The upcoming second location of the Round Rock-based beer bar the Brass Tap was already supposed to be bigger than the original, but now it’ll also have something else pretty special: an on-site brewery.
At the new Domain spot, the Brass Tap will continue to offer a hearty list of draft beers from other breweries — in fact, an even bigger selection of 100 taps, with an additional 10 for craft cocktails and wine. (Round Rock’s Brass Tap has 60 draft options, itself no small feat). But with the opening of the brewery component, which owner Steve Sheets doesn’t anticipate will go live at the same time the bar opens around June 1 this year, the Domain Brass Tap will also have beers made in-house that visitors can take to go in growlers.
Opening a brewpub “seemed like a natural evolution from the Brass Tap,” Sheets, who opened the Round Rock location in 2013, said. “One of the advantages of having an onsite brewery is that we can sell for off-site consumption all the beer that we brew onsite. I think going this route is just part of the evolving concept of craft beer. ”
His general manager is going to be the head brewer and has already been experimenting with a homebrew system, Sheets said, “testing recipes and processes. He plans to brew virtually every style. He brought me some samples yesterday, an IPA and a stout, and both were delicious. We’re really getting excited.”
But that’s not all Sheets has to be happy about. Last month, the Round Rock location earned a pretty thrilling honor: the best Texas beer bar according to Craftbeer.com readers. It was gratifying to receive, Sheets said, and also a sign that his business is on the right track.
“We don’t have the same 60 beers two days in a row,” he said. “We print menus two times a week, and by the time we set them out, they’re already out of date. Customers come in not because they have a favorite beer they drink over and over, but because they want to try a new beer they’ve never had before… No one is going to be bored with our menu.”
That’s likely to be the case at the Brass Tap Domain as well, which is opening across the street from the iPic Theaters with 8,000 sq. ft. and an accompanying patio area. The new location will have an increased focus on live music, a more comprehensive food menu and the growlers that Sheets believes is integral to his craft beer business. (As Texas law is now, bars with mixed drinks can’t also offer growlers for beers to-go, he said, but add a brewpub license and that changes.)
His bar won’t be the first Brass Tap location to become a brewpub, although it’s a fairly new venture for the franchise based in Florida. Two locations there also have in-house brewing systems.
The Brass Tap Domain will open in June at 10910 Domain Dr. Bldg. W. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/thebrasstapdomain.