People Issue

Michael Peticolas Isn't Afraid of Getting His Hands Dirty, Which is Why He's Making Dallas' Best Beer

In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Stanton Stephens. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

Local is a mantra in the craft-brewery business, but nobody takes it more seriously than Michael Peticolas. Since quitting his lawyer job to make beer full-time, the founder of the Peticolas Brewing Co. in the Design District has maintained a watchful eye over his brews, from the fermentation tank to the pint glass. The ingredients used in making beer aren't local, of course -- hops, malt and other grains don't grow well in Texas -- but while other breweries will half-jokingly tell you their water supply is local, Peticolas is embracing the idea in every way possible.

As a Dallas resident since 1992, he was adamant about starting the brewery within the city limits. While Garland and other municipalities would have happily played host, Peticolas, 42, battled Dallas City Hall for four months to rezone the building that would hold his brewery. When he hired a brewing assistant -- after nearly a year of working every task at the brewery on his own -- he chose a beer enthusiast who grew up in Dallas, too. And once his beer is finished, the vast majority of it stays right here, consumed in bars and restaurants in and around Dallas.

Peticolas says he's had bars call for his beer from as far as Houston, but he has no interest in shipping to them. He can't monitor tap lines, storage and other variables that make a big impact on how the beer tastes when it's poured. Not to mention that the bars that carry his product have come to expect a replacement keg of Golden Opportunity the second their existing one runs out. Peticolas says he's more interested in cultivating relationships with local business owners and customers than selling one-off kegs to distant bars and restaurants.

It doesn't hurt that he's selling some of the best beer to come out of the local craft scene. The full-bodied and boozy Velvet Hammer and crisp, refreshing Royal Scandal are balanced, consistent, drinkable beers that we're lucky to have on taps around the city. One-off seasonal brews like Wintervention have been turning heads, too. They are our city's most native beers, and they make for a fine way to spend an afternoon, for both producer and consumer.