Monday, January 3, 2011

Out With the New, In With the Old.

The Public House Brewing Company in Rolla, Missouri, chose to go with a "soft opening" on Thursday, December 16, give or take a pre-party or two. Josh and Josh went the soft route--in other words, with no promotion or advertising--as a way to ease their business into the community. The idea is to open the doors, see who shows up, and iron out problems as they arise without much embarrassment.

Here is what happened: They ran out of beer in less than a week.

Thanks to word of mouth, about 100 people showed up the first day. The next day, most of those same people showed with five friends. And so on.

I've been talking about this brewery because of its emphasis on session beers, which is sadly almost unique in the U.S. these days. Public House's early success suggests, at least for this corner of the Ozarks, that their approach has great merit. (It also suggests that the Two Joshes might want to consider expanding their tank capacity.)

So far Public House is making a Kölsch, a mild, a hoppy pale ale, and a stout. All were drinkable but the real winner for me was that toasted-bready, dryish, full-flavored mild weighing in at 2.5% strength. It might get darker than its current pale-amber look (second row from the back in the photo), but I dig the recognition that a mild should be much more than a stout's mini-me. And it comes in different colors. Just ask Ron.

Running out of product was no disaster for the Joshes, thanks to a clever guest tap policy with strength in Missouri-made craft beers. Thus they brought in some Tin Mill Doppelbock from Hermann to back up the Kölsch they released at midnight on New Year's Eve.

The Public House is at 600 North Rolla Street, just a few minutes off the Interstate. Consider a visit next time you're cruising Route 66 or flying down I-44. They promise they'll have enough beer for you.

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