Spring Fed Simplicity (part 2)
Oct 03, 2014 02:42PM
● By Dia
The catch was that Shannon wanted completely unadulterated water — no chlorine, no chemicals, no treatments of any kind — but once the water leaves the ground, Samantha Springs has to treat it, according to regulations. The springs owner, Joe McCombs, invited Shannon onto his 22-acre property and showed him a dilapidated pole barn with the suggestion, “Let’s build it here, and we’ll give you a tap right into the spring, and you can brew directly,’ Shannon remembers. And that is just what they did.
And there it was: a falling down mess with holes in the roof and rusted tin on the ceilings. And then Shannon’s branding background kicked in. “We’ve taken a lot of the wood and the poles and the tin and re-used it and put it in here. The bar’s got reclaimed wood, the taproom has the reclaimed tin,” he says. He and Joe got together, and as Shannon puts it, “We just made it cool.” Even the beer garden’s tables are made with metal supports salvaged from picnics tables on their way to the dump. “We stripped out the rotten wood, painted them, and put new wood on them.” Then there’s a 16-foot high, 200-gallon water tower that irrigates a trough full of hops surrounding a good part of the beer garden.
Today, he offers tours of the facility, filled with large tanks with names like “mash tun” and “boil kettle” and “heat exchanger” and “fermenter.” They churn out beers such as the All American Blonde, made with all American hops. “Most of our recipes are based on recipes from the UK. This is the one anomaly,” Shannon says. “It’s a real light, easy drinking blonde. Not too bitter, just a nice gateway craft beer.” Then there’s the Pale Ale, “a traditional Irish pale ale”; an IPA/ India Pale Ale, “more bitter, a little stronger;” and the Irish Red, “malt forward, really yummy.” And, of course, the Chocolate Stout, “Fantastic. We have yet to find anybody who doesn’t like our Chocolate Stout,” Shannon says.
The beer garden sits just outside the taproom and opens from Thursday through Saturday, with tours on Saturdays from 12-3. They close at 8:30. “We don’t want to be a pub. We’re a brewery. It’s just like a winery,” Shannon says. Apparently, a “belly up to the bar” kind of winery. They’ll host private parties too.
These days, Shannon Brewing Co. beer can be found just about everywhere in the local market — the beer case at Whole Foods, Central Market, as well as bars including the Flying Saucer, Keller Tavern, Ginger Man and paired with the wings and things at Jack & Grill in Roanoke. Of Shannon’s first 25 sales, 20 of those customers contacted him, “because of our unique process, because of our unique beer,” he says.
What does the future hold? “We would like to expand pretty quickly,” Shannon says. “We would like to be a Texas beer as quickly as possible. Our secondary market will probably be Houston. Then we’ll be down in Austin, San Antonio and beyond. But we’ll probably remain a Texas beer for a while.”