Robert Earl Keen, Pedernales Brewing Launch Musician's Signature Beer
For Robert Earl Keen, the musician who is synonymous with Texas, the show goes on forever and the party never ends. Now the king of Texas country music will have his own beer for the party that never ends when his line of beer, dubbed the REK Honey Pils, rolls out Wednesday.
Pedernales Brewing Company master brewer Peter McFarlane said the beer tastes like the Texas Hill Country it comes from.
"We formulated this specifically for Robert so it's , we call it Honey Pilsner. It's got real Hill Country honey in it and we also use a couple different specialty malts in it," he said. "It tastes really nice and light; not too sweet but it's not bitter at all."
This weekend McFarlane and his head brewer, John West, configured their new canning machine to prepare the thousands of beers going out for Keens' beer debut.
The process works like this. A pallet of cans is lifted to a tall platform where they assemble into a line that cascade down a spiral slide until they reach a sanitary shower. They are filled with CO2 with a mechanical squeal. That replaces the room air and keeps the beer fresh and bubbly. The cans then move into the beer-filling portion. Next, the lids are "cold-welded" onto the cans. Another quick bath takes place before West picks them up to be placed in the case.
The brewers know many are fans of his music. Now they hope they'll be fans of this, too.
West met with the famed musician to see what he likes and what he doesn't. Fun fact: Robert Earl Keen doesn't like hoppy beers.
So they went for something more drinkable. That's how he'd describe most of Pedernales' beers.
"We definitely started kind of making more everyday people kind of beers, and we evolved into making some more unique styles as we've kind of gotten our feet under us and gotten moving," he said. "So the craft beer movement has been really great for us and I think we're doing something to help it as well, kind of adding our own style and our own flare to it." \
Pedernales is just a baby in the business, shipping out its first kegs two and a half years ago. McFarlane joked about his age to put into perspective how long he's been in the brewing business.
The brewers think canning will take the company to new heights in the craft brew world. Unlike decades ago when beer drinkers were true to one beer, West thinks the craft beer drinker today likes to explore different varieties. That's a good thing for small breweries like this.
"It's one of the great things about the craft beer movement is you don't have to brew beer that you think people will like," he said. "You brew beer you like and there are people out there who will like it."
So what's the finished product like? West said this new beer bearing Robert Earl Keen's name is light and refreshing, not too sweet and not too bitter. It's perfect for fall and listening to a little music.
You can find the Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils at the Alamo Ice House, located at 802 North Alamo, starting at 5 o'clock Wednesday.