The first beer that the Draught House’s brewer Josh Wilson has made since the tavern stopped brewing in December 2012 bears his last name with an exclamation point. With Wilson!, a collaboration beer with Austin Beerworks, he has started brewing again, albeit briefly, and that’s important for anyone who used to stop by the Draught House during its brewing days for a house-made pint, any one of the often experimental brews the Draught House couldn’t produce fast enough.
Although Wilson! so far is the only beer Wilson’s brewed while he waits for a new 7-barrel brewing system to arrive from Colorado, get installed and be inspected, it’s certainly a good beer with which to keep Draught House fans tided over. A hoppy hefeweizen, it was brewed a few weeks ago on Austin Beerworks’ small-batch pilot system that Wilson had rented out to them after purchasing it off eBay awhile ago.
"We threw around ideas based on materials they had and on the timeframe, and they added some Austin Beerworks touches," Wilson said. "Otherwise it’s pretty similar to the recipe I last brewed at the Draught House two summers ago, Edelweiss."
He cracked that while Wilson! was probably a tribute to Tom Hanks’ beloved volleyball, Wilson, on "Cast Away," he’s hopeful the Austin Beerworks crew also thought of him in coming up with the beer’s name.
Brewed to herald the release of a new Austin Beer Guide, a now bi-annually published magazine covering the community and culture of Austin’s beer scene, Wilson! joins a solid roster of special beers being tapped at Austin Beer Guide’s party tonight at the Draught House. Joining the beer will be Jester King Das Wunderkind, Hops & Grain’s new American oak-fermented rye pale ale, Live Oak RauchWeizen, Austin Beerworks Double Duece and others.
Coffee lovers won’t be disappointed, either. Cuvee Coffee’s cold brew coffee is being combined with a variety of different beers to make some pretty, um, buzz-worthy concoctions, such as the Stinger with (512) Cascabel Cream Stout.
It’s not the first time Austin Beer Guide has thrown a release party at the Draught House, which celebrated 45 years in business last October. The cozy bar with a parking lot where people drink almost as much as they do inside didn’t actually start brewing its own beer until 1995, but did it as often as possible on the small system to keep customers well-supplied with beers like the Red Planet, an amber, and Golden Hour, a hefeweizen.
Wilson, who has brewed there since that first system was originally installed, said they’ll continue to "brew every kind of beer you can think of. We don’t necessarily have a core set of beers; we’ll just keep playing around, add more sours and barrel-aged beers."
However, he won’t start brewing regularly again for a few more months while the new system gets put in. "We’re itching to get back at it," he said, but in the meantime, enjoy Wilson! and the 70 or so other brews on tap at the Draught House.