ABG Unofficial/Official Thoughts on Brew Exchange

Being the local knowledge experts that we are, we often are pinged for our opinions or expertise. Recently Culture Map asked us (Chris) for thoughts on the new West 6th street multi-tap Brew Exchange. If you know us in person, or follow us on our various personal social media channels, you’re probably aware that we can be a¬†swarthy,¬† jaded, and “skeptic” bunch.

Well since our recent quote was tied to Austin Beer Guide and was used to juxtapose the very enthusiastic and positive quote from our friend Matt Abendschein of YouStayHoppy, we thought it only fair to the folks at Brew Exchange that we share our opinion in full.

We understand that opening a bar is never easy, and opening something that focuses on craft beer on 6th street could possibly be an uphill battle and the last thing they need is some mouthy blogger casting aspersions. When asked for our opinion, we did not intend to come off as skeptical or negative and we wish them the best and are curious to check out the concept.

See my response bellow to the following emailed interview questions for the whole story:

  • What do you think about a new bar coming to town offering a large number of beers on tap (72) and in cans and bottles (around 100 total)?
  • Do you think the craft brew community will welcome a new beer bar with open arms?
  • Will you put this place on your list of beer bars to visit?
  • What do you think of the concept of fluctuating prices for beer?
  • Are you a fan of concept bars?
  • Do you think a concept bar feels authentic?
  • Do you think a concept bar focused on beer will go over well with a craft brew crowd? A crowd typically devoted to authenticity?

My response in full:

Hi Matt,
I have read some stuff about these guys, but know nothing outside of the press release.
I don’t have much of an opinion. Mainly I’m just curious to see how they will actually pull it off logistically. If popular beers are priced highest, does this mean they will serve the most costly PBR in town? And by that logic, will the less accessible craft beers be priced cheaper even though their kegs are priced at a premium? Maybe it will all balance out, who knows. Personally, I like going to bars where I know how much I’ll be paying for my evening out.
As far as the local craft beer community being open to a new bar, I think that really depends on how many of those 75 taps they dedicate to better beers, and how many of those they allot to local craft beer. I’ve observed that the beer bars that work at keeping their selection “fresh” and up to date with national and regional seasonal and special releases tend to be more popular with the craft crowd. The bars that just put on a Shiner, Fat Tire, and Fireman’s 4 and then think they’ve got their “weird beers” covered, don’t really make any sort of blip on the radar. It’s even getting so saturated, that merely putting on a distributor’s craft portfolio isn’t enough to raise any eyebrows among the local craft beer fans.
Better beer drinkers in Austin are looking for bars that consistently secure new seasonals, special one off releases, and actively work with the brewers to host special cask tappings or other rare beer events.
I hope this helps.

-Chris

We have no ill will with Culture Map or their reporter Matt McGinnis, we just wanted to be fair to the Brew Exchange folks.

1 comment for “ABG Unofficial/Official Thoughts on Brew Exchange

  1. February 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Hey Chris,

    I hope you didn’t think the editing of our email exchange was misleading in anyway. I thought your comments were straight-forward and optimistic for the prospects of Brew Exchange. You were right on in your remarks about a bar that had yet to open. The juxtaposition with the upbeat comments from Matt A. is the only reason it comes across as skeptical.

    Thanks much for participating in the story. I value your opinion.

    Cheers, Matt McGinnis

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