As a vegetarian and a beer lover, I know all too well the pains of not being able to attend that amazing beer dinner because trendy meats like bacon, pork belly or duck fat have crept their way into nearly every course of the feast–sometimes even dessert.
And perhaps nowhere is meat more ubiquitous than gastropubs, establishments that combine a dynamic bar program with gourmet pub grub.
But one upcoming Tarrytown gastropub, The Beer Plant, will be going in a very different direction, combining craft beer, cocktails and wine with a 100 percent vegan menu.
According to a press release that dropped this week, “The Beer Plant aims to highlight the celebratory and sensual aspects of plant-based eating…This will not be a “fake meat” type of place; think pickled, smoked flavor-forward pub fare such as savory vegetable pot pies, Irish lager stew and unique curry bowls.”
One of the things The Beer Plant Co-Owner Ray McMackin is particularly excited to focus on is beer pairings. “Like wine, beer opens the palate in dynamic ways,” Ray said, in an interview with Bitch Beer. “We love pairing specific beers with specific foods — a blonde ale with crispy fritters, a porter with roasted beets, or a dry stout with a Shepherd’s Pie — and we intend to explore ways of doing this both in-house and with various breweries.”
Austin vegans can rest assured that The Beer Plant team will be putting just as much effort into their vegan-friendly beer list as they are with their menu.
“Fortunately, avoiding animal products in beer is easy, since very few beers use them,” Ray said. “Focusing on regional craft beers, we’ll [just] be avoiding dairy and honey, so no big deal there. A number of the Irish and British beers, [like] Guinness use isinglass (fish bladder) in the filtering process, and it can leave a residue. But these are not the type of beers we would be focusing on anyway. The vegan community can rest assured that we’re very committed to maintaining high standards, and will always do all we can to keep all of our food an beverages 100% plant-derived.”
The Beer Plant hopes to open doors in a few months. Keep up with them on social media (links at the bottom of this post) for more details as they approach the opening.
Check out the complete press release below for more information on The Beer Plant:
Coming To Austin 2015: The Beer Plant The First Plant-Based Gastropub
(AUSTIN, TX – March 20, 2015) Austin will soon be home to the first gastropub where all menu and drink options will be 100% plant derived (vegan). The Beer Plant will combine craft beer, wine and cocktails with a menu of hearty, artfully prepared plant-based fare. Knowing Austin’s love of great food and drink, healthy living and environmental awareness, The Beer Plant’s creators know it’s the perfect location.
“We wanted to create a place where craft beer and vegetables could share the spotlight,” says co-owner Ray McMackin, who’s called Austin home for the last 35 years. “A place where folks can eat clean and drink clean. Austin is the ideal spot for a concept like this.”
Ray and his wife Sarah McMackin are currently in the designing, permitting, hiring, and menu-development phase.
The Beer Plant aims to highlight the celebratory and sensual aspects of plant-based eating, “We are avid craft beer drinkers who love great food,” says Ray. “At home, we enjoy turning guests onto vegetables prepared in new ways and paired with a pint. We’re flavor enthusiasts and we’re always in the kitchen.” This will not be a “fake meat” type of place; think pickled, smoked flavor-forward pub fare such as savory vegetable pot pies, Irish lager stew and unique curry bowls.
Discover Your Roots
“We’ve seen the ‘farm to table’ eating trend explode with a heavy emphasis on meaty fare; we want to offer a more ‘garden to table’ dining experience – all the plants minus the meat!” says Sarah, a health counselor and program manager for the nutrition education nonprofit Oldways. Sarah has helped to spearhead nutritional cooking programs that celebrate traditional foods and diets of cultures from around the world and oversees 90 sites in the US that teach traditional plant-based cooking. “My palate has certainly been influenced by my work, both in my travels and studies of cultural diets. I’ve been amazed to find that most traditional eating patterns, worldwide, are naturally more plant-based than today’s standard American diet. Vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds – traditional cuisines use these ingredients in remarkable ways for timeless dishes, and that’s what we plan to do at The Beer Plant.”
The Beer Plant will feature exciting beers from the front lines of the craft beer revolution, with a particular emphasis on sours, farmhouse styles and session beers. It will also offer a well-curated wine list, including local wines on tap. For the more spirit orientated, there will be a full bar with an emphasis on fresh and creative cocktails using botanical mixology.
The Beer Plant team includes Ray, Sarah, and two other partners in Fort Lauderdale, Steve Cogswell and Blaise McMackin (Ray’s brother). Blaise brings an impressive track record of successful restaurant experience to the team including Tap 42, a now legendary craft beer bar & kitchen in Florida, and The Green Bar, a plant-based restaurant. “In some ways, The Beer Plant will be a hybrid of these two successful concepts”, says Blaise. “A cool twist here is that the restaurants I opened in Florida were partially inspired by Austin places, and I love the idea that Ray and Sarah will bring it full circle.”
The Beer Plant will be located on Windsor Road, in old west Austin. The Beer Plant team aims to be a vital part of the Austin and old west Austin communities, delivering a unique dining and drinking experience to Austin and a friendly neighborhood eatery/pub to a part of the city that has been somewhat underserved for eating and drinking establishments.
Famed chef Jose’ Andres claims that, “vegetables are the new bacon”; whether that’s true or not, The Beer Plant will bring home the “new bacon” to a town that already has plenty of amazing places to sip a craft beer and enjoy the old bacon. Austin is a city that enjoys having an enviable array of choices to drink and eat – and The Beer Plant will be bringing a new one to the table.
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About The Beer Plant. The Beer Plant will be located at 3110 Windsor Road, Austin, TX 78703. Opening is set for early Fall 2015. You can like The Beer Plant on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thebeerplant and follow them on Instagram (thebeerplant) and Twitter at @thebeerplant.