AUSTIN | Blue Owl Brewing opened in 2015 with the aim of bringing something different to Austin’s craft beer scene. When you think of Austin and sour beer the fantastic Jester King is the first brewery that springs to mind. Blue Owl also focus on sour beers, but their point of difference is that all beers are brewed using the sour-mash method. In fact, Blue Owl is the only exclusively sour-mash brewery in the United States.
Sour-mashing is a method of souring beer that’s a lot quicker than the traditional barrel process. In the words of Blue Owl’s Jeff Young: “We use naturally occurring bacteria found on our barley on our brew-day and allow it to thrive in our wort until we achieve the desired level of acidity for the individual beer. This takes usually between 18 hours and 72 hours. After the inoculation of the wort is complete, we continue to boil, cool, and ferment.”
The first thing that’s apparent when drinking sour beers that have been brewed this way is that they’re less tart than many of the sours on the market. While there are some challenging seasonal and one-off brews on offer at the brewery, the core range of beers are surprisingly approachable, and a good entry point for someone looking to discover the world of sour beers. Try the “Professor Black”, a sour cherry stout for something interesting, or the “Little Boss” if you’re just getting started with sour beers.
The taproom at the brewery is a small, relaxed space. A bit of artwork here and there, upcycled furniture, stools, couches and the like. The staff are really friendly and passionate and will happily talk about the beers and brewery with you. The taproom also offer small batch barrel aged sours and brewery exclusive beers you won’t find anywhere else. If you go for a tasting paddle, you’ll even get a sourvnier glass to keep.
Blue Owl Brewing
2400 E Cesar Chavez Street
Wed – Fri: 3:00pm to 10:00pm
Sat: 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm to 6:00pm