Guest article by Judy Rae Merhar
At the intersection of East Sixth Street and Chicon, you’ll notice a spruced-up teal structure with a navy crest logo reading Lazarus Brewing Company. A barrage of open garage doors allow melodies to drift onto the street. Next to me is a parked pickup with a friendly golden lab wagging its tail from the truck bed. The scene appears like an open invitation to explore this new Austin brewery, and so it is.
Smart and Minimal
Freshly varnished mahogany tables and an elongated bar glisten under a plethora of light bulbs strung from exposed rafters. One nook offers a cozy setting, complete with a 1940’s Moroccan rug flanked by a caramel leather sofa, chairs and a few soft-lit floor lamps. Outside is an inviting dog-friendly patio with numerous picnic tables. When the glass garage doors are open, the indoor and outdoor spaces merge seamlessly.
I can’t help but notice what’s absent: kitsch. Plum walls without ornamentation (with the exception of a silver elk head), and no mirrors, posters, knicknacks or televisions to distract patrons from being present, in the moment. At Lazarus Brewing Company, time is soft, unhurried and uncomplicated.
Lazarus Brewing Company’s Cast of Brewmaster and Bartenders
I’m served by a jovial fellow whose unruly strands of black curls bounce as if choreographed to his laughter. True to Austin’s eclectic scene, the approachable bartenders and waitstaff could easily pass as academic professors by day or trapeze artist by night.
The head brewer, Matt Couch, is an interesting guy, too: raised on a dairy farm, he studied Classical, Ancient Mediterranean, and Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology at Penn State and traveled to England to study beer (obtained diploma in British brewing). Couch is well-rounded. And lucky for me, he has brought his experience and expertise to Lazarus Brewing Company.
Libations and Vittles
Couch has crafted four beers:
- Dry stout
- English IPA
- Double IPA
- Belgian strong golden ale
…with many more in the works. The “Achilles Heel,” a dry stout on nitro, is my favorite. Fresh, smooth, mildly rich and topped with a quarter-inch of thick, creamy goodness floating above the coffee-colored liquid. I also sample a few sips of my husband’s “Amandus,” a Belgian strong golden ale. If mead and the Belgian beer Delirium had a love-child, this is it: sweet, heavy and loaded with flavor.
In addition to beer, there’s a quaint but thoughtfully selected list of wines. And if coffee is your cup of tea (which they have, too), your tastebuds will be rewarded by the custom Slayer Espresso machine.
You won’t find a complicated or expensive menu. Most food items cost under five dollars. You will find fresh, housemade vittles. In addition to tacos, the menu includes fried chickpeas, house chips with pico and queso fundido (coming soon). My warm pollo verde taco was filled to the brim with tender, moist chicken and topped with fresh chives, onions and delicious slices of guacamole. The salsa and lime wedge enhanced each bite.
Lost Art Rekindled
Lazarus Brewing Company reminds me of the simple beauty created by 20th century painter, Norman Rockwell. His works depict a lost art form, the art of communication. Lazarus is more than a spot to grab a tasty beer and taco. Lazarus allows patrons to partake in a pastime Rockwell found inspiring, and one that is possibly more sustaining than our need to satisfy our thirst and hunger, the longing for fellowship.
At times, the world may feel complicated, lonely and loud. Lazarus reminds me that it doesn’t have to be.
1902 E. 6th St. — Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
Have you been to Lazarus Brewing Company yet?
A traveler without a destination, a scholar without a degree, Judy is perfectly content to follow her meandering path only in anticipation of what turning the next corner may reveal. Her work has been published in Belgium, India and the U.S.