With drinkers today often reaching for familiar, identifiable flavors—whether that means fruit beers, flavored hard seltzers, ready-to-drink cocktails, or other concoctions—brewers increasingly have been exploring a “fourth category” of drinks not so easily identified as beer, wine, or spirits. Even when such drinks are technically beer, that’s often less important than their ability to attract and appeal to casual drinkers who are looking for something fun to try.
One brewery that’s been pushing the envelope with its flavor-first approach to beers—many of them cocktail-inspired—is Talea Beer in Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 2019 by homebrewing entrepreneurs Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland, Talea has leaned into this approach by focusing generally on easy-drinking, lower-bitterness, fruit-forward beers. That includes this Spicy Marg sour ale that the women of Talea first brewed for Women’s History Month in March this year.
Hankinson and Darland estimate that about 70 percent of their customers are women; groups of them sipping through colorful tasting flights and sharing their opinions are a common sight at Talea’s taprooms. (For much more about Talea Beer, see our Case Study in the Summer 2023 issue of the Brewing Industry Guide.)
Inspired by the spicy mezcal margarita—and featuring smoked wheat, lime, pineapple, and a kiss of habañero—they describe this beer as “smoky, bold, and tart, with just the right amount of spice.”
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%