The Austin beer world was a buzz this summer when word leaked that award winning brewers at Uncle Billy’s, Amos Lowe and Brian “Swifty” Peters, were leaving to start their own brewery. Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. plans to open its doors in south Austin in January 2013. They will have 10 beers — like Pilsner, Pale Ale and IPA — on tap and serve hand-crafted pizza and in a music hall-style beer garden. That means Swifty won’t have to make the long drive in his Bitchin’ Camero out to the Uncle Billy’s Lake Travis location anymore.
According to Swifty, its an amicable split with plenty of notice so Uncle Billy’s can have a smooth transition. Right on cue, the Que announced a new brew master for the Barton Springs location. Michael Waters, previously the head brewer at Independence Brewing Company, will start brewing the Uncle Billy’s recipes on premise immediately. He is a fan of hoppy and Belgian-style beers like the ones currently made at Uncle Billy’s and will keep favorites on tap for now.
“I plan to carry on the beer philosophies, theories and outlook of Uncle Billy’s, hopefully continuing to make great beers while adding my signature brewer’s touch to them,” Waters said in a press release. “I’m really looking forward to having an opportunity to be more creative and make better and better beer.”
Waters, a Florida native, started his career in veterinary medicine, and brewed beer as a hobby. He was hooked on home-brewing from his very first batch of English-style pale ale. After his move to Austin in 2009, he decided to turn his home-brewing passion into a job. He started volunteering at Independence Brewing Company, then began working in the brewery’s cellar, and eventually became head brewer in 2011.
“The pride and accomplishment, the history and tradition of making beer are important. There’s a bit of prestige that comes with being a brewer,” Waters says. “It’s something I take seriously.”
Not only does Waters bring creativity and a strong resume to Uncle Billy’s, but he also brings an impressive beard. This is a huge bonus in the beer scene. I’d venture to say that his beard is even better than one Dr. Seuss could draw.
I’m looking forward to tasting some of Uncle Billy’s classics, like Hop Zombie, and new brews under Waters’ direction. Cheers to his success!