Brewery Profile: Bindlestick Brewing Co.
Currently open for business in Leander, Texas
Matt Bigler and Dan Kernek have known each other since they were in grade school and have pretty much been inseparable ever since. They have always wanted to go into business together and while they were sharing an office in a tech firm, an idea blossomed from an old college business plan that earned an A+. Dan homebrewed for years and Matt’s Mom owned a homebrew shop – so naturally the college business plan was about opening a brewery. The team took the business plan and revamped it into what is today Bindlestick Brewing Company.
The name of the brewery stems from their desire to make beers outside of the box and use local ingredients. Bindlesticks are what hobos used to carry their belongings in while looking for work and represent the experiences they had along the way.
Their website says it perfectly: “We will enlist the spirit of pre-prohibition brewing in America that encouraged brewing outside the box and made each town a culinary highlight of local flavors”.
Dan is an experimental brewer, no question about that. He likes to push the boundaries and play around with flavors. What surprised Dan is how much people fell in love with his experimental recipes. One example is the Candy Mountain IPA that is brewed with a generous amount of fresh ginger. This was not the beer that the team expected to constantly sell out of, but it’s typically gone the minute it’s tapped.
The brewery has four mainstays and a spot on the tap wall for “Area 51”. Dan uses his 10 gallon homebrew system to come up with new beers and then taps them in the Area 51 spot. You can only get Area 51 brews at the brewery and they sell out pretty quickly.
The four mainstays include:
Chimney Stack Pale Ale – an American style pale ale that incorporates 10% Rausch malt to give it a unique slightly smoked flavor.
Candy Mountain IPA – a generously hopped IPA with loads of fresh ground ginger added giving it a slightly sweet flavor.
Monkey Wagon Amber – a malty amber ale with a slightly spicy hop profile.
Pullman Porter – 10% Rye full bodied porter with toasty flavors from the chocolate malt.
You will only find Bindlestick beers on draft for the time being and they are currently only severing a small market of about four customers including the Leander Beer Market, Dig Pub, Red Horn Coffee, The Brass Tap and most recently 600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse in Georgetown.
Opening a brewery together is Matt and Dan’s dream, so they are very clear about their future vison for the brewery. They want to start small, build credibility and slowly invest in growing the brewery over time. It’s important to them that they always retain majority ownership.
Bindlestick is located in a small industrial park in just off highway 183 in Leander and brews on a small 3 barrel brewhouse and an even smaller pilot system for experimental batches. Based on responses of the Area 51 batches during tasting room hours, they may move those up to full production. The tasting room features a special set of numbered picnic tables that are from the famous Wahlburg beirgarten. Working with Bluebonnet Beer Company, in Round Rock, Bindlestick is also one of the first breweries in Austin to use disposable kegs. This cuts back on costs related to losing and cleaning kegs. They feel that as a new small business, this made the most sense. It allows them to focus on making quality beer as opposed to worrying about keg deposits and getting shells back.
The brewery is still ramping up, so they have limited tasting room hours on Friday’s from 5-9pm.
However, this Saturday you can come out to the brewery for the newly added “Last Saturday’s” where they will be open from 4-8 the last Saturday of each month. Be sure to check them out this weekend for the very first Last Saturday event!
Location: 1309 Leander Dr., Ste. 504 Leander, TX
Hours: Friday 5-8pm and last Saturday’s from 4-8pm
Pay Structure: Cash and Credit
Kid Friendly: The brewery occupies a pretty small space, but kids are definitely welcome. Bring your camp chairs and your favorite kid distraction device.
Dog Friendly: Outdoor seating under tents and misters and water dishes for your furry friend.
Parking: The brewery is in a small industrial complex with plenty of parking.
Food: Food truck for the last Saturday events only.
Good to know: These guys are typically brewing in the evenings and on the weekend, so the Friday tasting room hours and last Saturday are your only chances to get out to the brewery and say hello.