I have double news about Live Oak Brewing. (Does that make it "imperial" news?)
One: They're having their 15th anniversary party this weekend. More on that at the end of the post.
Two: This is the big one. Brewer Steve Anderson, after 32 years in Austin and about a decade at Live Oak (and almost another before that at the late, lamented Waterloo Brewing), is leaving and moving to Alpine, out in west Texas, to start a new production brewery. (That's Steve in the picture, and yes, I'm sad to say that is the best picture I have of him.)
I wish I could say I'm breaking this news, but Scrumptious Chef beat me to it back in January. But maybe I'm the first to interview him about it:
"I'm there right now," Anderson said when I caught him on the phone. "I'm opening Big Bend Brewing. I'll have a 30-barrel brewhouse. Our flagship beer will be either a pilsner or helles named Tejas."
Why those styles?
"It's beer for out here," Anderson says. "They're lagers. And it's hot and dry here. We'll also brew a hefeweizen and an IPA. Probably a porter and a bock later, but they may become year-round beers. We'll sell draft here in the region, and maybe in Austin, and we'll can."
But why Alpine?
"I've been wanting to do this for about a dozen years," Anderson says. "We visited out here and fell in love with the area." [An affliction that befalls a lot of Texans who visit the Big Bend region, as I myself can attest. I've had Big Bend Fever since about age 12.]
"We've had a house in Sanderson for about 12 years, and now we have one in Alpine. I didn't say anything about these plans for a long time. It was just a pipe dream, but then this finally panned out. There's no stopping it now."
It panned out because he landed some financial partners who also love the area, including Matt Kruger of Chicago and Connecticut's Clifford Mallory and Konrad Wos.
As for his replacement at Live Oak, owner Chip McElroy says the brewing duties are actually dispersed among three employees, so there's really not a "head brewer." As for losing Anderson: "Oh my gosh," McElroy says. "I hate to see him go, but he really loves west Texas. It's all for the good. I know he'll still be in our lives, though."
Anderson says he'll be back in town for the 15th Anniversary party. Here's the info on that, shamelessly cut-and-pasted from Beer Snob Sarah, who shamelessly cut-and-pasted it from an e-mail sent out by Live Oak:
Hello Live Oak Fans!
It’s that time of the year again - time for the Live Oak Anniversary Party. This is our 15th anniversary and possibly the last Anniversary party at our old, original address. [Wait, they're moving? Okay, make it triple news. Or is that tripel news?]
As usual we will have live music, sausage wraps by our neighbor Smokey Denmark, hummus treats from Zilks Foods, a bouncy house for the kids and, of course, beer from Live Oak Brewing Co.
The band line up is:
So, please come and join us in celebrating the completion of our 15th year of business in Austin, Texas - now the “Live Beer Capital of the World”.
- The Brown Paperbags
- Lonesome Dave Fisher
- Corrine Rose
- The Lennings
- Leo Rondeau
- The Preservation
- The Superlites
Time: Saturday, April 14th, from Noon to 6 pm.
Place: Live Oak Brewing Co.
3301-B East 5th St.
Austin, TX 78702
Kids are welcome, but please leave your pets at home.