After two years spent brewing two mainstay beers, South Austin Brewing is releasing two more year-round beers Sunday at its anniversary party. These won’t be more of the Belgian-style beers founder and head brewer Jordan Weeks has spent refining; one is a kolsch, a German ale that tastes like a lager, and the other is a Texas pale ale.
They’ll be on tap for the party and then released in cans, 16 oz. tallboys — which is another change for the brewery, as it’s always released beer in bottles — sometime in March, as well as on draft at bars around town. Soon following the kolsch and the TPA, as Weeks calls it, will be two more beers: a bock, another German-style beer, and a coffee stout brewed with South Austin Brewing’s neighbor Casa Brasil’s coffee. The two flagship beers, a Belgian saison and a Belgian golden ale, are still going to come out in bottles rather than the newly designed cans.
The brewery is making the switch to cans because they "no longer have a stigma attached to them, and they’re one of the best ways to store beer," Weeks said.
He did note that the stout with Casa Brasil’s coffee might also be found in bottles.
Since summer 2012, Casa Brasil and South Austin Brewing have hosted the Up & Down Tour, a fun but still educational behind-the-scenes look at each facility and how both liquids are produced, from raw materials to final product, and anyone who has attended the tour recently might have noticed that South Austin Brewing is undergoing a lot of transition. (In fact, those at this month’s tour got the very first taste of the kolsch right out of the tank.)
Weeks said the 50-barrel brewing system will soon have three more tanks added to it; he, assistant brewer Eric Wolf (who joined the brewing team in November 2012 after his brewpub Lovejoys closed) and events and tours director Chris Oglesby are also planning to continue renovating the taproom for future Groovy Sundays, afternoons when people can visit the brewery, try out the beer and listen to live music from some of Austin’s favorite local acts.
Previous Groovy Sundays and last year’s one-year anniversary party generally only had South Austin Brewing’s flagship brews on tap. Focusing primarily on two beers since the brewery first opened in early 2012 was intentional, Weeks said, because it’s always been a goal of his to perfect each beer he creates.
"Do one thing right," he said. "Get to know your brewing system. Make every beer perfect."
If there’s something else South Austin Brewing makes sure to get right, it’s how to throw a good party. Oglesby has long been connected with Texas’ live music scene and draws local musicians to the brewery for anniversary parties and Groovy Sundays — which have been put on hold while the taproom is being built out — including, at last year’s anniversary celebration, the Gourds. On Sunday, the Lost Gonzo Band is performing.
South Austin Brewing has held more than 60 shows in the past two years, Oglesby said.
But on Sunday starting at 2 p.m., you’ll want to come out to try the new beer. Oglesby recommends buying tickets in advance, as they’ll be cheaper than at the door.