Board Meeting Review

As long-time regular patrons of Black Star who enjoy the house beer and the wonderful staff, we have come to feel like a part of the Black Star family. We saw how the Co-op handled the COVID19 difficulties, successfully rising above other businesses in keeping patrons and staff safe while continuing to stay open, and were intrigued by the great opportunity offered in the May newsletter to attend a board meeting as guests.

Although we didn’t have any expectations beyond observing the meeting, we were immediately welcomed into the Zoom forum with an introduction of each member and warmly invited to participate throughout the meeting.  It was a bit disappointing to know that only one board member is female, but refreshing to learn that Dacia is the dedicated president (who attended despite feeling under the weather).  The board is comprised of a mixture of legacy and new members, and all seemingly dedicated to offering their talents to the success of our coop.

After a thorough presentation of the current state of affairs by Chris, who represented the staff, a few other topics were covered.  The meeting was run efficiently, and members were very respectful of each other’s time and contributions. We left feeling that the Co-op is in great competent hands, and that this is a group we would feel comfortable contributing as members.

Fresh Haps: What’s New at Black Star

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick update on changes that are happening this week, as well as a few exciting things we have on the horizon.

Extended Hours: Black Star will now be open from Noon-9pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Although we are still only operating Thursday – Sunday, we’re excited to get you the beer and grub you crave for both lunch/brunch and dinner on the weekends.

New Food Items: Our new Head Chef, Jeff Harper has put together some awesome Cook Em Yourself Kits that you can purchase on the spot. Take & Shake Fish Fry Kits feeds 2 and includes Gulf caught black drum, seasoned breadcrumb mixture, seasoned chips, and house aioli. $24, available Thursday – Sunday. English Breakfast Kits also feed 2 and include farm fresh eggs, house breakfast sausage, baked beans, arugula and tomato salad, and Easy Tiger toast. $18, available Saturday and Sunday.

Upcoming Beer Release: Lots to look forward to! Listed below are all upcoming beer releases, and their potential release dates:

Waterloo & Watermelon Waterloo: July 30th (Maybe sooner!)

Black is Beautiful: Mid August. A portion of proceeds will benefit Austin Justice Coalition

Special Reserves: Mid-August, keep an eye out.

Moebius: TBD, but it’s coming…

Merch Sale: We’re sitting on way too much winter inventory, so we’ve dropped some prices and encourage you to grab these babies while we got em. Mustard Hoodies $55 now $45. Red Acid Wash Tees $25 now $15. Beanies $19 now $10. Stock up now, you’ll thank yourself later.

Worker Spotlight: Jeff Harper

We (virtually) sat down with Black Star’s new head chef to find out a little more about him.

  1. What’s your earliest food memory?
    Once while playing at my Grandparent’s driveway, I fell and scuffed my knees. I came into the house, crying, with blood running down my leg, looking for comfort and my mom had just pulled fresh
    cinnamon rolls out of the oven. Trying to calm me down they offered me things like band-aides or water but instead I said through the tears, “A cinnamon roll would make my knee stop hurting.” 
  2. Who has influenced your cooking the most?
    Definitely my mother via her biggest influence which was her Grandmother. 
  3. What’s your favorite go-to ingredient or is there an ingredient you use a lot that would surprise people?
    Ginger. Most often, when friends or family really like something and can’t exactly place the flavor they like, it’s ginger.
  4. Do you have any signature dishes?
    Scrambled eggs. 🙂
  5. If you could cook a meal for anyone, who would it be?
    White House chef for Teddy Roosevelt
  6. Dumbest thing you’ve ever done with food or in a kitchen?
    My first job in the kitchen (after deciding to change my career path and cook full time) was the opening prep-cook at the original Second Bar + Kitchen and it was my job to open in the morning and fry all of the chips for the day. My first day solo I forgot to close the drain
    valves on the fryers before filling them with oil. I spent two hours soaking up oil with rags and never said a word to anyone. When Jason Stude arrived and asked why the floor was oily, I just put my head down and chopped zucchini. 
  7. What would we find in your kitchen at home?
    Cast iron skillets, and air fryer (trust me), and A LOT of pastry/cake decorating equipment. My girlfriend is an incredibly talented pastry chef. 
  1. Most memorable meal?

