What’s on tap for the Texas Craft Brewers Festival and the 6 beers you’ve gotta try

The 2015 Texas Craft Brewers Festival returns to Fiesta Gardens on Saturday, September 19, 2015. The state’s largest craft beer event serving beer made exclusively in Texas got even bigger this year with 65 breweries pouring around 170 brews.

Hops & Grain, Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter Culture
Hops & Grain, Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter Culture

 

There will definitely be a style of beer to suit any palate, as brewers will bring out their year-round beers, seasonals, and special beers to pour at the fest. In addition to the beers poured at each tent, there will be more than 20 special brews that will be tapped on the half hour.

To help you narrow your quest at the fest, CultureMap has selected six top beers to seek out at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Here are our picks:

Blue Owl Brewing: Spirit Animal Sour Pale Ale

Blue Owl Spirit Animal
I’ve been salivating with anticipation of the brews from Blue Owl Brewing and now we have our first chance to taste them at the Texas Craft Brewers Fest. This sour pale ale is made with a mix of GR Magnum, Crystal, Centennial, Citra, and Galaxy hops along with pale, Munich, honey, and Carahell malts. Blue Owl calls it “the marriage of sour-mashing and dry-hopping” to create a “truly unique animal.” This quenchy, low alcohol (5.1 percent), citrusy hoppy ale will be great on a hot summer afternoon and will be released at the upcoming grand opening.

Independence Brewing Co.: Reaper Madness

Independence ReaperMadness_front
Independence always brings out something interesting for the Craft Brewers Festival. Head brewer Brannon Radicke brewed a black IPA for Independence’s ninth anniversary party way back in October 2013; the beer was so popular that it was resurrected and reincarnated into Reaper Madness. A gorgeous blend of Columbus, Summit, and 07270 hops and Vienna, Carafa III, and Midnight Wheat malts give it dark and bold, piney and hoppy flavors balanced with mild biscuit and roasted-malt flavors. Its moderate alcohol of 6.1 percent won’t be crippling in the afternoon, and it’ll pair well with boudin balls from the Red’s Porch food truck at the festival.

Hops & Grain: Volumes of Oak Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter Culture
The Volumes of Oak series is all about bringing out complexity in beer with oak aging. The brewing shamans at Hops & Grain converted their delicious Baltic porter, called Porter Culture, into a lush brew with layers of chocolate, coffee, oak, tobacco, and vanilla with a velvety smooth finish by aging it in heavily charred American Oak barrels that were previously used to age bourbon whiskey. It’s made with pale and Munich malts with a touch of chocolate wheat for a smooth vanilla and coconut flavor to balance the heat of the bourbon booziness. Speaking of booziness, this one packs a punch at 9.4 percent ABV, so stick to just one 3-ounce taster of it.

Jester King Brewery: Amicis Mortis
Jester King is well known for its creative beers made with atypical ingredients. This year Jester King is bringing Amicis Mortis to the fest. It’s made in collaboration with the brewers from Brasserie Dunham in Quebec and inspired by a sweet potato, chili pepper, and coconut dish the folks at Jester King enjoy with Dunham. The unfiltered, unpasteurized, and naturally conditioned farmhouse ale is made with Zythos, Saaz, and Cascade hops along with organic pilsner and raw wheat malts fermented with a mixed culture of brewer’s yeast, native yeast, and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around the brewery. The dry, mildly tart, earthy, funky, and mildly spicy beer is versatile and food friendly. Only 2,400 750-milliliter bottles of this were released last month, and the fest is one of the few occasions where it is available outside of the Jester King tasting room.

Save the World Brewing Co.: Froctum Bonum Saison Ale
This 1-year-old philanthropic brewery is starting to show up in more locations around Austin, but it’s still one to grab at the festival. Its Saison, made with Czech Saaz, East Kent Goldings, and Perle hops and Dingemans Pale, Dingemans Cara 20, and Briess Red Wheat malts, is a refreshing example of the traditional farmhouse ale. It’s a robust and versatile ale with assertive aromas and sweet malts, zesty citrus, and peppery spices with a hint of earthiness followed by a crisp dry finish. This will go great with The Knuckle Sandwich at the Nobel Sandwich food truck at the fest. If you miss it on Saturday, it’s available in cases of 12 22-ounce bottles year-round in stores, bars, and restaurants in Austin.

