Wim Bens

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What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?

I am the president and head brewer [at Lakewood Brewing Co. in Garland, Texas.] I was born in Belgium but grew up in suburban Texas. My passion for craft beer started in college in the late 90s when the Belgian beers I grew up with started to appear at the local bars. That led to American craft beers, a homebrew kit, then loving the balance of art and science in brewing. A diploma from the American Brewers Guild and my apprenticeship at Rahr & Sons Brewing in Fort Worth sealed the deal.

What’s new at Lakewood?

We’re just getting started but have a lot of brews in the works. We launched with Rock Ryder, an American rye wheat that drinks like a hybrid Pils/wheat. Great for those super-hot Texas summers. Hop Trapp is a Belgian-style IPA made with Trappist yeast and spiced with coriander. The Temptress is a local favorite. It’s an imperial milk stout weighing in around 9 percent ABV. It’s been described as “sex in a glass” more than once. Our year-round offerings close with the Lakewood Lager, a sessionable Vienna-style lager. Our seasonal offerings will start this year with The Punkel. Our version of the ever popular pumpkin beer is a German dunkel spiced with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Finally we have our Legendary Series of Belgian-style beers inspired by local and Belgian legends.

What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?

The community itself. Up until about a year ago there were two microbreweries in a 100-mile radius and not one in Dallas County. We are the third to open in a year and there are lots more in the planning and building stages. It’s a bit of a craft beer gold rush. But we all stick together and help each other out. The camaraderie is great.

What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?

Spend time with my 11-month-old son and super supportive wife.

What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?

There’s nothing better than a crisp fall afternoon sitting outside with a good chunk of bread, some stinky cheese, and a robust dark beer.

What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?

Victory Prima Pils sounds pretty damn good when it’s 104 degrees outside. The Bourbon Barrel Quad from Boulevard sounds good with that aforementioned cheese.

What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?

My wife’s family is from Spokane, Wash. and few years ago we went to Coeur d’Alene Brewing just over the border in Idaho and had a Vanilla Bourbon Stout. I think I knew I wanted to be a brewer after that beer.

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