You may know of Peticolas Brewing Company, but do you know who Michael Peticolas is or his impact on brewing in the Dallas area?
A little history on Michael:
Michael Peticolas moved to Dallas in 1992, then schooled at and graduated from UTD in 95. After graduation, he moved to Houston and went to South Texas College of Law and earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence in December of 98. He opened his law firm in 2005. “Much more quickly than I had anticipated, I met all the goals I listed for myself to accomplish in the legal industry. So I started looking for another challenge. I liked working for myself and I had difficulty looking for another job where some guy asks, ‘Where are you going?’ I didn’t want to have to answer to people like that.”
When did you start brewing?
“I probably started 2004/05, I forget exactly when it was. A friend of mine wanted me to get into brewing. Michael Melnor, a law school compatriot and a very good friend of mine. I always had an excuse of why not to do it. One day he just showed up at my house with his arms filled with homebrew equipment. So we went and bought ingredients that day and that night he showed me how to brew beer. And uh, the beer turned out…awful, but I was bitten by the bug at that point and started home brewing.”
“Fortunately, I love it. It is a lot of fun. The brewing industry and the people are great. I’m enjoying the ride, but it is work.”
Michael looked at his investment portfolio in 2008 during the recession and was not pleased with the unethical behavior in some corporations. So he and his wife decided to invest in themselves. “There’s not a single investor involved in this company. It is owned by 5 people; me, my wife, my 7-year-old little girl and my twin 5-year-olds.”
Look at the Peticolas logo…Go ahead! Go search for it. This article will still be here once you find it. Ok. Got it?…No? Look Here
The Pentagon represents the 5 members of the family and is a nod to the Peticolas family’s love of soccer.
The 2010 is when Michael slowed down his law practice.
The 2 is Michael and his wife.
The 1 “is my first born daughter”.
And each 0 is represents his twin daughter & son.
“I’m a fifth generation Texas Trial Attorney and a seventh generation Texan. So we wanted something in the local to show we are Texan. The outline of Texas says we’re a Texas proud company.”
The “PBC” in the middle represents Peticolas Brewing Company. “I wanted to create a mark that didn’t exist previously. We borrowed from Football organizations around the world that use their initials to create the logo.” Look at that Peticolas tap handle from across the bar…First, you can pick that thing out of the line up! Second, it’s a traditional brewer’s wooden mash paddle. What a cool heritage mark, right?!
Michael’s Impact on Dallas’s Brewery Scene:
When Michael began looking for a location, The City of Dallas pointed him toward Industrial Research Zones. In his research for a legal basis that allowed him to brew in an IR Zone he found a statute that did not allow brewing in IR Zones. He was worried that, once in business, a Dallas Rep would site this statue and shut down brewing operations. He put together a meeting and The City of Dallas came to the same conclusion. The areas where brewing was permitted only included Oaklawn and Deep Ellum. At this point Peticolas had a choice to change the law across the city or petition to create a new brewing area in the IR Zone he wanted to open up shop. He filed an application to amend the property code in that specific IR Zone. To get his petition approved, Peticolas held meetings with the City Staff, Dallas City Planning and ultimately The City Council. Through the process he educated the city on microbreweries, what they needed and how they functioned. As other breweries filed requests, The City of Dallas Staff turned to Michael for answers. City reps contacted Michael and visited The Peticolas Brewery to learn more about breweries. Michael even attended meetings to support Four Corners’ request. Ultimately, Michael became a translator and advocate for microbreweries in Dallas. “Dallas is much more apt and more receptive to requests they receive now.”
Even though he is too humble to admit it; I say it is thanks to Mr. Peticolas’ education, perseverance, legal background and pioneering that we have our wide choices of local breweries here in the Dallas Area.
What do you think is the current state (or acceptance level) of microbrews and craft beers In Dallas? What do you think is coming?
“The US lagged behind so many countries in regards to full flavored beers because of prohibition. Just like America lagged behind the world, Texas lagged behind all these other states. Just like Texas, Dallas lagged behind all the other cities. I think Dallas is ready for it now. I think we have a world of room to grow. There is room for plenty of breweries here. We’re probably 95% BMC. Portland is 50/50.”
Do you think we’ll ever get there (to the 50/50)?
“I’d like to think so, but time will tell. Hopefully all this craft beer isn’t just a fad…”
And finally, let us move on to our favorite subject, beer. What makes your beer different?
Velvet Hammer-9% Imperial Red-”It’s a uh…haha big beer. It’s about balance; very strong and has a lot of alcohol in it, but it comes across as a beer that doesn’t necessarily have 9%. It doesn’t have the heat that many big beers have. It does have as much hop as your typical American IPA, but it has such a malt backbone or malt character to it that balances out that hop. So it doesn’t hit you in the face as a hoppy or malty beer.-The joke is the beer is as ‘smooth as velvet but hits you like a hammer’.”
Royal Scandal-English Style Pale Ale (ESPA)-”I think a lot of pale ales I drink are improperly classified. I think they’re so hopped they are more like India Pale Ales. I wanted to brew a beer that was a little more dialed back than your typical Pale Ale. Royal Scandal has more dialed back hop bitterness, hop flavor and hop aroma than your typical American Pale Ale, although it definitely has a bitterness flavor and aroma. It’s just not as in your face-it’s more sessionable. You can drink 2 or 3 or 3 or 4 of them.”
Golden Opportunity-Kolsh-designed to not have the fruit character-cleaner and crisper-
“It’s for that BMC guy who sees a stout and says ‘Oh my gosh, I’m not gonna like it!’ You start forming opinions before you ever drink that beer. You’re looking at the color and you’re judging it, as it’s coming up to your mouth you can smell it and you’re judging it then. That beer is the summer session beer. Its 4.5%, it’s the one you can drink 10 of it when its 110degrees outside and it’s the one that the BMC guy recognizes when it’s poured into a glass. Give the BMC drinker something he’s somewhat familiar with, but blow him away with something that tastes better than what he’s used to.”
Wintervention-Dark Strong Spiced Ale-”I literally walk down the street to Penderys and buy my allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Instead of using an aroma hop I use those spices to give that beer its aroma and flavor. It’s 10% and it hides the alcohol better than Velvet Hammer. I don’t have any more to sell, but I’m considering brewing some half batches because people are still asking for it. I have it in the brewery.” So go to the tours!
“A lot of brewers are looking for the biggest, weirdest and craziest beers out there. That’s cool, but that’s just not my approach. I want to brew a couple of different beers until the market says ‘These are the beers I want.’ I’ve been fortunate because 3 of the 4 beers I’ve brewed have just taken off. I always wanted to listen to the restaurant and bar owners for ‘these are the beers I want and my customers want.’ So I’ve kept those 3 beers (Royal Scandal, Golden Opportunity and Velvet Hammer) around. The only beer I did not continue to brew was The Great Scott, a Scottish ale. And frankly I kept hearing in November ‘that’s my favorite beer.’ So I’ve re-released the Great Scott, but only for a limited time. Peticolas is going to do a series of limited release, one-off beers. And Great Scott is going to be the first one.”
These are the next beers we can look forward to trying over the next year or two.
Alfred Brown Ale-”Named after my great-great grandfather who opened the first Peticolas law firm in Victory, Tx in the 1800’s. His journal is the best account of what happened in Texas during the Civil War.”
Go look up “Rebels on the Rio Grande” and you’ll find these journals!
Also look for a Rye Pale Ale called Rye’t On and a Belgian Trippel called Lost Epic (anagram of Peticolas).
Next fall or winter keep an eye out for a Barley Wine and an ESB.