Named for the nearby Guadalupe River, Guadalupe Brewing Company becomes the latest addition to a growing craft beer scene in central Texas, a region that has seen the recent re-birth with the opening of Faust Brewing Co., and New Braunfels Brewing Co. in the last year.
Owned and operated by Keith and Anna Kilker, Guadalupe Brewing officially opened its doors in May 2012,and has already gained a reputation for quality handcrafted beers. The brewery currently distributes in the New Braunfels area, as well as Austin and San Antonio, and has made appearances at local festivals including an Open the Taps fundraiser at Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling during San Antonio Craft Beer Week.
Keith and Anna began planning for their new business a couple of years ago when Keith suddenly declared that he wanted to open a brewery. “I travelled all over the world and had gained a love of many [beer] styles,” said Keith. “I wanted to bring that to Texas.” This is quite a statement considering Keith had never brewed before. It was his exposure to different beers around the world that Kieth says gave him his love for quality beer and the desire to brew it himself. Keith set about taking classes from the famed Siebel Institute of Technology, which included an internship with Tom Hennessey of Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery in Ridgway, Colo.
Armed with his newly acquired brewers training, he and Anna pushed through with financing, location and equipment. Guadalupe has quite the set up indeed, but don’t let their modest 10 bbl system fool you, it’s planned with both system efficiency and economy in mind. Taking an almost homebrewing-like approach to their system, and using Keith’s experience as a controls engineer, Guadalupe uses two pieces of converted dairy equipment: a former homogenizer as their mash tun, complete with a custom fitted false bottom and sparge arm; and a converted milk tank as their hot liquor tank.
Keith and Anna plan to have several year-round brews with special and seasonal releases to keep things interesting.
Guadalupe’s Core Line-up:
- Texas Honey Ale
- Native Texan: a honey wheat ale
- Big Bend IPA: a wonderfully balanced American IPA
- Americano: an American wheat ale
- Rye Ale: a Rye IPA
“We want to make drinkable beers,” said Keith. “We want to keep things simple in our approach to how and what we brew.” Both recently visited several breweries in the Pacific Northwest and had what they describe as a “religious beer experience,” adding that he loves the inspiration brewers can give each other. He believes it’s the craft brewing industry’s collaborative qualities that is making it such a powerful force in the beer world, adding that, “We have to be evangelical in our support of craft beer.”
Keith and Anna advised they don’t want to over do things when considering their growth either. To grow for growth’s sake wouldn’t benefit them or their customers. “It’s all about knowing where you can go,” said Keith.
Guadalupe Brewing is as much about giving back to the community, as it is about making quality hand-crafted ales. Keith and Anna are both from the area, which makes giving back that much more important to them. In addition to supporting local events, Keith and Anna purchase the red winter wheat used for Native Texan from farmers in the New Braunfels area and the honey used in the Honey Ale and Native Texan from Austin. It doesn’t stop there, however.
As further support of their local and greater Texas communities, some of the proceeds from Big Bend IPA goes to support the sustainability of Big Bend National Park. Since Anna is a member of the Alamo Bee Keepers Association, and a bee keeper herself, proceeds from thier Honey Ale and Native Texan support the bee research facility at Texas A&M.
Guadalupe Brewing is a true gem in Texas and well worth a visit. You’ll be better off for it.
Jeremy Banas is a beer writer in San Antonio, Texas. His writes weekly as the San Antonio Craft Beer Examiner for Examiner.com, as well as his own website Ruination Press. His articles have appeared on the travel website UpTake.com and will soon contribute to a new craft beer newsletter: Texas Beer Companion. He is active in the Texas craft beer scene, serving as a founding member of San Antonio Beer Week, and is San Antonio City Chair for the Texas based craft beer advocacy group Open The Taps. Follow Jeremy on Twitter @RuinationPress.