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Uncle Billy's and other Texas brewpubs will see positive effects from a new beer law
Uncle Billy’s Brew & Cue will be one of many Texas brewpubs that will be positively affected by the new Texas craft beer law.
Craft beer sellers in Texas are rejoicing after a bill passed that will positively influence their businesses.
Governor Rick Perry signed the Texas Craft Beer Bills, ending the 20-year battle between small brewers and wholesale distributors in Texas. The law will now grant Texas packaging breweries the right to sell their products to consumers on their premises. This means tastings and even smaller bars will pop up at Texas-based breweries. The law also allows breweries to directly sell its craft beer to wholesalers and beer distributors.
According to a press release, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Cue of Austin is immediately taking advantage of this new law. Opened in 2007, Uncle Billy’s offers award winning, handcrafted beers and slow-smoked Texas barbeque. Its signature beers use the finest barley and aromatic hops and are always served at the peak of freshness. Now, the Barton Springs-based brewpub has plans to expand production volume and expand its capacity to brand in Austin. It also intends to begin selling 16-ounce cans of its craft beer through a small distributor and kegs to on-tap Austin bars. All of these advancements will increase employment. They will also work toward fulfilling a 2012 Texas Craft Brewers Guild study finding that within one decade, the Texas craft brewing industry’s economic impact could reach $5.6 million annually.
“The effort and energy it has taken to get to this point is remarkable,” said Rick Engel, co-founder of Uncle Billy’s, “but we are enthusiastically looking forward to the growth ahead and to being able to bring the great craft beer that Uncle Billy’s has always been known for to people who want it.”
Celis Brewery: Austin’s First Craft Brewery Reborn
In the ever-expanding world of craft beer, you rarely get a second chance. Fail to gain a foothold in the marketplace, and your brewery could be sunk. Austin’s beer community is as close knit and supportive as a competitive market gets, but if you can’t stand out, you’ll quickly be forced to stand down.
These cold, hard facts make the story of Celis Brewery one for the ages. Like a phoenix reborn, Austin’s first craft brewery has risen from the ashes to reclaim its place among Austin’s beer elite. And it’s doing so with a heart for tradition, family, and old school quality.
We Spoke With BTS About “Butter” And Making Songs That StickScaachi Koul
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What: While some nights out in Austin call for a cheap pitcher of Lone Star or an ice-cold Shiner Bock, don&rsquot overlook the city&rsquos ever-growing roster of craft beers made right here in town. Austin&rsquos beer scene seems to grow by the day, actually&mdashat the time of writing, a generous handful of new breweries or brewpubs in or around Austin are in stages of development, so there will soon be even more options out there. The brews you&rsquoll most often find around town are those from keg-only, East Austin-based Live Oak Brewing Company, which, in homage to the Germans and Czechs who settled and brought beer to Central Texas in the 19th century, employs the old-world brewing styles of Central Europe Independence Brewing, doing easy-drinking, laid-back beers out of its South Austin facility and (512) Brewing Company, based in South Austin and known for inventive offerings (an excellent Pecan Porter, a brandy barrel-aged Belgian strong ale) that combine old-world English and Belgian recipes with local, domestic, and organic ingredients. (You&rsquoll also see a lot of the Real Ale Brewing Company , operating out of the Hill Country town of Blanco, about an hour west of Austin its brews, such as the popular Fireman&rsquos No. 4, are found in restaurants, bars, and shops all over Austin.)
Among the smaller, newer breweries open in the Austin area are the eco-conscious Thirsty Planet Brewing Company and Hops and Grain, the latter of which makes and sells dog biscuits with the grain left over from brewing Circle Brewing Company, strict followers of the German purity law and the farmhouse-style Jester King Craft Brewery, based in Austin&rsquos Hill Country outskirts. Then there is South Austin Brewery, doing lots of strong Belgian-style ales, and Twisted X Brewing Company, focusing on (very Austin-appropriate) Tex-Mex brews&mdashMexican-style lagers, for instance, with a Texas twist (like jalapeños or agave nectar)&mdashand probably at least 10 more breweries we haven&rsquot heard about yet.
Where: So, where to sample this bounty of local brews? Since we like to try multiple beers in one shot, we headed straight to the excellent Ginger Man ( 301 Lavaca St., map) , the downtown Austin member of a Texas &ldquofamily&rdquo of pubs with a truly awesome craft beer selection that includes many regionals. Pictured (from left) is the smooth and creamy oatmeal stout from Independence the light, refreshing (512) Wit and Live Oak&rsquos winter seasonal, Primus, a rich and roasty unfiltered Weizen beer. The Ginger Man also (usually) carries offerings from Jester King and Thirsty Planet, as well as Real Ale and Houston-based St. Arnold.
When: Mon-Fri, 2pm-2am Sat & Sun, 1pm-2am. Happy hour: Mon-Fri, 3pm-6pm. Bonus: The bar runs lots of good daily specials, our favorite being &ldquoTexas Tuesdays&rdquo&mdash$1 off all Texas drafts all day.
Alternatively: Visit the city&rsquos breweries, brewpubs, or other beer bars.
Austin brewery tour info: Live Oak Brewing Company ( 3301 E. 5th St. # B, map ) offers free 1.5-hour-long tours about two Sundays a month you can register for them online. Independence Brewing (3913 Todd Ln. #607, map) does popular free tours and tastings the first Saturday of every month at 1pm. (512) Brewing Company ( 407 Radam Ln., map) has two $10 tours/tastings most Saturdays check its website for the latest announcements. Thirsty Planet Brewing Company (11160 Circle Dr., map), 25 minutes west of downtown Austin, is open for tours/tastings on Saturdays 10am-2pm get tickets online. South Austin Brewing Company (415 East Saint Elmo, Unit 1D, map) offers private, $15 tours by appointment only, as well as fun &ldquoGroovy Sunday&rdquo events with local music and food trucks check the website for the schedule.
