Have 67-cent beers at Austin breweries during Barks for Beers fundraiser

Ralph Barrera / American-Statesman. Divine Canines’ annual fundraiser, Barks for Beers, is taking place at 30 local breweries throughout the month of May.

If you visit all 30 of the local brewpubs and breweries participating in this year’s Barks for Beers fundraiser, each of the beers you receive from the fundraiser will amount to a total of roughly 67 cents.

That’s quite a deal, and the organization behind Barks for Beers, the Austin-based pet therapy organization Divine Canines, is banking on it to reach its goal of raising $75,000 — the highest amount yet for the boozy benefit now in its fourth year.

Here’s how it works.

It’s pretty simple: Buy a Barks for Beers pint glass and an accompanying “pawsport” for $20, and you’ll be able to take them to any of the 30 participating breweries and receive a free pint of beer in return (but only one from each brewery). Participants include Barks for Beers veterans like Hops & Grain, Thirsty Planet and the ABGB and newcomers like Hi Sign Brewing, St. Elmo Brewing and Idle Vine Brewing.

Although the fundraiser officially kicks off at the beginning of May and runs the entire month, some breweries are getting started early and already have pint glasses available for purchase.

Barks for Beers organizer Mike Pizinger, whose two dogs, Shiner and Amstel, act as therapy dogs through Divine Canines, has been able to grow the event every year, increasing both the number of breweries participating and the number of people purchasing the pint glasses. It helps, of course, that Austin seems to add a new brewery to town on a near-monthly basis. But he thinks the success of Barks for Beers is a result of something else, too.

“It’s just this great way for people to check out the breweries,” he said, noting that he’s heard Barks for Beers used as a brewery-hopping experience during a family reunion, as a welcome-home gift from a father to his college-age daughter and as the first introduction to local breweries from locals who want to help out a good cause.

All proceeds from the sales of the pint glasses go directly toward Divine Canines. So far, Pizinger said, the fundraiser has proved invaluable in more ways than one.

“In addition to Barks for Beers being our primary fundraiser, it is also a community outreach program and how we gain new volunteers,” he said. “We have a waiting list of organization who would like our services, but we need more dogs and handlers to meet the demand. All of the breweries and retailers are dog-friendly, so even if your canine isn’t ‘divine’ yet, bring them out to learn more about the Divine Canines organization.”

You can get your free pint of Barks for Beers brew at any time the breweries are open, but many of them are also throwing specific Barks for Beers events. Here are some of the ones you don’t want to miss:

  • Craft Yoga + Barks for Beers at South Austin Brewery on April 29. You probably won’t see any dogs doing yoga, but you’ll be able to follow up your workout with your first drink in the 2017 Barks for Beers pint glass.
  • Hops & Grain’s Barks for Beers Kickoff Party on April 30. Hops & Grain is one of the breweries wanting to get the fundraiser started early. Visit the East Austin brewery from 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, and you’ll get to check out pet-friendly vendors on site, a photo booth, a food truck for the humans and YoDog Snackery for the pups, as well as meet Hops & Grain’s four-legged Divine Canines ambassador.
  • Barks for Beers & Baubles at Copeland Jewelers on May 4. Nope, it’s not a brewery, but the Westlake Hills jewelry store is a big supporter of the cause and is selling the pint glasses. There will be many cute Divine Canines running around, as well as free beer from Strange Land Brewery and free pizza from 360 Uno.
  • Barks for Beers at Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling on May 7. Newly a brewery, Treaty Oak will just about have it all at this special event for dog and beer lovers. Meet some of the dogs involved with Divine Canines and enjoy live music, beer and cocktails, and brunch at the recently opened restaurant on-site at the ranch.
  • Bluebonnet Beer Co.’s Barks for Beer Party on May 13. Even Round Rock is getting a taste of the Barks for Beers fun thanks to Bluebonnet Beer, which became a participant for the first time this year. There will be cool doggy swag at the event, as well as a food truck.
  • Barks for Beers Pup Run on May 13. The first-ever pup run will start at Hops & Grain and will take you and your furry friends on a two-mile adventure to some of the other participating Barks for Beers breweries.

