House brews are an interesting creature: sometimes a major brew with a different name on it, or something a little craftier but similarly rebranded, or something brewed just for the establishment. Half the fun is trying to figure out what the beer is. Then when you ask, sometimes they’ll tell you, sometimes they won’t.
While visiting my brother down in Phoenix, we swung into Famous Dave’s for some brew and ‘cue. I’d had all the other beers on the menu, and when I asked about the Wild Hog, the server just said, “It’s kind of dark.”
(Info about this beer is pretty elusive on the interwebs. I found one site that called it “Hog Wild,” but I had checked the word order three times on our menu.)
The beer arrived a dark reddish brown, and seemed like it would be a good accompaniment to my Texas Manhandler, a sandwich chock full of brisket, smoked sausage, and pickles.
Wild Hog is fairly malty, but without any of the bitterness that comes with some types of malt. There wasn’t much, if any, hops flavor, or really any bitterness at all. It’s only lightly carbonated and smooth, and is fairly light in body for a beer that dark.
Then the guessing began. I surmised that it might be a slightly lighter version of Redhook’s ESB. My friend guessed maybe Moose Drool or Dundee Amber (which would have been a decent guess if they actually made one, but they do have a couple that are roughly similar.) My brother took the lowest-brow guess with Amber Bock. (A couple days later at the Fox and Hound, the house brew was Budweiser American Ale, an affordable and very underrated brew that isn’t as widely available as I would wish. So some places do rebrand some pretty mainstream stuff for the house.)
We asked the server if she knew what it actually was, and she went to check, and came back with an answer of Pyramid Amber. “Ah,” we said. But later I recalled that Pyramid doesn’t distribute an amber. So I’m assuming they brew this stuff just for Famous Dave’s; the chain is big enough for such a contract. In general I like Pyramid, and I like the Wild Hog. It’s a pretty good compliment to the range of barbecue sauces at the restaurant, and pairs well with red meat.
So next time you’re craving some Famous Dave’s barbecue, grab a Famous Dave’s brew, too.