Tag Archives: Austin

Austin: Twenty Beers and Breweries You Won’t Want to Miss

Another edition of SXSW is upon us. If you’re from out of town, or even if you live in Austin, the plethora of excellent craft beer possibilities can make drink decisions a little daunting. But fear not. I’ve put together a list of some of my favourites so you can easily find both the finest beers and purveyors of those brews. Austin Map 1920 (WikiCommons)

Tankards, Tankards, and More Tankards

How does it all shake out? Three tankards are up for grabs, and Tempest’s Tankards has all the details on how I approach evaluating beer.

A few notes:

  • Austin is awash with some fine beverages. If one of the generally-accepted standouts is not listed here, it’s either because I haven’t gotten around to trying the beer or brewery yet, or because the beer wasn’t in season when I visited Austin, or because the beer didn’t deliver on its reputation (which is not beyond the realm of possibility).
  • If a beverage does not receive a tankard, this does not necessarily indicate that the beverage is subpar.
  • Breweries, brewpubs, taverns, or bottle shops that I particularly enjoyed find their way into these listings after the beers.If a beverage does not receive a tankard, this does not necessarily indicate that the beverage is subpar.
  • Entries with an asterisk (*) represent beverages I’ve tasted in a place other than at the brewpub or brewery, usually at a taproom.

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Tempest’s Austin Faves

One Tankard:

Jester King’s Boxer’s Revenge. This farmhouse/wild-fermented beer (aged in whiskey and wine barrels) delivers a fistful of sour caramel, allspice, and pine needles. Rich and citrusy on the palate, with a pungent mix of oak and Brett. At 10.2% ABV, watch out for this sour beer’s left hook.

*Live Oak’s Hefeweizen. A fine German-style wheat beer that walks the clove/banana tightrope, but a touch light in the mid-section. More malt richness would make this a stellar beer.

Rogness’ Tenebrous Stout. Rich but restrained, this seasonal beer brewed with raspberries offers a harmonious integration of fruit, malt, and yeast character.

*Real Ale’s Hans’ Pils. Clean, crisp, and dry. An austere northern German-style Pils with that characteristic bitter hop note the Germans call “herb,” which combines dry, bitter, astringent, herbal, and spicy into one difficult-to-translate flavour/sensation package.IMG_9550

Pinthouse Pizza’s Bearded Seal is a dry Irish stout that’s a bit potent for the style (6.1% ABV). But that’s AOK because this smooth beverage would make the perfect Sunday morning pick-me-up. Expect a deft aromatic blend of freshly-roasted coffee beans, espresso, and café au lait.

Uncle Billy’s Humbucker Helles. A Munich Helles featuring bready malts with a mild toast accent. Rich and full-bodied, with soft notes of citrus and grassy hops rounding out toasty and fine-grained malt.

Flix Brewhouse’s Brambler Sour is barrel-aged for fifteen months, and blackberry purée is added prior to kegging. Broadly in the Flemish red style, this beer is redolent of bright sour cherry, horse blanket funk, wood notes, and a vinous character reminiscent of Cabernet Franc.NXNW - Grain Silo Mild nutty caramel counters the sour pepper-lemon flavours, while a buoyant cherry/blackberry acidity predominates throughout.

*

North by Northwest is an upscale brewpub to the north (and west) of the downtown core that serves up a compelling diversity of traditional and experimental beers, with food and ambience to match.

Sunset Mini Mart. This bottle shop in the west of Austin ranks among the most pleasant surprises of my visit. The place is a local institution and an absolute gem, especially considering that it’s nominally a Citgo gas station convenience store. If you’re like me and have a fatal attraction to chocolate, you’ll have another reason to stop by. Ice cream, too.

Two Tankards:

The ABGB’s Industry (Pilsener). Hops are a quiet force in this beer, floral-perfumed and spicy. Rich breadiness rounds out the palate of this beer that finishes dry and crisp.

*Argus Cidery’s 2011 Bandera Brût. Sparkling hard ciders from Argus are a joy to drink, and this one is no different. Cinnamon-spiced apple with prominent, hay-like Brett character, and pleasantly acidic.IMG_9578

Jester King’s Ol’ Oi (Barrel-Aged Sour Brown Ale; 2013 Blend #2 that I drank in mid-2014). Who said brown beers were boring? Rich, complex, and with great depth, this cutting-edge tart ale looks to British and Flemish brewing traditions of times past. Caramel-oak mingles with aged balsamic vinegar notes, sour cherry, hay, and the slightest hint of chocolate.

*Real Ale’s Sisyphus. It’s no Sisyphean task at all to drink this smooth and unctuous barley wine. Extended Tempest review here.

North by Northwest’s Holiday Ale. Grab one when it’s released, but hold onto it for a few years. The best ones I sampled had one to two years of bottle age. Three years out and the beer develops interesting Oloroso sherry notes.

*

Craft Pride anchors a narrow Central Austin street packed with bars and a nearby food truck court. This taproom serves up an excellent array of beers from Austin and from Texas more generally. And that’s it.IMG_9607 But this is not a bad thing, especially with several dozen taps dedicated to the finest Texan beer. Knowledgeable serving staff. Great woodwork. And a small but well-curated bottle shop next store.

Jester King. The hype surrounding this local institution is much-deserved. Jester King has garnered national renown for its well-conceived and well-crafted sour and wild-fermented lineup. But you probably already knew that. Side note: Great flat-crust pizza next door at Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza. Maybe you didn’t know that.

Three Tankards:

*512’s Pecan Porter. What’s not to like about rich and buttery pecan-maple accents in a well-crafted smoky porter? Roast notes and creamy coffee on the palate, balanced by a vivacious mineral carbonation. Finish is as long as a total eclipse is black.

The ABGB’s Hell Yes Munich Helles. Rich but crisp and refreshing; clean bready malts with a touch of honey and a subtle grassy minerality. The embodiment of finesse.

*Austin Beer Works’ Sputnik (Coffee Imperial Stout). A Texas stand-out. Freshly-ground coffee aromas, Tia Maria, dark caramel malt, and an infinitely chocolaty rich roast on the palate.

ABGB Glass 2*

The ABGB (Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.). Urban beer garden with an amicable vibe; beer hall with a spare, industrial-warehouse aesthetic. Exquisitely balanced beers are the signature of this beer garden/brewery, be they lagers or hop-forward and higher-ABV offerings.

