Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blackstar Co-op Review

I was very excited when I heard that Blackstar Co-op brewpub was actually open for business. When I first heard of Blackstar it was just a group of homebrewers and beer enthusiasts who wanted to share their love of beer with everyone. Since then they've actually built their own brewpub, and are preparing to brew their own beer for their official opening in mid to late October. For their soft opening until then they are serving a very nice selection of 20 craft brews from around the country, with a heavy emphasis on local breweries (Live Oak, (512), St. Arnold's).

I was sure the beer was going to be good, but I was curious about the food and service. Blackstar takes the English orderly queue style for ordering beer and food (think Draught House), but has a very modern open ambiance. The servers will not accept tips, and instead respond that they are paid a "fair and even wage". Personally I find this very refreshing... I'm not a big fan of the tip system, and I like not having to add 20% to my check at the end of the night. Despite this, the prices are very reasonable for both their food and beer.

Lindsay and I ordered Shrimp and Grits, Popcorn Tofu, and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Everything was amazing, especially the shrimp and grits. The grilled cheese came on some good sourdough bread, and with English chips (ie, fries) seasoned with plenty of garlic. Typically I'm willing to overlook some bar-food quality of good beer, but that's not necessary here. Needless to say, I'm sold.


Andy said...

Great to hear! But where is said Blackstar Co-op if I want to visit it? :)

Luke Robison said...

It's at Lamar and Airport in that new apartment complex, right next to the commuter train stop

Chance said...

I visited this week as well and found it refreshing and delicious. It's great to have a bar up north with local brewery selection. Look forward to when their brews are up and running though.

Tommy Sandwiches said...

Looking forward to visiting here. What is tofu popcorn, and how was it?

And what I still can't figure out: what are the benefits to BS membership? Philosophically, I can get behind the co-op model. But have yet to hear any compelling reason to pony up $100.

Jodi said...

I can't wait to check it out. Let me know when you two lovebirds want to go back with me and Adam for a drink!

Luke Robison said...

@Tommy The tofu popcorn was fried squares of tofu with a little bit of chili powder and salt for flavor. I'd never seen them before, but I like it.

I'm not sure what the real benefit of a membership is. I think you get somewhere between 7 and 12% off your tab, which would only be worth it if it were your primary hang out. You also get voting rights for how things operate, what brews, etc. It wasn't clear to me if they were going to provide any dividends to members, but some of the higher membership levels seem like they would need it to justify the cost.

Plus of course it's cool to say you own part of a bar. :-)