Ballast Point Brings New Stout to BrewMasters

Brand Ambassador Chris Marin spoke to us about what to expect from San Diego brewery, Ballast Point which is bringing its new Indra Kunindra as a Taste it First selection for this year’s festival.

What can we expect from Ballast Point at BrewMasters this year?

The highly-anticipated new stout from Ballast Point is featured as a Taste it First selection at BrewMasters.

A wide range of solid brews including Indra Kunindra – an Export Stout featuring Curry, Cumin, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Toasted Coconut and Cayenne Pepper. Also, equally important, you should expect to have a blast with us!  So come by and say hello!

What do you think of recent legislative changes?

I think it’s a glimpse of the future of craft brew in Texas. These killer Texas breweries will be able to create more growth, spurring more education and love for craft beer. A lot of passionate people have put a great deal of time and effort into creating these changes, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg in the world of growing craft beer in Texas.

What should your fans know about Ballast Point?

There is too much to list. I would say that behind our beer we have an amazing crew of people.  We’re kind of a Motley Crue of individuals that are passionate, and very fun!  Please do come by and ask me a million questions, because I love sharing our story!

What’s your favorite craft beer when not drinking your own?

Tough question. I’m a big 6-pack, seasonable beer guy. After all these years, it would still probably be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, if Summerfest is out of season. Actually anything Sierra Nevada makes.

What do you love most about working at the brewery?

I love the ultra-hard working environment in an ultimately laid back atmosphere, the passion of the works, the excitement of people visiting your brewery and sharing our beer with them, and of course, the smell of the boil, and when we brew Victory at Sea.  Also, the smell of the Caffe Calabria coffee cold brewing when you open the cold room door! Wow, I guess I love it all!

Ballast Point, from San Diego, joins other great breweries at BrewMasters.

Chris and a bunch of other incredible brew brains are gathering Labor Day weekend at Moody Gardens in Galveston for the 4th Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.  We hope to see you there.  Cheers.


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Craft Beer from the Land Down Under

Craft beer from MOA

From the land down under,
experience MOA.

We spoke to Dustin Cherry, brand ambassador for MOA super Premium craft beer who is coming all the way from New Zealand to join us for BrewMasters so be sure and visit with him at the event.  Here’s what’s up in the land down under:

What can we expect from you at BrewMasters this year?

You can expect a New Zealand Craft beer made from the world’s finest ingredients. Our beer comes from the world-famous Marlborough wine region, and our founder has really put a winemaker’s spin on beer. You can expect bottle conditioned, 100% New Zealand Hops and Yeast from the land of the Kiwi.

What do you think of the recent legislative changes?

I think Politics is a game for people who are on salaries. As long as we are fortunate enough to connect the greatest beer in New Zealand to the great state of Texas then cheers.

What should your fans know about MOA Brewing Company?

Moa Beer itself is brewed using traditional, costly, inefficient, and labor intensive techniques, with a focus on local ingredients, including internationally renowned New Zealand hops. It is rounded off though the use of winemaking techniques, like barrel aging and bottle fermentation and conditioning (like they do with Champagne).

What’s your favorite craft beer when not drinking your own?

I really love Shiner Bock. I love the story, and the beer.

What do you love most about brewing beer?

I love beer like a chef loves food. Food is simple, and so is beer. You have four main ingredients in beer and the art vs. science contrasts that can develop after that never cease to amaze me. Bottom line…my favorite part is drinking it.

Meet Dustin and a bunch of other great brewers at the 4th Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival August 30-September 1 at Moody Gardens in Galveston.



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No Label Introduces New Brews at BrewMasters

What can we expect from you at BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival this year?

You can expect good quality beer from No Label at Brewmasters as well as a few really special beers that will be Taste it First selections at BrewMasters.

 What do you think of the recent legislative changes?

We are extremely excited about the recent changes. We will open our brewery every Friday from 4-7pm and sell pints of our beer. This is a big deal to us and we are very fortunate to be able to now sell pints for consumption at our brewery.

What should your fans know about No Label?

We have several new beers coming out this year. We will have a Saison, Wee Heavy and a Blonde all coming out along with our seasonals. The Blonde will be year round.

What’s your favorite craft beer when not drinking your own?

Brewer and No Label Co-founder, Brian Royo’s favorite beer is Duck Rabbit Milk Stout. Co-founder and Marketing Director, Jennifer Royo said her favorite beer is anything sour. Petrus and Monk’s Café are both favorites.

What do you love most about brewing beer?

We love creating something with our own hands. We enjoy the process of brewing and making a product people enjoy.