Plus, don’t forget to tag #barksforbeers on Instagram during your Barks for Beers adventures next month to be entered into a weekly contest. One photo will be chosen each week, with the winner getting a cool prize.

For more information, visit divinecanines.org/barksforbeers.

Flock of flamingos to help launch Strange Land Brewery’s new IPA

Strange Land Brewery wanted to make its mark in Austin’s budding brewing industry a couple of years ago with a focus on esoteric styles, like altbiers and hops-less beers called gruits. But now that the Westlake-area brewery has proven its knack for those rarer brews, it’s making one beloved among U.S. beer lovers: an IPA.

That’s one hoppy step up from last year’s Austinite Pilz, which debuted in cans to near-unanimous support and a clamoring from locals for more.

Strange Land Brewery’s newest beer is available on draft and in flamingo-themed cans, to be unveiled at Saturday’s release party.

The Flamingo IPA launches this weekend with a seafood boil, limited release beers, a branded IPA pint glass and the chance to take a photo with the flamingos from which the hoppy brew took its name and design.

“Our IPA cans pay homage to the storied history of our location and its beloved flocks of pink flamingos,” Strange Land co-founders Tim Klatt and Adam Blumenshein said. “In that same rebel spirit, we are proud to create one of the only naturally carbonated cans of IPA on the market.”

Like all Strange Land brews, the IPA is conditioned in its container rather than force-carbonated in a tank, a process most breweries choose for introducing carbon dioxide into their beers. Naturally conditioning the beer, Klatt and Blumenshein believe, imbues it with more flavor that wouldn’t otherwise be present.

And boy, is the IPA flavorful — and done in true Strange Land fashion.

“The Strange Land Flamingo IPA blends Old and New World flavors (through) classic malts and bittering hops with excessive amounts of floral and citrus dry-hopping,” the founders said.

They dry-hopped the beer using TripelPearl, Simcoe and Citra hops. The resulting brew “balances malt body with hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with a striking nose of citrus, pineapple and floral notes, plus flavors of melon and hop resin,” according to the brewery.

Strange Land decided to pay homage to the previous tenant at Bee Caves Road and Highway 360, the Pots & Plants Garden Center that closed in 2010 after 25 years in business. The store would frequently cover the lawn nearby in pink flamingo statues visible from the highway. Occasionally, Hat Creek Burger Co., in front of Strange Land at that corner, brings out the flamingos, and now it’s the brewery’s turn.

The flock will fly again (or at least look perfectly pink) at the IPA release party on Saturday, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. and costs $25-$1,000. Buy a ticket in advance to guarantee entry to the party. Additional beers include IPA Watermelon — which will be served in an actual watermelon — and Peach Pilz, Hibiscus Honey Saison and Sour Wit.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the eventbrite link.

Hey, Longhorns: the Austinite Pilz now comes in burnt-orange cans

Contributed by Strange Land Brewery. Here's your new tailgating beer: the Austinite Pilz is now in burnt-orange cans.
Contributed by Strange Land Brewery. Here’s your new tailgating beer: the Austinite Pilz is now in burnt-orange cans.

Strange Land Brewery’s Austinite Pilz debuted in cans this summer as a tribute to the people of this town who love good beer.

The cans, with gold lettering and a fire-engine red background, were hard to miss on shelves, and the easy-drinking pilsner — a much more recognizable style than some of Strange Land’s more esoteric brews — quickly became Strange Land’s bestselling beer, allowing the Westlake Hills brewery to plan a big expansion.

Now that UT football is in full swing, Strange Land is releasing the Austinite Pilz in burnt-orange cans.

That’s in keeping with why the brewery’s co-founders, Adam Blumenshein and Tim Klatt, named it the Austinite Pilz in the first place: because what is Austin without our beloved Longhorns?

“We named it ‘the Austinite’ because it pairs so well with all things Austin: food trucks, tailgating, hiking-and-biking, etc,” Blumenshein said in a release. “It was a perfect fit. We love and are inspired by Austin, so we wanted to craft the perfect beer for Austinites.”