Austin brewpubs & beer bars: Among the city&rsquos brewpubs are Uncle Billy&rsquos Brew and Que (two locations including 1530 Barton Springs Rd., map), where a few regional taps, bottles, and cans join the six handcrafted in-house beers and all pints are $2.50 on Tuesdays the Draught House Pub & Brewery (4112 Medical Parkway, map), serving three house beers, lots of locals, and a great domestic craft list and North by Northwest Brewing (10010 Capital of TX Hwy N, map), which also runs a fun beer school. (The latter two are about 15 minutes north of downtown Austin.)
Take a spirited Texas Hill Country tour
The Texas Hill Country simply begs for touring of the liquid variety these days.
The reach of rocky, rolling land spreading westward from Austin and San Antonio is enjoying stunning growth in a diverse assortment of adult beverage makers. Grab your favorite designated driver and head for the hills.
As you spot bluebonnets and Mexican hat along roads winding through the rising and falling rural landscape, take time to stop and taste. Here’s a six-pack of options for some of the best beer, wine and spirits that Texas crafters have to offer.
June Naylor is a Fort Worth freelance writer.
Deep Eddy Vodka, Dripping Springs
The lowdown: Launched in Austin in 2010 to an instant and enormous popularity, the distillery moved last fall to a 30,000-square-foot facility just west of Austin in Dripping Springs. There's no industrial feel to the place rather, the architecture blends into the landscape with a comfortable design of rock, wood and metals natural to the surroundings.
Favorite tastes: Deep Eddy tapped into the purity zeitgeist, creating vodka that's distilled 10 times in a 20-foot-tall column, delivering an unusually clean, smooth elixir. The company is noted, too, for using only natural flavorings and steering clear of high-fructose corn syrup. Newest in the signature line of infused vodkas is the Deep Eddy Lemon, joining varieties like Sweet Tea, Ruby Red and Cranberry. There's the plain Straight version, too.
Good to know: Visitors can take free tours of the striking building with its distillery facilities, then relax in the bar, which has an indoor living room and an outdoor patio-picnic table setting. The bar's drink selection includes Deep Eddy specialties like Lemon Basil Martini, Ruby Paloma and Moji-Tea. Prices are comparable to that in most lounges and bars. The store sells T-shirts, hats, posters, sunglasses and patio umbrellas.
Details: 2250 E. U.S. Highway 290, Dripping Springs. 512-994-3534. deepeddyvodka.com. Open Friday through Sunday.
Fredericksburg Brewing Co., Fredericksburg
The lowdown: Open since 1994, this brewpub claims to be Texas' oldest. The brewery, winner of medals in national and international competitions, sits smack in the middle of this popular, German-flavored hamlet's busy downtown. The brew house, restaurant and retail shop are downstairs in a beautifully restored, 1890s limestone building, while the upstairs space holds a B&B with 12 guest rooms and private bathrooms.
Favorite tastes: Among six brews on tap, the British-style Harper Valley IPA is a super-hoppy, medium-bodied, burnished-gold tart treat. In summer, the Stonewall Peach Ale, incorporating Gillespie County peaches grown down the road, is refreshing.
Good to know: The best nibbles to go with beer sampling include the Scotch egg the appetizer plate of pepperwurst, sharp cheddar and German mustard and the Reuben. Growlers are available, too.
Details: 245 E. Main St., Fredericksburg. 830-997-1646. yourbrewery.com. Open daily.
Oasis Texas Brewing Co., Austin
The lowdown: The brewery opened in May 2014 on bluffs overlooking Lake Travis, in the northwest corner of Austin. It's in the original location of Uncle Billy's Brewery and Smokehouse, which has moved.
Situated near the well-known Oasis Restaurant, the brewery is quickly gaining popularity for its line of five craft brews.
Favorite tastes: London Homesick Ale, an English-style ale and winner of a gold medal at last year's Great American Beer Festival, is a gem, but Slow Ride American Pale Ale is rapidly building an audience.
Good to know: Plan to spend at least two to three hours here, taking advantage of shopping in the Oasis village, the nice deck for sipping in the sun, live music and good food. Snacks and meals are sold on-site by Stuffed Cajun Market, serving boudin balls, frog legs, crawfish étouffée, chicken-sausage gumbo and Cajun fried pickles. Six-packs of Oasis beers are available for carry-out, too.
Details: 6550 Comanche Trail, Suite 301, Austin 512-284-9407, otxbc.com. Taproom open Thursday through Sunday.
Pedernales Cellars, Stonewall
The lowdown: About a 20-minute drive east of Fredericksburg, this winery earns its reputation as a terrific boutique winery, and the estate vineyard gets praise for using eco-friendly growing practices. Views from the winery of the surrounding Hill Country are as memorable as the wines.
Favorite tastes: Go for wines honored in the recent TexSom International Wine Awards, in which Pedernales won gold medals for its 2012 Tempranillo Reserve, 2012 Texas Tempranillo, 2012 Texas Viognier and 2014 Texas Vermentino, and silver for its 2013 GSM and 2013 Tempranillo Reserve.
Good to know: Tastings typically cost $12.95 and include samples of six to seven wines. Or, book a seated Aficionado Tasting in the Reserve Room for $25. The Aficionado Tasting is led by a sommelier and has limited seating for a more intimate experience. Cheese plates are sold in the Tasting Room, but you can bring your own picnic to enjoy on the sunny deck. Check the winery's Facebook page to find a schedule of cooking demonstrations and live music offerings.
Details: 2916 Upper Albert Road, Stonewall. 830-644-2037. pedernalescellars.com. Open daily.
Brennan Vineyards, Comanche
The lowdown: At the top of the Hill Country, about 100 miles west of Waco, this winery sits in a peaceful setting with sensational views of the countryside. Two lines are produced here, including three wines under the popular Austin Street label and nine under the premium Brennan Vineyards label. All tend to be sophisticated vintages, aged in French and American oak barrels.
Favorite tastes: Popular picks this season include winners in the 2015 TexSom International Wine Awards, such as the gold medal-winning 2012 Super Nero, Nero d'Avola (a Sicilian-style red) silver-medal 2012 Tempranillo and the bronze-medal 2013 Lily (a French-style white blend).
