Author Archives: Matt Abendschein

RIP steve anderson – a texas beer legend

Although I never got to meet Steve Anderson, his legacy of everything beer in Austin (and all of Texas) was legendary. Steve Anderson not only was the brew master at the very first brewpub in Texas (Waterloo Brewing in Austin), he was also the brew master at Live Oak Brewing, helping bring the best hefe in the world to the masses. Steve went on to help start up and brew at Big Bend Brewing in 2012. This week, raise a glass of Live Oak or Big Bend Brewing in honor of this Texas beer legend. Rest in peace Steve Anderson.

Press Release:

Steve Anderson, Brewmaster at Big Bend Brewing Co., passed away on Wednesday, November
25th, 2015, at his home in Alpine, Texas, after a valiant fight against cancer. Big Bend Brewing
Company lost our Brewmaster; all of Texas lost a true craft beer pioneer and a friend.

Born in 1962 in Dallas, Texas, Steve was on the forefront of many of Texas’s cultural changes of
the last five decades. Moving to Austin as soon as he finished high school, Steve was an
instrumental part of Austin’s burgeoning punk scene. He was a member of Cry Babies, Screws,
Toxic Shock, and was the original singer for Scratch Acid. He was there for the Big Boys shows
at Raul’s, which would later turn into his beloved Showdown. He was in the movie Slacker. And
he helped create the craft beer phenomenon that Texans enjoy today.

Steve loved beer. He was, in the words of one of his closest friends, “the best man in the world to
drink a beer with.” Steve’s entire career was a tribute to beer, friends, and having beers with

In the 1980s, he was homebrewing and working as a bartender for long-time friend Billy
Forrester at The Texas Showdown, a legendary Austin beer bar on the Drag. After taking a trip
together to the Great American Beer Festival in 1991, Billy and Steve were inspired to open a
brewpub. Unfortunately, brewpubs were not legal in Texas at that time, so they made a deal:
Steve would attend the Siebel Institute Brewing Program to refine his brewing knowledge, and
Billy would lobby the Texas Legislature to change the law. Two years after that trip, with the
law successfully changed, they made their dream a reality and opened Waterloo Brewing Co. at
4th & Guadalupe, making Steve the first Brewmaster of the first brewpub in Texas.

Sadly, Waterloo became an early victim of escalating Austin rents in 2001 and the building was
torn down. Thankfully, it had already inspired a tidal wave of interest in craft brewing in Austin,
launching the amazing craft beer culture that continues in the city today.

After Waterloo closed, Steve became the Head Brewer at Austin’s legendary Live Oak Brewing
Co. Steve worked closely with founder Chip McElroy from 2001 to 2012 to build Live Oak to
the renowned and long-standing brewery it is today.

As the population exploded in Austin, Steve and his wife Ellen Weed yearned for a slower pace
of life. After owning a second home in Sanderson for many years and falling in love with the Big
Bend region of Texas, Steve dreamed of opening a brewery out by the National Park. In 2012, he
found a team of people who loved Far West Texas and craft beer as much as he did, and he left
Austin to start Big Bend Brewing Co. in Alpine, Texas. Over the past three years, Steve and the
team grew BBBC from zero to over 5,000 barrels of annual production.

Last spring, Steve transitioned all day-to-day production brewing responsibilities to his
apprentice Amy Oxenham, the Brewery Manager Henryk Orlik, and BBBC’s bright team of
young brewers. Steve turned his attention to developing our small batch brewing program,
purchasing a small brewpub system to brew specialty series, collaborations with other breweries,
and exclusive tap room beers. Unfortunately, we collectively ran out of time before Steve could
make this vision a reality.

But we will carry on his legacy. To honor Steve, we will be naming the taproom at BBBC
“Steve’s Cantina.” We welcome current, future, and aspiring Texans to share great craft beer and
memories from one of the originals. There will be only brewers in Steve’s Cantina, no
brewmasters: it will only ever have one.

To Steve: Friend, Brewmaster, Legend

Waterloo Brewing — 1993 to 2001
Live Oak Brewing — 2001 to 2012
Big Bend Brewing — 2012 to 2015
Steve’s Cantina — 2015 and beyond

A Celebration of Life party will be held at Big Bend Brewing Company at 3pm on Saturday,
December 5th. Please bring a dish to share and come have a beer in Steve’s honor. 3401 W.
Highway 90, Alpine, Texas. (432) 837-3700.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Pints for Prostate, an organization
created to encourage men to have regular prostate screenings.


