Craft Beer and Brewing Highlights Head Brewer Craig Rowan

From Podcast Episode 178: Altstadt Brewery’s Craig Rowan Can Taste the Hard Work in His Beer

The head brewer for German-inspired Altstadt explains the process of dialing in their lagers on one of the most exquisitely built-out small breweries in North America.

Altstadt Brewery is a remarkable creation—a gleaming brewery, taproom, restaurant, and event space designed in the form of a European-style chateau, plopped down in the German-American community of Fredericksburg, Texas, amidst wineries and farms. No expense was spared, and it’s quite possibly the most costly build-out of a 12,000-barrel-per-year brewery in the recent history of brewing.

It could be written off as a vanity project for a wealthy father and son if the beer didn’t hold its own. But in 2019, under the leadership of head brewer Craig Rowan, the brewery took two gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival (for helles and Kölsch) and put Texas lager contemporaries on notice that they meant business. Rowan’s career began at Louisiana’s Abita Brewery, where he started in packaging and (over a decade) worked his way up to the brew deck and into the pilot brewery before leaving for the opportunity at Altstadt. But Rowan’s focus on precision made him well suited to take the reins of the brewery in 2018 when the previous brewmaster departed.

In this episode, he walks through the steps they took in honing the earlier iterations of their core beers—a process of testing and improvement that ultimately yielded serious rewards. For Rowan, the goal was riding that line of approachability and character, keeping the beers on the lower side of accepted ABV ranges, but ensuring that they remained convincing. From malt selection and mash technique to yeast and fermentation process to water treatment and finishing, he outlines the small things that they tweaked. While they don’t have the ability to employ some of the more difficult and time-consuming lager-brewing processes, they do sweat the details, and it shows in the beer.

“I’m a big believer in the work you put into a product shows to a customer,” says Rowan. “So if you’re decocting your beer, and you’re doing it well—you’ve studied how to do it, and you really understand why you’re doing it and what you’re doing it for–that’s going to show up in the final product. Working hard for something is always going to make it a better product.”

Listen to the Podcast here.

Introducing Altstadt Unplugged!

An intimate live music dinner event with artists from all over the country. Get to know the artists and their songs with a sit down dinner and a show. Each session will also include a specialty chef offering on the menu. Altstadt Unplugged will happen every 3rd Friday of each month, 6-8pm. Purchasing tickets are strongly encouraged, limited seating available, 50% capacity limitations.

Keep a look out for more great musicians every 3rd Friday at Altstadt Brewery!

Tickets are $45/person, including dinner and show. Buy tickets and learn more at www.altstadtbeer.com/unplugged

Valentine’s Day Redo at Altstadt Brewery

Cancelled due to crazy Texas weather!

We appreciate everyone for selling out this event and trying to make it. We had to cancel due to severe weather. See you next year!

Restaurant

2 SEATINGS
5pm & 7:30pm

with Harpist, Emily Oskins
Chef’s Specialty Menu | $65/person

Join Altstadt Brewery for a romantic dinner and music Sunday, February 21st, 2021, 5-8pm. Altstadt Brewery will be staying open late to entertain you with 2 options for your Valentine to enjoy.

Buy Tickets to enjoy a specialty menu from our chef while listening to live music by Harpist, Emily Oskins. Chef Michael Logan has some really great treats for you to enjoy, including Steak, Quail or Crab Stuffed Flounder for only $65/person. 2 seatings available, 5pm and 7:30pm.

Dinner With Thomas Michael Riley

First Come First Serve, Friday, January 22, 2021.

Sit back and relax in the Grand Ball Room, enjoying dinner and great music from Thomas Michael Riley at Altstadt Brewery, Friday January 22, 2021. Thomas Michael Riley is renown across the Texas Hill country and beyond for his songs about real people. They may not be politically correct all the time, but they are for folks that work hard and play hard.

Cost: $10 per person + the purchase of dinner

Menu:
Appetizers: PRETZEL • SAUSAGE PLATE

Entrees: BURGER • SCHNITZEL • FISH & CHIPSCHEF OR CAESAR SALAD

Dessert: CHOCOLATE BROWNIE • PEACHES & CREAM

First Come First Serve. No reservations. Seating begins at 5pm.Limited seating available, 50% capacity limitations.

Altstadt Oktoberfest Ranked #1 by the Houston Chronicle

Among H-E-B Oktoberfest offerings, Altstadt Oktoberfest ranks #1 among International, National and Texas brands.

Altstadt Oktoberfest ruled over all. Abigail Rosenthal/Chron

With all the offerings of Oktoberfest across the state, Altstadt Brewery’s Oktoberfest has been recognized as #1 among H-E-B offerings by the Houston Chronicle.

The rankings only included H-E-B offerings, but some big names from across the world and locally made the list. The list included German breweries – Warsteiner and Ayinger, National Breweries – Samuel Adams and Bell’s, and local Texas Breweries – Saint Arnold, 903 Brewers, Shiner, Live Oak, and Karbach.

