.FloraLuna and Crooked Goat Partner on Hard Seltzer Project

Bubble, bubble toil and trouble—something wickedly delicious this way comes!

That’s right, Petaluma’s most powerful alchemist, Phaedra Achor, has paired up with Crooked Goat Brewing to turn water into liquid gold. With the help of friends, some—alleged—sorcery and the bitters and syrups from Achor’s FloraLuna Apothecary & Trading Co., the North Bay is about to experience the unveiling of a new and enchanting alcoholic beverage: the most topical, tropical hard seltzer to sip this summer.

This seasonal seltzer has sugar, spice and, as one might probably expect, everything nice. Pineapple and tangerine serve as the primary ingredients that help to create a fruit-forward flavor that is then supported with a careful selection of alchemist-approved bitters and syrups.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

“We thought a tropical island-themed drink for summer sounded perfect,” Achor said. “And so we started looking at warm spices and tropical fruits and decided pineapple and tangerine would go well with my cardamom-and-clove syrup, combined with cayenne and ginger bitters. Together, they have a really cool and subtle spice aroma that rounds out and melds all of the other flavors together to create this amazing complexity and backbone.”

GRADS An archival photo of Phaedra Achor and Jessica Novak-Tiemann—wife of Crooked Goat partner Scott Tiemann—who have been part of the same sisterhood group since age 14. They graduated from Petaluma High School together in 1992.

Achor’s own cocktail lounge is unique in that everything served within the establishment is entirely alcohol-free, which makes this news of collaboration with Crooked Goat Brewing … extra intoxicating. But the drink’s true charm can be found in the extra pinch of magic that comes from the friendship, camaraderie and community collaboration behind this bubbly beverage.

“You can be really creative with making seltzer,” said head brewer at Crooked Goat Brewing, Rich Jeter. “I was thinking of doing something on the tropical side, and Phaedra came to the brewery with a bunch of bitters and syrups, and we basically poured a seltzer on tap and added some various stuff to decide what tastes good. And it turned out really well, essentially a tropical Mai Tai.”

Jeter has been with Crooked Goat Brewing since 2016 and, according to Acher, it was his creativity that catapulted the company successfully through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The process for fermenting the seltzer is, in Jeter’s words, “the easiest brew we do.” By combining sugar, hot water and yeast, and letting it sit for just a few days before dropping the temperature at the end of the fermentation process, Jeter can create the seltzer’s alcoholic base in less than a week.

Then, with a little bit of math—or arithmancy, as the more magical mathematicians might call it—the bitters and syrups and such are added for flavor and, after that, it’s as simple as setting up the seltzer to serve fresh from the tap in both Crooked Goat Brewing locations.

“I’m excited for our two local brands to come together and make something for the community,” Achor said. “And I’m excited to show the diversity of my products; that they can show up so beautifully in so many different applications.”

“Especially within the craft industry, I love it when our local businesses get together to do collabs,” said Jeter. “Everybody really supports each other up [in the North Bay], and there’s no competitive aspect or anything like that.”

This local cocktail-inspired seltzer collaboration has been brewing for quite some time—since the ’90s, to be more specific, when Achor and Jessica Novak-Tiemann, wife of Crooked Goat partner Scott Tiemann, attended high school together in Petaluma and became fast friends at age 14.

“The second connection that made this happen is knowing the head brewer for Cooked Goat, Rich Jeter,” Achor said. “He is married to Kathy Jeter, the woman I sublease my alcohol-free cocktail lounge space from. We are all great friends, and when he took over as head brewer, combined with my friendship with Jessica and the collaboration idea being discussed for a long time, we were able to move forward on the collaboration pretty quickly.”

And by quickly, Achor means a matter of weeks. In fact, it was just early July when the alchemist and brewing board gathered for their first, and last, official taste-test meeting. After that, it was a simple matter of delivering the bitters and syrups, fermenting the base and mixing it all together with enough finesse to impress any winemaker, wizard or witch.

“I’ve been trying out the new seltzer on our staff and so on, and everyone is saying that it’s the best hard seltzer that they’ve ever had,” Jeter said. “I’m expecting it’s going to be received very well. We’re probably going to run out of this first batch in just a week or two, if I’m projecting correctly. With all the flavors we have going on with Phaedra’s syrups and bitters, I can’t see [the seltzer] lasting very long.”

“Bitters … they’re the spice rack of the bar,” added Achor. “They can also be used in marinades, salad dressings, any sauces—my smoked salt-and-pepper bitters have even been used on oysters.”

“I really just have this love of alchemy and flavors and blending and creating flavors,” Achor said. “It comes from a lifetime of creating, as well as comfort in knowing I know how to bring elements together to make things taste good. I just have the ability I call ‘flavor wisdom.’”

As of Friday, July 28, both the Petaluma and Sebastopol Crooked Goat Brewing locations will carry the new summer seltzer on tap. FloraLuna Apothecary & Trading Co. sells bitters and syrups alongside to-go mocktails, infusion kits and more. Though these products are primarily sold as cocktail ingredients, they can and should be used to great effect poured over ice cream.

Future plans for the seasonal hard seltzer collaboration between FloraLuna and Crooked Goat Brewing are still in the works, though there is talk of a possible grapefruit flavor come fall. So, don’t miss out on summer’s hottest seltzer, since it’s bound to be bought out fast. Especially since there will be no canning or distribution initiative, though Crooked Goat does offer 32-oz. growlers.

Crooked Goat Brewery is open seven days a week and is located at 110 Howard St. in Petaluma and 120 Morris St. #120 in Sebastopol. FloraLuna is open Friday through Sunday and is located at 122 Kentucky St. in Petaluma. For more information, visit crookedgoatbrewing.com and floralunaapothecary.com.


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