Blue Index Update


On Wednesday, February 20th we will be hosting a fun meeting here at the Co-op with our friends from Blue Index. Kevin will be out to chat about the project and his findings as well as have some interesting water BINGO to play for folks who want to hang out and learn more about this awesome project. On top of that, we will be briefly talking about our collaboration “Cause Beer” with Blue Index where we intend to brew a batch with 100% water pulled from Jacobs Well in Wimberly, TX. 


For those who are not familiar with Blue Index, here is an overview:


Blue Index Description 


Come on out and learn a bit about water, drink some beer, and chat with some friendly folks!

Custom Branded Growlers!

This month, we are excited to announce that we are bringing back branded vacuum sealed growlers to our merchandise inventory. Not only are they laser etched with our logo, but we are including a branded backside with our values and address etched on them as well. But wait…there’s more!!! We have decided to run a special campaign for you, our Member-Owners, of custom branded versions of these growlers. They will be etched with our logo and values as well as your Name and Member-Owner ID number. Check out our website store and grab one as soon as possible. We will only be running this campaign through March, so get your order in now!
Orders on custom growlers will be processed once a week and we will ship all orders to Black Star for pick up. Once they arrive we will send out a confirmation email for you to swing by and grab them.

Member-Owner Beer Survey Results

Last month we sent out a SurveyMonkey survey in the Newsletter asking for feedback on what types of beers you would like to see brewed here at Black Star. Well, the results are in and we were totally blindsided to learn that people like IPAs and specifically Vulcan. What??!!! Joking aside, we did find some interesting feedback in the data. While IPAs were by far the most cited favorite beer style, behind Vulcan, Recalcitrant Dockhand seemed to be the most favorited beer that Black Star makes. Going into 2019 we expect to brew several IPAs, Pale Ales and hoppier offerings as well as potentially trying to keep Recalcitrant/other Dockhands on more frequently. I sincerely appreciate everyone who participated in the survey as it gives us a more direct line to our Member-Owners and we don’t always get to sit down over a beer and chat about what you would like to see in your business. Keep your Facebook eyes open for some cool releases in the near future as we intend on dominating the back tap wall with more and more house beers. We also intend on keeping casks stocked and on more frequently so please come check out what we’ve got in this beautiful new year!

Member-Owner Beer Survey

In years past, we have held surveys and in-person sensory analysis to develop beers like Elba and Ceres with our Member-Owners.  This year we have decided to take a step back and get a general feel for what our Members like to drink, straight from their mouths (or keyboards), to hopefully give us better insight into what we are lacking/doing right in the brewery. Linked below is a 5 question Survey Monkey that is very straight forward. You tell us what you like, we read what you say, we brew beers that you say you like. This is a super short survey, so I am hoping to get quite a bit of feedback on this one. Please feel free to let us know any and all of your drinking desires and we will try to make 2019 the best beer lineup we have ever made. Cheers!

Introducing: Good Work Austin

Born through shared values discovered during the fight to pass the Paid Sick Ordinance, Good Work Austin is a group of local business owners and managers dedicated to creating a better work environment for all. With the support of Council Member Greg Casar and Mayor Adler, representatives from L’oca D’oro, Brew & Brew, Sweet Ritual, The Purple Fig, and Black Star Co-op among others have decided that now is the time to level the playing field for all Austin businesses.  As a group, we are dedicated to creating good jobs for all workers, ensuring a quality workplace, and supporting and amplifying the voices of like-minded businesses. We value cooperation, inclusion, shared opportunity, equality, and fairness in the operation of our businesses.

After a very successful launch party last week at The Vortex, we look forward to introducing ourselves to representatives at the December State Legislative Briefing in Austin, and learning more about how we can advocate for policies that raise workplace standards here in Texas. We are excited to continue creating a supportive environment for employers who want to do the right thing for their workers, the economy, and the environment.

Be on the lookout for more from Good Work Austin in 2019!

Wine Down Wednesday featuring Chef Chad 11/28/2018

Q: What’s your earliest food memory?

CC: My parents’ and grandparents’ kitchens. My Papa had a lake that had lots of catfish where we’d go fishing and cook it southern style after. 

Q: Who has influenced your cooking the most?

CC: My dad and grandmother. 

Q: What’s your favorite go-to ingredient?

CC: Potatoes. I can do anything with potatoes.

Q: What are some of your signature dishes?

CC: Good colcannon, enchiladas, and gourmet burgers.

Q: What did you choose to make for Wine Down Wednesday?

CC: Chicken Fried Steak, mash, and veggies paired with Prince de Lise, Blanc de Blancs Brut, champagne.

Q: What was the inspiration for the dish?

CC: It got me into eating meat again. I had been a vegetarian since I was 23 and Chicken Fried Steak got me. 

Q: If you could cook a meal for anyone, who would it be?

CC: My mom.

Q: Dumbest thing you’ve ever done with food or in a kitchen?

CC: Mac & Cheese with sour cream, and an onion glaze. It wasn’t edible. I’d advise to not try it. 

Q: What would we find in your kitchen at home?

CC: Pork loin and potatoes for sure. Carrots, celery, and a handful of spices.

Q: Most memorable meal? 

CC: With my mom and dad at a steakhouse by the woods. I love their Chicken Fried Steak.

Q: What food is your guilty pleasure?

CC: Burgers, not good for you. But I love ‘em.

Q: What’s your last meal on earth, if you had the chance to choose?

CC: Chicken Fried Steak breakfast would be a good comforting meal. 

Wine Down Wednesday featuring Chef Jim

Q: What’s your earliest food memory?

CJ: Young and microwaving pizza.

Q: Who has influenced your cooking the most?

