Among the myriad of excellent beer events lined up for fall is the debut of the country’s first and only pre-fermentation, sour mashing, beer-slingin’ operation, Blue Owl Brewing.
You may find yourself whispering, "What does pre-fermentation or sour-mashing mean, and why on earth would I want to participate in that?"
CultureMap Austin caught up with co-owner and head brewer, Jeff Young (formerly in the same role at Black Star Co-op) to explain some of the brewery’s philosophical foundations and how it caters its operation to both beer nerds and the craft-curious alike. "We want to make sour ales that are both approachable and affordable to the average beer drinker, while also making them lower in alcohol so that they are sessionable over a period of sustained drinking," explains Young.
Blue Owl intends to can the beers for home, camping and tailgating consumption by late fall.
Young goes on to explain that Americans have become fashionably obsessed with craft beer — and the culture behind it — promoting healthy competition between brewers. This interest has also allowed for more creativity and progressiveness within the beer industry, particularly with some of the edgier styles like sours and wild ales.
Blue Owl wants to craft traditional beer styles — think pale ales, ambers and stouts — but also add its distinct sour characteristics to each of those beers during pre-fermentation. The end result will be a full lineup of tart-only beers (as opposed to post-fermentation sour ales aged in barrels similar to what Jester King Brewery produces).
Among Blue Owl's inaugural sour ales are Van Dayum! (a sour amber), Little Boss (a sour wheat), Spirit Animal (a sour pale ale) and Professor Black (a sour cherry stout). Currently, the brewery plans to provide direct sales to customers from the East Cesar Chavez Street headquarters, along with a tasting room for patrons to enjoy full pours of Blue Owl’s wares.
In the meantime, however, neighborhood resistance may resign Blue Owl to finding other ways to sell its beer. One thing is certain, Blue Owl intends to can the beers for home, camping and tailgating consumption by late fall. Young reassures, "Since we're a production facility foremost, we plan to hit all of Austin and the surrounding areas quickly and aggressively. We plan to distribute to craft beer bars and packaged retail places like Spec’s, H-E-B and small convenience stores."
Austinites can expect to see Van Dayum! and Little Boss in cans by the end of this year. Spirit Animal should hit shelves in spring 2015.