Real Ale Brewing’s latest beer features a special local ingredient — the Leander-malted barley of Blacklands Malt, Texas’ only malthouse.
Although Blacklands, founded by entrepreneur Brandon Ade, has been supplying the malt for many area breweries, including Jester King and Black Star Co-op, Real Ale is especially meaningful for him.
“To me, this recent collaboration is a dream come true,” Ade said in a press release. “To partner for the first time with Real Ale on the Brewers’ Cut ESB is a culmination of many years of hard work, planning and execution. Placing this beer on many store shelves gives Blacklands Malt unprecedented exposure. Not to mention it makes me extremely proud to be part of a delicious beer from a brewery I have respected for many years.”
He and Blacklands’ J.C. Salgado arrived one morning in December to deliver the malt and ceremoniously add it to the brewing ESB, Brewer’s Cut Project# 23, with Tim Schwartz, Real Ale’s brewing director.
The ESB, an extra special bitter that has long been a staff favorite at the Blanco brewery, is now in six-packs at local stores and on draft at local bars. Although Real Ale has made the ESB before, this one won’t taste quite like the others.
“Real Ale’s ESB has had a diverse upbringing as a child of multiple collaborations,” according to the press release. “The first version of this classic English ale was a draft-only offering adopted, at one time, by the Alamo Drafthouse as their house beer. Round two brought Real Ale and Austin metal greats the Sword together for their first collaboration, Iron Swan.”
The recipe has changed anew “to showcase the complex malt character of Blacklands’ North American Pale Malt,” highlighting the biscuit notes the malt is known for. Plus, East Kent Goldings and Bramling Cros hops balance the beer with “elements of herbal citrus and a spicy fruitiness,” according to the brewery.
Being able to supply malt to Real Ale is a good sign of growth for Blacklands Malt, which has been bringing in barley from other states to malt in-house since late 2013. The project started out small, but Ade’s increasing list of customers keeps his business booming.
“When I first moved to Austin I cut my ‘beer-drinking’ teeth on Real Ale Fireman’s #4 in the summertime and Real Ale Coffee Porter in the winter,” Ade said in the release. “Needless to say, when I started my malthouse, I had Real Ale on the short list of hopeful customers, but the realities of scale prevented us from working together. I just could not keep up with the amount of malt Real Ale was using.”
Real Ale’s Brewers’ Cut series allows for its brewers to stretch their creative muscles on fun new beers. For more information, visit realalebrewing.com.