Posted on March 6, 2017

Pinsetter Amber Lager: Our Homage to the Texas 9-pin Bowling Tradition

On March 4th, Real Ale Brewing Co. celebrated the release of Pinsetter Amber Lager, our new year-round beer that pays homage to the longstanding tradition of 9-pin bowling in the Texas Hill Country.

Going back almost 150 years, the German tradition of 9-pin bowling was once the most popular style of bowling in the United States. Nowadays, Texas is the exclusive home to the country’s few remaining 9-pin bowling clubs. The sport is known for its uniquely old-fashioned use of “pinsetters” to keep the game rolling. Instead of transitioning to the modern use of electronic pinsetting machines, Texas 9-pin leagues still opt for hiring local youth to do the job. Only a handful of these bowling clubs are left anymore, including one in Real Ale’s Hill Country home of Blanco.


“The really cool thing about this beer is that we’re using steam-style fermentation techniques,” said Tim Schwartz, Real Ale’s Director of Brewing Operations. “We use lager yeast for fermentation, but bring it closer to 60 degrees, which is right between lager and ale fermentation temperatures. It’s kind of a hybrid, which gives us a unique twist and a lot more complexity to step this beer up a notch and make it really bad ass.”

Inspired by a uniquely American beer style, the California Common – which Real Ale also produced as part of their Brewers’ Cut series in 2014 – Pinsetter is a medium-bodied beer with a lager-clean malt character and a subtle fruitiness.

Real Ale has a history of naming its beers after other Texas Hill Country attractions. The Devil’s Backbone Belgian-style tripel is named after a winding stretch of Hill Country highway, and Rio Blanco Pale Ale pays tribute to the Blanco River that runs nearby through the Blanco State Park.

“We named the beer Pinsetter to pay homage to the Blanco bowling community and to something that is truly unique to Texas,” said Brad Farbstein, Owner and President of Real Ale. “I think there are a lot of parallels between 9-pin bowling and Real Ale. The thing that is so endearing about the Blanco Bowling Club is that the community always seems to gather there. That tradition is something that Real Ale would like to take part in preserving for generations to come.”

About Pinsetter Amber Lager

Pinsetter Amber Lager was created in the spirit of a uniquely American style, the California Common. Originally produced in an era without the benefits of modern refrigeration, a hybrid style of lager emerged that was fermented at temperatures typically reserved for ale yeasts. The end result was a medium bodied beer with a lager-clean malt character and a subtle fruitiness derived from its time at these warmer fermentation temperatures. Pinsetter is brewed using the finest American 2-row and caramel malts, with a touch of roasted malt for a rich amber color. The beer has a pleasant malt profile, subtle sweetness, and a balanced hop bitterness.

Check out our video about why we made Pinsetter:

Pinsetter Amber Lager: Our Homage to Texas 9-pin Bowling from Real Ale Brewing Co. on Vimeo.