In 1992 Austin, TX was introduced to Belgian styled beer that eventually swooped the nation. Witbier’s (also known as white beer) are delicious summer white beers but for sure can be and are enjoyed year round as the popular style has grown with demand. The style is typically light, full bodied and tart with a lemony finish, and offers a great aroma. Layered with spices, wheat and that added touch of Belgian funk. We can thank the legendary Pierre Celis for the introduction of this beat the heat favored style of beer not only to Texas but to the U.S. in general, making Celis a well respected pioneer.
Pierre mastered Belgian styled brewing methods of witbier with the great and late Louis Tomsin who eventually closed his brewery which ceased all witbeir production at the time. Later the style was revived and Brouwerij De Kluis was founded by Celis where he grew to brewing hundreds of thousands of barrels per year resulting in an expansion.
Unfortunately the brewery was lost to a fire in the eighties and InBev offered assistance in reviving. We all know how InBev works in bullying when “assisting”/acquiring breweries so Celis decided to sell Kluis bringing his knowledge and talent to Austin, TX where Celis Brewery was birthed!
Years before Pierre Celis’ passing, the brewery was later acquired by Miller Brewing Co and in 2011 and Austin’s first craft brewery closed its doors. Accolades for Celis Brewery is 18 years of craft beer awards ranging from GABF (including seven gold medals) to multiple first placements at the World Expo of Beer between the Celis White witbeir and the Grand Cru.
Now it’s 2017 and his daughter has the torch! Working diligently with a strong assembled team to reinvent greatness and carry on the well respected Celis name by bringing the brand and brewery back for the new boom of craft beer and breweries.
Christine Celis has reacquired their name and brand with assistance from Total Beverage Solutions and Craftbev making her ready to take back the reigns of Austin craft beer with the rights to brew her father’s famous recipes under the Celis name again. Aiming for a Spring ’17 opening date on Metric Blvd near other local breweries such as 4th Tap, Oskar Blues and Circle to name a few; I can see and hope this brewery will draw Austinite’s in for the experience of “getting back to its roots” for craft beer.
With plans of being a brewery–taproom, beer garden, and music venue; she is looking for much more and that is to “carry on the witbier tradition my father revived. That’s why I’m not just bringing the recipes, methods, and ingredients he used in Belgium: I’m bringing the brewery.”
Christine has been a great advocate for craft beer since Celis Brewery arrived to Texas. Her passion and love for beer and the family’s name stuck. Even after closing, auctions and selling – today’s goal is to bring back a beloved style and brewery to where it all began.