category Beer

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!

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.

GABF Recap

For those of you who read our last article on our GABF trip, I will pick up where I left of and try to recall a handful of details.
We set out on this year’s festival adventure with high hopes and optimism when we entered our 4 beers into the largest beer competition in the United States. Unfortunately, competition was stiff with over 8,000 beer entries, and we did not have the privilege of earning a medal in this year’s awards ceremony. We did, however, manage to have a great time chatting with folks and pouring our beers at the festival. We arrived at our aforementioned undersized AirBnb on Wednesday night and began to unpack and get settled in. Thursday morning, we headed to the Colorado Convention Center to pick up our badges and set up our booth for the festival. At 5:30pm the first session started and we were immediately overjoyed by the attention we had been getting for Island Baby from surrounding brewers/volunteers who had tried it. Within the first 30 minutes we had several people who had been specifically pointed in our direction to try the beer as well as a few repeat tasters.
On Friday morning, we headed out to Boulder, CO to check out some OG craft breweries, Avery and Left Hand. Our solo kitchen team worker, Kyle, just happens to be the biggest Left Hand fan there is so needless to say he left with a mountain of merch and a belly full of stouts. We then headed back to town and went to grab some lunch. I would not feel right if I didn’t give a plug here to a little place called Bourbon Grill, located on Colfax road in Denver. This spot is one of my favorite places ever, serving up bourbon chicken, nuclear orange mac and cheese about the slowest service imaginable. If you are ever in town, do yourself a favor and check it out, you might regret it.
Where was I? Ah. That evening we headed back to the festival and poured at the evening session until 10pm. Saturday morning ended up being a little hectic since our Uber driver decided to sit downtown for 10 minutes before heading our way, which lead me to just cancelling the ride, driving us downtown and paying $30 for parking across the street. We ended up making it inside on time and got situated for the 2 hour+ awards ceremony. Once we finished up in there, we headed again out to the festival floor and poured at our booth.
At the end of the day Saturday, we were beat. We headed out for some drinks and food but ultimately headed back to the house fairly early to get some rest in preparation for the 16 hour drive home.
Sunday morning we packed, cleaned and busted out of Denver around 9am. Fast forward to 2am Monday morning and we all made it back to Black Star safe and sound. We all lived happily ever after. The end.

Inside GABF

As some of you know, most every year Black Star sends a group of employees up to The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO. We will be doing this again in September and I figured I would detail a bit of the experience in case anyone is interested.
On September 19th at 5am we will be loading up a Dodge Grand Caravan rental with 6 Black Star employees and their luggage. We then drive 15 hours, through mostly unscenic West Texas, and arrive at our AirBnB with enough time to drink a couple of beers and pass out in a somewhat tolerable sleeping configuration. The first session of the festival starts at 5pm so the early part of the day consists of checking in, grabbing badges/swag and setting up our booth to pour beer. When the session begins we have most of the crew at the booth to get a feel of how the pouring works. Luckily we are staffed with a couple of volunteers in case we want to roam around the festival ourselves and check out some of the 4000+ craft beers from around the country. After the first session is completed we go out and attend some of the industry parties (usually sponsored by different grain/hop/ingredient suppliers). Friday consists of two sessions; one at 12-4pm and one at 5:30-10pm where we pour and talk with people about our beers, rotating folks out periodically to keep things fresh. Saturday is the big day at the festival. While GABF is the largest beer festival in the country, it is also the largest and most prestigious beer competition and Saturday morning is when the awards ceremony is held. Imagine thousands of hungover brewers in an auditorium at 10am sitting down for 2 hours. To say the least, it’s rough.
Once the awards are given, all the brewers rush out to their respective booths to pour for the first of 2 Saturday sessions. The first session is by far the most exciting session of the festival, especially if you just won an award in the ceremony. Speaking of awards, we are entering 4 beers this year that we feel very confident about and are excited to see what the judges think. Our line up is Recalcitrant Dockhand, Island Baby, Roze Sap, and Waterloo. We put a lot of thought into these entries and think they fit into their respective categories pretty well. I digress. The last session of the festival starts at 5:30pm on Saturday and is usually one that is filled with last minute ticket buyers who want to drink as much beer as possible. Needless to say, we are usually pretty burnt out at this point. Once the session is over we pack up our booth and head back to the house to get ready to wake up refreshed and drive home in the morning, and definitely do not regretfully go out and party into the wee hours of the morning.
Sunday morning we wake up, load the van once again and head out on our 15 hour descent into Austin which is exponentially less fun and exciting than the drive up. We usually arrive around 3am, unload the van, go home, sleep for a few hours and go to work. Whew. Just typing that gives me anxiety but I wouldn’t want it any other way. This trip is usually a highlight of the year and is a lasting experience for everyone who has been. Stories of years past are brought up every month or so and we intend on adding to the repertoar this year.
I hope that gives some sort of insight into the madness of the GABF experience.  We will be sure to give an update once we get back if it doesn’t make me twitch recalling it so soon.