CJ: The internet and travel channel. I enjoyed watching Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods and Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations.

Q: What’s your favorite go-to ingredient?

CJ: Chicken thighs

Q: What are some of your signature dishes?

CJ: Cajun chicken, coleslaw, collards,  Guinness beef stew and green curry.

Q: What did you choose to make for Wine Down Wednesday?

CJ: Peruvian tamarind citrus chicken over amaranth with tres leches for dessert.

Q: What was the inspiration for the dish?

CJ: Gas station chicken place that does Peruvian chicken off St. Johns.

Q: If you could cook a meal for anyone, who would it be?

CJ: Chris Farley, he would be a fun guy to eat a ton of food with.

Q: Dumbest thing you’ve ever done with food or in a kitchen?

CJ: When I was sixteen working in a pizza shop. My coworkers made garlic and cinnamon sticks. We also made garlic chicken wings and thought it was a great idea to make cinnawings and dip it in frosting. It sounds worse than you think.

Q: What would we find in your kitchen at home?

CJ: Lots of hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, and grape seed oil.

Q: Most memorable meal?

CJ: First time I had tacos in Austin.

Q: What food is your guilty pleasure?

CJ: Ketchup and Mayo too much. Also, meat sticks, gas station meat sticks.

Q: What’s your last meal on earth, if you had the chance to choose?

CJ: Gyro, fries and General Tso’s chicken.

Fall Members’ Assembly Meeting Recap

 

THANK YOU to the quorum of Black Star Member-Owners who gathered at the Co-op for the Fall 2018 Member-Owner Meeting last Sunday, October 21st.
After some rousing Co-op trivia, we kicked off the meeting with introductions from the current directors and with speeches from the four candidates running for the board: Beth Beutel, Roger Corrales, Graham Green, and Marcus Wilson.  They represent a fantastic mix of experience and fresh perspectives.  To summarize their stump speeches, Beth loves co-ops, Roger loves/lives worker self-management, Graham loves beer, and Marcus is lovable.  Read their candidate questionnaires on the blog (you’ll need to scroll down) and VOTE for your favorites here!
From there Beth Beutel, Black Star Co-op Board President, reviewed the priorities and accomplishments of the board so far in 2018.  She highlighted an increased focus on board training, the implementation of a more rigorous policy review process, and improved Worker Assembly (WA) solidarity.  Chris Byram, Black Star Co-op Board Staff Liaison, provided a retrospective as the most tenured member of the WA and described 2018 as a “breath of fresh air” compared to the financial struggles of early 2017.  He thanked everyone for their continued patronage and reminded them that the Co-op exists to support the Member-Owners.
                     
Given that the Co-op finances have improved in 2018, the WA asked Member-Owners for input into where the Co-op should focus in 2019 for growth.  Everyone has a favorite idea (“Year-Round Chili!”), so second-year board member, Kyle Voosen, led us in a business strategy activity that encouraged Member-Owners to prioritize their 2019 areas of focus.  This input process was similar to the August 2018 board retreat exercise.  Of the 16 different proposed strategies for 2019, the Member-Owners selected the following three as their top priorities:
1) Expand revenue from existing Member-Owners through enhanced and better promoted membership benefits
2) Improve dining experience and better communicate brand through updated facilities
3) Build demand through official partnerships/special benefits with customer organizations
We wrapped up the Member-Owner meeting with a Q&A session that covered topics including Member-Owner outreach, the upcoming lease renewal, the improved parking situation, and yes, when chili would be back on the menu.  Thank you again to the Member-Owners who took the time to support their Co-op and join us for a beer or three in the sun last Sunday!

Black Star & Blue Index

In late 2017, Black Star was asked to donate a keg to an event on the UT campus called “Sustainability on Tap” where grad students would have 3 minutes to present information about the sustainability research projects they were working on. We were immediately intrigued since this seemed to fall right in line with our values at the Co-op, so we agreed to participate.
The first event was a blast, we even got an opportunity to speak about our own sustainable efforts at Black Star as the 1/4 barrel keg of Vulcan ran dry within the first 45 minutes.
The second event went even better than the first. This time it was hosted in a suite within Darrell K Royal football stadium, and we came better prepared with 2 kegs of beer. After all of the presentations were completed we were approached by one of the students about their project, Blue Index. If you like water, you will love this program. Kevin Jeffery, the creator, has set up 30 stations at different bodies of water across Austin. Each station has a metal stand to place your cell phone in to take a picture of the area. You then rate your feelings at the waterscape (serene, calm, excited, etc.). The data collected will then be analyzed and presented to the City of Austin in an effort to suggest areas of improvement, as well as provide information on its successes.
After giving us a run down of his intentions with this program, Kevin asked if we would be interested in partnering up to brew a water “cause beer” later on down the road. Of course we were stoked to do this so we planned a meeting to spitball about potential ways to make this happen.
A couple of months after our initial meeting, Kevin invited us to join him out at Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, TX. We discussed the potential cause beer with the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association
about starting another water conservation/preservation organization (all the ‘ations) called Texas Brew Shed. Needless to say, it was pretty cool. We are now in the process of setting up several events leading up to a beer release including a few watershed focused events held here at the Co-op.
As I write this we are 3 days into the Austin Water boil notice with no real timeline of when it will end, we are boiling water and giving it to businesses/families that do not have the capacity to do so, and rain continues fall. All of these things make our involvement in this cause extremely important and I am very honored that were asked to participate in such a cool idea.
I urge everyone to check out Blue Index online and even go out to a few of the stations to leave your impressions. Kevin is looking to get 2,500 or more participants by mid-December,  so go explore the city and experience some water that you may never would have gone to otherwise.