Houston Center for Contemporary Craft & Karbach Brewing Day Trip - August 16, 2016

by Daryl Moss

Enjoying a little Karbach brew.

It was a drizzly day when our TIHAA group of 24 began their five hour day trip. A little early, we proceeded to the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC), a smaller, free-admission museum thanks to grants and philanthropic donations. The HCCC is a nonprofit organization founded to advance education about the process, product and history of craft.

We were greeted by Leah French, the volunteer manager and education coordinator, who served as our tour guide. She explained briefly the mission of the craft museum, the works on display, the resident artists program. She began our tour by visiting the Main Gallery and on into the Charlotte Potter: Glass Armory in the front gallery. We saw some of the most unique creations, hard to describe, but Leah answered our questions with obvious passion for the artist and his/her work. For example, some fabrics showed realistic body imaging (brain or internals, "views within"), side by side with the artist's abstract interpretation. As expected, pieces in wood, ceramic/clay, metal/wire, cloth/fabric and glass/stone were on shelves or hung in numerous display cases. Resident artist, Susan Budge, stepped out to explain her personal history (as a teacher), her love of craft (ceramics), and gladly showed us around her working area.

Being time for lunch, we rode over to the Karbach Brewery located - surprise! - on Karbach Street. Seated at five reserved tables in groups of 4 or 6, we received fairly quick service. All six lunch menu selections looked and tasted delicious, and the portions were about right. As we finished and paid, Patti, Karbach's internal tour/event coordinator came around, greeted many, and then introduced today's tour guide, Sue Hey. Sue corralled and guided us upstairs to the 4-5 "warm" brew house tanks. The brew house is where high-quality water, hops, barley (or another grain) and yeast are all mixed, boiled, cooled and filtered. The quality control lab was visible in a side room, where QA personnel keep tab on the interim product (called wort) at various steps.

From the brew house we stopped at the fermentation tanks, where excess CO2 is vented. This step is a waiting period mostly. From fermentation we stepped into the aging room (a cooled environment), where wooden Bourbon (or wine) barrel(s) aging is ongoing for such products as their Hellfire imperial porter. While there, our tour guide discussed the reasons of the barrel-aging process, evaporation and APV, the use of recyclable cans (Houston no longer recycles glass bottles), and the pre-fill cleaning process used on each can within the 15-foot stacked pallets.

After the brewery tour ended around 2:30, our tour guide took us to the merchandizing booth located next to the huge, covered, bench-filled Biergarten. She handed out to each of us an inscribed 'Karbach Brewery' pint-sized souvenir glass holding three tokens exchangeable at the nearby multi-tap, draft station. Available were a wide selection of current production draft beers: Octoberfest, Weisse versa, various ales, blondes and IPAs. Even our bus driver, Demari Cook, got his own Karbach glass (and extra tokens from some of us), but he refused, wisely, to sample anything.

Additional information and pictures (expect changes as they do rotate artist) within the craft museum can be viewed at www.crafthouston.com. Further Information on the Karbach Brewery--restaurant, standard tours, sampling/tasting times--can be found at www.karbachbrewing.com.

Attendees on this Day Trip included:

Israel & Nora Morales, Ralph & Estella Garcia, Mike & Mary Camara, Tom & Cindy Croissant, Bob Gruber, Jean Houston, Gladys Price, Dolores Ellis, Sarah Harvey, Mary Green, Diane Murray, Bernie Dennis, Della DuHart, Gary Luckett, Lola Schellhaas and her guest: Ruthie Duckett, and lastly, Daryl & Brenda Moss and their guests: Jake & Milly Bergman.

We hope that you will plan to join us on upcoming day trips as they are scheduled.

Copyright TI Houston Alumni Association 2016, All Rights Reserved.

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