Austin Beerworks debuts seasonal Sputnik in limited-release cans

In the same month that Austin Beerworks’ new brewery and taproom is expected to open, the North Austin brewery is releasing a seasonal favorite in cans: Sputnik, a Russian imperial oatmeal stout.

Austin Beerworks is releasing the winter seasonal Sputnik in cans designed by Helms Workshop.

Austin Beerworks is releasing the winter seasonal Sputnik in six-pack cans designed by Helms Workshop.

Austin Beerworks started releasing seasonal brews in cans in September — introducing the Bloodwork Orange Blood Orange IPA first, followed by Montcore, an Oktoberfest beer. Despite clamors from fans for canned seasonals, the brewery hadn’t been able to offer them until this year because of maxed-out capacity.

Because the new brewery isn’t quite up and running yet, the brewers haven’t been able to make as much Sputnik as fans of the dark beer would like, but you’ll still be able to get your fill of it starting on Dec. 11, when Austin Beerworks is throwing a party in the taproom to celebrate its arrival. Sputnik will be on draft there.

Following the release party, it’ll be available on draft and in cans around Austin. The cans are limited: 600 cases of six-packs are going out in a one-time run.

Inspired by the movie “Man on a Mission,” Austin Beerworks’ Sputnik is “a crazy and complex kitchen-sink-style oatmeal stout with a coffee twist” because it features the roasted goodness of Cuvée Coffee, according to the brewers. “It is the result of a collaboration between a passionate and nerdy beer brewer and an equally passionate and nerdy coffee roaster.”

Sunday’s release party will run from 12 to 6 p.m. at the current taproom at 3009 Industrial Terrace.

If you haven’t been to the brewery in awhile, you’ll notice the large Austin Beerworks sign atop the building next door — that’s where the brewery is expanding into, in a move that will ultimately triple production capacity. The 16,000 sq. ft of new space greatly supplements the existing location of 8,000 sq. ft., which will be most likely converted to a packaging facility, according to Austin Beerworks co-founder Michael Graham.

The new brewery comes with a much larger taproom than the current one so that visitors will have more room to enjoy mainstay brews, seasonal releases and taproom-only specials. They’ll still get a look into the production space, thanks to a sort of “hockey window” divider beyond which  towering stainless steel tanks are visible, and they’ll have an outdoor patio with AstroTurf for extra seating and possibly yard games.

Austin Beerworks is excited about all the extra room because the brewers will finally have a custom-built quality-assurance lab that looks like a high school chemistry classroom. They also purchased Odell Brewing‘s old brewhouse system, but they aren’t in any hurry to ramp up production once they get the go-ahead from the city to start using the new facility.

“We’re doubling capacity right off the bat with these six tanks, and we have room to add seven or eight more depending on how crazy we want to get. But we’re in no real rush to max out or even increase capacity that much right now,” Graham said. “I think the first thing we want to do is get used to this brand-new system (because) the recipes don’t scale. We’ll do some test batches and make sure we’re comfortable before anything else.”

Lauded local firm Michael Hsu Office of Architecture designed the space, while Helms Workshop, Austin Beerworks’ branding and packaging partner, took on the design of the Sputnik can.

Keep an eye on Austin Beerworks’ social media accounts for updates on the opening of the new brewery.

And if you want more information about Sputnik, check out this YouTube video that Austin Beerworks released in 2011, when the beer debuted.


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