TEXAS BEER INVASION
For the first time, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild will have a showcase at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Texas breweries have a history of providing samples to the more than 50,000 annual attendees from their own booths, but the showcase will allow brewers to highlight what Texas has to offer.
Even if you’re not one of the people lucky enough to score tickets to the Brewers Association’s annual GABF (all four sessions sold out in a week), those imbibing in-state will still reap the benefits.
Of particular note is a collaboration beer for the event involving San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing Co. brewpub and microbrewery Real Ale Brewing Co. of Blanco.
Freetail head brewer Jason Davis says the brew is a double wit with nopalito (cactus pads), four undisclosed spices, and salt. The liquids of their labors will be introduced at second annual collaborative RealTail event on Aug. 27 at Freetail.
Also featured will be four of Real Ale’s barrel-aged beers from its Mysterium Verum series and rare Freetail offerings such as Bandito (brewed for May’s San Antonio Beer Week), La Muerta 2010, barrel-aged Cherry Porter, and Brettanolocator.
Freetail and Real Ale won’t be the only breweries highlighting special brews at the brewers guild showcase in September. The word is that San Antonio’s Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling, Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing, and Austin’s (512) Brewing also will be on hand with special brews.
FREE HOUSTON A NO-GO
Speaking of Freetail, it looks like expansion efforts will focus exclusively on expanding the existing San Antonio location with additional capacity rather than diving into the Houston market as initially planned.
Big dreams in this economy have a hard time becoming reality for small businesses. Freetail owner Scott Metzger has indefinitely postponed plans for a three-story, 20,000-square-foot brewpub in downtown Houston after he was unable to secure a loan for the project. Houston has been the only major city in the country without a brewpub since its last one closed down last fall.
“As I moved forward with the Freetail Houston project, I began to run into an increasing level of resistance in capital markets. A brewpub is a good project for downtown Houston, but the deal is simply not there for me at this time,” Metzger said. “To move forward with the project at this time would be irresponsible and an injustice to my company and the City of Houston.
“For now my focus will be to continue growing our successful original location, which has internal expansion needs of its own, and moving forward in the battle for fair reform of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code as it relates to the activities of our state’s brewpubs and breweries,” he said.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current. He is co-author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to the Brews and Brewers of the Lone Star State. He can be reached at [email protected].