The Austin Beer Week schedule is now live. The 10 day extravaganza celebrating all things beer-related is from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2 this year — and as usual, it’s stuffed full of events as local breweries and bars unleash their characteristic zeal for a good party.
This fifth annual round of Austin Beer Week has the beer dinners, tap takeovers and meet-the-brewer nights of Austin Beer Weeks past, but there are also a variety of more off-the-wall events (do I spy not one, but four Halloween-related parties?) on tap as well.
Here are my notes about and recommendations for the week to help you figure out what you most want to attend.
- Oct. 25 might be the hardest day for beer fans, not because of a dearth of good events to choose from, but because of too many of them. (512) Brewing and Draught House are both celebrating their anniversaries (6th and 46th, respectively), and Austin Eastciders is hosting the long-awaited grand opening for its urban cidery. Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. is also throwing a Fermentation Fest, complete with a pig roast and brats.
- Mix it up and add some spirits to your beer at Half Step’s Circle Beertails Party at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29. Or how about coffee? Another Oct. 25 event, Real Ale’s Coffee + Beer Education at the Brew and Brew, will feature Real Ale’s Erik Ogershok discussing his philosophy on coffee, beer and when the two should meet (that’s easy: in the Real Ale Coffee Porter, one of my favorites of that style). There will, of course, be beers, coffee and coffee beer all throughout his talk.
- The 10 days will contain more special tappings than your liver can handle, so choose wisely. I’d suggest going to Easy Tiger’s Prairie Ales and Balcones Whiskey Collaboration event on Oct. 28 — Prairie Bomb, one of the more highly coveted beers during the winter months, has been aged in Balcones Brimstone Whiskey barrels. The Brimstone Bomb will be part of a flight featuring the original beer and whiskey.
- Jester King’s annual Funk n Sour Fest, on Oct. 30, is changing up the format this year to pair local eats with craft beers, wines and ciders. For instance, can you think of a better combination than Dai Due paired with La Cruz de Comal wines? Tickets will go on sale via the Jester King website at noon on Oct. 16, and since the brewery is making less available than in past years, be sure to secure some right at that time.
- Halloween is on Friday this year, and several bars and breweries are taking full advantage. Adelbert’s, Craft Pride and School House Pub will all be the ghoulish scenes of some wicked Halloween costume contests that night; the ABGB is throwing “a Monsters of Rock” night on Saturday with the music of the Misfits, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Pink Floyd being brought to life by local musicians. One event prior to Halloween on Oct. 25, School House Pub’s Pumpkin Carving Contest, will feature Southern Tier’s Pumking.
- One brewery also wants to celebrate the day after Halloween. Oasis, Texas Brewing’s Dia de Los Muertos party will focus on the release of Lake Monster in cans, as well as two new beers, the Bogue, an English-style dark session beer dry-hopped with new Tahoma hops, and Possum Porter, a sessionable English brown porter.
I suspect more events will be added to the calendar as Austin Beer Week creeps closer, so keep an eye on the website.