18 February 2011

"The Ranger Creek Blues"


A few months ago I was fortunate to tour the Ranger Creek Brewstillery with Satan.  We sampled OPA and La Bestia Amiable.  Delicious beers.  They didn't have any of the mesquite smoked porter, though, so we were a little bummed.

I bring this up because I know Ranger Creek makes beer.  I've seen the mash tun.  I've seen the fermenters.

What I don't know, and am now beginning to suspect, is that they are not selling it, and are hoarding it for themselves.

A few Sundays after they sold their first keg, I met my nephew in San Antonio at The Flying Saucer, where @RangerCreek_Rob said they had sold beer on the previous Wednesday.  I did manage to get some Smoked Porter this time.  So far, that has been the only time I've been able to get Ranger Creek beers.  I can honestly say that I am 0-5 in trying to get Ranger Creek Beers.

Oh, I've seen tweets that they are delivering beer.  I've seen the photos that they have bottled beer.  Like Bigfoot, ghosts, Santa Claus, UFOs, the Easter Bunny, and winning lottery tickets, I have never seen them personally.

So after a tweet about delivering beer to Flying Saucer, and to pick up the beers my nephew grabbed for me at the Freetail bottle release the week before when I was in Midland, I headed to San Antonio.  I had even taken the precaution of asking @RangerCreek_Rob (aka Rob Landerman, brewer at Ranger Creek) if beer was there.  He wasn't sure if the tapped it, but it was there.

So I plopped my butt at a table on a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon.  After two weeks of freezing temperatures, it was delightful to sit outside in the sun.  It must have been.  The patio was packed and I had to sit inside.

It took about ten minutes for a frazzled, overworked, and well endowded young lady to ask me what I wanted to drink.  I asked, "Do you have any Ranger Creek on tap?"

She thought for a moment.  I could almost see the list of beers running in her head.  "No, we don't." she said emphatically.  I ordered a Real Ale Coffee porter and tweeted: "Not entirely convinced @rangercreek sells beer yet. No Ranger Creek at @FlyingSaucerSA hello Real Ale!"

My nephew arrived and we chatted for a while, and then he hitched a thumb over his shoulder.  "There are the Ranger Creek guys."

Sure enough, three of them were sitting at one of the tables going over spreadsheets.  I wondered what they were drinking, since there was no Ranger Creek on tap.

By the time I got home, @RangerCreek_Rob had replied, "If they don't have it on tap, tell them to tap it!"  Which made me wonder why they didn't tell 'em to tap it.

I am not accusing Ranger Creek of anything, other than not being able to brew enough.  The recently bottled La Bestia Amiable sold out at the San Antonio Spec's before they even received the four cases allocated to them.  And the Flying Saucer blows the kegs as fast as they can tap them.  It's just frustrating that I live an hour away from Ranger Creek, and will not be able to drink their beers until the brewer can afford to add more fermenters.  And they lack the manpower, much less the product, to deliver to my local honey hole.

Rest assured I'll keep trying to buy the beer.  I'm just not sure I'll be able to find it.

Although I just read a tweet from @RangerCreek_Rob that they are delivering beer to Whip-in on Wednesday, I get to Austin even less that I get to San Antonio.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:17

4 Comments:

Anonymous Chance said...

Black Star Co-Op in Austin has had at least one Ranger Creek Beer on tap since they started releasing beers. They might not at the moment as I haven't been in a few weeks but they sure had them before. Ironically even when they were on tap I still haven't ordered one, although I am curious to try them.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

I have yet to make it to Black Star. I would probably be like you, though, I would order Black Star's beers first.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I understand your frustrations in not being able to get our beer. Understand, though, that we have no problem being able to produce enough. Spec's ordered 4 cases of bottles, we delivered them. They ordered six the following Tuesday, and six more today. If people are buying it fast, that is great, but it doesn't mean we aren't producing it.

Believe me when I say I am extremely frustrated with the Flying Saucer in San Antonio. They always have our kegs in the walk-in, and we always ask them to tap it. It is not up to us how a bar runs itself. We can deliver the beer, clean the lines, and nag them, but that doesn't mean they will let their staff know what is on tap or actually even tap what has been delivered. Don't blame me for that.
We have beer on tap in San Antonio at several places every day of the week. If the Saucer doesn't have it on, you can get it at Friendly Spot, Luke, Bohanan's, Freetail, Pizza Italia, Hyatt Regency, and next week at the Alamo Drafthouse Park North.

The reason I told you to ask them to tap it is, bar owners usually respond when customers demand something. They are not so quick to react when vendors demand something.

We are having no problem producing or delivering our beer. It's at 8 places in Austin, the above mentioned in San Antonio, AJ's and Phoenix Saloon in New Braunfels, and Flying Saucer and Anvil in Houston. If someone runs out it's because they didn't order enough, not because we don't make enough.

Let me know next time you are in San Antonio and I will do my damnedest to meet up with you and buy you a pint myself.

-Ranger Creek Rob

3:55 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Thanks, Rob. Understand, please, that I am not trying to blame you for what the waitress knows or doesn't know. I just haven't had any luck finding the OPA. I just assumed it had sold out again. That's a good problem.

No one tapping the kegs is not a good problem, and it never occurred to me that it was a problem.

4:29 PM  

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