Froth Brewing goes big
Topping off a coast-to-coast beer journey, a Riverside brewery is born
Eli Hale, Jesse McLaughlin, and Travis Hale
Photos by kc kratt
Name: Eli Hale
Years in the business: <1
Name: Jesse McLaughlin
Title: Co-owner and head brewer
Years in the business: 10+ brewing
Name: Travis Hale
Years in the business: <1
Froth Brewing, 700 Military Rd., Buffalo, 783-8060, frothbrewing.com
In 2017, Jesse McLaughlin returned to Western New York with a plan: bring home what he’d learned during his decade living in San Diego—a beer mecca that boasts some of the country’s best craft breweries—and open up his own shop.
It didn’t take long to connect with brothers Travis and Eli Hale, whom he’d known since childhood through mutual friends (all three grew up in Williamsville/Amherst). Over countless nights of “breaking bread and sharing beers” at Moor Pat, the trio hatched a plan that culminated in opening the six-thousand-square-foot Froth Brewing on Military Road, where Riverside, North Buffalo, and Kenmore meet.
What was your vision leading up to what ultimately became Froth?
JM: We always had envisioned a place this size, and possibly going into distribution. But it started off more as a quiet neighborhood pub-style brewery. That was the intent for Colvin and Hertel [Froth’s originally targeted site]. But we couldn’t get together on the lease.
TH: We looked at a couple other spots. I’m not going to lie, there were some “dream spots.” Then we looked here, and we started seeing this was an up-and-coming area, and this fit.
JM: It was one big, blank space. It was four brick walls and a plywood floor. We were thrilled how it came out. We got it done in eleven months. We were pretty happy about that.
How do the three of you balance the demands of owning a brewery?
JM: Teamwork, for sure. It makes it easier, with me doing the brewery operation and management side. Travis handles some marketing and stuff like that—mainly CFO kind of work. Eli helps out a lot with the management of the front of the house.
TH: The thing is, we’re all blessed. We get to come here and hang out with each other; we’re all friends, and a lot of the people who work for us are really close friends, too.
Tell me about your approach to brewing.
JM: I’ve always been into using a lot of adjuncts, which recently have become popular. It was nice to have experience with that. We use a lot of—I don’t want to say aggressive hops—hops that are pretty popular. A lot of New Zealand and Australian varieties. They’re very different than the old Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook varieties. We always try to be creative with our hop styles, and the adjuncts we use. From nuts, to puree, to honey, to sea salt.
TH: Candied lemon peel. That’s my favorite.
How do you make Froth’s beer stand out?
JM: Always be creative and always do your own thing. Try to give people something that they haven’t had before, which gets tougher every day, obviously, as more craft breweries open.
TH: That’s kind of what we push: get people in who aren’t necessarily into a style. Have them try it out, and it’s a different experience than they may have had previously.
What does the future hold for Froth?
JM: We don’t want to rush into things. We’re huge on our quality of product. If the demand’s there, that’s incredible, but we also don’t want to sacrifice the quality of our product. We’re hopefully going to start distributing soon. But we’re trying to have slow, steady growth and to keep that quality where we want it at the end of the day.