Pride Month at Black Star Co-op

In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, we’re hosting a fundraising tap takeover with Hops & Grain in support of Out Youth, with $1 being donated for every House Rational and Hops & Grain beer sold. We chose Austin based Out Youth because everyone deserves a place to feel at home. Out Youth provides a safe haven for LGBTQ youth to meet new friends and be part of community where everyone is treated like family. They offer several services to young Austin adults including counseling, youth prom, and more. Out Youth works with the KIND Clinic to help provide resources for counseling, free HIV/STI testing, and gender affirming care for all.

Our friends at Hops & Grain were a clear choice for a tap takeover because of their work in the LGBTQ community. In April Hops & Grain brewed a beer named Chingona. The American lager is a  collaboration with Hustle for a Cause, an Austin based social impact production firm that highlights and promotes LGBTQ women of color. As a socially conscious cooperative ourselves,  we greatly  admire, and continue to be inspired by Hops & Grain’s commitment to and involvement in the LGBTQ community. We will be tapping their Maibock, Porter Culture and Dispensary Pale Ale.

There will be other opportunities to support these great organizations here at Black Star throughout the month, so be on the lookout!

-By Roger Corrales

Blacklands Malt: OG Texas Maltsters & Longtime Friends

Black Star Co-op has had a long relationship with our friends over at Blacklands Malt in Leander, TX, using several of their malts in a number of beers over the past few years. Maybe you have seen it noted on our beer board or listed in a description on a Facebook event: “Texas grown and malted”. But what does that really mean? Well, it may surprise you to know that Blacklands was the first craft malthouse in Texas. It may also surprise you to know that prior to 2012 malting quality barley was not grown in Texas. Like, ever. It may also, also surprise you to know that this small company, in a industry of enormous scale and automation, back-breakingly produce tons of malt with one very driven owner and a small crew. This story is one we don’t share nearly as often as we should, so we decided to do something about it. On June 27th we will be hosting a Blacklands Malt Tap Take over here at the pub and would love to share this story with as many folks as possible. Along with 6 of our own house beers, we will be showcasing several other local guest beers that share our love of Texas made, Blacklands malt. Join us for a beer or two as well as a Q&A session with the folks from Blacklands and find out what supporting a local craft malthouse truly means.

-It may surprise you that this was written by Andy Martinec

Top Shelf

On a warm spring day Marco from Zilker Brewing Company and Andy from Black Star Co-op were chatting over beers after a brew day and it occurred to them that a collaboration beer between the two breweries was inevitable, and even overdue. After a couple of pints inspiration had yet to strike so a change in scenery was needed. Top Shelf was born where most great ideas are born, in the bottom of a $1 margarita at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. Brainfrozen and lethargic, Marco’s eye began to water and Andy’s heartburn subsided for just a moment when the words “Margarita beer” were uttered. They knew they had struck gold. Starting with a kettle-soured base beer they then added lime juice, tangerine puree and tequila-soaked oak to meld into a delicious beer concoction. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Top Shelf is the most refreshing beer you never knew was beer.

By Andy Martinec

Green Day

As April begins and spring starts to show its colors, the reminder of our beautiful world and its need for our attention is revived while we approach April, 22nd. As a company who takes pride in being green, we at Black Star Co-op are excited to announce our celebration in recognition for Earth Day. We are an environmentally friendly business model whose founding put importance on reducing our carbon footprint. As many of you may know, we are a scratch kitchen who proudly serves from farm to table. The majority of our vendors are local, we donate our spent grain to a Texas farm, and every day we practice composting and recycling. All of these choices play an important role in taking care of our planet, and we are not alone. Black Star Co-Op is one of a handful of breweries that are LEED Gold Certified.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.

2.2 million

2.2 million +

square feet is LEED certified every day with more than 92,000 projects using LEED.

flexible

Flexible

LEED works for all building types anywhere. LEED is in over 165 countries and territories.

sustainable

Sustainable

LEED buildings save energy, water, resources, generate less waste and support human health.

valuable

Value

LEED buildings attract tenants, cost less to operate and boost employee productivity and retention.

