Beer belly

Here's an exclusive first taste of Austin's anticipated new restaurant that's all about beer

Exclusive first taste of Austin's new restaurant that's all about beer

The Brewer's Table
Dining at The Brewer's Table is meant to be a communal experience. Photo by Robert Jacob Lerma

Quick, what food do you picture eating with a cold pint of beer? Chances are the mental image you conjured is some combination of sausage, burgers, or pizza. But if The Brewer’s Table has anything to do with it, you may soon be loving your lager alongside swordfish belly lardo, a cabbage roll cooked in embers, or a simple salad made with spring peas and barley.

The highly anticipated restaurant gave CultureMap an exclusive first look at its upcoming menu. You may never settle for a Lone Star and a hot dog again.

That’s not to say that executive chef (and recent Tastemaker Award winner) Zach Hunter throws out the rule book altogether. His menu still recognizes the power of the grill. Instead of a stove, the kitchen is outfitted with a custom grill that can be configured to cook different vegetables and meats. This allows the chefs to introduce smoked and charred flavors to dishes like a cauliflower head that has been fermented and smoked for 12 hours, or a hearty burger with dry aged beef.

The menu is also built around the core belief that beer is food. Instead of merely working to find amicable pairings, Hunter dove deep into the history of beer, drawing inspiration from the regions most known for their brews and integrating ingredients commonly used in the brewing process to tease out unexpected flavors and minimize waste. Hop leaves are used in the harissa accompanying beer grain falafel and hen eggs topping an heirloom grain bowl are soaked in malt. 

The collaboration goes both ways. Owner Jake Maddux, an industry vet who has worked at Anchor Brewing and New Belgium, tasked head brewer Drew Durish with “pushing the boundaries of beer.” Along with beverage director Brandy Compton, they worked with Hunter to build drinks that work seamlessly with the culinary operations, using wood in the brewing process and ingredients like hop honey in a Bourbon-based drink, appropriately named Hop and Bothered.

The idea is to form a seamless operation. “When I think back to the best meals I’ve had, they have always revolved around experience — the space, the people, the conversation,” Hunter tells CultureMap. “Our menu was designed to create moments like that. Whether you are joining for snacks at the bar or our outdoor games area, ordering small plates for happy hour or sitting for a full meal at the chef’s counter, we hope to facilitate a good time amongst friends, and with a few beers.”

As such, most of the offerings are meant to be shareable, whether that’s a snack board for the table loaded with puffed lager chicharrones, venison ham, and a chicken liver tart or feasts meant to serve multiple people like a shellfish bouillabaisse or a ranch plate featuring crispy belly, mesquite ham, smoked butt, and grilled chops from a heritage red wattle hog.

The open space from local firm Design Hound, anchored by an expansive open kitchen, to helps facilitate that sense of community, too. Whether guests are seated at the chef’s counter or at scattered high tops and booths, almost every seat has a view of the kitchen, giving the space the homey feel of a giant dinner party.

The Brewer's Table welcomes its first guests on April 19. Check out the full lunch and dinner menus here.