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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: garciarb on July 26, 2010, 09:20:32 PM

Title: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: garciarb on July 26, 2010, 09:20:32 PM
So my frustration with Texas is that I believe we should have way more Microbreweries popping up than what currently exist in this state. I believe Texas is up there in beer consumption yet a good portion of that is Macro beers still. Texas as big as it is should be producing a lot more Microbreweries, brewpubs and making more local beer and definitely exporting more beers out to other states too. Another issue I dislike also is that brewpubs here are not allowed to sell there beers to the grocery store or distribute them to liquor stores or out of state, but if you go to other states such as beer heaven Oregon (Portland) brewpubs are allowed to sell bottled beer of there location, here in Texas you can purchase a growler and kegs but cant buy a six pack that to me doesn't make sense. Why so many laws to keep the little guys down in the ground, shouldn't the laws be made to help business succeed not make them to where they fail just wrong.

Best Micro in Texas:
SoutherStar Brewery
Live Oaks
Rahr, Saint Arnolds
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: hopaddicted on July 27, 2010, 06:05:46 PM
Celis is in Texas too. Isnt Austin full of good brewpubs? I havent been there, but my boss often talks about the quality and quantity available there.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: dbeechum on July 27, 2010, 06:11:56 PM
Celis is in Texas too.

Was originally, but after Miller bought it, no more.

Now it's produced by Michigan Brewing Co.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: jeffy on July 27, 2010, 06:20:52 PM
Celis is in Texas too. Isnt Austin full of good brewpubs? I havent been there, but my boss often talks about the quality and quantity available there.
Celis used to be in Texas.  I went to the brewery many years ago.  Half was a very traditional European brewery from the early 1900's and half was a sanitized laboratory.  Pretty cool.  They brew the beer in Michigan now I think.
I found fewer beer-centric bars and brewpubs than expected when I was in Austin in the Spring.  Gingerman is the best craft beer bar downtown.  Billy Bob's Bar-B-Que and Brewery had some good beer and very nice ribs.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: hopaddicted on July 27, 2010, 06:29:04 PM
Celis is in Texas too.

Was originally, but after Miller bought it, no more.

Now it's produced by Michigan Brewing Co.

Opps! Brain fart, new they sold off, didn't even occur to me that MICHIGAN Brewing Company probably moved the whole operation to MICHIGAN... time for a homebrew I guess...
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: dirk_mclargehuge on July 27, 2010, 08:41:15 PM
Celis is in Texas too. Isnt Austin full of good brewpubs? I havent been there, but my boss often talks about the quality and quantity available there.
Since everyone has addressed the Celis thing, I'll answer the second part of your question.

There are several good brewpubs in Austin.  Uncle Billy's Brew and Cue on Riverside Drive is a consistent GABF winner.  North By Northwest in North Austin is a little more upscale (and pricey), and has very distinctive brews.  There is also Draughthouse and Lovejoy's Tap room.  Haven't been to those two, but I have heard good things.

Austin is the home of four microbreweries: Independence Brewing, (512) Brewing, Live Oak Brewing and Thirsty Planet Brewing.  Only Independence bottles.  Everyone else is, I believe, keg only.  Coming soon is Twisted X Brewing, Circle Brewing, Jester King and Moon Tower brewing (along with a second location for Uncle Billy's).

Nearby is Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, between Austin and San Antonio.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 28, 2010, 02:48:33 AM
I get to Austin now and then.  They used to have more brewpubs, Waterloo, The Bitter End, Copper Tank.  Looks like the new wave is on the way.

