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New to the brew

Former students craft local brewery

Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

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Photos by Josh McKenna — THE BATTALION

Co-founders, John and Lisa Januskey, and Adrienne and Dean Brundage, laugh with craft beers in hand. New Republic Brewing is a local establishment, with a connection and involvement in the community that includes brewer tours and fundraiser involvement.

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Co-founder Dean Brundage tapping a special sample of the New Republic Brewing year-round signature beer, Skylight.

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Josh McKenna — THE BATTALION

Each unique beer requires 8-16 hours of preparation and labor, and just shy of a month of waiting for the fermentation process to ready the brew for aging.

When it comes to beer, College Station is known for Northgate, dance halls and ring dunks. That was until May of 2011 when a team of four people, including three Aggies, decided it was time for Aggieland to have its very own independent brewery, promoting the statewide push for craft beers. New Republic Brewery, while still small, is brewing up quality beer at the demand of thirsty Aggies.

The founders, John Januskey, Class of 2002, Lisa Januskey, Class of 2002, Adrienne Brundage, forensic entomology graduate student and Dean Brundage said they felt there was no reason not to have a brewery in College Station.

"This is an area where there's many beer drinkers, especially people who are desperate for good beer," Adrienne said. "To not have a good brewery, a good micro brew, right in town is crazy. We saw an opportunity and found some partners we really wanted to work with and they found us."

After some initial hurdles, such as finding an actual location and dealing with the endless paperwork required for a small business in College Station, the brewery served its first beer, Cuatro de Mayo, in 2011.

Currently the brewery has two beers, Bellows Texas Amber Ale and Skylight Dunkelweizen.

"We make the beer we want to drink," Dean said.

John described how Aggies contribute to the decision process, which is usually based on what they want to drink.

"There are times where we're not really sure what we want to brew for the next tour, so we'll open it up and say, ‘Hey what should we do?'" John said. "We did an [India Pale Ale] that one of the guys recommended. Sometimes we just look at our pile of grain and go, ‘Well what do we have?'"

Starting what Dean described as a tiny, little, glorified home-brew scale gave the group the ability to learn about brewing while allowing them to make mistakes.  

"Dean and I are both home-brewers, and we had no formal industry experience," John said. "Here we've had the opportunity to make mistakes and learn some things. Starting small and learning as we go has been really valuable."

Part of the learning process has been visiting other breweries and seeing different techniques utilized by the industry.

"We visit other breweries and talk to all of their owners, and they've been very helpful," Lisa said. "Everybody's looking to grow craft beer. It's very collaborative."

Craft beer is a more artistic approach to brewing. According to John, there is a distinction in the beer community between microbreweries and "the big guys — Bud, Miller, Coors."

"As craft brewers, we know that our customers are horribly promiscuous. They walk into a bar and ask, ‘What's new?'" John said. "For all of us to work together to promote and support craft beer means that all of us get more recognition."

The group plans to expand its operation, which would allow them to brew a wider variety of beers while making their product more accessible.

"We'd like to expand to a bigger brew house, bigger fermenters, better quality equipment," John said. "We would like to get canning lines so our beer can be available in more places, so that you can buy it and take it home."

The group combined their degrees in a creative way that was beneficial for an operation like this. Dean studied math, John studied computer science, Lisa studied genetics and Adrienne is studying forensic entomology.

"There is always work for anybody who is willing to look for work. There's always something out there, and if there isn't, create something," John said.

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