With Dog Beer, You Can (Finally) Crack Open a Cold One With Man’s Best Friend
Beer for dogs exists thanks to a pair of Houston bar owners and a few key ingredient swaps.
By Ray Vann
There are literally thousands of different dog-food formulas on the market today, but in terms of wetting their whistles, our four-legged friends currently have but one simple choice: ordinary H2O.
Well, that’s all about to change. In the summer of 2017, an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team from Houston, Texas, created Good Boy Dog Beer, which is exactly as its name suggests: a beer made just for dogs. Yes, that’s right. Dogs like beer and you can now buy it for them.
The brainchild of Megan and Steve Long, this pooch hooch is just the latest project the pair have taken on and it’s one that sort of came about by accident.
“We had the idea to make Good Boy Dog Beer when our Rottweiler, Rocky, was having trouble eating solid food,” Megan told OK Whatever. The Longs’ beloved pet suffers from food allergies and gastrointestinal problems that make it difficult for him to eat most foods available at pet stores.
Determined to find an alternative to the kibble that was causing so much trouble, the Longs looked to create an entirely liquid diet that still had all of the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep Rocky healthy and happy.
The canine-friendly beverage is made with ingredients like turmeric, ginger, and rosemary, as well as bone marrow from either chicken or pork, depending on the flavor. For vegetarian pups, there is a nut-based beverage that replaces the marrow extract with unsalted peanuts and almonds, as well as a full veggie option that utilizes carrots, apples, green beans, celery, oranges, sweet potatoes, and mint.
And no, these dog beers don't actually contain any alcohol. Megan said she just calls them "beers" because they are made using a lot of the same equipment used at breweries, but they skip the fermentation process. Being bar owners themselves, the Longs said they fell back on what they knew best and turned towards the brewing methods they had become familiar with over the years, such as using 7 BBL kettles and filter systems. Once the product is complete, they store it in a similar way to beer by keeping it in glycol wrapped 10 BBL brite tanks until its ready to can.
There’s also a few other secrets to the process of making Good Boy Dog Beer that the Longs intend to keep secret. What we do know, however, is that Good Boy skips the fermentation process and avoids the use of hops in its recipes — which are toxic to dogs — replacing it instead with other high-quality ingredients that appeal to the canine palate.
As for what dog beer tastes like, we didn’t try it, but we know that it’s less flavorful than its alcoholic predecessor.
“It doesn’t taste bad, it’s just really bland to a human,” Megan said, attributing the mellow flavor to the lack of sodium in the mix. “For dogs, the most powerful sense is their scent, so the smell of the beer is what’s most important.”
That explains all the spices they use, and each drink has its own unique, brothy aroma to draw in the pups. None of the aromas are particularly strong, which is a good thing considering that not everyone who goes to a bar wants to inhale the smell of dog food.
Already, more than 20 bars across the country are helping to make Fido’s dreams come true, serving up cans of doggie drafts with names like “IPA Lot In The Yard,” “Session…Squirrel!” and “Mailman Malt Licker.” Most establishments just pour the fake beers into doggy bowls usually reserved for water, but many of the bartenders OK Whatever spoke with also said that a lot of customers like to buy their cans to-go, too.
For humans, it’s likely the novelty aspect of being able to enjoy a refreshing drink alongside your furry friend is what’s helping make Good Boy Dog Beer a success.
“All I’ve heard is good reviews,” Rick Barron, a manager at the Around the Corner Patio Bar & Restaurant in Houston, told OK Whatever. He’s noticed customers often buy cans to take to their pups back home, and he’s even had a handful of folks who’ve been brave enough to give the drink a try themselves.
“They say it tastes like chicken broth,” he said.
Of course, there are also those motley few who have used the dog beers to prank their buddies.
“There are plenty of people who will come in, buy a bunch of beers for their friends, and then slip in a dog beer,” said Ashley Scott, a bartender at the Henderson Heights Pub in Houston where the drink is also served. “A lot of times people will play games with them, too, and the loser has to drink a dog beer.”
So where can you buy dog beer if you don’t live near a bar currently selling them? Online. For $18 you can get four cans delivered anywhere in the U.S. What’s more, a portion of each sale is donated to the Texas Humane Society, so you can feel better about yourself after buying Fido a couple of cold ones.