Farm-to-Table: An All-Texas Beer is in the Works & It’s Worth the Wait

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In the photo above, respected Master Brewer Peter McFarland examines a hop cone grown in Texas (not a commercially grown plant, however). Hops are an essential part of the modern beer-making process. These green cone-like flowers are traditionally grown in in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and it has long been thought hops couldn’t be grown commercially in the Lone Star State. “They said it couldn’t be done. I proved them wrong.” This Hill Country farmer likes a challenge. He has already grown 300 hop plants in seven varieties, of which six did very well. He doesn’t want to be named as he is a couple of years away from having his first commercial crop. He believes the soil Ph and temperature ranges in his irrigated field are just right. The bigger challenge he sees is the occasional high wind, which means he will have to create a different trellis system to hold the tall, climbing vines.  “We’re going to do it a little different. They don’t have twisters up there in the northwest. My trellis poles are going to be built of pipe-stem.” He doesn’t expect to ever produce enough of the aromatic hop cones for the big brewers, but he expects plenty of interest from small breweries and home brewers. “Things are going to go wrong. That’s the name of the game.” He looked out at acres of plowed fields under a clear blue Texas sky and smiled. “I’m thinking about planting this whole field with hops. It’s just another day on the farm.”

Brian Pouring an Award-Winning Oasis Texas Beer

Oasis Texas Beer
Photo: Robert C Deming

Oasis has two of the highly coveted Great American Beer Fest medals and plans to continue that tradition with Texas-grown barley. The Oasis Texas Brewing taproom gives patrons an all-Texas kind of a view, as it is situated on the top of a tall cliff overlooking Lake Travis. The brewery’s unique location allows the beer to be gravity fed from the brewhaus, to fermentation, to aging, to packaging, rather than being pumped, as the brewery is built vertically down a 450 foot-tall cliff. The Oasis Texas Brewing Company also has a chef serving up delectable food along with those tasty brews and expansive views.