With the new Brass Tap, the Domain is getting a brewery

Photo by Marcial Guajardo / Round Rock Leader. The Brass Tap franchise is expanding out of Round Rock and into the Austin city limits.
Photo by Marcial Guajardo / Round Rock Leader. The Brass Tap franchise is expanding out of Round Rock and into the Austin city limits, and the new location will have a brewery.

The upcoming second location of the Round Rock-based beer bar the Brass Tap was already supposed to be bigger than the original, but now it’ll also have something else pretty special: an on-site brewery.

At the new Domain spot, the Brass Tap will continue to offer a hearty list of draft beers from other breweries in fact, an even bigger selection of 100 taps, with an additional 10 for craft cocktails and wine. (Round Rock’s Brass Tap has 60 draft options, itself no small feat). But with the opening of the brewery component, which owner Steve Sheets doesn’t anticipate will go live at the same time the bar opens around June 1 this year, the Domain Brass Tap will also have beers made in-house that visitors can take to go in growlers.

Opening a brewpub “seemed like a natural evolution from the Brass Tap,” Sheets, who opened the Round Rock location in 2013, said. “One of the advantages of having an onsite brewery is that we can sell for off-site consumption all the beer that we brew onsite. I think going this route is just part of the evolving concept of craft beer. ”

His general manager is going to be the head brewer and has already been experimenting with a homebrew system, Sheets said, “testing recipes and processes. He plans to brew virtually every style. He brought me some samples yesterday, an IPA and a stout, and both were delicious. We’re really getting excited.”

But that’s not all Sheets has to be happy about. Last month, the Round Rock location earned a pretty thrilling honor: the best Texas beer bar according to Craftbeer.com readers. It was gratifying to receive, Sheets said, and also a sign that his business is on the right track.

“We don’t have the same 60 beers two days in a row,” he said. “We print menus two times a week, and by the time we set them out, they’re already out of date. Customers come in not because they have a favorite beer they drink over and over, but because they want to try a new beer they’ve never had before… No one is going to be bored with our menu.”

That’s likely to be the case at the Brass Tap Domain as well, which is opening across the street from the iPic Theaters with 8,000 sq. ft. and an accompanying patio area. The new location will have an increased focus on live music, a more comprehensive food menu and the growlers that Sheets believes is integral to his craft beer business. (As Texas law is now, bars with mixed drinks can’t also offer growlers for beers to-go, he said, but add a brewpub license and that changes.)

His bar won’t be the first Brass Tap location to become a brewpub, although it’s a fairly new venture for the franchise based in Florida. Two locations there also have in-house brewing systems.

The Brass Tap Domain will open in June at 10910 Domain Dr. Bldg. W. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/thebrasstapdomain.

Craftbeer.com readers name the Brass Tap as best Texas beer bar

A Round Rock spot has made it onto CraftBeer.com’s “51 Best Beer Bars in America” as the one and only representative from Texas.

While a bar from the suburbs on such a list might seem surprising, especially given all the other options out there, the Brass Tap was voted to the top by participants of a CraftBeer.com poll seeking to find out the best beer bars in each state. According to the website, more than 9,000 votes total were cast between August and December of last year.

Photo by Henry Huey for Round Rock Leader. The Brass Tap is a homey bar in Round Rock with live music, craft beer and pub food.
Photo by Henry Huey for Round Rock Leader. The Brass Tap is a homey bar in Round Rock with live music, craft beer and pub food.

Scroll through the roundup of America’s other popular beer hangouts you have the option to select Texas on a drop-down menu at the top of the page and you’ll find out why people have chosen the Brass Tap as Texas’ favorite, albeit in the Brass Tap’s own words.

A large part of the reason is, evidently, that the building is haunted.

The Brass Tap Round Rock has 60 rotating taps devoted exclusively to craft beers. Our tap wall changes every single day. We’re located in a beautiful 110-year-old building on Main Street in the historic district of downtown Round Rock,” according to the blurb on CraftBeer.com.

“The one thing we have that very few other bars have is the presence of two ghosts who have resided in the building for decades… Both of our ghosts are friendly and have never intentionally harmed or scared anyone, but some of our staff members are still very reluctant to be alone in the building after closing time!”

Spooky hauntings aside, the Brass Tap, with 200 bottles and cans in addition to the draft options, has already proven that it can hold its own against some of Austin’s other beloved beer bars. For one, it’s already got another location, this one closer into town in the Domain, in the works for an opening later this year. It was also one of the beer bars chosen in Austin360’s own readers’ poll about our city’s favorite places to grab a brew, coming in at number 8 out of 25.

Whatever your thoughts about the Brass Tap being chosen over other bars (and some of Austin’s biggest beer fans certainly have them, taking to Twitter this afternoon to muse about the results), you have to admit the bar’s beer list is solid. Local favorites like Blue Owl Brewing’s Dapper Devil and (512) Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Nitro Pecan Porter are just two of the offerings you’ll find there.