Achieve better buildings with LEED

Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several categories, including energy use and air quality. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then earns one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum

2.2 million

Certified: 40-49 points earned

sustainable

Gold: 60-79 points earned

flexible

Silver: 50-59 points earned

valuable

Platinum: 80+ points earned

In our build-out the founders decided to set indoor environmental quality goals to provide a pleasant, healthy, non-toxic environment for employees and customers. The strategies they chose were:

  • Specifying low-VOC emitting materials
  • Designing the HVAC system with carbon dioxide monitoring
  • Installing separate exhaust systems for the restrooms and the brewery
  • Use exterior shading to reduce the thermal effects
  • Multi-zoned air conditioning
  • Controllable LED Lighting
  • Water efficient plumbing system

We want to commemorate our stewardship by celebrating with our industry peers who also practice sustainability. It’s important to know that your money is going towards businesses who are working on a better tomorrow for all of us, so please join us on Wednesday, April 18th to enjoy a night of appreciation for this wonderful planet. We will have a tap list made from breweries who practice environmentally safe actions, and cheers each other knowing we’re making a difference.

Here are the breweries that will be featured for our Earth Day Tap Takeover and some of what they do:

  • Jester King : has installed solar panels and runs a farm on 58 acres of land in the Hill Country
  • Hops & Grains : recycle spent grain into dog treats
  • Circle : Tap handles are biodegradable
  • Texas Beer Co. : Installed solar panels
  • Rentsch : Operates on wind power
  • Alaskan : First brewery to install and operate a carbon dioxide reclamation system
  • Anderson Valley : 2006 installed an array of 768 solar-panels atop their brew house and employee parking structure
  • Bell’s : Recycled 1.24 million pounds of solid waste in 2017
  • Great Divide : Has a storm water protection system
  • Odell’s : 11,000 sq. feet of solar panels = 5 percent total power (the rest is powered by wind)
  • New Belgium : Asheville location tasting room is LEED Platinum, the brewery is Gold and the distribution center is Silver
  • Sierra Nevada : Mills River location was the first production brewery to receive a leed certification and it was Platinum

Please stay tuned to our facebook event for what beers will be on for Earth Day Tap Takeover!

By Roger Corrales

Hop Madness ’18 Results

March has come to an end yielding, the results of Hop Madness!!! Thank you for all the support and follow through by participating weekly. This year’s selections were as follows:

Austin IPAs
1. Last Stand, Citra SMaSh – 10 votes
2. Black Star Co-op, We Got A Winner – 12 votes – Winner
3. Independence, Stash IPA – 5 votes
4. Austin Beerworks, Fire Eagle – 5 votes

Texas IPAs
1. Noble Ray, Tactical Combat Fireman – 19 votes – Winner
2. Martin House, Friday IPA – 16 votes – Consolation
3. Weathered Souls, West Coast IPA – 14 votes
4. Real Ale, Axis IPA – 12 votes

National IPAs
1. Founders, Azzaca IPA – 28 votes – Winner
2. Great Divide, Hop Disciples – 12 votes
3. Alaskan, Husky IPA – 14 votes
4. Sixpoint, Bengali IPA – 10 votes

Finalist
1. Founders, Azzaca IPA – 8 votes
2. Black Star Co-op, We Got A Winner – 11 votes
3. Noble Ray, Tactical Combat Fireman – 12 votes – Winner
4. Martin House, Friday IPA – 5 votes

Congratulations to Noble Ray for making our crowd favorite, Tactical Combat Fireman IPA! It will be on tap for the month of April. Come get some!

P.S. If you liked the blind IPA tasting we’re bringing back Mystery Flight Mondays starting April 9th. Guess two out of four beers correctly (multiple choice guessing game) and receive a free house rational beer! Cheers!

By Roger Corrales

Pink Boots Society

In the flustering month of March where Ausitinites have to share their city with the rest of world it becomes easy to hide from the masses. Here at Black Star we’re going to be celebrating the women of our industry for Women’s History Month. On March 21st we’ll be hosting the Austin Chapter of Pink Boots Society for a Tap Takeover!

The beers we’ll have on will represent who is participates in the community. These are the female movers and shakers in the beer industry. They get the beer brewed and fermented with the highest possible quality. They also own breweries, package the beer, design beers, serve beers, write about beer, and cover just about any aspect of beer, and they are all women. Most importantly, they teach each other through their own seminar programs, and help each other advance their beer careers by raising money for educational scholarships.

P—Passion I—Integrity & Inspiration N—Networking K—Knowledge
B—Beer & Brewing O—Opportunity O—Open Exchange of Ideas T—Teach S—Success

Come by and meet all the bad ass women influencing the beer industry as they will also be having an open chapter meeting with a meet and greet portion as well. Hope to see you all here.

Cheers!

RSVP

By Roger Corrales