For the pilsner, Klatt and Blumenshein had cracked open history books and discovered “a rich tradition of pilsner brewing that pre-dated the modern approach of low-temperature lagered beers,” Blumenshein said in the release. The result was instantaneous, Klatt said this summer: “We’ve gotten a tremendous response in the taproom where people come in and say, ‘Oh, I hate pilsners, but I love this.’”

The color change is supposed to be temporary, just as a fall release, but don’t those cans look nice? Find 12-packs of the burnt-orange Austinite Pilz exclusively at HEB stores.

Strange Land Brewery expands with help of easy-drinking pilsner

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Strange Land Brewery's Austinite Pilz is available on draft in the taproom and in cans around Austin.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Strange Land Brewery’s Austinite Pilz is available on draft in the taproom and in cans around Austin.

When Strange Land Brewery’s Austinite Pilz debuted in a bright red can just in time for summer this year, the reaction was immediate — make more of it. Make lots more.

But anyone familiar with Strange Land, a Westlake-area brewery that launched in late 2014, might find the 5 percent ABV pilsner an odd addition to the portfolio, which also includes more esoteric styles like the dry Ploughshare Saison and the full-flavored Alemannia Alt. From the start, Strange Land intended to stay away from the common hop-forward beers that many breweries prefer to make.

“It’s the beer we’ve been missing,” co-founder Tim Klatt said. “We thought the Ploughshare and the alt would be our flagships, but what did we know?”

He and co-founder Adam Blumenshein decided to “listen to the market,” which was clamoring for a beer like the pilsner that could lead new Strange Land fans into the brewery’s more unusual beers, still the favorites of the founding duo. But they’re doing it their way — the pilsner isn’t exactly a typical one. Normally, pilsners, as lagers, are made with bottom-fermenting yeast that make the style one of the trickiest and most diverse in the beer world.

The Austinite, however, is technically a style that doesn’t exist, Klatt said. He and Blumenshein are taking a historical approach with it: All pilsners began to ferment with lager yeast starting in 1842 thanks to the ground-breaking introduction of Pilsner Urquell, an Old World beer still made today. Before that, pilsners came about a little differently.

“In 1842, there was a big shift toward lager yeast and cold-temperature fermentation,” he said. “Our approach takes a hybrid ale-lager yeast and ferments it in the middle of ale temperatures, 70 degrees, and lager temperatures, 55 degrees. We’ve gotten a tremendous response in the taproom where people come in and say, ‘Oh, I hate pilsners, but I love this.'”

Neither Klatt nor Blumenshein are big fans of pilsners, either, which was partly why they struggled for so long with the idea of making one: “How can we make a beer that we think the market needs, but still have a beer that we can stand behind?”

Strange Land’s new beer comes at a good time for the brewery, which recently installed six new tanks — “We’re just collecting steel,” Klatt joked — that will significantly increase production to 10,000 barrels. That’s a far cry from the starting number of just under 2,000 barrels. The brewery also released newly designed cans, with the Ploughshare, Alemannia and the Entire Porter all joining the Austinite in their own striking colors. And Strange Land has a new set of investors “to help the business mirror the growth we now have with the tanks,” he said.

One of the core values of Strange Land, despite all this change, remains steadfast.

The brewery first released all of its beers on draft, letting each one become naturally conditioned in the keg rather than force-carbonated in a tank, a process most breweries choose for introducing carbon dioxide into their beers. Strange Land’s move into cans, after several bomber releases, didn’t change Klatt and Blumenshein’s stance on natural conditioning: It had to be done.

Never mind that hardly anyone else is doing can-conditioning, a process with shaky, sometimes even dangerous, results.

“What you’re seeing right now is that they’re packaging a still product,” he said, motioning toward Armadillo Mobile Canning’s temporary set-up in the middle of the brewery. “We dose it with sugar and a little yeast, and it comes alive in the can over the next couple of weeks, creating all the carbonation inside the can. Of course there are no manuals on how to do that. There’s a high likelihood these things are going to blow up.”

And blow up they did — Klatt said Strange Land had a number of product recalls and emails from consumers about cans exploding on them. That’s why the original Strange Land cans just had stickers on them, rather than full-on label design. But he, Blumenshein and their two employees, Brandon Vernon and Brandon Williams, figured out the can-conditioning process (soothing ruffled feathers with care packages of beer in the meantime) and decided that proper cans were now in order.

