Although Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse remains a small neighborhood brewpub, it’s grown a lot in the 10 years since entrepreneur Rick Engel founded it on Barton Springs Road.
So much so that cans of the Lazy Day Lager are going to be in 130 HEB locations statewide. The crisp golden brew is one of Uncle Billy’s most popular, Engel says. The brewpub launched it, along with the Barton Springs Pale Ale and the previously canned Green Room IPA, in cans last summer following a redesign that updated the brand.
Now, Uncle Billy’s is celebrating a new milestone: 10 years of being opened, making it “one of the oldest brewpubs in the state,” Engel says.
The beer-and-barbecue spot is celebrating with a variety of events starting on April 16, when the 10th anniversary festivities kick off with a “Crafternoon Crawfish Boil.” There will also be a Barton Springs Full Moon Swim on April 22 and a Puppy Porter Palooza on April 23.
Engel is well-aware his brewpub wouldn’t be where it is today if it hadn’t been for the big legislative changes in 2013 that, among other things, granted brewpubs the right to distribute beyond their walls. Before that, Uncle Billy’s beers had only been available for drinking there.
“Now you can go to Whole Foods or HEB or Randall’s, Twin Liquors and Spec’s, to get Uncle Billy’s,” Engel says. “It has expanded our reach and ability to get more people drinking our beer. Distribution has been the main key for growth.”
Of course, the Barton Springs brewpub, with multiple bars, outdoor patio seating and a large outdoor music stage decked out with a colorful illustration of Uncle Billy himself (the venerated Austin resident William Barton, whose love of Barton Springs in the 1800s got the watering hole named after him), remains the heart of the brand, something Engel wouldn’t change. He wants it to continue as the “one-off, iconic neighborhood brewery that it was really designed to be,” he says.
The brewpub will be the only place where locals can try Uncle Billy’s special 10th anniversary beer during the two weeks of festivities. It’s a 9 percent ABV double IPA made with 10 different kinds of hops. Head brewer Trevor Nearburg decided to make such a robust hoppy beer because Uncle Billy’s customers tend to gravitate toward big IPAs, according to a press release.
Here’s the full list of anniversary events that start April 16 and run through April 23.
- Crafternoon Crawfish Boil, 12 p.m. April 16. Spicy crawdads with cold craft beer. No further description necessary.
- Brunch of Firkins, 12, 2 and 4 p.m. April 17. Specialty beers galore at this firkin tapping, which will be serenaded with live music from Daniel Eyes & the Vibes as part of the KUTX Live Music Series.
- Fresh Can Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 18. Start your week with a new experience and help can the Greem Room IPA. You’ll have the chance to purchase brand-new six-packs at a good price.
- Anniversary Pint Night, April 19. Pint prices are rolling back to what they were in 2006, the year Uncle Billy’s opened — $2.50. They’ll be at this steal of a cost every Tuesday until May 10.
- We Smoke the Good Stuff, 11 a.m. to close April 20. Uncle Billy’s sly 4/20 joke is this deal on 10 percent off all smoked meats.
- Honky Tonk Happy Hour, 6:30 to 8 p.m. April 21. Uncle Billy’s Thursday evening live music happy hours are kicking off for the season with specials on pints of beer.
- Barton Springs Full Moon Swim, sundown April 22. Meet at the brewpub for a bit of pre-gaming and return again after the swim to relax with specials on Barton Springs Pale Ale.
- Puppy Porter Palooza, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 23. Bring your dog to the patio and you’ll receive a four-pack of Gypsy Dubbel Coffee Porter. You can also take advantage of brunch specials on Bloody Marys and mimosas.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/UncleBillys.