Rahr and Sons Brewing Company

Rahr and Sons Brewing Company

Infobox Brewery
name = Rahr and Sons Brewing Company

caption =
location = Fort Worth, Texas, USA
owner = Fritz Rahr
opened = 2004
production =
active_beers = brewbox_beer|name=Blonde Lager|style=Helles brewbox_beer|name=Rahr's Red|style=Amber Lager brewbox_beer|name=Ugly Pug|style=Schwarzbier brewbox_beer|name=Stormcloud|style=German-style India Pale Ale
seasonal_beers = brewbox_beer|name=Bucking Bock|style=Maibock brewbox_beer|name=Summertime Wheat|style=Wheat Beer brewbox_beer|name=Winter Warmer|style=Winter Warmer brewbox_beer|name=Rahr Oktoberfest|style=Oktoberfest/Märzen
other_beers = brewbox_beers|type=Other brewbox_beer|name=Pecker Wrecker|style=Imperial Pilsener

Rahr and Sons Brewing Company is a microbrewery in Fort Worth, Texas, owned by Fritz and Erin Rahr. Since opening in 2004, Rahr has introduced nine beers, eight of which have been bottled. Currently, Rahr beers are distributed throughout much of North Texas (including the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex), as well as in Abilene, Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, Longview, and San Antonio. [The brewery lists its distributors and range of distribution on the [http://www.rahrbrewing.com/orders.html "Order Rahr"] page of its website.]

Early history

The Rahr and Sons brewery was established in 2004 in a warehouse south of downtown Fort Worth by Frederick "Fritz" Rahr and his wife Erin, with a great deal of support from family and friends. [Shlachter, "Career Hops: Fritz Rahr Quit Railroads To Open a Fort Worth Microbrewery," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 26 September 2004, 1F.] Fritz Rahr, a former railroad company worker who has studied brewing in Germany and at the Siebel Institute, is a graduate of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. When the brewery began production in the summer of 2004, its original head brewer was Jason Courtney, the 2002 Great American Beer Festival Small Brew Pub Brew Master of the Year, who had run Hub City Brewpub in Lubbock, TX. ["Microbrewery Offers Tours and Tastings," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 18 September 2004, 1C.] Courtney installed the brewery and created the original recipes. After Courtney's departure, James Hudec of Brenham Brewery was named brewer for the following six months. [Barry Shlachter, "Microbrew Finally Hitting Stores," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 29 December 2004, 1F.] At first, all of the Rahr beers were self-distributed. Rahr's first two beers were Blonde Lager and Rahr's Red amber lager. [Shlachter, "Career Hops: Fritz Rahr Quit Railroads To Open a Fort Worth Microbrewery," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 26 September 2004, 1F.] These were not available in bottles until December 2004, the same month in which Rahr's third beer, Ugly Pug Black Lager, was released. [Shlachter, "Microbrew Finally Hitting Stores."] In July 2005, after months of tap-only availability, Ugly Pug appeared in bottles as well. [Shlachter, "Rahr & Sons Unleashes Ugly Pug," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 6 July 2005, E6.]

Developments since 2005

In September 2005, Rahr introduced its first seasonal: Pecker Wrecker Imperial Pilsner, a Sterling- and Perle-hopped pilsener with the substantial strength of 7% alcohol by volume (ABV). This tap-only release was accompanied by a logo design contest, in which entries had to include a woodpecker in a tow truck. The winning logo appeared on tap handles, t-shirts, and beer glasses. [Shlachter, "These Seasonal Brews Pack a Punch," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 30 November 2005, E2.]

At about the same time, Rahr was forced to lay off most of his employees due to financial pressures and take on the role of brewmaster himself. In the wake of this change, Rahr worked long hours and received help from a volunteer team of over two dozen local home brewers and beer enthusiasts, particularly with bottling and packaging. [Shlachter, "Helping Hands: Rahr & Sons Brewery Relies On a Hardy Bunch Of Lager-Loving Volunteers Who Get the Beer Bottled, Packaged and Ready To Ship," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 5 June 2006, C1.] At this point, the company also shifted the task of distribution over to distributors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including the regional Coors distributor and Authentic Beverages Co., Inc.; as a result, Rahr beer became available across a larger geographic area. [Shlachter, "News from Rahr," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 5 October 2005, E4.] By the next year, the Miller distributor in Denton was handling the supply for the Denton/north Dallas region. [Shlachter, "Helping Hands."]

Rahr's Bucking Bock appeared in the spring of 2006 and was preceded by a logo contest similar to the one for Pecker Wrecker. [Shlachter, "Rahr's Bucking Bock Packs a Wallop," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 22 March 2006, E5.] Summertime Wheat appeared on July 8, [Shlachter, "Beer Of the Week," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 12 July 2006, E6.] followed in November by Winter Warmer, the first non-German Rahr beer. [Shlachter, "Beer of the Week," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 29 November 2006, E8.]

In January 2007, Tony Formby joined Rahr as an equity partner. Following this, the company re-expanded its staff. Gavin Secchi of Addison was hired as brewer. [Shlachter, "Brewing up success," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 19 March 2007] Two new beers were introduced by Rahr in 2007: Stormcloud IPA, released in March, [Shlachter, "Beer of the Week," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 21 March 2007, E8.] and Oktoberfest Fall Celebration Lager, released in September. Rahr began working with Andrews Distributing of Dallas in autumn 2007. [Colin Lymer, "New Distribution in Dallas/Plano/Corpus Christi," "Rahr News Brief" 12 October 2007.]