Good to know: Enjoy sampling wine in the tasting room found inside the McCrary House, an 1879 home that's been lovingly restored. Outside the house, the patio is a popular place to while away the afternoon. Tastings of five wines are $5 the fee is waived for patrons purchasing more than $25 in wine to take home.
Details: 802 S. Austin St., Comanche. 325-356-9100. brennanvineyards.com. Open Wednesday through Saturday.
Garrison Brothers, Hye
The lowdown: The first Texas distillery to (legally) make bourbon whiskey, Garrison Brothers sits 20 miles east of Fredericksburg, close to Stonewall. Known to be pricier than most, it's well worth the expense for those who love sipping small-batch bourbon. Since going into business in 2006, Garrison Brothers has slowly been making its goods. The first release was in 2010 and another comes out this year.
Favorite tastes: The Sit and Sip tours cost $20 on Saturday and $10 other days. There's a guided walk through the distillery, situated in vintage ranch buildings, with an explanation of the bourbon-making process, from corn to cork. Guests smell the corn cooking, taste sweet mash and visit the barrel barn to sample the limited release. (If you show up on a horse, it's free.) There's a strict no-kids rule.
Good to know: T-shirts, flasks, hats and other keepsakes are sold in the visitor cabin.
We Also Talked Austin’s Craft Beer Boom…
What do you think are some of the biggest reasons craft beer has grown so fast here and why it shows no signs of slowing?
Bryan: Under-served. Absolutely under-served. Well I guess there’s a few now, but until five years ago, there wasn’t a brewpub in south Austin except for Uncle Billy’s. And it’s still under-served. There’s nothing south of Stassney and there’s like, a hundred thousand people that live down there.
Tim: The other thing too is you’ve got particular models for the way certain businesses work and Austin is still just trying to figure out what works well, in different areas. I don’t mean this in a bad way, it’s still an immature market, it’s still young compared to plenty of other cites. Business owners are adapting, the city is adapting, and of course, the state is adapting Just takes time for all this to really ease into place.
Do you think the oftentimes restricting Texas TABC laws has held back the growth of craft beer in Austin?
Bryan: Maybe, 2013 was a big year for sure. And we’ve seen a lot of growth since then.
Tim: If you look at other states throughout the country.
Bryan: Look at New York, they have way easier laws, and then especially in the city they don’t have nearly as many breweries as we have.
Tim: But it’s also the barriers to enter are much greater there from a market standpoint and they literally went from having three brewpubs to having a dozen within two years. And that’s really fast, especially for a place where you’re not gonna find affordable rent, literally anywhere.
Bryan: Well I would say there isn’t a law that would drastically change our business anymore. Or any other brewpub in the state of Texas.
By Eric Puga, Fri., Nov. 13, 2015
It's difficult to overstate how hungry the Austin beer economy is at the moment. With nearly 50 Central Texas production breweries and brewpubs in various stages of operation, the general drinking public in Austin has been merrily plunking down the biscuits of financial posterity in order to sustain the craft beer industry for over two decades. When first-rate, Austin-area legacy acts like Live Oak, Independence, and Real Ale aren't growing their workshops to elasticize the hems on their ever-expanding market potential, new brewhouses with clever styles and polished taprooms like Blue Owl, Last Stand, and 4th Tap are dispelling the old canard that Austin's craft beer market is too saturated.
Austin is the hub of craft beer in the ascending Southwest region, an area which covers upcoming cities like Houston, Dallas, and Phoenix. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild projects the state's beer industry to grow more than 800% within the next six years, and a 2012 Brewers Association study reported that Texas' craft beer industry contributed over $2.3 billion to the state economy, surpassed only in statewide financial impact by California.
Within this micro-economy of Texas beer, few breweries dominate the regional landscape as much as Austin's Jester King and Live Oak, who produce 55% of the state's top-20-ranked beers according to Beer Advocate. The pair's noteworthy quality as well as general unavailability to those outside of Austin make them compelling brands for beer fans in other states, along with similarly inaccessible packaged stalwarts Austin Beerworks and Hops & Grain.
But despite all of its success and ingenuity and rainmaking and territorial grasp, is Austin classified as a world-class beer destination?
Well, no. Not exactly. At least not yet.
You the Real MVPs
To mollify Austinites of homicidal woe they may feel at the mere suggestion of a lack of superiority, let us first consider who the present exemplars of craft beer culture are.
Portland, Ore., and its culture of connoisseurship is the most obvious example &ndash it is not only synonymous with the practice of making superlative beer, but for having the most per capita breweries in the world. Portland is known as the American flagship for experimental brewing practices at places like Hair of the Dog and Cascade, and also for pioneering the urban American brewery experience. San Diego has benefited by simply being one of the first major cities to get on the craftwagon while adopting artisanal beer as an ingrained way of life. A hefty part of that equation is the seemingly citywide endorsement of the India pale ale as their official beer style, with industry icons like Stone, Ballast Point, Green Flash, Firestone Walker, and Alpine fueling the city with its beer of choice.
As host of the largest, and arguably most important beer festival in the United States, Denver gains much of its brewing prestige from consistent and confident, award-winning breweries like Avery and Great Divide that are themselves anchored by great taprooms. And if one is being geographically generous, the brewery options expand to nearby Odell, New Belgium, and Funkwerks.
Then there are the internationally reputed cities who framed the template for American craft beer, like Munich and Brussels. Munich aggregates the bucket lists of 6 million beer drinkers annually as the ultimate beer destination during Oktob­er­fest. Meanwhile, Brussels dotes on the irreproachable craftsmanship of its Trappist monks. At the center of Brussels' craft beer culture is perhaps the best small brewery on the planet, Brasserie Cantillon.
But possibly the most comparative example to Austin beer fanatics' lofty goal of international beer relevance is the unlikely neophyte Asheville, N.C., who was designated "Beer City, USA" by the Brewers Association for four years running &ndash 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 &ndash when craft beer culture was truly beginning to gain meaning. Asheville achieved this without a significant number of breweries, or really without any nationally regarded breweries at all. With a population under 100,000, it was a feat mostly accomplished by pure enthusiasm. That kind of spirit enticed three major western blue chips to open satellite breweries in Asheville within two years: Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Oskar Blues. But even without the spotlight of iconic American breweries setting off to Asheville, its reputation for organically grown hot spots like Wicked Weed and Green Man began to widen.