If you’ve been to Austin, share your favourite beers, breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, and bottle shops by clicking “Leave a Reply” above.

Related Tempest Articles

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beverage Enthusiast (Breweries)

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beer Enthusiast (Brewpubs)

Getting Your Craft Beer Fill at Austin’s Taprooms and Bottleshops

Images

Austin Map (1920): Wiki Commons

Tankard: F.D. Hofer

Pinthouse Pizza samplers: F.D. Hofer

NXNW: courtesy of NXNW and Kevin Roark

Jester King: F.D. Hofer

Craft Pride: F.D. Hofer

The ABGB: http://theabgb.com

© 2015 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All Rights Reserved.

Tempest Turns Nine Months Young: An Index of Writing to Date

Cue up all the old clichés about time’s swift passage, for it has been three-quarters of a year now since I posted my first article on A Tempest in a Tankard. Thanks for all the support over these past several months! I’ve learned plenty from all of your insightful comments.IMG_9931 I’ve also learned much just by traveling around to do the interviews and research for Tempest’s articles, to say nothing of the people I’ve met who have led some fascinating lives. No two brewers took the same journey to their brew kettles and fermenters.

On the occasion of Tempest’s nine-month birthday, I’m putting together an index of articles that I’ve written to date. I’ve decided to do this for a few reasons. First and foremost, I’d like to introduce newer readers of Tempest to some of the previous articles buried deep in the virtual archives of the blog.

Second, I don’t really write pieces that are “of the moment.” I’d like to think that much of what I write––brewery profiles, travelogues, recipes, reflections on craft beer and culture, beer evaluations––has utility beyond the few days after I post it. Blogs are sequential by nature, making navigation difficult even with the aid of the categories listed across the top of Tempest’s home page.IMG_0153 Pieces written months ago tend to get lost under the weight of a temporality that favours the most recent post.

Finally, I don’t usually write my serial posts sequentially, so an index will give me the opportunity to group series pieces together––and will give you the opportunity to read them as a series, if you so choose. With a few weeks left of summer travel, the regional spotlights and brewery profiles are particularly timely.

I’ll post this index in two installments. First on deck is a list of my articles on beer and culture, together with my regional spotlights. Next up: a list of my brewery profiles and beer reviews, along with recipes I’ve posted to date for those interested in cooking and food/beverage pairings.

If you haven’t already signed up to have A Tempest in a Tankard’s articles delivered via e-mail, please consider subscribing so you can read the articles as they’re posted. Cheers!

Reflections on Beer and Culture

Never the Twain Shall Meet?

My very first article for A Tempest in a Tankard, one that I posted when I had all of three regular visitors to the site. The article answers a provocation unleashed by another beer blogger on the occasion of a monthly beer writers’ forum called The Session. The question: “What the hell has America done to beer?, AKA, USA versus Old World Beer Culture.”

Celebration Time? Women in the Craft Beer World

Times, they are a changing, but the gender gap is still quite wide in the craft beer world, especially on the marketing end. I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every time someone told me that women prefer fruity beers.

Drinking Lager in an Age of Extreme Taste

A few thoughts on how our taste is shaped by trends and tastemakers. I don’t mind hops, and Imperial Stouts are up there among my favourite beer styles. But by indulging our drive toward ever more intense and novel flavours, we have, perhaps, devalued more subtle beer styles in the process.

Terroir and the Making of Beer into Wine

Guest writer Kevin Goldberg’s insightful piece debunking the notion of terroir, which generated so much interesting discussion that I wasn’t able to confine my own response to the comments section of the article.

The following three articles approach the notion of place and locality from different angles. A fourth piece will appear at some point that redeems some elements of the notion of beer and place.

Of Isinglass and Other Fine Additives

This response to the “Food Babe’s” article on the “shocking” ingredients in beer is my most widely-read piece to date, likely because the issue of fish bladder in beer flares up at regular intervals on the interwebs.

Celebrating Craft Lager Day

As much as it is an article on a particular beer (Kapsreiter Landbier), it also represents a challenge to prevailing sentiments that sometimes confuse IBU levels with quality.

The Curiosity Cabinet

Donuts? Bacon? Ancient recipes? Southern Tier’s Crème Brûlée features here, but expect other articles on beers in my curiosity cabinet in the coming months.

City and Regional Spotlights

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beer Enthusiast:

This is a comprehensive series that you can take with you as you visit Austin. Break it down into parts, or read the series as a whole.

  • Part I––Brewpubs
  • Part II––Breweries. Saké, too.
  • Part III––Taprooms and Bottle Shops. Craft Pride and Sunrise Mini-Mart. ’Nuf said.
  • Part IV––Tempest’s Tankard Ratings and the Best Brews in Austin. The tankard system unveiled. You’ll see more of this in the future, much as I dislike ranking beers.

The Epic Stillwater to Vancouver Road Trip, Spring 2014:

  • Tempest Hits the Open Road: Dispatches from the Beerways of North America. Not much about beer, but the piece––one of my personal favourites––lays the groundwork for the rest of my Stillwater-Vancouver road trip this past April and May.
  • Wyoming––A Snapshot from a Moving Vehicle. Cheyenne kicks things off, followed by Coal Creek in Laramie.
  • Idaho and Montana––Of Roadtrips and Aleways. I’ve always been fascinated by the routes we travel. The “discovery” of this trip is Trickster’s Brewing in Coeur d’Alene. Missoula has plenty to offer, too, including Kettle House’s Cold Smoke Scotch Ale.

Gorges and Good Beer in Ithaca and Environs:

  • Part I: A brief history of the Ithaca area, followed by a visit to Ithaca’s oldest craft brewery.
  • Part II: Includes features of the newer faces on Ithaca’s craft beer scene: Bandwagon Brewpub, Hopshire, and Rogues’ Harbor.
  • Part III: A guide to some of the best craft beer watering holes and bottle shops in Ithaca.

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Images:

Capital Brewery (near Madison, WI): F.D. Hofer

Malted grain at FarmHouse Malt (Newark Valley, NY): F.D. Hofer

Hop bines and grape vines at Abandon Brewing Co. (Penn Yann, NY): F.D. Hofer

 

Tempest’s Tankard Ratings and Austin’s Best Brews

Welcome to Tempest’s final post in the Austin craft beer series. In this segment, I unveil my “Tankard” ratings so you can easily find both the finest beers and purveyors of those brews when you visit Austin. If you’re looking for more specific aspects of Austin’s vibrant scene, click here for brewpubs, here for breweries, and here for taprooms and bottle shops.