Whole Foods Market Brewing CompanyNo Escape Imperial Coffee Stout
What’s that? A grocery store brewing beer? Yep! Whole Foods Market has an in-house brewmaster, David Ohmer, who will pour a massive stout, billowing with molasses, vanilla, and milk chocolate flavors. It has more than enough hops to keep it from being too sweet with a blend of Horizon, Pacific Gem hops, and pale, Special B, Carafa II, Crystal 77, and roasted barley malts to give it those rich chocolatey flavors. If the initial rush of flavors doesn’t wake you up, the blitz of coffee will: It’s made with Ethiopian Suke Quto espresso beans for a big coffee flavor. Speaking of big, this bruiser packs a 10.8-percent ABV punch.

If you are looking for the No Escape Imperial Coffee Stout, you’ll only find it in the “Whole Foods Market presents: What’s Brewing?” interview series. Austin American-Statesman drinks-writer Arianna Auber and I will each interview brewers throughout the afternoon, including Ohmer.

What’s Brewing? Interview Schedule

Moderator: Arianna Auber (Liquid Austin, Bitch Beer)

  • 1 p.m. – Chip McElroy, Live Oak Brewing
  • 1:30 p.m. – David Ohmer, Whole Foods Market Brewing with Tiffany Cunningham, Whole Foods Market talking Beer & Cheese
  • 2 p.m.  – Jeff Young & Suzy Shaffer, Blue Owl Brewing
  • 2:30 p.m. – Scott Metzger, Freetail Brewing

Moderator: Matt McGinnis (CultureMap Austin, What Are You Drinking?)

  • 3 p.m.  – David Ohmer, Whole Foods Market Brewing with Tiffany Cunningham, Whole Foods Market talking Beer & Cheese
  • 3:30 p.m.  – Marco Rodriguez, Zilker Brewing
  • 4 p.m.  – Trevor Nearburg, Uncle Billy’s Brewery
  • 4:30 p.m.  – Quynh & Dave Rathkamp, Save the World Brewing

The event starts at 11:30 am for VIP ticket holders and 2 pm for general admission and closes at 6:30 pm. VIP tickets are sold out. General admission tickets sell for $30 on the Festival site and entitle guests to admission, eight 3-ounce sampling tokens, and a tasting cup. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

This story was originally published on CultureMap and has been slightly modified for the blog.

Disclosure, my marketing communications agency, Pen & Tell Us, represents Uncle Billy’s Brewery, which is mentioned in this story.

What are you drinking?

My 5 Favorite Austin Beers at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Texas Craft Brewers Festival VolunteerOceans of beer flowed freely at the 2014 Texas Craft Brewers Festival. More than 150 types of beer were poured by 57 brewers at Fiesta Gardens. There is absolutely no way to taste all of those beers, so I took a simpleton’s approach to the beer bash this year: I tasted only what came to me in the VIP session and after that I tasted only beer that I can readily buy in Austin.

Notes on my approach:

  • VIP is the only way to go if you want to avoid the insanely long lines that come with general admission. Sure you’ll miss some of the special tappings that happen every 30 minutes going later into the day, but you will get to taste almost anything else you want without wasting all day in line.
  • It sounds counter-intuitive to drink Austin based beers when the whole state is coming to Austin. Why the hell not taste what I can’t get normally? Yes I drank other beers, but when I needed to actually seek a beer, I wanted to know that if I like it, I can buy it again after the fest. This wasn’t an exercise in total exploration.

Here are my five favorite Austin beers poured at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival:

Austin Beerworks, Sptunik

Austin Beerworks SputnikThis Russian imperial coffee oatmeal stout is as smooth as any oatmeal stout you’ll encounter with a bit of an edge from coffee from Cuvée Coffee Roasting Company. It wasn’t listed in the official program, but poured during the VIP session. This isn’t one of Austin Beerworks regular line up, but you can get it on tap around town seasonally.

 Hops & Grain Brewing, Double IPA 

Hops & Grain Double IPAThis bad boy was not listed on the official program, but was poured at the Hops & Grain booth along-side its Greenhouse IPA. Richer in color, with a bolder citrus and herbal punch, this 2X IPA cut through any beer lingering on the palate from a previous pour. I’d love to see this released in a can in the Greenhouse series.

