For Austinites who have found it difficult to drive out to Blanco on a Friday afternoon to visit Real Ale Brewing, the only day that the brewery had previously been open, Real Ale is making a big change. The new taproom, with 14 beer taps, an outdoor balcony and a view of the packaging area, will now also be open on Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting this weekend.
Plus, visitors are able to buy beer now for $4 (rather than the old tradition of buying the glass and receiving free pours in return). Mainstay Real Ale beers will come in 16 oz. pints, while specialty offerings are going to be served in 8 oz. half-pours. Beer flights with four 4 oz. pours are also available.
“The new taproom allows visitors both a behind-the-scenes look at our packaging and brewing process, plus a view of the magnificent landscape,” Real Ale owner Brad Farbstein said in a press release. “We’re excited to become another destination for visitors to the Texas Hill Country.”
Real Ale is certainly making a very good argument for the expanded brewery to become a regular day trip spot: according to the press release, it’ll be the “first place to buy and try specialty releases and limited edition beers, like Real Ale’s Mysterium Verum series.”
That’s just one of the updates the Real Ale crew has been making this year in a push to make the brand more recognizable and beloved for recent craft beer converts. Last month, the brewery announced a complete design overhaul of the brand, including bottles, cans and tap handles, to give them all a more unified, consistent look, with a simple logo that nods to Real Ale’s 19-year heritage.
Full Moon full of hops
Even one of Real Ale’s beers is getting freshened up. A hopped-up version of the Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, Real Ale’s first beer and original flagship, is hitting store shelves Friday here and in San Antonio.
As it did in 1996, according to a press release, the Full Moon recipe (now an IPA) “challenges the status quo,” with two extra hop varieties, Citra and Simcoe, brought in “to add bright citrus and tropical notes to the flavor” that Cascade previously contributed to alone. The Full Moon Rye IPA is also dry-hopped now for a hoppier aroma, and it clocks in at a higher 6.2 percent ABV.
Real Ale had introduced the rye pale ale in 1996, when rye beers weren’t widely made. “A bold choice,” it was often left off the beer lists at many restaurants and bars because they found it too intense, the press release said, but it was long a brewery favorite. With craft beer fans now clamoring for hoppy IPAs, Real Ale brewers have adapted it to reflect current beer tastes.
They’re also releasing a few new year-round beers later this spring, both on draft and in bottles, including the Real Heavy Scotch Ale, the Commissar Russian Imperial Stout and the Red King Imperial Red Ale. If you want a taste of all of those and a new sour porter, the Tenabrae Aeterna, the ABGB is throwing a special Real Ale party on March 21, the tail-end of South by Southwest.
Real Brewing Co.’s taproom is now open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 231 San Saba Ct, Blanco. For more information, visit realalebrewing.com.