Join No Label and a bunch of other great brewers at the 4th Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival August 30-September 1 at Moody Gardens.




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Fort Bend Brewing Company Celebrates its First Year

What’s the first year of business been like?

 First, we would like to thank everyone for supporting Fort Bend Brewing Company. Unbelievable & mind-boggling are two words that come to mind when we think about our first year in operation.

What’s brewing in Fort Bend?

What can we expect from you at BrewMaster’s this year?

The first thing that will be different is that our brews will not be test batches! We will be bringing our favorite flagships brews to BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.  We hope that our Brewmaster Christopher will have his Seasonal brew ready for you as well.  We’re also pleased to present our Nitro Stout and Nitro IPA.  What’s Nitro you ask?  Watch this video to learn more.  Fort Bend Brewing Nitro Video

What would you tell someone who wants to get into this business?

Do your research! Always expect things to come up and be prepared that not all will go according to Plan A or Plan B. But always remember to have fun and smile A LOT.

What do you think of the recent legislative changes?

Fort Bend Brewing Company applauds the new legislation and the positive impact it will have on Texas brewers and, most importantly, Texas beer drinkers. The new laws will not currently affect our tours every 2nd & 4th Saturday and running from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Guests 21 and up receive four tokens for $5.  And,  our brewery is air-conditioned.

What should your fans know about Fort Bend Brewing Company?

Fort Bend Brewing Company is family owned and operated. The brewery is completely operated by a 4 person team (2 being the owners). Everyone works in all areas in the brewery from sales, marketing, packaging, labeling etc. The only exception is that Christopher Leonard is the true Brew master! Many of the decisions are made at the bar sampling the brews at the end of long day. FBBC has an amazing group of volunteers that have been with us since we open our doors, they are all part of the FBBC family. 

Join Fort Bend Brewing and a bunch of other incredible brew brains in Galveston August 30- September 1 for the 4th annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.



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Behind the Scenes with Saint Arnold Brewing Company

Lennie Ambrose talks about Saint Arnold.

We sat down with Lennie Ambrose from Saint Arnold to see what’s brewing since last year.

What do you think of the recent legislative changes?

We have worked and fought for the changes during the last three legislative sessions and were elated that the effort finally paid off. We were thrilled that the Texas Craft Brewer’s Guild and all of the great Texas beer distributors and members of the craft beer community were behind the historic changes. Without all of them working together, it would not have happened.

What should your fans know about Saint Arnold?

That we always aim to brew and sell the best craft beer in Texas and that we try to be an entity that Houston and Texas are proud to have.

What’s your favorite craft beer when not drinking your own?

For me personally, it would probably be something from O’dell’s in Colorado or New Glarus in Wisconsin.

What do you love most about brewing beer?

All of us at Saint Arnold love beer. Period. We love trying new beers from around the United States and love the spirit of the craft beer brewing community. It’s a bonus and a passion for all of us to be a part of that and to be on the front lines of the fight for good craft beer.

Join Saint Arnold and a bunch of other incredible brew brains in Galveston August 30- September 1 for the 4th annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.


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Craft beer industry heats up by Ronnie Crocker

Texas craft brewers have been busy since the last BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.There are more of them and they are making more beer than ever.

The craft beer industry readies for recent legislative changes.

The industry produced 186,663 barrels of craft beer last year, according to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, up 42 percent from the year before. (Each barrel is about two kegs.)

At a national convention in March, Texas was cited as the third-fastest-growing state, adding 25 small, independently owned craft breweries in 2012. It was the first time Texas had ranked so high on that list, suggesting that the sleeping giant is fully awake and ready to be a player of national significance.

These brewers are boosting the economy as well, the Brewers Guild reports. Its latest figures estimate that Texas craft brewers made an economic impact of $737 million in 2012, up from $608 million the previous year.

And new craft breweries continue to pop up. A package of legislation signed into law on June 14 could lead even more people to jump into the business.

The new legislation represents the most significant changes to the way beer is bought and sold in Texas since 1993, when the Legislature legalized brewpubs.

Among the changes, brewpubs – previously restricted to selling their beer only on site – can now package and sell beer to other retailers. This puts places like San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing on a par with many out-of-state brewpubs that have been able to distribute in Texas for years.

Already, Austin brewers Jester King and Hops & Grain have announced they are changing their licenses and moving to the brewpub model. More changes are inevitable.