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. A gruit is a style of beer made without hops that Strange Land perfected with an herbal backbone.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. A gruit is a style of beer made without hops that Strange Land perfected by giving it an herbal backbone.

“We fully stood by everything we were doing, even though it might have seemed insane,” he said. “What happens when you condition a beer is it changes the flavor of the beer, makes it so much more flavorful, than if you strip out the yeast and add bubbles to it. That doesn’t condition a beer; that just carbonates it.”

In addition to the four cans, Strange Land Brewery has a handful of bottle-conditioned bombers out on bar and store shelves, as well as at the brewery taproom opened on weekends.

One of the newest ones is the Apothecary Saison Gruit, a beer without hops that Strange Land originally made on a much smaller scale last summer. Instead of hops, it’s got wild rosemary, sweet gale, yarrow and mesquite honey, all of which contribute a lovely floral backbone to this old-fangled beer. Strange Land is also gearing up to produce the Headless Gentleman Imperial Bourbon Pumpkin Porter again for the fall.

These more experimental brews are all possible because of the Austinite Pilz, which Strange Land can’t make enough of at the moment. “It’s been really well-received,” Klatt said.

But don’t expect a Strange Land IPA anytime soon — that’s still not a direction that oddball Strange Land wants to go.

For more information, visit strangelandbrewery.com. Strange Land Brewery is opened 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 to 6 p.m. Sundays.

A beer for Austin: Strange Land Brewery’s new canned pilsner, the Austinite

Photo contributed by Tim Klatt. The Austinite is a pilsner meant to be enjoyed in a hot Central Texas summer.
Photo contributed by Tim Klatt. The Austinite is a pilsner meant to be enjoyed in a hot Central Texas summer.

Strange Land Brewery has strayed from its tradition of brewing unconventional styles to make a pilsner — with a name that’s hard to forget for anyone who lives in and loves Central Texas: the Austinite.

The brewery’s two co-founders, Tim Klatt and Adam Blumenshein, “developed the Austinite Pilz in order to add to our portfolio a light, clean and easy-drinking brew (that) doesn’t compromise our high-craft approach to beer,” Klatt said via email. The duo is calling it “an honest beer for true Austinites.”

At 5 percent ABV and coming in a bright red and gold can, the pilsner may well become many locals’ go-to beer this summer.

According to Klatt, “the Austinite Pilz, our postmodern take on the pilsner, transcends the simple boundaries of ‘ale’ and ‘lager.’ Harking back to the brewing tradition prior to the mid-1800s, before the predominance of light and flavorless beers fermented with lager yeast, the Austinite is top-fermented at low temperature and lightly lagered to produce a light-to-medium body and clean finish.”

And why did he and Blumenshein decide to call it the Austinite, clearly the quickest way to all local beer lovers’ hearts?

“Adam and I have lived in Austin now for a combined almost 40 years; we love Austin, we are inspired by Austin, and we wanted to craft the perfect brew for Austinites — a beer that compliments the eight months of summer we have here,” Klatt said. “Once you experience it, I’m sure you’ll agree that the beer essentially named itself.”

It launched at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden yesterday, but people will be able to find it in bars and stores across the city. For more information, visit strangelandbrewery.com.

Celebrate National Beer Day in Austin

You don’t really need a fake national holiday to enjoy a good beer, but local bars and restaurants are taking advantage of the excuse and offering specials today, which has been designated as National Beer Day.

For what it’s worth, National Beer Day is not as arbitrary as some of the other dubious national holidays out there: April 7 is the day the sale of beer became legal again in the U.S. in 1933, several months before the official repeal of Prohibition.

Cool, huh? Toast to American history at one of these places recognizing National Beer Day. (You could’ve also started celebrating yesterday, which is apparently considered New Beer’s Eve. These holiday things can’t go overboard enough, really.)

Black Sheep Lodge, 2108 S. Lamar Blvd. It’s hard to think of a better beer to enjoy on this day than (512) Brewing’s SMaSH (which means it’s been brewed with a single malt and hops, in this case Cashmere hops). Buy the beer and keep the glass.

