Texas Mushrooms, Beer Form Sustainable Collaboration

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.22.37 AMThere’s a lot of magic brewing down Fitzhugh Road. Just a few miles off of US-290 West outside of Austin, lies about 200 acres of privately-owned land that was once intended to be a subdivision. Luckily, that plan didn’t come to fruition, and over the past few years, this Hill Country locale has become home to some of the most exciting and innovative collaborative efforts in the city.

On 13005 Fitzhugh Road sits the sour ale powerhouse that is Jester King. This award-winning brewery is the perfect location to grab a couple farmhouse brews while enjoying the idyllic scenery. On a sprawling plot of land with an ambiance that feels more vineyard than brewery, spending a weekend afternoon there is about as good as it gets, and it’s about to get even better.

Jester King is consistently pumping out interesting and delicious beers, with a focus on keeping ingredients as local and sustainable as possible. This philosophy was represented beautifully in their most recent collaborative release–Snörkel–a German gose inspired ale brewed with sea salt and Oyster Mushrooms from Logro Farms.

Nestled just behind the brewery, Logro Farms is a growing project that feeds into the sustainability efforts so central to Jester King. The third business to open here (after the brewery and Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza), the farm is managed by Ryan Sansbury and Jeremy Bastian, two childhood friends from Houston who decided to give up the city life and take on organic farming.

Originally established to grow the fresh food for Stanley’s menu, Logro Farms uses waste and spent grain from Jester King to grow mushrooms, basil, tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc. This complete, “no wasted nature” approach is what Sansbury refers to as a “symbiotic situation.” Their aim is to use, not discard, any remnants of the growing and beer-making process. With Snörkel, the cycle has truly come full circle–beer brewed with mushrooms grown from spent grain.Snörkel has all the salty goodness of a gose, but the addition of the oyster mushrooms contributes umami notes and a creamy, earthy finish. Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.35.18 AM

Sansbury pointed out that this passion for innovation, both in brewing beer and in discovering new and more efficient ways to grow produce, comes from an understanding that “if you’re always experimenting you never fail, you always learn.”

Logro farms consists of a greenhouse, garden, and protected lab built entirely from existing foundations and an old helicopter hangar, and the guys spend most of their days tending to the plants and inoculating mushroom spores.  In addition to the fresh produce grown for Stanley’s and Jester King, the farm produces Grow-at-home Oyster Mushroom kits which are available for purchase online. By following simple instructions, these little cardboard farms will yield up to 1 lb. of mushrooms in 2 weeks.

They have also partnered with local schools, providing the kits to classrooms as an interactive way to teach children about sustainability and empowering them to grow their own food. This kind of work requires passion, dedication, and long days in the sun. They are always looking for volunteers with a passion for the environment and a productive day’s work to help with harvest.

There are big plans for the future, as well, as they expect to accommodate 10-12 businesses working in harmony as a “sustainable center,” including a variety of artisanal goods and foodstuffs and a regular Farmer’s Market on the property.

-Jessica

Images from Logro Farms:

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  1. Bitch Beer Snorkel Article | Logro Farms

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