I like beer and I like cats. We live in refreshingly strange times where I feel comfortable saying that my hobbies actually include beer and cats. To that end, the other day after leaving a local bar, I popped into the bodega next door and saw what looked like a pair of cat’s whiskers on a beer label peeking out among the usual wall of six-packs. I honed in on it. It was Weez. Its brewer is the Maine Beer Co. Reading the blurb on the back of the minimalist-design label, it confirmed that I’d unearthed a cat-centric brew.
It reads: “This beer is dedicated to all the stray cats out there. Our tasting room helps fund a local shelter that is dedicated to finding warm homes for every cat that comes its way. Cheers to our brewer Mark, his cat Weez, and HART [the shelter].”
When I got home, I emailed the brewer to find out more about the beer’s back story.
Mark Fulton — the mastermind behind this feline dalliance with hops — wrote back quickly and was happy to answer my cat questions. The beer’s titular kitty is a medium-to-long-haired calico/Maine Coon mix whom Mark and his wife found as a stray about five years ago.
“She was underweight, malnourished and pretty frail when we took her in to the vet for the first time,” Mark explained. “At that time, she was estimated to be around two years old. We were living in Virginia then, preparing to move to Maine to start new careers, my wife as a nurse practitioner and myself as a brewer.”
Weez’s personality — her flavor, if you will — didn’t technically inspire the taste of the beer, which defines itself as a “hoppy and roasty American IPA” and clocks in at 7.2 percent alcohol by volume. But Mark did explain why he named the brew after his cat.
“Three years ago, when I started working at Maine Beer Co., both of the owners had beers named after their children,” he said. “When I was doing test batches, I thought it would be funny to name it after my cat since I didn’t have a daughter way back then. So throughout the recipe development we called it Weez — and when the time came to go to market, the name had stuck.”
Then I then segued into the hard-hitting questions about cats drinking beer.
[Dislcaimer: The next part of the interview is strictly humor. We don’t advocate cats drinking beer. In fact, we have a post that warns against cats drinking beer or wine. This is just us being silly.]
“As far as I know, Weez hasn’t tried her beer, but then again, who knows what goes on in my house while I’m at work?” confessed Mark.
Cracking open the bottle of Weez, I offered a sip to my own cat, Mimosa. She took a hearty whiff but declined a lick. In fairness, that’s about a 70 percent approval rating from her, as there are only a few beers she shows an interest in smelling out of curiosity, let alone venturing into taste test territory. She once took a teensy lick of a bottle of Brooklyn Lager’s winter ale, which remains her beer benchmark.
After decanting the Weez beer into a glass, the on-bottle claims that it’s “a blend of hoppy and roasty” began to ring true. I’m not the biggest fan of IPAs — a style of beer that your wine-supping significant other might repeatedly insist on calling “soapy” — but there was a darker underbelly to Weez that rounded out the ripe and verdant early notes. I was about to embark on a flight of fancy about how this duality represents the finicky nature of a feline, but then I realized I’d finished the bottle and thought better of it. So I went back to the crucial issue of finding out more about pairing cats with beers.
Tapping into Mark’s area of expertise, I asked what type of beer he thought would be a good gateway drink for an inquisitive cat looking to sashay into the craft beer scene.
“Though I would never condone underage cat drinking,” he began in a responsible tone, “I’d suggest that any cat parent who enjoys Weez (the beer) would probably be interested to try our second IPA, Another One. Weez and Another One were developed side by side. Both beers share nearly the same hopping regimen, but Another One is very pale, while Weez is very dark.”
So, there you go. We’ve learned that not only is there a beer you can enjoy while helping out a cat shelter, but that IPAs are the best way to get your kitty into craft beer. These are indeed marvelous times we are sailing through.
About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.