Georgetown, Austin’s neighbor to the north, is so eager for a brewery in the downtown area that the town’s Main Street Program held a recent forum to explore that possibility. Although any potential production breweries so close to the town square might fall afoul of state law and zoning codes, Georgetown residents soon won’t have to drive very far to get a beer straight from the source: Rentsch Brewery, a father-and-son operation, is opening early next year, and Bull Creek Brewing on the other side of town is reopening with a larger brewing system after producing small batches of beer for more than a year.
“Demand overwhelmed our initial capacity,” Bull Creek’s Erick Matthys said.
He doesn’t have a specific date for when Bull Creek will reopen and start brewing again. Andrew Rentschler, the 24-year-old brewmaster of Rentsch, doesn’t have a set date for his brewery opening either, although he does know that it’ll be sometime in February, once all the TABC permitting guidelines have been met.
It’s a month he can’t wait for — and neither can the rest of the town. “Everyone keeps asking, ‘How soon?’” Rentschler said. “We’ve had a few people come over and try our sample batches, and everything I’ve heard has been positive.”
He and his father, David Rentschler, decided to open up a brewery together after dabbling in homebrewing. Their hobby wasn’t anything serious until David went to visit his son, a Texas Tech student studying abroad in Salzburg and Berlin, in Europe.
“(During my time in Germany) I had a lot of German-style beers at a lot of different bars and beer gardens, and I fell in love with those kinds of beers,” Andrew Rentschler said, noting that he had never been a fan of light macro beer. “My dad came to Europe at one point, and while we were sitting at this little café overlooking the Eiger (a large mountain in the Bernese Alps), we were talking about life and had been drinking a beer local to that area — I forget which one — but we basically decided we should do this; we should open a brewery. When I came back, we did a lot of homebrewing.”
Although his father doesn’t do any of the brewing these days, he’s a happy taste-tester and acts as CEO for Rentsch Brewing. Brewing falls to Rentschler and their other employee, Stefano Alianelli, who had heard from a mutual friend about their plans and wanted to get involved. They’ve got a very specific idea of the sort of beers Rentsch will have.
So far, the brewery will open with three year-round styles: a hefeweizen, a weizenbock and a pale ale. They don’t want to limit themselves to brewing only German styles, but they do plan on brewing in accordance to Reinheitsgebot, the German purity law that dictates brewing only using hops, barley, yeast and water, the four core ingredients of beer. Austin’s Circle Brewing also sticks to that regulation; otherwise, it’s fairly rare to find a modern brewery following the ancient law.
In addition to those styles, Rentsch Brewery will have seasonals, too, including the already named Red Poppy Red, which will come out right around the weekend of Georgetown’s Red Poppy Festival, an annual celebration of the wildflower that blooms in the front yards of many of the town’s residents and has earned Georgetown the title of the Red Poppy Capitol of Texas.
It was a no-brainer for Rentschler to come back to Georgetown, where he grew up, after graduating from Texas Tech.
“Anyone who’s here lives here because it’s a small town, but it’s still close to everything,” he said. “The brewery will be something the people of Georgetown can call their own.”