Cedar Park residents might never need to head into Austin again for their nightlife needs: Whitestone Brewery has recently joined Red Horn Coffee House & Brew Pub as another place where locals can grab a beer straight from the source.
But they aren’t the only ones getting neighborhood watering holes.
All over Austin, new breweries are setting up shop, and existing ones are moving into entirely new locations (Live Oak Brewing) or opening additional ones (Hops and Grain). In tomorrow’s Austin360, I’ve produced a round-up of upcoming bars and breweries to look for this year, which you can read online now.
Whitestone Brewery — helpfully named after the street it’s located on, just west of Hwy. 183A — opened on New Year’s Day as the dream of former software guru Ryan Anglen. Although he got into the beer business by homebrewing, he’s letting someone else with a far more impressive brewing résumé make the beers at Whitestone. Head brewer Kris Gray, formerly of California beer powerhouse Stone Brewing, has helped Anglen transform the 4,000 sq. ft. space into a comfortable taproom with a beer garden to boot.
Their hope is that the brewery becomes a destination in Cedar Park for beer lovers. In addition to having six year-round beers on tap, Whitestone Brewery has food trucks regularly parked outside and will have live music shows as well.
“(My wife and I) found a facility that tailored perfectly to the vision we had,” Anglen said. “We built this as a place we want to go to when we have a babysitter for our two girls. A place to get a fresh beer that had been sitting in a tank a few feet from you.”
The six beers Whitestone Brewery is starting with run the gamut in styles, an intentional decision he and Gray made for diversity’s sake. These include the Long Gone Blonde Ale, “delicately balanced with local farm-fresh vanilla beans and orange peel for a creamy citrus character,” according to the Whitestone website, and the Siesta Saison, which teases with a fruity aroma and delivers with a dry and tart finish. There are also the Porch Daddy Baltic Porter, Lovely Day IPA, Könverter Kölsch and Boondoggle Brown — all of which are Gray’s recipes.
“Kris had a lot of recipes in his back pocket,” Anglen said.
From the start, opening their brewery has been a family affair. Gray’s father has been helping them with “all the little moving parts,” as have Anglen’s father- and mother-in-law, both of whom “are having a blast talking to people in the taproom and finding out why they like craft beer,” Anglen said. Anglen’s wife, Danielle, also steps up when she can.
He decided to pursue founding a brewery after hearing the encouragement of people like his father- and mother-in-law, who enjoyed the beer he would make in his spare time when he needed a break from his career in software.
“They were not (into craft beer) until I started homebrewing as a hobby,” he said. “A lot of friends and family would come over, and we would barbecue and drink my homebrew. They were converts. They and everyone pushed me in this direction.”
But he readily admits that finding Gray, a native Texan, was the impetus he needed to get serious about opening Whitestone Brewery. “I was never foolish enough to think I was going to be a homebrewer and then a commercial brewer overnight, so Kris was the perfect fit for us,” he said. “We had a similar vision on the beers we wanted to put out.”
The brewhouse has a max capacity of 5,000 bbls, but Whitestone isn’t quite there yet. Anglen and Gray, who plan to self-distribute, haven’t even started getting the beers into other places around town; they want to figure out the needs of the taproom first. That, Anglen said, will depend on how many people stop in for a beer.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive reception so far, but there are still a lot of people who don’t know we’re here,” he said.
A couple of good opportunities to visit Whitestone Brewery: On Monday, it’s bringing in food truck Bohemian BBQ for a College Football National Championship watch party; in early February, it’ll be throwing a grand opening party. Keep on eye on Whitestone Brewery’s Facebook page for upcoming details about the party.
The brewery is tentatively opened 1 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and noon to midnight Thursdays through Sundays at 601 E. Whitestone Blvd. For more information, visit whitestonebrewery.com.