Austin Map (tourtexas-com)

Austin is awash with fermented beverages, which can make drink decisions both intriguing and intimidating. For the purposes of this segment, I’ve decided to suspend my usual injunction against ranking beers so that you can get a sense of which beers stand out from what’s already a very solid field.

Against Ratings

One of the reasons I’m wary about introducing rankings and ratings to my beer features and brewery profiles is because even though I recognize the value of ratings in certain cases, I’m cognizant of the extent to which environment and other factors exert a sometimes imperceptible influence on my perception of a beverage. None of the ratings I offer here is cast in stone. If I were to try all of these beverages blind or under otherwise different circumstances, I might reach conclusions that are at odds with my initial impressions. (It’s happened before – label and brand expectations can play an unconscious and often underappreciated role in our judgment and evaluation.) Sampling a horizontal flight of, say, Pilseners from a variety of producers will affect my perception – and hence my evaluation – in a different manner than if I were drinking them in isolation, or alongside a number of styles. If I were to taste a beer, wine, saké, or spirit today as a component of a structured tasting and then drink the same beverages tomorrow as an accompaniment to a memorable dinner shared with close friends or family, my impressions may well diverge in subtle but potentially significant ways: Same beverage, different locale and different time of the day.

Tankards, Tankards, and More Tankards

Tankard - Classic PewterWith those caveats aside, I offer my tankard system in place of more common rating systems. Rather than trying to include every beverage I sampled during my stay in Austin, I’ve devised a rating system that highlights what I think are among the best beers, breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, and bottle shops a city or region has to offer. Since I’m not particularly enamoured of reducing aesthetic pleasures to numbers, I’ve ruled out numerical rankings. Instead, I’ll award “tankards” to some of the beverages I evaluate. Not unlike the Michelin star system used for dining establishments, only the most impressive beverages receive tankards.

A few points:

1. I’ve heard great things about several brews from Austin in particular and Texas in general. If one of the generally-accepted standouts is not listed here, it’s either because I haven’t gotten around to trying the beer yet (the most likely scenario – the Jester King Atrial Rubicite resting in my cellar is a case in point), or because the beer wasn’t in season (I was in Austin in early winter, and missed some of the weightier beer releases), or because the beer didn’t deliver on its reputation (which is not beyond the realm of possibility).

2. If a beverage does not receive a tankard, this does not necessarily indicate that the beverage is subpar. Now, if I were to include a catch-all category comprising all of the beverages that receive no tankards, this category would include drinks ranging from run-of-the-mill to quite good. In other words, if someone at a barbeque or dinner party offered me a beer at the higher end of the range, I’d have no problem tipping back my glass.

3. Occasionally, breweries, brewpubs, and taverns find their way into these listings if they merit a special trip.

4. With the exception of breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, and bottle shops, listings are in alphabetical order.

5. Entries with an asterisk (*) represent beverages I’ve tasted in a place other than at the brewpub or brewery – usually at a taproom, sometimes in the comfort of my home.

How Does It All Shake Out?

  • One tankard: A very fine beverage. A cut above and a few ounces taller than other beverages.
  • Two tankards: An excellent beverage. Worth searching out, preferably at its place of production or, if that’s not possible, then at a taproom or liquor store.
  • Three tankards: Exceptional. An absolute aesthetic pleasure, one that blends the Kantian sublime with Proust’s literary account of aromas and the gustatory delights of Babette’s Feast. A beer that could find a place on any hypothetical Top-25 list I’d concoct.

TankardTiledX3Tempest’s Austin Faves

One Tankard:

Flix Brewhouse. Brambler Sour. Barrel-aged for fifteen months; blackberry purée added prior to kegging. Broadly in the Flemish red style, with bright sour cherry, horse blanket funk, wood notes, and a vinous character reminiscent of Cabernet Franc. A mild nutty caramel note counters the sour pepper-lemon flavours, while a buoyant cherry/blackberry acidity predominates throughout.

Jester King. Boxer’s Revenge. Farmhouse/Wild-Fermented Beer (aged in whiskey and wine barrels). Sour caramel, allspice, and pine needles. Rich and citrusy palate with pungent oak-Brett. At 10.2% ABV, watch out for this sour beer’s left hook.

*Live Oak. Hefeweizen. Sampled at The Brass Tap, Round Rock. Fine example that does a good job of walking the clove/banana tightrope, but a touch light in the mid-section. More malt richness would make this a stellar beer.

IMG_9550Pinthouse Pizza. Bearded Seal. Dry Irish Stout. A bit potent for the style (6.1% ABV), but with a deft blend of freshly-roasted coffee beans, espresso, and café au lait.

*Real Ale. Hans’ Pils. Pilsener. Canned. Clean, crisp, and dry; an austere northern German-style Pils with that characteristic bitter hop note the Germans call “herb,” which combines dry, bitter, astringent, herbal, and spicy into one difficult-to-translate flavour/sensation package.

Rogness. Tenebrous Stout. Raspberry Seasonal. Rich but restrained; harmonious integration of fruit, malt, and yeast character.

Uncle Billy’s. Humbucker Helles. A Munich Helles featuring bready malts with a mild toast accent. Rich and full-bodied, with soft notes of citrus and grassy hops rounding out toasty and fine-grained malt.

____________NXNW - Growler-Logo

North by Northwest. Brewpub. Compelling diversity of traditional and experimental beers, with food and ambience to match.

Sunset Mini Mart. Bottle Shop. A local institution and an absolute gem, especially considering that it’s nominally a Citgo gas station convenience store.

Two Tankards:

The ABGB. Industry. Pilsener. Hops are a quiet force in this beer, floral-perfumed and spicy. Well-rounded on the palate, with a dry, crisp finish.

*Argus Cidery. 2011 Bandera Brût. Sparkling Hard Cider. Cinnamon-spiced apple with prominent, hay-like Brett character, and pleasantly acidic.

Jester King. Ol’ Oi. Sour Brown Ale/American Wild Ale. Rich, complex, and with great depth. Combines caramel with aged balsamic vinegar notes.

*Real Ale. Sisyphus. Barley Wine. Bottled. Extended Tempest review here.

