Whitney – Co-Founder & CEO
In 2005 I came to town for Austin City Limits music festival and fell head over heels for this city. Afterward, I drove back home to Dallas with tears in my eyes and an overwhelming feeling that I was leaving the place I was meant to be. In 2007 I returned to ACL where I ran into a friend who would turn out to be my future husband. Chris stole my heart and gave me the best possible excuse to finally get down here and start my life in Austin. After nearly a decade, I still can’t imagine living anywhere else.
My first brewpub experience was actually popping into Uncle Billy’s on the walk toward Zilker Park for ACL. Their Agave Wheat was so refreshing and reminiscent of the first craft beer I ever tasted, a Celis White, way back in college. Back then I was very fortunate to have friends who appreciated quality beer and our favorite haunts were Belgian beer bars. The intoxicating complexity of the Belgian styles was the first to grab my taste buds and was the catalyst for my interest in exploring every beer style; studying history, sensory and pairing; slinging beers at Adelbert’s Brewery and eventually sitting for the Certified Cicerone Exam.
When Chris and I got married in 2010, our vows included promises that Chris would always have a homebrewed beer on tap that I enjoyed and that I would always give him honest feedback on his beers. With vows like those, I think we were destined to pursue a project together that involved beer. We began to dream of opening a place of our own that combined all the things we loved most about our favorite brewpubs. So for three years we researched and brainstormed and wrote a business plan and found amazing investors and raised money, and along the way, we learned that we were doing something that people believed in.
When we set out to complete our management team, a homebrewer friend introduced to us Kristie, and it was love at first sight. With her vision, experience and sense of humor we knew right away that we wanted this lady in the trenches with us. I admittedly stalked Dave in a Facebook group called Punk Rock Kitchen. His passion and personality shined through in his beautiful food posts, and somehow I knew before we met that he was our chef. When we met both of them for the first time, they listened to us go on about our crazy ideas and, eyes wide, they nodded along like they had dreamt the same dream too. Now we all complete each other’s sentences and joke around like old friends.
At The Brewtorium I’ll challenge our beertenders to “Make No Assumptions,” training them to engage with our guests, ask questions and make beer & food suggestions based on a guest’s personal preferences with no preconceived notions. I look forward to curating a warm, comfortable brewpub experience that feeds your soul and feels like home.
Chris – Co-Founder & Head Brewer
Shortly after moving to Austin in 2004, some new friends blew my mind with a Real Ale sampler six-pack and Sierra Nevada pale ale. I had already begun to drift away from macro light lagers years before after spending a month in Germany drinking fresh kölsch, altbier and hefeweizen. My growing interest in flavorful beers combined with moving to a house mere blocks away from Austin Homebrew Supply led me to look into making beer at home. Every time I would drive by it and see the “make your own beer” sign it got me thinking – “What *would* it take to do that?”. The answer, it turned out, was a little over $100 in equipment and ingredients and a few hours on a Saturday afternoon in the summer of 2005. I was hooked before the boil was even over. Cleaning & sanitizing equipment, measuring ingredients and the smell of the boiling wort combined into an experience that immediately captured my interest. I was ensnared. There was no turning back.
After seeing a flier in the homebrew shop, I sought out the Austin ZEALOTS homebrew club and not only got terrific guidance and feedback on my beers but also made many lifelong friends. The friendliness and supportiveness of the homebrewing community is a perfect example of why I love living in Austin. Not only did they help me to become a better brewer and introduce me to many more beer styles but they are the first to step in and lend a hand whenever help is needed. They also prompted me to enter homebrewing competitions, which provided more feedback on my beers. And, of course, winning medals further boosted my confidence and fueled my obsession with making the best beers that I possibly could. Some folks like to point out that 2008 was both the year that Whitney and I started dating and also when I started brewing award-winning beer. Coincidence? Maybe not.
My hobby quickly led me to convert a spare bedroom into a tiled fermentation area which a friend dubbed my “little brewtorium”. She even made a sign for it that now hangs on the wall of the garage brewery in our house and later inspired our name. After years of casually talking about the prospect of opening a brewpub, Whitney and I finally got to the point of the serious “Are we really going to do this?” discussion. It was the first of many life-changing milestones along the way to realizing our dream. I look forward to many more as we work to delight our guests every time they visit us. Prost!