Crown and Anchor Pub, 2911 San Jacinto Blvd. Uncle Billy’s (which is just about to start celebrating a big day of their own) will be at the campus-area bar pouring Lazy Day Lager at post-Prohibition prices from 7 until 7:33 p.m.

The new Growler USA is opening in the campus area with 100 taps, primarily of local and Texas beers.
The new Growler USA is celebrating National Beer Day with an all-day happy hour.

Growler USA, 609 W. 29th St. This fairly new beer bar in the campus area is going all out for National Beer Day, with an all-day happy hour that includes 10 percent off growler fills, $2 off all Texas beers, $3 off kombucha and a free plastic growler per person.

Hat Creek Burgers, 5902 Bee Cave Rd. and 5400 Burnet Rd. All locations of this burger joint (including two additional ones in Round Rock and Georgetown) are offering $1 beer throughout the day, which is also when the restaurant is launching Strange Land Brewery’s newest beer, a pilsner called the Austinite.

Haymaker, 2310 Manor Rd. Stop in for a pint night from 7 to 9 p.m. with Hops & Grain, which will have A Pale Mosaic and the Dispensary IPA on tap.

Independence Brewing, 3913 Todd Ln. Ste. 607. Anyone can stop in for a pint of Bootlegger Brown Ale infused with Third Coast Coffee, but teachers have it especially lucky — Independence is letting them show their school ID for $3 beers.

Jack & Ginger’s Irish Pub, 11500 Rock Rose Ave. The new beer bar at the Domain, with more than 80 beers on tap, is offering a deal hard to pass up: $7 beer flights from 3 to 7 p.m. and $4 specials on Texas brews from 7 p.m. to close.

North by Northwest, 10010 Capital of Texas Hwy. N. One of Austin’s oldest brewpubs is celebrating with a playful beer: Framboyz in the Hood, a raspberry lambic, is being tapped just for the occasion.

Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing, 13010 W. Parmer Ln. Ste. 800, Cedar Park. Although Red Horn wants to make clear every day is a good one for beer, the brewpub will play along and offer beers from Deep Ellum Brewing starting at 7:30 p.m., when a brewery rep will have swag to give away.

Trace at the W, 200 Lavaca St. The hotel restaurant is hoping to draw in locals and tourists alike with $4 Circle Brewing beers, like the Hop Overboard Session IPA.

This is just a starting list; keep an eye on it throughout the day for additional bars and restaurants wanting to toast to our beer-drinking independence.

Strange Land Brewery recently made a beer without hops, a Gruit

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. One of Strange Land Brewery's special taproom-only releases is the Gruit, which features herbs and no hops.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. One of Strange Land Brewery’s special taproom-only releases is the Gruit, which features herbs and no hops.

The Westlake-area brewery Strange Land has been playing around with uncommon beer styles since opening late last year, and one of its newest offerings is no different.

Available only at the taproom behind the Hat Creek Burger Co. off Loop 360, the Gruit is Strange Land Brewery’s take on the beers of old that didn’t have hops as a bittering agent. Before hops became one of the crucial ingredients in beer, herb mixtures (“gruit” is German for herb) were used instead; that word has now become the name of the beer style that hearkens back to those ancient hop-less ales.

Other modern breweries have also released their takes on the style over the years, including New Belgium Brewing, whose Gruit Ale has horehound, bog myrtle (also known as gale), yarrow, wormwood and elderflowers mixed with rich malts “to create a bitter, dry, velvet-like sweetness worth revering,” according to New Belgium’s website. But while Strange Land’s beer doesn’t have any hops in it at all, the New Belgium brewers do throw a handful of hops into their Gruit — otherwise, according to the website, the Gruit wouldn’t be considered a beer.

Does that mean Strange Land Brewery’s Gruit, which contains yarrow, rosemary and gale in place of hops, is not technically a beer?

After all, beer as brewed by small craft breweries is now generally defined as being made with at least water, malt, yeast and hops, four necessary ingredients without which we wouldn’t have the ales and lagers we’ve come to love so much. But a Gruit isn’t so much a lack of hops as a substitution of bittering or flavoring agents. Hops just so happen to be the most common, widely accepted ones.