I was lucky enough to travel abroad to Ecuador in my early twenties and went fishing with
some guys off the coast of the Galapagos Islands. I caught a Bluefin Tuna and the guys
from the boat came over that night and we built a fire in the street and everyone within
earshot came over and we carved that tuna to the bone cooking it over open fire, dousing it
with beer, even eating sashimi right off the fresh fish. Unforgettable experience. 

  1. What food is your guilty pleasure?
    Beef jerky.
  2. What been your pandemic staple meal or comfort food? 
    Knock-off Alamo Drafthouse popcorn paired with a movie from their streaming service.  
  3. What do you do outside of work with your free time? (Or what do you imagine
    yourself doing if pandemic restrictions weren’t in place?)
    Tend to a small farm in Oak Hill that a friend owns, fishing, various tinkering projects,
    drumming, etc. 
  4. Any Last words as the new kitchen team leader of Black Star?
    “When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Good Work Austin – Keeping Us Safe

While the City of Austin extends its Stay Home – Work Safe order through June 15, Texas continues its drive to Open Texas. These are dark times in our industry with many local restaurants (Threadgills, Enchiladas y Mas, and North by Northwest) permanently closing their doors due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Restaurants need customers. As local restaurants consider opening their doors in the near future, many are concerned about the health and safety of their workers, customers, and their communities. How can they best prevent the spread of Covid-19 once open? Should they regularly measure staff temperature? How can they develop policies that reassure customers that the restaurant
is a safe place to dine? What should they do if Covid-19 cases continue to rise? Should they deny service to guests who choose not to follow any guidelines they develop?


How can they answer these tough questions? Through cooperation, of course! Good Work Austin began as a group of local businesses advocating for the City of Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, with Black Star Coop playing a critical activist role. GWA developed a re-opening agreement that provides answers to these critical questions for restaurants, their customers, and the community, which includes the following commitments.

  1. Reservation sites and websites will include notices that diners cannot enter the restaurant if
    they are exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19. We will deny service to guests who do not follow
    our clearly stated guidelines
  2. Employees will be counseled on appropriate behavior at and away from work by a medical
    professional to make sure that they are not putting our community at risk.
  3. Staff temperatures must be taken daily. Anyone with a 99.6º or higher temperature will be sent
    home.
  4. Staff who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home and must fulfill one of the
    following options: 1) receive a note from a doctor allowing them to return to work; 2) receive a
    negative result from a COVID-19 test; 3) complete a 14 day self-quarantine.
  5. If an employee tests positive for Covid-19, we will thoroughly sanitize our business and require
    staff who worked with the infected employee anytime in the last 14 days to be tested or
    quarantined for two weeks.
  6. We will include an Employee Wellness Charge to provide our employees with access to health
    care and paid sick leave.
  7. All dine-In customers will provide their names. All dine-in customers and employees will
    complete a Health Declaration.
  8. All staff must wear masks while in the restaurant. Customers must wear masks except when
    they have food or beverage in front of them.
  9. Hand washing will be enforced every 30 minutes for all staff.
  10. Staff will have no intentional physical contact and will constantly be aware of the necessity of
    social distancing.
  11. We will dedicate certain employees to service customers and/or divide spaces and redefine
    roles to further separate employees and customers.
  12. Menus will be on display, online, or be sanitized after each use. Single-use menus will be
    available by request.
  13. Hand Sanitation stations will be placed at the entrance & exit of the restaurant and outside the
    restrooms.
  14. We are committed to ensuring proper ventilation of our indoor spaces by cleaning & changing
    filters more frequently and/or increasing fresh airflow.
  15. Adopt all elements of Open Texas Minimum Standard Health Protocols for facility, customers,
    and employees.