North by Northwest. Holiday Ale. Grab one when it’s released, but hold onto it for a few years. The best ones I sampled had one to two years of bottle age. Three years out and the beer develops interesting Oloroso sherry notes.

____________

Craft Pride. Taproom. Excellent selection of beers from Austin and from Texas more generally. And that’s it. But this is not a bad thing, especially with several dozen taps dedicated to the finest Texan beer. Knowledgeable serving staff. Great woodwork. Be sure to check out the well-curated bottle shop next store. IMG_9575

Jester King. Brewery and Taproom. The hype is much-deserved. A predominantly sour and wild-fermented lineup that is both well conceived and well crafted. But you probably already knew that. Side note: Great flat-crust pizza next door at Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza. Maybe you didn’t know that.

Three Tankards:

*512. Pecan Porter. Sampled at The Brass Tap in Round Rock. What’s not to like about rich and buttery pecan-maple accents in a well-crafted smoky porter? Roast notes and creamy coffee on the palate, balanced by a vivacious mineral carbonation. Finish is as long as a total eclipse is black.

The ABGB. Hell Yes. Munich Helles. Rich but crisp and refreshing; clean bready malts with a touch of honey and a subtle grassy minerality. The embodiment of finesse.

*Austin Beer Works. Sputnik. Coffee Imperial Stout. A Texas stand-out. I had mine at Craft Pride. Freshly-ground coffee aromas, Tia Maria, dark caramel malt, and an infinitely chocolaty rich roast on the palate.

____________

ABGB Glass 2The ABGB. Beer Garden/Brewery. Exquisitely balanced beers, whether lagers or hop-forward and higher-ABV offerings. Urban beer garden with an amicable vibe; beer hall with a spare, industrial-warehouse aesthetic.

Postscript:

If you’ve been to Austin, what stands out for you? Feel free to share your favourite beers, breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, and bottle shops by clicking “Leave a Reply” above.

Images:

Austin map: www.tourtexas.com

Pewter tankard: www.germansteins.com

Tempest’s tankard: F.D. Hofer

Pinthouse Pizza: F.D. Hofer

NXNW: courtesy of NXNW

Jester King brewhouse: F.D. Hofer

The ABGB beer garden: theabgb.com

Getting Your Craft Beer Fill at Austin’s Taprooms and Bottle Shops

Welcome to Tempest’s series on Austin’s craft beer scene. In this segment, I profile taprooms and bottle shops that I visited during a recent stay in Austin. In Part 1 (here), I introduce readers to a few of Austin’s brewpubs, and then move on to feature breweries in Part 2 (here), including Texas’ only saké brewery. A final installment will bring everything together and end off with a few notes on the beers and other beverages I managed to sample.

By Way of Introduction

As with just about any major metropolitan area, so, too, with Austin: no one will go thirsty. And those with a yen for craft beer won’t have to worry about drowning in a sea of BudMillerCoors either. With all the brewpubs and breweries to explore within the space of five whirlwind days, the taproom and tavern scene received less Tempest attention than would normally be the case. But if the few I managed to visit are any indication, you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t get your craft beer fill at a taproom, bottle selections in supermarkets and gas station convenience stores alike stand at the ready to ensure that you leave town stocked with plenty of interesting beverages for later enjoyment. If you don’t see your favourite establishment in this spotlight, it is simply a function of that old adage that trades in plentiful selections and a dearth of time. Leave a reply, and help colour in this section of Tempest’s Austin Craft Beer User’s Guide. Unless otherwise indicated with an asterisk (*), I have visited the establishments listed.

Taprooms and Taverns

It was late Saturday evening. My fellow intrepid craft beer explorers and I were far to the northeast of Austin central, and the winter sun was already long in its arc, casting a diffuse pinkish-orange glow over the remnants of farmland fighting a valiant last stand against urban encroachment. The amiable folks at Rogness had what turned out to be a very sensible suggestion, IMG_9568given that we didn’t quite feel like braving the traffic back to the lively inner sanctum of the city: The Brass Tap. Now, I’m not normally a fan of franchises, but this particular chain of bars that got its start in Tampa is a decent addition to the vibrant thoroughfare of Round Rock, TX, one of the several Austin exurbs that has managed to maintain a modicum of main street charm.

Once ensconced at the bar, we struck up a conversation with someone who hadn’t yet tried a sour beer. No problem, said the barkeep as he handed the inquisitive sour beer neophyte a small glass of Rodenbach. Service at The Brass Tap is welcoming, and the samples generous. Austin craft beer and Texas brews from further afield are abundantly represented, but the selection knows no borders.IMG_9562 If you’re the type of person who enjoys some rhythm for your pint-raising arm workouts, the compact stage at the front of the venue is just large enough to accommodate the occasional live music act. Something to note: As the evening wears on, it can get quite busy behind the bar, so keep an eye out for hot and not-quite-drained glasses straight from the dishwasher. On balance, though, The Brass Tap makes for an enjoyable night out, especially if you find yourself in the northern fringes of Greater Austin.

IMG_9609Back in a part of Central Austin where new condo towers rise like sentries, Craft Pride anchors a narrow street provisioned with a slate of bars and a food truck court nearby. Craft Pride is one of the more intensely focused of the taprooms I’ve visited – pride here means Texas. If you need a comprehensive introduction to what Austin and the rest of Texas has to offer, look no further. Around sixty taps highlight an impressive number of Austin breweries, with continually rotating selections from all corners of Texas in case you don’t have time for the trip. At any given time you’ll find a few beers on cask or nitro. Find yourself a seat at the handsome custom-cut and bark-encrusted live oak bar and let the knowledgeable staff members be your guide. Never tried a Buried Hatchet Stout? They’ve got you covered. (Why, thank you.) IMG_9610And so it goes before you’ve even decided on a flight of beers from among the helpfully categorized “Hoppy,” “Malty,” “Belgian-Style,” “Misfit,” “On the Lighter Side,” and “Out-of-the-Box” groups chalked up on the wall.