Try Strange Land’s Gruit during the brewery’s taproom hours on weekends and decide how you feel about herbs instead of hops in your beer. The Gruit, which is basically Strange Land’s saison sans hops, is striking — a slightly sweeter version of the Ploughshare Saison, with spice-filled, herbaceous overtones. The hops in the Ploughshare don’t dominate the light, dry brew, but their absence is certainly noticeable in the Gruit, in a surprisingly good way. The Gruit is packed with flavor in a different way than its hopped counterpart.

That’s not to say, of course, that all beers should feature these other botanicals in lieu of hops. The Gruit is simply one more example of how experimental Strange Land’s brewers like to be. They don’t tend to favor the common American styles of IPAs and pale ales, choosing instead to play around with Old World beers like dubbels and braggots.

Strange Land Brewery’s taproom at 5904 Bee Cave Rd., which carries a lot of beers available only there, is open from 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Bottles and kegs of the brewery’s mainstay beers and a couple smaller batch ones are also at local bars and stores like HEB.

Texas Saké Co. relaunches Sunday with new saké

Adam Blumenshein and Tim Klatt opened Strange Land Brewery in the Westlake area late last year — and not long after, they quickly started taking on a different sort of brewing.

texas sake co.After purchasing the Texas Saké Company when they realized it was about to go under, they’ve spent the past few months developing a new recipe and producing it on a commercial scale with toji (head brewer) Jeff Bell. The saké, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, is now ready to debut with a big release party on Sunday at the brewery, followed by distribution around Austin at the end of next week.

“The process (for making saké) is a little more nuanced than making beer,” Klatt said. “It takes awhile to brew, and we had to learn all the aspects that go into it, from pressing rice to filtering it and blending it. We’re really pleased with our first few batches.”

On Sunday, you’ll be able to try their two versions of Texas saké, both of which use the same base recipe featuring rice grown right here in the state. One, junmai, is filtered, while the other, junmai nigori, is unfiltered and thus has a cloudiness from the kasu, small bits of rice particles that settle at the bottom. These particles contribute big differences in flavor and mouthfeel, Klatt said.

“Our junmai sake is very crisp and semi-dry with a great bouquet of honeysuckle and lilac and flavors of green apple and pear,” he said. “The nigori has the enhanced mouthfeel (from the kasu), and it’s got more of a flavor of oats, some creaminess and a warm licorice finish.”

These two varieties have already gotten good feedback from people who are lucky enough to be drinking at the Strange Land tasting room when Blumenshein or Klatt decide to open a bottle of saké from the initial batches. It’s these beer lovers, in particular, that Klatt hopes to attract with the revamping of Texas Saké Co.TXSake_Mockups_Nigori_Front

“We’re hoping for some crossover from the craft beer world because we’re bringing some really good craft flavors back into the saké,” he said, comparing the Japanese beverage to craft beer as it was just a few decades ago, when there was just a fledgling following devoted to the range of flavors that few knew beer could have.

“Right now, there’s a lot of industrial, mass-produced, uninteresting sake out there,” Klatt said. “What we’re doing is taking a smaller approach. We’re breaking some rules but still keeping it traditional. That’s what gets me excited.”

In Japan, he said, saké brewers have to follow strict guidelines, such as using particular types of yeasts at certain temperatures. But being in Texas, he and Bell, who joined the company from Austin Homebrew Supply, don’t have the same restrictions. That opens them up to producing fun experimental saké, he said, such as peach saké or even hopped rice beer.

The goal is to brew 10 barrels a month — but that, of course, depends on how sales do, something he can’t anticipate right now. Texas Saké Co. is going to be locally and regionally distributed, he said, and bottles will be available in sushi bars, wine outlets and mom-and-pop stores. Plus, “Saké Sunday” might become a regular event at the brewery.

Saké Sunday at Texas Saké Co. 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. 5501 N. Lamar Blvd. www.txsake.com.

2015 seeing a boom of Austin area breweries

Photo by Lukas Keapproth / American-Statesman. Adam Blumenshein, president and owner of Strange Land Brewing, smiles behind the bar in Strange Land Brewery's tasting room, open Friday and Saturday evenings.
Photo by Lukas Keapproth / American-Statesman. Adam Blumenshein, president and owner of Strange Land Brewing, smiles behind the bar in Strange Land Brewery’s tasting room, open Friday and Saturday evenings.

