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Flavors of Germany Rooted in Local TX Brewery

By Kelly Church

"More than just a local brewery," Franconia Brewing Company has a brewing heritage that goes all the way back to the 19th century. The McKinney, TX brewery cultivates authentic German beer. In fact, owner and brew master Dennis Wehrmann's great great grandfather founded Frankenbreu in Tanna, Germany and started the family business.

At the young age of 12, Wehrmann worked at a local brewery during his summer breaks from school. After high school, he worked as a trainee at the Neumarkter Lammsbrau while simultaneously attending brewing school in Karlstadt before moving to the U.S. with his wife.

"The plan was, and is, to bring beer culture and especially German beer culture to north Texas," Wehrmann says. "We have been the first brewery in Dallas and metroplex and providing German beers brewed to the German Puritan law for our consumers."

The most popular beer at Franconia Brewing Company is the Franconia Wheat, a hefeweizen, brewed with more than 50% malted wheat and original Bavarian wheat yeast. It's brewed using traditional fermentation and has an "explosion" of banana, orange and clove flavors and smells.

Wehrmann says the second most popular beer is the Franconia Dunkle, a dark lager with mocha and dark chocolate flavors. The brewery is also working on creating a Franconia Alt and drinkers can expect to have an amber-colored brew with caramel and malt flavors at the beginning and a strong hoppy finish.

While Franconia Brewing Company doesn't have a tasting room, they do offer weekly brewery tours every Saturday at 11 a.m. Guests get a front row seat to see how Franconia brews its beer. Wehrmann says for just $5, guests get to witness the brewing experience and get enough beer to drink so that nobody leaves thirsty.

Franconia Brewing Company also wants to make sure their environmental footprint is as small as possible, while still offering great tasting beers. The building itself is powered by Green Mountain Energy, an electric service that uses solar and wind power to provide clean energy. The water used to cool during the brewing process is collected and reused.

"We are operating out of an energy efficient building," Wehrmann says. "We are reusing 85% of the water, [are] trash free, producing our own paper, spent grain is converted in cattle and cow feed and working on a [carbon dioxide] recovery system right now. We do this because that is the way I grew up and I'm used to being very careful with our natural resources we have."

The company's slogan is "The Bier From Here," appropriately encouraging people to drink local while also providing an ode to their German heritage. Wehrmann and his team are located in the market area of McKinney.

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