Independence Brewing Co. Prickly Pear Stash IPA Firkin 

Amy Cartwright digs on the Stash IPA prickly pear
Amy Cartwright digs on the Stash IPA prickly pear

 

The folks at Independence spiked a batch of its Chinook hops Stash IPA with a dose of deep purple prickly pear juice made by heating, but not boiling, the luscious fruit. Neon pink, this beer stood out. It kept the familiar hoppy bite of Stash, with an added layer of melon flavor. Lots of fun.

Jester King Snörkel

Ron Extract pours a Jester King Snorkel
Ron Extract pours a Jester King Snorkel

 

This was the most interesting beer I tasted all day. The sour German Gose style beer is made with wheat, oyster mushrooms grown near the brewery and both sea salt and alderwood smoked sea salt. Funky, light and low alcohol, I could drink this stuff all afternoon. More please.

Real Ale Oktoberfest 

Erik Ogershok pours the pumpkiny goodness
Erik Ogershok pours the pumpkiny goodness

 

Real Ale made a traditional Bavarian style Oktoberfest with German malt, hops, and yeast and then spiked the bad boy with pumpkin pie spices. While it had the typical body and character of a Märzen, the pumpkin pie spice gave it an extra festive flavor without overwhelming it. Deelish.

Tell me what I missed. What were your favorites?

What are you drinking? 

 

Texas Craft Brewers Festival taps booming beer market

“This has never been seen before in Texas,” mused Tim Schwartz, president of the  Texas Craft Brewers Guild and owner/brewer at Real Ale Brewing Company, as he looked around at the 39 Texas craft brewers and a growing crowd of thirsty people at the 2013 Texas Craft Brewers Festival, held at Fiesta Gardens in Austin on September 28. He was referring not only to the growth or the Festival, with 13 new breweries participating this year — up from 28 in 2012 and 18 in 2011 — but also to the vibrant development of the industry.

“We’ve more than doubled the number of brewers coming to this festival in the past few years,” said Schwartz. “That’s because there are a lot of new breweries opening up around the state. There are more breweries in Texas now than there ever have been. The increase in the number of people who drink craft beer has been fueling that growth. We see it at Real Ale. We’ve grown by 30 percent this year and will be producing more than 50,000 barrels.”

Schwartz has data from a recent study by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild to back up his enthusiasm. According to the study, Texas craft brewers produced 42 percent more beer in 2012 than in 2011.  From the looks of the expected sellout crowd of 6,000 at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival, there are enough eager beer drinkers in the state to gulp down all of that brew.

More than 130 local beers were on tap at the festival. Intrepid beer fans sought out the breweries that were new to this year’s festival, including Armadillo Ale Works, Branchline Brewing, Brigadoon Brewery, Buffalo Bayou Brewing, Cedar Creek Brewery, Community Beer, Cycler’s Brewing, Infamous Brewing,  Karbach Brewing, Lone Pint Brewery and Stones Craft Brewing. Clay Wicker, brewer and owner of Cycler’s Brewing, hopes to take advantage of cyclists’ proclivity to down a few pints after a hot ride with his cleverly named beers.

Returning breweries brought special and seasonal beers that aren’t readily found in bars, restaurants and retail shops.Independence Brewing Co. broke out a Muggles Double Cask dry hopped with Galaxy, Live Oak Brewing Co. introduced its Smoaktoberfest, Austin Beerworks tapped its Einhorn, Hops & Grain poured its Greenhouse Baltic Porter and the always inventive Jester King Brewery dazzled with Atrial Rubicide. The biggest crowds queued up for the special tappings that happened throughout the day.

With a mind-numbing variety of beer styles — from Czech, to Belgian, to German, to Texan — there were too many fan favorites to crown one king. A few that garnered audible oohs and aahs were Adelbert’s Brewery Barrel Aged Dancin’ Monks,No Label Brewing Black Wit-O, Pedernales Brewing Lobo Oktoberfest and (512) Brewing Company Whiskey Barrel Double Pecan Porter.

Despite the oppressive humidity early in the day and the sudden downpour in the afternoon, the crowds were in good spirits, luxuriating in barrel after barrel of locally made craft brew. It’s a good time to be a Texan beer lover.

 

 

This story was first published on CultureMap.