The new laws also allow shipping breweries like Houston’s Saint Arnold to sell beer directly to consumers for consumption on site. That bill didn’t go as far as brewers had initially sought – in past sessions, they had fought for the right to sell take-home product after public tours, same as wineries are allowed to do – but it does offer them a new revenue stream and more exposure for their products, changes the brewers say will lead to more beer, more jobs and a more vibrant craft industry.

So enjoy yourselves again this year, sampling some of the best craft beers from around the country.

But make sure to save room on your punch card for some of the brews that have kept your fellow Texans so busy.

Ronnie Crocker works for the Houston Chronicle. He is an assistant business editor and writes the Beer, TX blog on He’s also the author of “Houston Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Bayou City.” Join him at  You can meet Ronnie and other Brew Brains at the upcoming BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival in Galveston at Moody Gardens August 30-September 1.

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What’s in that “pint”?

What constitutes a pint?

As enthusiastic consumers of good beer, and value-driven (I am the author of Houston Dining on the Cheap, to give one example), the issue of beer pours, specifically less-than-full beer pours, was one of much discussion for both my brother and I over the years.  Longtime patrons of The Ginger Man in Houston, one of the very first, and, truly, still “one of the best beer-bars in America,” [i]a title accorded to it by the late great beer writer Michael Jackson, we often scratched our heads at the level of beer in our glasses which was, ostensibly, a pint.  Too often the level of beer fell far short of the rim in what was a pint glass.  “A Ginger Man pint” became a catch-phrase for a short pour.  Later, I occasionally met up with my brother and his wife and friends at another very casual beer bar with an expansive patio in their gentrifying neighborhood.  The very indifferent pours from their bartenders seemed to make the Ginger Man look generous, and that establishment’s name crept into our vocabulary in an unflattering way.

Pint sizes have made sporadic news in the recent years; Häagen-Dazs trying to downsize the measure, but, first in The Wall Street Journal in June, 2008,[ii] then on NPR in October[iii] of that year, both concerning a disgruntled pub-goer in Portland, Oregon, Jeff Alworth, who was publicizing small “pints” in his hometown.  His actions actually resulted in a state law passed in May, 2009 regulating the size of pint glasses.  That some establishments are selling extra thick-bottomed glasses that contain only 14 ounces rather than 16 ounces, the problem inPortland, is not much of an issue in my city ofHouston.  Proper use of American pint glasses seemed problematic enough.

Initially, this piece was going to be a short exposé of sorts on the short pours at popular local pubs, centered on the thought of fairness; you pay for an advertised pint, and you should receive that.  I had purchased a plastic measuring vessel that I hoped was not too obtrusive and surreptitiously began to measure a few pints at local beer bars.  Then, I had a conversation about the topic with a friend, Bill Marchbank, a Brit and former owner of a traditionally operated English pub in Houston[iv].  It turns out that the size of pours is a serious matter to most British beer drinkers and a potentially sensitive subject involving the tax authorities, metric system, fluid mechanics, sparklers, biochemistry, EU mandarins, state alcoholic regulatory bodies, blue-faced Scots, the US Customary System, and other arcanum.  I’m exaggerating, but it is less of a simple consumer fairness issue than it seemed from the outset.

Most beers dispensed on draft in this country are served in what are described as 16-ounce “pint glasses,” also called “shakers” or “mixers” because these are used to prepare cocktails.  Most American beer drinkers don’t pay much attention to size of the beer vessel, or even the amount of beer in it.  Those local bar-goers that really care about the level of the pour, or more accurately the alcoholic effect per dollar are typically young, those without much in the way of funds, but also many older beer drinkers, equally serious in the stupefying effects of beer, with the similar pecuniary attitudes.  Confirmed with several Houston-area British-born pub-goers and publicans, this older group of post-collegiate age imbibers, quite often English ex-pats, is termed “cheapskates.”[v] That term might be unfair, as these Brits matured with fully poured glasses, especially if they were from southern England.

Read more »

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Craft Beer Untapped

Enthusiasm for craft beer continues to expand.

Enthusiasm for craft beer continues to grow with many home brewers jumping into an industry that is still very much on the rise in Texas.   In fact, several new breweries will launch their first beers at the upcoming 3rd Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival at MoodyGardensover Labor Day with others offering Taste it First selections.

We figured budding craft beer enthusiasts might be a bit curious about the industry with some wondering what craft brewing really entails.    Here’s a little background for those thirsting craft beer knowledge.

What IS craft brewing?

The Brewers Association says simply that “an American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.”   And by each of those descriptors they mean:

  1. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less…
  2. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.
  3. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship… or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.”

Innovation is a huge part of the craft.  Brewers work hard to make new brews with both classic elements and modern twists; brews that will stand out.