Austin's run toward the top flickered to life in 2013, with the largest legislative overhaul for craft beer which allowed for sensible, small-brewer freedoms, like increasing production caps, allowing brewpubs to sell to wholesalers, and granting production brewers the right to sell directly to their in-house consumers &ndash basic rights that have long been predominant in other beer-affectionate states.
Complications from that 2013 legislative session emerged late in the drafting process, however, as concessions were added to placate the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas, a dominant alliance of beer distributors who have exclusive rights as middlemen in the three-tier system. The bill's most noteworthy modification was that brewpubs and package breweries would no longer be able to sell their own territorial distribution rights, and instead, would fully relinquish them at no cost to the WBDT. The WBDT could then either chose to distribute the beer to retail outlets or sell those rights to other beer distributors for large profits. This anti-competitive stipulation, worthy of an Internet hoax, cost millions in revenue for some of the better-established Austin breweries. In other states, money that comes from the up-front sale of distribution rights provides necessary income to update equipment, improve facilities, and build taprooms &ndash moves that help improve their brands while expanding market reach. When the bill passed, Texas became the only state with such a restriction in place.
"First and foremost," said Josh Hare, owner/brewer of Hops & Grain Brewery in East Austin, "I think you have to have a number of things in place for a town to really cultivate a great beer culture. Really good beer is at the top of [the] list, followed by customer access to brewery tasting rooms, and transparent businesses that try to cultivate customer interaction. The biggest hurdle that we've had to overcome in achieving these things is the regulatory structure that we operate under."
Those hurdles were quickly apparent when the restrictions were put into practice. While one of the benefits of the 2013 bill was the ability for brewers to sell up to 5,000 barrels a year to their customers directly, it still remained illogically prohibited for breweries to sell their in-house beer for off-site consumption. In other words, a visitor to Hare's brewery could not legally purchase a keg for personal consumption outside the brewery. Nor could an individual legally purchase anything else to-go from the brewery, including growlers or prepackaged six-packs. Whereas this direct-to-customer transaction is very common in other states, it is restricted in Texas to the detriment of craft beer culture and statewide economic potential.
"One of the most vivid memories of my introduction to craft beer [was] in Boulder, Colorado," Hare reflects. "I walked into a brewery called Mountain Sun, sat down for dinner and beers, and then left with a growler full of beer to take home with me. There was something so pure about that experience, and I still to this day believe that there is no greater transaction in our industry than a customer being able to buy beer directly from the producer. It's why people are so drawn to farmers' markets, supporting the producer-to-consumer connection."
Currently, only brewpub license holders in Texas are able to sell beer to-go, a regulation that prompted Jester King to switch from a traditional production brewery to brewpub in 2013. "I think the quality of beer being produced locally stands up to these other cities," states Jester King Brewery co-founder Jeff Stuffings. "It's unfortunate, however, that you can go into a brewery in one of these other cities and buy beer to take home with you, but you can't do that in Texas. It puts us at a competitive disadvantage and holds back the development of craft beer in Austin." Such regulations, of course, are not in place for other alcohol industries, like wineries and distilleries, who have more influential lobbies and a longer tradition in the Texas marketplace. Further still, unlike Texas wineries, Texas breweries cannot ship their beer directly to mail-order customers.
"We love to do events with breweries, but there are so many weird beer laws out there, that working together is oftentimes very prohibitive. It is difficult to even co-market with a brewery," says Mike McKim owner of Cuvée Coffee, who last month was embattled with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission over a dispute regarding the legalities of filling canned growlers &ndash or "crowlers" &ndash from the rotating taps at his store, in violation of a Texas manufacturing law that says only beer-makers can produce cans of beer. The TABC eventually confiscated Cuvée's canning machine, much to the consternation of beer fans in Texas who wanted more options for off-site consumption.
And while each criticism of Austin's beer culture sounds banal compared to the prohibitive and joyless beer laws, there are still components of the scene at the brewery or consumer level that can be fundamentally improved.
There are few Austin-area breweries who provide the full taproom experiences of some of the more matured beer towns. Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, offers visitors a full menu, a roomy beer hall and beer garden, a sampler beer board, take-home growlers and packaged beer, and a slate of entertainment. The brewery even offers reasonable nonalcoholic options for children and designated drivers. These are not unreasonable characteristics of the modern-day taproom. Stone in San Diego, Goose Island in Chicago, Bell's in Kalamazoo, and Great Lakes in Cleveland all offer this experience.
"It's not necessarily that breweries don't want to offer [the full taproom experience] to the customer," notes Chris Troutman, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Austin Beer Guide. "But right now, it doesn't financially make sense to be open in that way on a Tuesday or Wednesday due to lack of interest. Or they can't even do it because of certain laws. Austin's taproom culture has a ways to go."
Austin's overall taproom culture has, however, generally improved since the earliest days. Breweries like Austin Beerworks, Independence, and Real Ale have transformed idle warehouse spaces into working beer mills, while Oasis, Jester King, and Last Stand have set their estates in the backdrop of the Hill Country. The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. ferments their beers behind a fully functional concert stage, and when Live Oak opens up their new East Austin brewery within the next few months, it will feature a contemporary taproom and an outdoor entertainment area.
Despite these innovations, Austin continues to lack the same accessible grouping of urban breweries that characterize entertainment districts in cities like San Francisco and Seattle that make craft beer not only a pervasive pastime, but an intrinsic part of their home turf. Forrest Clark, co-founder of Zilker Brewing Co., one of only a small handful of urban Austin breweries, agrees. "In other cities like Portland and Denver, the urban brewery model has proven successful and it's a format that consumers are excited by," he says, adding, "Our taproom allows us to engage with the local neighborhood and truly be a part of the surrounding community." But Zilker's central location is not the norm.
