The Beer Diaries #4 Austin Beerworks
Posted by The Beer Diaries on October 2, 2013.
Greg Zeschuk of The Beer Diaries visits Austin Beerworks of Austin, Texas to talk to head brewer and co-founder Will Golden. Will and Greg discuss all kinds of topics and drink some delicious beers.
Austin Beerworks, like many others in town, is a relative newcomer to the Austin scene though they’ve had a huge impact in the time they’ve been operating. They won a GABF silver medal for Peacemaker in 2011 and have since released a number of other delicious beers like: Pearl-Snap, Black Thunder, Fire Eagle, Sputnik, Missile Headbutt, Flying Dropkick and a number of other seasonal offerings.
Will: Hi. My name’s Will Golden. I’m the Head Brewer and Co-Founder of Austin Beerworks and you’re watching The Beer Diaries.
[Song: Rollin’ fast down I-35, thru the day and past the night. Rollin’ fast down I-35, polarized into the light. Rollin’ fast down I-35, insterstellar hyperdrive.]
Greg: Hey folks. Greg Zeschuk here from The Beer Diaries here with Will Golden from Austin Beerworks. Hanging out in their brewery, talking about beer. Thanks so much for inviting us to be here and hosting us. It’s been delicious.
Will: Absolutely. No problem. Cheers.
Greg: Yeah, thanks. So, you guys have been around for about 14 months now. I mean, you’ve gone through lots of expansion. The scene is exploding. You guys are a huge part of it. Tell me about what the last 14 months has been like.
Will: The last 14 months have been just really kind of crazy. It’s, the Austin beer scene right now is really kind of one of the most explosive and one of the most exciting beer scenes kind of out there in the country. You know, I’d been coming to Austin to visit for a while before I moved here to start brewing, and everybody was drinking a lot of great beer here and there were a handful of people producing it in the state and I really couldn’t understand why, you know, and I guess we’ll get into that a little bit later, but-
Greg: There’s some magic ingredients that made it happen, right?
Greg: It’s like, something happened.
Will: There are. Yeah. It’s the people.
Greg: Yeah, I know. There’s great people here and consequently great beer.
Greg: So you, I mean speaking of great people, you started this with three other partners-
Will: I did.
Greg: So you guys, I think a lot of, some friends and, you know, buddies and you guys said “Hey, let’s make some beer together.”
Greg: Tell us about that. That’s cool.
Will: So our background kind of started out, Adam DeBower was the first one of the group that I met. I was working for Flying Dog at the time and Adam was hired on as a seller man and we started hanging out and became good friends. I moved on to work for a brew pub. He moved back to Texas to work for another local brewery, and, you know, we just became great friends and really kept in touch and we both had these aspirations of starting a brewery ourselves and stop working for somebody else, and those things really kind of started to unfold and became almost a reality, lesser a pipe dream, and he moved back to Texas and I was still in Maryland and my pipe dream kind of fell apart and he called me up one day and said “I have some guys that are really interested in doing this.” One of them was his best friend from high school and middle school. They grew up together here in Austin, Michael Graham, and the other one was Michael McGovern who he met in New York City when he went to school up there, grad school, and lived up there for a few years. They became good buddies and just really enjoyed home-brewing and beer in general and so once those three guys down here in Texas were together and they decided they were going to do this, they were-
Greg: It was on. You say “It’s on. It’s on.”
Will: Yeah, it was a done deal.
Will: They were like “Yeah, we’re going forward with this.” And so Adam called me up knowing that my plans had started to go south. I was working for a brew pub at the time-
Will: And he said “Hey, do you want to come down and, you know, be a part of this actual project that’s really going to happen?”
Greg: Yeah, yeah.
Will: So I came down to visit a few times and fell in love with Austin.
Greg: Yeah, yes.
Will: And it was this awesome town. Absolutely.
Greg: The key question was “When did you get the Austin Beerworks tattoo?” You’ve got to show the camera that.
Will: Oh, okay.
Greg: It actually matches your beer real nice, but obviously you committed seriously. Was that when you started, like, production or what? You know, it’s one of those, tattoos are one of those things, they mean something to folks? I got my old video game one.
Greg: You know?
Will: Star Wars tattoo, right?
Greg: Maybe it is. So yours, like, what was, what stage did it feel like it was ready, you were ready to do it?
