Austin brewery and cidery create a beer and cider blend as perfect summer drink


What could possibly be better than beer and cider? Two local booze makers, St. Elmo Brewing and Fairweather Cider, might have found the answer — a graf, or beer and cider blend.

The duo will release their collaboration, Graffiti, at the St. Elmo taproom tomorrow both on draft and in four-pack tallboys that may well boast one of the coolest designs you’ve ever seen on beer cans (spray paint lids not included).

Graffiti, at 6.7 percent alcohol by volume, features Fairweather’s house apple juice blended with St. Elmo wort, added to Loral hops and fermented for a month with saison yeast. The result is a bone-dry, saison-like beer with funky apple characteristics. 

The graf has been a long time coming: St. Elmo co-founder Bryan Winslow and Fairweather co-founder John Staples homebrewed together a few years before their businesses opened, and one of their projects was a beer and cider blend. 

“We’ve had the name and recipe for some time. Now that we’ve got our own places, it was just a matter of fitting it into our production schedules,” Staples said.

Even though Graffiti is more like a beer than a cider, there are certain elements of the graf that are distinctive to the Fairweather brand, which launched at the end of last year with a small North Austin cidery and tasting room.

“Bryan paid us immense respect in writing this recipe by keeping our cider ethos in mind — Graffiti is super, super dry with a strong saison characteristic,” Staples said.

People tend to think of cider as sweet, but Fairweather prefers to make its cider as though it’s a farmhouse-style ale, with very little residual sugar and a funky aroma. So Graffiti, Winslow said, is actually the driest beer St. Elmo has ever made, relying on a yeast similar to the one Fairweather uses to achieve that dry profile.

The clean branding, however, is undeniably St. Elmo. The brewery and Fairweather had considered combining their branding designs, but they “are so different we thought the styles would compete,” Winston said.

He noted that it’s the first graf made in Austin, although other breweries and cideries around the country have dabbled in the rare style before — notably, GRAFF(T), an India pale lager with apple must that New Belgium Brewing created in 2014 with Seattle Cider Co. and Two Beers Brewing.

Other kinds of beverage blends are far more common, such as the braggot (beer and mead) that you can find at Driftwood brewery Vista Brewing and the cyser (mead and cider) that has become an annual release at Texas Keeper Cider in far South Austin. Texas Keeper also makes a couple of wine and cider blends, Grafter Rosé and Grafter Blanc.

The graf might have originated from an unlikely source — Stephen King referenced it in his series “The Dark Tower” as a fusion of apples and malt in a drink. 

Pick up four-packs of Graffiti from St. Elmo starting at 4 p.m. tomorrow, at 440 E. Saint Elmo Rd. There is also a very limited number of branded T-shirts at the taproom featuring the Graffiti design.

RELATED STORIES:


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360

This week’s music picks: Wild Child at Blues on the Green, Ume, more
This week’s music picks: Wild Child at Blues on the Green, Ume, more

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JE8kf7ucvo&w=492&h=307] Tuesday: Ume at Waterloo Records. Four years after their last album, “Monuments,” dropped, Austin’s hard rock outfit is back with a new collection, “Other Nature.” The band slowed down in 2015 after the couple at the core, Lauren and Eric...
The only gazpacho recipe you need right now
The only gazpacho recipe you need right now

4 to 8 servings (makes 7 cups) What tomato soup is to winter, gazpacho is to summer - a quick, easy bowl that is just right for the season. Gazpacho is a quintessential Spanish summertime soup. It is not cooked and can vary in composition and ingredients, but it typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, olive oil, vinegar and garlic...
A taste of Chipotle's new menu items proves: It's no Taco Bell

Americans' love for Taco Bell, the nation's large Tex-Mex fast-food chain, must be vexing for Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has long prided itself on its whole and responsibly sourced ingredients. I can imagine Chipotle leaders asking themselves, "Why would people prefer the spectacle that is Taco Bell over the higher-quality food we provide?"...
Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dead at 101
Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dead at 101

Nancy Sinatra Sr., the first of entertainer Frank Sinatra’s four wives and mother of their three children, died Friday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 101. >> Read more trending news  Her death was announced on Twitter by her daughter Nancy, who tweeted “My mother passed away peacefully tonight at the...
Recipe of the Week: Cornbread croutons, bacon add crunch to salad
Recipe of the Week: Cornbread croutons, bacon add crunch to salad

Though they are native Texans, my kids haven’t quite taken to cornbread. They usually think it’s too sweet (even if there’s very little sugar) or too crumbly. But, that just means more cornbread for me. They are, however, starting to eat greens, at least in the form of raw salad greens, including spinach, drizzled with olive oil and...
More Stories