You need to go to Beerburg Brewing. Like, yesterday. I mean it. Read this, then drive on over. Or make plans to. You’ll be happy you did! This is my new favorite place, and here are the many reasons why….
I met one of the founders and head forager, Trevor Nearburg, a couple of years ago. He’s one of those all-around great guys. Ask anyone! To know Trevor is to love him! I promised him I’d write about Beerburg Brewing when it opened. I couldn’t wait to try it and see what he and his team have created.
Note: Trevor provided me a boatload of beer to try and some tacos for the purpose of this article. That is more than generous in such a hard time for craft beer. I tried to pay, but he wouldn’t let me.
Beer Garden and Tasting Room Opening (and Closing and Opening)
Beerburg Brewing is a family business. Trevor and his father, Mark, are co-founders. His head brewer, Gino Guerrero, met Trevor at Uncle Billy’s. Trevor’s brother, Ross helps out from time to time, too.
After years of jumping through hoops to get up and running, they finally opened up earlier this year. Right as they were beginning to attract customers, bam! Pandemic.
Change of Plans
The rules for craft breweries and brewpubs kept changing as our state and city determined what stayed open and what stayed closed. Therefore, always call or check social media before going out there. When last I checked, the beer garden tables were open, but the tasting room was closed.
One thing they have been able to do is sell beer to-go. They have six-packs and crowlers of their draft beers, and the limited series, Wildcraft Beer, comes in bottles.
An Institution Worth Saving
Driving up to Beerburg Brewing and walking up to the tables there, you can’t help but feel bad for them, as for all craft breweries and so many other industries in Texas right now. We have to save them! The building itself is big and bright, very modern looking, and has high ceilings to accommodate the tanks.
The outside space has a number of wooden picnic tables for drinking and dining. The tables are well spaced out, allowing each table to experience a measure of privacy and distancing. You can feel the level of effort and pieces of himself Nearburg pours into every aspect of the building.
Beer + Nature = BFFs
There is a dog run for active dogs to play in and a children’s area for active kids. Nearburg built a cool climbing structure out of wood and old tree stumps he found on the property, and he also has a massive collection of branches and sticks to fuel the children’s imagination in play. It’s a little heartbreaking to see them roped off and off limits….
Nearburg worked for years brewing beer and perfecting his craft at Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse & Brewery before launching out on his own. He had a vision of a brewery dedicated not only to making high quality beer, but also to sustainable practices, land stewardship, and creating his Wildcraft beer line.
Nearburg makes the Wildcraft series, his true passion project, with main ingredients foraged directly from Beerburg Brewing’s 15-acre property, plus locally sourced malt. Nearburg uses recipes that are thousands of years old, making magic out of this plant and that fruit or that vine.
They are brewed on a 1.5 barrel system, which means they are limited. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Nearburg states, “The ingredients we use are traditional brewing ingredients that date back thousands of years, so hops are actually the newcomer to the industry. ” Hurry up and get to Beerburg Brewing if you want to try some!
Everything about this project is nifty and fascinating. Nearburg has just launched this unique line of beers with three styles: Mugwort ESB, Loquat Hefeweizen, and Mustang Grape Vine Porter. The limited release of the first three beers in this series brings Nearburg’s long-held vision to life.
Nearburg isn’t only excited about these Wildcraft beers because they are cool and unique. These beers are the reason Nearburg wanted to build his own brewery in the first place. He spent nine months studying with Ginger Webb and Nikki at the Sacred Journey School of Herbalism to become an herbalist, in order to create this series.
A Unique Line of Flavors
To make Mugwort ESB, they brewed a barley wine, and then used the second runnings from the mash to make the beer. Making barley wine requires so many grains, that there is plenty leftover to work with. Thus, this one has a low ABV of 3.5 percent, so it’s the lightest of the three. The barley wine has an ABV of nearly 10 percent, on the other hand.