Will: It was after we did our first brew and we were really, you know, we got the brewery actually up and going and regardless of whether we succeeded or failed at that point it was still a huge victory for me-
Will: And the rest of us, you know? It was one of those things that no matter what, I don’t care if it failed or not, I was like “Yes, I did this.”
Greg: Well, you did it yeah.
Will: This was my mark.
Greg: That’s actually the same way I built this too, yeah. And you guys did it and then you did it and then you did it, because you guys have been expanding. There’s some kind of gigantic red tank out there, like, there’s some really cool stuff, and you guys have expanded multiple times.
Greg: What’s that been like? I mean, it just, the demand for your beer is massive.
Will: Well, on top of the workload, just actually producing the beer, the special operations and just trying to expand the brewery responsibly and without just exploding too quickly and losing control of what we’ve got going on has been, it’s been challenging. It’s been extremely challenging, but at the same time that’s what we, you know-
Greg: That’s what you signed up for, right?
Will: That’s what we love, yeah.
Greg: It’s like, if life was boring, then you’d be boring.
Greg: If you want things to be exciting. I mean, what’s it been like having the three partners? I mean, you guys, do you guys parcel up your responsibilities? I mean, you’re the Brewmaster, or Head Brewer?
Greg: Like, how does that, how do you guys kind of divide up what you do?
Will: Well, that’s the great thing about our partnership, is there’s four of us and well all bring very unique and different skill sets to the table. So, going into the project we all knew that I was going to be in charge of, you know, the brew house and brewing operations, Adam was going to be the Seller Master and Fermentation, Packaging, and Michael Graham and Michael McGovern were the business minds as well as, like, Sales and Promotion, so there was no quarrels over who was gonna take what role.
Greg: Yeah. Yeah.
Will: You know, that was something that was very just fluent and it just flowed right from the beginning and we all love what we do and we share, we all share the responsibilities as well, you know? I trained the other guys to brew and, you know, they’ve shown me stuff about business-
Will: And marketing, and so it’s been a really fun project from the very beginning.
Greg: Yeah. Well, and you guys brought some kind of heavy lumber into the marketing-branding side of things, like, obviously, the work of the local designer, and have a really, really consistent, strong visual look. I mean, what was the thinking behind that?
Will: From the very beginning we started working with, we wanted to find a local designer here in Austin and we ended up choosing Christian Helms, which, he was the very first fellow that we met with and it was supposed to just be a meet and greet, every, actually I wasn’t in town yet, so the three other partners got together with him and they sat down and it was supposed to be a 30 minute meeting. It turned out to be four hours of them drinking beer and just, like, carrying on.
Greg: Actually, that’s called research in the business. It’s called “We’re doing some research.”
Will: Exactly, yeah.
Greg: “I mean, we’ve got to try the product, get intimately familiar with it”, you know?
Will: Oh yeah. So they called me up after that first meeting and they said “We’ve got the designer.”
Will: And I was like “Woah, woah, woah guys. We need to shop around a little more” and they just, they were like “No, this is the guy.” So I flew down to come meet Christian and the same thing. It was supposed to be just a quick meeting. No. It turned into this alcohol-fueled bro-down, you know?
Greg: Yeah, yeah.
Will: And we just had a great time, and he is one of the most amazing designers as well as one of the coolest people that I know. So it was an instant fit.
Greg: Typical Austinite if I understand.
Will: Oh yeah.
Greg: So that’s kind of how it works here.
Will: Every time I meet somebody new I’m like “Oh, you’re my new best friend.”
Greg: That’s awesome. When you guys actually got public, did the cans come first, the taps? I remember seeing you guys on taps, and so, like-
Greg: What was interesting and very strong about the presentation was how consistent it was. Was it, like, what was the thinking of “Okay, how do we roll out production? How do we do it?” Like, what was that like?
Will: Okay, well, even rewinding a little bit before we even released beer was we’d been in planning for almost two years for the brewery itself and we did not want to start a web page right away. We didn’t want to start just throwing it out there that we were starting a brewery. We wanted to keep it almost something a little mysterious I guess . . .
Greg: Yeah, yeah.
Will: And kind of cool. We went with, like, a grassroots kind of approach and we kept it very quiet. Nobody knew that we were starting a brewery here in Austin until we were ready to start sending beer out into the market.
