanging Fruit, made with Albarino grapes from the local Veesart Vineyards. Wine on the nose with flavors of bright citrus complement a wheat and barley backbone with farmhouse ale notes.

Good Line Beer Co.: What began as a true garage start-up is now a celebrated brewery in the historic Tech Terrace neighborhood, putting out brews with whimsical names like Catastrophe Girlfriend (a raspberry weisse), Range Life (a pilsner), and Bitter Buffalo (an IPA). Owners Chris Troutman and Shawn Phillips are heavy on community, with local artist Dirk Fowler creating the label designs.

Wine time

Syrah is one of the key grape varieties grown here, alongside Tempranillo and Grenache — two other varieties known to perform well in warm, dry climates like the Texas High Plains AVA. White grapes are also grown, but to a much lesser extent, mostly from Viognier, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc..

Seek out your next favorite glass (or bottle!) at Bolen Winery Vineyards, Burklee Hill Vineyards, English Newsom Cellars, McPherson Cellars, La Diosa Cellars, and Llano Estacado Winery, the second-oldest winery in the state. Adelphos Cellars will also open soon, inviting Lubbock into the city's newest winery, tasting room, and event venue.

The famous Lubbock Chilton

Called "a cocktail as bright and pure as the West Texas sun" by Texas Monthly, the Chilton is a refreshing cocktail comprised of vodka, fresh lemon juice, bubbly water, and a salted rim. The story goes that years ago, a parched Dr. Chilton instructed a bartender at the Lubbock Country Club to mix these ingredients together, and a signature sip was born.

You'll spot the Chilton all around town, with variations that range from fruity to spicy and even as the inspiration for a few seasonal beers. Here's a primer if you're not sure where to start.

Zero-proof pours

Alcohol isn't required for a great drink — just ask The West Table Kitchen and Bar and The Nicolett.

Everyone is included in the toast at The West Table with offerings such as the tropical Riki Tiki and "gin" rambler Baby Blue, among others. Each libation feels even more elegant thanks to the restaurant's location within the historic Pioneer Building in downtown Lubbock.

Two Docs Brewing Co

Photo courtesy of Visit Lubbock

Two Docs Brewing Co. was actually founded by two doctors.

At The Nicolett, 2022 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas and owner of The Nicolett, Finn Walter incorporated several non-alcoholic beverages into his cocktail menu to serve a craft experience for all to savor. From the botanical Garden Gimlet to the sweet-tart I Love Yuzu, each showcases an alcohol alternative in the ingredients list.

Where to rest your head

Stow your suitcase at the newly opened Aloft hotel, or check into an Airbnb managed by Home on the Range LBK, which owns four beautifully decorated properties all near Texas Tech University.

Looking forward

In the coming months, Lubbock will see the debut of Milestones Park and a new Dave & Busters. Even if you've visited before, there's always more to discover in Hub City — plan your next visit now.

Lakewood Brewing Co.

Lakewood Brewing Co. presents LakeWOOF: Round 2

Lakewood Brewing Company will present LakeWOOF: Round 2, another year of fun for furry friends and their families in the beer garden. The event will feature pup treats, clothing, rescues, and other dogs.

Texas Ale Project Facebook

Texas Ale Project presents Heralded Collection Official Kickoff Party

Texas Ale Project will introduce a new experimental series, The Heralded Collection, built around the popular 100 Million Angels Singing DIPA. Three variants will be released in 2023 with flavors inspired by our local culture, loyal fanbase and deep Texas roots.

The first limited release in the Heralded Collection is an Old-Fashioned inspired variant influenced by one of North Texas' most popular cocktails. This assertive but smooth Double IPA has notes of charred bourbon barrel oak and floral bitters, finished with a garnish of Sweet Cherry and Orange peel.

At the Official Kickoff Party, guests can enjoy craft beer offerings, food, live music, games, and more.

Photo courtesy of SBG Hospitality

McKinney St. Patrick's Day Beer Walk

SBG Hospitality will present McKinney St. Patrick's Day Beer Walk, featuring craft beers, cider, seltzer and maybe some Irish Whiskey.

Visitors can sip and stroll through the streets of downtown McKinney visiting 20 stops. Upon arrival guests will receive their signature McKinney St. Patrick’s Day Beer taster and a map that will direct them on their St. Pat’s sip and stroll journey.

Beer stations are set up inside the local shops in Downtown McKinney featuring a variety of North Texas breweries.

