category Culture

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.

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.

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

Member-Owner Extravaganza

Hi Member-Owners! We had tons of fun at the last Extravaganza in February, and are looking forward to the second quarter Extravaganza on May 8th, 2018 from 6pm- 8pm.  The Member Assembly meeting will have come and gone, so we should have plenty to talk about. Pints and appetizers will be provided. I hope to see  you there!

By Marcus Wilson, your friendly neighborhood Board member