Fast Cars and Craft Beer

The Beer Diaries co-creator debuts new brews at Lockhart hot rod fest

Lockhart, a picturesque little town with a big reputation for smoked meat, has long proclaimed itself the “barbecue capital of Texas.” Beginning in February, one man hopes to beef up the town’s repertoire to also include great beer.

An architectural rendering of the upcoming Caracara Brewing Company

Austin-based filmmaker Mike Mann has previously immersed himself in the world of craft brewing as the co-creator of the web and PBS series The Beer Diaries, but now he’s moved from simply documenting beer to making it himself. His new brewpub, Caracara Brewing Company, will be the very first brewery to operate out of Lockhart (just 30 miles south of Austin), and residents and visitors will soon be able to taste some of the new brews.

Caracara is set to make its debut on Friday, Feb. 2 at Hot Rods and Hatters, the annual custom car show that draws over 30,000 auto enthusiasts to Lockhart. Attendees will be able to purchase 20-oz. pours of three varieties of beer – On the Square IPA, Hot Rod Blonde, and Here and Now Floral Wheat – from three booths across the festival grounds. Originally, the show was not going to feature any alcohol vendors, but Mann reached out to festival organizer Joel Aaron Gammage to make Caracara the official sole provider of beer at Hot Rods and Hatters.

Though the company’s beer is ready to be enjoyed by thirsty festivalgoers, the brewery taproom – located on the downtown square – isn’t open to the public yet. Once it’s completed, Mann says the taproom will feature Western-style decor, with a chandelier that originally hung in Willie Nelson’s Colorado cabin as its centerpiece. There will also be more familiar beer varieties alongside unusual and exotic selections featuring fruit, tea, honey, and foraged ingredients.

For Mann, the desire to get into the beer business stems from years of documenting the passion of brewers alongside his Beer Diaries partner, Greg Zeschuk. “Greg and I had gotten so inspired ... that we both decided to take the plunge and start our own brewpubs,” Mann said.

Mann has a little catching up to do since Zeschuk’s craft beer venture, Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company, is already up and running in his hometown of Edmonton, Canada. Still, there’s no indication that the launch of Zeschuk’s company involved world-class barbecue or classic cars.

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