Northwest Austin family building first brewery in Anderson Mill

Slackers Brewing Co.
Northwest Austin residents Haley and Derek Law will open Slackers Brewing Co.—Anderson Mill's first brewery—in spring 2021. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Northwest Austin residents Haley and Derek Law will open Slackers Brewing Co.—Anderson Mill's first brewery—in spring 2021. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

When Derek and Haley Law began initial designs on their upcoming brewery, they went in knowing they wanted the space to be as welcoming to the community as possible.

To meet that end, Haley said she told the architect the couple hired to design the space with clean, open lines of sight throughout the taproom of Slackers Brewing Co. so that parents can keep an eye on their children at all times.

When the Laws open Slackers Brewing Co. next year, the couple—with two children of their own—said they hope to create an environment for everybody in the surrounding neighborhoods to come in and enjoy the space.

“This place very much is going to be a family-friendly and community-driven center,” Derek told Community Impact Newspaper.

As it stands, the Laws are aiming to open the brewery at 12233 N. RM 620, Ste. 204, Austin—the first brewery in Anderson Mill—sometime in spring 2021.

For Derek, the future opening of the family-run brewery comes after a decade of home brewing experience. The brewer said he made his first batch of craft beer in 2011 and has set his sights on opening a brewery of his own ever since.

While the first draught pour from the brewery’s taproom is still months away, Derek said malty beers, such as Belgian ales and stouts, will be the “heart and soul” of Slackers Brewing Co.’s offering. The home brewer most recently canned a small run of an original porter recipe made with ghost peppers from an Illinois farm.

“Our ghost pepper porter is probably the most popular of people who have tried our beer. People get a thrill from it. It won’t burn you; it’s got lactose to balance the spice,” Derek said.

Slacker Brewing Co. will also launch with a base kolsch that the brewery will build variants off of for seasonal releases, the Laws said.

Introducing the new version of Slacker's Texas Kölsch! Super crisp and refreshing. This will be a year round beer for us and the base of many seasonal experimenting. Juniper, coriander, crawfish, etc. Yes, I said crawfish! Our Cajun Kölsch is a weird one but super delicious. More coming soon!

A post shared by Slackers Brewing Co (@slackersbrew) on May 23, 2020 at 9:10am PDT

The brewery is using a 3.5-barrel brewing system that the Laws bought from Frontyard Brewing, which is set to open its new Spicewood taproom and brewery in the near future. Slackers Brewing Co. does not have any plans to begin distribution, the Laws said, so a brewing system that can churn out tens of thousands barrels of product annually is not necessary for the Northwest Austin brewery.

“It’s perfect for this size of space,” Haley said.

Instead, Slackers will focus on its taproom experience to create an inviting environment for its neighbors in the surrounding communities. In addition to pouring draughts of Derek's brews, Slackers will serve specialty coffee locally roasted by Mark Benson at Jaded Bear Coffee.

Haley, who attended culinary school, is also building a menu of simple sandwiches and baked goods to serve out of the taproom.

“We want to ... provide a space where everyone does feel welcome, even people who don’t drink beer,” Haley said.

A kitchen inside the brewery was not included in the Laws’ original plans for the brewery, the founding couple said, so Slackers Brewing Co. is running a crowdfunding campaign through Oct. 10 to raise funds to cover the extra costs of permitting and constructing the kitchen.

“Everything up to now has been our investment,” Derek said. “The kitchen added a significant cost.”

So far, more than $12,000 has been raised of the $25,000 goal the brewery set on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Slackers Brewing Co. will hold a special grand opening for some backers of the campaign, the Laws said, and donating $750 or more to the brewery will secure a personalized mug that comes with one free pour from the brewery per visit.

Currently, the Laws anticipate the brewery will not open its doors for months to come. Between now and spring 2021, the couple said they will work on building anticipation around the surrounding area for the brewery’s grand opening while construction crews renovate the former dry cleaner space into a neighborhood brewery.

As part of the Laws’ mission to be a welcoming taproom, part of the building plans include spaces not traditionally found in independent breweries. Haley said Slackers Brewing Co. will have a private room for breastfeeding parents; a quiet room for families; and play areas for children of all ages with Lego sets, board games and more.

“I’ve seen a need in the brewery world where a lot of times you, as a mom with children, don’t love being the mom at the brewery. It’s not the best feeling,” Haley said. “We really wanted to enhance that and bring a place where truly everyone feels comfortable.”

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that Slackers Brewing Co. buys ghost peppers from a farm in Illinois and not Indiana, as it was incorrectly stated in the original article.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.