Several upcoming breweries in the Austin-area are debuting on the fringes of the urban core, mostly due to the city's soaring property values. The proximal disparity between taprooms makes it improbable for visitors to hit several in a day. The result is that the quality of Austin beer is not being featured as prominently or as expeditiously as it should. To add to the concern, suburban taprooms are seldomly open on the weekdays while maintaining limited weekend hours.
"Austin's brewery taprooms are very dispersed," Troutman says. "There are pockets [of grouped breweries] that are starting to get built up, and I would say it's a good thing to be closer to one another as they would benefit from each other." Troutman points to the current crop of Eastside breweries like Zilker, Hops & Grain, and Blue Owl &ndash along with the impending openings of Friends & Allies and the Brewer's Table &ndash as the cultural intermediaries for urban brewing in Austin.
"The taproom puts a face to our business and helps educate the consumer on who we really are," says Clark. "We are . a part of the daily lives of our surrounding neighborhood [and] being located within the East Sixth Street entertainment district, it allows Zilker to reach customers who might not normally make a deliberate visit to their local brewery."
The geographical sprawl of Austin breweries may make local knowledge suffer, but Austin is steadily regaining a national reputation. Austin beer was recently spotlighted during the 2015 Great American Beer Festival awards presentation in Denver last month, where four Austin-area breweries &ndash the ABGB, Adelbert's, Black Star Co-op, and (512) &ndash claimed a city record and festival-leading, four gold medals to add to its historical count. Austin's beer commendations, of course, have steadily piled up since the once-defunct but recently resurrected Celis Brewery took the highest point on the podium for their witbier in their first year.
"My dad, Pierre, was the first craft brewer in Austin when we opened the Celis Brewery in 1992," says Christine Celis, owner of the revived Celis operation. "[He] started brewing in 1966 in Hoegaarden, Belgium, when he founded Brouwerij De Kluis. The village of Hoegaarden had been known for its witbieren since the Middle Ages, but the art of brewing Belgian wheat beer had gone dormant for many years. My dad revived the white beer style of brewing, and eventually brought that to Austin."
Celis Brewing went on to win 11 additional GABF medals and two World Beer Cup medals before eventually being bought out by Miller Brewing Company, divested and sold for parts to the Michigan Brewing Company. One has to wonder if the negative effects of the takeover had a lasting impact on Austin beer tourism.
Despite all of Austin's national brewing praises, much of its local beer is still largely inaccessible to the rest of the country. Granted, keeping Austinites regularly quenched with delicious small-batch beer is an inherent complication of a niche industry, but spreading the reputation of Austin beer has proven to be its biggest challenge and greatest injustice. While better-established breweries around the country have begun to expand their brands out of market, most of Austin's brewing assets like Jester King's fruited sours, Oasis' session ales, and Live Oak's German lagers remain largely restricted to local retail outlets, regional restaurants, and dedicated beer bars. "People are not coming to Austin for beer necessarily, it's just a byproduct of visiting a really cool city," says Troutman. "There just aren't enough breweries getting their great beer out there to enhance its reputation. There aren't enough breweries acting as beer apostles and therefore, no one necessarily knows how great our beer is."
Interestingly, what Austin is becoming notable for is a highly regionalized beer style that reflects its historical German/Czech roots while bowing to the spiciness of Texas summers and Texas cuisine: the Pils­ner. These gifted little lagers appear from all angles of Austin's brewing landscape Real Ale's Hans' Pils made in the deep Hill Country, to South Austin's ABGB 2015 GABF gold-medal-winning Rocket 100, to the reigning "Official Beer of Austin," Pearl Snap Pilsner by Austin Beerworks. Similar to the way San Diego has adopted the IPA as its companion to beach culture, Austin's national notoriety is coming from an indigenous staple shaping its patio culture.
But for Austin to become ubiquitous with refreshing, easy-drinking Pilsners, it is important to spread that mindset to our own pubs, taverns, and sports bars where industrialized light lagers by Budweiser, Miller, and Coors have long since tenured. While craft beer has had probationary success in these environments, it is mostly viewed as an excessively priced novelty when compared to similarly sessionable, but cheaply constructed lagers &ndash something that spreads beyond the sports bars to Austin's many festivals.
Though the Austin City Limits Music Festival appears to have relented to their demographic of young scenesters with trendy palates and cool-dads with surplus incomes by adding a craft beer tent, their primary potable sponsorship remains a big beer giant. This year in the craft beer tent, only Real Ale represented the local brewers with four options. By comparison, in 2014, Tony Yanow, co-founder of L.A.'s Golden Road Brewing, was tapped to curate a craft beer barn at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. That tap list featured a spectrum of local and regional beers, including everything from limited releases on the hour to guest brewmasters on-site.
There is movement, however, in other places around town that were once seemingly impenetrable for craft beer. The University of Texas, for example, began offering machine-brewed "lite" beer in Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium &ndash a herculean feat for the staunchly image-conscious Longhorn athletic department, but along with it came the surprising addition of local brands like Hops & Grain, Uncle Billy's, and Independence Brewing. It was a wildly successful move and an innovative way to sell Austin to a captive visiting audience.
Austin also hosts the annual Texas Craft Brewers Festival, the state's largest with an exceedingly significant Texas-only invitational. Austin is also host to several other ancillary craft beer smash-hits like Untap­ped, Zwanze Day, and Lager Jam which spotlight local and rare beers. We even have our own Beer Week.
Even though there isn't a consistent, global bread-and-circus gig like GABF in Austin quite yet, it is likely a city on the brink of luring a mega beer event as a testament to the city's growing appetite for quality craft beer and developing beer culture. Some beer fans might even suggest that the courtship between Austin's beer scene and extrinsic forces has already begun with the recent announcement of Colorado's popular Oskar Blues Brewery's satellite branch expansion to North Austin, a move that will see the company boast a full production brewery, taproom, and music venue.
