Beer, TX: Karbach wants to brighten Beaumont’s holidays
Karbach beers are a common sight around Beaumont as strong support from the craft-beer division of Del Papa Distributing ensures wide availability in local bars, restaurants, groceries and liquor stores.
But craft-beer customers are as restless as ever in their search the next big thing, as Karbach’s Eric Warner well knows.
“It seems like the life cycles with craft beers are getting more compressed,” says Warner, the German-trained brewmaster who helped launch the Houston brewery seven years ago. “The consumer is always looking to try something new.”
Two new releases show how Karbach is responding.
First, there’s Yule Shoot Your Eye Out, traditionally a spicy holiday beer that weighed in at a “just-one-for-me-please” 8 percent alcohol by volume. For 2018, the brewers toned down the spices, lowered the ABV to 5.5 percent and added candied orange peel all to appeal to tipplers interested in something more quaffable.
Another bonus, a six-pack of 12-ounce cans this year costs about the same as the four-packs that were released last year. Warner says Yule is selling so fast that Karbach is moving up the date of its next seasonal release, a chocolate stout, to late December.
Karbach is stepping out even further with a new brut rosé imperial pale ale, brewed with hops known to give off some wine- or Champagne-like flavors and a yeast that ferments a higher percentage of sugars for a drier finish than a typical beer. The addition of cranberry and hibiscus adds a wine-like color.
“It drinks unlike anything I’ve ever had,” says Warner, whose career has put an unimaginable variety of beers in his path. “ … It’s the closest thing to wine I’ve ever had in a beer.”
That has a definite appeal, especially for beer lovers whose significant others may not share their enthusiasm for our favorite beverage. Consider the recent customer at Karbach’s on-site restaurant who expressed concern that there was no wine for his wife. Warner sent him off with a sample of the brut rosé.
“He came back and ordered a full pint,” he says.
The beer will be called Daymaker. Warner also touted its lower calorie count (about 140) and reduced amount of gluten and carbohydrates.
Daymaker, due out in cans the week of Dec. 17, should make its way into more than a few New Year’s Eve toasts.
Karbach continues to grow in the wake of its 2016 acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev. The parent company’s huge brewery off Houston’s Loop 610 East is even packaging some of its Love Street beers in 18-packs.
In the last few months, Karbach has been utilizing its own new pilot system it to experiment with new recipes and create new ones that could one day find their way into consumer hands. Some already are being sold in the restaurant and beer garden.
Recently, the 5-barrel mini-brewhouse was used as part of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Resilience IPA project that got hundreds of U.S. breweries to make a special beer and donate the proceeds to relief efforts for the devastating Camp Fire on Sierra Nevada’s home turf in Northern California.
Warner sees more growth in the coming year as Karbach embarks on a $5 million expansion project.
Some of that new beer will find its way to Beaumont, which Karbach considers part of its home market. Del Papa is doing a good job of getting the beers into the market and Warner, one of the pioneers of the current beer renaissance, says he appreciates the response from customers.
“Craft beer is everywhere now and craft-beer drinkers are in every corner of America,” he says. “Beaumont is no different.”