Friday, December 20, 2013

for the love of craft beer - michael peticolas

Michael Peticolas with Velvet Hammer

With the much anticipated 2nd Anniversary of Peticolas Brewing Co. coming up, I decided to have a little Q&A with the man behind the name, Michael Peticolas. A man with a vision and an eye for quality, Michael Peticolas has taken his name and turned it into an almost cult like status in the Texas craft beer world (I say Texas, not just Dallas, because his reputation precedes him throughout the state, even though the beer is only available in kegs and only available in North Texas).

Royal Scandal, 2013 GABF Gold Medal

How did this happen? Was it the beer? Was it his bubbly (like the fermentation behind him) and intoxicatingly friendly personality? Was it the recent gold medal at GABF for their Royal Scandal? To me it seems that Michael has always been about the beer, letting it speak for itself like a damn good brisket. It also doesn't hurt that he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Underneath it all, underneath the competitive spirit (admittingly a huge soccer fan) and underneath the nice guy personality is a man who just loves beer and wants to share his passion with all around him. The next time you're at one of the Saturday open houses, say hi to Michael, thank him for his passion and for his willingness to work so hard to make the beer you love so much. Cheers!

What does craft beer mean to you?
A more complex question than it seems. Craft beer vs. crafty beer?  I operate a small 100% family owned brewery that produces what I consider craft beer. Of course, a brewing conglomerate like Coors would argue that their Blue Moon is a craft beer. Should a brewery’s volume of production or ownership structure determine whether it produces craft beer? These are issues analyzed by the Brewers Association when determining how to define a “craft brewer.” The question reminds me of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s quote in an obscenity case. Justice Stewart wrote that “hard core pornography” was hard to define, but that “I know it, when I see it.” I feel the same way about craft beer, it’s hard to define, but I know it when I drink it.

What excites you most about the Dallas craft beer scene, and why?
The manner in which the Dallas market is fully embracing LOCAL craft beer. No longer is beer brewed in Austin or Houston considered local. Consumers are demanding product brewed right here in Dallas. Not only are established bars and restaurants bringing in local craft beer, but brand new locations are starting their businesses with local craft beer taps. More and more often these places are dedicating not just one tap to local craft beer, but multiple taps. The greatest example of all is LUCK (Local Urban Craft Kitchen). They have 40 taps and every single last one of them is pouring beer brewed in North Texas. It is this movement to hyper-local craft beer that excites me most. 

You seemed to have gained an almost cult status in Dallas without the use of heavy marketing or social media. Why/how do you think this happened?
It’s difficult to determine exactly why or how it’s happened. Several factors have likely played a role, some of which I’d never divulge. However, one such factor is our unconventional approach. The goals of most start up breweries are as follows: Sell as much beer in as many packages as possible, heavily market your beer anywhere and everywhere, and deliver to as many markets as possible. Our goal was to connect with consumers and focus on the core values of our brewery - honesty, friendliness, and being down-to-earth. We aim to take care of our current customers as opposed to spending resources on finding the next one. We do not pay for marketing and haven’t walked into a bar to sell our product in over a year and a half. Instead, we have focused on making our consumers our marketers. We do not take our beer outside of north Texas, choosing instead to provide north Texans with local products they can genuinely enjoy, feel connected to, and stand behind. Although brewing beer is a volume business, we simply do not concern ourselves with trying to brew as much as we can, as fast as possible. We focus on quality rather than quantity. Our consumers appreciate the approach.

Peticolas Great Scot!

Let's say you're not in the mood for beer, what are you drinking?
I am not one to discriminate against alcohol regardless of whether it’s beer, wine, or distilled spirits. Bourbon with two pieces of ice was my mainstay for years. However, one of my volunteers recently had me over to his house for a Scotch tasting. The tasting coincided with another friend returning from Scotland and giving me a bottle of Scotch. Since then, I’ve found myself enjoying Scotch to wind down the evening. Fifteen year old Balvenie is the current choice, but I’ve got a whole world of Scotch to explore in the coming years.

