Eric Warner earned his stripes in Aspen, Colorado, on the as soon as avant-garde Flying Canine Brewery the place inventive names for beers dominated and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson imbibed. Now, Warner is the brewmaster at Houston-based, Anheuser-Busch-owned Karbach Brewing, however he sees similarities.
“At each breweries, we had been at all times making an attempt to provide you with a successful combo of nice beer and nice names,” Warner says. “Typically we might have a fantastic identify in the hunt for a corresponding beer model, typically the reverse, and sometimes we’d get actually fortunate and have the killer combo of each.”
Warner says the “killer combo” occurred with Flying Canine’s In-Warmth Wheat.
“We knew we wished to create a wheat beer, somebody got here up with the identify and we had been like — increase! — there it’s,” recollects Warner, the writer of two books, German Wheat Beer and Kolsch: Historical past, Brewing Strategies, Recipes.
At Karbach, the beer makers “are inclined to look extra on the alternatives for model within the market, then determine to brew that model after which seek for the identify,” he says. “At Flying Canine, we both had a fantastic identify and tried to suit a method to that identify, or we thought, ‘it is a model we actually need to brew, let’s do it and work out a dog-themed identify that will work with that model.’ “
At each breweries, Warner says, the most important focus “is well-made beer that defies model categorization. We don’t prioritize hardcore adherence — fairly we hone in on balanced, tasty beer, and, if it suits in a method field, that’s only a plus. Moreover, each breweries have a fantastic lager program. I reduce my enamel on lager beers in Germany, so it is a class I’ve loads of ardour for.”
Warner started working for Flying Canine in 1997 as vp of operations and later was promoted to “lead canine” — the brewery’s CEO place. “At Flying Canine, they prefer to preserve dog-themed titles, so it was very becoming,” he says.
“It was humbling to assist construct a brewery and a robust worker base with a tradition that embodied a work-hard, play-hard mentality,” says Warner who remained with Flying Canine till 2008. “And, after all, I’m happy with the beers we collectively created. On the enterprise aspect, it was thrilling to be part of rising our income fivefold. Total, it was a fantastic profession alternative, and I might do it yet again.”
Warner joined Karbach in early 2010 as a full-time marketing consultant, and, a 12 months later, moved from Colorado to Texas.
‘I went all in and made the transfer from Colorado to Houston to formally be part of the workforce,” Warner says. “The entire expertise has been such a whirlwind. We’ve achieved a lot in a really brief period of time, and, alongside the best way, we developed a fame for excellent beers.
“I’m most happy with creating Texas’s No. 1-selling craft IPA, Hopadillo IPA, and craft golden ale, Love Avenue Kolsch, and changing into the second-largest Texas craft brewery. Hopadillo IPA was a extremely enjoyable beer to create and identify; it’s based mostly on a fictional Texas creature harking back to the chupacabra, however this one is a component armadillo and fueled by hops. There may be nothing higher than making a beer that will get to have its personal mascot.”
For greater than 80 years, mascots — Clydesdale horses — have been “an integral half” of Anheuser-Busch, in accordance with the large brewer that two years in the past introduced it was buying Karbach. The sale disturbed many craft-beer fanatics in Texas who presumed there can be a decline within the high quality of Karbach beers.
Karbach insists on its web site that high quality is a precedence.
“We don’t take ourselves too critically, however you may be rattling certain we take our beer critically,” the brewery says. “We use traditional German strategies and make beer for everybody to get pleasure from. And we imply everybody. We’ve quite a lot of types to suit any model.”
Warner says each brewery is exclusive, however what Karbach is greatest at “making a broad platform of beers that each one forms of palates can get pleasure from.
“All the things from lagers to the darker stuff to the radlers (a beer blended with a tender drink or citrus juice), we’ve got executed all of it,” he says. “We even have an enormous brewing workforce right here that’s stacked with brewing veterans and up-and-coming rookies.”
Karbach is one in all greater than 300 breweries in Texas, however the state ranks ninth in variety of breweries, in accordance with U.S. Treasury Division information.
“Whenever you take a look at the nation as an entire, Texas lags with reference to brewery per capita which makes it wealthy with alternative,” Warner says. “Texas and southern beers are usually just a little lighter because of the local weather, however, for those who’re within the temper for IPA, you do not care if it’s 20 or 90 levels.”
Greater than 9,000 breweries are within the nation, and there may be room for some extra, Warner says.
“To of us aspiring to be part of the business, I’d say there’s loads of alternative to open a taproom or a brew pub, however opening a brewery with cans and bottles can be robust proper now,” he says. “There may be a lot competitors on the market. Beer volumes are persevering with to contract, however craft beer and extra flavorful beer are on a very good trajectory and will proceed to develop.”