As some of those weightier beers start to release their charms, you might find your mind wandering off to contemplate the play of the subdued light among the uneven textures of walls paneled with repurposed odd ends of wood. When you’re done admiring the geometric patterns of the impressive woodwork and your pint glass contains naught but the memory of foam, consider heading next door to the small but well-curated Craft Pride bottle shop. If you’re hungry, the food truck court along Rainey St. is just the ticket. The staff at Craft Pride enthusiastically endorsed *Via 313’s Detroit-style pizza, so we ambled on over, expectant. Too late. Closed. But we found an ideal substitute: donuts from Little Lucy’s.IMG_9613

Two taprooms barely scratch the surface of what Austin has to offer, but depending on where you end up, The Brass Tap is a more than adequate introduction to Austin’s craft beer scene, and Craft Pride positively excels. If you’re in the mood for a pub crawl, grab an Austin Beer Guide and plot out a course along 6th Street. *The Ginger Man, somewhat of a Texas institution, is just off 6th. One place that has a lot of people talking is southern Austin’s *The Whip In just off I-35. What started as a family-owned convenience store slowly grew into not only a respected bottle shop, but also a seventy-two-tap pub serving up Gujarti cuisine. Not content to stop there, the Topiwala family built a brewhouse and took home a GABF gold medal in 2013 for their Bitterama. The brewery formerly known as Namaste now goes under the name Kamala due to a rather unfortunate trademark dispute with Dogfish Head.

… and Bottle Shops to the Rescue

If you’re not among the hundred people per day moving to Austin, you’ll be saddling up your mule at some point and heading home. Chances are you’ll want to pick up a bottle or two for your collection, especially if you reside in a relative craft beer desert like Oklahoma. Central Market comes stocked with fine victuals, has locations in the northern and southern regions of central Austin, and offers a wide selection of Texan, American, and international beers and wines.

Just south of downtown and a stone’s throw from Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que in Barton Springs, Thom’s Market is everything their website promises: “A rockin’ Austin-style, independent grocery with a focus on local and natural foods.” Thom’s Market shelves their one-hundred-plus varieties of beer in alphabetical order, and they break up six-packs of cans so you can put together your own selection of singles. Unlike many places that have mix-n-match sixers, here you can buy as few or as many bottles and cans as you want.

Sunrise MiniMart (Sunrise Twitter)Of the three places I visited in search of souvenirs, Sunrise Mini-Mart is a rare gem. A broad and eclectic bottle selection in a Citgo gas station convenience store? Not the first place I would have thought to look. They stock not only beer, wine, cider, and saké alongside a regular lineup of convenience store goods, but ice cream and an impressive selection of higher-end chocolate too. I’m told the selection changes regularly, so check their Twitter feed (@SunriseMiniMart) when you’re in town to see what they have.

And so, with a few boxes full of sundry bottles and cans, I latched my trunk, headed north, and bade farewell to five days of gustatory delight in Austin.

Addendum: An earlier version of this article made reference to how I heard through the grapevine that the Brass Tap had displaced a local coffee shop. A representative of the Brass Tap subsequently got in touch with me and clarified the history of the location. See the comments below.

Related Tempest Articles

________________

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beverage Enthusiast (Breweries)

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beer Enthusiast (Brewpubs)

Image Sources:

All photos by F.D. Hofer, with the exception of the exterior of Sunrise Mini Mart: twitter.com/SunriseMiniMart

© 2014 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All Rights Reserved.

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beverage Enthusiast (Breweries)

Welcome to Tempest’s ongoing series on Austin’s craft beer scene. In this segment, I profile breweries that I visited in Austin. Part 1 (here) introduced a few of Austin’s brewpubs. Part 3 (here) details taprooms and bottle shops in the Austin area.

Notes on Method

Drinking your way through Austin (or any region, for that matter) is an enjoyable way to spend five days. But it’s difficult indeed to make a dent in all of the breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms that Austin and its environs have to offer. If an establishment is not represented in this spotlight, it is simply due to scheduling conflicts or time constraints. Next time! As for prices, they change regularly and are readily available from a given establishment’s website.

Austin Mural (centraltexasmurals-com)

Resources

As mentioned in Part 1 of this User’s Guide, a good way to get a handle on Austin’s beverage scene is to seek out the Austin Beer Guide with its comprehensive coverage, maps, and brief write-ups on craft beverage establishments in Central, North, South, and Greater Austin. Each issue offers roughly eighty to ninety pages of scene-related articles.

Breweries and Such

Central Austin is home to a handful of breweries (Live Oak; Hops & Grain), but the majority of production facilities involve some travel time. Thanks to recent legislative changes governing the consumption and distribution of beer in Texas, production breweries are now able to sell beer on premises to visitors who make time for the trek. Tasting rooms are fast becoming a part of the craft beer landscape. Gone are the days when patrons would have to pay for a tour and glassware as a means of sampling a brewery’s wares on site.

Located a stone’s throw from the farmland of Pflugerville, a small town recently incorporated into Austin’s northeastern periphery, Rogness Brewing Company has become a magnet for the surrounding exurbs with its trivia nights and brew-house film screenings.IMG_9559 Diane and Forrest Rogness, the long-time owners of Austin Homebrew Supply, are no strangers to the kinds of serendipitous brewing discoveries that result from a twist of this and a dash of that. Beers such as the chai-spiced Yogi amber beer and the lavender-scented Joi d’été saison augment a strong year-round collection of 22-oz. bottlings that includes a porter, pale ale, IPA, Scotch ale, and even a bière de garde. (See my “Rogness: A Plethora of Beer from Pflugerville” for an in-depth feature of this family-operated community hub.)

Also tucked away in the northern reaches of the Austin area is something you don’t see every day: a cinema that serves beer and food inside the inner sanctum of its theatres. And not just any beer, but craft beer brewed on site.Flix - Theater Exterior 2 Flix Brewhouse bills itself as the only first-run movie theatre in the world to incorporate a fully-functioning microbrewery. If your plans don’t involve a film, that’s fine too. The Flix Mix brewpub caters to the imbibing needs of the Round Rock community with in-house brews and guest taps. For a brewpub, the food menu is fairly straightforward, but as far as cinemas go, this is a major step up from the standard cineplex fare of overpriced popcorn and chocolate bars. The house beer lineup features a blend of nine regular, seasonal, and limited-edition beers brewed broadly in the Belgian, Scottish, and American traditions. Try a few samples before settling on a pint. At their best, the beers are refreshing (Flix Golden; Luna Rosa Wit), or they represent unique and often compelling experiments (Beer of the Dead; Brambler Sour). If your idea of a good time involves a mix of mainstream Hollywood movies and craft beer, you could do much worse than a trip out to the Round Rock area of Greater Austin. (See my “Flix: Craft Beer at a Theatre Near You” for more.)

