Austin Beerworks’ new taproom officially opens Saturday

You might have noticed the building next door to Austin Beerworks transform last year. Large, rainbow-tinted letters spelling out the name of the North Austin brewery were visible from the street and lit up at night, bright and welcoming.

But Austin Beerworks’ new taproom and brewing space wasn’t quite ready for visitors until recently — and to mark the official opening of the neighboring building, the brewery is throwing a party on Saturday with more than 20 different beers on tap.

From 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, you’ll be able to sip some of these suds by paying $15 for three beer tickets and a commemorative glass (a temporary move back to the way Austin Beerworks used to sell beer; now, you can simply buy one pint at a time). The party will also have food trucks Quality Seafood and East Side King on hand and live music playing throughout the day.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Celebrate Austin Beerworks' new taproom and brewery at a grand opening party Saturday

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Celebrate Austin Beerworks’ new taproom and brewery at a grand opening party Saturday.

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Austin Beerworks’ co-founders Michael Graham, Michael McGovern, Will Golden and Adam DeBower have steadily built one of the largest breweries in town — while still distributing their canned and draft offerings only in Austin. Upon outgrowing their cramped quarters at 3009 Industrial Terrace, they decided they needed more space to brew, snapping up the building next door when it became available.

Now, the 16,000 sq. ft of new space greatly supplements the existing location of 8,000 sq. ft., which Austin Beerworks will keep for overflow seating and other uses.

With the new brewery, the four co-owners have larger offices, enough room to serve up to 250 thirsty visitors and a custom-built quality-assurance lab to boot — all smartly designed by Michael Hsu, the architect behind the South Congress Hotel, the Lamar Union development and other modern commercial and residential properties around Austin.

For the Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, “the main goal in the expansion of the brewery and tasting room was to relay the vibrant and fun personality of the Austin Beerworks team,” Hsu said. “It had to be a fun place, seriously fun, but not serious. If beer were a building this would be it, I think.”

Among the features of the taproom are “custom-hinged windows, (which) unfold to form a social standing bar and open the tasting room to the active lawn area,” he said. “The windows also combine with large skylights to bring natural daylight to the beer-making process and eliminate the need for artificial lighting even on cloudy days.”

In addition to approving his design, the brewers purchased Odell Brewing‘s old brewhouse system, which will allow them to just about double current brewing capacity at roughly 40,000 barrels annually.

That means we’ll get more Austin Beerworks brews in cans — with seasonal beers like the popular Bloodwork Orange IPA becoming year-round. Just don’t expect the brewery to expand too quickly.

“We’re doubling capacity right off the bat with these six tanks, and we have room to add seven or eight more depending on how crazy we want to get. But we’re in no real rush to max out or even increase capacity that much right now,” Graham said in December. “I think the first thing we want to do is get used to this brand-new system (because) the recipes don’t scale. We’ll do some test batches and make sure we’re comfortable before anything else.”

For more information, visit austinbeerworks.com.

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