Fort Worth craft beer king Martin House Brewing has already carved out a profile as one of the DFW area's most innovative brewers, but its latest concoction truly takes the cake.
The black forest cake, that is. The braintrust at Martin House has partnered up on its newest beer release with revered bakery-cafe Swiss Pastry Shop, home to the black forest cake, one of Fort Worth's most iconic sweets for 46 years.
For now, the working title is Black Forest Cake beer, and according to Swiss Pastry Shop owner Hans Muller, it will be ready to quaff in November.
For Martin House, this is the latest in a series of beers that have spotlighted Fort Worth brands, including Melt Ice Cream and its hugely successful Pickle Beer, a collaboration with Fort Worth's Best Maid Pickles that was such a smash, it sold out instantly and only just became available again on October 22.
"When Martin House asked me, I said great — I like them a lot because they do some interesting brews," Muller says. "Aside from having another great beer, it's good for us because it can introduce us to people who might not normally run in Swiss Pastry Shop circles."
That people might not run in Swiss Pastry Shop circles seems hard to believe, given the cafe's long history in Fort Worth, where it's been earning raves and fans since Muller's father first opened it in the city's historical district in 1973. Hans has maintained its reputation, thanks to his adherence to quality, not to mention his social media savvy.
Swiss Pastry Shop serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with burgers, sandwiches, and salads. But there was no contest about what a Swiss Pastry Shop-inspired beer should be.
"It was always going to be black forest cake beer — that's what everybody thinks about when they think about Swiss Pastry Shop," Muller says.
His is not your typical black forest cake with dark chocolate cake and cherries. Instead, he makes it, as his father did before him, with layers of almond-flavored baked meringue, stacked with a whipped cream filling and chocolate shavings.
To define the flavor profile of the beer, Muller and the Martin House team conducted some "research."
"We sat down and ate some cake," Muller says. "The beer includes all the signature flavors — sweet cream, almond, and chocolate. It's going to be high alcohol, with a 10 percent ABV, and it'll be a little sweet. Martin House has done some very good beers with non-traditional beer flavors."
They already have a cool label in the works bearing an illustration of the cake, and hope to release the beer in early to mid-November.
While it will be a sweeter beer, it won't be heavy or dark.
"Our black forest cake has chocolate but it's not a dark cake," Muller says. "The idea really was, let's make a beer taste like that cake."