Bitter End


Walking along Austin's Colorado Street between 3rd and 4th the copper mash and boil vessels of the Bitter End come into view. Inside, the 30 foot dark green ceiling with its natural wood trusses and black ducting create an impression of openness through the 75 foot room. A framed "Brews" board announces all the available beers. A large lacquered wooden bar stands slightly raised from the room's dark concrete floor. The bar features two eight-tap brass towers and a full liquor selection. A large mirror backs shelves of bottles, showing off the reasonable wine selection as the nearby wall signs glow in bright neon, contrasting with the tan brick behind them. Small drop-down lamps brighten the bar area while larger ones illuminate the dining section. The mood for dining is casual and relaxed, thanks to the mellow music. The two dozen square light wood tables and chairs offer diners a view of the kitchen to the rear as well as the bar TVs to the left and the brewhouse up front. Overall, the daytime lighting is sufficient just due to all of the paned windows. Drop-down fans keep the air moving inside but for maximum freshness the outdoor patio offers another two dozen tables, shade umbrellas and a wooden privacy fence. The layout is wheelchair friendly with a ramp up to the bar and lounge area.

Brewers Tim Schwartz and Stephen Tidwell keep five standard brews to accompany three rotating ones and one seasonal. The Bitter End Bitter is an amber color, well carbonated, with a nice hop aroma and hop-over-malt flavor. The Sledgehammer Express is light bodied but with a serious coffee aroma and flavor due to its ingredients of carmel malt and coffee. The result is a very smooth mouthfeel with a short aftertaste that makes for one easy-to-get-used-to beer. The Aberdeen Amber is a hazy dark amber color with a medium-to-full body and a dry malty flavor. The seasonal Modulator Doppelbock is a ruby color with a white creamy head. Served a bit cold, esters are still noticeable in the aroma before the deep malty flavor takes over. The medium body matches well with the nice full mouthfeel, where hops just start to peek though in the short, dry, clean finish. a 10 ounce "1/2 pint" costs $2 while the 16 ounce "pint" runs $3.25.

In addition to the top craft beers the Pub Menu offers some attractive dishes: Pretzels ($2), Grilled Tuna ($8.50), Pizza ($6.50-$7.50), Salmon ($9.50), Calimari and Salads. For $6.50 the hamburger comes precisely cooked and accompanied by homemade potato chips. Food is served Monday through Thursday from 10:30 AM to Midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 AM to 1 AM, and Sunday 10:30 AM to Midnight. The Wine List features 50 Reds, seven Ports, over 40 Whites, and six Sparkling Wines (Champagnes). The CD sound system cranks out Reggae along with English and Spanish Pop music. For even more activity check out the adjacent B-Side area for music and drinks in a nightclub atmosphere. Smoking is permitted at the bar. Monday is Cask-conditioned night so get there early while it lasts.

Bitter End
311 Colorado Street
Austin, Texas

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - November, 1997

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