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.
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.