Behind the Scenes at Pinthouse Pizza South Lamar
In just three short years, Pinthouse Pizza has made it’s mark on the Austin craft beer scene with it’s amazing line up of mainstay beers, guest taps and delicious pies. When the South Lamar location opened up in late 2015, south Austinite’s rejoiced to have the family-friendly craft beer mecca come to their neighborhood. Pinthouse Pizza South Lamar (or PHP2 as it’s fondly known) opened up in the Brodie Oaks shopping center with the same basic layout as the Burnet location and plenty of craft beer on tap. So what’s makes the south location stand apart from the flagship location? Plenty. I met up with the south location’s head brewer Jacob Passey to get a behind the scenes look at what makes this location unique.
The system itself is a 7bbl brewhouse the same as the flagship location, but with a bigger brewdeck in an enclosed space. According to Jacob, it allows the brewers to have “full production capability without having to stagger things because of what’s happening in the restaurant”, so the brew day doesn’t get interrupted by the restaurant business. It’s also all located on the ground floor and not stacked like the Burnet location.
Another key difference is they have created an enclosed temperature controlled space that houses one open top fermenter dubbed ‘Lil’ Sebastian’. Pinthouse added brewer Rafel Arsuaga to the team who has a strong background in saison fermentation in order to experiment with open fermentation, according to Jacob, “giving us the opportunity to start playing with some of the yeast strains that we haven’t ever dealt with before”.
To compliment the open fermentation brewing, they also have a 3rd completely separate temperature controlled space that currently houses a mix of wine barrels.
The Line Up:
The line up at Pinthouse Pizza (PHP2) is distinct from the Burnet location in a couple of ways. First, the PHP2 location is producing 8-12 beers per week, almost double that of the north location.
The focus will still remain on hop forward ales, IPAs in particular with Electric Jellyfish IPA being the flagship, but the open top fermentation program allows them to also focus on Belgian style beers, some of which will eventually end up in wine barrels, “Clean and Spirit barrel beers will stay at the north location”, according to Jacob, creating a reason to visit each location for a different line up of barrel aged beers.
However, the PHP2 regulars will tell you that it’s the Electric Jellyfish IPA that draws the crowd! They were out of it when I was there and Jacob mused, “yeah, I underestimated that one…” Electric Jellyfish will also be Pinthouse’s initial offering for distribution in the Austin market along side Working Stout in late January 2016, followed by some favorites like ATX Pale Ale, Fully Adrift DIPA and an all new IPA Warning Shot. The line up includes a popular series inspired by mountain biking that also includes some popular Pales and IPAs.
The space feels very similar to the nice open, family-friendly environment at the flagship store with a few notable differences. The outdoor patio at the new location is much larger destination style patio. It also features a rolltop bar with four mainstays on tap, “generally it’s only staff during the busiest hours”, Jacob clarifies.
Another big surprise at the South location is the cellar program. The restaurant has been collecting beers for over three years now and they boasts an impressive selection of bottles to go.
Video introduction of the new location courtesy of Pinthouse Pizza South Lamar.