Disclosure: I was provided a media pass to attend the Festival free of charge. 

What are you drinking? 

Fine time at Wine & Swine

Wine & SwineThis Sunday hundreds of people gathered in the sun to chow whole hog prepared in dozens of ways. The second annual Wine & Swine event hosted by the Austin Food & Wine Alliance pitted 17 chefs against each other in a competition of unrationed rashers. It was a truly Texan event with more roast meat than you can imagine and plenty to drink.

Many of the chefs stayed up all night roasting whole pigs in various ways. Of course the chefs needed high octane fuel to keep themselves awake. John Bates of Nobel Pig drank plenty of Jester King beer. Josh Watkins of the Carrilon listed a litany of drinks including tequila and vodka. Fortunately the event had plenty of drinks on hand for guests like me to enjoy.

Before we get to what I was drinking, congratulations to the chef’s who won the Greenling Fan Favorite Award. The Grand Champion went to chef Josh Watkins of The Carillon with his Cuban pork dish. In second place was chef Jason Dady of Bin 555 and Jason Dady Restaurants with his maple bourbon-glazed whole pig (I understand it was a very close finish) and third place went to Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo with his pork with smoke tomatoes and arugula.

OK, back to the drinks. I strolled about the grounds of Pioneer Farms slugging back cocktails made by David Allen, the Tipsy Texan, local beers from Hops & Grain and Jester King, cider from Argus Cidery, Texas wine from Pedarnales Cellars and rum from White Hat. Here are a few photos of the wonderful things I enjoyed while there.

This event was a hell of a lot of fun. If you missed it, make plans to go next year to pig out and drink your fill. Where else can you see well-dressed beautiful women sucking the meat off a rib bone without a care in the world?

What are you drinking?

 

Raising a glass to fight cancer, LIVESTRONG!

There is nothing light-hearted about cancer. However, even the most serious subjects deserve a serious party. Sometimes gathering like-minded souls together to fight a shared villain is the right thing to do. This weekend we hosted our third annual Mellow Yellow Benefit to raise a glass, and raise money and awareness for the LIVESTRONG Challenge for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

We set out to raise $5,000 by inviting people to attend our party and make a donation to LIVESTRONG as their ticket to entry. We asked for donations of services and food and beverages to keep our costs down and to be able to donate all proceeds to the Foundation. I am moved by the outpouring of generosity I found every time I asked. To date we have raised $6,000!

Three Texas spirits companies — Republic Tequila, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Treaty Oak Distilling Company —  gladly donated for a third year in a row. Heck, Republic Tequila also sent two beautiful bartenders and Republic Spirit Blends to set up and staff a margarita bar! They made Twisted Margaritas. Here is the recipe:

Twisted Margarita

  • 1 ½ ounces Republic Tequila
  • 1 ½ ounces Republic Jalapeño-Lime Spirit Blend
  • 1 ½ ounces Republic Prickly Pear Spirit Blend
  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice Shake and pour into a rocks glass

Josh Hare, brewer at Hops & Grain, sent over 10 cases of beer on the eve of his brewery’s first anniversary.

Ed and Susan Auler of Fall Creek Vineyards donated wine for a second year in a row and came to the party to wish us well and enjoy the fun. Miguel Lecuona of Fredericksburg Wine Road 290 was a tour de force gathering four cases of donated wine from seven Texas wineries and delivered them with a smile.

The house and yard looked glamorous and the food fast fantastic thanks to Suzanne Court Catering & Events, who hustled favors to get donations of goods and services. Our photography sponsor, Steve Rogers Photography, donated his time and talent to capture the fun in our LIVESTRONG photo booth (the well lit photo booth pictures below are from Steve and the candids are fom me). Chris Brewer from the Lance Armstrong Foundation made the photo booth look official by loaning us an amazing LIVESTRONG backdrop.
I appreciate the help of Stephen Moser spreading the word about the Mellow Yellow Benefit in the Austin Chronicle and Michael Barnes for sharing the love in the Austin American Statesman.
Much of the thanks for creating a memorable event yet again this year goes to Beautiful Wife. She was instrumental in converting our home in to a fun event venue.
Thank you to everyone who donated to the cause and who came to the event. You are making a difference in the lives of the more than 28 million people living with cancer. THANK YOU! 

