When Border Brewing opened in the Crossroads, it was the first brewery in a neighborhood that’s now as dense with brewtanks as any in America. “The neighborhood has changed so much in just seven years,” says brewer and owner Eric Martens.
At the new Border Brewing, which took over a space that had been a DIY venue down the street from Border’s original location, there’s plenty of room for people and beer—plus one of the city’s greatest patios tucked away in the back. The new space meant a new brewing system. “We got a newer system which is bigger, which is great—we make bigger batches, they last longer, and we can do a little distribution,” Martens says. “But we’re getting frustrated with not doing as many releases. We still wanted to experiment and scratch that itch.”
Enter Test Batch Thursdays. Every Thursday, Border is putting a new batch of a recipe they’ve never done before on tap. To make the beers, Border cobbled together a small system using pieces of their old system and some homebrewing equipment. That system is small—the test batches will just have enough beer for forty pints or fifty-three twelve-ounce pours.
“If we’re tapping it on Thursday, it will be gone on Thursday—you’ve gotta be here on Thursday to get it,” Martens says.
The second release was a variation on Border’s Patio Pale Ale, which substituted their traditional Cascade and Simcoe hops for hops a new supplier is bringing in from South Africa. The version of Patio Pale made with Southern Passion hops was heavy on the berry, juicy up front and dry in the finish, with the strongest currant flavor I’d ever tasted in a beer.
I’d never had a beer with South African hops before—which is the point of the project.
“We hadn’t either, which is part of the fun,” Martens says. “We’re all experiencing it together.”
Look for a Red IPA and an amber chili beer spiced with poblano peppers in the next few weeks.