Celis Brewery—the business that brought craft beer to Texas—officially returns to Austin Friday night with a new location in North Austin.
The brewery has already been well-received—Christine Celis said the beer has sold out at every launch hosted by bars around the city in the past week.
“Finally, we are back where we belong,” Celis said.
From the history of the brewery to what the future holds, here’s four things to know about the opening of Celis Brewery.
1. The history
Celis Brewery was created by Pierre Celis in Hoegaarden, Belgium. He first opened a brewery in 1969 in his farmhouse and opened an official location after he outgrew his home in 1979. In 1985, half of his brewery burned down in a fire.
After Pierre retired in 1985, the Celis family moved the business to Austin in the ’90s. Christine said they selected Austin because the water was filtered in the city in the same way it was in Belgium—through limestone—and because there wasn’t a brew in the area yet. She said the fact that so many young people lived in Austin contributed to the decision.
“Plus, Texans talk slowly,” she said. “My dad could understand what they were saying.”
The brewery open in 1992, and in 1993 it brewed 23,000 barrels.
In 2000, the Celis family sold the company to Miller Brewing Co., and it quickly went under by 2002. When Pierre died in 2011, Christine decided it was time to continue the family legacy.
2. The beer
Celis Brewery will serve four beers, including the Celis White, a Belgian-style witbier. More styles will be released later this year, including the Celis Grande Cru. Devotees can already find Celis beers on tap at more than 100 bars and restaurants in Central Texas, according to the brewery.
The brewery system inside Celis was specifically designed to reproduce beer made in 1965. The system uses the original yeast Pierre used in the ’60s. The brewery obtained the yeast samples from the University of Belgium. Pierre also had original yeast samples stored and put in ice.
The turnaround from grain to keg is about two to three weeks.
Celis White: The brewery’s signature beer—first brewed by Pierre Celis in 1965—is made from the original recipe that includes three kinds of hops, coriander and orange peel. The beer has strong citrus and spicy fruity scents and tart fruit flavors, according to the brewery.
Celis Pale Bock: This is also a revived original Celis Belgium pale bock beer with caramel malts. The beer has dry berry with caramel-malt and citrus aromas and flavors of berry, malt, citrus, and herbs and spices, according to the brewery.
Celis Citrus Grandis IPA: The brewery’s first new recipe is an East Coast-style India pale ale with citrus and tropical fruit aromas and flavors of grapefruit, orange rind, melons, peach, passion fruit and pineapple.
West Coast IPA: This beer is a beta project with just two batches made so far. It’s full of Columbus, Citra and Amarillo hops. Small amounts of Vienna and Crystal malts compliment the base grain and balance out the overall bitterness. Whole-leaf and pellet hops are added very late in the boil, giving it an intense floral and citrusy aroma.
3. The location
The 22,000-square-foot brewery is located at 10001 Metric Blvd., Austin. The taproom includes a bar centered around a hand-beaten copper kettle from the early 1900s that was featured in the original brewery. Christine enlarged vintage family photos, which are displayed around the taproom along with awards the brewery has won.
The brewery system is automated and 97 percent efficient. Christine said she aimed to make all the machinery “as green as possible.” The brewing room does not have air conditioning, although the taproom does.
The location also houses production for bottling and canning. The machines can make 140 cans and 85 bottles a minute.
[g-slider gid=”252610″ width=”100%” height=”55%”]
4. The future
The brewery opens its taproom to the public Friday at 6 p.m. Christine is planning a July 11 grand opening celebration that will include live music and food. July 11 was selected because it marks exactly 25 years since the original brewery opened in Austin.
Celis Brewery will launch its bottles Aug. 1 and its cans in September. Christine said H-E-B told her its No. 1 priority is to launch Celis in the stores in Austin.
Christine said customers can expect many live music events in the future. She also plans to launch a beer garden, a cafe and a museum in the future.
“This is not the end of it,” Christine said. “This is just the start.”