Austin is a sprawling city, with plenty to see and do besides visiting breweries. If you had time to visit but one brewery while in the Austin area, I’d go with Jester King, not so much because I think they make great beer – they do – but more for the opportunity to get out into the surrounding countryside for an afternoon.IMG_9585 The rolling hills and semi-arid scenery, the quaint farmhouse brewery, the bustling tasting room, and the informative tour make for a worthwhile excursion. Add the nearby Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza with its wood-fired oven and cracker-like thin-crust pizza, and you’ve got a satisfying meal into the bargain as well. Jester King has generated plenty of buzz over the past few years for its farmhouse-style sour and barrel-aged beers, and aside from Petit Prince (not my fave), the hype is justified. Beers range from light-bodied, crisp, and dry to weighty and complex. With its bracing passion fruit, pineapple, and mild hay-like Brettanomyces character, Das Wunderkind Saison (4.5% ABV) occupies one end of the scale. Boxer’s Revenge (10.2% ABV) is representative of the other end, featuring pungent oak-Brett aromatics, a rich yet sour palate, and citrus-infused notes of caramel, pine needle, candied tangerine, and cinnamon-allspice. IMG_9582The mad fermentationists at Jester King have been hard at work developing the kinds of unique yeast strains that’ll contribute additional layers to the “house character” of the beers; look for subtle differences in taste between older and newer versions of Jester King regulars like Wytchmaker, Petit Prince, Mad Meg, and Noble King.

If the Flix format isn’t enough of a change of pace for you, and if the sour and barrel-aged offerings of Jester King haven’t succeeded in stimulating your palate, try something altogether different: saké. Austin’s Texas Saké is the only brewer of saké in the state – and the only one for several hundred miles around, for that matter. (Most North American saké production is concentrated on the West Coast, with a few others in the Twin Cities and Asheville.) Texas Saké rests its brewing philosophy on the foundations of wild fermentation and organic local ingredients. In the case of wild fermentation, Texas Saké brews in what is generally considered to be a less-refined style of saké, yamahai-shikomi, noted for its rustic, bold, gamey, tangy, and potentially funky aroma and flavour profile. As for the ingredients, the kura sources its Shinriki rice strain from the Houston area. (Kura is the Japanese term for saké brewery, and means, literally, storehouse.)IMG_9632 Shinriki is a rare ancestral strain to many of today’s saké rice varieties, and it has an interesting history in Texas (click on the photo to the right). It is a difficult rice to mill, and doesn’t have as large a shinpaku (starch packet) as the Yamada-nishiki variety used widely in Japan. This results in more amino acids and lipids, which contributes yet more gaminess and acidity to the flavour and aroma profile.

Texas Saké bills all of its offerings as junmai sakés, which means that the beverages are brewed with rice, water, and koji mold only. The kura focuses most of its energy on three different bottlings: a nigori (cloudy) offering called Rising Star; a karakuchi (dry) called Tumbleweed; and the less-dry Whooping Crane.Whooping Crane (tx-sake) Now, I understand the economics of producing an organic and artisanal beverage with which not too many people are familiar; however, at an average of $35 per 720mL bottle, the price point is firmly to the north of the dial. And even if rustic and less-refined sakés can make for a refreshing change from delicate and elegant sakés, Texas Saké’s offerings are a tad tart for the style. Be that as it may, these sakés represent a respectable effort, especially given that the folks at Texas Saké are working in a field where it’s not nearly as easy to tap into a broad pool of knowledge as it is in the North American craft beer industry. In spite of the difficulties, I find it encouraging that people are trying to produce more saké in North America, and genuinely wish Texas Saké success as they continue to hone their craft. Hats off to them so far.

*Don’t see your favourite brewery among the ones I profiled? Click on the “Leave a Reply” button located at the top of this post and tell Tempest’s readers about it.

*Next up in the series: taprooms, bottle shops, and beer lists

Related Tempest Articles

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beer Enthusiast (Brewpubs)

Getting Your Craft Beer Fill at Austin’s Taprooms and Bottleshops

Image Sources and Credits:

Austin postcard: centraltexasmurals.com

Rogness logo: F.D. Hofer

Flix Brewhouse: Flix Facebook page

Hill Country and Jester King photos: F.D. Hofer

Saibara plaque: F.D. Hofer

Whooping Crane: txsake.com

©2014 F.D. Hofer and A Tempest in a Tankard. All Rights Reserved.

Austin: A User’s Guide for the Craft Beverage Enthusiast (Brewpubs)

Welcome to Tempest’s series on Austin’s craft beer scene. In this first installment, I profile brewpubs that I visited during a recent stay in Austin. Part 2 (here) moves on to breweries, including Texas’ only saké brewery. Part 3 (here) features taprooms and bottle shops in the Austin area.

**Austin is a sprawling city. If you’re going to explore its beverage culture, please be sure to drink responsibly and bring along a designated driver.

Spend more than a half a day in Austin and chances are good that you’ll hear all about the “hundred people per day” moving to town. Several major companies have established national or regional headquarters in Austin, including Dell, Apple, eBay, Google, Texas Instruments, and Whole Foods Market. Between 1990 and 2012, Austin’s population nearly doubled. It won’t be long before Austin cracks the Top-Ten list of the United States’ largest cities, if it hasn’t already.

Not all residents are equally enamoured of this influx of people, though. Some Austinites have adopted the unofficial slogan, “Keep Austin Weird,” as a means of signaling their support of eclectic local businesses against the tide of commercialism and development that has accompanied Austin’s astounding growth.

Austin City Limits (vegnews-com)One of the more obvious side-effect of Austin’s rapid development is the traffic. According to some residents with whom I spoke, the traffic gets worse, seemingly by the day. Public transportation appears to have been an urban planning afterthought as Austin has stretched out to incorporate surrounding exurbs, to the point that the city is now firmly among the top five most-congested urban centers in the United States.

(Why am I dwelling on traffic? Well, I spent quite a bit of time in it during my five days exploring Austin’s vibrant – and sprawling – craft beverage scene. And unless you confine yourself to sampling Austin’s craft beers at one of many well-provisioned taprooms, chances are you will, too.)

Rapid population growth on the one hand, and staunch support of unique local businesses on the other, have combined to unleash the perfect storm for craft brewers and craft beer enthusiasts alike. (A world-class university and several other institutions of higher education don’t hurt the demand for craft beer, either.) As Austin booms, so does its craft beverage scene. From well-curated bottle shops ensconced in Citgo gas stations (of all places!) to brewpubs that serve up the perfect marriage of barbeque and craft brew, Austin has something for most every craft beer devotee.