Greg: Yeah, it was really funny because I think when it came out everyone was like “Hey, I heard about this new brewery just today or yesterday.”
Greg: It was very, very, like, boom.
Will: So, I mean, that was a big part of marketing was just, you know, really keep us kind of edgy. We started this grassroots thing, started handing out stickers, you know?
Will: Just like little things here and there and then, you know, once we were ready to go it was just a full on, you know “Boom. Here we are. This is what we’re doing.” When we did the design work too it was we didn’t want something kitschy. We didn’t want something that was-
Greg: Well, something that would last, you know?
Will: It’s iconic.
Greg: Yeah, there are some designs that are so classic-
Will: It’s not gimmicky. Yeah.
Greg: And iconic, that will last the test of time and you’ll see in 10 years and you’ll go “Oh, I know what that is.”
Will: I sure hope so. I would be so humbled if that was true.
Greg: Well, I think so. Absolutely. Well, it’s interesting, I think one of the things too is I mean, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I believe there’s been lots of, I know on the beer side of things, like, lots of awards and notoriety to the designs, but probably even the design world in general, I’ve seen stuff online about it.
Greg: It’s pretty amazing.
Will: Yeah, thank you. I mean, it’s been really cool and just, it keeps winning awards and-
Will: It was one of those crazy things when Christian first presented us with the initial logo, the A drop, we all kind of looked at it the first time and we were like “Ah, that’s really simple” and then we slept with it and then all of us came to the table-
Will: The next day and we’re like “This is perfect.”
Greg: Yeah. There’s a really cool kind of consistency with your design and your philosophy here at the brew, we were talking earlier about, like, you know, you want these beers to have clean, fresh, crisp, bold, you know, that’s in the design. Like, what was the thinking on that philosophy?
Will: The theory behind that was definitely to brew to the climate almost and, you know, Texas is hot . . .
Greg: I heard that actually.
Will: 9 months out of the year.
Greg: Sometimes you’ll see on camera me doing some sweating. It’s not because I’m nervous. It’s so damn hot here.
Will: Well, exactly. It’s quite hot here.
Greg: But this helps.
Will: So, yeah, a cold, refreshing bev-y. So we definitely brew the beers to the climate. You know, we want them to be very bold flavor, but very clean finishes, very dry beer, because a big, you know, medium to full-bodied beer is awesome, but during the hot, hot summer here in Texas sometimes it can be a little, kind of off-putting.
Greg: A little challenging.
Will: A little challenging, yes.
Will: That’s a good word for it
Greg: So what’s the local brewing scene like with the other brewers? How do you guys all interact and get along? What’s that like?
Will: It’s awesome. It’s probably one of the most exciting brewing scenes in the nation right now. Everybody has a great attitude. There’s no kind of cut-throat attitude towards it. Everybody’s just really trying to make this one of the best cities for beer and brewing in general.
Will: And we want to become the southwest hub of brewing, you know?
Greg: It is well on track, you know? Like, I mean, every month or two there’s new breweries, new brew pubs-
Greg: New great places to drink beer. You know, any idea what’s causing that? Like, what do you think is behind that?
Will: I think it’s just, it’s Austin is one of the best places to live in the country right now.
Will: We have a great demographic for it right now. There’s young, smart, intelligent people that just really want to have the finer things in life and really . . .
Greg: You’re saying there’s no so susceptible to mass advertising is kind of what I’m, code I’m reading, in a positive way, but people that are interested in exploring.
Will: Absolutely, yeah. Mass advertising I think has very little to do with day to day culture in Austin. It’s a very hip, very cool scene, very smart scene and, you know, craft beer is one of those things that goes hand in hand with that as well as fine foods, local fair in general, and just a really viciously local kind of drive to keep everything-
Greg: Yeah, the food, beer, I mean . . .
Greg: Some of the best vodka in the world’s made here. Like, it’s crazy, but it’s Austin.
Will: Yeah, I mean, when you think vodka you definitely don’t think Texas, but now I do because . . .
Greg: Yeah, no, for sure.
Greg: It has its reasons. So in terms of the future here in Austin, what do you kind of imagine can unfold? Like, we’ve gone so far in such a short time, what’s next?
