Photos and Text by Meagan Vitek
Texas pride (and Austin pride for that matter) is something that runs through the veins of nearly every state resident. Simply stating the words, “I live in Texas” radiates a sense of confidence and satisfaction, an impression that is perfectly illustrated in Davy Crockett’s famous quote “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” In Texas, we are unmistakably Texas proud.
Not far behind our state’s deep love for football, music and food lies a liquid passion that has the ability to unite strangers, bond friends and brand many of our memorable events. The liquid lubricant that sometimes flows more freely than water and might as well be pumping through Texan’s veins is beer. Our unquenchable pride was recently affirmed and sated after visiting one of Austin’s newest bars and one of Rainey Street’s newest residents – Craft Pride.
Nestled among the increasingly trendy bars of Rainey Street, sequestered within a deep red house, is Craft Pride, a bar that proudly serves beers that were born and brewed solely in the Lone Star State. 54 local craft beers line the rustic wooden bar, only presenting a fraction of the brews on offer and thus proving that Texas craft beer is alive and well.
It is an understatement to say that one can be Texas proud as he or she steps inside the elegantly decorated walls of Craft Pride, where it seems as though one has set foot in the confluence of city and country. The attention to detail doesn’t end with the microbrewery selections on tap, but radiates from every aspect, including the interior design. A Texas-sized map of our state, beautifully cut from pieces of wood, is displayed on the ceiling in the center of the bar. Each Texas Brewery is represented on the map by a backlit hole, allowing one to see the stretch of breweries in the state like stars in the sky. The ambience, all of which echoes the down-to-earth vibe of Austin, is a unique mix of dark walls and heavy wooden accents. Textured black damask wallpaper lines the walls of the lounging area, a spacious laid back room with wooden high top tables and couches. Approaching the bar, one transitions from the speakeasy feel of the lounge to the warm and rustic bar. The bar itself is made of a large tree trunk, chiseled and finished with a slight shine.
But the quality and finesse of the establishment isn’t reserved solely for the aesthetic. Craft Pride offers 54 Texas brewed craft beers on tap, illustrated on a large, colorful menu that is divided by type, each with a short description, thus allowing for easy choice navigation. Making a decision, however, is an altogether different matter. The unique selection of beer causes a ‘kid-in-a-candy-shop’ effect, as a thirsty Texan’s excited eyes scan the menu.
The patrons behind the bar speak very fluent “beer,” as if it were their first language, eager to share their knowledge and passion. The endless amount of information presented by our beer-tender, Tre, had us curious to know if there was anything he didn’t know about Texas beer. With a simple flavor preference, each beer-tender can offer several beer options, as well as unique mixtures and combinations to satisfy your liking. With a sample poured and delivered to your hands in seconds, decisions have never been so delicious. The staff’s contagious excitement had us asking questions, getting answers and left us with a sublime aftertaste, as well as a better knowledge of all that Texas’ brew craft has to offer.
In addition to the 54 beers on tap, Craft Pride also has two taps for ‘On Cask’ and ‘Nitro’ beers. As the only place in Austin that can nitrogenize their own beer on-site using a “beer engine”, we highly encourage you to try the Nitro beer, whatever it may be when one visits. Once the nitrogen is added, the result is an initial cascade effect, similar to a Guiness pour, as the nitrogen escapes from the beer. The flipped ratio of nitrogen to carbon dioxide creates a much creamier, full flavored beer. The On Cask beer is equally unique, as it is, literally, beer in the raw. Naturally carbonated and served at a slightly warmer temperature, this untamed beer is a rare experience.
Outside, in both the front and back, are comfortable patios for those looking to breathe the fresh Texas air, complete with a craft beer from the Lone Star State in hand. If hunger strikes, or if the travelling scent of freshly cooked bread and cheese causes a sudden craving, Detroit-style pizza is available from infamous pizza parlor, Via 313. Housed behind Craft Pride, Via 313 prepares out of this world pizza, all of which pairs perfectly with an ice-cold beer – a timeless and delicious combination loved by all.
While only Texas craft beers are available on tap, Craft Pride also sells bottled beer from all over in their Bottle Shop, a convenience store connected to the bar and accessible from an outside door. Several of the beers on tap are bottled and ready to take home, as well.
As fellow Texans who holds a special place in our hearts for Texas pride, we are confident in saying that Craft Pride puts the pride in Texas Beer. Drink up, Texas.