Lazarus Brewing Co. is Spreading the Gospel of Beer
I normally steer clear of religion. A youth spent raised in the Church of Christ and attending a Christian high school sometimes has that effect. However, Lazarus Brewing Co. has a theology that I can get behind. The church of beer. Can I get an Amen! Kneel and give thanks to our Lager. Now stand up. You look silly, and this is a tap room. One of the nicer tap rooms I’ve ever been in I might add. Lazarus Brewing Co. really went all out to create atmosphere. Everything tells a story. The glassware, the names of the beer, the massive stain glass mural depicting the anointing of Jesus by Mary Magdalene. It’s the subtle touches that really make the space.
I was meeting a small group of people for a brewery crawl and spotted an early bird at the bar. He of course had a beer, but he was also munching on Instagram worthy tacos if I’d ever seen them. Lazarus Brewing Co. is apparently well known for their fish tacos. Another subtle nod to the religious theme? I’d like to assume so. I ordered a pint of 40 Days & 40 Nights, the IPA on tap. It came in a Stange glass with the brewery’s logo and the words “Share Life” emblazoned on it. The little details are everywhere. The hop aroma was a little light for an IPA, but it was thirst quenching and packed with flavor. An excellent choice for my first ever beer from them.
The Shackleton EPB was next on my “to drink” list. I’ve always been a fan of bitters, and this one is truly excellent. Hoppy, but not nearly as much as an IPA, and a strong malt backbone. Barely two beers in and I’m already a big fan of Lazarus. I wanted to sample everything, and like the cheapskate I am, I bummed sips from my friends. Naturally, some were better than others, but all at the very least were decent. I enjoyed the Shackleton so much I ordered up a second pint.
Clearly not every beer has a name with allusions to a bible story, but each beer’s name has a story behind it. Shackleton was named after Earnest Shackleton, who was a polar explorer that led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. One Eye Rye is lovingly named after a brewer’s girlfriend’s rescue dog. A one-eyed, cranky mutt who is missed dearly. With every purchase of this spicy brew, a 50-cent donation is made to Hard Luck Hounds.
Really the only thing I can nitpick about also happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves in a brewery. No menu boards. You must decide what you want when you get to the front of the line with a printed paper menu. I guess it makes sense when they change their offerings so frequently. Plus, it would get in the way of all the fancy glassware. However, there were spots on the wall that could have accommodated at least a small board. It’s one of my things, okay!
Lazarus Brewing Co. did a nice spin on the crowdfunding craze. They created a “Patron Saint” program. For a donation of $1,000, you are gifted with a handblown goblet that is truly a work of art. Oh, did I forget to mention that you also get free beer for life in said goblet? They’ll even keep it at the brewery for you. The only caveat being that you’re limited to one beer or other beverage per day. Damn TABC regulations. Some beers at Lazarus top out at over 10% ABV, so I say get your money’s worth. On the shelf behind the bar there are several sippy cups mixed in among the artfully crafted goblet. A sticky note with a name and frowny face tells a woeful tale. Shattering a grand has got to sting a bit.
Seating is abundant at Lazarus Brewing Co. inside and out. Bar stools, high tables, and picnic tables are spaced perfectly and could accommodate almost every churchgoer. If you like the industrial feel of a brewery in a non-descript warehouse, then you should look elsewhere. Lazarus has style and is difficult to miss. If it seems like I’m gushing, it’s because I am. Other breweries should take note. This is how you build a brand.