The Austin Chronicle

Home's A Brewin': Craft Pride

By Ivy Le, April 26, 2013, Food

Craft Pride

61 Rainey St., 512/428-5571
Mon.-Fri., 4pm-2am; Sat.-Sun., noon-2am

It's ballsy to bet your family's livelihood on Texas craft beer, an explosive but young industry. "Two years ago, we probably couldn't have done it," said JT Egli, who started Craft Pride with his fellow home brewer, wife, and high school sweetheart Brandy. Back then, Texas touted fewer than ten breweries. "Now we're fighting for space," he said. The newest addition to Rainey Street at the River Street end has 54 taps of Texas beer and two cask engines.

"I'm proud to serve every beer up there," declared Chris Booth about the tap wall. Booth, whose official title is operations manager and beer guru, served on the opening crew at both Black Star Co-op (7020 Easy Wind Dr.) and Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden (79 & 81 Rainey St.). Ask, and the baby-faced cicerone will enthusiastically curate a custom tasting flight just for you.

"It's all about the beer," said Brandy Egli, who previously home brewed with her cousin Forrest Rogness, who owns Austin Homebrew Supply (9129 Metric Blvd.) and Rogness Brewing Company (2400 Patterson Industrial Dr.). "That motto streamlined the decision-making process for us," she said – and there were many difficult decisions for the pair with no industry experience. For instance, rather than hedge with any liquor options, as a bar veteran might do, they decided to custom-build a two-level cooler to store more kegs. Having opened the doors barely two months ago, the Eglis' idealism is still as fresh as a local IPA on draft, and the bar counter, made of a single slab of live oak wood, is still thousands of bacon-and-beer pairings away from acquiring a patina.

Reid Reynolds, part-owner of Bacon, the restaurant, designed the Bacon bus specifically for Craft Pride. The refurbished bus in the backyard area broadcasts its aroma hours before the bar opens. I asked Reynolds why he got involved, because reporters must ask the obvious questions. He said simply, "I don't know if anything goes better than beer and bacon."

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