On Tuesday, July 11, Celis Brewery (10001 Metric Blvd., Austin, Texas) – Austin’s original craft brewery – will officially return to the craft beer scene with a Grand Opening event that will showcase the brewery’s new facility and three Year-Round offerings.
Celis Brewery was originally founded in 1992 by famed Belgian brewer Pierre Celis and “gained national and international notoriety with its Celis White, a Belgian witbier that . . . Celis championed in his hometown of Hoegaarden, Belgium.” This popularity led to rapid growth that eventually caught the eye of Miller Brewing Company. The brewing giant ended up purchasing Celis Brewery, and the brewery eventually closed its doors in 2001.
Fast-forward to 2017 and things are looking up for the legendary Celis Brewery once again. Christine Celis, Pierre’s daughter and partner in the original brewery, has painstakingly rebuilt Celis Brewery to reestablish her family’s brewing legacy, and the time to officially reopen has finally arrived.
“Austin has its first craft brewery back,” says Ms. Celis, founder and CEO of Celis Brewery. “It has been a labor of love to reopen Celis Brewery, and it is incredibly exciting to be back brewing my father’s original recipes like the famous Celis Wit and Celis Grand Cru using the proprietary yeast from Belgium. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm we have found in Austin as we have started reintroducing our Celis beers around town in a series of tastings this month. We are thrilled to celebrate our return with a Grand Opening party on the 25th anniversary of the first grand opening. We are giving Austin a part of its history back.”
On July 11, the public will have its “first opportunity to tour the 22,000-square-foot brewery . . . that has the capacity to brew more than 50,000 barrels per year.” Highlights from the tour will include the brewery’s “technologically advanced 50 HL BrauKon brew system, some of the original equipment from Belgium, and the new brewery’s taproom with its majestic centerpiece: the original Celis Brewery’s massive hand-beaten copper kettle from the early 1900s which has been converted into a beautiful bar.” Showing off their state-of-the-art equipment will be fun, but the brewing team at Celis Brewery is most looking forward to using the Grand Opening event as an opportunity to convey their dedication to “the same stringent consistency and quality protocols that propelled the original brewery to prominence.”
True evidence of this dedication can only be found in the beer, and Celis Brewery will launch with the following three Year-Round offerings:
- Celis White – “The legendary “Father of Witbier” first brewed by Pierre Celis in 1965 is back. The signature witbier is made with the original Celis recipe including Cascade, Saaz and Willamette hops, coriander and orange peel, as well as the proprietary yeast strain from Belgium. This traditional witbier is hazy bright yellow with strong citrus with spicy fruity scents. Celis White sparkles slightly tart fruit flavors balanced with light maltiness and wheat. It finishes with complex citrus and spice for a refreshing taste that is perfect on a warm Texas afternoon.”
- Celis Pale Bock – “Christine Celis has revived her father’s Belgian Pale Bock recipe with the same amber color and lingering warm rich flavors as the original. It’s brewed with caramel malts, and Saaz, Willamette and Cascade hops, giving it a deep copper and a creamy Belgian-white head. The Pale Bock has dry berry with caramel-malt and citrus aromas, and delicious flavors of subdued berry, malt, a touch of citrus, hints of herbs and spices, and a touch of bitterness at the finish. This easy drinking, full-flavored beer is sure to inspire engaging conversations with friends.”
- Celis Citrus Grandis IPA – “Celis Brewery’s first new recipe is an East Coast style IPA made with the finest Azacca and Citra hops. This zesty Caribbean-inspired brew mingles juicy citrus and tropical fruit aromatics in its hazy golden depths. The IPA pours hazy pale orange with frothy, paper-white head. The effortlessly drinkable beer has bold flavors of grapefruit, orange rind and melons followed by light peach, passionfruit and pineapple notes. It finishes with lingering piney, hop bitterness that begs for a second sip.”
The three beers above will be pouring at the Grand Opening event, and they are also available “on tap at more than 100 bars and restaurants in central Texas.” Celis Brewery plans to systematically roll out distribution with expansion “to Dallas Fort Worth in July, and San Antonio and Hill Country in August.” Bottles are expected to be available by August 2017, and the brewery plans to introduce more beers in fall as well – this includes the lauded Celis Grand Cru mentioned above.
With all the negativity recently raised in the beer community due to buyouts, it is more than refreshing to see a brewery comeback from such a situation. If you are in the Austin area, this truly is an occasion that needs to be celebrated and recognized. Whether you wait until the Grand Opening on July 11 or track them down early at a local pub, just be sure to raise a glass to Celis Brewery and welcome them back to the amazing craft beer scene it once had a hand in establishing. Prost!