Will: Well, I think it’s going to, if it’s played correctly, if people to continue to produce great beer and don’t just jump on a bandwagon to create beer because they think it’s a hip, trendy thing, like, my philosophy is I brew beer because I enjoy drinking beer. I brew beer that I like to drink.
Greg: Yeah, yeah.
Will: And then, you know, if everybody else enjoys the same beer as me, then that’s awesome. Then I can sell it. But I think there are some people that come in and would brew a beer that wouldn’t be as quality just so they could enjoy the bandwagon if you will. Yeah.
Greg: Just get cut in on it. Yeah, yeah. Which, the beerwagon sounds enticing.
Will: Yes. Thank God there’s not a lot of that going on yet.
Greg: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Will: Or, if ever, hopefully. But, I mean, if it’s done correctly then we could be a powerhouse. We could be a beer scene where people literally travel to this city in droves just to come here for the beer scene.
Greg: Oh I think this, what part of this is about, right?
Greg: It’s about sharing with everything what’s going on here.
Will: And Texas is such an amazing state to host people, you know? We’ve got the F1 coming to town. You know, we’ve got such beautiful, just natural, actual, you know, landscape and cool people, cool towns and you know, I think it’s due for us to get some of that play in the national beer scene I guess.
Greg: Yeah. No, for sure. If I was to tell you “Skreeee,” what would you tell me?
Will: I would say “Skreeee!”
Greg: “Skreeee”, yeah. Because I keep staring at it. There’s some wall right here, it’s like, what’s going on on that wall?
Will: So “Skreeee” is the sound that the Fire Eagle makes.
Will: The Fire Eagle is our IPA.
Will: It was funny, when I was still back in Maryland and we would converse a lot over email we were talking about it, we named Fire Eagle the IPA and we started discussing the sound that the Fire Eagle would make.
Greg: Very academic discussion.
Will: Oh yeah, yeah. Real high brow stuff. Keep up with me if you can. I mean, it’s, well, we started going back and forth and it was, like, trying to type out your best eagle noise I guess, and so-
Greg: Was there a limit on the number of letters you were allowed to use?
Will: Oh, no, no. As many characters as you wanted.
Will: Upper and lowercase, whatever there is. It was pretty funny. But the last one I wrote was just “Skreeee!” and it was just, like, real long, you know, and three lines full of that and the rest of the guys are like “What is that?”
Greg: Clearly it’s “Skreeee!”
Will: No, absolutely. I was like “Well, think about it. ‘Skreeee!'”
Greg: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So maybe describe a little where we’re sitting, a little bit of the physical space, some of the unique things you guys have here. There’s actually a couple, particularly you guys have a couple kind of super-retro tanks that maybe you could call out, but just generally describe what we’re about.
Will: Sure. So we’re kind of sitting in the foyer of the brewery if you will.
Greg: See, that’s almost the Canadian-French pronunciation, not foyer like some people say, foyer, that was solid. So, we’re in the foyer, we’re in the [inaudible].
Will: Well, I was playing cards with Theo, you know?
Greg: Thank you sir.
Will: I’ve got to be good to my host.
Greg: There you go.
Will: This is kind of the entrance to the brewery. We don’t have a very, I guess, standard kind of layout if you will. We’re kind of restricted on the type of buildings and the kind of spots we can have breweries here in Austin, so we found this awesome warehouse space that literally had a very good electrical current coming into the building and a very good water line coming into the building, and from there we kind of built it out to really help us build a great brewery.
It kind of moves in a circle and the layout really came from myself and Adam DeBower, one of the other partners. Working in other breweries we saw things that we didn’t like, so, you know, raw materials in one side, brewing happens, fermentation, packaging, and then to the cold room and then, you know, finished goods leave the building. So we wanted it all to kind of flow together, and I guess we’ll kind of walk through a little bit later and show you-
Greg: Yeah. Well, actually while we’re talking you’ll probably see some magic thanks to the video and some editing.
Will: Absolutely. Woo!
Greg: The Copper Tank Brewing, what were those tanks?
