Quick movie trivia: Which chain restaurant was the lone survivor of the Franchise Wars in the 1993 film Demolition Man?
The answer: Taco Bell. Yep, in the dystopian future of 2032, chalupas are still on the menu.
During the 2018 Tampa Bay Beer Week, Clearwater’s Grindhaus Brew Lab riffed on this delicious bit of trivia with a beer named after it. Franchise Wars, a tart berliner weisse flavored with tomatillo and jalapeño, was initially paired with a screening of the movie, and it’s since become such a favorite that it’s now the official house sour.
A spicy-savory berliner is a novel choice for a year-round flagship, but Grindhaus is that kind of place. And the beer — an intriguing, strange and ultimately satisfying brew — is certainly up to the task.
Franchise Wars drinks more than a little like a fresh Michelada, with a burst of tomatillo-driven umami to pair with a low heat from the jalapeños. The base berliner is crisp and lightly tart, with its wheaty sweetness toned down appreciably by such contrasting flavoring choices.
At 4.2-percent alcohol by volume, Franchise Wars is a little heftier than your average berliner, but it’s impressively refreshing. It’s a fine summer drink, but it’s also a perfectly solid partner to some freshly-popped popcorn and a gloriously kitschy B-movie projected on the wall next to the bar.
You’ll need to take a trip to Grindhaus Brew Lab to try Franchise Wars, where it maintains a near-constant tap presence alongside a variety of boldly flavored and experimental brews. Go in with an adventurous palate, and if you need to use the restroom at any point, make sure you ask the bartender how to use the three seashells. — Justin Grant
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