For pastor and beer-loving entrepreneur Christian Cryder, Christmas is coming in a big way. His brewpub, three years in the making, is opening its doors for the first time on Dec. 24 in a prime location on East Sixth Street.
Lazarus Brewing will close briefly on Christmas Day and Dec. 26, but starting Dec. 27, Cryder hopes to lure customers into the homey space morning, day and night by serving coffee and breakfast tacos in the a.m., beer and more tacos in the p.m. He drew inspiration for his project from other local brewpubs in town, like the ABGB and Jester King Brewery, which offer so much more than beer.
But beer, of course, remains the centerpiece at those places and at Lazarus, too.
“In figuring out the design for this place, we wanted it to be clear that it’s not a restaurant serving beer,” he said. “We have the tanks visible behind the bar to make it clear that this is a brewery that happens to serve good food and coffee.”
At the helm of the beer program is a veteran of one of the larger U.S. craft breweries. Formerly the brewing manager of Victory Brewing in Pennsylvania, Matt Couch brings lots of crucial experience with him and a proclivity for brewing different styles of beer than the ones that Cryder, a big fan of IPAs, is familiar with making.
As a result of their preferences, Lazarus Brewing — named for the man Jesus Christ raised from the dead — will offer a range of sudsy options.
“Our brewing style, I don’t know how to describe it, other than that it’s eclectic and influenced from a lot of different places,” Cryder said. “We’re not camped in one particular style. The early ones we’re doing, there’s an emphasis on drinkability and covering the bases and demonstrating that we brew classic styles well.”
Expect Lazarus Brewing to open with a Belgian Golden Strong, an English IPA, a double IPA, a West Coast IPA, an English Premium Bitter and a dry stout on nitro. These and other coming beers will primarily be available at the brewpub, but Cryder said some will also go into 750 mL bottles that people can purchase and enjoy off-site. His main goal with Lazarus is to offer what he calls a ‘pints-on-premise operation,’ — essentially, “a model like the ABGB, where the experience is as appealing as the beer is.”
Part of that experience for generous beer fans is the Free Beer For Life program, which will (as the name suggests) give free beer for life to anyone who purchases one of Lazarus’ $1,000 Patron Saint glasses.
For the brewpub, Cryder purchased two buildings at the corner of Sixth and Chicon streets, in between cocktail bar Whisler’s and diner Counter Cafe, but so far only one of them is in use because the other building — the former Cool Store — needs a lot of work and renovation. In time, he hopes that it’ll become the facility where sours, wild ales and barrel-fermented brews get created. In between both buildings is a shaded patio area.
In the main building, a commercial kitchen will whip up tacos, house-made chips and salsa, and other Mexican food offerings fresh for visitors. The food menu, Cryder said, was purposely kept simple.
“I discovered tacos when I moved to Austin,” he said. “A lot of beer places do pub food like burgers or pizza, but to me, tacos seem like a natural food item with beer. I’d also say the cuisine fits in with this community of Hispanic heritage.”
The historically Hispanic neighborhood is also the reason why Cryder chose a bright color scheme for the exterior of Lazarus Brewing, painted to reflect the blend of beer and religion that serves as an important theme for the brewpub.
“We like color and wanted color, which is unusual in the industry,” he said. “A lot of breweries are very industrial, very gray. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we have the steel and the brick and the wood, which we think create textures that are very celebratory. And you can certainly see us from the street.”
He and his wife, Marilyn, also want to serve coffee at Lazarus, which is why the brewpub will open so early each day. She has 10 years of experience roasting coffee beans, so even though the coffee program will start out with only an espresso machine, it might quickly move to having a house roast with a bit of a focus away from third-wave coffee.
That style is all about “bright, exotic flavors like grapefruit, nuts and cherry, but also very acidic, so it has a sharp, almost sour flavor,” Cryder said. The coffee program at Lazarus aims to be more palatable.
Lazarus Brewing, at 1902 E. Sixth St., will open to the public on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to midnight. Starting Dec. 27, weekly hours will tentatively be set from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The brewpub expects to have a grand opening celebration in early January.
For more information, visit lazarusbrewing.com.
This post has been updated to reflect that Lazarus Brewing’s coffee program is a slight move away from the third-wave coffee trend.