Will: Oh yeah. So we were doing a favor for a friend who is part of the local brewing scene and has been for quite some time. Copper Tank is one of the, I guess one of the original brew pubs here in Austin, Texas. It was downtown which is kind of hard to find anymore, right on Trinity Street, and we were doing him a favor and we were storing some old tanks for him and stuff, you know, while he was trying to get a new project off the ground and it just came about that, you know, one of our hot liquor tank or our hot water tank had ended up, you know, having a crack in it. We had to get rid of it, and we asked him politely if we could borrow those tanks and he obliged us because he couldn’t see any use for them in the immediate future, so we ended up with these cool relics. You know, there’s a lot of people that come on tours and they’re like “Oh wow!”
Greg: They touch it and they’re like-
Will: Yeah. “That’s got a Copper Tank sticker on it. What’s that?”
Greg: Yeah. That’s cool.
Will: And we tell him, you know, “Yeah, that used to be a serving tank at The Copper Tank in downtown Austin” and it really blows a lot of people away that we have those.
Greg: A bit of history, you know?
Greg: It’s cool.
Will: It’s one of those cool tanks that we have. So it’s a lot of fun.
Greg: Cool. What is it about beardiness and brewing? I’m curious about the whole beard situation and why bearded people brew beer.
Will: I think it’s like a prerequisite in order to get into brewing.
Greg: I read somewhere actually one of the states kind of put this joke law that you had to have at least three bearded people to be called a certain size of brewery, like, at your place.
Will: I think that may be true. Yeah.
Greg: I think it was Colorado, you know? One of the most, cold weather and beards, so-
Will: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. We, well, I grew out my summer beard here just to buck the norm, but it’s one of those things when we interview people we ask them if they can grow a full beard or at least some type of facial hair.
Will: If they say no, “I’m sorry.” You could be the best merit person, but “We’re going to have to re-examine.” I don’t know.
Greg: Except for the ladies.
Will: Oh well, yeah. That’s true. You’ve got me on that one.
Greg: I’m always thinking, always thinking. So talk a little bit about your beers. I mean, you guys have a real sort of staple of beers that are readily available and we’ll go through them. Like, obviously you’re drinking the Pearl Snap, the German Pils-
Greg: Really, really solid. I mean, it’s delicious beer. Awesome.
Will: Thank you.
Greg: Yeah, really nice. It’s got that nice bitterness, but, like, a nice, clean finish, great hot weather beer. What’s your thinking on that one?
Will: Absolutely. So, I mean, this was something, you know, one of the beers that we were super hot to trot about. You know? All four of us, all together, from the very beginning it was, we, if you’re familiar with Victory Prima Pils-
Greg: Oh yeah.
Will: That was a big inspiration and [inaudible] Truma Pils was a big inspiration for this beer. We all kind of loved that, that kind of in your face German bitter style.
Greg: Yeah. It’s nice.
Will: It’s very hot forward for sure.
Will: For sure.
Greg: The finish is-
Will: It’s got a nice crispness to it. Yeah. And then it finishes dry and then it kind of goes away except for that little bit of lingering hot bitterness.
Greg: Yeah, absolutely.
Will: But that bitterness actually makes you want to take another sip and it’s always followed by 10 or 12 more.
Greg: It’s how that kind of stuff kind of works.
Will: Oh yeah.
Greg: And then Peacemaker, I mean, this is award-winning beer.
Will: Absolutely. Yeah.
Greg: I mean, it’s a pale ale. Extra pale?
Will: It’s an extra pale.
Greg: So what’s the designation there, extra pale versus a pale?
Will: Extra pale ale really isn’t a defined style at this point. There’s no BJCP or the Beer Judge Certification Program definition of an extra pale ale. We wanted to use that definition to be extra pale, like, it was a very light-bodied, very easy to drink beer.
Greg: Oh, okay. Yeah, I mean, I found it was subtle but it was still flavorful but it was super easy to drink.
Will: So a lot of people, they think when they see extra pale ale they’re going to get this really hop forward kind of stronger beer-
Will: Which it wasn’t at all what we were going for. It’s actually more classified as, like, an English style summer ale.
Greg: And I believe you won an award, GABF-
Will: We did. Yeah.
Greg: Great American Brewing or Beer Festival.
Will: Beer Festival.
Greg: Beer Festival? Beer, brewing, it’s all the same.
Will: It’s all the same, man.
Greg: Best festival. And that was still, you guys won, like, last year last year you guys won the whole thing.
