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Austin, Texas – Part 2 The Breweries

October 18, 2009

Going into this trip we knew we had the potential of  visiting our 200th brewery.  Planning to reach that  goal was challenging because most of the Breweries in Austin are Breweries not Brewpubs, and offer tours only by appointment or at  specific times.  Currently, Austin does not promote their breweries well, so you will want to pick up a copy  of Southwest Brewing News. Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on Google Maps like we did.  Read on to find out if we made it to 200.

Draught House Pub and Brewery
(#195)

After two days in Austin, we finally made it to a brewpub. We took the #3 bus from downtown (Hint: get a 24 hour or 7 day bus pass if you plan to use the bus a lot) that took us right to the front door. Entering the Draught House you are greeted with a traditional British Tudor Pub. A place to just sit back, talk to friends and drink a pint or two. They had three beers of their own along with 70+ guest taps from locals to greats like Old Chub, and Black Butte Porter. We were told by Nate at (512), the Brewer tends to brew with the season; lighter, crisper beers in the summer and darker heavier beers in the winter. At this time, they were finishing their run on Saison’s. It was Sunday night, which meant it was $2.75 local beer night.  Strangely, that did not include the in-house brewed beer and that there was no food since kitchen is closed on weekends.

BEER SAMPLER:
Saison Noir – a sweet and hoppy aroma greets you with this beer. It is dark and sweet with a hint of chocolate and a nice floral hoppy finish. It is not too full for dark beer.

Ordinary Bitter – light amber with a sweet malty aroma. It has a light malty flavor that builds to a floral finish.

Saison Rye – cloudy, dark blonde with a fruity aroma. The first taste is the Belgian yeast. It is fruity with hints of spices, and finishes with a bitter hoppy aftertaste

(512) Pecan Porter – dark and malty with a hint of cocoa and nuts, a very good beer. I bet it would be great on Nitro.

Fredericksburg Brewing Company (#196)
About 80 Miles Southwest of Austin lies the German settled town of Fredericksburg. A few years ago, we met a nice couple from here, and were encouraged to visit if we were ever in Texas. We were near and they have a Brewpub, so we rented a car and made the drive through Texas Hill Countryto Fredericksburg.  The hill country is beautiful with lots of greenery and rolling hills .  The drive was well worth it.

060Being a German settlement, it was not surprising that the Fredericksburg Brewpub had a German Beer Hall feel complete with a large Biergarten in the back. It was very well done and not too kitschy. On entry the first thing you notice is the large copper brew kettle and stainless tanks behind the bar. On further glances you notice the limestone brick, exposed wood, large fireplace, and flags hanging from the ceiling. They have a very inviting menu, featuring locally made sausage and a house take on Fish and Chips called Red Fish; a lightly battered, pan fried white fish, with hot sauce in the batter…mmm very good. They are also kid friendly (as most bars seemed to be in Texas). Upstairs is a Bed and Breakfast, so you can even make a night out of it.

BEER SAMPLER:
Not So Dumb Blonde – a German style Kolsch. Light, malty, unassuming would go great on a hot Texas day.

Peace Pipe Pale Ale – blonde in color with floral aroma. It is medium bodied, with a not so overpowering fruity and hoppy taste.

Enchanted Rock Red – red amber hue and a malty aroma. Has a malty flavor with a hint of nut and a light hop finish

Oktoberfest– light in color, fruity, malty with the right amount of hops. Per their description it is like a “Cornucopia of flavors doing a polka on your taste buds.”

Hopnoxious IPA – a massive 110i IBU dark golden IPA.. It was surprisingly well balanced and smooth, and not too bitter. So good, that I had to order a full pint.

Pioneer Porter – dark, but not supper dark. A malty, rich chocolate and coffee flavor and fairly smooth. It was very good and LushC had to order a full pint.

Real Ale Brewing Company (#197)

After walking around Fredericksburg for a couple of hours; shopping in their many stores, enjoying a nice Americano, and talking to  87 year old Historian Clinton Stork, we got back in the car (we were sober) and headed for Blanco, Texas. Blanco is a small town 49 miles SW of Austin. 073Turing off the highway, in what looks to be an industrial park, you are surprised to find Real Ale at the end of the road, in what looks to be a farm. The Brewery itself is in a large Metal building, with white grain silo outside. Unfortunately, we had not done our homework and we found out that the tasting room and tours are only offered on Friday’s from 2 – 5 pm. We did meet with their brewer outside as he was leaving for the day, and got to take a peak at the brewer which was teaming with employees packaging up beer for deliveries. When we go back to Austin, we’d do the Fredericksburg and Blanco trip on Friday, hitting Real Ale on the way, and staying the night in Fredericksburg.

Since were were unable to taste any Beer at Real Ale, upon our return to Austin (after a stop at The Salt Lick BBQ) we headed to Doc’s Motorworks to sample what Real Ale we could.

Fireman’s Four – a refreshing Blonde Ale that is Real Ales number one seller, and is the most common craft brew found in Austin. It is light, with a slight zest that makes it a great beer for the summer and newbies to microbrews

Real Rio Blanco Pale – light golden with little aroma. It is malty sweet, with a hoppy finish. Not super exciting, but very drinkable

Real Brewhouse Brown – brown with a hint of amber. Malty, chocolaty, and coffee goodness with just enough hops. LushC called it “A liquid brownie dipped in beer… Yummy what the patrol guard picnic should have been.”

