Oddwood Ales debuts new beer, plans barrel house in East Austin

Brewed at Adelbert's, the sour Taming of the Savage Heart is the latest Oddwood Ales beer to be produced.

Brewed at Adelbert’s, the sour Taming of the Savage Heart is the latest Oddwood Ales beer to be produced.

Although Oddwood Ales started as a side project of Adelbert’s brewer Taylor Ziebarth, it’s taken on a life of its own — much like the wild yeast strains that ferment and age each of the Oddwood beers in old wine barrels.

Oddwood Ales, a barrel-fermented beer project brewed at the wood-loving Adelbert’s Brewery, is expanding to become the Oddwood Barrel House later this summer in a different part of town. Ziebarth and his artist brother, Brett, are opening Oddwood as a brewpub at 3701 Airport Blvd., off Manor Road.

In the meantime, the latest brew releasing from Oddwood Ales is Taming of the Savage Heart, a “sour table beer” with notes of “damp oak, balanced acidity and a nice earthy funk,” according to Ziebarth. Debuting on Monday, it’s the second Oddwood beer after its highly lauded saison, which has been charming Austin’s fans of wild ales since late 2014.

Taming of the Savage Heart “is more sour than the saison, we feel,” Ziebarth said. “It’s kind of like our nod to a lambic. We fermented it in wine barrels, added some aged hops and unmalted wheat, and used quite a few more microorganisms than we did for the saison. It was also aged for six months longer.”

These are just two of the beers you’ll enjoy one day at the barrel house, where a lot more wood-fermented ales are going to be made.

“We’re expanding on the ideas we started at Adelbert’s,” Ziebarth said. “We’re going to buy large oak tanks and barrels and do a lot of different things with oak and barrels and wild yeast to make a good sour beer. We’re also going to throw a hat into the hoppy beer ring as well. Sour and hoppy beers will be the chief focus of what we’re doing here.”

At Oddwood Barrel House’s 2,500 sq. ft. tasting room — located in a 1950s-era building with some funky characteristics of its own — visitors might see “two to three fruited sours, an imperial IPA, a barrel-aged saison” on the tap wall once it’s opened. But Ziebarth can’t say which of those, if any, would be the flagship brews; the program will be relaxed and experimental, allowing the Oddwood brewers “to brew what we feel like.”

“We want to go all out on every beer,” he said.

Oddwood’s incoming 7-barrel brewhouse will be less than half the size of Adelbert’s, keeping the supply of each Oddwood brew down to a far more limited number. And most likely, Ziebarth said, only the hop-forward beers will be exposed to the stainless steel tanks that most breweries use for fermentation and other steps in the brewing process. “Most of the beers here will spend their entire life in oak,” he said.

The “here” he was referring to is the standalone building at Airport Boulevard and Manor Road where Oddwood Barrel House is slowly coming together. Before it ever became the site of an upcoming brewpub, he said, it had witnessed myriad change in East Austin.

“It was once a Tejano nightclub, once a restaurant, once a movie set for ‘Machete 2,’ a bunch of different things,” Ziebarth said. “We purchased the building from an (advertising) firm that had remodeled it before they moved. It’s a real funky building, but we’re happy with it. It had everything we were looking for when we found it.”

For a look at other breweries and bars opening this year, check out this look-ahead on mystatesman.com.

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