There are a number of beer-related events in Northwest Arkansas to look forward to over the next several days. Here are three to consider:
Brewery partners with chef to create beer
Fork + Bottle: Ozark Beer Collaboration
Ozark Beer Co. recently partnered with Chef Matthew McClure from The Hive to create a new beer called Colony. The pale lager will be introduced this Wednesday night — alongside a light “Americana” menu from McClure — as a part of The Hive’s food and beverage series known as Fork + Bottle.
Fork + Bottle Menu
The release of Colony, a beer collaboration between The Hive and Ozark Beer Co., will be released March 27 alongside the following menu items:
Hive Burger Sliders – pimento cheese, tomato jam, b&b pickles on housemade potato bun
Colony Catfish – beer battered catfish with tartar sauce and lemon
Mini Corndogs – mortadella, cornmeal batter and spicy yellow mustard
French Fry Station – crispy fries, brown gravy, bacon, ketchup, yum yum sauce, cayenne honey, guajillo hot sauce
Stout Pretzel S’more – pretzel graham shortbread, Ozark Cream Stout marshmallow and chocolate drizzle
McClure said Ozark head brewer Andy Coates presented different varieties of malted barley and hops for him to consider during recipe formulation.
“In conversations with him and his brewers I articulated the different flavors I was looking for,” he said. “And then they took it and ran with it.”
The aim was a beer that will not dominate the palate. McClure was shooting for something that complements a variety of food pairings and will be approachable from everyone’s perspective.
In other words, you don’t have to be a craft beer fanatic to enjoy this beer.
“Trying to make a beer that my dad would want to drink…that was sort of the personal goal for me,” said McClure.
The beer is being described as crisp and clean with floral notes from dry-hopping. It features Hallertau Mittlefruh and Mandarina Bavaria hops, and was fermented with Danish lager yeast.
The collaboration between brewer and chef is the result of a personal friendship and an appreciation for each other’s work.
“He has brewed with some really talented people,” McClure said of Coates, who worked for Goose Island and Great Divide before landing in Northwest Arkansas. “He knows what he’s doing and has a great palate. And if something’s off, he probably knows why it happened.”
McClure said there’s no one in the local beer scene he’d rather work with on a project like this.
McClure is quite accomplished himself. The 39-year old Little Rock native studied at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and worked for a number of high-profile restaurants in Boston before returning to his home state to help open The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville. He is a six-time James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards semi-finalist.
Tickets to Fork + Bottle—which starts at 6:30 p.m. this Wednesday (March 27) — are still available and can be purchased at Eventbrite. Attendees will hear from the chef and brewers responsible for the night’s fare.
“I want it to be a celebration of two great flavor brands doing something different together,” said McClure. “Hopefully the beer is well-received.”
Little Rock and Rogers breweries celebrate the return of spring
Another ticketed beer dinner takes place at 6 p.m. this Thursday (March 28) at Local Lime in Rogers.
Brewers Grant Chandler and Dylan Yelenich of Lost Forty will be on hand, as will the brewers from New Province.
Yellow Rocket made inroads into Northwest Arkansas when it opened Big Orange in Pinnacle Hills Promenade in 2017. Local Lime opened in the promenade late last year.
Tickets to Tres Casas: A Collaborative Spring Beer Dinner cost $65 and are also available at Eventbrite.
Attendees will enjoy a four-course meal and four beers from each brewery.
Core set to reopen taproom on April 5
Core Brewing Co. recently announced the closure of several satellite pub locations in Northwest Arkansas. The news was bittersweet, as it was also revealed that the original brewery taproom will reopen after undergoing renovation.
The on-premise taproom closed in 2016, just as the brewery’s pub model started to take shape. Now the pendulum seemingly swings in the opposite direction.
“The reason for it is pretty simple,” Core president and CEO Christopher Reed told us when the news broke. “The brewery is the beating heart of our organization. It’s where everything happens, and I don’t feel the consumer gets to feel that at our public houses.”
The taproom will host grand (re-)opening festivities at 3 p.m. Friday, April 5. Regular hours of operation have not yet been announced.