Tuesday, May 31, 2016

O'Fallon / Fitz's Hard Root Beer

More just arrived
O'Fallon / Fitz's Hard Root Beer...$10.99 / 6pk
This fine craft ale is brewed with the same roots, herbs, and spices found in the iconic Fitz's Root Beer enjoyed by folks in the midwest since 1947.  Not too sweet, not too strong, just a tasty balance of fresh brewed ale and the classic flavors of Fitz's  Root Beer all in one bottle.

O'Fallon Brewery owner Jim Gorczyca says he saw an opportunity in the market: Hard root beer is gaining steam, but nobody in St. Louis was making any. After talking with his distribution partner, who also distributes Fitz's Bottling Company root beer and sodas, Gorczyca connected with Fitz's CEO Michael Alter and got to work on an original hard root beer.

"I think that's the harder part of it – some of these hard root beers like Not Your Father's or Coney Island don't have anything they're measuring against," Gorczyca says. "Their hard root beer is just their own idea; there's no established flavor they're going after. But when we partnered with Fitz's, it became extra challenging, because not only do we want to make a beer that beer drinkers love, but also a hard root beer that Fitz's fans really love."

Discussions began in March – "If we could do this, how could we do this? Would it make sense?" – and the team spent the summer hammering out the recipe. It takes about two weeks for O'Fallon's beer base to ferment, so Gorczyca says each time they tweaked the recipe, they had to wait another 14 days.

The hard root beer, which clocks in at 5 percent ABV, isn't on shelves just yet; Gorczyca says there are so many new beers and craft breweries that the approval process was backlogged. Fitz's and O'Fallon have finally received their approval, though, and plan to have the hard root beer on tap at both Fitz's in the Delmar Loop and O'Fallon's O'Bar tap room in Maryland Heights in mid-January. Look for further collaborations in the future, too.

"We want to maintain the relationship with Fitz's, so there's been some early discussion of flavor extensions. They make quite a few flavored sodas, so we may be experimenting with other flavors," Gorczyca says. "One of the things O'Fallon is popular for is the pumpkin beer, and this year, for the first time, Fitz's made a pumpkin soda, so I'm interested in giving that one a whirl and seeing how that one goes."  - Feast Magazine

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