Chad Misner and Jon Lamb, two young married dads living in Cedar Park, don’t have many choices to pick from when it comes to a hang-out in the area with good beer or coffee. There’s the Dig Pub or the League Kitchen and Tavern for beer, Roasters Coffee Cafe for coffee. But they’ll soon be adding another option for both beverages when they open Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co., a brewpub on Parmer Lane that will roast its own coffee and offer live music, small plates and about 15 to 20 mostly local guest beer taps in addition to the six or so in-house brews.
Along with Zack Gardner and Jared Hill, the beer and coffee gurus involved, Misner and Lamb hope to open Red Horn, which is currently under construction and awaiting a couple permits, by Christmas — a date that can’t come soon enough for them. “All I want to do is bus tables and talk to people,” Misner said.
Although they won’t be able to start brewing until all the proper equipment and permitting comes in, they already know exactly what beers they plan to brew year-round: a blond, a red ale, an IPA, a brown ale and a coffee milk stout.
“We’re rolling out with these to start,” Gardner said. “We didn’t want anything too outlandish because Cedar Park is still a growing beer market, but we also know there are some craft beer fans that live here.”
That’s why they’ve got a blond ale “to act as a crossover,” he said. “It’s clean and light, akin to Bud Light or Fireman’s 4,” and it’s sessionable at under 5 percent ABV. Their goal with this beer, he said, is also to lower the gluten content in it using a method that some other breweries have been experimenting with; they’ll test every batch and note the parts-per-million of gluten in each on the beer menu.
But for beer enthusiasts who are already into hops and unusual ingredients, Red Horn will offer the others, as well as a rotational tap featuring seasonals and off-the-wall beers — maybe some with fruit and others that have been sour-mashed, Gardner said. The IPA, clocking in at around 7 percent ABV, will be the brewpub’s only high ABV beer. The brown ale will be a nod to a lesser known version of the style, the Texas brown ale, “a surprising marriage of dark maltiness with high hop aroma and flavor.” And the coffee milk stout, to be served on nitro, will incorporate (what else?) the beans that the Red Horn baristas will roast.
The Red Horn guys have been producing small test batches of these beers with Gardner’s homebrew equipment to get them ready for commercial production. He’s been homebrewing (which means, for him, tweaking the homebrew recipe and making it his own) for five years now, ever since the University of Texas professor teaching his class on Czech culture took him and his classmates to Live Oak Brewing.
He didn’t know he’d be able to take his brewing skills to the next level quite so quickly, however, until Lamb, his former coworker at a home building company, reached out to him on Facebook.
The idea for Red Horn had been percolating at the back of Lamb’s mind for a few years before his and Misner’s families took a 15-hour road trip to Destin, Florida, together two summers ago. Sitting up in the front seat with a long drive ahead of them, the two friends “brainstormed probably a million different business plans,” Lamb said. His old dream was among them, and it wouldn’t simmer quietly in his head any longer. He and Misner, entrepreneurs at heart, wanted to own and run a business. Specifically, they thought Cedar Park could use a bar that put both beer and coffee front and center, rather like Austin’s Brew & Brew and Radio Coffee & Beer have done.
In addition to the beer and coffee, Red Horn will have sandwiches, cheese plates provided by Antonelli’s Cheese Shop and other light fare. There will be live music on certain days and a large outdoor seating area overlooking a wooded expanse. And you can expect to see the two co-founders, Lamb and Misner, always helping out behind the scenes.
“We had other jobs, but there was an entrepreneurial fire in us that wouldn’t stop,” Lamb said. “This is what we want to do.”
Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co., 13010 W. Parmer Ln. Ste. 800. http://www.redhornbrew.com.