Three years in the past, Sherman’s 903 Brewing house owners Jeremy and Natalie Roberts have been in Florida at a beer competition, once they encountered a decidedly uncommon beer model from Indianapolis’s 450 North Brewing Firm. Located subsequent to the brewery’s sales space on the competition, the Robertses observed that 450 North’s line appeared continuously full of folks itching to attempt its slushy-style beers.
“We have been questioning why folks wished these beers a lot,” Roberts says. “After which we tried it and noticed how refreshing it was. We stated, ‘Look, nobody else in Texas is actually doing a slushy-style beer, and we have to.’”
Enter 903 Brewing’s fruited bitter beers — a significantly inventive line-up of brews that’s been inspiring Dallasites to drive an hour north only for a drink because the slushies made their debut final 12 months.
For folk who aren’t -familiar with the time period “slushy,” it isn’t the frozen libation that you simply is perhaps considering of. The truth is, there’s no ice concerned in any respect. At 903, “slushy” refers to a fruited bitter, which is basically what it feels like: a bitter beer, on this case, Berliner-Weisse, that’s infused with a ton of fruit puree. The result’s a beer that comes out thick, with a slushy-like consistency and significantly fruity taste profile.
Roberts describes the model as “virtually like a cocktail.” The fruits and different components, like lactose, utterly remodel the beer’s taste, so whereas a lot of 903’s slushies are constructed off the identical base, each variation is a unique expertise. Some are candy, others are mouth-puckeringly tart. Some exist in a liminal house between the 2. The transformation is so stark, actually, that even people who’re avowed bitter beer haters can discover one thing to understand in these brews.
Now, in response to Roberts, 903 is “one of many high breweries that produces the closely fruited slushy bitter ales.” It’s an enormous change of tempo for the brewery that had beforehand been famend all through the metroplex for its darkish and complicated stout beers — notably the Sasquatch, an imperial chocolate milk stout that’s brewed with lactose and cacao nibs.
Now that there’s such sturdy curiosity in 903’s slushies, Roberts is concentrated on regularly experimenting with new flavors and kinds. In April, 903 Brewers launched a smoothie-style seltzer, an try and create a gluten-free companion to the slushy beers. It was gradual to promote at first — its April 1 launch date led some folks to suppose it was a cheeky April Idiot’s joke — however onc
e folks tried the fruity seltzer, it shortly offered out.
Roberts has additionally began working with elements that don’t historically belong in sour-style beers. In certainly one of its current releases, the Raspberry Beret slushy, Roberts blended strawberry, raspberries, and blueberries with decidedly non-traditional elements like vanilla, white chocolate, and milk sugar (or lactose). Though you’re extra prone to see these latter elements in one thing like a stout, they reduce down on the tartness of a typical berry-spiked bitter, whereas lending richness and serving to to create a easy mouthfeel.
Within the midst of the slushy growth, 903 Brewers has additionally been busy making some much-needed enhancements to its operations. All through the pandemic, 903 has seen dramatically elevated demand for canned beers, a lot that Roberts says the brewery can’t sustain with the demand for its stock. Not too long ago, Roberts bought a brand new canning line from Blanco’s Real Ale Brewing, which he says will permit the brewery to quadruple its every day manufacturing, from 800 circumstances of beer per day to three,200.
Roberts can be continuously working to extend the quantity of beer that 903 can brew. He says that when the brewery began, they have been brewing 55 gallons of beer at a time. In 2014, they upgraded to a 200-gallon system, and have now ramped up much more and are brewing 1,000 gallons at a time.
“It’s downside to have,” he says. “I brew extra beer earlier than midday day-after-day than I did my complete first 12 months in enterprise.”
The truth is, whereas companies across the nation have been laying workers off throughout the pandemic, Roberts says that the gross sales of its canned brews, just like the slushy beers, have been sturdy sufficient to maintain the entire brewery’s employees employed and even allowed 903 to make new hires.
Relating to discovering 903’s slushies, the very best wager is to drive as much as Sherman. Most of those releases, just like the island-inspired Tiki Room, which is infused with coconut, passionfruit, and guava, and the raspberry-infused Raspberry Beret, can solely be present in cans on the brewery. Its taproom is crammed with slushy four-packs that may be bought to-go, whereas single cans are on provide for people who need to sip a slushy on the brewery’s spacious patio.
Individuals who can’t get to Sherman aren’t completely out of luck, although. Roughly twice a month, Roberts says that he’ll ship out some slushies — round 40 circumstances — to 903’s retailers throughout the state. The brewery additionally releases the entire slushies in kegs, however will solely ship out between six to 10 of these kegs to native distributors. So whereas it’s potential to seek out these coveted slushies on faucet at varied growler bars throughout Dallas-Fort Value, it’s not possible to attempt the complete line with no journey up north.
However Roberts says that loads of persons are making that journey, and never simply from Dallas. “We get lots of people from Dallas-Fort Value, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, but in addition Tulsa and Oklahoma Metropolis,” he says. “The crazier we get, the higher our beer will get.”