Time to Grind
But other beer fans would argue that Austin would benefit most from growing its own indigenous landmark brewery &ndash an acorn that will become the oak. Some suggest that such a legacy could start with Jester King, who stylize their farmhouse beers after the unique Hill Country terroir, making quirky wild ales, fruited sours, and spontaneously fermented beers highly coveted inside and outside of the state. Troutman states that Austin is "not a whale town," and suggests that Austin doesn't get the hype that other cities do in regards to special, rare, and otherwise hotly pursued beer. "Austin beer needs to be available but unavailable," he says. "In other words, available enough to know about it, but not so available that it is easily attained." That is the blueprint for hype. And hype is the footing for international beer destination status.
Perhaps the ultimate factor in becoming a world-class beer destination is the simple, inflexible ingredient of time &ndash a second and third generation that naturally leads to a more experienced understanding of beer. Time that leads to the establishment of traditions and ultimately to historical beer prominence. Europe has centuries of entrenched brewing knowledge and beer drinking culture, making the classic brewing cities of America appear downright amateur in comparison. And yet, those American darlings still enjoy much more industry-stimulating freedoms from their state governments. Austin deals with terribly antiquated ones that have put us so far behind. While capable talent resides in Austin, that talent also needs time to mature and diversify as innovative companies like Blue Owl, the country's only all-sour-mashed brewery, and the Gold LEED-certified Black Star Brewery, the world's first brewing co-op, begin to come online. After all, four gold GABF medals suggests that Austin is a nationally competitive player in the craft beer scene and is further poised for next-level success.
"There are so many amazing Austin breweries that I don't have time to credit them all," says Tre Miner, certified cicerone and crew member at Blue Owl Brewing. "But just know this: The Austin craft beer market isn't saturated yet. There will be more, and with such a competitive scene, many are bound to be good. As for the phenomenal breweries in the area that already garner all the prestige, they're only getting better."
Posted Jun 21, 2012 17:37 by anonymous
147351 views | 56 comments
I recently just bought my own house and after getting it all decorated, I decided to have a house warming party and invite my family and friends over. We had a wonderful time. But here is the story behind the secret. My family, both sides are very well known because they have amazing careers. It's nothing for me to visit my parents and the Mayor is in the living room having a glass of wine. Also my family is very close knit. Over the past holiday season and the past few months I noticed my Uncle (Father's Brother) has been super distant toward me. All I get is a hello and a goodbye. We used to be so cool. I could talk to him about anything. I was thinking that I did or said something to piss him off because he never used to act like that. So I asked my Dad and he said that my uncle hadn't mentioned anything to him and I should just ask him. My Dad hates drama. I should have asked my Mom. So after the party I told my Uncle that I wanted to talk with him. My parents and best friends were still helping me clean. He insisted that he leave but I demanded he stay and talk about whatever was wrong. so my parents and friends decided to leave. My uncle tried to leave again and seemed to get angry when I stood in front of the door so he couldn't. He then calmed down and told me what was wrong. He told me that he was ashamed of himself because of the way he felt about me. He said that he had romantic and sexual feelings for me. He said it all started when he saw me at my cousins birthday banquet and those feeling only got stronger when we had our family reunion in Aruba and he saw me in my swimsuit. I thought that was strange because I always thought he was very handsome and sexy. He looks like a younger version of Raquel's Dad on Single Ladies. Like maybe when he was in his 40s. About a 3 years after his wife passed he started dating again. I overheard his ex telling her friend that he was amazing and so passionate in bed. I was like really, wow, my uncle? When I saw him again after that I was curious because if he made love as good as he looked, he was a badboy in a good way. I could tell he was getting nervous again and I told him it was alright because I thought he was he was handsome too and secretly I was very curious too but I never would cross that line because I knew he would have my head on a silver platter. We talked some more and when he got ready to leave we hugged and I could feel his manhood in my center. He begain touching my face and kissing my neck. He felt so good and so right I pulled away. When I looked into his eyes it breathtaking but he was had tears in his eyes. He said he was so sorry and left. I went around the house turning off the lights and when I got ready to turn off the kitchen light I noticed he left his keys. Just then he was knocking on the door. I gave him his keys and his jacket. He put his jacket on without out taking his eyes off of me. I fixed his collar and that started things up again. He stepped in the house closed the door. He kissed me again but this one was a tongue kiss. I melted like butter. Next thing I know we were coming out of our clothes. He looked amazing to be almost 50. He had muscles everywhere and his manhood was like 10 inches and thick too! I was pleasantly suprised! I led him back to the bedroom and he layed me down and begain kissing all over me. I was having sensations I never felt before and he wasn't even down there. I mean I have NEVER had my breast sucked like that before. He gave me oral sex and I came forever and ever. He had both my legs up in the air. For like an hour he just kissed me all over my body, back and front. Then he did the real thing. He laid me on my back and when he stuck the head in, I held my breath. He was so gentle and he moved like air. His skin felt like silk. He told me to relax as he went deeper and deeper. Before I knew it he had a nice stride going and I was coming like crazy. He told me to relax. His baritone in my ear just drove me more crazy as he was moaning and telling me this was far better than he imagined. It felt he was touching every inch of my body but only one hand was on my face and he was holding me tight with the other. I think it was his eyes because he never stopped looking into each others. He felt soooo good. Finally we both came together. I was amazed. He spent the night and in the morning we made love again and again and again. After we had to get ready for work when we were leaving I noticed he had gone out and parked in the garage. I know it wrong but he is like a drug to me. One hit is never enough. At Sunday Dinner at first it was a little weird seeing him because of what had happened but he was super cool. We talked and agreed we would only meet once a week and would never tell a soul. We recently celebrated our birthdays, we have the same birthday, and my aunt (my Mother's Sister) gave a us a big birthday party. We snuck away had a quickie. That night he spent the night again and he told me he was in love with me and gave me a diamond necklace. I was a little taken back so we talked and agreed that if we see other people to always use protection.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Note: This is another "draft" that I am cleaning out of my files. I originally wrote it back in November 2010
In 1977, a supplier of beer making equipment in Rochester, NY, solicited his congressman to legalize home brewing. The bill passed through the House and Senate without fanfare and was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Currently home brewing of beer is legal in 49 of the 50 states. Alabama has laws on the books that prohibit home brewing but they are rarely enforced.