David Hulama, co-founder of Round Rock brewery Bluebonnet Beer Co., doesn’t think Austin is anywhere near a saturation point when it comes to local breweries.

“You look at other cities that have a lot more developed craft beer cultures, like Denver or Seattle or Bend (in Oregon) and you see how much ground we have to make up, how far we can go. There’s a lot of room to expand,” he said at a recent interview.

This year, we’re certainly trying to cover that ground — nearly a dozen have opened or expect to open later this year, and countless more are still in the planning stages. They’re dotted all over the greater Austin area, located both within the city’s core and outside of it in the suburbs and neighboring towns. They’re there because of a big demand for local brews.

Photo by Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman. Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.  is gearing up to open in the Cedar Park area.
Photo by Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman. Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co. is gearing up to open in the Cedar Park area.

Tomorrow’s Austin360 cover story takes a closer look at four of them — selected because they’re either open or so, so close to opening — with an accompanying short sidebar of others you should expect to see later this year.

I’m including the full list of all those breweries here.

Bindlestick Brewing: In Leander, co-owners Matt Bigler and Dan Kernek intend to resurrect pre-Prohibition ales and lagers, starting with a pale ale and an amber, from “a time when each town had a different beer that highlighted local ingredients,” according to Bindlestick’s website.

Bluebonnet Beer Co.: Husband-and-wife team David and Clare Hulama started up this tiny brewing operation in Round Rock after he passed the University of California Davis Master Brewers Program, and the itch to brew on a larger scale just wouldn’t go away.

Blue Owl Brewing: Founded by Black Star Co-op alums Jeff Young and Suzy Shaffer, this East Austin brewery is focusing exclusively on sour mash beers when it opens later this spring.

Bull Creek Brewing: Demand quickly overwhelmed Erick Matthys’ brewery in Liberty Hill — Bull Creek brewed small batches for more than a year — but he’s hoping to open it again, this time with a bigger brewhouse, for tours in April.

Last Stand Brewing: Three avid homebrewers, Kerry and Mandi Richardson and Kerry’s former coworker Mignonne Gros, have opened their Dripping Springs brewery in the same business park as Revolution Spirits and Argus Cidery.

Orf Brewing: Focusing on so-called “hybrid ales,” this eponymous brewery from Chris Orf has found a warehouse home in Southeast Austin, not far from Independence Brewing. Orf’s got his fingers crossed for a summertime opening.

Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.: Both coffee and beer lovers alike are sure to swarm this brewpub once it opens in Cedar Park in the next couple weeks. Co-founders Chad Misner and Jon Lamb wanted to create an all-in-one hang out for people in their neck of the woods.

Rentsch Brewing: This Georgetown-based brewing operation from father-and-son team David and Andrew Rentschler will stick to brewing according to Reinheitsgebot, or German purity law, but they won’t be producing only German-style brews. They hope to open later this spring.

Strange Land Brewery: Adam Blumenshein and Tim Klatt, also producers of pickles and sake, brew old world styles of beer in a building behind the Hat Creek Burger Co. in West Lake Hills.

Zilker Brewing: Brothers Forrest and Patrick Clark and their co-founder Marco Rodriguez have set up shop on some prime real estate on East Sixth Street, right across from the Grackle. They’re in the process of building out the brewery now, so they won’t be open for another few months.

Strange Land Brewery brings Westlake-made beers to Austin market

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Strange Land Brewery's Entire Porter recreates the sort of dark beers 18h century Londoners would have enjoyed. Strange Land's taproom in West Lake Hills isn't opened just yet, but the beers are on draft at area bars and restaurants.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Strange Land Brewery’s Entire Porter recreates the sort of dark beers 18h century Londoners would have enjoyed. Strange Land’s taproom in West Lake Hills isn’t opened just yet, but the beers are on draft at area bars and restaurants.

The eight beers that Strange Land Brewery is starting out with all run a pretty extreme gamut in style and alcoholic content — although you won’t see a hop-heavy IPA in the lineup.

