It looks like 2015 is shaping up to be the year of Real Ale. Exciting things are happening out in Blanco, TX, the site of Real Ale Brewing Company since 1996. An ability to grow and adapt, while maintaining a core line-up of quality brews (and a slew GABF medals to prove it!) has made the brewery the well-loved company it is today and a staple of the Central Texas craft beer industry.
Always evolving and adjusting to a changing market, Real Ale has no intention of slowing down. From its modest but earnest beginnings in a basement underneath an antique store, the brewery has grown in a piece-meal way, adding and improving as necessary. Since moving out to their current location in Blanco in 2007, and expanding in 2014, the brewery now boasts a beautiful new packaging facility and pumps out more than 58,000 barrels a year.
This year they unveiled an entire design overhaul, unifying the brand with a cohesive look. They worked with the Butler Bros, an Austin-based design agency, to create a new core identity that pays homage to the company’s history and also looks toward the future.
“We wanted to pull everything together with re-branding and create a cohesive look,” Real Ale Owner Brad Farbstein said.
They took their time to get it right, and the collaboration with the Butler Bros was a fruitful and thoughtful one.
Real Ale’s evolution extends beyond the website and packaging, as well. They have revamped the recipe for the Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, which was the company’s first and original flagship beer. Long a company favorite, the beer is now a Rye IPA, and the brewers have pumped up the hops by adding Citra and Simcoe to the original Cascade.
“Over time the beer didn’t perform as well,” Farbstein said. “Without making serious changes it may have been discontinued, which would have been disheartening. We preserved the original intent of the beer but modernized it.”
“The (Full Moon Rye IPA) has a similar malt build as the original,” Director of Brewing Operations Tim Schwartz said. “We bumped up the hops and brought back more of the caramel color with the malts.”
But changes for Real Ale do not stop at new recipes and branding. On Saturday, March 7, Real Ale will also welcome the public to its impressive new taproom. On the second story of their building in Blanco, folks can enjoy a selection of 14 beers on draft while overlooking the production facility below. Constructed largely out of recycled materials from their 19 years in the game, the scraps and pieces of metal and brewing paraphernalia have been artfully crafted into a modern and comfortable space. Even the bathroom stalls utilize conveyor chain from an old bottling line.
The new taproom space also means 9-5ing Austinites will no longer have to take a Friday off work to visit the brewery.
“I’m thrilled that we’ll finally have the space to [also] welcome Saturday visitors,” Farbstein said in a recent press release. “The new taproom allows visitors both a behind-the-scenes look at our packaging and brewing process, plus a view of the magnificent landscape. We’re excited to become another destination for visitors to the Texas Hill Country.”
All beers sold in the taproom will cost $4. The signature Real Ale products will be available in 16oz pints, while specialty beers will be served in 8oz half pours. The new space will also be the first place to buy and try specialty releases and limited edition beers, like the Mysterium Verum series.
The taproom will be open from 11AM to 5PM on Fridays and Saturdays at the brewery, 231 San Saba Ct, Blanco, TX 78606. Free tours will be offered at the facility at 3PM and 4PM on Friday and 1PM, 2PM, and 3PM on Saturday.
And, not to bury the lede here, but in other very important Real Ale news….word is 12 packs of Hans’ Pils should start happening in April.