Monday, September 9, 2013
Mike Modano will release a craft beer with local company Rabbit Hole Brewing
Get a taste at the brewery's official launch party November 15 in Denton.
JUSTIN Rabbit Hole Brewing Company has yet to open its doors, but the Justin-based establishment already hit the equivalent of a winning slap shot in the final seconds of the third period.
Former Dallas Star Mike Modano worked with the brewery’s founders to develop a signature recipe that commemorates the hockey legend’s professional achievements. The brew, dubbed Mike Modano’s 561, is a German Kolsch and will be available at the brewery’s launch party
November 15 December 6 at Oak Street Drafthouse in Denton.
“I suggested it be called '561' after the record I’m most proud of, and I insisted it be a beer that I’m proud of as well,” said Modano in a press release. He set the record for most career goals by an American NHL player, at 561.
Modano’s history with Rabbit Hole Brewing dates back to 2010, according to founder Laron Cheek. Cheek’s partners Matt Morriss and Tom Anderson were contracted to craft a recipe for a Crazy Water party using the Mineral Wells-based company’s product. Modano is also a spokesman for Crazy Water.
The brewers called the beer “503,” which was Modano’s record-setting number of goals at that time. From there, Cheek, Morriss and Anderson landed a meeting with Modano and his agent to talk endorsements.
“We told him, ‘The No. 1 thing is we want you to like the beer,’” recounted Cheek on a recent tour of the Rabbit Hole facility. “He perked up and controlled the conversation from then on.”
The trio perfected the 561 recipe to fit Modano’s preferences. They even designed an official Rabbit Hole Brewing hockey jersey embellished with the beer’s namesake player and record on the back. A limited number of jerseys will be sold for $135, Cheek said. One autographed jersey will hang in the brewery’s taproom.
A die-hard hockey fan and former Dallas Stars season ticketholder, Cheek already has one signed photograph with Modano hanging in his office. He said entering a partnership with one of his heroes has been surreal and a test to the business side of his brain.
“My big problem is I’m still a fan boy,” Cheek laughed.
A high profile endorsement isn’t the only accreditation Rabbit Hole boasts, however. Brewers Morriss and Anderson collectively hold more than 100 awards for their homebrew. In the last two years, they garnered four first place awards at Bluebonnet Brew-off, the nation’s largest single site competition hosted in Irving. One of those recipes spawned Rabbit Hole’s second brew that will be available at the November launch, a fusion brown ale called Rapture.
Rabbit Hole Brewing is currently leasing and developing a warehouse on the industrial fringe of downtown Justin. Once completed, there will be a 20-barrel brewhouse with three 40-barrel fermenters, a small taproom, and an outdoor beer garden to accommodate up to 200 patrons. Cheek hopes to have the brewery open for tours by the first week of December.
Cheek plans to build a permanent location catty-corner to its present warehouse in the next three years. The size of that space will be determined by the business’ growth and popularity, he added.
“I don’t want us to be popular just because of Mike,” Cheek said. “But if his face gets a hockey fan to try craft beer for the first time, that’s something unique.”Follow @tineywristwatch