We can thank medieval monks for a lot of things. They were inventors and improvers of the ancient practical arts like plowing fields and purifying metals. They rediscovered and preserved ancient Greek writings and manuscripts. These men saved Western Civilization from reverting back to complete barbarism. One of the most important arts that they saved, improved, and greatly influenced is the art of crafting the most popular alcoholic beverage in the whole United States: beer.
Making and brewing beer has come a long way since 6th century A.D. Craft beer is a unique part of the American culture. This drink has grown into a thriving industry in America and a “comfort drink” that is made, served, and talked about every day. According to Ty Wolosin, “that’s part of beer’s history; a gathering place for the community.” Wolosin is the entrepreneurial founder of the newest addition to the Boerne beer scene, Cibolo Creek Brewing Company. The business is a work in progress and, according to Wolosin, “has kind of gone through a few iterations. It began once my family and I moved to Boerne. My wife’s family is from the area and I have brewing experience from when I lived in Austin. Initially, we played around with the idea of doing a production brewery, like Boerne Brewing, where you basically make your beer and ship it out in bottles, kegs, etc. That ended up being way more complicated.”
The couple moved to Boerne about a year ago and hit the ground running, brainstorming and looking for a piece of property. When a place opened up on Main Street earlier this year, Wolosin decided to focus on “what it is now going to be, with food and onsite consumption and maybe outside consumption eventually.”
Nancy Fitch and Shea Ash, founders of the Peach Tree Café, owned the house before Wolosin. This building, like several buildings on Main Street, has a long history of previous owners that can be traced back to the early 1900s. It was a home to several families from 1908 until 1982, when it was used as an office and, later, a restaurant. For Boerne, this history makes the house very valuable. Because the house is over 100 years old, Wolosin can only renovate certain parts. “We can’t do much to the façade of the outside, because you have to go through the Boerne Historical Commission…. The biggest changes are going to happen in the back. There’s an addition that was done in the ‘70s, the bathroom and kitchen, that’s going to be torn down. There will be brand new bathrooms that are a little bigger. Where the kitchen is will be the bar, where the serving tanks are will be a new kitchen and then a brewery that stretches into the back parking lot.”
Wolosin learned how to make beer in graduate school at University of Montana. One of his peers in the geography program had some extra homebrew kits that he lent Wolosin. “We started with that, making really bad beer that we’d force our friends to try,” Wolosin says with a laugh. “Then, slowly but surely, we perfected it.” After graduate school, Wolosin landed a job in Austin working at Namaste Brewing, now called Kamala Brewing, at the Whip In. Not long after he started working at the Whip In, the brewery won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival and a silver medal at the World Beer Cup, two of the largest beer competitions in the world. Wolosin quickly made a name for himself in the beer world. “That basically put a stamp on me and the other brewer at the Whip In.”
Not only did Wolosin’s experience in Austin help him make a name for himself. “Via my connections in Austin, I’m friends with a lot of guys who work for other beer companies around the country so I want to carry some other hard-to-get beer. Not a ton, but definitely a few taps.” Wolosin wants to set himself apart from the other bars and breweries and Boerne, and plans to use these connections to make Cibolo Creek Brewing unique. “The main idea is to have beer as the center point…. We’re definitely not trying to compete with our friends at 259 or Cypress…. Our current plans have the capability to brew six different styles of our own beer, so I think we’re going to focus on five for now…. We also want to focus on Texas wines. We’ll have a small but nice collection of wine from Texas for people who don’t want beer, along with some cider.”
In addition to brewing beer, Wolosin manages a sustainable meat distribution company. He plans to incorporate this side of his business life into Cibolo Creek Brewing. The company, Windy Hill Foods, sells goat, lamb, beef, vegetables and eggs. Wolosin says that Windy Hill food products “will be integrated into the menu as well as some seasonal beers that have ingredients from farms, whether it’s spices or citrus from The Valley.” These products will be included on the menu to compliment the different beer selections, but will not be the main focus of Cibolo Creek Brewing. He envisions a very small and simple farm-to-table kind of menu.
Wolosin predicts that Cibolo Creek Brewing will be up and running by spring of 2016. His mother- and father-in-law, co-owners of the company, see the company opening its 20th century Victorian-styled doors in early February next year. Regardless of the opening date, Wolosin and his family agree, “The main idea with this location is to have a gastro-pub type of environment for the city of Boerne that is definitely family friendly. I have a 15 month old, my brother-in-law has a 10 and 12 year old, so we want everyone to be able to come here.”
The concept of Cibolo Creek Brewing Company is something Boerne has never seen before. Wolosin’s connection to the breweries in Austin, access to organic farm-raised produce, and commitment to excellently crafted beer make Cibolo Creek Brewing a guaranteed success. And, according to Wolosin, “With success, there’s growth for everyone.”