But a vegan haven is exactly what Alternation has become. The brewery's dairy-free milk stout has exploded, with dozens of different varieties spawned from the original concept. While the recipe has evolved, the beer remains a favorite at the South Broadway brewery.
Variations of the stout have included Oreo, salted caramel, s’more, gingerbread and candy cane. Then Pleskow took the plant-based brew to another level by teaming up with other vegan businesses to create small-batch versions. Vegan Van collaborated on a bacon stout, aged on seitan bacon. Wong Way Veg helped make a bread pudding variety, Beet Box weighed in on a chocolate doughnut beer, and Meta Burger collaborated on a steak-sauce stout. Cholo Ass Vegan recently joined in for an horchata version.
An ice cream float was made by teaming up with Best One Yet, a vegan ice cream company, to go along with a java chip coffee stout. “People went crazy for it,” Pleskow says.
The brewer also delighted a local Girl Scout troop by ordering twelve cases of Thin Mint cookies for a chocolaty, minty stout.
On July 20, Alternation plans to release the latest in the nut-shake lineup: a strawberry milkshake coconut IPA, brewed with 400 pounds of strawberries. The release event will also include dessert and cheese pairings.
Pleskow says the feedback on both the lactose-free stouts and milkshake IPAs has been fantastic, by both dairy-free drinkers and non-vegans. “Both beers are super-approachable,” he says. “If it didn’t say it was vegan, you probably wouldn’t know.”