Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery

BEER AVG
3.57/5
Black Star Co-op Pub & BreweryBlack Star Co-op Pub & Brewery
PLACE INFO

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

7020 Easy Wind Drive, Suite 100
Austin, Texas, 78752
United States

(512) 452-2337 | map
blackstar.coop

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by MEsquandoles on 12-09-2010

BEER STATS
Beers:
62
Ratings:
318
Reviews:
51
PLACE STATS
Score:
91
Ratings:
70
Reviews:
23
Avg:
4.11
pDev:
8.03%
 
 
Taps:
26
Bottles/Cans:
30
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 23
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

I've never rated Black Star? Shame on me!

What I like is that they're a co-op, in that the people who work there are involved, not just uncaring and mindless people running the show - and that comes through in the service and the quality of the food and beer produced.

The atmosphere is perhaps the only thing that's lacking as it's kind of modern black-silver-etc. with a lot of hard surfaces and it almost has a beer-cafeteria feel.

The food is very good for what it is, which is kind of "basic type pub foods" but with a modern-healthy twist. There are Burgers and Fish & Chips, but there's also an Avocado Club and "Tempeh Rachel"! Some Texans might wrench back in fear of this, but I find it interesting and exciting! I also feel that in general, across the board, the prices are reasonable. You might be able to find food for less elsewhere (Fried Jalapeños for $5 -can that be beat?), but it won't be the same quality; and all of the food has a fresh character that you just cannot get at chains.

The beer follows suit, and although it might not be the best out there, it's certainly bright and fresh and well-done; and there are usually 9 on tap. In general, they also stretch beyond the usual with about half of their taps - and keep in mind, their beers are chosen by their members. Something "Rational" might be a rye-pale ale with citrusy and floral hops, but something "Irrational" could be an Imperial IPA with strawberry, lemongrass, and lime juice. It could be anything, and it changes all of the time. They apparently do even crazier beers but I've never seen one myself.

I'd certainly recommend a visit, especially as they're not far from Pinthouse Pizza.

 1,681 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Overall I really liked this place, I visited it for the first time while here in Austin, TX on business as a chance to socialize with my co-workers. The place had a cool vibe and there was music playing but not so loud as to effect conversation.

I found the staff/servers to be knowledgeable about the different beer offerings they had and helpful with a suggestion to some of my co-workers that are not as into craft beers. I like the process of going up to the counter to order and get beers whenever you are ready and not having to wait for a server to come by. I also can appreciate the no tipping policy.

I think the prices were pretty reasonable, we had a round of 5 beers for about $22.

We only tried a bit of the food but what we sampled was really good.

 765 characters

Photo of Dicers
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of greenspointexas
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of champ103
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I love the idea of a Co-op brewpub, but the execution needs some work. As I walk in there is a line out the door, and every table was full. No big deal, it is a Friday night. The building has that sterile, or industrial kind of feel to it. I think it is intentional, kind of a hip thing I guess. All the tables, chairs, and stools look like they were bought at Pier One though. There is a concrete patio outside as well. I was lucky to find a seat at the bar. Though it was right by the cash register, and I had to share elbow space with everyone else trying to order.

There is no table service, just get in line and order. They do not wait, so you better know what beers you want and what you want to eat the moment your turn comes. It seems like they try to shuffle as many people in and out as quick as possible. Which is annoying to me.

I had a pulled pork sandwich. I enjoyed it. Nothing special, but filling and good.

The beers are mostly standard. A pale ale (that was out), amber, IPA, and stout. After trying the house beers, I think I would be happier with the other local options they have instead. I do like that they have a bunch of other local Texas beers as well. I was just unimpressed with their beers. Nothing bad, just bland. The quality was not very good for me. They need to get some of the yeast out of the beer. Literally, I could of scooped the chunky yeast out of some of the beers with a spoon. The one other non house beer I had (the new Circle Brewery) just tasted off as well.

I get that a Co-op is going to be run a little different. Though this place was just to much of a hassle for me to go back.

 1,634 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Todd
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of LittleDon
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

West Coast/Colorado tasting room atmosphere with decent tap selection and simple but good pub food.

Visited on a Friday for lunch. The crowds had not yet arrived, so it was easy to find a table. Very open industrial feel. Lots of glass and steel. Reminded me of some of the places I've been to in Colorado and So. Cal. Counter service only. I had a (house made) veggie burger with fries, both of which were much better than average. I am reluctant to rate the food higher, since what they offer is very simple pub fare. Same goes with the service, which was quick, friendly, and knowledgeable, but counter service nonetheless. Prices were very reasonable.

What I liked the most:
*Nice selection of on-site brews plus guest taps. Maybe twenty-five to thirty taps in all with 1/3 devoted to house beers.
*The atmosphere was inviting. When I lived in Longmont, I would regularly go to the Lefthand tasting room. This place gave me the same vibe (and has much better food).
*The coop business model.