Photo courtesy of Addison Oktoberfest

Addison Oktoberfest

Addison Oktoberfest

At Addison Oktoberfest, visitors can enjoy a taste of the original Bavarian celebration with a purely Texan twist. For decades, people have donned dirndls and lederhosen (or have just come as they are) for four days of revelry in German culture, food, music and bier.

Additionally, guests can also experience the sound of polka bands and other traditional entertainers on multiple stages in Addison Circle Park, and participate in special games for bier lovers, kids of all ages, dachshunds and more.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Miami restaurant Komodo brings South Beach flash to Dallas' Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum News

A restaurant from Miami that's been penciled in for Dallas for four years has at long last arrived: Komodo, a Southeast-Asian-Inspired restaurant from Miami-based Groot Hospitality, will finally make its debut.

The Dallas location is in The Epic office tower at 2550 Pacific Ave., at the intersection of Good Latimer Freeway, and according to a release, it will open on April 7.

Founded in Miami, and one of an array of Miami concepts that's migrated to Dallas, Komodo is known for Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine, cocktails, eye-catching decor, and buzzy atmosphere. The first location opened in Miami's Brickell neighborhood, and is said to be among the most profitable restaurants in the United States. Sounds delicious!

Dallas has been in the works since 2019, and was forecast to open in 2022 until the pandemic intervened. So they've really stuck it through. This will be the first location outside of South Florida, representing a big step for Groot Hospitality, says founder David Grutman in a statement.

"To open our first property outside of South Florida in Dallas is a huge privilege and honor," Grutman says. "I’m so excited to bring our Groot Hospitality experience to Texas with Komodo. The restaurant is a perfect showcase of what we deliver: High-level hospitality, delicious food, luxe decor, marquee entertainment and shareable, memorable moments."

Komodo’s Dallas menu will feature Southeast Asian dishes developed and interpreted with a global approach, with rotating specials plus house favorites such as Peking duck, salmon tacos, miso Chilean seabass skewers, and plant-based Kung Pao chicken. There's also a full sushi bar.

Menu items that are exclusive to Dallas include Wagyu cuts of Texan beef such as tomahawk and filet, oh gee more steak; and Szechuan Texas quail using locally-sourced quail.

Komodo Dallas spans two stories and accommodates up to 270 diners, acaross tabletop, booth, and bar seating. Design by New York-based firm ICRAVE takes visual cues from Miami, including Komodo's signature illuminated “bamboo” cutout columns and duck display windows. The lounge area features eye-catching wallpaper and a dramatic fabric-draped corridor.

Groot Hospitality is a Miami Beach-based collective of restaurants, cafés, nightlife ventures and hotels formed in 2018. Properties include The Goodtime Hotel, the nightclubs LIV and Story, the restaurants Gekkō, The Key Club, Komodo, Papi Steak, Strawberry Moon, and Swan, all based in South Florida.

Goofiness keeps Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves light on its feet

Movie Review

In the franchise world in which we now live, movie studios are always looking for the next big thing that will ensure fans come flocking to the theater. The role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons has gotten a pop cultural boost in recent years thanks to the Netflix show Stranger Things, and now – just shy of its 50th anniversary – it’s getting its own blockbuster movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Michelle Rodriguez and Chris Pine in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Michelle Rodriguez and Chris Pine in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

The somewhat complex story centers on two of the titular thieves, Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), who lead a group of rogues who make a living by stealing, but only from those who deserve it. One such altruistic mission, a relic that can bring back the dead, leads to the pair getting caught and put in jail, separating Edgin from his daughter, Kira (Chloe Coleman).

Fellow thief Forge (Hugh Grant) agrees to look after her, but after a daring escape, Edgin and Holga discover that Forge is even more of a scoundrel than they thought, rising to the title of Lord in their absence with the help of the sorceress Sofina (Daisy Head), and poisoning Kira’s mind against them. They must gather the rest of the team, including Simon (Justice Smith) and Doric (Sophia Lillis), to try to take him down and recover the relic once and for all.

Written and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, with help from co-writer Michael Gilio, the film has the unenviable task of turning the famously dense game into something that pleases both fanatics and those unfamiliar with its many characters, creatures, and locations. It’s clear the filmmakers are trying to strike a balance between the two, loading the story with terms they barely attempt to explain while at the same time making the movie as goofy as possible.

Only the second of those two approaches truly works. The problem the filmmakers run into is that this is an introductory film that barely seems to care about introducing its characters. A lengthy speech by Edgin at the beginning attempts to do that, but is staged in such a way that the humor of sequence takes precedence over the details of the people. The only reason the characters wind up likable is because of the sheer amount of time spent with them and the actors’ performances.