The Cellis thing.  Yep, the brewery and brands are now in MI, as part of Michigan brewing.  Those were purchased from Miller.  IIRC, Cellis had a put option with Miller, and excercised it.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: garciarb on July 28, 2010, 02:53:50 PM

Dirk, I agree that we have 512, Austin independence, Live Oaks, Uncle Billys, NXNW and various other brewpubs and beer bars such as the gingerman and draughthouse but somehow I think those guys are missing something. For example Austin Independence hasn't come out with a new beer since they started brewing there beer line has remain the same and there beers are tame in flavor for being craft beer. I remember going to there third year anniversary and they had an amzing IPA that somehow never made it to the market, if it had I would be the first buyer but they disapointed me cause it never released. 512 doesn't bottle and the one beer that was bottle recently for what I've read in reviews is tasty but various bad batches have also been reported. Live Oaks similar circumstances as 512, they dont bottle yet heard there new facilities will have a bottling line so I'm exicted for this but they also are hard to come by in beer bars and sometime a few of there selection are found sad cause there beer is very good. Uncle Billys and NXNW great brewpubs both make excellent beers but again are brewpubs and Texas laws dont allow them to distribute there beers or sell outside of there facilities. I wish some of these local guys followed in the steps of Real Ale and SouthernStar Brewery, I wish Uncle Billys had a bottling line cause there beers are yummy as well.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: dirk_mclargehuge on July 28, 2010, 04:36:26 PM

Dirk, I agree that we have 512, Austin independence, Live Oaks, Uncle Billys, NXNW and various other brewpubs and beer bars such as the gingerman and draughthouse but somehow I think those guys are missing something. For example Austin Independence hasn't come out with a new beer since they started brewing there beer line has remain the same and there beers are tame in flavor for being craft beer. I remember going to there third year anniversary and they had an amzing IPA that somehow never made it to the market, if it had I would be the first buyer but they disapointed me cause it never released. 512 doesn't bottle and the one beer that was bottle recently for what I've read in reviews is tasty but various bad batches have also been reported. Live Oaks similar circumstances as 512, they dont bottle yet heard there new facilities will have a bottling line so I'm exicted for this but they also are hard to come by in beer bars and sometime a few of there selection are found sad cause there beer is very good. Uncle Billys and NXNW great brewpubs both make excellent beers but again are brewpubs and Texas laws dont allow them to distribute there beers or sell outside of there facilities. I wish some of these local guys followed in the steps of Real Ale and SouthernStar Brewery, I wish Uncle Billys had a bottling line cause there beers are yummy as well.


Indpendence did add an amazingly good Oatmeal Stout, called Convict Hill.  Rob and Amy told me about that last October.  Otherwise, you are correct, their lineup hasn't changed.  I have had (512) and Live Oak beers in San Antonio at Flying Saucer and Freetail.  Scoring a pint locally in Austin isn't too hard: Flying Saucer, Gingerman, Draughthouse and Uncly Billys serve it. (It would be nice if you could get drowlers, though.)  I don't know if Tasty Planet has a bottling line; I've only seen notices about it being on tap at Austin's Flying Saucer.  I think Jester King will have a bottling line when they open later this year.

The important thing to remember is that most of these breweries have only a handful of employees, certainly under 10, and distribute themselves.  So any day they aren't brewing they are out trying to sell their beer to retailers as far away as Houston.

Finally, I have to object to the idea that craft beer has to be BIG! and BOLD! to be considered craft beer.  That kind of thinking leads to people putting bottles in dead squirrels and selling it for $700.  Mild beers can be craft beers.  I am partial to the Indepence Brown ale, for example.  A very nice session beer.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: Robert on July 28, 2010, 05:22:04 PM
If you get a chance, try The Covey, http://www.thecovey.com/ (http://www.thecovey.com/) in Fort Worth. They've been winning quite a few awards recently and they make some real fine beer. They are a little pricey on the food side of the menu, but I've been impressed by many of their beers. There is also Franconia Brewing in McKinney that specializes in German styles, but only distributes locally and only in kegs. While many people bash Shiner, I really enjoy their new Shiner 101 Czech Pils as well as their Smoked Helles. Sure, Shiner Bock may not be a "Bock", but its not a terrible beer and it tastes great in the Upper Deck of Ranger's Ballpark.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: euge on July 28, 2010, 05:25:25 PM
Part of the problem IMO is that Texas is such a large state. Populated but really spread out once one leaves the major population centers- BTW we have three cities in the Nation's top ten. We should have more Breweries. Period. ;)

Another aspect to consider is that the laws differ from county to county and from city to city. We have "dry" counties and cities all over the place where you can't buy a beer. We're still pulling our way out from under some very conservative laws.

Real Ale Brewing has a decent and consistent presence in beer coolers at HEB and some decent offerings.

