Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews with bars and restaurants, we do not make critical evaluations.
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Brandy and J.T. Egli once lived in Iowa, each pursuing their own career and busy schedule. They dreaded being apart, and their work lives created a lot of stress. Feeling the need for a reboot, they visited a cousin in Austin, Texas, and immediately felt a strong connection to the city. 3 months later, they'd moved down and began calling Austin home.
Brandy and J.T. were avid homebrewers and were eager to try as many Texas beers as they could find. Before long, says Brandy, they "fell in love with Texas craft beer. We also fell in love with the beer community, the people, and the environment—we felt like we could really fit in."
They decided to take the plunge and open a bar that served exclusively Texas-made beers. After months of searching, the found their ideal location on the now-bustling Rainey Street. In 2010 when they were developing the concept, the Texas craft beer scene was just beginning to rise. Today, they say that they're "fighting to make space" for all the beers that they want to offer at the bar, which opened February 28th. They're serving beers from 23 Texas breweries out of 54 draughts and 2 casks.
J.T. feels that the beer community has been "very receptive of the concept" in the bar's first few weeks. He welcomes those who aren't super-familiar with craft beers, saying, "We'd much rather bring people into the culture than shun them. It's all about the conversation."
During SXSW, they are offering a "Taste of Austin" beer flight that features operations manager and beer guru Chris Booth's favorite local brews. If you're hungry, the Bacon Truck is parked out in their spacious, live-music-ready patio.