History Behind The Brewery
The Big Texan Brewery starting serving hand craft beers June 24, 2011 after a lengthy process of paperwork with the “Feds” or TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) and the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission). The amount of work that was needed to put a dream into reality started decades ago and many miles apart between Tom Money (Brewmaster) and the Lee Brother’s (Bobby & Danny) who are second generation owners of the Big Texan Steak Ranch.
Starting back in 1988, Danny was teaming up with buddies on the weekends brewing beer in backyards and cracking open many new tastes that were unavailable to the general public. Meanwhile Bobby, the prodigy mastermind behind the Big Texan’s promotional engine had been encouraging his brother to continue the tradition of brewing only this time for the Big Texan’s patrons, and not just as a hobby either. Theses conversations went on for years and years, UNTIL January of 2011 when a friend of the family told the Lee Boy’s that his brother Tom, who also brewed beer at home for a hobby, wanted to be a Brewmaster for their world famous steak house. Tom was looking for an introduction and a foot in the door.
After the handshakes, formalities, some heavy sampling, the concept of the Big Texan Brewery was well under way to becoming a reality. Along came the long process of applications & forms, trial & error, recipes, remodeling, purchasing, construction, moving this to there, testing and testing and more testing. Tom had his favorites and Danny had his, and then there were the ones that breweries “were suppose to offer” such as the Ambers, Reds, Bocks, and IPA’s.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the notice from the Fed’s that a license to brew and sell beer was approved and now issued! Thanks to our former President Jimmy Carter for paving the road for handcraft beer making. After 24-years, our hobbies were now memories and the real work was about to begin.
Making beer is basically a very simple process. All you need according to German Law was 4 – ingredients: Water, malted Barley, Hops, and yeast. You ferment in water the starchy barley for the yeast to eat on producing CO2 and alcohol. The hops balance the sweet barley and help with preserving. Pretty simple, even a cave man could do it; hence some of the earliest recipes were for making beer.
The complexity in making beer is in the different varieties of ingredients, styles, yeast, and even the water source that is used. Temperatures of the fermentation room, the outside or even the temperature of the Brewmaster will make a difference in the final beer products. (It’s very important to keep your Brewmaster happy.)
Speaking of our Brewmaster, Tom will come in with an ideal of something he tried or read about. We’ll talk about it, and generally agree on either a small batch (such as 5-gallons or so) or we’ll go ahead with a big batch (90-gallons or so) if it a variation on something we have already brewed before and want to adjust a recipe. Our pattern is read, brew, taste, brew, taste, brew … and so on. What we have ended up with is about 10-beers on tap (some we keep in the back room, private reserve if you know what we mean) that reflect what our handcraft beer drinking guests like. Contrary to popular belief, beer does in some respect, get better with age. Our handcraft beers are un-pasteurized, unfiltered and aged in 34ºF coolers for sometimes many months.
Most of today’s bottled beers are pasteurized and come from the big manufactures like Bud, Miller, Coors or the BMC us home brewers refer to them as. When you’re at a world famous steak ranch like the Big Texan, and getting ready to sink your teeth into a juicy 72oz steak, your typical beer just isn’t going to cut it.
Instead, try a Rattlesnake India Pale Ale or a Texas Red Ale on for size. Kind‘a like; you put hot cream gravy on a chicken fried steak, not hot milk. So save the milk for the race track and give your mouth a real treat.