Taking something original and putting a twist on it is nothing new. Food has endless examples of this with restaurants constantly taking their most popular menu items and adding a topping here or an ingredient there to make them seemingly brand new. Filmmakers employ this also with re-released special editions of movies. Make a few small changes, and it’s a new product.
Breweries employ this technique across the board. You name a brewery, and they’re pretty much guaranteed to have made a variant of several of their beers. Imperial versions of their standard IPA, dry-hopped additions to their pilsner, barrel-aged iterations of their stout — this entire article could be filled with frequently applied variant scenarios.
This is not a dig at breweries for doing this. Taking something good and experimenting with all of its possibilities is a tactic that ultimately produces some of the most interesting beers that a brewery produces.
Although the barrel-aged or imperial versions of beers tend to get the most buzz — both in chatter among beer fans and in the quickened states of inebriation these high-powered beers can elicit — perhaps the most intriguing are the lighter and subtler takes on modification and experimentation.
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One such lighter twist on its flagship comes from northeast Dallas’ Oak Highlands Brewery. All Good is the brewery’s marquee beer and also its most accessible. It’s a Kölsch, so that means it’s full-flavored despite being clean and light on the palate. For its spring seasonal — and there’s still plenty left to be found in stores going into summer — Oak Highlands takes All Good and brews it with guava to make Guava Good. With moderate tartness imparted by the tropical fruit and a rich, silky mouthfeel, it borrows the bright aspects from All Good and makes them even more vivid. You’d have a tough time finding a more well-suited poolside beer.
High-alcohol variants from breweries are fun. But, the lighter side of innovation — especially in the summertime — also deserve our attention. Guava Good delivers.
Ain’t no party like a Lakewood party: Lakewood Brewing in Dallas celebrates its fifth anniversary at its brewery Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Featuring a truly impressive list of 30-plus beers — many of which are rare — and live music, the event costs $25 in advance and $30 at the door. lakewoodbrewing.com.
Other anniversary parties: Two breweries even farther east than Lakewood will celebrate anniversaries on Aug. 5. Cedar Creek Brewery in Seven Points (cedarcreekbrewery.com) will celebrate five years from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Woodcreek Brewing in Rockwall (woodcreekbrewing.com) celebrates its second year from 2 to 8 p.m. Admission to both events is free.