Georgetown brews new craft experience

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This spring Georgetown beer consumers will be able to enjoy local craft beer in their pint glasses for the first time.

David Rentschler and his son, Andrew, have been developing a Georgetown-based craft beer brewery for a few years, and in March the two plan to open Rentsch Brewery, located at 2500 NE Inner Loop, Ste. 3105.

Although the number of breweries within the state has been on the rise for more than a decade, this will be the first brewery for Georgetown.

“The city is ready for us,” David  Rentschler said.

The state is, too, said Charles Vallhonrat, executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, an Austin-based organization that works to advance the interest of Texas craft beer breweries.

Craft beer follows traditional brewing techniques and typically comes from a small and independent brewery.

The Brewers Association, a national advocacy organization, has been tracking breweries in the midst of the rise in craft beer and has seen a significant increase in the number of craft breweries in Texas, Vallhonrat said.

“Texas is in a very interesting position,” he said. “We have a tremendous amount of growth, a tremendous amount of new breweries and we have a lot of room.”

According to the association’s data, Texas’ size has affected its national ranking in comparison to other states, he said.

In 2013, Texas had 96 craft breweries—the eighth-highest number in the nation. However, the state had a per capita ratio of 0.5 breweries per 100,000 adults of drinking age, which ranks 42nd in the nation.

In comparison, Vermont had 29 craft breweries— putting it in 27th place —but it places second with 6.2 breweries per capita per 100,000 adults of drinking age.

Craft beer generates about $2.3 billion annually within Texas, which is the second-highest economic impact created by the industry in the nation, just less than California, according to the Brewers Association.

However, per capita, Texas ranks 34th in revenue generation.

“You have much smaller states that don’t [generate as much revenue]but deliver more [beer]per person,” Vallhonrat said.

The beer boom

Craft beer growth within the state has been something Vallhonrat said he and his fellow guild members date back to the 1990s.

“We had a [small]number in the state that existed then, and then there was kind of a falling off of craft beer in the late ’90s to early 2000 time frame,” he said. “If you look at most of the craft breweries in Texas, really Saint Arnold [Brewing Co.], Real Ale and we also consider Shiner to be part of that group—those are the three that survived.”

Craft beer regained its popularity in Texas in the late 2000s and has been a growing industry since.

“The Brewers Association tracks the numbers of breweries and craft breweries in the nation,” he said. “In the ’70s, before any craft breweries existed, I think we were down to below 100 breweries in the United States, and now we’re about 3,000 breweries nationwide.”

A growing taste for craft beer

Georgetown’s interest in the industry was sparked in 2013 with the opening of Roots Bistro, which included craft beer in its business concept.

Roots Bistro, which underwent new ownership in 2015, keeps six to nine beers on tap and rotates them roughly every three days. Usually only two of the beers are not craft-brewed.

The San Francisco–style pizza shop 600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse, which opened in May 2014, keeps roughly 50 beers in stock with 30 on tap, owner Mark Thompson said.

“Beer has changed,” he said. “It’s got a lot more crafty. It’s complex and flavorful. It’s a neat science. There are a lot of people here who had the taste buds for good craft beer, but they had to drive to other cities out of Georgetown, and we wanted to fill that need.”

Rentsch Brewery hopes to fill that need as well. Andrew Rentschler, the brewmaster, who grew up in Georgetown, said Georgetown was the only city in which he and his father could see themselves starting their brewery.

“The whole idea was a local beer made by local people,” Andrew Rentschler said. “We’ve lived here in Georgetown since 1992. I grew up here and saw Georgetown grow from a small town to a much bigger small town.”

The Rentschlers—who have established recipes for a number of German-style beers, such as a hefeweizen and a weizenbock—will brew beers based on the philosophy of the German Purity Law written in the 1600s, Andrew Rentschler said.

“We make our beer according to Reinheitsgebot,” he said. “It means that you can only use barley, hops, water and yeast in your beer. We follow that no matter what beer we make.”

If the licensing process stays on track, the Rentschlers said consumers can expect to start seeing Rentsch products at Georgetown events in April.

“We’ve been talking about doing something with the Red Poppy Festival,” Andrew Rentschler said. “I think that would be really cool. We’ve been proofing a beer; it’s an Irish red in style, and we’re going to call it Red Poppy Red and launch it with the festival.”

Consumers will have to wait until closer to the brewery’s opening to find out which restaurants will serve the beer, but the Rentschlers said once Rentsch Brewery is open people will be able to visit on Fridays and Saturdays for tours and tastings.

For a companion story from our media partners, KXAN, click here.

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