Over 100 local businesses including coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, and hotels have signed the
agreement. Considering Black Star Coop’s guiding principles of cooperation among cooperatives and
concern for community, the Worker’s Assembly signed this agreement. Collectively following these guidelines as we continue to plan our opening will help Black Star Coop members and non-member customers make informed decisions about the risks related to the pandemic and ensure the health and safety of our hard-working Workers.

Black Star Co-op Needs YOU!

Run for the Board! Directors review and craft policies and principles, represent the interests of all Member-Owners, and collaborate with the Workersʼ Assembly.


Interested? Our next virtual Board Meeting will be held virtually, this Sunday morning at 9:30am. Attend in sweatpants if you wish!


Contact the Leadership Development Committee (ldc@blackstar.coop) or the board(board@blackstar.coop) so we know you’re planning on coming and can share the connection link.

e-xtravaganza Catch up with member-owners, co-op workers, and friends! Learn how your co-op is faring during these interesting times.

A friend gave me advice recently not to accept my solitary day-to-day
situation as the “new normal” but to challenge myself to achieve a
normality despite a global health crisis. This has led me to consider how
to maintain activities, responsibilities, and friendships until these
difficult times have passed – yes there are compromises to be made,
but just putting everything on hold should not be a viable option.
In the spirit of this, just as the word church is said to represent the
people not the building, I would suggest that words Black Star Co-op
represent the personalities, the ideals, the beer, and the community –
all of which can be enjoyed beyond the confines of Easy Wind Drive. So
lets get together (virtually), raise and glass, and check in on how we are
all doing.

Our first Virtual Extravaganza Members event is scheduled for Sunday, June 7th at 4pm . Fill up a growler or grab a 6 pack from the Co-op and join us to learn about how your Co-op is doing. The hardworking staff from the Co-op will give an update as to how they are doing, how the business is
adapting to its situation, and how they are making decisions at this time
founded in our ethics and guiding principles. If you are lucky, Marcus
might treat us to a little co-op trivia, and Dacia will give the board
perspective on how the Co-op is operating with reference to the long
term financial stability we are all looking to secure.
Above this we want to hear from you! How are you doing? Have you
any stories to share with your fellow members? Questions about the
Co-op? Beer ideas? Groan-worthy jokes? Bring it on!

I’m going to schedule around 30-40 minutes content as big zoom calls
are always better with a little structure. After this we can descend into
more general chat. We shall be naming and shaming those who are not drinking Black Star beer…

!REGISTER HERE!

I joke, we would never do that. But if you can stop by the Co-op,
say hi to the pub team and fill up a growler or two, they would love to
see you! I can’t wait to see you. Stay safe and all the best

Black Star Co-op Needs YOU!

Run for the Board! Directors review and craft policies and principles, represent the interests of all Member-Owners, and collaborate with the Workersʼ Assembly. Interested? Now’s the time to attend a Board Meeting—from your own home!

Our next meeting will be virtual at 9:30am on May 31st!
Contact the Leadership Development Committee (ldc@blackstar.coop) or the board (board@blackstar.coop) so we know you’re planning on coming and can share the connection link.

Covid – 19 Update

In accordance with the City of Austin, State of Texas, and the US Federal Government, Black Star Co-op is currently operating for to-go only food and alcohol sales. As we navigate this difficult situation, we are remain cautious yet dedicated to providing our community with the highest quality of food and drinks that you have come to know and love.

The current situation remains fluid, and our menu and hours may adjust on a day to day basis. Currently, we will be open with a full (semi adjusted) lunch and dinner menu from 11am – 9pm daily. Please check in for daily updates here at our website, or on any of our social media platforms.

