Saturday, January 9, 2021

Big Spray looks to make a splash in Princeton

Set up on the end cap of a retail development, Big Spray has seating options inside and out (All images © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Hoping to make a splash in the northeastern portion of the Metroplex, Big Spray Brewing has opened and is serving up its brand of beer and food in Princeton. The new spot occupies an end cap of a newly-built retail center at 816 E. Princeton Dr. on the eastern side of the city.

Doug Abbott and his wife Evelyn debuted Big Spray just before Christmas, presenting it as more of a restaurant serving house-brewed beer, as opposed to what some would call a traditional brewpub. The original plan was to follow the brewery and taproom model, but settling in Princeton meant adding a kitchen to meet permitting requirements calling for a food element with this type of business.

Regardless of how it's viewed, Big Spray represents something new and different in the area of Princeton. Production breweries may exist nearby in McKinney, but the next closest brewpub (or brewery restaurant) is located in North Plano.

As for the concept, the company name brings together two of Abbott's favorite things - water skiing and beer. Along those lines, tap handles and flight boards are fashioned in the form of a water ski. Beer names follow suit as well, with options like Long Line Pale Ale among the initial offerings, and others called Driver Buoy Blonde and Doug's 5 Ball IPA on the way.

Center: Grab a seat here for a close-up look at Big Spray's five-barrel system.
Left/right: In line with the inspiration behind Big Spray's name, flight boards take the shape of a water ski.

Those beers and further recipes will eventually slot in to one of a dozen spots on the brewpub's tap wall. Abbott is churning out a batch per week on a five-barrel system, with fermentation taking place in one of two five-barrel fermenters. Currently, Abbott has habanero and coconut variants of the pale ale on tap, with a red ale, porter and honey wheat lined up in his production schedule. 

On the topic of food, Big Spray's menu features small bites, salads and "Main Event" entrees, along with items for the kids and a range of desserts. From the list, an Indiana Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich was a popular (and tempting) choice the day I dropped by, but I went with the rather tasty Original Cuban featuring roasted pulled pork, Canadian bacon, provolone cheese, mustard and pickles.

What's most noticeable, though, is the welcoming aspect of the operation overall. Considering the friendly and hands-on ownership, low-key atmosphere and approachable nature of the beer and food menus, Big Spray would appear to appeal to a casual crowd looking for a low-key neighborhood hangout. All points are certainly representative of the brewpub's mission to be a place for locals to find "Craft Beer, Good Food, Great Friends."

Check out Big Spray for yourself if you're in the area. The brewpub has operating hours six days a week (closed on Tuesday).

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