There isn’t much Texas in your Texas Craft Beer, But is That About to Change?

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Tony Maples Photography


Austin brewer John West samples a black lager in the tank. Only one of the four ingredients in beer is local to your Texas craft brew: water. Malted barley or wheat, hops, and yeast all generally come from somewhere else. Texas craft beer isn’t all-Texas, but is that going to change?

  1. Texas Barley Malting
Blacklands Malting barley in process

Photo: Robert C Deming

The foundation of beer is a grain, either barley or wheat, and traditionally it has come from the northern plains in the United States and Canada, or from Europe. You may think that is because it will not grow in Texas. This is not completely true, and Brandon Ade sees that as a niche market. Brandon has worked with west Texas farmers to produce high-quality barley and wheat at Blacklands Malting in Leander.  Because of the economies of mechanized agriculture and scale in the enormous fields in the northern plains, Brandon can’t compete on price- yet. This business is still in its infancy.

2. Jester King Brewer Allison

Jester King Brewery Allison

Photo: Robert C Deming

Until fairly recently, the yeast which ferments the sugars brought out of the grain by heating in water just showed up in the air. Because that wasn’t consistent and didn’t provide exactly the flavors sought after, most brewers add yeast obtained from a lab – but not a Texas lab.  Arguably, after the yeast has been grown through countless generations, it is more Texan than any of us, but some brewers use wild yeast in the old-fashioned way.  One of these is Jester King Brewery out of Dripping Springs. The brewery recently purchased surrounding land to preserve the wild yeast habitat from development (Wild yeast habitat; you didn’t see that coming, did you?).  Allison is a brewer at Jester King, a brewery which is both traditional and progressive at the same time.

3. Award-Winning Brews at Oasis Texas Brewery

Brian Dwyer at Oasis Texas Brerety
Photo: Robert C Deming

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