Recently I had dinner at Stiles Switch BBQ and remembered that Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery was right down the street. When researching the beer scene in Austin, Black Star caught my eye as a place I must visit. Black Star is the world’s first co-operatively owned and worker self-managed brewpub. Here is a quote from a Good.is article that describe’s some of their co-op principles:
“…(Black Star) offers their “worker’s assembly” a wage of at least $16 a hour. The co-op provides health insurance and bonuses, too. After a yearlong apprenticeship, every worker also has the duties of a manager—they can hire and fire, get access to the books, and make financial decisions. And they’ve banned tipping on principle. Service workers elsewhere can make more than $16 an hour on a busy night, but their wages are beholden to the whims of strangers, the shifts they’re given, the time they start working, even the weather.”
Since I usually pay cash when I go out for drinks, it was weird not having to tip every time I got a drink, but obviously I approve. Anyone can become a shareholding member of Black Star, it cost $150 and that gets you voting power, patronage refunds, the occasional free beer and more. Black Star also has a nice location, located in a new mixed retail and residential development, right next to the Crestview station of MetroRail.
So the concept of Black Star is pretty great, but how about the beer? Happy to report the beer I had was very enjoyable. I don’t remember the names of the two beers I got (unfortunately their website is down right now) but they were two hoppy beers but also had a good flavor profile to go with the hoppiness. Along with the beer they brew in-house, they also have a good selection of regional and national craft beers. Being a pub, Black Star also serves food, but I did not order any as I had just ate plenty at Stiles Switch. The menu looks pretty good though, so I’ll have to try the food out next time I visit.