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

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