Mid-Week Intermission Artist Edition: Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks

As we count down the days until the total eclipse, we’re looking around at all the other Austinites getting their creative juices flowing before this once-in-a-lifetime event! Enter: Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks, whose collaboration with Zilker Brewing & Meanwhile Brewing has developed a uniquely Austin beer, just for the eclipse. In this Mid-Week Intermission, get to know Michael, the creativity behind the brewing community, and what you can expect from this particular brew 🍻


Long Center: Welcome to Mid-Week Intermission!

We usually ask people for a song to go with their interview, but in this case, what’s been your go-to drink lately?

Michael Graham (MG): Like my kids, I love all of our beers equally; but I love some more than others on certain days. Honestly, my go-to drink lately has been our Hop Water. It’s a non-alcoholic, hop-infused sparkling water we recently started making.

LC: Before we get to the eclipse — Austin Beerworks is pretty much synonymous with  Austin. How did you find yourself here and what do you think makes Austin and Austin Beerworks a perfect pair?

MG: I was lucky and grew up in Austin, so it’s always been home for me. When I started drinking beer (after I was 21, of course), I fell in love with craft beer but I found a lot of it was too thick and heavy for our summers. At Austin Beerworks, we try to make all of our beers as crisp and clean as possible, specifically with hot weather in mind.

LC: The nation-wide link between breweries and the Simons Foundation for their In the Path of Totality initiative is a pretty cool mix of community + science. Can you describe the national beer collaboration and how you found out about it? What makes this equation so unique?

MG: When the Simons Foundation reached out, we initially thought it was a scam because it sounded too good to be true. It’s really rare that any group wants to just do something really fun and cool without asking for anything in return, but that’s been our experience with this project.

Getting to work alongside all the other participating breweries, celebrating and collaborating on what’s likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, has been of the best professional experiences of my life.

Collaboration beer can from Austin Beerworks, Zilker Brewing, and Meanwhile Brewing
Total Eclipse collaboration beer from Austin Beerworks, Zilker Brewing, and Meanwhile Brewing

LC:  We love that brewing is also a creative pursuit — how did you decide what an eclipse tastes like, let alone turn it into a beer? Our staff have been taking bets.

MG: As much as I’d love to take credit, my partner Will Golden, along with the brewers at Meanwhile and Zilker, deserve all the credit for developing the recipe. I think they were going for something light and bright, but that would also melt your face off. They nailed it.

LC: Locally, anyone joining us for the Total Eclipse Viewing Party on April 8 will also be able to enjoy 3 special eclipse-themed beers — what can you tell us about them?

MG: In addition to this collaboration beer, all three breweries are making individual beers for the eclipse as well. We wanted to play off of the eclipse experience, so we each made a different shade of beer. Ours is a bright golden IPA called Yellow Giant, Zilker’s is an Amber Mexican Lager called Sol Searching, and Meanwhile’s is a Black IPA called Icarus’s Revenge.

LC: What does it mean to you for the brewing community to be front & center for such an iconic moment, considering food & drink (and, of course, beer in some areas) would have been an active part of communities across the world in 1397, the year of the last total solar eclipse in Austin?

MG: We talk about this a lot — what role do we want our beers to play in people’s lives? And this is a perfect example of our ideal scenario: Whether it’s a wedding or a concert or an eclipse, having something we made be a part of a life-defining event is such an amazing feeling and honor.

LC: We’re excited to celebrate on April 8! Will Austin Beerworks be at the Total Eclipse Viewing Party? Any other exciting upcoming collaborations you’d like to tease?

MG: We’ll be hosting a viewing party at our new Sprinkle Valley location off of Springdale Road. After that, we’re looking forward to a nice little break until we celebrate our 13th Anniversary on May 4.

Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks
☝️ This is Michael ☝️

Thanks, Michael! 

Let’s hear it for the creativity of our Austin brewers 🍻 we can’t wait to raise a glass as we anticipate totality at 1:36pm on April 8 for Simons Foundations Total Eclipse Viewing Party. It’s free, it’s community, it’s science… ready to party like it’s 1397?

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