What I liked the least:
*Parking was surprisingly hard to find for a Friday lunch. It's located in a mixed use development with most of the parking garage dedicated to residents. On while there were only about a dozen people at the Coop, and fewer people walking around the retail shops, I wound up on the third floor of the garage.
*The location. I live in South Austin.

What would get me to return?:
I'd love to return, but I'd have to do so at a time of day where it wouldn't take me an hour to get there. If it was in my neighborhood, I'd be there often.

 1,561 characters

Photo of iRun2Beer
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Photo of elNopalero
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I’ve managed to visit Black Star almost every time I’ve been to Austin in the past year. Which is: not often, but enough times to get a good feel for the place. On my first time I was one of just a handful of folks in the place on a mid-week evening. The last visit happened to coincide (happy coincidence!) with their one-year anniversary and the place was completely packed.

Across the board this place is great. They have a no-tipping policy only because, as they are eager to inform, they are paid a living wage and benefits. How many places can boast of that? I’m not sure if this explains why all the worker-owners are amazingly friendly but I’ve yet to visit where I’ve had anything but incredible, welcoming service.

The beers I’ve had have all been interesting. Some worked, some didn’t, and a few really knocked it out of the park in my opinion. I’m glad to see them try some interesting and different things with their brews—like a hoppy dark ryePA or a California common (in Texas!).

Finally, while I tend to be critical of pub grub and brewery food for a number of reasons it’s primarily because if I’m drinking world-class beer I want food to match, especially for the (oftentimes) inflated prices I’m being charged. I’ve had dishes at beer destinations that were fantastic, and I’ve had meals that would have been sent back at the greasiest of greasy spoons. Black Star Co-Op falls firmly into the former, not the latter. On my last visit I had a grilled vegetable sandwich that has, upon reflection and about a month’s passage of time, entered the Parthenon of good food experiences. The bread was grilled and charred with just the right balance between toasty crunch and smoky burn, topped with a series of veggies equally flavorful and filling. I have been to few vegetarian-friendly places that get their grilled veggies this good, and the last time I was at a burger joint/bbq place that had something comparable was almost a decade ago. So my praise is not given lightly.

Thank you, Black Star. Here’s to many more years of welcoming service, fantastic food, and great beer!

 2,135 characters

Photo of mig100
4.15/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of cfrobrew
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of JamLand
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3

I really want this place to succeed. I love the concept behind the place. However, every time I go I am continually disappointed. The atmosphere and service are always good. The beer selection can be hit or miss. It depends largely on how many local brews they are selling. We have a booming beer scene in Austin, unfortunately, not all of our breweries make great beer. I've tried most of their house beers and nothing has been special, so far. The biggest problem I have with this place is the food. Everything I/my wife/my friends have tried has been below average.

Overall, I will still keep trying this place because I want the concept to work. However, for someone visiting Austin, if you are in the area, stop in for a beer, but eat some where else.

 758 characters

Photo of Junichi
3.42/5  rDev -16.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.75

Photo of BGsWo22
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.75

Photo of wisegreensoul
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of wagenvolks
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Black Star Co-op was in the planning stages for what seemed like forever. And, needless to say, it has been worth the wait.

The pub itself opens up with a modern/industrial look, high-ceilings and clean lines around the bar area. Great lighting, too, and while the voices can get loud when the Co-op is packed, it never reaches an intolerable level. Quality is top-notch, and I have a feeling the kegs and tap-lines are regularly monitored for freshness.

The service is a tricky category to rate, as Black Star has its ordering procedure set up similar to the Draught House in which you wait in a (often long) line, order, then take a seat with a number. If you want another beer while you're eating, you usually have to get back in line while your food gets cold. Plus, the cooked-to-order food comes out at different times which can make things awkward for larger parties. Still, I tend to prefer my food that way--piping hot and served when it's ready. And the food at Black Star is nothing short of spectacular for 'pub grub' (if you can call it that). Great variety of high quality snacks (cheese/meat plates, beer-nut toffee, etc.) and the food I've had has been excellent (try the fish and chips!).

Selection is a well thought-out lineup of mostly Texas taps, and Black Star currently is rotating through their house-made beers (only had the Vulcan at this point, which was pretty good). They also have several bottles you can buy.

The prices are somewhat steep for food, and beer is more expensive than other places, but for good reason: the workers are paid well enough that Black Star does not accept tips. So if you factor in ~$1 tip for beer, it all works out.

Bottom line: one of my favorite new places to get a pint in Austin. Kind of wish I had become a member earlier on in the founding of this place...

 1,825 characters

Photo of Karibourgeois
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -15.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Photo of MLDucky
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

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Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery in Austin, TX
3.57 out of 5 based on 318 ratings.
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