The early supporters of cans versus bottles to carry our craft beers, Oskar Blues Brewery has finally opened its Austin location on Metric Boulevard with a large taproom and plenty of canned brews.
Its arrival means that Austin is now the home to one of the country’s largest craft breweries: Oskar Blues ranks as the 14th biggest brewery in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association. None of Austin’s other breweries come close in terms of sales. But the brewery aims to fit in here, not stick out.
And Oskar Blues is doing that already, by offering the sort of place locals would want to visit. The brewery’s Tasty Weasel taproom, at a sprawling 5,000 sq. ft, has plenty of seating inside as well as outside on a long deck, and the taproom’s central feature is a stage where bands will play five days a week beneath a colorful mural designed by SprATX, a collective of street artists and muralists.
The space, at 10420 Metric Blvd., also hearkens back to its former recycling center roots, as the taproom is a mixture of new and salvaged pieces — such as the wall to the right of the stage where vintage speakers stack tall.
Like Oskar Blues’ other locations in Colorado and North Carolina, this one will “probably take on a life of its own because of the people who work here,” Chad Melis, Oskar Blues’ marketing director, said. “They’ll build a culture that’s unique to this place.”
At the same time, the Austin brewery — capable of producing more than 100,000 barrels of beer per year, although its initial capacity is much smaller — fits easily into the fun-loving vibe of the brewery’s other locations. Choosing Austin as Oskar Blues’ next city had been an easy decision for employees.
“Elements of Austin were already in the fabric of Oskar Blues,” brewery founder Dale Katechis said on a June visit to the Austin location. “Irreverence, authenticity, live music. That’s one of the reasons coming here gained momentum naturally early on. We didn’t have to spend time on buy-in, which is good because with our company, the pirates run the ship.”
At the moment, Oskar Blues’ Austin outpost has only four of its 14 total canned options available at the taproom for $4: Dale’s Pale Ale (the flagship), Pinner Throwback IPA, Oskar Blues IPA and Mama’s Little Yella Pils. Eventually, however, visitors will have many more beers to choose from, including some of those same ones on draft. Food trucks will provide the grub.
And on Sept. 17, the brewery plans to throw an official grand opening party. If Oskar Blues’ annual Burning Can “Extravacanza” is any indication, it’ll be a celebration worth attending.
Oskar Blues is opened from 4 to 8 p.m. daily, although these hours will expand to 12 to 10 p.m. daily once the brewery gets draft approval. For more information, visit oskarblues.com.