Inspiration struck Ben Siegel late at night while jonesin’ for a drunk nosh, impatiently waiting in the long line at the Best Wurst sausage and hot dog cart.
He wondered “why can’t there be a restaurant that serves great sausage and beer?” And now there is.
The newest addition to the red hot Rainey Street District, Siegel’s brand-new-as-of-Monday Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden has 30 varieties of house-made sausage and 103 beers on tap.
While it isn’t exactly a shrine to all things swine, busts of domestic pigs (not boars) are mounted on the walls. Pig takes a prominent position on the menu with traditional selections like bratwurst next to inimitable creations like BBQ bacon and shrimp sausage served with white cheddar grits.
If you’re like Jules in Pulp Fiction and don't eat pork, try the fried chicken sausage. Its chicken thighs wrapped in chicken skin, soaked in buttermilk and fried just like southern fried chicken. “It looks like sausage, eats like fried chicken and tastes like awesome,” says Chef Aaron Zarczynski.
Banger’s will keep it exciting with recipes from artisan sausage makers from around the country and a steady stream of game meat from Broken Arrow Ranch such as south Texas antelope and venison. And don't forget the ten different sauces to spice them up; everything from curry ketchup and spicy mustard to aioli.
But you can’t have a beer garden without beer, and Banger’s has that in spades. Designed to be one of the best beer bars in the country, the bar has one of the largest tap walls in Texas with 101 taps and two cask engines. And blessedly, more than half the taps are dedicated to Texas brews.
Beverage director, Chris Booth, formerly of Black Star Co-op, hand-selects picks interesting and unique beers and rotates them frequently to keep the menu fresh. He chose two very different beers to be the first two on cask.
For those who want more than one beer, Jester King Drinking in the Sunbelt, a super dry wheat beer with a rustic, Saison flavor and only 3.9 percent alcohol. At the other end of the spectrum, Chris chose the Real Ale Sisyphus Barleywine Ale, an intense English ale with a whopping 11 percent alcohol that is well suited for the less cold, less carbonated style of a cask pull.
The confluence of sausage and beer makes a magical eddy. Chris stocks plenty of German style lagers and Czech style pilsners that go really well with sausage. He also suggests beer pairings to go well with their sausage. One of his favorite pairings is the Duck, Bacon and Fig sausage with the Rogness Beardy Guard, an earthy malty farmhouse style Biere de Garde ale.
The spacious outdoor beer garden has communal seating for about 200 people, a stage for live country music, and even a fenced area for your dog to chill off leash. Siegle’s bulldog, Miss Pickles, will be on hand daily to keep other dogs in line with a stern look.
Banger’s is a perfectly relaxed space to explore gallons of new beers and sample an ever developing menu of artisanal sausages. “My goal with Banger’s was to create a place I would want to hang out at in Austin,” says Siegel.
Finally, a full restaurant with great sausage and beer. Dreams do come true.