Hillsboro, Brotherwell mark eclipse with limited-run beer


Cheers to Hillsboro, the community 30 miles north of Waco doing a lights-out job celebrating the approaching eclipse. It even recruited Brotherwell Brewing in Waco to craft a beer marking the occasion, a product appearing in three local H-E-B stores, select restaurants and the Brotherwell taproom on Bridge Street.

Named Eclipseboro Hazy Pale Ale, the drink salutes the April 8 eclipse date with matching alcohol content. As the label expounds: “Mere serendipity that the eclipse falls on 4.8, the same ABV as this crushable hazy? Don’t bet on it. As you raise your (protected) eyes to the majesty of the eclipse, raise your beer to toast Eclipseboro, an alignment of efforts like no other.”

Major players besides Brotherwell are the city of Hillsboro, the Hillsboro Chamber and Canworks, an Austin company specializing in digital aluminum can printing founded by Hillsboro natives Ryan and Marshall Thompson.

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“Beer and/or eclipse lovers interested in adding this libation to their festivities will need to act fast as a limited number of cans was available at the brewery and Waco H-E-B stores,” Hillsboro City Manager Megan Henderson said.

Brotherwell co-founder Jacob Martinka said the craft brewery in East Waco produced 50 cases in cans for sale at H-E-B locations on South Valley Mills, Wooded Acres and Woodway drives, another 50 for a few smaller clients, and several more for the brewery itself. It also made kegs available to regular customers including both George’s locations, both Slowrise locations, Dichotomy, Pinewood, Herringbone, Cricket’s and Old Chicago.

Another 100 cases went to Hillsboro, which will be hosting the Cosmic Cowboy Eclipse Festival on the Outlets at Hillsboro grounds, with a weekend of festivities and musical acts including Chris Perez, Ghosts of Hill Country and The Marshall Tucker Band.

“This is a very limited edition batch of beer,” Martinka said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone, pretty much like the eclipse itself.”

Martinka said Brotherwell thought Hillsboro hit on a great idea in proposing an eclipse-centric brew, and gladly accepted the challenge. It helped, he said, that the Brotherwell team knew Henderson before she became Hillsboro’s city manager, having worked with her when she served as City Center Waco’s executive director. In that capacity, Henderson championed downtown economic development, including that in East Waco.

“When we got into brewing, she definitely helped us out navigating things, getting a feel for the revitalization landscape as a whole,” Martinka said. “We were thrilled that she asked us. No, we don’t get asked a lot to come up with limited or specialty orders, but this situation created a bit of buy-in, and we look forward to working with other entities in the future. It can be a lot of fun. We get to meet new people, as we did with Canworks.”

He said the group involved kicked around several ideas about the type of beer to be brewed, at first thinking a dark stout would suit the occasion.

“That would tie in to the four-and-a-half minutes of darkness but would limit us,” Martinka said. “We considered the potential clientele and chose something lighter in alcohol, making use of Eclipse and Solero hops. A beer with a sunny and tropical flavor meshes well with the April 8 occurrence.”

Brotherwell plans a limited run, but Martinka hedged his pledge, saying, “Every one-off beer is auditioning for a full-time role. If the response is big and we want to do it again, we will do it again.”

“We definitely will have it for the next total eclipse,” he joked.

A total solar eclipse will not be visible from Central Texas again this century.

Eclipseboro is more than a gimmicky sideshow, Henderson said.

“Eclipseboro beer is definitely quirky but it’s far from happenstance,” she said. “We’re doubling down on what we’ve learned about ourselves. When we asked our folks what makes our quality of life so outstanding, they told us that meaningful connection happens in Hillsboro.

“The Thompsons’ love for their hometown, the creative partnership with Brotherwell, the buy-in from all the local businesses and chamber to coordinate among them: Connections like these make for rich experiences and in this case, delicious beer.”

Hillsboro has received good news beyond its eclipse celebration, with the Buc-ee’s convenience store chain approaching the finish of construction on a new location just outside the Hillsboro city limits and a Dallas developer promising a multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the Hillsboro outlet mall.

From NASA: Discover how to prepare for this rare event, from finding the perfect viewing spot to capturing the perfect shot. Experience the dramatic transformation of the day into night and see the sun’s stunning corona


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