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Fredericksburg brewery wins big at international beer competition

Arianna Auber
A German-style brewery in Fredericksburg, Altstadt, won numerous awards at the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship. [Contributed]

Texas breweries — including one about an hour and a half outside of Austin — made a significant splash at a beer competition that pitted beers from as far away as Russia against each other.

The 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship judged more than 7,000 beers representing more than 130 different styles, and 17 Texas breweries were given medals. Fredericksburg's Altstadt Brewery, which opened a massive Bavarian-style beer hall on U.S. 290 last year, did best of all, taking the fourth spot overall in the competition.

Altstadt did so well because it snagged two gold medals and a silver for the Old World-style beers made there. The kolsch and Vienna red both took top prize, while the helles-style lager earned second place in its category. These beers are notable for another reason: Altstadt adheres to reinheitsgebot, or the German purity law that dictates beer must be made only with hops, malt, yeast and water. These days, it's rarely adhered to, especially in the U.S.

From the highway, Altstadt's facility is quite a sight — it looks like a veritable German castle with several different spaces, including a state-of-the-art brewhouse, an events center and a biergarten. It's one of the few places devoted to beer along that stretch of 290, where Hill Country wineries such as Becker Vineyards and Lost Draw Cellars have made their home.

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Here are the other Austin-area winners at this year's championship, which is the only beer competition that includes beers from homebrewers in addition to professional facilities.

  • The Brewtorium Brewery & Kitchen: gold for the Iron Belly Porter and silver for Little Ivan McGregor, a wee heavy and Russian imperial stout hybrid
  • Infamous Brewing: gold for Sex A Peel American Hefeweizen
  • Middleton Brewing: gold for Black Lab Porter
  • Oasis, Texas Brewing: bronze for Luchesa Lager
  • St. Elmo Brewing: silver for Rosa Raspberry Kettle Sour
  • Uncle Billy's Smokehouse & Brewery: bronze for the Barrel Aged Abbaye de Gembloux, an abbey lager (currently on tap at the brewery)

"Oh, man, this is a damn good beer," Uncle Billy's posted on social media about the win. "It has loads of sweet bourbon on the nose, followed by biscuity flavors mingled with delicate hop spiciness. It's a complex, full-bodied beer with a boozy backbone that finishes refreshingly dry."

For the full list of winners of the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championships, visit