Curbside pickup is now available, so feel free to call ahead for food and/ or beer. We are doing our best to minimize contact and respect sanitization practices as directed by the CDC and COA.

We appreciate the support that we have already received from our regular patrons, member-owners, and the community at large. Please stay safe, and continue to support your friendly neighborhood brewpub if you are able.

Best of luck, everyone.

Be Our Guest Taps

Hey folks, hope all is well on your end of things. As we get closer to our 10 Year Anniversary Party, there will be less guest beers but I will make sure y’all get nothing but the best no matter what. With that in mind, please note that our Special Tap Saturday for March will be on the 28th featuring Real Ale’s Black Quad, their fantastic Belgian-style quadrupel that is part of their Bomber series.

We will be rotating different hard seltzers to see what you like best. Right now we have Austin-based Shotgun Seltzer’s Ranch Water w/ Agave & Lime. As far as current guest beers, we have some delightful brews such as Firestone Walker’s Luponic Distortion #15 IPA, Ranger Creek’s Imperial Brown bourbon barrel-aged brown ale, 4th Tap Co-op’s Brut of All Evil: Wine IPA, Orf’s Oocheenama white ale and more; meanwhile, on deck, we have Save The World’s Cherry Bonus Pastor Belgian-style scotch ale/wee heavy, (512) Brewing’s Working Class Zero pale ale, Woodcreek’s Texas Star Bock Vienna lager and Hedgehog’s newest ale called Mango Tango, a farmhouse ale with mango & habanero, plus so much more. Hope to see you soon. Cheers!

So What is Blacklands Malt Anyway?

If you have visited Blackstar anytime recently you will have seen numerous beers on the menu proudly stating that they are brewed using local Blacklands Malt from Leander, Tx. Ok, it sounds good to be drinking something local but what makes Blacklands so special? I went on a mission to find out…
The first thing I found was that prior to 2012, no barley, wheat, or rye was grown and malted in Texas for use in beer and spirits…..ever! This it seemed crazy to me, it’s not like we are short of space! Now some farmers grow it for animal feed, but all the craft brewers were importing from hundreds or even thousands of miles away! It also seemed crazy to Brandon Ade who back in 2012 commissioned public research with Texas A&M into cultivating barley for the Texas climate. Named after the “Blackland Prairies” a grassland stretching from Dallas to San Antonio, Brandon and the team finally realized their dream of 100% Texas grown barley malt in 2016!
Their mission is to promote sustainable food production and bring agricultural back to a local level, reconnecting consumers with their natural ties and local agriculture. BlackStar has had a long relationship with Blacklands for many years but we can’t take credit for a Texas business that has been groing from strength to strength, from Balcones to Jester King, ABW to Oskar Blues, Blacklands is become the malt of choice for many Texas industries. The word has got out too, their “Brown Field 10 Texas Munich” Malt won the 2020 gold medal from the craft masters guild.

Now if you are still reading, I assume that you are really into your beer, and want a little more detail. What makes a good malt? Like brewing the process of converting barley to malt is simple enough. You take some barley, you germinate it to get the enzymes just starting out and then you dry it in a kiln halt the process at the optimum time for brewing. But like brewing, while the process may be established, perfecting it can take a lifetime of finesse. For example. That gold medal winner we mentioned earlier had to be perfected for over 6 months using a proprietary steaming method in their kiln to produce a high-dried, melanoidin-rich, Munich-style malt from their Texas grown, high-nitrogen two-rowed barley, to give a rich malt, and light toast character, well suited for rich, aromatic full-bodied beers. And if you said that whole sentence in one breath you deserve a gold medal yourself! If you are looking to taste some Blacklands malt, stop by Black-Star Coop for a house beer, and see how that local Leander sunshine, community focus and small scale attentive agriculture makes the difference.
Got further questions? Feel free to ask the bar staff for more info on our beers or reach quiz me about what I learned at our next members extravaganza… March 5th!
Many thanks