Brewers have the option to treat their water but quite frankly our water isn't that great except for darker beers, which I suspect is why Shiner is what it is. It's difficult for the Pale/Light Lager mass consumption folks to graduate to craft beer, which is usually darker and more strongly flavored.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 28, 2010, 05:50:11 PM
Part of the problem IMO is that Texas is such a large state. Populated but really spread out once one leaves the major population centers- BTW we have three cities in the Nation's top ten. We should have more Breweries. Period. ;)

I might agree with the spread out and large part if the whole Alaskan beer scene did not exist. 

You are correct that Texas could use more breweries, but the market has to be there. 
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: dbeechum on July 28, 2010, 05:51:28 PM
Alaska has the advantage of being cold and having long stretches of it.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: euge on July 28, 2010, 06:08:04 PM
Alaska has the advantage of being cold and having long stretches of it.

Cold indeed! And having all that light to drink by in the Summer and the dark night to hole up in during the Winter.

Part of the problem IMO is that Texas is such a large state. Populated but really spread out once one leaves the major population centers- BTW we have three cities in the Nation's top ten. We should have more Breweries. Period. ;)

I might agree with the spread out and large part if the whole Alaskan beer scene did not exist. 

You are correct that Texas could use more breweries, but the market has to be there. 

Population of Alaska is about 700,000 http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/02000.html (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/02000.html)

Population of Texas is pushing upwards of 25 million http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48000.html (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48000.html)

Difficult to compare the two: my point was about how rural Texas actually is. The laws have been slow to change as well as public tastes and perception. But it is changing...
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: glitterbug on July 28, 2010, 06:46:14 PM
The scene is getting better in Texas. I'm just glad there are some breweries here and more coming.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 28, 2010, 06:48:52 PM
Alaska has the advantage of being cold and having long stretches of it.
They also have long streches of "dark" that goes with the cold in Alaska.  

Back to Texas.  Some states with less population density would include Vermont, Colorado, and Oregon.  To me it is more about the beer culture than the population density, or lack of.

I have spent a lot of time in Texas, as the BIL lives there.  He lives in the Rio Grand Valley.  Talk about a craft beer wasteland.  Austin is not so bad, and we love the Gingerman.  The Texas craft scene reminds me of Michigan 10 or 12 years ago.

Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: dbeechum on July 28, 2010, 06:51:11 PM
To me it is more about the beer culture than the population density, or lack of.

Amen to this.. The LA metro area has somewhere around 13 million people. We're by far the biggest West Coast metro area and we have the crappiest beer culture.

Fortunately that too is changing.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: dirk_mclargehuge on July 28, 2010, 09:17:28 PM
Part of the problem IMO is that Texas is such a large state. Populated but really spread out once one leaves the major population centers- BTW we have three cities in the Nation's top ten. We should have more Breweries. Period. ;)

I might agree with the spread out and large part if the whole Alaskan beer scene did not exist. 

You are correct that Texas could use more breweries, but the market has to be there. 
Frankly, I'm amazed there aren't any brewpubs on I-20 between Abilene and El Paso.  I imagine Midland/Odessa could support a brewpub.
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: euge on July 28, 2010, 10:12:34 PM
I was just up in Midland. It also is a wasteland. There were some of the more popular breweries represented like New Belgium etc at the fancy HEB there but my local "ghetto-B" has a better selection. Typical 4/5 of the aisle was Bud, Miller and Coors.

That city is crazy conservative so I wasn't too surprised. Reminds me of why I dislike going there.   
Title: Re: Texas Microbreweries
Post by: dirk_mclargehuge on July 28, 2010, 10:55:17 PM
I was just up in Midland. It also is a wasteland. There were some of the more popular breweries represented like New Belgium etc at the fancy HEB there but my local "ghetto-B" has a better selection. Typical 4/5 of the aisle was Bud, Miller and Coors.

That city is crazy conservative so I wasn't too surprised. Reminds me of why I dislike going there.   
There are a couple of good beer bars, that I visit when I'm there.  Not a huge selection, but more than BMC.  And The Wine Rack liquor store has an impressive Belgian selection.