You know how some fast food joints have a "secret menu?" In order to make you feel like an exclusive, in-the-know customer, these places have come up with combinations of ubiquitous ingredients that most, if not all, of their employees know how to whip together. If you order a Quesarito at Chipotle, for example, you're asking for them to make a burrito wrapped in a quesadilla instead of a plain tortilla. The line between "secret menu" and "being an asshole" is thin at places like Starbucks, which already require their own language to order off of the posted menu. In-N-Out's "secret" menu is such a part of their appeal that they've posted it to their official website.
Well, beer drinkers of Dallas, I'm here to inform you that not-so-secret menus are no longer just for increasing your risk of heart disease. Last week, our own Four Corners Brewing Co. posted a mysterious photo to their Facebook page. Next to the regular tap handle for Local Buzz, someone had hand drawn a label for something called "Worker Bee" and then, presumably, asked a skilled fourth-grader to illustrate it.
For the sake of journalism, I visited Four Corners' All Day Ale House and talked to Zach Petty, a member of the brew team who came up with the mix. I also made sure to taste the beer. You know, for journalism.
Zach told me that Worker Bee is a combination of Local Buzz, their honey-rye golden ale; and Block Party, a "robust" porter with malt for days.
"The blend originally came about when Brandon, who is one of our brewers, picked up a bartending shift," Zach says. "Someone asked him for something new, and he chose to put those two together." Now, instead of having it mixed at the taps, the Four Corners team has kegged several half barrels of the combination and is selling it alongside their other brews on-site.
I really enjoyed the pint I tasted, though I wonder if I lost something by not having it pulled fresh from the individual kegs. I love porters, but our Dallas climate doesn't really lend itself to malty, heavy brews. The addition of the golden ale cuts down the body of the beer nicely, and the honey pleasantly sweetens the roasty characteristics of the porter.
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Impressed, I wondered about what else might be coming out of the Trinity Groves' brewery. Zach told me they plan on brewing small batches of "whatever pops into our minds."
"There are plans for beers like a Guacamole Saison, and an Imperial Red with some smoky chilies called Sangre de Chongo."
Zach says that they plan to keep Worker Bee on tap regularly, as well as introduce more blends they've found work well together. "As we find a rhythm to the increased production, we will be able to spend more time coming up with new blends and new recipes that will only be available at the All Day Ale House."
But, at least for now, those combos are still on the secret menu.