Kristie – General Manager
In February of 1993, after finding myself with a big tax refund check I bought a $1200 Dodge Daytona from a friend’s dad, packed up my yellow cat and left out of Cut N Shoot, Texas for Austin.
I was jamming out to Jane’s Addiction as I popped over the railroad tracks at 290 and I35 heading into downtown to my new apartment. The car stalled out and I had to coast into the parking lot of The Warehouse pool hall. I had about $20, a lamp, blankets, and a pissed off yellow cat, so I did what any girl would do – I went inside, hired a tow truck, hustled some pool, shot some darts, and made some long time friends.
I like to say I “grew up” in the downtown service industry scene – I was most certainly educated by some truly talented individuals. Coming from a homebrew background, I thought I knew a little about small batch brewing. It wasn’t until my Z’Tejas colleagues and I hit up The Bitter End and I bellied up to the bar and asked for a Shiner Bock that I realized I was….wrong.
Ha! I didn’t know anything about craft beer. I started with the Camaro SS and ended the night with a Jack Black downstairs at B-side. That was my epiphany! I started drinking, learning, and finding all the microbrew I could, which wasn’t a lot in those days.
Fast forward to May of 2015 when a mutual friend in the Austin Zealots homebrew club suggested I meet Chris and Whitney. After 16 years with Z’Tejas, and time spent at other Austin notables like Texican Cafe, Frank, La Mancha, and North by Northwest I was ready for a change and they were looking for someone to consult them on the restaurant side of their dream brewery. At our first meeting we drank Chris’ excellent homebrew, noshed on great food, laughed and talked shop in their front yard under the big oaks. The stars aligned, we instantly clicked, and there was a feeling that if we could recreate this moment at a brewpub for all of Austin to share it would be magical.
The very first time I met Dave, I knew he was going to be our Chef. For months Whitney and I had pinterested food ideas, beer pairings, plating ideas, menu possibilities – and when we showed him our ideas, he didn’t even wince. He just sat back looked at us and whispered…. Bratsticker. Boom!
My driving goal with The Brewtorium is to cultivate a space that has the perfect combination of craft beer thoughtfully paired with craft food in a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere where you can meet old friends and make new ones over a pint. I want to bring back that Old Austin charm that made me fall in love with this city.
Dave – Executive Chef
Though I didn’t know it then, at the age of five, in my mother’s kitchen, I would find two of my passions in life: cooking and playing the drums. I’d pull out all the pots and pans not being used and a wooden spoon and begin drumming while my mother and grandmother pulled together feasts for the family. Years later, I’d take the cue from these two ladies and learn to use the same spoon and pots to pull together flavors that tasted a lot better than my kitchen floor drumming ever sounded. But to my parents dismay, I invested in a drum set to further hone in on my phat beats.
While I recognized my passion for drumming right away, my love for food and cooking didn’t manifest until I applied for my first job as a dishwasher at the San Antonio establishment, The Grey Moss Inn. Two days in, the chef pulled me aside and started teaching me the ins and outs of the kitchen. The next thing I knew, I was in the trenches on a busy Friday night and hooked on the rush of being a professional cook.
By August 2000, when I moved to Austin, I’d worked in all aspects of the service industry – from dishwashing to waiting tables, from cooking to bartending. I had gained a greater respect for craft food and the art of a well run restaurant, but it wasn’t until I began working as a beverage manager for the now shuttered South Austin favorite Strangebrew that I gained a love for craft beer.
Working at Hays Store in Driftwood, TX in 2015, I was able to build more confidence in the kitchen by cooking outside of my comfort zone; trying new flavor pairings, testing new ideas and not being afraid to fail in order to succeed. Like a proud parent, I posted all my creations on social media. Mine just had a little more parsley. Good thing too, because it caught the eyes of Whitney and the rest of The Brewtorium crew.
Craft beer and craft food go hand in hand in its creation and its consumption. Today, I’m excited to bring them together and offer new ideas to Austin at The Brewtorium. Using a modern approach to traditional brewpub food, I’m thrilled to be using the freshest ingredients to feed your mouth and fill your glass.