Bull Creek Brewing offers local taste and brews
By Lauren Jette
In recent years, craft beer brewing has taken off, with several breweries opening up in the surrounding area to cater to the more discerning beer drinkers.
Now Liberty Hill residents have hometown brews to call their own thanks to Bull Creek Brewing — a new brewery that recently opened off FM 3405.
Greg and Julia Parma own and run the brewery, which started producing small batches last year, and hit distribution this summer. Right now, the Parmas are pushing four main beers for distribution: Longhorn Blonde, a “hill country golden ale”; Tommy Raj, an “American Style India Pale Ale”; Iron Balls Imperial Style Stout and Champs Au Sud, a “Saison style Texas Farmhouse Ale”.
The brews can be found in six Spec’s liquor stores in the area, along with about 30 Twin Liquor stores, Julia said. They are also available locally, at the brewery, which is open on Saturdays, and at other establishments.
“People that have been really cool in the area: Dahlia’s, awesome, awesome people,” Greg said. “They’ve been great to us and we’re very appreciative to them. Tracy’s Outlaw Saloon. It’s a dive bar and they’ve been really receptive to our product and unbelievably enjoying our product, which is really cool.”
“The normal drinker in there is the Bud Light, Miller Light drinker, but they’ve been willing to try our product and we’re converting them one at a time,” Julia added.
Bull Creek Brewing’s beers can also be found at Highway 29 Beverages in Liberty Hill and at Mouton’s restaurant in Leander.
The Parmas weren’t sure how a brewery would be received by the community, but have been encouraged by the support shown since opening.
“We were worried at first just because of the location.” Julia said. “I think the community was kind of on the fence about it at first too, but after it got here and they figured out it wasn’t going to be a big drunk party out here all the time, they have embraced it and we’re their brewery. They are, I think, excited about it.”
The idea of opening and running a brewery came about a while ago, while the Parmas were sitting around with some friends enjoying—what else?—a beer.
“So I was sitting around drinking beer and everybody else was drinking Bud Light, and I was drinking craft beer and they’re going, ‘what are you doing? That stuff’s disgusting’ and I’m like, no this stuff’s pretty good,” Greg explained.
“So about 2010, I said I’m going to make some beer, and a person who was involved said ‘I’ve been making beer since 1980s’. He did it for a hobby for a while and that was that.
“A couple of guys were like, ‘you’ll never do that. You’ll never make good beer, you’re just going to go waste a bunch of money, you’re not going to have any fun and make her upset, right’. So I kind of took that as a challenge,” he said.
“So after I got done with my MBA, it was a couple dozen beer books on how to brew and we bought this little system (which is currently at the brewery) and we’re in the garage, (Julia) and I taking turns with the baby and packing plate, brewing and eventually, we realized we were making some pretty good beer. We liked it and other people started liking it. ‘Make this, make that’ we were experimenting and trying and (the Blonde Longhorn) was developed in my garage,” he said.
“At that point, we said, why not try it at the next level? So this is that.”
Right now, the brewery is producing around four 15-barrel brews a month with each barrel putting out about 4,500 bottles, or 260 cases per batch, Julia said. With Greg working full time as a controller for an electronics company in Austin, that leaves Julia in charge.
“I’m out here full time and (Greg) has taught us how to brew, so basically he’s created the recipes and taught us how to use the equipment, so I guess you could call me the head brewer. Since he can’t be out here, I kind of fill in for him,” Julia said.
That puts Julia in a class all on her own as a female brewer.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but you always worry about what the men are going to think about beer being made by a woman, you know, there’s just that stigma attached to that,” Julia said.
“But everybody’s been really nice and accepting. A lot of men in the field, like head of our accounts, are actually excited that there’s a female brewer in the area now, so it’s been pretty positive so far,” she added.
Right now, there are only three full-time employees at Bull Creek Brewing, which means Julia has had to take on several different duties.
“The brewing is fun, because that’s the creative, ‘what are we going to put in this?’ That’s the fun part. A lot of brewing is cleaning, which I don’t like doing,” Julia said.
“I’m doing the sales right now and I thought I would not like to do that because I’m not a very good sales person, but I’ve really made a lot of connections in the community and with these local retailers and I have really enjoyed that.
“And we’re making connections with the people in the community, not just people running the account, but actual people coming in to buy the product and that’s really cool. I like talking to them and finding out what they think about the beer. They like to tell us what they’re doing and all that. We get a lot of home brewers who come in and try our stuff. It’s just really cool connecting with the community,” she said.
For now, Bull Creek Brewing is only open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with tours at noon and 2 p.m. Plans to expand both taproom hours and production are hopefully on tap.
“We would like to expand, it’s just a matter of when,” Greg said. “We have the space, obviously. That ceiling is that high for a reason, so we can go up if we need to, just bigger, taller tanks and then we have all this space up here for more tanks.”
“Hopefully we will get the opportunity to become that big,” Julia added.
Bull Creek Brewing is located at 7100 FM 3405. For more information, see the website at www.bullcreekbrewing.com.