Instead, because founders Adam Blumenshein and Tim Klatt are more interested in contributing lesser-brewed beers to the market, they’re making just about everything else, from an altbier to a barleywine. The smallest beer, at .75 percent ABV, is almost not a beer at all, but rather a sort of sparkling probiotic tonic perfect for mixing into gin and vodka drinks. And the biggest, at 13.5 percent ABV, is a bit of a hybrid between beer and mead: a style, called a Braggot, that hails from as far back as sixth-century Wales.

“With our beer styles, we wanted to take what we thought were representations from each major craft country in beer,” Blumenshein said. “You can’t talk about beer without noting that the Belgians, the Germans, the Brits were so pivotal to the culture. As for America’s influence, we feel like (our bourbon porter) is a re-interpretation of what the Brits would have done if they had bourbon at their disposal.”

He and Klatt have had their vision for the brewery and the beers fleshed out for a few years now, but delays in the permitting process meant they weren’t ready to open in a small building behind West Lake Hills’ Hat Creek Burger Co. until the end of 2014, when they finally started getting kegs of their four mainstays out to bars and restaurants in Austin, Dallas and Houston. (So far, Strange Land beers are draft-only.)

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman.  The Strange Land taproom will open in early February, located just behind the Hat Creek Burger Co. at Bee Cave Road and 360.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman.
The Strange Land taproom will open in early February, located just behind the Hat Creek Burger Co. at Bee Cave Road and 360.

Even with beers finally on the market, Strange Land, the Westlake area’s first brewery, is still a bit of a work-in-progress. The taproom isn’t opened to the public just yet; wait until the weekend of Feb. 6, when you can start visiting at 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays — times when Hat Creek’s parking lot won’t be so crowded.

You’ll want to check out the small space to listen to Blumenshein and Klatt talk about the brews like proud parents. “They’re like extensions of us; they’re like children,” Blumenshein said.

The four Strange Land flagships include the light and crisp Ploughshare Saison, the German-style Alemannia Alt, the robust English-style Entire Porter and the complex and spicy Sanctum Dubbel.

Strange Land also has a trio of small-batch beers: Bishopsgate, a rich, full-bodied barleywine; the Last Gentleman, the porter that’s been aged for 60 days with bourbon-infused oak chips; and the Dewi Sant, the beer-and-mead hybrid named after Wales’ patron saint, St. David, and featuring 1,000 pounds of local honey per batch.

These all feature one of the four house yeast strains Strange Land has (a rarity, as most breweries, Blumenshein said, only carry one or two). They also have all been keg-conditioned, rather than force-carbonated, a more natural process of adding carbonation to the beers that he said has made them not only more flavorful, but more friendly to people with gluten sensitivity, including him.

A beer only available only at the brewery is Tibicos, the. 75 percent ABV probiotic beer that Blumenshein likes to mix with Hendrick’s Gin or Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka. “It hydrates you and helps you process all those grains you just drank,” he said. “Tibi could explode or be this tiny little thing we do that’s super fun.”

Whether people begin clamoring for it or not, he and Klatt don’t just have their hands full with seven other beers to regularly produce. They’ve also recently purchased the Texas Sake Company, which was about to go under, and are in the process of revamping it with new sake recipes that Klatt and another employee have been developing. “It’s not that hard to get high-quality rice out of Texas, so we’re looking forward to getting some truly Texas sake to consumers” sometime in February or early March, he said.

As a brewer of both beer and sake, he’s also looking forward to the collaboration opportunities owning both companies will bring. “Sake barrels will be an easy thing to share,” he said.

In the coming months and years as Strange Land grows — the brewery is already on pace to be where the business plan had expected it to be in two years — he and Blumenshein will continue to play around and experiment with their beers. Klatt, for one, is ready to taste a few of the beers once they’ve aged, in particular the Dewi Sant.

“At some point in the near future, I want to dig a hole somewhere, build a cellar and start stockpiling,” he joked. “We’re like the preppers of the beer world.”

“Except we’re not planning for endtimes; we’re planning for celebration,” Blumenshein added.

Look for Strange Land beers on draft at places such as Hopfields, Whole Foods and the Draught House. For more information, visit strangelandbrewery.com.