New brewery banks on water to bring fine Irish beers to North Texas

Posted by on Nov 20, 2013 in News | Comments Off on New brewery banks on water to bring fine Irish beers to North Texas

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Photos by Barbara A. Berry of Legacy Studios

Shannon India Pale Ale and Shannon Chocolate StoutConsidering that water is the largest component of beer, it stands to reason that good water ought to help a significant amount in creating good beer. At least that’s what Shannon Carter is banking on with his new Keller brewery, Shannon Brewing Company.

SBC-Sand-PouringThe brewery is located about a mile from Samantha Springs. “It is an exceptional water source,” Carter says. “It’s surrounded by a very unique rock formation that has very, very hard compressed rocks that have been hollowed out with this very fine sand. “The water travels for miles, and the end product is this filtered water that is just phenomenal.”

It’s all part of Carter’s plan to create what he calls “wholesome beers” made with the highest quality, non-GMO grains and malts he can find. It also means using techniques he gleaned from his Irish heritage.

Beside the fresh Samantha Springs water that is piped directly into its tanks, Shannon Brewing is fire-heating its mash tun and brew kettles. Carter says it draws on a basic recipe his great-grandfather used in Ireland. “He used wood, but we’ll be using gas,” Carter says. “We want to stay true to the beers of Ireland and the UK but put our American hint in it.”

Shannon India Pale Ale and Shannon Chocolate StoutWhen Shannon Brewing begins pouring in March 2014 (hopefully), the brewery will offer five beers, running the gamut of traditional Irish and British brews. The pale ale and Irish red are indicative of what one might find in a pub in Cork, with relatively low hops; the blond ale is what Carter calls “the entry-level ale.” There is also the milk stout — in the vein of Guinness — and a triple-hopped IPA.

Shannon Brewing plans to have a small batch of 22-ounce bottles available shortly after opening, as well as future plans to can. It’s a lot at once, but Carter’s experience in small business ventures has helped him overcome some of the obstacles of opening a brewery. “Traditional finance is pretty nonexistent for breweries,” he says. “Banks don’t really want to talk to you, and it’s difficult to lease equipment as a start-up.”

“This is my fourth business that I’ve launched so I’ve had a pretty realistic idea of what it was going to cost. I found some investors with similar mindset — there are only 12 in company — and everyone has same mindset of staying true to producing the most wholesome beers.”

The brewery is currently undergoing construction, and equipment instillation is expected to begin in January 2014. Once the space is opened, Shannon Brewing will feature more than 3,500 square feet devoted to the public, including a 2,500-square-foot beer garden. There are also plans to offer two tours: a basic one around the brewery and a second involving exploring Samantha Springs and seeing where the water comes from. “It’s absolutely beautiful,” Carter says. “It’s like you’re not even in Texas anymore, like you’re at the bridges of Madison County.”