The Wildcraft Loquat Hefeweizen contains the loquat, plus mugwort, horehound, and yarrow. This one has a bold herbal flavor. You can definitely taste the flavors of the field in this one. I love it.
The Wildcraft Mustang Grape Vine Porter is made from the leaves and the actual vines. He chopped up the woody parts of the vine, toasted it, and put it in the fermenter that way. It’s about 4.2 percent ABV, with the flavor profile of a lighter, summer porter. Porters are usually too much for me, but I enjoy this one.
As if all that science and knowledge and locally foraged ingredients weren’t enough, the beer labels, created by local artist Fabian Rey are scannable in the Beerburg Brewing app they developed for the beer! When you scan the art on the labels, all this cool information pops out, showing tasting notes, a five-minute foraging video on YouTube for each herb, a recipe for the ale, and a link to the Beerburg Brewing website. It’s the coolest!
Keep an eye and ear out for when Beerburg comes up with the next releases in the series. Nearburg pointed out some fruit starting to grow on the persimmon trees on the brewpub’s 15 acres, and I expect to see an ale made from these persimmons.
Our next round of wildcraft is about to be ready and will include: Yarrow Berliner-Weisse, Horehound Golden, and possibly the Mugwort Barrel-Aged (Ghost Hill from Treaty Oak) Barleywine. I have already started gathering other ingredients to use for future batches. These include mesquite beans, prickly pear (the entire plant), hackberries, prickly ash (local szechuan pepper), and persimmons!-Nearburg
Year-round Beer Program
Of course, Beerburg Brewing has a stellar lineup of other beers, too, made the usual way with hops instead of the hop-free Wildcraft beers. I also tried the Pale Ale, which was nice, and the Mexican Lager, which is amber in color, crisp, and the perfect refresher for a hot summer day.
Juniper IPA is a mix of the Juniper and Yarrow Wildcraft beers with their house IPA. The first batches of juniper and yarrow had too strong a flavor, and so they mixed them with the IPA to create their Juniper IPA, which turned out super yummy.
No lie, I’m usually not much of an IPA girl, but I would order and drink Beerburg’s Juniper IPA over and over. For real. It’s a fun surprise to taste the herbal flavors.
Nearburg says he wants to keep around five year-round beers on tap, along with two seasonals, and a random smattering of Wildcraft as they become available. In addition to the beers I tried, the menu now is showing a fresh fig IPA, an amber ale, Pre-Prohibition Lager, a mesquite bean cacao nib porter, and a prickly pear IPA. I love the options and the creativity!
Food and More
If you’re hungry and want something to eat at Beerburg Brewing, try a taco! Chef Ricardo Gutierrez, formerly with Cielo Bistro Mexico, among other places, has the golden touch. I tried the chicken tinga, and I may never get over how absolutely delicious they were. The flavors were superb!
The chicken was juicy enough to send anyone running for napkins, and the homemade tortillas soak up all the goodness. These are the best tacos I’ve eaten since I left Mexico. Next time I will try the shrimp. And more chicken. They also have carnitas and mushroom veggie version, and beef flautas and other tasty bar snacks.
Don’t forget that sweet tooth! The Beerburg Brewing team also makes hand churned ice cream, in flavors that mesh well with the beer. Pecan Mustang Grape, Key Lime, Dark Roast Coffee are some of the more familiar flavors, while heirloom tomato and mushroom porcini ice creams appeal to a more adventurous palate.
For your designated drivers and kiddos, Beerburg also makes their own line of sodas, with fun flavors like black cherry, tangerine-basil, and grapefruit-chamomile. They also make a grapefruit-hibiscus kombucha and lemonade.
Whether you’re interested in checking out the Wildcraft beers or any of their other offerings, please go show Beerburg Brewing some love! It’s a wonderful dream combination of ingenuity, love of brewing, and a profound connection with and stewardship of the land it’s on.
Congrats, Trevor and team! It literally couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
13476 Fitzhugh Road—Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
When are you heading to Beerburg Brewing?