“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
–Plato, “The Republic”
“He was a wise man who invented beer.”
It is a heck of a time to be drinking beer in Texas, and specifically in central Texas. It seems you can’t swing a cat without hitting a new brewery, and I look forward to the excitement of trying the first fruits — or grains — of a lot of people’s big dreams. For its population, Texas is terribly undercapitalized in terms of beer brewing; one statistic I have heard quoted says that Texas is forty-seventh in the US in gallons of beer brewed per capita. This month, let’s take a look at some hearty souls who have put up their lives, their fortunes, and their mash recipes to attempt to raise our rank.
Firstly, I’d like you to meet the guys at Jester King. Jester King is open and producing beer; they’re out on Fitzhugh Road on the southwest side of Austin, and they make delicious beer. I currently have Black Metal, their Imperial Stout, and Wytchmaker, their Rye IPA, in stock here at the Galleria. Both are excellent. I look forward to the first bottling of their Commercial Suicide Dark Mild — I’m a sucker for milds, an English style low on alcohol but long on taste, so you can enjoy them as long as you’d like. They are also working on farmhouse ales, which are great styles for the Texas heat.
Any day now, the folks at Austin Beerworks will be releasing their craft brews in cans for the thirsty central Texas multitudes. Their initial offering will include beers like Pearl-Snap, a German-style pilsner, and Black Thunder, a German schwarzbier or black lager. They will also have an IPA and APA that will soon be available. Check them out on Facebook, or check out their website at austinbeerworks.com.
Finally, not all great new Texas beer is made in Austin. Our friends down in San Antonio at Ranger Creek Brewing are bottling beer now, and more is on the way. Their current bottled offering is La Bestia Aimable, a Belgian strong ale with Texas honey. Soon, they’ll have their Mesquite-Smoked Porter out, and I really hope at some point they bottle their Oatmeal Pale Ale, which I have loved since I had it at Opal Divine’s.
In the past there have been only a few bright spots on the Texas beer map. But before you know it, we’ll be swimming in good, local beer. I, for one, think it’s about time.
Until next month, keep your head up, your lace delicate, your malt toasty, and your hops snappy.