One of the common misperceptions about our state (among the many) is that we lack a legitimate beer culture – that we are a bunch of light macro-lager swilling yokel’s riding our horses to work. Though I already knew this to be quite false (since I see the opposite every day at my brewpub), the reaction to HB 660 further demonstrates how much our state cares about our small brewers.
A state without a beer culture doesn’t have citizens who fight for the growth of its breweries.
A state without a beer culture doesn’t get to claim itself as the birthplace of world-class beer bars like The Gingerman and The Flying Saucer (and by proxy perhaps the best beer bar I’ve ever been to, The Falling Rock in Denver, Co. Owner Chris Black attended UT Austin and his bio lists the G-Man in Houston as a place influential to his enthusiasm for beer).
A state without a beer culture doesn’t support small breweries enough to let them do cool, experimental things like (512)’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter or Real Ale’s Mysterium Verum Series.
Granted, the beer culture in our state certainly has the potential for significant growth. We are no where near states like California, Oregon or Colorado in terms of the acceptance and widespread availability of craft beer, but we are getting there. In the past 5 years, no state has seen the kind of volume increases that Texas has in the craft segment. I’ve said it before, we are a big state with lot of people who like great beer.
HB 660 won’t transform the beer culture in our state overnight, but it’s a great first step. Plain and simply, folks are more open towards new products when they have some kind of connection to those products. In this case, it’s the local connection.
Us Texans have never been okay with being second to other states at anything. Our beer culture shouldn’t be an exception.
Around The Web
An absolutely great story and news segment produced by KENS 5 (San Antonio) on HB 660 featuring myself, Joey Villarreal of Blue Star Brewing Co. and Representative Mike Villarreal, HB 660’s author.
From an out-of-state perspective, a former Texan named Jason now living in Portland blogs about HB 660, and also offer another take on Texas’ beer culture.
Local Realtor, former rock star, and friend of Freetail Matt Stigliano has nice things to say about me and the effort.