Today more than 90 percent of small breweries are said to have roots in home brewing, proving how vital the bill was. So while Carter may have done little for the economy during the late '70s, he did wonders for the fruit, honey, and chocolate beers of today.
One hundred years prior to Jimmy Carter being elected, American brewer Adolphus Busch traveled to what is now The Czech Republic. He visited a small town named Žatec . The area around the small town was well known as the very best producer of Saaz hops. He had visited the area to negotiate the purchase of said hops. He eventually did acquire his source of Saaz hops from the Dreher family who owned a large tract of land known as Mecholupy (pronounced Mitch a lobe pea).
Adolphus Busch had earlier began to brew a "lager" using rice and several other grains and then filtering it through beechwood chips. In the period immediately after the American Civil War, beer was only moderately popular throughout the United States and then primarily only with recent immigrants from Germanic and or Slavic Countries. Beer was highly perishable and only had a "shelf life" of only a week or so. Because of this, most beer was produced, distributed, and consumed locally.
In 1896 Aldolphus Busch began producing a beer by the name of Michelob (in honor of his source of Saaz hops). It was called " a draught beer for connoisseurs ". In 1961, Anheuser-Busch produced a version of Michelob which allowed legal shipment of the beer across state lines. Bottled beer began to be shipped soon after, and the brand was introduced in cans in 1966. Bottled Michelob was originally sold in a uniquely-shaped bottle named the teardrop bottle because it resembled a water droplet. The bottle designers wanted a unique bottle that would be recognizable in dimly lit pubs.
Michelob quickly became the "premium" beer of choice. It joined Budweiser as a flagship beer of Anheuser Busch.
Several months ago, I watched the CBS Evening News and I saw where President Jimmy Carter had delivered a former prisoner from North Korea. I voted for Jimmy Carter back in 1976. I truly admire him. Ok, I admit he was not that great of a president. His four year term as president will go down as pretty abysmal except he did change the law to allow people to brew beer in their homes thus spawning craft brewing in America and that ain't such a bad thing.
Below is a breakdown of beer sales in America:
To put it all in prespective American's consume 171 billion servings of beer annually.
The number one selling beer in the world is Budweiser. The number two selling beer in the world is Budweiser Light. They are both brewed by AB-InBev.
Come on Man. I'd do it for you
NOTE: I mentioned that I would be reviewing some of my "drafts" and that I might be post a few of them in the future. This is one of them. It was originally written during the last week of 2010
I have been posting to this blog for over two years now. In many ways it certainly is not what I thought it would be and on the other hand it is. I have tried to take a lighthearted look at many things and have muddled my way through never really thinking too much as to how it played out. In a strange way, I feel that it is becoming a quasi autobiographical introspec t. From the very beginning I have attempted to avoid using actual names of people I write about. I have assigned nicknames to many of them. Most people who know me, can readily identify to whom I am writing.
With that said, let me state this as clear as I can. T his is my blog and no one else contributes to it, I have never intentionally written anything that I felt would truly be harmful to anyone, living or dead. Yes, from time to time I express my opinion and I sprinkle in some wry sarcasm. What I write I do so with tongue in cheek. I would never lie on purpose. If someone believes anything I have written is a lie, I guess there is nothing I could write here that would undo that opinion. If one does not care to believe what I write that is his or her prerogative. Although I sometimes use a bit of hyperbole, everything I have written is truthful. Sometimes you have to read what is written "between the lines". If you feel offended, betrayed or insulted then read it over again. Perhaps you did not truly understand what I was trying to say. Or perhaps, your cerebral limitations or your predetermined beliefs, interfere with your ability to truly understand what I am attempting to say.
I have always strive to give each of my postings a positive and affirming spin. I would never want anything I write here to be construed as spiteful, malicious or vengeful. In a bizarre way I write my postings with a positive light.
I am one who is not with out sin. Although I do not live in a glass house therefore I still tend to not throw stones. Those who know me know I am talk way too much and that if you give me enough time I will eventually put my foot in my mouth. Although I usually try to keep a watchful eye on what other think, I also admit that other peoples "petty feeling" matter very little to me. I am confounded that they "simply do not get it."
I think most people consider me a "good guy". I feel that my good nature does not garner me the respect of others. I do not think that I distinguish myself enough, I feel I am perceived as one who sort of goes with the flow.
As I have written before, I played baseball for the Mighty Lakeshore Baptist Bees . One of the teams we would play twice a year was the team sponsored by one of the local Catholic churches, St. John's. At each of our contests, the announcers would state who was at bat as well as who was"on deck". As a small boy child, it was sort of special to hear your name announced. One of players on St. John's had the same last name as me. Of all of the teams that we played each year, St. John's actually had a person who I was actually related to. The two were not the same person. My mother's cousin had a son who played St. John's. After each game with the cheating bastards, mother would drag me over to introduce me to her cousin and her son Bucky my third cousin. It was on one of those occasions that Bucky introduced me to his friend and teammate Bill Sullivan. I think we were either nine or ten at the time.
Several years later while attending Louisiana State University, I was assigned a new roommate. His name was Steve. Steve was from the same home town as I was and had graduated from the local Catholic High School (Jesuit). Steve and I became fast friends. He knew many of the guys I used to play football against back in high school and yes he was friends with both the aforementioned Bucky and Bill. Bucky ended up joining the Army and died in Viet Nam. Bill began attending LSU and he and I hung out a lot. He was the second youngest out of 11 children. He did not have a car and I found myself driving him around. He would show up at my room and ask me to take him somewhere. Usually I would tell him I did not want to go or I did not have time or some other excuse. He would say " Ahhh Come On Man, I'd do it for you ." Most of the time I relented. Back in Shreveport we actually had several people convinced we were actual brothers. We even won a trophy as the best Foos Ball team in town. It seemed that no matter where I went, I tended to cross paths with Bill. Eventually I began to see less and less of Bill . In 1974, the Plaintiff and I were married on August 17 at 4:00 PM in the afternoon. I learned the next day that my friend Bill Sullivan had been married at 7:00 PM later that night at the same church. St John's Catholic. On a Saturday in 1981 I along with my Aunt Mary Nell were have a winning day at the local race track. I was standing in line to redeem a winning ticket when someone directly behind me spoke into my ear. " Come on Man..I'd do it for you. ". It was my friend Bill. He was drunk as a skunk and he proceeded to tell me how much money he had lost that day. We spoke for about five minutes and made plans to get together soon. I have not seen or heard from him since.
