Chances are, you have strong opinions about the motorized rental scooters that are now prolific across downtown Austin. One local brewery certainly does and has made a new IPA playfully — and bluntly — jabbing at our latest transportation option.
The owner of Hi Sign Brewing, Mark Phillippe, wants to make one thing clear with the release of No Scooters Double IPA. He's not "personally opposed to them," he said, but the beer is nonetheless intended to poke fun at the dockless devices that have become nuisances when they're not in use.
"I named it No Scooters simply because after driving to and from work in East Austin, I’ve started to see all these scooters either laying on the street, up on a curb, cruising down the middle of the vehicle lane, etc. and just felt like making a joke about how many scooters there are around town," he said. "It’s like they’re piling up on every corner, gone by afternoon, then refreshed every morning."
No Scooters was one of three canned beers that debuted this weekend in Hi Sign's east side taproom — all of them double IPAs going full-tilt on the style's hop-forward profile. Since opening a couple of years ago, Hi Sign Brewing has specialized in making IPAs, one of the most popular styles in the country today. In addition to No Scooters, Hi Sign released cans of Super Astronaut Double IPA and 3-CPO Double IPA.
Super Astronaut is a hopped-up version of one of Hi Sign's best brews, 3-CPO a not-so-subtle nod to "Star Wars." But it's the No Scooters Double IPA, an aromatic, pillowy ale, that has caught on with Austin. KVUE highlighted the scooter-hating beer this weekend, and additional publications like Eater Austin have followed suit.
This level of attention is not something Phillippe expected at all.
"I figured I’d get a call from an attorney in LA about 3-CPO before people would do a story on No Scooters, much less give it statewide coverage," he said. "But it’s a really great beer, and (Hi Sign brewers) Andrew and Graysen have done an excellent job with it, so ultimately if it gets people into the taproom and exposed to what we’re doing behind that big pile of dirt in East Austin, then I’ll take it."
The "big pile of dirt" is an ongoing construction project along the 183 corridor that has affected Hi Sign Brewing, making it more difficult for potential customers to find the brewery at 1201 Old Bastrop Hwy. It's not the sort of area where you'd find people whizzing by on scooters.
With the No Scooters beer, however, Phillippe emphasizes what some people have felt is a big problem with the scooters: that they obstruct Austin's public walkways when not in use, sometimes creating tripping hazards.
"The scooters are like the coaches in 'Cinderella' — great when you need to get to the ball or bar or whatever, but after midnight, instead of pumpkins, they turn into metal litter on the lawns and curbs of Austin neighborhoods," Phillippe said.