Austin Beerworks has long been fielding requests for seasonals like Einhorn and Sputnik to get canned, but putting the smaller-batch beer into cans was never a reality — until recently.
With the coming expansion of the North Austin brewery, which locals should expect early next year, Austin Beerworks has been expecting an increased brewing capacity that will allow for canned seasonals. Two of them, thanks to a couple of local partnerships, are coming out as early as September: the Bloodwork Orange IPA and Montecore, an Oktoberfest beer.
Co-founder Michael Graham said he and the other co-owners, Michael McGovern, Adam DeBower and Will Golden, were originally prepared to wait until the bigger brewery is up and running before releasing the seasonal beers in cans. But after the Alamo Drafthouse approached them about the Bloodwork Orange and Easy Tiger about the Montecore, they decided to make a one-time batch of each to put in cans.
Like Austin Beerworks’ four mainstay brews, both the Bloodwork Orange and the Montecore cans were designed by Helms Workshop, a local designer that has earned raves for the brewery’s clean branding and design. The firm, along with Austin Beerworks’ social media accounts, yesterday provided a sneak peek of some of the cans — including two of the upcoming seasonals — revealing that they’re just as striking and eye-catching as the flagship cans.
“We wanted something that was definitely Austin Beerworks but strayed a little from our year-round core-four design,” Graham said about the new cans. “Those designs are so simple and pristine, but for these, we wanted something a little more fun and loud and attention-grabbing. A little more indicative of the seasonals, the limited-release stuff where we have fun as brewers. We wanted the design to reflect that.”
Each of the seasonal cans are decorated with tiny images in bold colors, such as orange slices and bowler hats on the Bloodwork Orange packaging. Those serve as a way of “telling the story of the beer inside it. The cans reflect the history and personality of each seasonal,” he said.
The other cans revealed on Helms’ website include Austin Beerworks’ Heisenberg Kristallweizen and the Battle Axe Imperial Red Ale. Eventually, Graham said, all seasonals will go into cans, a lineup that also includes Einhorn, a refreshing summer Berliner Weisse, and Sputnik, a wintertime Russian Imperial Stout. Each one has already gotten the Helms treatment, although Austin Beerworks isn’t ready to reveal those cans yet.
Christian Helms, owner of the design firm, has gone on to craft the branding of other breweries and booze makers since helping Austin Beerworks launch the original cans, but he still loves working on the North Austin brewery’s new projects.
“Seasonals were a chance to push the envelope in a different direction, crafting something with wit and a sense of humor while maintaining a big impact on the shelf,” he said.
Austin Beerworks is rolling out the Bloodwork Orange IPA in local bars and retailers on Sept. 5, while the Montecore doesn’t come out until Sept. 19, two days after Easy Tiger’s annual Oktoberfest party. (The beer bar has collaborated with Austin Beerworks on the Montecore in the past and wanted to offer it first again.) The Bloodwork Orange will be available at the Alamo Drafthouse, which is doing events around Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” film in September.
There will be about 600 cases of each in Austin. Once those run out, Austin Beerworks isn’t releasing further batches until next year.
“We found a way to cram in two additional fermenters midway through this year, which gave us more breathing room to make the Bloodwork Orange IPA and the Montecore,” Graham said. He and the other Austin Beerworks owners, however, look forward to having more room next door, which so far is “on target timing-wise and on budget.”