Craft Brewers Festival Features Local Upstarts
By Tyler Pratt
Many of the 27 breweries participating in Saturday’s annual Texas Craft Brewers Festival are new Austin businesses, part of a recent surge in local microbreweries.
Austin Beerworks was busy canning Black Thunder, a German Style Schwartz, on Friday. There’s plenty of technology involved, though not the same as other high tech industries in Austin.
“It is absolutely our version of Austin’s tech industry,” said Adam DeBower, co-founder of Austin Beerworks. “We have a lot of controls, but most of them are analog.”
DeBower and three friends started Beerworks in 2011. Mike McGovern said the idea for a microbrewery grew out of a shared love of the drink.
“We were at a party with some mutual Texas friends, and we were trying to decide if we were going to eat a durian,” McGovern said. “A durian is a fruit that has a very particular smell, and not a pleasant one, and over the course of several beers we decided not to eat the durian but we just enjoyed beers and hung out quite a bit after that and became good friends.”
Not long after, they decided to start brewing their own. And they aren’t the only ones. In the past four years, Austin has seen a number of them pop up. Along with Beerworks, there’s 512, Adelberts, Hop & Grain, and Circle, just to name a few.
With all these young upstarts in town, local microbrew legends like Chip McElroy of Live Oak Brewing Company appreciate the variety.
“We can’t make everything here,” McElroy said. “And having other guys make stuff shows just how diverse a product beer can be.”
McElroy loves that there are more microbreweries in town. He says that there’s a camaraderie and creativeness in Austin beers. And McGovern says there’s no real risk of oversaturation.
“If you find a job that you love, you pour your heart and soul into it,” McGovern said. “And I think that kind of shines through for everybody.”
You can try Austin BeerWorks’ Black Thunder and lots of other beers Saturday at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival at Fiesta Gardens.