A beer battle is — pun intended — brewing between two Texas suds purveyors, one of whom claims that the other’s famed pickle beer is a total ripoff of their own creation.
In an Instagram post last week, New Braunfels Brewing Company announced the release of its latest beer, called the MRTN HSE FKR. The beer, which the brewery describes as a “spicy fruit punch pickle beer,” has a name that’s a clear jab at Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing Company, who also produces its own pickle-juice-infused ale. “Our next pickle beer that the brewery in Fort Worth is going to copy releases Memorial Day weekend,” the post reads in part. “Brewed with white wheat and blended with Texas Tito’s pickle juice, it’s then re-fermented with Mexican fruit punch soda and aged on 3 different spicy peppers.”
According to the website for New Braunfels Brewing Company, its original pickle beer came first in 2015, when the brewery collaborated with pickle producer Texas Tito’s to produce the PKL FKR. Martin House’s Sour Pickle Beer came later, in August 2019, to a great deal of fanfare. Originally intended to be a limited-time-only option, the beer proved so popular that Martin House now produces it year-round, and distributes the brew that’s made with Best Maid pickle juice across the state.
In a Facebook post announcing the beer, New Braunfels Brewing Company described it as a “tounge-in-cheek joke.” “A brewery in Fort Worth has been following right behind every pickle beer I’ve made for the last few years,” the post reads.
The brew’s label, viewable below, reads, “We first brewed PKL FKR in 2015. Martin House brewed their pickle beer in 2019. We also released a jalapeno version called HellYeah in September 2018, and a red jalapeno version in August 2019,” the label reads. “Of course, they dropped Spicy Pickle Beer in March 2020. We released PKL PNCH in February 2020 and Martin House released Tropical Punch Pickle Beer in March 2021. We brewed this so that they’d have something to copy next.”
When reached for comment, Martin House marketing director Shugg Cole said simply: “I’ve never heard of them.” New Braunfels Brewing’s Kelly Meyer disputes that claim, saying that he reached out to Martin House brewmaster Cody Martin on multiple occasions to discuss the strangely similar beers, but never heard a response.
Ultimately, though, Meyer says that this new brew is all in fun, and that there aren’t plans to pursue any kind of legal copyright claims. “Beer is one of those things that you just can’t copyright a recipe. It just doesn’t work. The only thing you can do about it is poke a little fun,” Meyer told Eater. “Our fans loved it, and I think it’s fantastic that all their fans are mad. There were some pretty terrible things said on the internet, but it did really well and the reviews have been good.”
A limited release that is only available at the taproom in New Braunfels, Meyer said on Tuesday that the brewery had about 5 or 6 cases of the MRTN HSE FKR brew left. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing it back in the future. “I don’t necessarily have a plan to go big with it, but I would definitely consider it,” Meyer says. “Some of Martin House’s taproom staff even commented on my Instagram post and suggested a collaboration. I’m completely open to that, there’s no hard feelings here.”
- How Beers Spiked With Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Pickle Juice Helped a Fort Worth Brewery Thrive During the Pandemic [EDFW]