And did I mention the excellent lagers and spicy German-style wheat beers? (In case readers of A Tempest in a Tankard haven’t noticed, I’m a fan of these kinds of beers.) Austin is the de facto lager capital of Texas, with pilseners and Munich-style lagers that could rival those of any northern Midwestern state. Austin is also the home of Texas’ only saké kura.

Notes on Method

Before diving into this Austin User’s Guide for the Craft Beverage Enthusiast, a few caveats and notes on method are in order. When I put out the call to friends for suggestions regarding taprooms to visit and brews to sample, I received a deluge of tips. Now, drinking your way through Austin in five days is a tall order for anyone. So if a brewery, beer, taproom, brewpub, or bottle shop is not listed in this spotlight, it does not signify a vote of non-confidence. It might be because my schedule of appointments did not match with that of a particular brewery, or a brewery/cidery might have closed for the season. (I was in Austin during the third week of December.) So much to try!

Aside from brief mentions of the culinary options available at brewpubs, I don’t go into too much depth on food – much as I love making and eating the stuff. (Check out a few of my recipes I’ve posted under Tempest’s Food/Drink heading, if you haven’t already.) As for prices, they change regularly and are readily available from a given establishment’s website, so I won’t dwell on them unless they warrant attention.

OK, onward!

Resources

If you’ve just landed in Austin, the best way to get a handle on the local beverage scene is to go in search of the Austin Beer Guide. Two things make this quarterly publication worth seeking out: it’s available in hard-copy print format, something that’s all too rare these days; and it’s free.Austin Beer Guide (fr website) Coverage is excellent, with maps and brief write-ups for craft beverage establishments in Central, North, South, and Greater Austin. Each issue offers roughly eighty to ninety pages of entertaining scene-related articles that’ll keep you turning the pages while you wait for friends at the bar. If you needed further evidence that Austin is a mecca for lovers of Central European-style beers, check out Austin Beer Guide’s five-page feature, “Lagers are for Lovers, (Fall 2013 edition), and the “Best of 2013” segment in their Winter 2013 guide. Editors’ Choice for Best Overall Beer? Real Ale’s Hans’ Pils. Best Brewery honours? Live Oak Brewing Co., known beyond the borders of Texas for its stellar Hefeweizen.

Brewpubs

Brewpubs abound in Austin, with a range of food offerings to fit many tastes and budgets. North by Northwest (NXNW) is among the more upscale of the brewpubs I visited, and is housed in an angular brick-and-iron building meant to evoke Pacific Northwest mountain lodges. NXNW - ExteriorFireplace warmth provides a cozy respite from cooler winter days, while patio seating lends itself to sunshine and refreshing beers. NXNW receives acclaim not only for its beer but for its food menu. In addition to the ubiquitous brewpub pizzas and sandwiches, NXNW serves up dishes such as basil arugula salad, grilled bacon-wrapped quail, and cedar-planked salmon. The tap selection is a compelling study in contrasts, with head brewer Kevin Roark’s sour, barrel-aged, and hoppier brews providing a counterpoint to master brewer Donald Thompson’s Central European-inflected beers. (For a more in-depth look at NXNW, see my “North by Northwest: Fine Food to Accompany Beers Novel and Classic.”)

IMG_9550Also in northern Austin – and in a pocket of town replete with restaurants and taverns – Pinthouse Pizza serves up award-winning beer and satiating pizza in a convivial atmosphere. The bench seating is communal, so order a pint and a pie and strike up a conversation with the party next to you. If you’re a hophead, you’re in for a treat: beers tend to favour the fruit of the bine. Try the Bearded Seal Dry Irish Stout if a richer, malt-accented brew featuring roasted barley, café au lait, and dark chocolate aromatics is more to your taste. You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas. All feature ingredients like ricotta, artichokes, artisanal sausage, fresh oregano, Kalamata olives, poblano peppers, cherry tomatoes, and the like.

South of the river and just off S. Lamar Blvd. sprawls a beer garden barely six months old but packed with patrons inside and out. The location may be new, but the folks behind Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. (The ABGB) are legendary veterans of the Austin and Texas beer scene. Brian “Swifty” Peters and Amos Lowe left their marks on Live Oak and Uncle Billy’s before eventually teaming up on The ABGB.ABGB BeerBoard 2 Of the beers I sampled during my five days in Austin, Peters’ and Lowe’s ales and lagers were among the most harmonious and nuanced. Always ready with a pithy quip, Lowe explained their philosophy to me thus: “We’re not trying to rip your face off with hop bitterness.” Peters’ affinity for lagers speaks for itself. The Industrial Pils is his brew house daily drinker. Munich-style lager? Hell Yes! Just like sipping from a Maß in the shadow of Munich’s Frauenkirche. Tasty food, too – although I did find myself longing for a Bratwurst or Weisswurst to go with my lager.

Not far away on Barton Springs Road, Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que pairs an old Texas standard with the recent Texan turn to craft beer. Who can say no to beer and barbeque?IMG_9623 I ordered up a creamy Swiss cheese-accented Mac and Cheese to accompany my quarter pound of brisket served with a Texas peppercorn sauce and a brown sugar-balanced habanero sauce that, mercifully, did not wreck my palate. Before tucking into the food, though, I made sure to sample their delicate Humbucker Helles and Rock of Ages Pils. The standard-issue pale ale and IPA stood up well to the food, but the smoky roasted malt notes and sarsaparilla-like aromas of the Lovecraft Belgian-style stout really shone alongside the meat and sauces. Situated just across the river from the downtown core, Uncle Billy’s makes for a convenient lunch stop.

*Don’t see your favourite brewpub among the ones I profiled? Click on the “Leave a Reply” button located at the top of this post and tell us about it.

*Next up: breweries and taprooms in Austin.

Image Credits:

Austin City Limits: vegnews.com

Austin Beer Guide: austinbeerguide.com

NXNW: Photo courtesy of Kevin Roark

Pinthouse Pizza: Franz D. Hofer

The ABGB Beer Board: The ABGB Facebook page

Uncle Billy’s: Franz D. Hofer

Rogness: A Plethora of Beers from Pflugerville, Texas

Photo by author.

Photo by author.

