Grab Some Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown While It’s Hot.
Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!
This week, we sipped on Peticolas Brewing‘s Ghost of Alfred Brown.
Fast Facts on Peticolas Brewing’s Ghost of Alfred Brown.
Style: Brown Ale/Spiced, Herb or Vegetable Beer.
ABV: 5.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 25.
Color: Deep copper.
Availability: Very Limited.
Michael Peticolas brewed his first commercial beer on December 30, 2011, and he hasn’t looked back since. Velvet Hammer, Peticolas’ flagship dance-with-the-one-who-brung-you imperial red ale, put the brewery squarely on the map as a powerhouse of Dallas beer. And, for the most part, Peticolas Brewing is turning out hot success after success with its beers.
Speaking of hot success: Have you ever had a pepper beer? Do you like spicy food? Some people enjoy spicy food but have a general mistrust of anything spicy in beer. Hey, that’s me!
For the most part, pepper beers are all about making you hate yourself. I will probably never slog my way through a six-pack of pepper beer like Ghost Face Killah. That’s what drinking buddies are for — to occasionally gift away your remaining heartburn brews.
Background on Brown Ales and Spiced, Herb or Vegetable Beer.
I admit it: I am combining these two categories together this week. I want to call Ghost of Alfred Brown a Brown Ale. And I want to call it a Spiced, Herb or Vegetable (SHV) beer as well. So let’s cover a little bit of ground on both, OK?
Let’s start with what a Brown Ale is. These beers are known for their use of dark malts and caramel-y flavors. Brown ales are a cousin to the porter style and, like porters, are flavorful, medium-bodied beers that live in the more sensible ABV range. Carbonation ranges from the lower to the higher end, but most Brown Ales are carbonated enough to help provide a bite and boost to accentuate the richness of the darker malts in the malt bill.
SHV beers, meanwhile, are usually an afterthought, a variation on the theme of some already-brewed beer. I’m sure there are a few instances where a brewery just went for it and brewed a SHV beer right away, but why not get more mileage out of a recipe that took so long to dial in? These beers should complement the base beer that they are built on and not totally overwhelm your palate with the herb, spice, vegetable, coffee or other added element. Does the word vegetable freak you out when you think about beer? Fear not, friendly imbiber. There is definitely a range of what’s considered palatable and acceptable when it comes to throwing vegetables in beer.
So where does the name Alfred Brown come from? According to Peticolas Brewing’s website, Alfred Brown is named after a Peticolas relative who practiced law in Victoria, Texas, in the 1800s. Good to know! Did you also know that Michael Peticolas is an attorney? Fun facts!
Anyway, now that we know what it is, let’s take a closer look at Ghost of Alfred Brown and ask the big question: Does this beer provide balance or is it totally overwhelmed by its vegetable addition?
Ghost of Alfred Brown pours a deep, rich copper color. Even for as dark as it is, the beer has very nice clarity. Medium lacing persists about half-way through drinking.
Ghost of Alfred Brown has a deceiving aroma. For the most part, it smells like a clean-fermented brown ale — caramel, chocolate, tobacco and a tiny hint of roast and fruitiness. And then there’s the pepper note, which seems so distant at first. Then it slowly warms in the nostrils — a truly haunting experience.
Is it too late to mention that this beer is flavored with ghost peppers? I intentionally did not mention that fact yet. Ghost of Alfred Brown is first and foremost a Brown Ale, yes. Notes of tobacco and caramel hang around for just a moment. And then the pepper takes over. Some people might taste the pepper first — hey, different tastes for different tasters — but it’s not a bad pepper situation. It’s a slow build; a lurking, haunting warmth that grows and grows. But the pepper isn’t bad. It isn’t overwhelming. It doesn’t ever completely overpower the Brown Ale base beer. And I dig that.
This is a medium-bodied beer. The carbonation is on point for the style. The pepper flavor gives this beer a nice prickly and warming feeling on the tongue.
This is Peticolas’ most limited commercial release ever. Wait, like that one time I had a glass of cask-aged Rosemary Royal Scandal at the brewery when I first met Michael Peticolas? No (#humblebrag), this is more like a one-batch type of deal. So get it while you can. I highly recommend it. For the most part, I detest pepper beers. But Ghost of Alfred Brown is one exception. I’m two beers in as I write this, and I’m feeling good! My face is hot and I don’t feel any heartburn. Is this beer better than the base beer, Alfred Brown? Dunno. That’s your call, presuming you can get your hands on any Alfred Brown to try next to some Ghost of Alfred Brown.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Peticolas Ghost of Alfred Brown a 8.5.
What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, October 30. Brew-Haha Comedy Series at Texas Ale Project.
• Saturday, October 31. Texas Bicycle & Beer Expo at Dallas Heritage Village.
• Saturday, October 31. Taproom of Terror Halloween Party (featuring tappings of Carolina Reaper Pale Ale and Pumpkin Spiced Brown Ale) at Grapevine Craft Brewery.
• Friday, November 6-15. North Texas Beer Week.
• Saturday, November 7. Operation Bravo Homebrew Competition at Shannon Brewing Co.
• Saturday, November 7. Untapped Dallas at Fair Park.
• Friday, November 13. 2nd Annual Brewer’s Ball at Renaissance Dallas Hotel.
Previous On Tap Reviews:
• Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community’s Legion: 10.
• Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
• Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
• Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
• Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
• Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
• Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
• Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
• BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
• Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
• Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
• Revolver’s Bock: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
• Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
• Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
• Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
• Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
• Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
• Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
• Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
• BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
• Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
• Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
• Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
• Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
• Martin House’s River House: 7.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
• Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
• Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
• Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
• 903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Tupps’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
• Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
• Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
• Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
• Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
• Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
• Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• Miller Lite: 1.