Friday, October 22, 2010

Independence Brewing 6th Anniversary Tasting

Like last year, Independence Brewing had media/bloggers out for a tasting leading up to their anniversary party. Tomorrow is the big day - 6 years and the release of their 6th Anniversary Braggot. Unfortunalty I was unable to make it out to the tasting. Never fear, I had one of my roving reporters, Matthew Reid, covering the event. Thanks Matthew, take it away:

Either I was in the right place at the right time or he was frantically looking for someone to fill in for him, but I was lucky enough to take Aaron's place at the unveiling of the 6th Anniversary Braggot at Independence. Beertown Austin has guest writers, why not Craft Austin!!?? My wife, Nicolle, even had a sitter watch the kids so we could have a short date night.

A little background about Independence: Rob Cartwright brewed at Copper Tank. Amy Cartwright worked at the Bitter End in college and for so many start-ups, she wondered why she kept working on projects that never got off the ground. Together they formed Independence Brewing, still at their original location. You can read more here.

Independence is located near the airport just off I-35 and the frontage road of Hwy 71 in an industrial area amongst a number of warehouses. When you pull in to the parking lot, it is an unassuming building. If the doors were closed, I don't think you could even tell there was a craft brewery in the space. However, with all the doors open, it was very inviting. Picnic tables were set up in the tasting area just inside the doors, and three dogs roamed the area, two of which belonged to the Cartwrights. The other one belonged to MisoHungry (Jennie Chen) who brought some goodies to share.

We did not have the chance to talk with Jennie, but what she brought was delicious. We also met John who runs a few blogs, one of which is Hop Safari. I had never heard of this site, but it's worth checking out.

Nicolle and I spent most of our time talking with Amy. She also gave us a tour of the facility. They were approaching 3000 barrels of annual production and thought it was the right time to work with a distributor instead of self-distributing. It just so happened that Brown Distributing was interested in working with a local brewery. In the end, they decided to add new tanks (doubling their capacity) than to add new cargo vans. Six years ago, friends thought they were crazy to have such a large space, but it looks like the Cartwrights were forward thinkers.

Oh, what's that? You want to hear about the Braggot? Oh yeah, I guess that's the reason we went. I'm going right to the point: In my humble opinion, this is the best beer that Independence has released. The aroma is peppery and flowery. The taste has a nice hop presence and is a little citrusy from the clementine orange juice and zest. The aftertaste is a tad alcohol-y, but doesn't detract from the beer at all. At 7.5% ABV, Nicolle was starting to feel it after just half a pint. Being the good husband that I am, I took one for the team and helped her out with it. There were some cheese samples to try with the beer provdided by Antonelli's. The suggestion for the Braggot was a brie-like cheese called Pierce Pt by Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma, CA. (Beer speaks, people mumble)

Next up was the Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout on cask. You can see by the picture that this poured with a lot of head. Once that settled down, having this beer on cask is the way to go. The aroma and taste were roasty and chocolately, and Nicolle detected an up-front coffee taste. There was virtually no aftertaste except for a longing on your tongue to have more. The cheese from Antonelli's for this beer was a blue cheese called Blue d'Auvergne.

I suppose you would like to hear a little about the 6th Anniversary party this Saturday, October 23. Yes, they will have the Braggot. Yes, they will have the Convict Hill on cask. Yes, they will have a cool glass to purchase. The glass is a wide-based mug with a handle. On one side there is a logo of a honey-comb and the number 6 to pay tribute to the local honey used in the Braggot. Amy said they have received a few firkins recently, so they will have a cask of Stash IPA dry-hopped with a hop that you will have to wait until Saturday to find out. They are also pulling out a keg of one year old Jasperilla (2009). The event will be at their brewery location from 4-8 pm. Check out their website for the honey-comb logo along with more details and other beers being served.

The great folks at Independence definitely know how to run a business and everyone is friendly. As I spoke with a fellow volunteer at the Flying Saucer Beer Festival last Saturday, he said that he has volunteered at the Independence anniversary parties every year and they sent him to GABF recently. Now that's appreciation for your supporters!


Chris Troutman said...


You're writing for the wrong team.
Your verbose write up is wasted on this copy/paste joint.

Just kidding. Bummed I missed the event.

biergut said...

I'm a freelance writer. All you have to do is pay me in free beer and my arm can be twisted.