Brewing is in Chris Orf's blood. Orf Brewing history stretches back at least to the 1840s, when a family of German immigrants, all of whom were named Orf, settled in the farmland outside of St. Louis. Being as they were German, they brewed various concoctions with the grains they grew.
When tough times hit America in the 1920s, Chris Orf's grandfather--a teenager at the time--helped keep the family farm afloat by selling bottles of fermented corn mash, better known as moonshine. We still have his copper still (found in the barn) and some of the special moonshine bottles (found stashed within the wallboards of the house).
Eventually some Orf family members moved to St. Louis proper. In the big city, a couple other Germanic families had already established themselves in the local beer market. You may have heard of them: Anheuser and Busch. Other German brewers like Falstaff, Griesedieck, and Lemp were also already established. The Orfs were forced to turn to non-brewing-related pursuits to support themselves. Sadly, so were many of those those other breweries, who today exist only in memories.
As a native St. Louisan, Chris Orf grew up unaware of the existence of any beers other than Anheuser-Busch products. Then he moved away to discover the wider world. He attended college in Dallas, Texas, where he was introduced to a new range of beers--most of which were very, very cheap. When he relocated to Oregon State University for graduate school in the early 1990s, he learned of a magical new world: the tasty realm of the American craft beer movement.
The calling of his ancestry, as well as his taste buds, stirred him to join this movement. Wielding his Master's degree in chemistry, he bought some basic supplies and set about formulating his own original beers.
Orf spent the next decade or so pursuing various creative endeavors around the world. He wrote books and music and travel articles. He performed on stage and screen. He painted murals in houses and on cars. He devised unorthodox ways to fix his VW bus with plywood and baling wire. Along the way, he sampled multiple countries' native beverages and learned to say "Cheers!" in more than a dozen languages. And of course, he experimented with new recipes for innovative beers.
In 2005, Orf met a woman who lived in Austin. Both she and the town were hard to resist, so he moved back to Texas. As luck would have it, the woman agreed to marry him, brewing equipment and all. When he brewed the beer for their wedding and the guests raved about it, Orf figured he was on to something.
In 2016, Orf Brewing is at last on the verge of starting up in a city that resonates with the creative spirit that Orf embraces. Austin, Texas, is home to vibrant film, improv, and video game communities, as well as a world-renowned live music scene, a roller derby renaissance, and plenty more inventive stuff that is borderline crazy--crazy fun! As we embrace creativity in all forms, Orf Brewing should fit right in to the mix with our creative and eclectic beers. Or as we like to call them, Creativity in Ale Forms. Let Creativity Flow!