A new Austin craft brewery is bringing something different to the burgeoning local scene. Lake Austin Ales, a company specializing in Juicy IPAs, will debut its two flagship beers during a week of festivities starting September 4.
Founder and CEO Zack Fuentes tells CultureMap that the brewery will set itself apart by only producing beers in what was formerly known as the New England IPA style. Now known as Juicy or Hazy, after official recognition from trade organization the Brewers Association, the approachable style is distinguished by tropical fruit aromas and less bitterness than traditional American IPAs.
Although it has been increasing in popularity over the years, the style is less commonly made in Austin. The few local examples include Pinthouse Pizza’s popular Electric Jellyfish and Hops & Grain’s Haze County double IPA.
To help with the operation, Fuentes drafted partner Grady Reynolds of Cedar Park’s Thousand Oaks Brewing and head brewer Kris Gray. Gray brings a high level of expertise to the project from his previous stints as head brewer at Cedar Park's Whitestone Brewery and brewing supervisor at Escondido, California’s lauded Stone Brewing.
Unlike most Austin operations, Fuentes has decided to focus on manufacturing rather than opening a taproom. “Any beer we [would] sell at our taproom is a beer our distributors don’t have a chance to sell,” he explains, adding that he considers the bars and restaurants carrying the beer the company’s taproom.
The first of those “taprooms” will be Easy Tiger, which is hosting a launch party for the brewery on September 4. The festivities are a bit of a homecoming for Fuentes, who worked with the restaurant’s owner Bob Gillett at Ringer’s, Uncle Billy’s, and Paggi House.
The event will offer guests the first chance to taste the core two beers: Juicy IPA, a beer with pineapple and mango notes, and Juicy Double IPA, featuring bold flavors of grapefruit and Meyer lemon.
A third offering will be added to the line sometime in the future, but Fuentes is not yet ready to divulge details just yet. Expect six packs of the first two offerings to hit the shelves of Whole Foods Market, H-E-B, Spec’s, and Twin Liquors sometime in October.