North By Northwest Restaurant and Brewery (#198)

Located 10 miles from downtown, we waited until we had a car before we ventured to this gem.   075As you walk in the doors you are greeted by a large  bar with stainless serving vessels in glass behind it.   The building is upscale and well refined, but unpretentious, with lots of exposed brick and wood.  The Pacific Northwest  images throughout goes with their theme.   I’d say they hit the mark and we felt right at home.  The only thing that reminded us we were in Texas was when a father bellied up to the bar with his toddler daughter.  I still can’t get used to that.

BEER SAMPLER:

Northern Light – light and malty with just enough hops.  Very crisp and clean.

Bavarian Hefeweisen – unfiltered traditional German wheat beer.  Had an aroma an taste of banana. Finishes really nice, balanced well.

Pyjingo Pale Ale – brewed in the style of the great ales of the PNW with good malt taste, and abundant hops.  It is a great session beer.

Duckabish Amber – light amber in color with a creammy roasted malt flavor. Very drinkable.

Okanogan Black Ale a nice dark brown yet you are still able to see through it. Rich malty, sweet, with enough hop bite at the end.  If you savor the drink. You’ll be greated with a nice chocolately malty flavor.

Seasonals
Uptown Brown – very light brown.  Malty with a slight nut flavor. A little more carbonated than the Black.

Black Jack Ale – burbon barrel aged Black Ale.  You are welcomed by a vanilla and bourbon aroma.  It is a nice malty beer with a hint of vanilla and burbonl.  It is very smooth and well balanced.  Not to sweet or overpowering like bourbon barrel aged beers can be. It’s like the bourbon and the beer shook hands and played a nice game of kick ass beer instead of duking it out for flavor supremacy.

Uncle Billy’s Brew&Que (#199)

Wow… is there anything better than a Brewpub with in house smoked BBQ?  Not for me.  I am glad we did not miss this, thanks Amy.  Uncle Billy’s is Austin’s newest brewpub. 112 It has a great outdoor seating area that is dog friendly, with lots of wood and the smell of smoked meats. The interior is all wood with a large bar on one side and large glass garage doors on the other.  The service was exceptional, from the beer knowledgeable waiter to the attentive buss boy to the manager giving me free Koozies because they didn’t have the t-shirt I wanted.

BEER SAMPLER:

Agave Wit – light unfiltered Belgian wit. Fruity but not too fruity,  with slight hue of orange and coriander.

Hill Country Organic Amber
-well balanced malt and hop  with a slight fruit flavor make this a good session beer.

Hopzombie IPA – dark cloudy amber with a very floral aroma.  It is sweet with a  not to hoppy kick at the end. Very pleasant.

Thick Black Smoke – a Shwartzbier with barley smoked on premise.  Dark, malty sweet with a light, very pleasant smoke flavor at the end. It was smoky, black and sleek!

Back 40 blonde Ale – a German Kolsch that is a nice golden color. Sweet malty after taste with a middle hop flavor , very crisp and drinkable.. Bet it would be nice on a 100+degree Austin day.

(512) Brewing Company (#200)

512=200!  When I saw the name of this brewery, I was hoping it could be number 200, and it was.  512 is a production brewery, with no pub, and they only do tours by appointment. 117 Kevin Brand, the owner and brewer, kindly responded to my email requests an agreed to meet us on our way out of town. The brewery is set in a nicely landscaped business park three miles south of downtown. When we arrived we were graciously greeted by Nate, who immediately poured us FREE pints.  Unfortunately, Kevin could not make it, but that was OK.  We had a nice chat with Nate, drank our beers, bought a shirt, and took off for the airport.

BEER SAMPLER

Pale (on cask) – a nice golden pale with flavors of toasted malt and a nice hop finish.  Another great beer for Austin heat.

IPA – a nice golden amber with a fruity floral aroma.  Sweet and fruity with a nice hop finish, but not to hoppy.

One – a 1st anniversary Belgian-style strong ale that is amber in color.  It is medium bodied with subtle  fruit , spice and Belgian yeast flavors.  This beer could be dangerous at 8%.

The ones we missed:

Live Oaks Brewing Company – we did sample their Big Bark Amber Lager and their Oaktoberfest.

Independence Brewing Company – we did try their Bootlegger Brown and Austin Amber which was very good and their Austin Amber which were both very good.

Lovejoy’s – we missed this one because it did not come up an Google searches for breweries or brewpubs and their website wasn’t working so we thought it was out of business.  It is not, oh well… just means we need to go back.

All in all, the beer from Austin and the Texas Hill Country was good. We did find that there was a lack of really full bodied ales like those found on the West Coast. Probably due to the climate and the palate of the beer drinkers in the area.   However, they do have a great foundation to build on, to make Austin a beer destination.  Hopefully the tourism board will help them out.

 

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. MarkBrew permalink
    April 21, 2011 2:01 pm

    Thanks for the great and very insightful tour!! I will surely avail myself of some of your suggestions.

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