There is nothing wrong with a basic meat-and-potatoes meal (or black beans and rice, for my vegan friends), but variety makes the world a brighter place, and Texas brewers are doing their part to bring a little light to our corner of the universe.
The travels and tastings of this humble correspondent last week brought a lot of sunshine, spice, and everything nice to the tastebuds from innovative brewers stretching from San Antonio to Cedar Park.
At Freetail Brewing Co. in San Antonio, brewers Jason Davis and John Lee brought out samples of beers in the works that included a refreshingly tart blackberry sour ale, a huckleberry sour that will make for easy summer drinking, and a witbier brewed with locally produced Twang lime salt, lime, and chile.
The brewpub has upheld a long relationship with San Antonio’s Bolner’s Fiesta Spices as the supplier of many ingredients that grace their beers, from the coriander in year-round Rye Wit to several varieties of chiles.
At the new Twisted X, a Tex-Mex themed microbrewery just north of Austin in Cedar Park, Bolner’s dried jalapeños are the magic ingredient in a well-balanced, but memorably warming, Fuego lager.
Twisted X brewer and co-founder Jim Sampson babysat the lagers they are preparing for release next month while business partner Shane Bordeau scoured Central Texas for prickly pear fruits to use in a new brew called Siesta, which will include an addition of red corn from an area farm. The ingredients should produce an intriguing flavor profile while adding natural color.
Freetail has used a similar tactic in its Spirulina Wit, which is brewed annually for St. Patrick’s Day as a naturally green beer using spirulina powder — it’s still on tap for lovers of the verde cerveza as we move into summer.
NB GETTING TWO MICROS
New Braunfels is the birthplace of brewing in Texas, dating back to original settler Julius Rennert setting up shop on the Comal River more than 160 years ago. So it should come as no surprise that the spirits of brewers past have spurred some local residents into action.
The first out of the gate will be New Braunfels Brewing Co., brainchild of the Meyer family of New Braunfels. They have equipment on order and are going before city zoning officials for permission to brew their small batches in the heart of downtown. Brewer and co-founder Kelly Meyer said they will start with a traditional hefeweizen, a German-style wheat beer that is tasty and refreshing.
Guadalupe Brewing Co. has rented space in the southern tip of New Braunfels and has ordered equipment. The owners have applied for approval from the state.
Check out the Bottle & Tap blog at sacurrent.com for more details and links to both breweries’ websites.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current and is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.