Brewer J. B. Flowers joined Rahr in December 2007, following the resignation of Secchi, who now works for nearby Franconia Brewing Company. [Barry Shlachter, "Texas Craft Beers: Beasts of the Yeast," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 28 April 2008.]

Current line of products

*"Blonde Lager" is a light-bodied Munich Helles-style lager with a grainy character, a faint sweetness, and a bitter finish.

*"Rahr's Red" is an amber lager with a malty character and light caramel notes.

*"Ugly Pug" is a black lager, or Schwarzbier. While dark in color, it is light-bodied and has a moderately roasted flavor.

*"Stormcloud IPA" is an India Pale Ale, a popular style among American craft breweries. [Shlachter, "Beer of the Week," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 21 March 2007, E8.] What is unusual about Stormcloud IPA, however, is the use of German noble hops, German malts and "Kölsch" ale yeast to imbue the style with Fritz Rahr's own German brewing heritage (American IPAs are typically brewed with American hop styles and other varieties of ale yeast). Likewise, the beer is marketed with a German heritage backstory that reinforces this stylistic hybridity. "Stormcloud" is English for the German "Sturmwolke", the name of the ship that carried brewer-ancestor William Rahr to the New World. According to the brewery's website, "During a fierce storm on his voyage across the ocean, William Rahr could be heard yelling from the tall masted ship: 'Roll on old sea! And when you are done, when the storm clouds have destroyed themselves, we will still be standing and drinking!'" [http://www.rahrbrewing.com/stormcloud.html (accessed July 6, 2007)] According to local journalist Barry Shlachter, this beer may become Rahr's flagship product in the future. [Shlachter, "Beer of the Week," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 21 March 2007, E8.]

*"Bucking Bock", a spring seasonal, is a sweet and full-flavored "Maibock". With 8% ABV (alcohol by volume), it is also particularly strong.

*"Summertime Wheat", a summer seasonal, is a Bavarian-style wheat beer, or Hefeweizen, with rye added to the grist (the brewery has called it a Roggen-Weizen, or rye-wheat, for this reason). [Shlachter, "Beer Of the Week," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 12 July 2006, E6.] Unlike many American craft breweries that produce Hefeweizens with more neutral yeasts (e.g. Sierra Nevada, Pyramid, or Spoetzl (Shiner)), Rahr employs the characteristic Bavarian wheat beer yeast, resulting in clove- and banana-like flavors. Live Oak Brewing Company's Hefe Weizen is another example of the more traditional Bavarian style.

*"Oktoberfest Fall Celebration Lager" is a fall seasonal in the Bavarian Märzen lager style.

*"Winter Warmer" is a winter seasonal rendition of the traditional English "winter warmer" style. [Shlachter, "Beer of the Week," "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", 29 November 2006, E8.] This is a toasty, nutty, lightly-carbonated ale with about 8% ABV.

Iron Mash Competition

Since the summer of 2004, the Rahr and Sons Brewery has been the location of the annual Iron Mash Competition, a homebrewing competition based on the premise of the television show "Iron Chef" (that is, to brew a beer from provided ingredients) and hosted by the Cap and Hare Homebrewing Club of Fort Worth, TX. [Joe Johnson, "Upcoming Club Events, "In the Brew Kettle" 1.1 (May 2004): 6.]

Awards and recognition

At the summer 2005 semiannual United States Beer Tasting Championship (referred to as USBTC from this point on), Rahr's Blonde Lager won the award of Best of the Rockies/Southeast in the Dortmunder/Helles category. [ [http://www.usbtc.com/Articles/Release7.html Chester, NH - The United States Beer Tasting ChampionshipTM completed the winter session for its sixth annual competition on July 1-2, 2000 ] ] This beer won the same award again in summer 2006, while Bucking Bock won honorable mention in the division as a Maibock. [ [http://www.usbtc.com/Articles/Release9.html Chester, NH - The United States Beer Tasting ChampionshipTM completed the winter session for its sixth annual competition on July 1-2, 2000 ] ] Rahr's Ugly Pug won Best of the Rockies/Southwest at the winter 2006 USBTC in the Black Lager category. Most recently, Rahr's Summertime Wheat was recognized as the best wheat beer in the Rockies/Southwest division during the summer 2007 USBTC. [ [http://www.usbtc.com/Articles/Summer07.htm Chester, NH - The United States Beer Tasting ChampionshipTM completed the winter session for its sixth annual competition on July 1-2, 2000 ] ]

The Dallas Observer awarded Rahr's Blonde Lager "Best Local Beer" in the summer of 2005. [ [http://dallasobserver.com/bestof/award.php?award=30347 Dallas - Best Of - Best Local Beer - Rahr Blonde Lager (2005) ] ]

In the "Zymurgy" magazine reader's poll of summer 2006--the fourth annual Best Commercial Beers In America survey--, Rahr was voted the fifth best brewer in the United States. Among the poll's top ranked beers in the U.S., Ugly Pug tied for 15th place, Bucking Bock and Rahr's Red both tied for 21st place, and Blonde Lager tied for 32nd place. [Jill Redding, "Ride to Victory," in "Zymurgy" (July/August 2006): 19-23.]


External links

* [http://www.rahrbrewing.com Official company website]

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