I first met Forrest and Diane Rogness at last year’s Great American Beer Festival. I was “exploring” the less-beaten paths of the festival when a place name caught my eye: Pflugerville. I had lived on a street called Pflügerstrasse while living in the Neukölln district of Berlin, so I was immediately intrigued. (Narrowing down tasting options at the GABF sometimes comes down to these kinds of serendipitous coincidences.) The couple were pouring their Rogtoberfest, a style of which I’m particularly fond, so I had even more reason to stop by the booth. The rest of their full-flavoured beers made a significant impression amid the sea of beer that was flowing that weekend, and I made a note to pay their brewery a visit if in Austin some day. That day came sooner than expected. All the better.

Pflugerville got its start in the mid-1800s when a German immigrant, Henry Pflüger, settled in the area with his family. An erstwhile wealthy farmer in his native land, Pflüger lost his holdings in the wake of the turmoil surrounding the First Schleswig War. After fleeing the conflict and journeying across an ocean and into the heart of a continent, Pflüger and his family put their skills to work raising corn, wheat, rye, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, and cattle. Texas seemed a safe bet for the Pflügers to start anew. Relatives had arrived in the area before him as part of a wave of immigration that saw ethnic Germans comprise more than five percent of the population of Texas by 1850. The descendents of Pflüger and other Germans attracted to the area built up a small but thriving community that witnessed the establishment of a Lutheran church in 1875 and the arrival of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad in 1904. But the Great Depression dealt the town a blow from which it almost didn’t recover. By 1949, a mere 250 souls inhabited Pflugerville.

Fast forward to the new millennium. Sited about fifteen miles northeast of Austin, the community benefitted handsomely from that city’s astounding growth in recent years. Pflugerville now boasts pfun for the whole pfamily. (No, I didn’t make that up – the town even has a newspaper called the Pflugerville Pflag.) And, since March 2012, Pflugerville has its own brewery – Rogness Brewing Company – located right on the seam separating light industry from pastoral fields.

The Rognesses are no strangers to brewing. The couple took up homebrewing in 1990 while working together at a camera shop in Iowa City. Upon landing in Austin later in the decade, the Rognesses purchased (and still own) Austin Homebrew Supply, for which they have developed over a thousand recipes as part of their beer kits. That experimental homebrewing ethos makes for some refreshing surprises that buoy quite an array of perennials, seasonals, and limited edition beers spanning both beloved and underrepresented styles.

Source: Rogness Website

Source: Rogness Website

Take, for example, the Yogi. Diane Rogness can’t go very long without a cup of chai. And daily samples of beer come with the territory of owning a brewery and homebrew shop. Why not combine some of the typical spices of chai with an amber beer, she thought? The result is a potpourri of peppery cinnamon, clove, and ginger intermingling with Belgian yeast aromatics and rich caramel.

A touch of southern France graces the Rogness saison, Joie d’été, a beer that also pays tribute to the long summers of Texas. True to their desire to brew unique beers that don’t sacrifice that all-important element of balance, the Rognesses have managed a deft saison with mild aromas of lemon zest and just the slightest hint of lavender. (I think I might just toss a dash of lavender in the next witbier or saison I brew.)

If the saison evokes warm breezes rippling through Provençal lavender fields, the Raspberry Tenebrous Stout is a beer to drink in praise of shadows. Raspberries add a ray of brightness to classic dry stout notes of roast barley and dark chocolate crisply accented with espresso bitterness.

A porter, pale ale, IPA, Scotch ale, and even a bière de garde round out the beers regularly available at the tasting room and in 22 oz. bottles available locally and in other Texas metropolitan areas. Though I didn’t sample it myself, the Rogness Shandy was also popular among the tasting crew that accompanied me to the brewery. Coming soon (pending label approval) is the second in their limited edition series, Sophina. A sour mash promises to deliver a tart zing counteracted by caramelized pineapple added after fermentation.

Courtesy of Rogness

                              Courtesy of Rogness

In the time since it opened its doors, Rogness Brewing Company has become a community hub for the surrounding exurbs of Austin. Recent changes to the laws regulating the sale and distribution of alcohol in Texas has translated into a tasting room where you can buy beers for drinking during their weekly events nights, or for enjoying the early evening with friends in the beer garden. (No growler fills to go in Texas yet. Still, that’s much better than the situation in neighbouring Oklahoma. Slowly do those legislative wheels grind.)

Rogness - Yappy HourTrivia nights are popular, as are the monthly firkin nights and the recently-inaugurated “Yappy Hour” for well-behaved four-legged friends. Thanks to the generosity of a local independent cinema that passes along films to Rogness, Saturday evenings feature independent and documentary film screenings right in the brewhouse. Recent screenings include Cinema 6 and Beer Hunter: The Movie, a documentary about the pioneering beer writer, Michael Jackson. Films are free. The Rognesses frequently donate the partial proceeds from a given event night’s beer sales to charities, a few of which have included Pflugerville Pets Alive and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. So you can drink rest-assured that you’re imbibing for a good cause.

Rogness recently upgraded from a seven-barrel system to a thirty-barrel system to meet growing demand for their beers. Barrel-aging is also on the horizon, with the couple currently considering a quarterly funk release. And as if Forrest and Diane Rogness don’t already have enough to do with an increasingly popular brewery and a thriving homebrew shop, the two have already begun work on their cidery in the warehouse next door. Named after a mythical shape-shifting seal from Iceland, look for a dry and off-dry cider from Selkie Cidery to hit the market at some point in 2014.

__________

Odd lots:

Image Courtesy of Rogness

Image Courtesy of Rogness

  • The Rognesses sell soap that a local craftsperson has made based on inspiration from their Yogi, Ost, and Joie d’été beers.
  • The artwork that adorns the tasting room walls? Those pieces issue from the hand of their daughter, who, at eight years of age, already knows that the main ingredients of beer are grain, hops, water, and yeast.

_________

Sources:

  • For the historical background influencing Pflüger’s decision to emigrate to the United States, you can consult the German Historical Institute’s German History in Documents and Images website. The section entitled “From Vormärz to Prussian Dominance, 1815-1866” gives a brief contextual snapshot of Central Europe at the time.
  • On the history of Pflugerville’s development, see this section of the official Pflugerville website.
  • The Texas Historical Association’s website has an informative article on the development of the “German Belt” that ran from the humid Coastal Plain near Houston to the Hill Country outside of Austin.