If you could only choose one style of beer to brew, what would it be?
Easy. A nice pale ale. The style is one that I don’t tire of drinking over the course of time. I started drinking pale ales when I first discovered craft beer and continue to drink them regularly today. That’s not true for most styles (e.g., I stopped drinking wheat beers years ago). Pale ales are season-proof.  A well-crafted pale can be light enough to enjoy during the blistering summer Texas heat and heavy enough to stand up to the cold of winter. It almost goes without saying that pale ales are absolutely perfect for the spring and fall as well. Finally, pale ales are extremely versatile when it comes to food. I’ve enjoyed pairing pale ales with everything from salads to meat dishes. Ultimately, it’s almost always a good time for a finely crafted pale ale.

2026 Farrington St, Dallas, TX

Tap Room:
Occurs: 1st & 3rd Saturdays
Time: 1-3pm

Thursday, December 19, 2013

12 beers of christmas - days 4 & 5

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf

At times, I'll admit, I'm a sucker for advertising/branding and in this case, it was just too good to be true. It's too bad that this English style barley wine did not live up to barley wine standards, but luckily great company and great conversation was surrounding me at the time and that's what beer is truly about. Don't get me wrong, it was a good beer, just not as good as some other barley wines out there.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

This delicious winter brew is described as being brewed as a traditional Belgian dark strong but with spices like coriander and grains of paradise. I didn't get much of the spices on the nose but that's okay, this beer was damn good anyway and should be enjoyed during a cold day by a fire.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12 beers of christmas - day 3

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Deep Ellum Numb Comfort

Last night I stopped by newly opened LUCK to grab a winter warmer. My original objective was to try Martin House's new Sugar & Spice, but alas, it was not meant to be as it wasn't tapped yet. A feeling of disappointment was quickly overshadowed when I looked at the beer menu and saw Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort, an American twist on the English style barleywine which I did not get to try last year. Numb Comfort is a big 11.5% abv beer with a floral aroma, slightly bitter finish and just enough residual sweetness to tease your sweet tooth. A hint of vanilla is also there, probably from the bit of barrel aging, so it's kind of like eating a raisin cookie, and that's not a bad thing here. I highly recommend this one to warm your soul during the cold winter days, or to just numb the pain of knowing you haven't done any Christmas shopping yet. Cheers!

Day 4, hint hint, is a very bad elf.

Monday, December 16, 2013

12 beers of christmas - days 1 & 2

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Corners Celebracion

I always start the 12 Beers of Christmas posts with a Texas beer and Four Corners is right down the road from me so it only made sense to try this one out first.

Celebracion is a Belgian strong ale brewed with traditional winter spices like ginger and a lot of Belgian candi sugar. Overall, I enjoyed sipping on this one but I thought there could have been a little more balance with the spices and the maltiness of the brew. I felt it was a little flat and sweet, but I really enjoyed the ginger in it. Don't take my word, though, their tasting room is open five days a week so get over there and try it out yourself and see if you get into the holiday spirit like I did.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock (no picture, it doesn't deserve one)

Shame on you Santa, shame on you. If I ever see this beer again near my fridge I will booby trap my house so you may never set foot in it again. This was an absolute drain pour and an embarassment to the word bock. It smelled and tasted like Dr. Pepper. And before you say 'But Dr. Pepper is great!' just realize that beer should not taste like flavored sugar water.

Now watch this video, and replace the Hustler magazine with the Cherry Choclolate Bock and you'll see how I felt.

Day 3 can only go up from here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

new dallas breweries

With so many new Dallas area breweries opening up so fast it's almost impossible to keep track of them all. Honestly, this post is as much for me as it is for you just so I can keep my head on straight. Just in the months of November and December we're looking at three different brewery openings! If I missed one please let me know and I will add it to this list. As always, support your local brewers. Cheers!

Just Opened:

Grapevine Brewing - Grapevine is the newest brewery to open in Dallas and their Lakefire, a rye pale ale, is their flagship beer which can be found on tap around town right now.

Where to find their beer -

Opening Soon:

Rabbit Hole Brewing - Their kolsch and brown ale will have their debut at Oak St Drafthouse and East Side Social Club on December 14 at 5pm and 7pm.

Cobra Brewing - Their grand opening is December 21 from 12-5pm and it looks like a lot of interesting beers will be brewed, like a strawberry ale and cherry wheat but typical beers like IPAs, an amber and so on will also be brewed.

Beers from Cobra I'm excited about:
Blonde Bomber Hop Series I - Brewed with Cascade hops (Home Grown Hops) 4.7% ABV
Blonde Bomber Hop Series II - Brewed with Tettnanger hops (Home grown Hops) 4.7% ABV

Breweries in Development:

Shannon Brewing - Described as Fire Brewed Irish Ales, Shannon Brewing is dedicated to authentic Irish flavors. They just got their TABC license so expect things to move fairly quickly now.

