The last time I visited a few weeks after their June opening, Black Snout Brewhouse only had one of their own beers on tap. They reported selling out quickly because they have a small system. Owner Josh James said they are consistently keeping at least five on tap now. They do still have a few guest taps to round out the offerings, but he said that he tries not to repeat styles. For instance, he has his own black IPA on now, so none of his guest taps are a black IPA.
I asked Josh about their first few months and he said there has been a big learning curve. Josh and his wife Natasha are doing everything themselves, including the marketing. They both told me they did not realize how difficult event planning would be; especially, Josh said, booking music.
One of the other things they found out is it tends to be a neighborhood place and the regulars wanted some bar snacks. Everyone asked for them, especially people who are watching sports there while they have some beer. So, a couple of months ago, they added small snacks like chips and salsa, pub mix, and peanut butter pretzels.
They also work with the Mario’s Pizzeria and Ristorante’s location that is in the same shopping center. Mario’s is doing some bar food such as wings and onion rings in addition to their pizza and pasta menu. Customers can walk a few steps and pick up food or have it delivered to eat in the brewery.
Black Snout has been open less than half a year, but there are already some future plans in the works. They are looking at opening a patio in back and adding a space back there that they can do some grilling. Josh said he wants it to have a tailgating feel, which I told him is appropriate since they are dog-themed, but also sports-themed. They are dog friendly, hence the name and logo, so they want to add even more aspects to that with the patio.
Josh said he also wants to start entering some local competitions (it is hard to do larger competitions with a 1-barrel system) and smaller festivals. He would also like to do some collaboration brewing. He may try his hand at some ciders in the future, too.
Josh said he tends to get an older crowd from the surrounding area, and they may not necessarily have a serious, committed relationship with craft beer (OK, I confess those are my words). I asked Josh which of his beers he suggests when he gets the customer who wanders in and says, “I only normally drink <insert macro beer name here>.” He said he gives them a sample of his S.M.A.S.H. I tried it and it is pretty mellow and smooth. According to Josh, he uses Maris Otter malt and Eldorado hops. He usually has a local lager available on tap as well.
I tried all five beers and ended up getting a Kona Coconut Porter. I was told the customers will not let him run out of that now, so he really has to keep up with it. While it was on the sweeter side for me, I drank it easily and really enjoyed this beer. One thing to note, they had one of the most unusual beers I have had in a long time. They did it for Halloween and it was a hit for them: Green Goblin IPA. It is a green apple gummy bear IPA. Seriously. There may still be a little left on tap for those adventurous types.
Finally, this Saturday, Black Snout will be hosting an event called “Hops and Pop-Up Shops.” According to the flyer they will have live music, local artisans, vendors, and prizes. Black Snout Brewhouse is located in a shopping center on the southeast corner of Menaul and Juan Tabo at 11500 Menaul Blvd. NE, Suite M2. Head on over and drink beer while you shop. After all, it really is the very best way to shop.
Let the holidays begin!