East Sixth Street continues to boom with nightlife options — including the upcoming Lazarus Brewing, the brainchild of pastor Christian Cryder.
He’s found two buildings at the corner of East Sixth and Chicon streets, across from Whisler’s and down the road from fellow urban brewery Zilker Brewing, to transform into a veritable beer haven. Because he has so much space to work with, he wants Lazarus to brew up a range of styles, from IPAs to wild ales.
Most notable about Lazarus is that it’s going to be what Cryder calls a “pints-on-premise operation,” a brewery that isn’t so concerned about having its beers in stores or bars.
“Our focus is not on distribution or trying to get our beer into as many places as possible,” Cryder said. “Instead, our focus is on creating a space where people really want to hang out, all through the day multiple times a week… This is the kind of brewery we fell in love with when we discovered craft beer, and we felt like it hadn’t really caught on yet in a place like Austin.”
Lazarus Brewing will have a lot to lure you in and keep you there, too, once it opens by what Cryder hopes will be October. In addition to the beer, produced from a 10-barrel system, the brewery will have house-made root beer, kombucha and espresso, as well as Topo Chico, Mexican Coke and even a selection of wines.
“We’re kind of saying, ‘What kind of beverages play a big part of people’s lives? and let’s create a space that brings all of those together under one roof,'” he said. “With street tacos. You can’t go wrong with great tacos.”
The benefit of having two buildings — one the former Bike Texas space, the other the old Cool Store — means that in addition to the more accessible beer styles Lazarus will have, the brewery also has room to make rarer styles that take time to come to life.
“We have a unique opportunity to create specialty beers that are much more challenging and interesting,” Cryder said. “Think sours, wilds and barrel fermented beers — almost like a mini-Jester King right in the heart of Austin. And some of these will be high-gravity seasonals that we package in 750s and sell on premise for people to take home. ”
Cryder developed his love for beer in much the same way other professional brewers have: after having an unsatisfying career in another industry. He worked in software for 14 years, he said, before deciding to change course and become a pastor. That’s around when he began homebrewing using the hops he planted in his garden — and, after partnering up with Missoula, Montana’s Big Sky Brewing to make a beer called All Souls Ale for a charity event, he realized he might be ready for another career change.
“And now it’s finally becoming a reality: the funds are raised, we have an incredible location, an even more incredible brewer, and all systems are go,” he said, adding that Lazarus is waiting another couple of weeks to announce who the brewer will be.
The name of Cryder’s brewery pays homage to his second profession — one that historically has deep roots in Old World brewing.
“It comes from the Bible — Lazarus was a guy that Jesus raised from the dead,” Cryder said. “I like the imagery of death to life. I like the irony (modern brewing has Christian roots; I’m a pastor starting a brewery), but mostly I just think it’s a great, strong name that feels like it fits my own story. So we ran with it.”
For more information, visit lazarusbrewing.com.