Special thanks to all of our beverage sponsors:

Hops & Grain celebrates its first anniversary with eight exclusive brews

Josh Hare, Hops & GrainHops & Grain brewer Josh Hare hadn’t even started brewing his first batch of beer in time to attend the 2011 Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Now he’s in the midst of planning his first anniversary party on Sunday, Oct. 7, the day after this year’s festival, and exactly one year to the day from when the first batch of Hops & Grain beer was brewed.

It’s been quite a year for the upstart East Side brewery. Hops & Grain introduced two year-round beers in cans within four months of opening and is adding its third beer in a can called The One They Call Zoe, named for Hare’s little Papillion dog. Hare set out to brew 650 to 700 barrels in the first year, but will actually produce about 1,000 barrels.

“I’m working a lot harder than I expected.” Right now we are brewing our 26th different style of beer. We’ve done all of these styles in our three barrel green house brewing system. It’s kept the creative juices flowing,” said Hare.

His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed: Hops & Grain won a Gold Medal for its Alt-eration German Pilsner in the German Brown Ale/Dusseldorf Style Altbier category at the 2012 World Beer Cup international beer competition. “This is a huge thing to win with a style of beer that is so old and has been done well by so many German breweries,” Hare continued.

For Hops & Grain, success has spurred growth: The brewery has upgraded from manual canning to automated canning line and added tanks that will triple production capacity; they also expanded space by 1,200 feet to include a barrel cellar for temperature-controlled aging.

“Making it through the first year is a big milestone. We’re still operating as sustainably and efficiently as we can, and we’re growing. I’m proud of the whole culture at the tap room,” Hare said. “We wanted to build a cool community in a neighborhood, and we are starting to do that. It’s fun to see the neighbors coming into the tap room on Friday afternoons.”

The Hops & Grain first anniversary party will be held on Sunday, October 7 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the brewery in East Austin, where Sixth Street dead-ends at Calles Street. There will be food from the Backstage Grill, live music and 12 beers on tap, eight of which were brewed exclusively for the anniversary.

The highlight of the event will be the “Beer Mile” at 3 p.m., a four-lap running race where competitors chug a beer on every lap. Lace up your sneakers and see if you can beat Josh and Meg Hare in the final race. You have to be fast and hold down your beer until you cross the finish line. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased in the tap room or online.

Texas Craft Brewers Festival brings more than 100 locally-made beers to Fiesta Gardens

Instead of attending the same stale tailgate with unmemorable beers this weekend, trade in crap beer for craft beer at the 2012 Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Held at Fiesta Gardens on Saturday, Oct. 6, this is the place to find almost 30 Texas breweries serving more than 115 locally-made craft beers.

The festival comes at a great time for the Texas craft beer industry, which is enjoying a booming business — the Texas Craft Brewers Guild recently released a study estimating the industry could have a $5.6 billion economic impact in Texas.

Brian Swifty Peters“It’s an exciting time for the craft beer industry, and this festival is the epicenter of the industry,” says festival volunteer chairman Brian “Swifty” Peters. “The first Texas Craft Brewers Festival was held in 2003 and we only had eight brewers there. It’s really grown. This is one day that brewers from all over the state can come together and celebrate our success — it’s the single largest compilation of Texas breweries ever in one place.”

The fever for craft beer has spurred an increase in beer festivals around the state, but don’t get this one confused with the debacle that happened last spring: the Austin Beer Fest. The Texas Craft Brewers Festival is run by craft brewers for beer fans and casual beer drinkers alike.

Tim Schwartz, president of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and owner/brewer at Real Ale Brewing Company is evangelist-in-chief for Texas craft beer and takes that role seriously. “We approach the Festival with balance. In equal parts, we want to promote Texas craft beer, educate the public about beer and help the brewing community,” he says. “I’ve been brewing for 18 years. I love craft beer. I love Texas. I want to help bring craft beer to more and more people in Texas.”

Tim Schwartz, Real Ale Brewing This year’s festival will feature 10 breweries that weren’t in business — or were too new — to attend last year, including Adelbert’s Brewery, Buffalo Bayou Brewing, Deep Ellum Brewing, Guadalupe Brewing, Hops & Grain Brewing, Lakewood Brewing, Old Boxcar Brewing, Revolver Brewing, Rogness Brewing and South Austin Brewing.

