Tuesday, June 30, 2020

House beers now pouring at Craft and Growler

Craft & Growler's debut house beer, One and a Half Years Later,
is available on tap and in crowlers (
© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

The name of the beer says it all. Craft and Growler's initial offering, One and a Half Years Later, is an IPA that recalls the length of time it took for the Dallas growler shop to get its in-house brewing project underway.

Equipment for the initiative has been onsite since May 2019, but the first production brew day didn't occur until late last month. Craft and Growler's brewer, Brendan Smith, fired up the kettle on May 23, with the startup recipe chosen to be a SMaSH IPA. Brewed with two-row pale malt and Cascade hops, the resulting beer is nicely balanced, with a flowery aroma, citrus flavors and a mildly bitter bite.

One and a Half Years Later is also crystal clear, its clarity appearing as a stark contrast to the current wave of hazy IPAs. And while hazy beers are surely a hot commodity, choosing to do a SMaSH IPA was more about differentiating from another type of beer commonly produced when breweries are starting out.

"I didn't want to do just a blonde as a test batch as many seem to do," says Smith. "So, I figured why not spend a bit more on hops and make it a SMaSH?"

As for future style selections, Smith is working on a hefeweizen, with a hazy pale ale, gose and fruited Berliner weisse in the plans as well. In addition, Craft and Growler's SMaSH IPA is set to return, with subsequent hop varieties chosen by way of customer feedback. The overall goal, of course, is to build up a stable of originals to supplement the shop's everyday product mix.

"Eventually, as we get the system dialed in and perfect our process, we'd like to have four-to-six house beers on at any one time," says Smith.

Another notable aspect of Craft and Growler's journey to this point is how it was able to lean on industry relationships built since opening in 2012. Smith singled out no fewer than nine local brewers who provided advice and encouragement during the process of getting the shop's brewhouse ready for use.

Along those lines, it's no surprise to learn that collaborations with area brewers are also on the agenda at Craft and Growler.

"We are in talks to do collabs with Celestial Beerworks and 903 Brewers," adds Smith, "but others have expressed interest in working with us and we'll be happy to work with anyone."

With that, Craft and Growler takes its place as an active North Texas brewing operation. It may have taken one and a half years to get here, but those pitching in to help proved once again the community of craft beer is alive and well.

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