Texas Brew

Early favorite River House floats back onto beer shelves

Martin House Brewing Co.’s River House, one of the brewery’s launch beers, is making a seasonal comeback.
Martin House Brewing Co.’s River House, one of the brewery’s launch beers, is making a seasonal comeback. Courtesy of Martin House Brewing Co.

They say everything that’s out of style eventually comes back in. Nostalgia is ever present, and many times the things we’ve loved from the past become viable after we thought we’d closed the casket on them.

At Martin House Brewing in Fort Worth, one of the brewery’s early favorites is making a comeback. River House Saison was one of the brewery’s original beers and has always been noted as being owner and head brewer Cody Martin’s favorite.

Along with The Imperial Texan, Day Break and Pretzel Stout (originally named “There Will Be Stout”), River House rounded out the original year-round lineup in 2013 when it launched.

As any business will tell you, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions and sacrifice the things you love. Such was the case with River House and Pretzel Stout. Beloved by the brewers, but not popular enough to stay in the regular rotation with beer drinkers, both beers were phased out.

But, when you make as many different beers as Martin House does, you have the opportunity to cycle in and experiment with your seasonal lineup — even if that means experimenting by bringing back some old friends. To that effect, River House has returned as one of the brewery’s “micro seasonals” and is making a short run return in stores now.

Now in six-packs of 12-ounce cans instead of its original iteration in four-packs of 16-ounce tallboys, River House now belongs as a contemporary with other occasional annual releases like Septemberfest and Salsa Verde.

Despite its experimental peers among the Martin House seasonal lineup, River House remains as approachable and crisp as ever. Its signature dry finish and lemony snap are a welcome return, and it’s difficult to pinpoint why exactly its popularity tailed off and ultimately led to its cancellation. Sometimes things just don’t go how you think they will.

Despite its small seasonal distribution now, effects from River House can still be seen throughout Martin House year-round. Another of the brewery’s seasonals — Hibiscus Saison — borrows the same basic recipe as River House and modifies it into a brightly refreshing early-spring delight. River Horse is a barrel-aged modification of River House and draws plenty of attention upon its occasional rare release. Salty Lady, which is now Martin House’s top-selling beer, uses many common ingredients that River House does.

Quick sips

Benefit for Erica Hopperstead

Erica Hopperstead, longtime craft beer advocate — and, most recently, Lakewood Brewing sales representative — recently passed away from cancer. In turn, Braindead Brewing in Dallas is holding a fundraiser at its brewpub to help her family defer expenses at 6 p.m. Friday. The event will feature several Lakewood beers — including Barrel-Aged French Quarter Temptress — with 100 percent of proceeds going to her family. Braindead Brewing is at 2625 Main St. in Deep Ellum.

Dancing for 10 years

Waco isn’t traditionally known as a craft-beer destination in Texas, but the Dancing Bear Pub has been representing the scene for 10 years now. In turn, it will be celebrating with 10 rare beer tappings every hour starting at 1 p.m. Some of the highlights include Real Ale Scots Gone Wild with Cherries and Braindead Bent de Garde.

Have a questions or tips for Scooter? Shoot him an email at texasbrew@dfw.com. And for more beer columns and news, visit www.dfw.com/beer.