Brewers new and old will bring seasonal and special beers to Fiesta Gardens. In fact, the festival may be the largest collection of unique Texas beers ever presented in one place, with more than 50 taps pouring unique beers you can’t get anywhere else. There will be a rotating schedule of ceremoniously tapping specialty or cask kegs or firkins every 30 minutes, so no matter what time you show up, you’ll find something unique.

Some of the special beers to try include Scot’s Gone Wild, a sour beer from Real Ale; Bouddha’s Brew and Whiskey Barrel Rodeo, an Imperial Oatmeal Stout brewed with chipotle pepper, smoked malt and Kopi Luwak coffee from Jester King Craft Brewery; Blood and Honey, an unfiltered American wheat ale brewed with blood orange zest and Texas honey from Revolver Brewing; Hop Dead Gorgeous, a bourbon barrel aged black IPA from Uncle Billy’s; and Bourbon Barrel Aged ALT-eration, Hop’s & Grain’saward-winning German altbier style beer aged in French oak cabernet barrels.

In addition to all of that great beer, there will be food available from Red’s Porch, The Peached Tortilla and Tough Cookie Bakery, as well as live music provided by the band Sugartrain.

NXNW Beerliner Back again this year are the wildly popular beer and food pairings, held in intimate spaces on the east side of the park. For an extra $20, guests can relax and enjoy a beer and cheese pairing hosted by John Antonelli of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, beer and food pairing by NXNW Chef Clint Bertrand in the tricked-out Beerliner or a beer and chocolate pairing from Nicole Patel of Delysia Chocolate. These sessions only have space for 80 people and will likely sell out as they did last year.

Organizers are expecting up to 5,000 people to attend the festival, which is up from 4,000 last year, thanks to the support of Real Ale Brewing Company and St. Arnold Brewing Company (the title sponsors) and Young Men’s Business League (the organizers) which have kept the festival growing. As in past years, proceeds from the festival will benefit Austin Sunshine Camps, which provides education and personal development for economically disadvantaged children.

The Texas Craft Brewers Festival takes place Saturday, Oct. 6 at Fiesta Gardens from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. (12 p.m. entry for VIP ticket holders).General Admission tickets are available for $20.00 ($25 at the door) and include a wristband and six tokens that are good for six 4-ounce beer samples tokens. VIP tickets are available for $65 and include a meet and greet brewers, a commemorative t-shirt and glass.

Insider tip: The best time to go to the festival is around 6 p.m., just as the sun starts to go down and the weather cools off. The crowd will be a bit mellower and there will still be plenty of beer.

This story previously ran on CultureMap Austin.

What are you drinking?

Hops & Grain and Live Oak Brewing introduce “Schlager”

In the mid-90’s I had a thing for Schlitz. I suppose I figured drinking it was cool like hipsters think drinking Pabst is cool today. The biggest difference is that Schlitz is easier to drink. I talked my corner wine shop into carrying 12-packs of it in cans despite their haughty objections that their customers preferred craft beer and fine wine. I even put a Schlitz beer tap in my car as the gear shifter.

It turns out I’m not the only person with an affinity for Schlitz.

This Saturday, September 15th, the good folks at Hops & Grain and Live Oak Brewing Company are throwing an East Side Brewery Backyard Party starting at noon at the Hops & Grain. The highlight of the party will  be the tapping of their latest collaboration beer, a Classic American Premium Lager they are calling Schlager. They will have some brats and dogs hot off the grill and will have the beer pong table at the ready. Entry is $5 and they warn that capacity is limited. The party will roll until the last keg runs dry.

What does this have to do with Schlitz? According to Josh Hare, the brewer at Hops & Grain, it is the inspiration for Schlager and its name. He says,”The name comes from a combination of ‘Schlitz’ and ‘Lager’ to represent the inspiration behind the beer and the American institution that is adjunct lagers.”

The inspiration for Schlager predates my mid-90’s Schlitz binge and the recipe is based on the premium American adjunct lagers of the 50’s and 60’s.  “I mean let’s be honest, they didn’t call Schlitz ‘the beer that saved Milwaukee’ for nothing.  We basically took the process and techniques from some of Americas oldest breweries and paired it with modern high-quality ingredients and technological advancements,” says Hare. Really, two of the most venerable craft brewers in Austin are trying to recreate Schlitz?!?! No Shitz!

