October 2017 – May 2018
Black Star was one of the first breweries we visited after arriving in Austin, due to its Midtown location near our first apartment. Situated in a purpose-built shopping/living complex on the busy North Lamar/Airport Blvd junction by the Crestview metro stop, Black Star could be subsumed into obscurity by its busy surroundings, but on the contrary, stands proud as a community pub that also happens to be proudly run as a co-operative.
Opening its doors in 2010, Black Star significantly pre-dates Austin’s craft beer boom of recent years, and is now funded by more that 3,000 members, embedding its place in the community. Their focus on local, sustainable food to fill their tasty and reasonably priced menu (most mains $10-$12) furthers their public spirit in action with impressive results. We had the chicken and waffles and the burger, both of which were delicious and easily the equal or superior of many of Downtown Austin’s upmarket spots.
While the décor is simple, the vibe is friendly and the terrace overlooking the train tracks is far enough from the main road to make for pleasant outdoor eating and drinking. With a 4-5 beer core range, seasonals (‘rationals’ and ‘irrationals’!) and guest taps, there’s plenty of great beer to choose from. Flights come in 4 5oz pours, and while their core range covers all bases nicely (I particularly like the Vulcan Rye), as a fan of slightly offbeat beers I would recommend going straight to the Irrational section and trying whatever boat-pushing limited-release goodies are on offer. Among my favourites to date are the Pina Co-opa Pina Colada beer that managed to make this a good thing, light, chocolatey Inveterate Dockhand Porter, and the We Got A Winner IPA that lived up to its name! On one of our visits, Black Star were holding a rather exciting tap takeover with other co-operative breweries from around the US so it’s definitely worth checking their events calendar. Black Star is open seven days a week, and though hours are day-dependent they are more broad-ranging than most Austin taprooms. Support the co-op and visit this cool local gastropub.