5 Year Anniversary Party

FB Event Page

The best damn beer blog in Austin (we officially got voted that, right?) is turning 5 so we’re throwing a party to celebrate!

Join us on November 14 at Craft Pride at 6pm where we will debut our collaboration beer we brewed with Hops & Grain, the Stay Hoppy IPA (stay hoppy my friends). Yes, this one will be quite hoppy indeed, clocking in at around 7.6% abv and 80 IBU.

This IPA is unique in that we brewed it with not only pale and vienna malts but also wheat, rye and carrafoam to give it some body and character. The main bittering hop is good ol’ Cascade, then a ton of Simcoe was added in the whirpool. We then dry hop (4 lbs per barrel) with Mosaic, Calypso and Meridian for that dank tropical punch on the nose.

We will also be giving away special Stay Hoppy anniversary glassware when you purchase the Stay Hoppy IPA (buy the beer, get the glass) that was graciously sponsored by the wonderful folks at LUCK in Dallas.

Via 313, your favorite Detroit style pizza in Texas, will also be slinging a special spicy pizza to pair specifically with the Stay Hoppy IPA!

Other special beers that will be pouring that night:

Oak Highlands (Dallas) – Imperial Black Saison

Collective Brewing (Fort Worth) – Mustache Rye’d, Petite Golden Sour

Austin Beerworks – Kiss from a Gose

Adelbert’s – Whimsical Wild Pale

Jester King Firkin – Das Wunderkind

(512) – SMaSH Simcoe (Single Malt and Single Hop series)

…and more! So stay tuned for more updates as the event gets closer. Cheers!

Live Oak Tour and Tasting Pour

an ode to the humble brewery tour and tastings

By Matt Abendschein

With the news of Live Oak ditching their old digs for a brand new space near the Austin airport, feelings of sorrow rushed through me. ‘Out with the old, in with the new.’ That’s the saying right? With places like Live Oak, I don’t want the new. Give me the old any day of the week.

*Get me the cans of Live Oak though!*

With the explosion of craft beer lately, gone seems to be the humble brewery with tours and tastings. The popular thing nowadays is the fancy new tap room where the brewery sets itself up almost like a bar. When I first got into craft beer, the norm was a brewery tour with glassware. You pay an entrance fee and that gets you a certain amount of pours and a brewery tour usually led by the owner or head brewer. That’s a dime a dozen now. Where did it go? Why has it vanished into the mash tun of emptiness?

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scotus lgbt decision and hoppy thoughts

by The Stay Hoppy Team

The Supreme Court of the United States of America voted in favor on one of the most historic advancements in US history over this past weekend. The LGBT community took the biggest strides of their lives towards equal rights, and all of the Stay Hoppy crew couldn’t be happier.

Some may think that beer and politics shouldn’t mix and we should just focus on the beer. Well to that I say no. For one, beer and politics have had their hands tied together since civilization knew how valuable beer was. It’s unfortunate, but it’s inevitable that beer and politics will mesh together and pretending they won’t is absurd. The only thing we can do is to voice our thoughts through mediums like this to ensure the local beer scene has equal opportunity to succeed.

And two, focusing on the beer also means to focus on the most important aspect; the people behind the beer, which means standing up for what’s right, equal human rights. In our opinion, there’s nothing ‘political’ about equal human rights.

Beer has always been about community and it would be a shame to not talk about our community of fellow beer lovers that just rightly won their rights to marry one another the same as others. And we’re not the only ones in the Texas beer community that feels this way. Check out Lakewood Brewing, Deep Ellum Brewing, Jester King and Hops & Grain and how they shared their support via social media on this historic day. I saw people on Deep Ellum’s Facebook page voice their disgust and future loss of support, which was expected but unfortunate to see. However, for the most part, the outcry of support for the decision and the support from these breweries has been met with love and joy.

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Matt, closing thoughts: This site has never been about page views or ‘likes’ or being popular. The only thing I have cared about since day one is the advancement of support for local craft beer and meeting the people behind it. Part of that support is to, in my opinion, stand up and shout our support for another community of people. For anyone out there that may be on the fence about this issue, go out and enjoy a craft beer with a gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender person with an open mind, open heart and thirsty belly. You never know, you may just find a best friend out of it.