“What were we going for? To create a beer that is everything you would expect from Schlitz with an added dose of artistry and craft.  We came up with the recipe as a statement to what craft beer can stand for.  It doesn’t have to be highly hopped and incredibly boozy to turn peoples heads and let’s face it, everyone makes a Pilsner,” says Hare.
This is the second collaborative brew from Hops & Grain. In this one, the brewers from Live Oak contributed their expertise in lager brewing and Hops & Grain foot the bill for ingredients, manpower and the brewing facilities.  Hare tells me, “The guys from Live Oak also contributed a 12 pack of Schlitz and a big bucket of fried chicken, purely for inspirational purposes.”
The recipe uses 20 percent flaked corn and 80 percent Bohemian floor malted barley and 100 percent European noble hops throughout.  Hare described it as an easy drinking beer, “with a lingering bitterness letting you know that it’s more than just ‘triple hops brewed’.”
If you want to taste it to see how good a the Schlitz remix is, you better get to the Backyard Party this Saturday because they plan to serve all of it there and won’t be selling any of it around town.  Who knows, maybe they will do it again.

Release party for Austin Beer Guide Summer 2012 issue set for June 28

Summer 2012 cover art by Michael Sieben

Do you need an excuse to drink beer this week? Got one. The beer-swilling potty-mouths that put together the stellar Austin Beer Guide are throwing a release party for the Summer 2012 issue at 7pm on Thursday, June 28, 2012 on the patio of Billy’s on Burnet, 2105 Hancock Drive.

Whether you are an ironic-t-shirt-wearin-over-grown-beard-sportin-yeast-strain-braggin beer geek or just someone who wants to know where to get a good beer in Austin, the Austin Beer Guide is the best source for information on the craft brew scene in Central Texas. The Summer 2012 issue explores Austin’s dive bar culture, looks into the future of packaged beer, has brewers’ opinions on wheat beer, describes the best and worst drinking holes of New Braunfels, has a profile on Austin’s newest brewery, Rogness Brewing, and has an interview with award winning brewer, Brian “Swifty” Peters of Uncle Billy’s.
The brilliant editors of Austin Beer Guide are calling the release party “PATIO-BEER-MAGEDON!”  The bash will, of course, feature a sea of casked, kegged and canned rare and special beers. Austin Beerworks will be debuting their Summer seasonal berliner weisse Eisenhorn, Hops & Grain will bring a keg of Barelywine, a first of the Volumes of Oak series, Jester King will have a cask of their Drinkin’ the Sunbeltcollaboration beer with Danish Gyspsy brewer Mikkeller and Live Oak will bring a rare, secret and unnamed cask of mystery beer.
I can’t imagine you need an additional reason to go grab a beer than the amazing line up of brews the good folks at Austin Beer Guide have lined up, but they are also throwing in free, collectible Austin Beer Guide #Brewmore or BeerTownAustin ‘Stache glasses.

What are you drinking?

 

Hops & Grain Brewery wins Gold

Hops & Grain Brewer, Josh Hare

Austin, Texas based Hops & Grain Brewery won a Gold Medal for its Alt-eration German Pilsner in the German Brown Ale/Dusseldorf Style Altbier category at the 2012 World Beer Cup international beer competition.  The competition, presented by the Brewers Association, evaluates beers from around the world and recognizes the most outstanding brewers and their beers in 95 beer-style categories.

Hops & Grain brewer, Josh Hare, is proud of his malty and classically bitter German style brown ale. “We couldn’t be happier to bring this award back to Austin. As a 6 month old brewery, and a small team of 2 brewers, we have high hopes for the attention this prestigious award will bring to the incredible craft beer scene here in our hometown of Austin. Spreading our message of sustainability and community has been our passion from day 1 and we hope that this award will bring more attention to our brand and our mission.”

World Beer Cup winners were selected by an international panel of 218 beer judges from 29 countries. This year the competition drew a field of nearly 4,000 entries from 828 breweries in 56 countries. The 2012 competition drew the largest, most international field of entrants in the history of the World Beer Cup. The World Beer Cup has been held every other year since 1996.

Congratulations Josh and Meg! I’ve got a six-pack at home ready to celebrate.

What are you drinking?