Brewery creates beer for endangered Central Texas bird

It's a partnership that's a little out of the ordinary --- birds and beer.

It’s an odd pairing: birds and beer.

But, one Austin brewery is helping create awareness for an endangered Central Texas species.

Jordan Price is the Membership Director at Travis Audubon and said the Golden Cheek Warbler is native to Central Texas and endangered.

So, he teamed up with Blue Owl Brewery to craft a beer, in hopes of raising awareness for the bird.

Head Brewer Davy Pasternak took facts about the bird and incorporated them into the beer.

"I got to learn a lot more about the golden cheek warbler trying to find inspiration,” said Pasternak.

"He told me that he would find some creative way to incorporate that information into the brewing process,” said Price.

Since the Golden Cheek Warbler nests in Oak trees, Pasternak fermented the beer in wood barrels, and since it only lives in Central Texas, he mixed in Texas Hill Country black Spanish grapes.

"It's very similar to like a light rose, so not just in the color, but actually in the character of the beer... it's falling in right around five and a half percent, alcohol by volume, so it's lighter than a rose,” said Pasternak. "The character from the grapes that you get, it's got a slight amount of tannins, but nothing that's too harsh, so similar to a rose, it's very refreshing, so it has this sort of earthiness from the oak, and grape vinous quality from the grapes."

He said it typically takes about two weeks to brew a batch, but since this fermented in barrels, it was closer to three months.

"It was harvested in an area that they're actually native to, so that's really cool,” said Pasternak.

While the idea is fun, Price said the purpose is more somber.

"We really wanted to draw attention to a serious problem,” said Price. "The golden cheek warbler is endangered. Its habitat is getting more and more fragmented.”

Price said the Warbler is native to Central Texas and needs the mix of mature oak and juniper trees to survive.

"It's a tiny song bird and it only breeds in 30 counties in Texas and nowhere else on the face of the planet," said Price.

Price wants people to prevent development that would take away the bird's habitat. It's a fight that has been going on in Central Texas for years.

So, the two groups came together to create a beer in honor of the bird, and pour out information at the same time.

"We want more people talking about birds, more people caring about birds,” said Price.

"Doing something with the golden cheek warbler, that only nests in Texas, it's a native to Texas. It's kind of -- it might have been kind of -- inevitable,” said Pasternak.

"We want the public to know this bird exists, and we want them to contact their elected officials. Let them know that this is a valued bird and that we really appreciate and believe that it deserves protection," said Price.

"Learning a lot more about the bird, it's really incredible. So it's been a great mutually beneficial thing. We can make a beer for the event and do what we do best. They can do what they do best, which is raise awareness and sort of help with that,” said Pasternak.

You can taste the beer, and learn more about the bird at their event Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Blue Owl Taproom.

The Blue Owl brewery will donate part of their sales to Travis Audubon.

"Blue Owl Brewing will generously be donating some money to us, but the main point of the event is to get people to recognize this bird exists and to love it as much as we do,” said Price.

Also, Travis Audubon will also announce the winners of a several-month long bird tattoo competition.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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