Pennsylvania’s Weyerbacher Brewing Company is one of the beer world’s sadder stories. Launched in 1995, Weyerbacher was making some of the best beers in the country during craft brewing’s first major surge—but earlier this year, as sales growth in the beer industry slowed while the number of breweries continued to rapidly increase, Weyerbacher filed for bankruptcy, struggling to find its niche in the current market. However, the brand has kept on kicking—and they’ve apparently come up with a pretty novel plan to help turn a profit again… making beers with White Castle.
Weyerbacher’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Lampe recently told the beer industry site Brewbound that his brand has already tested out a brew with the fast food slider chain and that they’re looking to bring it to as many as 400 White Castle locations across 13 states. Though the beer doesn’t have a name yet, they’ll apparently be kicking things off with a typically easy-drinking ale-lager hybrid style known as a kolsch. “We did a pilot brew for them, a kolsch that they loved, so that’s gonna be the first beer,” Lampe was quoted as saying. “It goes well with burgers.”
According to the beer rating app Untappd, Weyerbacher was piloting two suspiciously-named kolschs earlier this year: “Slider Beer” in May and “Crave Nation” in August. Though the beers only have eight ratings on the app in total, the feedback was positive. “Solid beer. A nice light change for Weyerbacher. Slightly hoppy. Light,” wrote one user. Another exclaimed, “Super crushable kolsch!”
Meanwhile, though White Castle Vice President Jamie Richardson wasn’t able to delve into to many details, he did tell me via email that a beer was in the works. “As we prepare to celebrate our 100th birthday in 2021, we are in the midst of planning lots of fun initiatives and surprises,” he wrote. “It’s too early for us to comment on any specifics about how widely available a White Castle inspired beer might be in our restaurants, but we’re enjoying the creative process we’re working on right now in real time.”
Beyond serving the beer at White Castle restaurants, Weyerbacher is also reportedly hoping to sell the beer in grocery stores that stock frozen White Castle products and eventually collaborate on several beers with the burger chain. The brewery is even predicting that its forthcoming White Castle collaboration could make up about 20 percent of its 30,000 barrel capacity next year. If you like beer and White Castle, sounds like 2020 could end up being the year of your dreams.
Currently, both White Castle and Weyerbacher coexist in seven states: New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Lampe told Brewbound that the brewery would have to expand its distribution area to reach the rest of White Castle’s locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, and, coming next month, Arizona.
Food & Wine reached out to Weyerbacher for confirmation on this collaboration, but have yet to receive a response.