Yes, there is now an Austin beer, Revolución, meant to pair with tacos

To Independence Brewing and the local authors behind the book “Tacos of Texas,” the beer they created together is nothing short of a revolution — a beer that is intended to pair with tacos but isn’t a light Mexican lager, typically the accompaniment for such a meal. Instead, Independence has made Revolución, releasing at an Independence Day party this weekend, as a saison. 

Originally a European style, saisons aren’t anything close to what you’d expect would be paired with the tacos Austinites basically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the more complex flavor profile of the beer, bolstered by French hops in the Revolución, is a perfect match, “Tacos of Texas” co-author Mando Rayo says.

Carnitas tacos, for instance, are often seasoned with the likes of cinnamon, onions, cilantro, lime juice, even orange zest. Shouldn’t a beer meant to pair with carnitas, fajitas, carne asada and all manner of tacos be similarly nuanced? That was the thinking behind Revolución Saison Ale.

“I think it really comes from the idea of independence,” Independence’s co-founder Amy Cartwright says. “A lot of people in the craft beer business think they know what constitutes Mexican beers. Let’s not be so short-sighted. The true beer revolution is bringing new experiences to people. Working with the Tacos of Texas guys, we heard from them that they didn’t want to just have a light lager. They wanted something more like our RedBud” Berliner Weisse.

"Tacos of Texas" authors Jarod Neece and Mando Rayo, left, with Independence Brewing head brewer Brannon Radicke and Independence co-founder Amy Cartwright taste their collaboration beer, the Revolucion Saison Ale, paired with tacos from Papalote Taco House provided by Sergio Varela, far right. Arianna Auber / American-Statesman

Rayo, his co-author Jarod Neece, Cartwright and Independence head brewer Brannon Radicke ultimately settled on a saison as the style for Revolución after the two authors tasted a small-batch saison that another Independence brewer, Jerry Coreas, had whipped up on the pilot system.

In Radicke’s recipe, the Revolución is dry-hopped with Summit and Strisselspalt hops (the latter of which hails from the Alsace region of France), imparting citrus notes in the beer that Cartwright says makes it a natural companion to tacos.

“One of the things we wanted in the beer was to have the herbal notes of a traditional saison but make it on the lighter side of the saison range, really crisp, something that would balance out the spicy elements of tacos,” she says.

Although Rayo isn’t a beer expert, he knows his tacos and has made it his mission to convince the state that tacos, not chili, should be the official food of Texas. The Revolución Saison Ale — which is being released in cans shortly after the Independence Day party on July 1 — should only help with his cause, “changing the conversation about both beer and tacos,” he says.

People will be able to taste firsthand just how well the saison pairs with tacos at the party at Independence because Rayo and Neece invited eight taco vendors to share their wares at the brewery. These include mostly Austin taquerias, such as Veracruz All Natural, Papalote Taco House and Tamale House East, but El Paso’s Tacoholics and Laredo’s Taco Palenque are coming as well.

There will also be live music from a variety of groups, including all-female Mariachi Las Coronelas and Austin favorites Migrant Kids and Riders Against the Storm.

The Independence Day Taco Revolución Celebration, from 2 to 10 p.m. July 1, is free with an RSVP, but a $45 VIP pass will get you beer, snacks provided by Papalote in an air-conditioned VIP room and access to private bathrooms, an experience you might find worth shelling out the extra bucks to have. Reserve your spot or your VIP pass here.

Cans upon cans of Revolucion Saison Ale are being sent to distributors in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas after the Independence Day party and should be in stores in early July. Arianna Auber / American-Statesman

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