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Brewery offers respite from summer temps

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By Miles Smith
LPR Editor

Summer brews and a growing beer cocktail list are the buzz at Caracara Brewing Company, which officially opened its doors just four months ago but continues to evolve both its menu and its status as a top downtown Lockhart hangout.
Joining the menu in July was the Hombree – an easy drinking offering that is a Spanish play on words named after the brewery’s owner and released on his birthday.
“I’m Mann with two Ns, so ‘Hombree’ is ‘man’ with two Es,” said owner Mike Mann. “It’s basically styled after me – its background is Czech and German, so it’s a smash of Czech pilsner malt and German heller hops that is fermented with kolsch yeast.
“It’s a beer that I always wanted to do, and it’s an experiment based on my own background, which is also Czech and German.”
But more beers are on the horizon for Caracara, which also has staples on its menu like an IPA, a blonde and a porter that’s light and easy drinking.
“The porter has been surprisingly popular despite the heat,” Mann said.
One upcoming offering – a peach saison – will include Fredericksburg peaches as an ingredient.
“We need to do it as soon as possible,” he said. “It’s getting late in the season for peaches, but there are still some fruit stands selling them.”
Other potential beers in the works may include a red citrus wheat ale and an English-style pale made with local pecans from Fentress.
The brewery is getting creative, too. A wine margarita it created for Cinco de Mayo started a new menu at the brewery, which also now sells a michelada, a “champagne” made from beer and cider, and a cider-mosa made with cider and orange juice.
And, of course, the name on the blackboard that often makes customers do a double take.
The dingleberry.
The drink is made from porter and blackberry mead and has a flavor akin to a chocolate with filling inside.
The funny-named drink has been a hit, Mann said.
“We have a customer that said she doesn’t usually like beer, but she likes this drink,” he said.
It’s not all about the beers and the beer mixed drinks, though, said Mann, who also sells wine, sodas and sparkling water and provides board games for people to play.
He’s also hosted bingo and karaoke nights, which have attracted people of all ages.
“We’ve got kids in here playing board games and a woman in her 80s who drinks Topo Chico and comes to play bingo,” Mann said. “You don’t have to drink alcohol. It’s just a place to come and hang out.”

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