It’s hard to improve on the All-Star Special (eggs over easy and hash browns scattered-smothered-covered, of course), but brewmaster Taylor Lamm and the team at Oconee Brewing Company in Greensboro, Georgia, may have figured out how to do it. On December 18, OBC will release Bacon & Kegs, its bacon-infused red ale created in collaboration with Waffle House. And while you can’t actually order the suds at your local Waffle House, beginning next month, you can stop by the brewery in downtown Greensboro for a pint on draft, a growler, or a six pack to take home.
The idea began when Waffle House opened a kiosk at what is now Truist Park, the new Atlanta Braves stadium, and announced it would—like any good baseball concession stand—sell alcohol. “We were making a coffee beer at the time and thought it would be so cool if we could serve that beer there,” Lamm says. Talks ensued, and while the initial ideas did not pan out, the two brands reconnected at the beginning to 2020 and began putting a new plan in motion.
Then came the taste test. “We tried different beer variations with flavors like maple, pecans, and vanilla,” Lamm says. “We even tried to find something along the lines of what a waffle tastes like, but that was hard to match.” They landed on bacon, infused into a hardy red ale that could balance the smoky, salty bacon flavor better than a blonde or a lager. “Right away, you get the aroma of bacon, but the flavor is not overpowering,” Lamm says. “It combines well with the malty sweetness of the red ale, plus it’s 6.5 percent alcohol, so it has guts to it.”
Local graphic designers Brock Company Creative conceived the bright yellow cans, available for purchase in six packs. “It’s a small batch,” Lamm says. “We’re only brewing a couple hundred cases—although that’s a big quantity for us.” And while COVID altered the original plans to host a party with the Waffle House food truck to toast the beer’s launch, Lamm and the team haven’t ruled out celebrating next spring or summer with a re-release or even a new beer collaboration.
In the meantime, order a waffle and some hash browns to-go and crack open a Bacon & Kegs. If it tastes like bacon, it definitely counts as breakfast, right?