Brewpubs in Planning/Development:

Dead Cowboy Brewing - They are currently in development stage but they are an East Dallas based brewpub that will be dedicated to brewing up ales, ciders and kombucha as well.

Braindead Brewpub - Deep Ellum area will have their own brewpub from the minds of Sam Wynne, Ceritifed Cicerone, Jeff Fryman of Common Table and previous DEBC head brewer Drew Hunter. Oh, and it will be close to Pecan Lodge. Double win. Expect some great things from these guys.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

upcoming dallas craft beer events

Keep these dates open!

Tonight, yes, December 4 - Community Beer Co. and Winter Warmer Night
Time: 6pm
Location: Craft and Growler
For $26 you can get a Dallas Winter Warmer Festival ticket, a Community beer, and a Community glass. Damn good deal if you ask me.

Tonight (no time to plan!) December 4 - Saint Arnold BB Flight Night
Time: 7pm
Location: Flying Saucer Addison
$25 gets you a flight of all five Bishop Barrel beers from Saint Arnold. Have fun, there might be a stampede!

December 6 - 903 Brewers Christmas Party
Time: 6:30pm
Location: 903 Brewers
This is your chance to wear that ugly Christmas sweater with pride and dignity all while sipping on delicious local craft beer, and you may even win a prize.

December 6 - 12 Bars of Charity
Time: 4pm
Location: Uptown Dallas (including Ginger Man
It's a pub craw for charity. Win win situation.

December 7 - Moa Brewery Beer Brunch
Time: 11am - 3pm
Location: British Beverage Co.
Not only will brunch be served alongside Moa Breakfast and Moa St. Josephs (two incredible beers for brunch I might add) but Derrick Cherry from Moa will be there as well!

December 7 - Crawl for Kids Reindeer Games 2
Time: 2-7pm
Location: Deep Ellum locations
It's another pub crawl for charity (this one goes towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center) around the Dallas area.

December 7 - World of Beer 1st Anniversary
Time: 6pm
Location: World of Beer SMU
The big craft beer bar that is World of Beer is turning 1 at the SMU location and they're throwing a party with rare beers including Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Indra Kunindra, Founders Brewing Co - Tap Room Breakfast Stout & Porter, Southern Tier Brewing Company Warlock, and some others.

December 14-25 - Dogfish Days of December
Location: Flying Saucer Addison
A shit ton of Dogfish beer being tapped each day? What more could you possibly want?

December 14 - Dallas Winter Warmer Festival
Time: 12-5pm
Location: Main Street Garden
A festival dedicated to serving up big beers to warm you up during the cold months of Texas' long a grueling winter.

December 14 - Rabbit Hole Brewing Launch
Time: 5pm
Location: Oak St. Drafthouse
Another new Dallas area brewery has opened and would like to strut its stuff by unveiling their Kolsch. And you get to keep the glass!

December 14 - Rabbit Hole Brewing Launch
Time: 7pm
Location: East Side Club
Yep, same brewery and the bar is close to Oak St. Drafthouse so get your Kolsch fix and then try their Rapture Brown. Keep the glass again!

December 16-21 - Bourbon Barrel Week
Location: Oak St. Drafthouse
The two words that make every craft beer geek quiver at the knees. Yes, a whole week of bourbon barrel beer tappings.

December 19 - Deschutes Beer Dinner
Time: Unknown
Location: Flying Saucer Addison
$65/ticket ($60 for UFO members) gets you a 4 course meal paired with Deschutes legends like Black Butte, Abyss and more.

More info - Call 972-991-7903 to reserve.

December 20 - Deep Ellum Beer Dinner
Time: 7pm
Location: Cook Hall
$55/ticket gets your 5 courses paired with Deep Ellum beer.

More info - or call 214-397-4111 to reserve

December 21 - Cobra Brewing Grand Opening
Time: 12-5pm
Location: Cobra Brewing
Yes, another brewery opening. Be excited!

December 28 - Peticolas Brewing 2nd Anniversary
Time: 2-5pm
Location: Peticolas Brewing
The unofficially officially off the books most badass brewery in Dallas is turning two and is serving 10 beers (one of them being a mystery beer)!

Stay up-to-date on their FB event page -