BEERS OF DISTINCTION IN TEXAS’ HIGHLAND LAKES REGION
Updated: Apr 27
by Andrew Chalk
Heading down to Burnet or Marble Falls this summer? Here are two breweries with distinctive products and distinctive messages that craft beer mavens may want to check out.
BEAR KING BREWING COMPANY
A stone’s throw from the Blue Bonnet Café in Marble Fallas is Bear King Brewing Company. Set in a modern low-slung building, the brewery and tasting room is just off US 281 and easy to miss from the road. That would be a pity as very competent brewing goes hand-in-hand with a serious commitment to food here.
The beers constitute a full line of styles with the Whisper Man Black IPA (ABV 6.8%/IBU 60/SRM 37) being a personal favorite. Contrary to craft beer form, the food is ‘much better than it needs to be’. For example, there are truffle fries, Texas poutine (kind of poutine with brisket), addictive Bear King Blonde Beer Cheese, and half-pound burgers that are some of the best around. Patties are made from Certified Angus Beef (except the vegetarian one which is made from Beyond Meat®️ and appropriately named ‘The Greenhouse’) and there are four types (and imaginative types) of salad.
This is the place to get lunch or dinner and, if the weather cooperates, sit out on the terrace.
SAVE THE WORLD BREWING COMPANY
Save The World Brewing Company (henceforth STWBC) is a very unusual beast -- a philanthropically motivated craft brewer. Note, not a non-profit. This is a profit-seeking company. The difference is that it gives all of its profits to charity. To date (February 2020) that is over $160,000 to charities like Meals On Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Disaster Relief, Texas Area Food Banks, and others.
The folks behind this are Dave and Quynh Rathkamp. Both physicians who made a major pivot in their lives to found and commit full time to STWBC. Dave is the brewer, and Quynh the chief operations officer. Their output is now at a point where they have hired help in production and sales.
Dave’s style in beer is most inspired by Belgium, so look for liberal use of fruit flavors and potentially rocket fuel alcohol levels. The couple has a predilection for latin names for their beers, maybe it reminds them of writing prescriptions in ‘the good old days’. Quynh, so far as I can infer, also has a photographic memory. After being introduced to our group of five just once, she could field questions using our first names without fault thirty minutes later.
All of STWBC’s beers are carefully made and stand apart in the increasingly competitive craft brewing industry. They may just be too modest but I could not find any references to awards in beer shows. If they have not entered hitherto, they should think of doing so. The recognition would be synergistic to the philanthropy.
I particularly liked the Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Tripel, and Belgian Quadrupel ales which reminded me that in many countries the beverage of choice with food is beer, and not wine. These beers are very well paired with food.