Before I get started, I just wanted to say I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately, but for a very good reason! I’ve been working very hard with several other Houston beer nerds to get our newly formed grassroots, non-profit craft beer advocacy group, Open The Taps, up and running. I’m not going to use my blog to promote it (too much) but you can check out the Facebook page and the Twitter for more information and updates! Cheers!
Now, onto my “discovery”… You may recall a while back that I posted an article on a VERY similarly named brewery in New Braunfels, New Braunfels Brewing Company. Well, recently the founder and brewer of another brewery popping up in the same town contacted me to chat about his venture, New Braunfels Brewery. I spoke with Hunter (the founder and brewer) to get all the details on his start-up brewery.
Hunter’s family used to make wine, but they had trouble keeping grapes healthy in the rough climate we experience here in Texas, so he decided to start home brewing back in 1995. He developed recipes all through college (more on those in a minute) and two years ago decided to make the plunge and start a commercial brewery. Right now, it is his own personal investment, which is quite risky, especially with at least two others developing in their small town, though he is looking for other investors at the moment.
Right now, Hunter’s venture- New Braunfels Brewery, is in the stage we are very familiar with: waiting on permits and funding before entering full production mode. Though a word to the wise, better get that paperwork submitted before September 1st, as the price to obtain a brewer’s permit will be increasing on that date. He has a location already, which coincidentally is in the same building as Guadalupe Brewing Company, and is currently waiting on construction to be complete. He has a 2 barrel system composed of equipment that he has collected since the beginning of his home brewing adventures, he even obtained some pieces from Pearl when they shut down in 2001 in San Antonio.
Where Hunter believes that any name similarities won’t matter, regarding competitive edge, is his focus on lager style beers, not the most common route as the time investment is far greater than ales. He has developed 3 recipes that he plans on debuting at the end of the year if all goes well: a Pilsner, a Helles and a Grand Cru. The Grand Cru won’t be released, on his current timeline, until next spring. Interestingly enough, it was the first recipe he created and was heavily influenced by Pierre Celis. All beers, except the Grand Cru, will be kegs only for now, but he wants to bottle the Grand Cru in large format bottles next year.
I’m always excited to see new breweries developing within a short drive from Houston, and it is very cool to see a town like New Braunfels with a population under 60,000 (2010 census) have 3(!) breweries in the beginning stages. I look forward to trying all the beers coming out of New Braunfels. Thanks to Hunter for taking the time to speak with me about his new brewery!