“Have you tried that vegan place?” isn’t an uncommon question in Austin. But when a friend of mine asked me to join her at our city’s newest plant-based gastropub, I knew I was in for something noteworthy.
The Beer Plant, located in Tarrytown next to Austin Pets Alive!, pulls together the attributes veggie-eating Austinites adore most: good food, a nice vibe and tasty drinks.
Flavorsome Introduction to The Beer Plant
The Beer Plant only had dinner service when they opened in September 2016, and they’re still packed every night! But if you’re looking for a less busy time to drop in, their new lunch hours are perfect. That’s when I stopped by.
After glancing over the menu that includes Buffalo Cauliflower Wings (battered cauliflower covered in buffalo sauce and a side of bleu cashew cheese), a Purple Pig Sandwich (beet bacon with toppings and cashew mayo) and The Big Bend (BBQ sandwich plate), it was difficult to choose an entrée. One item stood out to me: the HOPs & Chips.
The HOPs & Chips is inspired by the pub favorite fish and chips, which vegans and strict vegetarians never get to partake in. The Beer Plant’s veggie twist uses heart of palm (HOPs) instead of fish, battered and cooked to crispy perfection. Heart of palm, which is pulled from the core of a palm tree’s stem, mimics the texture of fish while offering a more artichoke-like flavor. The dish comes with a scoop of delicious slaw and a housemade pickle. This dish is delectable and fun to chow down on in this cozy Austin pub.
Since I had to head back to work following my meal, I didn’t get a chance to try any of the cocktails or beers. But I contacted one of the founders, Sarah McMackin, to answer my burning questions about their brews and how The Beer Plant took root.
A Budding New Restaurant
As longtime vegans, Sarah and Ray McMackin decided to create the ideal eatery they would want to visit, where everything was edible (and drinkable) for vegans.
When they found a vacant spot in a Tarrytown shopping center, they hoped to make their restaurant special for the West Austin community as well as “a destination spot for plant-based and craft beer folks all over Austin and beyond.”
The ambiance of The Beer Plant immediately feels effortlessly executed and natural to the space. But upon taking a closer look, it’s clear the cordial atmosphere is no accident. Sarah McMackin shares, “We wanted to create a place that was cozy and a little snazzy, warm, romantic, lively and communal–a place to take a date or a group of friends to share vibrant plant-based plates and curated drinks…We used reclaimed wood for the bar, tables and seating built by local craftsmen, The McQueen Brothers.”
Tying it all together is Executive Chef Lou Mustachio who developed the imaginative dishes, including an accessible kid’s menu to attract customers of all ages and backgrounds. She also fashioned the cocktail menu that McMackin says “is forest-inspired, using herbs, botanical syrups, tinctures and housemade infusions, creating an inventive, earthy cast of delights.”
Try for Yourself
For vegans and vegetarians, trying a meal at The Beer Plant is a must. If you’re wary of trying vegan dishes, give the Cauliflower Wings a shot along with a glass of beer. McMackin guesses you’ll feel comfortable in no time at all.
The Beer Plant is located at 3110 Windsor Road. It’s closed on Mondays, but you can stop by from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for food, and stay until midnight to enjoy beer and cocktail choices. Happy hour takes place Tuesday to Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite menu item at The Beer Plant?