Although locals have been enjoying Friends & Allies Brewing‘s Noisy Cricket Session IPA for a little more than a year already, the brewery in East Austin hadn’t been up and running until recently. Now, fans of Friends & Allies can drink its beers straight from the source.
Friends & Allies’ taproom in East Austin is now open from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 4 to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday — although, after serving thirsty visitors since early March, the brewery is a little low on beer at the moment. Currently on tap is the Noisy Cricket and the newest release, the full-bodied Fresh Coast IPA.
Starting tomorrow, Friends & Allies will also have the Urban Chicken Saison back on tap, and on Friday, another tantalizing new beer is going on draft: The House of Orange, a tart orange ale. Eventually, co-owner Ben Sabin said via email, there will be a total of five beers on the tap wall, including the Springdale White Ale, named after the street where Friends & Allies is located, that debuted earlier this year.
Cans of the core four beers (Noisy Cricket, Urban Chicken, Springdale and Fresh Coast) are coming in late April or early May, he said.
Sabin and Devon Ponds teamed up to open Friends & Allies Brewing after meeting at their old apartment complex and finding a shared hobby in homebrewing. Ponds eventually moved to California, to become financial manager at Port Brewing / the Lost Abbey, while Sabin, remaining in Austin at Thirsty Planet Brewing, proved his chops at sales.
The two co-owners might have initially bonded over homebrewing, but they hired Nathan Crane, also formerly of Port Brewing / the Lost Abbey, to handle all the brewing on Friends & Allies’ 30-barrel system.
That’s quite a step up from his single tank at 4th Tap Brewing Co-op in North Austin. He used it as part of an alternate proprietorship arrangement that allowed Friends & Allies to introduce beer to the local market while the East Austin brewery was still a work-in-progress.
Because of his background at the Lost Abbey, Crane plans to have a variety of barrel experiments, including sours, in addition to the four main beers and some seasonal suds.
“When we brewed at 4th Tap, we only had one tank, so we could only really make one beer at a time,” he said during a tour last month. “Now, we can make the core four, and we’ll be able to not only keg the core four but can them as well. Then, on top of that, we have three or four seasonals already lined up.”
For his part, Sabin plans to continue with his successful sales strategy, getting Friends & Allies beers into all the bars and restaurants he can. In a crowded marketplace, he said, “that’s how you stand out: by having those relationships with people. If they need a last-minute tap handle, a keg of something, you deliver it. You get to know the bartenders and the people putting your beer on tap.”
But the aptly named brewery also wants to create a close community with the people who drink their beer, and that’s where the taproom on Springdale Road comes in.
“We’re not just about selling a bunch of beer,” Ponds said at the tour. “We want to be entwined with the East Austin community, and we want to harbor a passion for drinking beer.”
Friends & Allies is located at 979 Springdale Rd. For more information, visit friendsandallies.beer.