Brew Exchange could have a great gimmick but in their headlong rush to worship the almighty dollar they missed the mark. As you may know, the business prices their beer according to current demand in the bar. If everybody’s drinking Great Divide the value goes up and up. If everybody’s ignoring Live Oak and is complacent with some mocktail recipes, the price inches downward. Electronic tickers a la Wall Street keep you up to date on value. Unfortunately they’ve also decided to run cocktail prices on their machinery as well. I could not care less on the fluctuating value of Jack Daniels and Diet Coke. It’s a bore. But I do love the 72 tap beer wall(s)

The pour: Decent. It’s almost impossible to get a properly poured beer in Austin. Local barkeeps either pour it “too full” and yes there is such a thing or under fill the blasted glass. There is an art and science to pouring a beer. Brew Exchange performed adequately.

The sound: Loud as Hell. Get ready to holler if you’re planning on carrying on even a semblance of conversation. The bar has more of a club vibe than anything else. I was there for a Social Latino event and the dj was working his ass off. He had little talent but he made up for it by being extremely loud.

The room. Nice amber lighting had everybody glowing rosey-like, it’s a fairly large bar but there’s little too note as far as decor goes. The bar stools need one more rung for comfortable lounging. Maybe the owners are trying to get em in and get em out?

The beer:

Ballast Point Sculpin: Everybody lost their fucking mind when Ballast Point set up shop in Austin a few weeks ago; beer aficianados were lining up all over town to get at this West Coast beer maker’s goods. The hype is real. This is one of the best IPAs I’ve ever tried, it’s the style that I simply call “fruit” As in, it’s like you took a headlong rush into a grove of peach and lemon trees.

Avery Old Jubilation: In spite of it being a 70 degree evening I was bound and determined to drink a winter beer. Avery really delivered with this Old English style brew. It’s roast-y and warm flavor profile made me wonder how it would taste with a big plate of pot roast. It drank fine by itself but to me this is a meal-time beer.

Lagunitas Sucks: Really really resin-y. I love Lagunitas and have been wondering when I would come across this one on tap. At almost 8% abv you may want to not drink more than 8-9 of them. I wondered why my head was throbbing this morning.

West 6th offers little appeal to me. The Dogwood lost their Deep South chef and I quit going for my weekly Fried Green Tomato Bacon Cheeseburger. I’d be hard pressed to name a bar on the stretch from Congress to Lamar that could hold my attention for more than 5 minutes.

Brew Exchange could be great.

Could’ve been a contender.

But misses the mark on just about every single point that makes me want to come back to a bar.

Austin Craft Beer coverage

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