After my visit to Peticolas Brewing Company earlier this month, I connected with owner Michael Peticolas for a fun Q&A interview. He was so gracious to spend time answering my questions and shedding more light on the Texas craft beer scene. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was drawn to Peticolas Brewing Company because of their recent collaboration with Green Flash, so I know both my Southern California and Texas readers will be interested in his commentary.
Let’s get started!
Michael, I know you were in the legal field before opening up Peticolas Brewing Company. What made you make the switch from attorney to brewer?
Before I went to law school, I put together a list of goals I wanted to accomplish in the legal industry. After 12 years of practicing law, I realized I had accomplished everything on there. I realized I needed a challenge; I needed something new.
My two main passions in life are beer and soccer. Becoming a professional soccer player wasn’t in the cards, so I thought, “Let’s give a brewery a shot!” I had been homebrewing in my backyard for years, so I enrolled in Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering course with the American Brewers Guild and figured how to scale my production from 5 to 500 gallons.
I actually still have my law firm, but I’ve been focused on building up my brewery. And I’m having so much fun now!
What has been the best part of running Peticolas Brewing Company?
That’s a hard question! Ultimately, seeing the satisfaction and enjoyment people get from trying our beers has been the best part. When people come out and say they love what we’re doing, that’s really cool; it’s great feedback to receive.
When I started the brewery, I wanted to contribute something to Dallas other than what the city already has: restaurants, shopping, and sports teams. And I feel like we’ve done that. Dallas/Fort Worth residents always come up to us and are so excited about our beers. I get excited about their passion. I get excited by things like this interview! I like talking to new people and participating in the craft beer community. The camaraderie is great.
Tell me about “Operation Collaboration,” the IPA you created with San Diego brewery Green Flash. How did it come about? Was it your idea?
A friend introduced me to Chuck Silva, Green Flash’s brewmaster, at the end of last year. We met at the Great American Beer Festival and hit it off. We literally started writing the recipe on festival floor. It was great because we both won medals the next morning! There was a lot of back and forth after the festival, obviously, but that was the genesis.
I leaned heavily on Chuck for the hop selection. He came up with the experimental hop varieties (editor’s note: the hops are simply known as 07270 and 06277. If they are successful commercially, they will be assigned names). We ended up using two hops and two English malts which gave it a really unique character. There’s not another beer in its class, which is very hard to do, especially in a style like an IPA.
How would you describe the craft beer scene in Dallas?
The quality of beer coming out of North Texas is exceptional. There’s a true movement here. I have some friends that have been going on beer “pilgrimages” to California and through the Northwest twice a year for years. Now there’s so much beer available locally that their trip is actually a little less exciting.
As far as brewery operations, for years we really only had one option at Peticolas Brewing: conduct tours and give out samples. But that is changing and we have more options now. You’re seeing more taprooms open up in Dallas. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the ability to do what I really want to do: sell beer at my brewery for off-premises consumption. You can’t go to a brewery and buy beer to take home with you in Texas.
Do you see that changing any time soon?
Over the next several years, lawmakers will realize that constituents want them to start focusing on these laws.
Last question: What beers are in your fridge?
In my kegerator, I have our Royal Scandal. I also have some Operation Collaboration. In my refrigerator, I have all types of California beers including some from AleSmith and Port Brewing. I also have several beers from Chicago and Wisconsin, and some from all over the Northwest. The beauty of this job is that people are always bringing me beer!
Thank you so much, Michael! I look forward to more trips to your brewery when I make it back to Dallas.