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South Austin gem St. Elmo Brewing is home to fried chicken and a beer named Carl

Earl Hopkins
Austin 360
Carl is one of the permanent brews at St. Elmo Brewing Company. The brewery has an ever-changing letter-board menu of beers, as well as canned ciders and hop water.

St. Elmo Brewing Company has expanded its operations and flavors since the South Austin brewery opened in December 2016. 

Owner Bryan Winslow spent most of his early career home brewing and working at Austin Beerworks, where he learned the ins and outs of the industry and met his colleague and eventual business partner, Tim Bullock. Winslow and Bullock saw an opportunity to open brewery in South Austin. 

 The two gathered money from friends and family, and after getting a small business loan, opened St. Elmo. (In 2021, Bullock decided he wanted to be closer to family and moved back to Vermont, Winslow said.)  

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Bryan Winslow, owner of St. Elmo Brewing Company, says they have added events and work with other businesses at The Yard complex to build community at the South Austin brewery.

"The original idea was just to create a neighborhood brewery that focused on selling a bunch of different beers on-site," Winslow said. "But since then, we've slowly grown to have draft sales around town and now cans of (popular St. Elmo beer) Carl and hop water."

Winslow said the brewery has adopted a more community-focused approach, adding more events and working with the other business in the area. 

Along with award-winning beers and food from Spicy Boys Fried Chicken, events like Tuesday Trivia, Drag Queen Bingo and Grassy Thursdays have made St. Elmo Brewing one of the cornerstones of The Yard complex, the home of Still Austin Whiskey Co., The Austin Winery and other businesses.  

Given the brewery's success, a second St. Elmo location is expected to open in Northeast Austin by fall 2023.

"It will be a bigger facility, and we'll make a lot more beer and hopefully garner a new community over there, too," head brewer Drew Genitempo said. "It's pretty cool." 

Kofi James and Carly Rae King dance to the music of the bluegrass band the Hillsiders during Grassy Thursdays, a regular event at St. Elmo Brewing Company.

The scene

Nestled inside The Yard complex, St. Elmo's outdoor space is  filled with glowing string lights, picnic benches, roaming pets and a low-rising performance stage. 

The brewery's taproom contains bench seating and the large bar counter, with St. Elmo's signature and ever-changing letter-board menu sitting above its beer tap handles. 

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Between the two spaces, most patrons opt to enjoy a cool beverage outside so they can make a beeline to the Spicy Boys counter. Trust me, all it takes is one whiff of the Pan-Asian food truck's fried chicken and you're jumping to place an order. 

Maggie Martinez takes care of a customer at the bar at St. Elmo Brewing Company.

Menu highlights

St. Elmo is a small brewery that packs a lot of flavor. The first beverage under the brand was the Carl, a Kölsch-syle beer that remains one of the few mainstays on the space's rotational menu.

Along with new weekly releases like the Audrey, a Belgian pale ale with peppercorn, choices include the brewery's canned ciders, frozen beverages and sparkling hop waters. Patrons also can take some canned beers, ciders, St. Elmo hop water and bottled wines to go

To pair with your beverage of choice, Spicy Boys has several chicken options, with a menu that includes sandwiches, wings and nuggets available in a variety of flavors. The food trailer also offers vegetarian and vegan items like a fried tempeh sandwich, Malaysian roti, crispy cauliflower bites and shredded green papaya salad.

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Upcoming events

On Thursday, St. Elmo will host its weekly Grassy Thursday event, with local bluegrass acts performing from 7 to 9 p.m. on the brewery's outdoor stage. No RSVP or ticket is required.

St. Elmo Brewing is a popular South Austin spot for beer lovers and folks who want to hang out. The brewery is family and pet friendly with indoor and outdoor spaces.

On Saturday, the Tour de Carl is back with a five-stop biking trek from St. Elmo to East Austin's Shangri-La bar. Guests will grab their bikes and tour through the city and stop for beer-sipping pitstops. The daylong event is free and no RSVP is required.

On June 1, Drag Queen Bingo returns and will feature performances by Louisianna Purchase from 7 to 9 p.m. Entry is free and no RSVP is required. 

For other events, visit St. Elmo's Facebook page at facebook.com/stelmobrewing and stelmobrewing.com.

Where

 440 E St Elmo Road, G-2.

Hours

St. Elmo Brewing Company is open from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and noon to 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. The brewery is closed on Monday.

This story is part of a new occasional series exploring Central Texas' breweries, distilleries and bars. Have a favorite? Email your recommendations to ehopkins@statesman.com.