Daniel, closing thoughts: Love is truly a beautiful thing and when everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity is given an equal opportunity to voice and express their love then, I believe incredible things can happen including incredible beer. It’s about damn time that we as a society finally get our heads out of our ass and realize that there are other beautiful human beings out there with hearts filled with love that deserve equal rights to express that love. Not only does this decision allow for that, but I’m also hoping it’ll present me with more opportunities to drink great beer to celebrate that love with my friends and family.

Just remember, beer doesn’t discriminate, people do. Think hoppy thoughts, and the beer will do the rest.

Let’s hoist a beer (or several beers) in support for this amazing advancement in human rights. Celebrate good times come on! Cheers!

Beer Flight

the art of enjoying beer

By Matt Abendschein

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Grab a beer
Step 2: Open the beer (if on draft, disregard this step)
Step 3: Drink the beer

Simple, right? Not necessarily nowadays. New social beer norms seem to have gotten jumbled within those three easy steps and have made me question whether or not beer is truly being enjoyed anymore.

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Community Beer Wit

a guide to texas beer styles

With all of these prominent out-of-state breweries popping up in Texas, it made me think about all of the amazing beer we already have here and made in-state. ‘Texas doesn’t offer up certain styles though’ you might say. Oh really? Well check out the list we have compiled below. On any given day, we Texans have almost every single beer style available to us. Some are seasonal, some are one-offs, but a lot are year-round and can be enjoyed at all times. This beer style list comes from the Beer Judge Certification Program (with a few additions) and we tried to include as many breweries as possible. If your beer isn’t listed within a certain category, please let us know and we can add it.

Lite American Lager – Pedernales Lobo Lite, Shiner Light

Standard American Lager – Shiner Blonde

Premium American Lager – Hops & Grain Zoe, Pedernales Lobo, Twisted X Premium Lager

Dortmunder Export – Shiner Dortmunder Spring Ale

Real Ale Hans Pils

Real Ale Hans Pils

German Pilsner – Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils, Real Ale Hans’ Pils, Community Texas Pils, Lakewood Zomer Pils

Bohemian Pilsener – Live Oak Pilz

Classic American Pilsner – Deep Ellum Rye Pils(ner)

Shiner with TX BBQ

Shiner with TX BBQ

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Bats 2

bats & beers – a reflection

By Matt Abendschein

Recently, it has come to my attention that another Austin beer blog is putting on a Brews Cruise (at first they called it Bats & Brews but thankfully changed the name) that is similar in nature to an event I helped co-found, Bats & Beers. Because of this, I felt inclined to write about Bats & Beers, something I was very proud to be a part of from (almost) the beginning of its fruition.

**Disclaimer: I am by no means dogging on the new event. I’m actually curious to see how it pans out. This is simply me reminiscing on Bats & Beers and reveling in the possibility of a revival event. **

Bats & Beers – Brainchild of Nate Taylor, a friend of mine that has since moved to Hong Kong. What started out as a friendly get together on the rooftop of his condo building, Nate and I both saw something special and took it to the next level and invited breweries and restaurants together for a night of connections and collaboration. The whole concept was designed as a way to bring people together to support the very things Austin so wholeheartedly embraces on a daily basis, including the beautiful city itself as a backdrop.

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brewpub vs gastropub

By Matt Abendschein

For some reason I feel inclined to write a post about this. Countless times over the past few years I’ve heard references to both brewpub and gastropub being used interchangeably. And, countless times I’ve tried to explain the difference only to have the explanation go in one ear and out the other. Maybe words coming out of my mouth are confusing. I do admit, I’m a technical person and am at times unable to speak out loud in generalities and the point gets lost, even putting people to sleep at times. Hopefully writing about it is more clear and concise and can clear up some confusion (for those that may be confused that is).

Note: I know I’ll probably miss intricate details in the TABC codes and licenses but that’s not the point of this article. This article is to give a clear and concise, yet general, definition of both brewpub and gastropub so people know the difference.

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best atx craft beers of 2013

By Matt, Daniel and Carlos

Just when we thought craft beer in Austin couldn’t get any better than it did in 2012, 2013 rolls around and gives us punch after punch of some fantastic beer. It seemed to be a year of experimentation and bravery with new hop varieties, barrel aging with fruit and 70’s fashion resurrected. Even with three people on the You Stay Hoppy team, it’s damn near impossible to taste every single release, but we did our best to keep up. Now if your brewery/beer didn’t make this list, it doesn’t mean we didn’t like your beer(s), these are just the ones that really stood out and wow’d us. Also remember, this is completely subjective, and we would love to hear from y’all as well on what YOUR favorites were!

In no particular order, our ten favorites…

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