Local beer starts with local water — this is a fact that will be the focus of the newly formed Texas Brewshed Alliance, launching this Saturday with a Hill Country beer event.
Destination Brew Fest, an inaugural beer festival at Vista Brewing in Driftwood, will act to introduce the Texas Brewshed Alliance. The Texas Brewshed Alliance is one of just seven statewide brewshed alliances in the nation. These alliances seek to protect watersheds brewers use to create their craft beer, with the TBA sparking conversation about the importance of local water for Texas and New Braunfels brewers.
“The Texas Brewshed Alliance is a coalition — an alliance of conservation organizations, breweries, water conscious businesses, utilities and community members,” said Thomas Waymouth, one of the co-founders of the Texas Brewshed Alliance. “Our mission is to protect watersheds and beer from raindrop to pint.”
As water flows through a landscape, it picks up minerals, nutrients and the local flavor, Waymouth said, but it can also pick up pollutants and that’s damaging to downstream beer.
“So we formed the alliance,” Waymouth said of his co-founder David Baker and himself. “The alliance was formed by the Wimberly Valley Watershed Association as a way to kind of help raise awareness about water conservation statewide and help pair brewers with the organizations that are doing good work to protect the source water that then goes into their beers.”
Vista Brewing, at 13551 FM 150 in Driftwood, is about an hour drive from New Braunfels. Attendees can buy one of two ticket packages; general admission for $40 includes a commemorative glass and tastings. VIP admission for $100 includes early access, a goody pack and access to special presentations and tastings as well as the commemorative glass and regular tastings.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.destinationbrewfest.com. The event will open to VIP attendees at 1 p.m., general admission attendees at 2 p.m. and will conclude at 6 p.m.
“All the proceeds of the festival are going to us, to the Texas Brewshed Alliance launch and 100% of the profits we receive from our events go towards water conservation in the state of Texas,” Waymouth said.
Twenty brewers will be participating in the festival with multiple beers. The festival will largely feature lagers and farmhouse ales, said Kent Killough, co-founder of Vista Brewing.
“We said, well we need to have a big event to put (the TBA) together, let’s bring together some of the breweries that showcase water which are those breweries that specialize in either lager beers or mixed culture farmhouse ales,” Killough said.
Although no New Braunfels breweries will be participating in the event, the Texas Brewshed Alliance does raise awareness about the importance of clean water for brewing purposes locally as well.
Guadalupe Brewing Company co-owner Anna Kilker said the GBC takes its local water into serious account when brewing its beer, even abstaining from using pesticides on their land or products to keep them pure and clean.
“We’re very concerned for clean water,” Anna Kikler said. “We don’t use anything toxic, but we do have to use food grade. We use a filtration system to clean the water before we brew and then we add back any minerals it may need.”
“We’ve had our water tested there in New Braunfels, we’re off New Braunfels Utility well six I believe — it’s just really high quality water,” added Anna’s husband and GBC co-owner Keith Kilker. “Water and beer and food, when you’re making a beer, for every 8 gallons of water, you get 1 gallon of drinkable beer … So having good water is where you get your good food and that includes your fun things like beer.”
As the local provider of water to New Braunfels brewers, NBU strives to give both brewers and all customers high-class public water, said Ian Taylor, CEO of NBU.
“New Braunfels Utilities and its customers enjoy a superior public water system rating which is set annually by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,” Taylor said. “Each year we receive a water rating and make available a comprehensive water quality report (Consumer Confidence Report) to our customers.”
Ongoing quality testing of our water supply helps to insure the NBU water supply is clean and palatable, Taylor said.
“We are proud to supply water to local brewing companies who in turn distribute their beer products around the world — and to be a part of our area’s economic vitality,” Taylor said.