Well, that and the comedy sprinkled throughout the film. If Daley, Goldstein, and Gilio do anything right, it’s not taking the material too seriously. The world has already seen Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, so adding in funny elements like the wise-cracking Edgin, a supremely fat dragon, and more keeps the film from getting lost in its own minutiae. Not all the jokes land, but 75-80 percent of them do, which is enough to keep the film buoyant.

Pine, as he’s shown in the recent Star Trek and Wonder Woman films, has charm to spare. He occupies this particular role extremely well, and so even if you can’t remember his character’s name, his performance carries the film. Rodriguez is an acquired taste, but her surly demeanor and physical prowess works for her here. The supporting actors shine at times, but the film doesn’t showcase them enough to make them stand out.

While miles better than the reviled 2000 Dungeons & Dragons, Honor Among Thieves is a merely okay beginning for a possible new franchise. There’s some excitement to be had and it stays light on its feet thanks to the comedy, but more attention paid to the story is warranted if they decide to make sequels.


Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves opens in theaters on March 31.

Dallas International Film Festival sneak-peeks first 17 films at 2023 event

Cinema for All

The Dallas International Film Festival is back, with a glorious return to where it started, in the West Village at Violet Crown Cinema, and the unveiling of its first 17 films, including a documentary on a member of rock band Pantera, and another on a legendary Fort Worth artist.

The 17 films represent a fraction of the programs shown during the festival, which will take place from April 28-May 5.

"These films are just a glimpse of the powerful stories we’re honored to present at DIFF 2023,” says James Faust, DIFF Artistic Director, in a statement. "Highlighting important and untold stories that have been explored by talented filmmakers, our first 17 of our 17th should whet the appetite of local film lovers who we hope will join us at Violet Crown Cinema Dallas in West Village for Dallas’ biggest film experience."

Ultimately, there will be screenings of more than 100 films submitted from more than 60 countries, as well as Q&A sessions with filmmakers and actors, nightly DIFF Red Carpets, a Festival Lounge, and special events.

The festival's central location is at the newly opened Violet Crown Cinema, formerly the Magnolia Theatre, which closed in 2021 due to the pandemic, and which hosted multiple previous versions of the festival.

Highlights of the initial films include the world premiere of Chocolate Lizards, a comedy/adventure about a pair of men (Rudy Pankow and Thomas Haden Church) who find themselves stranded in a small Texas town; A Disturbance in the Force: How the Star Wars Holiday Special Happened, a documentary about the weird 1978 Star Wars TV special; and It's Only Life After All, a documentary about The Indigo Girls.

Dallas connections
The list also includes a number of films with local connections, including Breaking the Code, a documentary about legendary Fort Worth artist Vernon Fisher; Gibson Icons: Rex Brown of Pantera, a documentary that focuses on the longtime bassist for the Arlington band; Into the Spotlight, a world premiere documentary about a Dallas-based theatre troupe comprised of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and The Doldrums, a world premiere "not-coming-of-age and anti-musical" filmed in Dallas.

The remaining 10 films include seven documentaries and three fictional dramas:

  • Bad Press (Documentary), about a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation fighting for government transparency in indigenous communities.
  • Blue Jean (Drama), about a closeted gym teacher in 1988 conservative England.
  • Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection (Documentary), about the late singer's personal struggles told through never-before-released recordings.
  • Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes (Documentary), about the American jazz musician whose ambitions were inspired and challenged by the inequities of the society around him.
  • Savage (Documentary), a world premiere about the journey of one man trying to achieve the elusive dream of becoming a world champion bull rider.
  • SK8 Girlz (Documentary), about the rise of an all-female skateboarding team as they tear down the barriers created by a male-centric sport.
  • The Eternal Memory (Documentary), a Chilean film that follows the relationship of prominent Chilean journalist Augusto Góngora and actress Paulina “Pauli” Urrutia.
  • The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution (Documentary), a meme-driven journey into the intersection of finance, media, and extremism online.
  • The Origin of Evil (Thriller/Drama), a French and Canadian film about a fish cannery worker on the verge of financial collapse who discovers she is the biological daughter of a wealthy businessman.
  • The Wild Man (Drama), about a young journalist who travels to Florida to investigate young women that have been going missing.

Passes for the festival, which run $100-$500, are now on sale at dallasfilm.org/diff. Individual tickets will go on sale closer to the festival dates.