UPDATE, JUNE 20: Jake Maddux and Ned Elliott, who had been slated to run the culinary program of Maddux’s brewpub, have parted ways. Keep an eye on this blog for updates about the Brewer’s Table, including who will take Elliott’s place.
EARLIER: For the second year running, the Austin360 staff has compiled a list of people you’ll want to keep an eye on next year — creative, inspiring locals with big plans for making the city better than ever.
The person I chose for this 2016 look-ahead, which you’ll find in print on Sunday, is Jake Maddux, a beloved figure in Austin’s beer scene who’s finally about to open a brewery of his own. I’ve included the text from Austin360’s “What creative Austinites plan to do in 2016” here, as well as some additional details to get you hyped for Maddux’s space (as if you weren’t already):
If he’s being honest, Jake Maddux isn’t too fond of the word “brewpub” — at least not when it comes to the project he’s been envisioning for years and is finally going to open this summer.
The Brewer’s Table, an upcoming restaurant and brewery at East Fifth Street and Springdale Road, is putting an equal focus on the food and the beer, something he hasn’t quite seen exist in Austin yet. He’ll be in charge of crafting the beer while Ned Elliott, owner of the top-rated North Loop restaurant Foreign & Domestic, heads up the culinary side (Elliott will remain a big part of his first restaurant). And each program will center on the use of wood: wood-fermented lagers made from American oak foeders and puncheons and wood-fired cuisine from an 8 1/2-foot fire pit grill.
“There’s nothing like wood. It adds so much character,” Maddux said. “There’s literal history because it’s carbon from the past. I think it adds a nice bit of life to food and beer.”
In addition to the half-dozen house beers on tap, the Brewer’s Table will have about 30 guest beers as well, including three — New Belgium Fat Tire, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anchor Steam — that he plans to have available at all times because they are “the foundation of the beer world.”
Maddux would know. He started out his time in the beer industry at Anchor Brewing in California and also worked briefly at New Belgium Brewing in Colorado before coming down to Austin, where he brewed at Thirsty Planet and now heads up Salt and Time’s beverage program. Inspired by the hard work he grew up seeing his aunt Julie put into her Tulsa restaurant, he has long wanted a place of his own where people come together for a good time with food and drinks.
And since moving to Central Texas a few years ago, he’s known exactly where he’s wanted that place to be: somewhere in East Austin, the side of town where he lives and works and has found kinship in the likes of Josh Hare, owner of Hops & Grain; Jeff Young, co-owner of Blue Owl Brewing; and the three co-founders of Zilker Brewing.
The Brewer’s Table will join their breweries as yet another beer-focused community hangout, albeit with about 140 tables inside and outside, plus a kid’s play area and other draws to encourage people to “stay and enjoy life,” he said. One of those is an actual brewer’s table on a mezzanine level overlooking the dining area. Maddux is teaming up with Kevin Stewart, an architect who’s designed other places in town like Dai Due and Emmer & Rye, to bring this vision to life.
Right now, though, the Quonset-style hut where the Brewer’s Table will be is still an empty shell. Maddux has got quite a bit of planning left to do — and some dreaming, too, about his deeply personal project.
“Almost every day I go to my empty space and just sit there in the middle of the floor and meditate a little bit,” he said. “Look at the floor plans and envision what it’s going to become.”