Pierre Celis is one of craft brewing’s most hallowed names. He singlehandedly saved a nearly extinct beer style. His original brand, Hoegaarden, is still the best-known witbier.
After Pierre sold that brand, he opened another brewery in Austin, Texas back in the 1990s. Why there? According to Pierre, “People there speak English like I speak it – slowly.”
To put it mildly, his brewery was an interesting experiment. For one thing, Texas beer labeling laws of the time weren’t ready for Belgian specialties like tripel. In the end, Pierre sold his brewery to Miller – who, at best, didn’t seem to know what to do with it.
Twenty years later, Pierre’s daughter, Christine, has relaunched Celis Brewing on the northwest side of Austin. The “new” Celis Brewing greets visitors with an impressive tasting room. Smack in the middle is a circular bar topped with the kettle from the original Texas Celis brewery. Celis and Hoegaarden photos and memorabilia hang from the walls and adorn the bar and tables.
The beer menu starts with the five original Celis brews. For you old timers, the White, Grand Cru, Raspberry, and Pale Bock are as good as you remember.
The Lager, though, is still being dialed (re-dialed?) in. Christine is puzzling over her father’s beer notes: Twenty years later, what is “golden yeast”?
Since it is now 2018, Celis also offers a hazy IPA called Citrus Grandis. There’s also an oatmeal stout, several fruity kettle sours, and other specialty beers.
At this moment, the “new” Celis beers are available only in Texas, Japan, and South Korea. Hopefully, distribution will expand as the brewery grows. Soon, Celis will add an outdoor beer garden and music center large enough to hold 2,500 people.
Put “Celis 2.0” high on the list of reasons to visit Austin, Texas.