Frequent guests of Donut Shack may recall the Chop Suey apple fritter, a historical favorite amongst its visitors. The mixture of vanilla and cinnamon tastes from the pastry, along with apple cider, have combined to create a new blonde ale made by Oliver Brewing Company.
The collaborative beer, which shares its Chop Suey name with pastry, was released on Friday, June 19, with about 150 cases worth being spread across the Severna Park area. Park Tavern, Dawson's Liquors, Fishpaws Marketplace, Magothy Wine and Spirits, and other area locations will have the beer available for purchase.
“The reaction was awesome! It was exactly what we were hoping for,” said Justin Dvorkin, a partner at Oliver Brewing. “People seem to be really enjoying it.”
Dvorkin anticipates that about 90% of the Chop Suey supply will be consumed within a few miles’ radius of Park Tavern and the Donut Shack.
Discussions for a collaboration began at the start of the year, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, were put on hold. When all parties were able to gather, the decision to base the project around the Chop Suey apple fritter was made quickly.
“Pretty quickly we settled on the Chop Suey, which is an apple fritter with some other stuff in it, as a natural flavor profile to use,” said Ben Hilliard, a partner at Donut Shack.
With a rise in popularity for the pastry blonde style of beer, and with a partnership between businesses, the fit has been perfect.
“Everybody has had really great things to say,” Hilliard said. “I think everybody likes to see local community organizations working together.”
Park Tavern and the Donut Shack are located less than a mile apart from each other on opposite sides of Ritchie Highway. The brewery for Oliver Brewing Company is located at 4216 Shannon Drive in Baltimore.
Both Dvorkin and Hilliard mentioned that the two companies already have plans to collaborate on a new beer later this year, with early discussions centering around a chocolaty, coffee-style beer.
“Any kind of sense of normalcy or nostalgia that we can impart seems to go a long way these days,” Dvorkin said. “These positive memories of doughnuts and beer, Oliver Brewing Company, Donut Shack and Park Tavern hold a lot of positive association between all these things.”
Hilliard concurred, citing one of his favorite observations at Donut Shack.
“We see the kids' faces light up when they come in and they're looking through the lower glass case and see the doughnut holes,” Hilliard said. “It's a special thing to be a part of.”