Craft brewers tend to be very involved both in their brewery, and in their community.

Most Americans can find a craft brewer within ten miles of their home!

Craft Beer History:

As the beer industry consolidated in the late 1970’s, a lighter, bland beer was popular, but interest and demand for beer diversity was growing.  Home brewers took it upon themselves to broaden the brewing spectrum, using European examples for their beers.

The craft beer industry inspired a lot of enthusiasm introducing the public to traditional beers with more flavor. The industry began to grow and improve, struggling during the 1980’s, then again gaining footing in the mid-1990’s. The number of craft breweries grew quickly, from 8 in 1980 to more than 1600 in 2010. According to Brewers Association records there are now almost 2,000 craft breweries in theUnited Statesand growing.  In 2011, craft beer sales grew more than 13%.

Thirsty for more, check out the Brewer Associations website here or better yet join fellow beer enthusiasts and experts for the 3rd Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer festival.  For an event line-up or to get tickets online click here.





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What’s Brewing at Karbach

Karbach returns to BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival with a full line-up of beer.


How did you get started?
Karbach Brewing Co. is the culmination of 121 years of experience in the beer business. Our founders, Chuck Robertson and Ken Goodman started a beer distribution company in the early 80’s called CR Goodman.  They were responsible for bringing many awesome craft brands to consumers over the years, including: Chimay, Duvel,Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. Ultimately they had the chance to open a brewery of their own when they sold CR Goodman.  They brought in Eric Warner, our Brewmaster, to run the brewing operations.  Eric was trained at The Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan, the oldest continuously operated brewery in the world, to become a Brewmaster. His past brewing experience include: Tabernash and Flying Dog.

What do you love most about brewing beer?
We love being able to express ourselves through the beers we’re making.  We love experimentation and working with different flavor profiles.   Most of all, we love seeing people enjoy our beer!

What should guests expect from Karbach at BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival?
Guests should expect our full core lineup.  Last year, we only had 2 beers (Hopadillo IPA, Weisse Versa Wheat).  It was our first weekend of selling beer.  It was awesome to debut before such a large crowd.  Since then, we’ve added Sympathy for the Lager and Rodeo Clown DIPA to the fold.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Make sure you love it.  Craft beer is a really exciting industry to be in right now, and I think a lot of people think it’s a great fit for them.  Truth is, it’s a ton of work to make good beer.  It’s incredibly rewarding, but you’ve got to make sure it’s your hobby as well as your business.  Otherwise, people tend to burn out quickly.

Get a taste of Karbach and all your favorite craft beers at the 3rd annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.  Find out more here.

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Brewery News. Tapping into No Label.

No Label Brewing Co. located in Katy, Texas is one of the featured breweries at the 3rd Annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.

 Here’s an interview with Jennifer Royo, Co-owner.

No Label Brewing Co, Katy, Texas


How did you get started?  Who gets the credit for the No Label name?

No Label is a family business. About 3 1/2 years ago, myself, my husband Brian Royo and his parents Melanie and Gilberto Royo were sitting around our kitchen table trying Brian’s homebrew. (This actual batch of homebrew would later be known as Ridgeback- although he cleaned it up). We thought Brian’s homebrew was really good. We started talking about opening up our own microbrewery while drinking a few beers. Brian liked the name No Label and we all agreed it fit us as a group. We are all different, but would be coming together to create beer. We started looking for a place and started having someone create our No Label logo. Then, No Label was born!

What do you love most about brewing beer?

I will answer for my husband (Brian Royo) as I don’t make the beer, I market it. But he has told me many, many times that brewing beer is like cooking. You are able to create something for people to enjoy. There is definitely something to say for that. Brian and the other 3 brewers (John, Allen & James) all enjoy what they do. You can taste the love in our beer :)

What should guests expect from No Label at BrewMasters?

Guests can expect good quality beer with lots of flavor. Our brewer James and Marketing Guru Jacob will be representing No Label at the BrewMasters event. They are both looking forward to it.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Advice we would give someone starting out would be to be patient. Starting a brewery takes time. Sometimes dates are set and you don’t meet those dates. That’s okay. If you have a love for beer and you’re willing to put in a lot of time to start a brewery, you can do it! Oh, and you will need lots of money!

What is something quirky that your fans might not know about No Label?

All of our brewers are Aries signs. We thought that was very funny. So you have to be an Aries to brew at No Label. :) Just kidding!

Want to learn more about the goings on at No Label.  Visit them here.  Or come visit them in person at Moody Gardens August 31-September 2 during the 3rd annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival.

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