“Altstadt and Bell’s produced our two perfect scorers, and we were big fans of both of them. However, Altstadt was our ultimate favorite of all 12 beers we tried. It edged out Bell’s just slightly for producing a more classic Oktoberfest beer in its German-style brewery.”

Author, Abigail Rosenthal

Read the reviews of each beer and to see how we ranked by visiting the Houston Chronicle Website at www.chron.com.

Image credits: Abigail Rosenthal/Chron

Altstadt Highlighted in Packaging World Magazine

Altstadt Brewery was recently highlight in Packaging work Magazine, an article by Pat Reynolds. The article highlights our new canning and bottling line up-grades.


Texas Brewer Upgrades Bottling and Adds Cans

Installation of a canning line became a top priority as Altstadt Brewery opened new markets in Houston and Dallas. Also getting some serious upgrades was an existing bottling line.

In the historic German settlement town of Fredericksburg, amid the rolling hill country of Texas, sits Altstadt Brewery, a three-story German Tudor brewery, restaurant, and entertainment center that occupies some 58,000 sq ft.

Co-founded by William Scripps Jr., Altstadt produces German style beers that are guided by the German beer purity laws of 1516 and are brewed using only four ingredients: hops, barley, yeast, and artesian spring water.

When the brewery opened in 2018, its only packaging format was glass bottles. But when the HEB supermarket chain suggested that sales of Altstadt’s beer in its stores would triple if cans were available, plans for a can line were boosted from the back burner to “let’s do it right now.” In charge of making it happen was Brien Harper, Senior Consultant at J.S. Held LLC. Altstadt management brought on J.S. Held to assist in building and operationalizing the ambitious expansion.

“A can line was always in the plans,” says Harper. “It just happened about two and a half years sooner than Alstadt originally anticipated.” He notes that in addition to the increased production capacity needed to meet HEB’s requirements, there were also plans to open up new markets for cans in Dallas and Houston. That’s why Altstadt, unlike other craft breweries that might opt for modest canning capabilities at first just to get their feet wet with a new packaging format, invested in a canning line capable of 245 cans/min.

To make things even more interesting, it wasn’t just the canning line that got fast-tracked. Also implemented at about the same time were some serious automation upgrades to the bottling line.

But let’s begin with a look at the canning line. Predictably enough, it begins with a depalletizer. Supplied by Uni-Pak, it handles both cans and bottles, so the brewery runs one container format or the other but never both formats at once. A short distance downstream from the depalletizer is a fork in the conveyor connection—down one fork go the bottles and down the other go the cans.

All cans are undecorated bright stock. Full-body shrink-sleeve labels supplied by Resource Label are applied by an Aurora labeler from Axon. The mandrel-style machine uses servo motion control from Rockwell to deliver consistent, repeatable performance. A fiber optic sensor reads film registration marks so the PLC can calculate cut lengths to assure sleeve length accuracy. The labeler also features industry-standard PackML programming and HMI interfaces to deliver consistent terminology, consistent screen displays, and standardized program structures, thus delivering ease of operation and maintenance.

The labels are immediately shrunk tight in an Axon steam tunnel. From there the cans pass through an air ionizer that pre-sanitizes the insides before the cans reach an ionized air rinser and a Domino ink-jet coder that prints the bottom of each can with lot and date code information.

To read the full article click here: https://www.packworld.com/machinery/article/21124596/texas-brewer-upgrades-bottling-and-adds-cans

Notice of Closure

At Altstadt Brewery, the health and safety of our customers, employees, and community is a top priority.

Notice of Temporary CLOSURE of Restaurant and Biergarten until further notice.

We still want you to be able to enjoy your favorite Altstadt beers in the safety of your home, so we will continue to brew beer for retail distribution.

Please stay in touch by following our social media channels for updates and we will see you again soon once this passes.

Thank you for your patronage and your patience during this tough time.

Cheers!
From everyone at Altstadt.

Valentine’s Day Fireworks

Some moments are simply unforgettable. Light up your Valentine’s Day with Dinner & Fireworks at Altstadt Brewery, Friday February 14th, 2020. Treat your Valentine to a romantic evening featuring a Valentine’s Day Dinner prepared by award-winning chef — Chef Alex!

Cost: $55 per person
*Includes a glass of Poema Cava Brut. Beer & Wine Also available.

MENU

Get the night started with an aphrodisiac of Fried Oysters with Ginger Aioli

Have your choice of Lobster Bisque with Cream Sherry or Blue Cheese Iceberg Wedge w/ smoked Applewood Bacon & Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Enjoy a Grilled 8oz. Choice Tenderloin Filet or Pan Seared Scottish Salmon served “OSCAR Style” w/ Yukon Gold Potato Puree
And then end the meal by sharing a decedent Black Forest Chocolate Torte

Fireworks go off at 6:45pm!

Limited Reservations – Friday, February 14th, seatings at 4:30pm, 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm, & 7:30pm 

Make a Reservation now
or at the Dining Room by calling (830) 304-2330.