Monday, May 7, 2012

New Republic Brewery, revisted with directions

About a year ago I wrote a post on New Republic Brewery. As to be expected things have changed in the last year.  Instead of featuring one awesome beer, they now feature two awesome beers, with a third on the way.  And just about every two weeks they now have brewery tours.  For $6 you get a tour of the brewery, tastings, and a souvenir pint glass. An excellent deal.  Go to the website or follow them on facebook and/or twitter to find out when tours will be. Best of all, bring the glass back for following tours and you'll get a discount at the door.

The most common complaint I have heard about the brewery is that it's kind of hard to find.  Yes it is.  So I'll give directions from the Texas A&M University campus. 
1. Take Welborn Road South, like you're driving towards Houston. 
2. Turn Right onto 2818, like you're driving towards the fire school. 
3. Turn Left onto Holloman Drive. It's a new extension added to that road after the new bridge was built.
4. Turn Right onto North Dowling Road. Stay on the road for awhile, even past the really sharp turn. Everything should look residential and rural by this point.
5. When you get to the stopsign for Hopes Creek Road, pictured below, look for a stock fence on the left that has a little tiny grouping of signs.

This is the intersection of Hopes Creek and North Dowling. Go through the stop sign and turn left at the sign here.  Below is a closer look at the sign.

If you see this, turn into the driveway for the industrial park.  This sign is not visible coming from the opposite direction. So if you arrive at the stop sign turn around and look for this sign.

 When you get to the end of the driveway this is what you'll see if you look to the right. Park in any spot, just don't block any door or fire hydrants. And please don't block in any other cars.

Walk up and show your IDs to the people under the tent. They'll give you your souvenir glass and tokens for tastings.


Designated drivers and non-drinkers are admitted free. There is filtered water available for those who don't drink or who want a break from it. Pint glasses are for sale without tastings/tour. And tee shirts are also available for sale. 

Texas laws have recently changed and brewers are now allowed to tell customers where their beer is sold (see list in background). Pretty soon Harvey Washbangers on Texas Ave will have growlers, so you'll be able to take New Republic beer home with you.  Texas law does not allow the brewery to sell beer directly to individual customers.  

As you can see above, New Republic also often has a guest beer.  Here it was Thirsty Goat Amber from Thirsty Planet Brewing Company in Austin.

So how do the beers taste?  Well, I'm still learning how to rate beers and such using a formal scale.  But from a layperson point of view I'd say Bellows Amber Ale has a mellow balance of caramel maltiness that's balanced out well with just the right amount of hops. Rate Beer gives them a 3.1 on a scale of 1-5, which I think is unfair because most of the tasters tried it at a beerfest, where conditions aren't exactly good for beer.  And most samples are too small to get an idea of what the entire glass would taste like.  Bellows doesn't taste like your typical Amber Ale but has that certain malty character that places it well within the scale of American Craft Ales.

Skylight is a German style dunkelweiss.  That means it's a wheat beer in which much of the malted barley (like you'd find in an amber ale) has been replaced with malted wheat.  Dunkel means dark, so dark wheat is used.  It was given a 3.95 out of 5 by Rate Beer.  Skylight is much lighter in flavor than Bellows, although the color is still dark.  It's extremely smooth and well balanced and appeals to many people who otherwise would never attempt to drink a glass of craft beer.  I prefer Bellows but understand why Skylight has a wider appeal to a larger audience.  They're both quite tasty. 

As always please drink responsibly! Designate a driver every time. 

Will we be back? Of course!  The beer is great and the people there are awesome.

Anyone who is interested in getting into homebrew should also contact the brewery and they'll get you in touch with a local homebrew club. These are people who love what they do. 

Note to those who were there on Saturday: the cake I brought was a margarita tres leches in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Here's the recipe with a few caveats. I added the vanilla at the same time I put the eggs, sugar and lime in the mixing bowl (it's not mentioned in the recipe). And I overcooked the cake portion by 15-20 min so that it would be sturdy enough to take up the tequila milk. I also don't have an 8" square pan so I used a 9" one, which is why mine looked flatter than the picts.  Also, I wasn't sure what was meant by "condensed milk" so I used sweetened condensed milk.

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