Just when you thought that every beer-soaked square inch of Rainey Street was occupied by a bar, another one squeezes into the scene. The newest entrant to the red hot bar district is Craft Pride, a Texas tap room that will start pouring craft brews at its grand opening on Thursday, February 28.
Husband and wife team JT and Brandy Egli are introducing 54 taps and two cask engines all pouring Texas-made craft brews in a remodeled house at 61 Rainey, next to Javelina.
It takes a little more than a big selection of beer to draw attention among the bars on Rainey Street, something that this team knows well. The Eglis designed Craft Pride with serious attention to detail, aspiring to make it the perfect beer den for Texas craft brew lovers.
“One thing absolutely necessary is for people to be comfortable. All the seats inside are cushioned. Even the big octagon outdoor picnic tables are comfortable,” says Brandy. Craft Pride will offer table service on its back patio and all bar service inside and on the front porch. The back patio also sports two stages for live music.
Of course the real draw is the beer, with a regular rotating supply of staples from 18 Texas breweries as well as seasonal and special beers. “We will serve proper pours in proper glassware. Craft Pride is using 20 ounce Imperial pint style glasses so we can pour a 16 ounce beer and leave room for a two-inch head,” JT says. “It’s a Texas sized pour. It looks great and lets you smell the beer. And we are offering flights of five four-ounce pours. Most places only give you four pours. Ours are Texas sized flights.”
The beer-focused design also extends to the cooler and a new draft system that features short lines from the cooler right behind the tap wall, so the beer is as fresh as possible from the keg to the glass. They redesigned the old house with the intent of getting as much beer as possible in the space by building up instead of building out.
“I think we may have the only two-story walk-in beer cooler in the country. It lets us get more beer and keep more space to accommodate guests,” JT explains.
In addition to the large selection of beer on tap, Craft Pride will also sell beer to go in its retail space called Bottle Shop. While the taps are all Texas, Bottle Shop will carry some non Texas beers like domestic IPAs and Belgian Ales.
Chris Booth, a Cicerone Certified beer expert formerly of Black Star Co-op and Bangers will make sure Craft Pride has a constant supply of the very best craft beers, while keeping service up to snuff. “We are fortunate to have Chris. He is committed to serving the absolute best beer and taking care of customers,” JT says.
To soak up all of those suds, Reid Reynolds, owner of Bacon Restaurant, will have a Bacon Bus parked in the back serving an ever changing menu with several items from the restaurant. Burgers, chicken and waffles, as well as a full family of pork — pulled pork, pork belly and pig wings — will be served alongside healthier options like salads, a black bean burger and grilled cheese. “Who doesn’t want to drink great beer and eat great bacon?” Reynolds asks.
The name Craft Pride reflects the couple’s love of all things craft, beyond just beer. The design of the bar reflects their appreciation of hand-crafted elements, using unique materials and architectural elements. The main bar, side bars and some tables are made from one monstrous Live Oak branch. All of the long leaf pine and curly pine on the interior wall is made of wood from the original house.
There is even a hand-made light fixture in the shape of an alpha acid molecule, the agent in hops that gives beer is edgy bitterness. “Architect Ryan Reynolds Design did a great job incorporating the original space with the feel we were looking for. The Historical Society even approved of it,” says JT.
For the grand opening on February 28, Craft Pride will be tapping special kegs and casks from (512) Brewing Co., Adelbert’s Brewery, Austin Beerworks, Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Hop’s & Grain, Jester King Craft Brewery, Ranger Creek and Real Ale Brewing Company.
Craft Pride plans to host new brewery launch parties as well “Meet the Brewers” nights soon after opening.
This story was first published on CultureMap.