Hops & Grain to release new mainstay beer, PorterCulture, in cans

Fresh off celebrating three years in business, Hops & Grain will add another canned beer to its permanent lineup when PorterCulture slowly debuts in the brewery taproom, stores, restaurants and bars next week.

Photo by Arianna Auber. Cans of Hops & Grain PorterCulture will start appearing in stores, restaurants and bars next week.
Photo by Arianna Auber.
Cans of Hops & Grain PorterCulture will start appearing in stores, restaurants and bars next week.

The Baltic-style porter, lighter than other beers of that style, “was a long time coming” for the brewery, owner Josh Hare said. He said that with a pale lager, an altbier, a pale ale and an IPA all in cans, Hops & Grain had been looking to release another year-round beer that would round out the portfolio — something dark, a porter or a stout, that would still be drinkable in summer’s hottest months.

It took some time for brewers to come up with just the right base recipe, but PorterCulture, originally one of the small-batch creations people can only try at the taproom, ended up being what they had been seeking. Brewed with lager yeast and blended with de-husked black malt and chocolate wheat, it doesn’t have the chalky finish that other porters can leave on the tongue; instead, it’s clean and crisp even as notes of coffee, dark chocolate and graham crackers round out only a mild hint of hoppy bitterness at the start. A couple of rounds of PorterCulture also doesn’t make you feel full.

“Porters are generally meant for wintertime,” brewer Bob Galligan said. “But PorterCulture is a good beer for the fall.”

With a 6.56 percent ABV, the beer is suited for Texas’ hotter months, too. PorterCulture’s purple cans will join the other mainstays, Pale Dog, Alt-eration, the Greenhouse IPA and the One They Call Zoe (Hops & Grain’s top-seller), on shelves all year round.

But Hare isn’t stopping there. He’s already got plans to play around with barrel-aging and other projects in the Greenhouse, Hops & Grain’s 3 barrel pilot system that’s yielded tons of one-off experimental brews.

“We’re really looking forward to the wonderful projects that will soon come from our barrel-aging program using PorterCulture as the base,” he said in a press release.

The brewery also has a handful of Austin Beer Week events scheduled between Oct. 24 and Nov. 2 — among them a Halloween party, a beer-and-cheese pairing event and a beer dinner at Hi Hat Public House.

Local breweries, bicyclists team up for 1400 Miles ride

Although it’s too late now to join the ride, it’s not too late to donate to the cause.

Davis Tucker of North by Northwest is once again leading the two-week journey on bicycle from Austin to Denver to help raise awareness of prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. The ride, called 1400 Miles to mark the distance between the two cities, is not quite a week in — and the riders, most of them local brewers or brewery employees like Tucker, are still seeking donations. All money raised will be split between Pints for Prostates and the Prostate Conditions Education Council.

Josh Hare, second from right, and Davis Tucker, far right, on their bike journey from Austin to Denver to raise money for prostate cancer education.
Josh Hare, second from right, and Davis Tucker, far right, on their bike journey from Austin to Denver to raise money for prostate cancer education. Photo from @1400_Miles.

Tucker, Josh Hare of Hops and Grain, Todd Ewing of Odell Brewing and Jim Sampson of Twisted X, as well as Bryce Randle and Stephen Bontempo, are hosting community rides and beer events throughout the remaining week through New Mexico and Denver. They’ll be in Albuquerque tomorrow, in Salida, Colo. on Wednesday, and in the Lyons/Boulder area Sept. 27. The final stretch is in Denver on Sept. 28, where most will remain in town for the Great American Beer Festival that kicks off on Oct. 2. (It’s no coincidence that Tucker, who first came up with the idea for the 1400 Miles trek last year in honor of NXNW’s brewmaster Don Thompson’s recovery from prostate cancer, has timed the ride to finish up just before GABF.)

Each community bike ride and beer event along the way will also feature a much larger means of transportation: NXNW’s Beerliner Bus, a 1974 refurbished bus with four beer taps, three video screens and a commercial kitchen used to cook up beer-inspired food.

Hare has been keeping Austinites up-to-date on their progress through daily blog posts on the Hops and Grain website. His post today seems to sum up the 1400 Miles ride pretty accurately: “We’re raising money for a fantastic cause every step of the way, bringing up the awkward conversation that is prostate health with a bunch of guys that we’ve never met before.  Makes the miles seem a little less rough when, at the end of the day, we’re riding for something bigger than ourselves.”