Sunday, November 3, 2019

How breweries are broadening the reach with more beverage options

Image credits: Peticolas Brewing Co. (top left), Brutal Beerworks (top right),
The Collective Brewing Project (bottom left, bottom right).

Visiting a brewery in North Texas isn't just about drinking your everyday beer, as taprooms tend to offer alternatives appealing to a wide range of tastes. In many cases, breweries supplement their menus by bringing in guest taps, craft sodas, wine or cider options. Some, though, are finding ways to get creative with products made in-house.

Whether it's efforts to pique the interest of a different kind of drinker or simply a matter of trying something new and fun, here are three ways local breweries are branching out with hand-crafted products meant to enhance the taproom experience, and make it a welcoming environment for all.

Cocktail Beers

Ever innovative, Peticolas Brewing Co. of Dallas seized upon a void in the local market and introduced its first "cocktail beer" in late 2017. According to founder Michael Peticolas, quality cocktail beers sampled at breweries around the country provided the inspiration to produce Grin & Tonic, modeled after a gin and tonic, and later The Usual, an homage to the Old Fashioned.

"Cocktail beers provide us the opportunity to spread our wings and try something new, unique and different," says Peticolas. “And, cocktail beers excite consumers. We've reached a point where classic styles simply don't excite the vocal minority of craft beer drinkers, but they still go crazy over new and innovative styles."

Cold Creations

Hot days call for cool and refreshing drinks, and while a cold beer can certainly hit the spot, some local breweries are employing devices that turn house brews into frozen treats.

In Fort Worth, The Collective Brewing Project has been crafting beer slushees with simple syrups using herbs, spices and real fruit to accentuate and balance certain flavors in their brews.

"We saw the slushee machine as a way to implement new flavors and provide refreshment for those incredibly hot days," says Dave Riddile, who handles sales and marketing at Collective. "Since most of us have culinary or bartending backgrounds, it's a natural fit to want to experiment with beer as an ingredient. The slushee machine was definitely born out of fun, but it has been a way for us to be creative outside the brewhouse as well."

Cold creations of a different sort are on the menu at Brutal Beerworks in North Richland Hills. The company's Fro-Beer machine freezes beer and fashions it into a soft serve-like frozen head that acts as a "topper" for the beer your drinking.

Hard Seltzer

The Collective Brewing Project was also one of the first North Texas breweries to add a house-made hard seltzer to its lineup. Made from fermented sugar, hard seltzers check boxes for drinkers seeking a lower calorie, low carb option. Moreover, these drinks are a gluten-free alternative.

"After some research and our first test batch, we were satisfied hard seltzers could be a great option we wouldn't have to outsource like we do with our wine and cider list," says Riddile.

Others hopping on the hard seltzer bandwagon include Dallas-based breweries, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. and Texas Ale Project.

Originally published as part of a special section on NTX Beer Week in the October 31, 2019 edition of the Dallas Observer. An online copy of the complete newspaper is available by clicking here.

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