On Saturday, 1/11/14, we took the public tour of the first, and possibly only, “brewstillery” on our adventure, Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling. Having the opportunity to see whiskey and beer produced under the same roof was fascinating, and the detailed & personal tour was quite entertaining.
Brandon and I walked into Ranger Creek and were promptly greeted by Col. Mac, who ended up being the tour guide with the help of co-founder Mark McDavid. Both of them have a lot of personality, and the two of them worked well together to make a very enjoyable tour. Mark stuck around afterwards to speak with us and said that he is actually still working his day job in corporate America, where he met the other two co-founders, TJ Miller and Dennis Rylander. He also informed us that the “brewstillery” just turned 3 years old.
A big part of their brand is highlighting the relationship between beer and whiskey. For example, they have a beer named La Bestia Aimable (the friendly beast) and a whiskey called La Bestia Defavorable (the unfriendly beast). To make the whiskey they just use the same recipe as the beer, remove the hops, and then distill it. In order to ensure you get the direct flavor of what a beer distilled into a whiskey tastes like, that particular whiskey is not barrel aged. They also have a Mesquite Smoked Porter and a Mesquite Smoked Texas Single Malt Whiskey that have the same relationship, however the whiskey, which is known as Rimfire, is barrel-aged and takes on some of the flavor characteristics of the barrels it is aged in. It is also essential to note that their malt is smoked by hand in a shipping container on site.
Along with La Bestia Aimable and Mesquite Smoked Porter, you can also enjoy their Oatmeal Pale Ale (OPA) and Lucky Ol’ Sun Golden Belgian-style Ale year-round. Furthermore, Ranger Creek has a plethora of seasonal and specialty beers such as their Small Batch Series. The beers in that particular series are one and done batches simply named “Small Batch Series No. X,” with the X signifying the sequential number of the batch. The most recent release was Small Batch Series No.7 – an imperial sweet potato stout.
Last year Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling made around 1,500 barrels of their beer, and are aiming to produce 3,000 – 3,500 in 2014 with the help of the two extra 60bbl fermenters they have on order. They offer tours every Saturday from 2 – 4pm, but you need to register online in advance. Their brews are mostly served on draft but can also be found in bottles all over Texas. Col. Mac will be sure to entertain you if you decide to go by there, so big thanks to him and Mark for spending time with us on their busy day!
Author: Michael Roberts