I do not recall Bill doing one single favor for me. But I truly believe it is because I never asked him to. I am confident that he would have. He taught me that if you are truly willing to do a favor for someone, you can truly ask them to do a favor for you.
Recently I submitted a posting concerning my son in law bringing some beer back to me. I wrote it to point out the various beers I was hoping that he would retrieve for me. (which he did by the way) I detailed how I took the steps that I could to make his "favor" for me to be as painless as possible. Upon his return to Hooterville he informed me that the whole process took less than ten minutes of his time that he only drove a mile or so out of his way and the the sales rep even carried the seven six packs outside and placed them in his truck.
In the same posting I referred to an instance a year earlier wherein I had requested a former coworker to retrieve some beer from me. I mentioned that I felt that he "owed me". I pointed out that he was "too tired" to "hook me up" even though I believed it would have been very easy and convenient. I supposed it could be construed that I betrayed my "friend" as someone who was a loaf or someone who would not honor a debt and even steal money from me. I mentioned a vehicle I sold to him and I inadvertently misrepresented the actual selling price. The fact is that he did indeed pay for the vehicle (over the course of several months). I even provided him a written affidavit to attest that he had paid me in full. I actually never directly gave to him forty dollars. I had actually given the money to another employee with instructions to give the forty dollars to him along with directions to the local beer store. I never consulted with my friend and coworker concerning his willingness to acquire the beers for me. I suppose my history with the aforementioned Bill Sullivan led me to believe that my "friend" would "hook me up". I mean " I would do it for him" . Finally I want to state that the person to whom I actually gave the forty dollars to informed me after the fact, that he, not the "proposed beer mule" had my money. It was he that never gave my money back to me.
The "mention" in my posting was never intended to impune my former coworker. It was written as filler and in passing. I have since edited the posting to insure that little or any reference is made to him.
I realize that very few people actually read my blogs. One of the few that do (I realize) is the person who I had hoped would bring the beers back to me back in 2009. He now feels as if I insulted him or as he states " I placed a shank in his back ". he states that I use "my blog" to lie. I differ with him that I lied.
I sincerely hope that I have sufficiently addressed that matter. I do not intend to concern myself with it further.
Austin beer legend makes major comeback with new one-of-a-kind brewery
There’s something big brewing for the Austin craft beer scene. After years of starts, stops, and anticipation, Christine Celis is returning to her roots by opening a one-of-a-kind brewery. Introducing Flemish Fox Brewery and Craftworks, a multipurpose space sitting on 3 acres in North Austin that will soon become one of the largest breweries in the city.
If the name Celis rings a bell, it’s probably due to its status of being the first craft brewery in Austin, opening in 1992. Celis Brewery was the labor of legendary Dutch brewmaster Pierre Celis, Christine’s father, who played an integral part in the development of the city’s craft beer scene, introducing his Belgian-style witbier to the area. But after an unfortunate buyout by Miller Brewing Company, Celis Brewery shuttered — and with it went the family name.
Although the Celis brand is no longer in the family, Christine has continued to be a fixture in the craft beer world, currently serving as director of sales for Uncle Billy’s. Her daughter, Daytona, also works at Uncle Billy’s as a brewer. The pair is going into the Flemish Fox endeavor together, carrying on their combined expertise, passion for beer, and family history while also looking ahead.
“I want to think about the future,” says Christine. “About the next generations, about my daughter.”
Flemish Fox — a nod to the Celis’ Dutch background — will produce original Celis wheat beer and Belgian ales along with other brew styles in a large warehouse complex made up of four buildings. An extensive production and distribution facility, gift shop, beer garden, and a 3,800-square-foot museum will all be housed at Flemish Fox. The museum, one of the most important aspects of the brewery, will host original equipment that Pierre Celis brewed with in his hometown of Hoegaarden.
The equipment is of historical significance for many reasons. Hoegaarden, the birthplace of Belgian witbier, lost its last wheat beer brewery in 1955. But in 1965, after trying his hand at home brewing, Pierre opened his own witbier brewery. Celis beer became a huge success in Belgium, eventually relocating to Austin in the '90s. Christine is currently working on transporting the historic cast-iron open-mash tun, copper kettles, open fermenter, heat exchanger, coolship, and other equipment to Flemish Fox.
To get the community involved in this historic preservation, Flemish Fox is launching a crowdfunding campaign to help transport the equipment from Belgium to Austin. Not only will the museum house these and other original fixtures, which haven’t been used since 1979, but the mash tun and brew kettles will be put back into commission to create beers in the same style as Pierre. Just as her father revived witbier in Hoegaarden, Christine is reviving the Celis heritage in the new Flemish Fox.
“I want to continue my dad’s legacy,” she says. “I’m going to have new state-of-the-art equipment — why not showcase how my dad did it in 1965 with equipment from the early 1900s? Most people have never even seen anything like it.”
A perfect marriage between the old and the new, Christine also plans to pick back up where her and her father left off by hosting live music events, giving back to charity, and having beer enthusiasts and professionals come through to learn more about brewing, just as her father mentored so many in the craft beer industry before he passed.
“We’re doing this from the heart,” she says. “This is not for any other reason but the love of craft and continuing a legacy.”
Flemish Fox is slated to open in March/April 2017 and will join other breweries in the area including Adelbert’s and Austin Beerworks. In addition, the facility will become the Austin home for Detroit’s Atwater Brewery.
“The sky’s the limit,” she says, excited to finally get back what was lost more than 15 years ago. “The future looks really bright for a change.”