Will: Yeah, we had been brewing for four months and we actually pulled a silver medal for the Peacemaker.
Greg: Which is, for people to have context for that kind of thing there’s, like, I think an average of around 4,000 entries per year in those and it’s just, it’s insane the kind of competition.
Will: Yeah, it’s pretty intense. I mean, the category we won the medal in was a pretty well-trafficked category too with I think 60 other beers in there and to pull a silver medal out of that your first year, we-
Greg: Yeah, that’s [inaudible] and that [inaudible].
Greg: In a way it’s like the pressure’s on. You’ve got some other new beers, but at the same time you still won it, you know?
Will: Oh absolutely, absolutely.
Greg: That’s the, like you said, that’s the humbling thing.
Will: It was such a great thing for us to win a medal for that and we did a little partying afterwards.
Greg: Funny enough. I imagine there’s some beer drunk at that festival.
Will: Oh, just a few here and there. It’s mostly just tasters, you know?
Greg: Like a giant stack.
Greg: So behind us is a Fire Eagle, your IPA. Again, really nice. I mean, great citrus, kind of grassy hops, a big middle body, but again, nice, light, dry, but still, just that bitterness to the back of your throat finish.
Will: Absolutely. So, I mean, staying in the same vein of being super-[inaudible], super-drinkable to kind of fit our hot climate, I love IPAs, I love drinking IPAs when I go out, and this is a city where we got out a lot, you know?
Greg: That’s a function of the city isn’t it?
Will: Obviously, yeah. It’s just part of the culture here. It’s part of life. And in order to make a beer that fits the Austin culture in going out, you know, it couldn’t be a 7.5% alcohol beer, it had to be a nice, light, dry IPA, one that you could have one to five of out at the bar over the course of an evening and still be able to, you know, converse with other people without falling on your face.
Greg: That’s important, important that you do it like that.
Will: Absolutely. So, I mean, it stays in that same vein of being super-drinkable, but it’s a super-flavorful beer.
Greg: Yeah, yeah. It’s really, really very fragrant up front for sure.
Will: Absolutely. I love the, I love hoppy flavored beers, but the extreme bitterness is not really my thing.
Will: It’s like over-salting a dish to me almost. So I try and keep the bitterness balance but I throw tons of hops into the beer itself and that’s just to bring the fragrance and the flavor-
Greg: Yeah, capture a little end of the process where you put the stuff in, yeah.
Will: Absolutely. And there’s some people that really chase after bitterness, you know?
Will: And everybody has a different palate, you know? So if we can please one or everybody with at least one or, you know, two of our beers, then we’ve definitely done our job.
Greg: Speaking of a palate-pleasing beer, one of my personal favorites, the Black Thunder Schwartz Beer.
Will: The Schwartz Beer.
Greg: Schwartz Beer, what was the thinking there?
Will: Well, it was one of those things where, it was almost a forgotten style, the black lager, German, true black lager.
Greg: And it’s lager, again, so it’s-
Will: It’s cold-fermented, yeah. It’s lagered beer.
Greg: It’s a process.
Will: So it makes a drier, cleaner beer. And most people assume with a dark beer that it’s gonna be heavy, full-bodied-
Greg: Smoky, chocolately.
Will: Smoky, yeah.
Greg: Overly (?).
Will: Yeah. And that’s not the case at all with the Black Thunder. It’s a very light-bodied beer. It’s got a very slight roast to it because we use special black malts and it’s hopped very similar to the pilsner so it’s a pretty hop forward dark beer as well and it’s just, it’s really drinkable even during the summer.
Greg: Yeah, yeah.
Greg: It’s one of my personal favorites. I’ll declare that my favorite in advance, but I’ll continue on.
Will: Okay, perfect.
Greg: No, really. I love Schwartz Beers. I’ve had a few in [inaudible] and stuff and black lagers there just blow your mind.
Will: It’s just a great, fun beer. It’s the one that I love getting people’s reaction out of the best because they’re like “I don’t like dark beer.”
Greg: Especially if you, like, during a tasting or something, you’re pouring, they’ll be like “Wait a minute.” Let me think. We’ve got Missile Drop Kick on line.
Greg: That’s a double IPA which means you’re sort of starting to step up into the sort of west coast big boy territory or how do you characterize that?
