Last week, I arose at 4 one morning to drive to the Peticolas brewery and help Michael Peticolas and two of his sturdy employees load a refrigerated truck with the keg equivalent of 800 cases of beer. Peticolas is persnickety about his beer, which is why he doesn’t bottle or can it. Those bottles and cans tend to sit around in the places where they’re sold, sometimes unchilled. He’s all about the quality. Same thing with distribution. He likes to do it himself.
Which is why I’d joined him last week. His beer was making its inaugural trip to Austin, and I had notions of playing the Bandit on a beer run. Or I guess really I was going to be the Sally Field to Peticolas’ Bandit, as he was behind the wheel of our lead vehicle. No, no, no. That’s not accurate either. The beer truck led our convoy out of town — before things went awry on I-35, about 5 miles outside of downtown Dallas, and I was forced to abandon the mission. That’s a story for another time.
In any case, after spending a few quality hours with Peticolas, I feel that he and I became lifetime friends. So it is with much joy that I pass along the news that his brewery was named the Grand National Champion at the U.S. Open Beer Championship. Recent past winners include Ballast Point and Firestone. And this year Peticolas bested Cigar City, which is pretty cool, if you’re familiar with Cigar City. Peticolas won three gold medals and two silvers (the golds were Black Curtain Imperial Stout, Great Scot! Scottish Ale, and Velvet Hammer Imperial Red Ale).
I asked Peticolas if this was like winning the beer equivalent of an Oscar. He said that analogy works better for the Great American Beer Festival. But this is certainly an Emmy or Tony. “We have never wanted to be big,” he says. “Our goal has always been to be GREAT; an accolade like this fills us with pride and provides a sense of validation with concern to realizing that goal.”