Barrow Brewing Company – Texas Craft Brewery Profile
Location: 108 Royal Street, Salado, TX 76571
Barrow Brewing is located inside a 4,000-square-foot converted granary just off I-35 in Salado, Texas. It’s less than an hour north of downtown Austin, and about 30 minutes from Round Rock.
I recently discovered Barrow Brewing while I was coming back from Dallas. I stumbled across it in the scenic little town of Salado, and oh am I glad I did! The brewery is adjacent to Salado Creek in the artsy shopping area of town. It’s a wonderful day trip.
The beers are brewed with the area’s farming community in mind. There’s nothing too bitter, and nothing too stout. All of their beers are easy to drink, they go down easy, but beware of the beer called the Village Idiot. It’s an extremely good 9% Rye beer that packs a punch. (A few of those beers and you become the Village Idiot!)
Barrow Brewing is owned by Graydon and KD Hill. When they met, KD Hill was in San Antonio and Graydon was in Marshall Texas. He was a commercial airline pilot and she was working training soldiers at Fort Hood. Their brewing journey began at home where he was homebrewing. Graydon Hill “has a hobby he just can’t kick,” according to his wife KD Hill. It has become pretty big “hobby” these days.
KD commented that Graydon is a perfectionist with OCD leanings and that those characteristics (which can be so annoying to a wife) are perfect for a brewer. Graydon said the brewery just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. They 100% own the Brewery and currently have 8 employees: 3 full-time and 5 part-time.
The brewery opened to the public on April 1, 2016 and had their grand opening on June 4, 2016. The brewery location was selected because of the charm of the city of Salado and its accessibility to I-35. They also chose Salado because of all the local artists and craft shops around. The building originally was a granary. The inside is immaculate with big gleaming tanks, a large bar, tables and comfortable AC. They have a refrigerator/kegerator that was painted by a local artist, and not only does it look super “groovy;” it is also a piece of art that reflects the creativity of those who call this town home.
Barrow Brewing has 3,000 square feet of serving area and 4,000 square feet when the back room is considered. Their production line includes four 15-barrel fermenters and two 15-barrel brite tanks manufactured by ABE.
Right now they are canning the blonde, IPA and Wit with can their stout and lager next.
Evil Catfish IPA, IBU 56.2, ABV 6.3, is well balanced, amber in color and has a citrusy taste. Malt was used to keep the hoppy flavors down. This traditional IPA is dry hopped several days before kegging. The name of the beer came from a local legend about a mermaid, who was a Tonkawa Indian maiden. She was crying down at the creek when the Catfish told her if she would swim with him every full moon for one year, she would be united with the man she loved. On the last day, she got hooked in her fin by her husband and could not return to human form. This beer is crystalline and hoppy but not overwhelming.
Ski Boat Blonde, IBU 20, ABV 5.6 has tangerine zest notes from hops, bitter but not overwhelming. It has a heavy foamy top that is lighter in color than their other beers and tastes of brown sugar which comes from molasses. They named this beer Ski Boat Blonde to commemorate the day Graydon proposed to KD on his dad’s ski boat, and because this is a great beer for drinking on the lake.
Tipsy Vicar Stout, IBU 22, ABV 4.8, has a creamy, caramel foam above a light-bodied beer. It is brown with red tones and crystalline in appearance. It has a fruity bouquet flavor with coffee and chocolate finish made into a traditional stout.
784 Belgian White, IBU 12, ABV 5.8 is cloudy, unfiltered with the appearance of a shandy. It has an orange peel smell, with herbal, citrus, coriander and peppery notes to the taste. It has a very light body. The name of this beer commemorates the 2014 vote held after the Hills’ petitioned to allow on-premise beer sales at places other than restaurants in Salado. 784 people voted yes (considered a landslide).
The Creek Don’t Rise Lager, IBU 15, ABV 5.6. This beer is deep gold in color with a white heavy foamy top. It is light, fizzy and malty. This beer got its name from a rainy day in March when the Salado Creek rose dangerously close to the building, which is located in a floodplain. This beer can be found on tap at restaurants in Temple and Georgetown. It will be available in cans by the end of October(2016).
Coffee Creek, IBU 15, ABV 5.6, is a beer that began as an April Fool’s joke, it was the result of an experiment by the assistant brewer who poured coffee in Creek Don’t Rise and came up with this. The coffee comes from a local store called the Strawberry Patch. It’s a delectable lager with a hint of coffee.
Sabbatical, IBU 22, ABV 4.8, has a malty, brown foam that is thick in appearance. There’s no seeing through this one. It has notes of toasted coconut and molasses. It is super creamy to the taste, like a nitro.
Village Idiot, IBU 29, ABV 9.0, is copper in color with a yellow foam that goes away quickly. There are notes of ginger, rye and herbs in this full-bodied beer. It tastes exactly like it smells. This beer will make you the village idiot if you drink too much of it. It’s tasty, so watch out!
Salado Bock, IBU 28, ABV 8.1, is a German style beer that is very malty. It has double the alcohol of a regular bock. It is rich and smooth with a dark amber color. The alcohol taste is substantial.
Royal Street ESB (Extra Special Bitter) has earthy notes from noble hops. It is a little cloudy with light foam, herbal and yeasty with not too much carbonation.
Their mission: “We hope that the beers we produce will bring people together and be a beverage they enjoy year round. From the beginning, our friends and neighbors in Salado have contributed to our microbrewery dreams. We have tried to create a taproom that feels like a community space for them, where locals and tourists can meet,” said KD.
You can watch a Youtube video about the brewery at:
Having just did their first run of cans: Ski Boat Blonde Ale and Evil Catfish IPA, they hope to increase production and distribution over the next year. Graydon & KD are excited to get their beers into stores around Central Texas.
Location: 108 Royal Street, Salado, TX 76571
Hours: Thursday-Friday 4-10, Saturday noon to 10 and Sunday 1-6.
Pay Structure: cash and all major credit cards.
Dog Friendly: yes on leash.
Kid Friendly: Yes
Parking: They have a 25-car lot, and there’s lots of street parking right next to the creek.
Food: You can bring your own food, but they usually have food trucks on Fridays and Saturdays.