Will: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, we started out with the foundation of our, you know, kind of classic styles that we produce consistently and then from there it was like “Well, now we’re going to show people that we can make an extremely big beer with tons of hops in it.” You know, it’s not just suiting our style to stay conservative. We love those big beers too.
Greg: Yeah, yeah.
Will: Yeah, there was over 195 pounds per 30 barrels of hops in each one of those beers.
Greg: That’s hardcore.
Will: So, they were big. Missile Dropkick was one that they were both our anniversary beers, and Flying Headbutt was the other one.
Greg: That sounds delicious, a Flying Headbutt.
Will: Oh, well, they’re both delicious.
Greg: Yeah. No, that’s awesome.
Will: Either way you’re ending up on the ground, you know?
Greg: I’m drinking a beer that’s coming out shortly it sounds like. It’s moved past experimental into the real deal, the [inaudible], which is really delicious.
Will: Thank you.
Greg: Like, I mean, it’s a [inaudible]. Its got a lovely, tart, sour character through it. Again, but it sits on the back of the tongue. It’s just delicious.
Will: Absolutely. Yeah. So it was one of those things, you know? What’s more refreshing than something that’s slightly sour, almost like a shandy or, you know, a margarita or something like that during the summertime? So [inaudible] is one of those other styles that has really kind of gone the way of the dodo as far as brewing goes. You know, it’s, you know, to try and find a German-produced[inaudible], I think there’s only, like, one brewery still producing that commercially.
Will: And there’s a handful of people in the United States doing it, so we thought that would be a great addition to our lineup, you know? Give a try at a sour beer which is outside of the traditional brewing styles again, you know? So constantly we’re just trying to build on that traditional style foundation that we started with, show people “Yes, we can do sour beer. Yes, we can do these big, hoppy, monsters too.”
Greg: Yeah, but it’s interesting, I think all the beers we discussed thus far, these are all traditional ingredients. Like, there’s no additional, crazy stuff-
Greg: But it is, like, water, barley, hops and some mysterious yeast that comes from somewhere.
Greg: But so I think we talked earlier off camera about this, but you guys in a sense wanted to show “Hey, we can do-“, I mean, the interesting thing about the basics, but the basics are hard to do well.
Greg: You guys are showing you can do the foundation of brewing here.
Will: Absolutely. I mean, well, I live my life in a certain way too and I live by a certain standard that I, the finest things to me are very simple things that are done exceptionally well.
Greg: Your logo, for example.
Will: So, I mean, it’s just a simple A with a star, but, you know, it suits Austin who is so, we’re so design-heavy here. It’s simple, but it’s iconic. It’s not gimmicky, and that’s what we were really going for with our branding.
Greg: And the beers.
Will: With the beers as well too, I mean, it’s keeping things simple, but delicious.
Greg: Yeah, yeah. This one, you know, again it’s one of the ultimate session beers.
Greg: You can session this all day. So that’s, I mean, and you’re going to have some other stuff in the future. We talked a little about some of your super special releases. I think Sputnick was one you mentioned.
Greg: Other stuff you’ve got, probably down the road. One of the challenges perhaps, you’re just cranking. But the future, you’re probably looking at some experimental stuff perhaps.
Will: Oh, absolutely. Now that the four of us owners, we’ve started getting to a point where we’ve now got six full-time employees that are helping to take the workload off of us.
Greg: That’s pretty amazing. Like I said it’s like ten people. That’s awesome,.
Will: Ten people. Yeah. I never thought I would be anybody’s boss. That doesn’t sound right. We’ll stay with boss. That’s cool.
Greg: It’s okay.
Will: But yeah, it’s really a great thing. We have a great staff on hand, and now that some of that workload is being taken away from us, now we’re starting to experiment with some barrel aging and fun things that we really like playing around with. But we really wanted to showcase that traditional style of brewing first and foremost.
Greg: Yeah. No, it’s done really well. Well, Will, this has been a great experience. Thank you so much for letting us come and shoot you here and do this video. It was really, really cool. It was awesome learning about what you guys do and just a real pleasure.
Will: Thank you so much. Yeah, it’s been an amazing time. Cheers.
Greg: Cheers. Thank you for the authentic interview. this was awesome stuff, awesome beer. It’s delicious.
Will: No problem.