By Daniel Reifsnider
This past Friday, Carlos was successful in wrangling me from the confines of my after-work routine, and convinced me to join him in a trek out to Infamous Brewing for the latest showing of The Beer Dairies featuring Infamous Brewing.
After a lazy drive up 620, Carlos and I eventually arrived in a foreign land named Hudson Bend, which is home to Infamous Brewing and a group of people who like to go by the name of Benders. If you don’t know about Benders, they tend to exemplify the “I do what I want” spirit of Texas, which I suppose is even more reason to found a brewery named Infamous here.
Infamous Brewing is located at the end of a twisted road that eventually runs past a set of industrial office buildings, the kind which tend to become familiar after visiting the many breweries of Austin. Along the way, expect to past several watersport and boat shops, and the occasional biker bar with accompanying biker gang.
It quickly becomes evident that Infamous Brewing plays the part of neighborhood watering hole for this area when you start noticing the many varieties of people at this place: tattooed clad bikers mingling with buttoned-down white collared types with the occasional hippy/showerless type thrown in for good measure. Eclectic hardly comes close.
If, by chance, you follow Google Maps and you’re still unsure whether or not you’re in the right place, just lift your ear up a little and you’ll eventually hear Infamous Brewing’s co-owner Josh Horowitz’s booming deep voice guiding you in the right direction. It’s better than any fancy GPS or compass when that sinking feeling of being lost begins to overcome you. Honestly, I’m surprised no one has found a way to market it yet.
After we finished parking the car, we mosied on up to their new taproom. Even though it’s not as expansive as some of the other well-known brewery taprooms in town, it’s a nice spot with a cutout window to order from and a well-written tap list to ponder over for a minute or two. That day they had on the usual taps (IPA, Bugsy’s amber, and the always good Hijack cream ale) along with some one-offs including two dry-hopped beers (IPA with Centennial hops, and Hijack with Galaxy hops) and a blackberry rye brown ale on cask.
Once we heard about that last one, we each took a second to decide and both ordered it. It was nice, with a light blackberry profile that lingered on the palette with a good malt backbone to balance everything out. My one complaint was that I wish it had more of a rye note to it, but only because I’m a sucker for the spiciness rye tends to add.
With beers in hand, Carlos and I started looking around at the variety of people and we began chatting with Sean Peppy Meyer and Mike Mann both from The Beer Diaries. We also toured the brewery a bit, which lasted approximately 2 minutes, since the actual brewery (cold room and brewhouse included) is tiny and I’m being very generous with the word tiny.
I’m immensely impressed what the guys at Infamous have been able to accomplish in the span of just little over a year with their setup and space. I’m sure it’s taken them dedication, passion, and a love for the craft to be able to achieve what they have in such a short amount of time. The beer is pretty killer too, as are their can designs.
Speaking of cans, Carlos and I found out from Horowitz that they actually hand built an elaborate bottling line, only to now have it collecting dust in an corner of the brewery. Apparently, they didn’t have any plans to can when they first started, but their recent venture to cans has I’m sure started propelling them towards popularity.
After hanging around for a bit more and draining some more beers, Carlos eventually ordered us a flight which consisted of everything they had on tap at the moment. The tasting glasses were cradled in a beautiful, do-it-yourself type serving board. Combined, our favorites of the night had to be the two dry-hopped beers, the IPA with Centennial and the Hijack with Galaxy.
Just as we started on the first beer of the flight, the screening of The Beer Diaries began playing inside the tasting room. The show was, as in usual The Beer Diaries’ fashion, well crafted with fearless leader Greg Zeschuk interviewing the guys of Infamous along with perfectly representative animations throughout. It was, to say the least, a hit with the crowd, with hoots and hollers ringing out throughout the area.
Carlos and I overheard that the idea surrounding the previous three episodes, which featured some of the newest breweries in Austin including the ABGB, Kamala Brewing at The Whip-In, and Infamous Brewing respectively, was to play in contrast with another previous episode which featured some of the oldest breweries in Texas, including The Spoetzl Brewery at Shiner. Pretty neat idea if you ask me.
All in all, the trip out to Infamous was a success, with the beer plenty, the company enjoyable and the environment instilling in me some of that “I do what I want” independent spirit that I’m sure resides in every Bender. If you’re free sometime during the weekend, and you’re tired of the same-old city beat, get your ass out to Infamous Brewing for some good times and good beer.
Oh, and be sure to check out the The Beer Diaries episode on Infamous Brewing, which is now live, since they’re doing a kick-ass job at shedding some light on an otherwise often unnoticeable part of beer: the breweries and the people behind the beer and the stories that exist in-between.
Check out all the pictures from the evening in the gallery below: