Beer cocktails are a pretty common sight on many of the menus and chalkboards of North Texas’ favorite craft beer destinations. And any Mexican joint worth its Tajin has some form of michelada available come brunch time. By flipping the script, Peticolas Brewing just introduced something far more rare to Dallas beer lovers than the beer cocktail: the cocktail beer.
On Saturday, the award-winning brewer launched its latest brew, the Usual, an ode to the Old-Fashioned cocktail. At a hefty 13 percent ABV, the barley wine-based creation is a dangerously delicious, spot-on tribute to the bourbon-based classic it's inspired by. With a large selection of beloved, acclaimed beers, Peticolas isn’t new to offbeat beers, but this one in particular is an unquestionably unique creation.
Indeed, the high alcohol content makes the Usual a sipper not unlike its high ABV sisters, Black Curtains imperial stout or the brewery’s signature imperial red ale, Velvet Hammer. But there’s a less functional reason to slow down the process before swigging this new one back. The first whiff of fresh orange, resulting from the peels the beer aged with, is a welcome hit. Not to be confused with the floral-heavy citrus notes emanating from a hoppy IPA, this orange rush carries a slight but sweet astringency with it for a natural, unforced introduction to the beer.
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It’s hard not to overstate the success Peticolas achieved in its mission with this beer. Following the orange intro, the caramelized, malt-forward barley wine base, with a faint alcoholic flicker on the back of the tongue, seamlessly gave way to varied notes of bitters, cherry and bourbon-soaked oak in a sensible manner. Like the cocktail itself, the Usual featured a small but powerful cast of flavors that knew how to play nice with one another in order to be the best they could be as a collective.
For now, the Usual is a Peticolas taproom exclusive. Keeping the supply confined to his own taps, Michael Peticolas explains it’s the best way for him to not only ensure the beer is served in the highest quality conditions but to also gauge the customer response. Seeing as how the limited-edition run of highball-style logo glasses were gone before the taproom had been open for even a couple of hours on Saturday, it’s a safe bet the Usual will become a rather usual presence on plenty of tap lists around Dallas in the near future.
Peticolas Brewing Company, 1301 Pace St. (Design District)