Unlike tequila, another Latin American spirit, pisco hasn’t made as big of a splash in the U.S. — but one big producer of the grape-based liquor in Peru is hoping to change that with the release of La Caravedo, a more affordable pisco than the producer’s lauded Pisco Porton.
Both of the white spirits are made at Hacienda La Caravedo in Ica, Peru, where master distiller Johnny Schuler has been transforming pisco into a spirit increasingly recognized worldwide for its versatility and its distinct sense of place. The distillery from which the new pisco gets its name took care to make La Caravedo a very different grape spirit from Pisco Porton, setting it apart not just in price point but in flavor as well, according to a press release.
Pisco La Caravedo is a “pisco puro,” meaning that it’s made from one of the only eight grape varietals allowed by Peruvian law to make pisco (which is one of the few spirits with a Denomination of Origin, a law that dictates it must be produced in a specific region and under strict guidelines). The Quebranta grape, a non-aromatic varietal from Peru’s coast, is known for its body and fullness of flavor, and it helped to impart the elegant, full-bodied La Caravedo with notes of botanicals and dried fruits, according to the press release.
Approximately 8 lbs. of grapes are used to make each bottle of the new pisco — a venture Pisco Porton LLC, the makers of the pisco at Hacienda La Caravedo, decided was well worth the effort.
“We enjoy many different styles of pisco in Peru and each style offers a unique flavor profile,” Brent Kallop, president of the company, said in the press release, adding that La Caravedo was introduced as a high quality and well-priced pisco puro “to give people who are curious about pisco a new opportunity to taste and enjoy a different expression of Peru’s native spirit.”
(Pisco Porton is an “acholado mosto verde pisco” and contains even more grapes, a whopping 18 lbs. of four estate-grown grapes per bottle: Albilla, Italia, Torontel and Quebranta, the press release said.)
Already, more bars are responding to the lower price tag of Pisco La Caravedo by incorporating it into their drinks. Among them is Drink.Well in Austin’s North Loop neighborhood. The bar created the Sun Worship, featuring La Caravedo, passion fruit juice, Cocchi Americano, creole bitters, lemon and grapefruit, for their current seasonal cocktail menu.
But if you’re looking to experiment with pisco at home, rather than at a bar, here’s a recipe that showcases more of La Caravedo’s tropical potential. The pisco has the suggested retail price of $24.99.
La Caravedo Cooler
2 oz. La Caravedo
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
Fresh mango juice
Add ice and all ingredients except the mango juice and soda in a mixing tin. Shake and then strain into ice-filled Collins glass. Top with mango juice and a splash of soda. Garnish with a lime twist.
It’s not just Texans making good beer — U.S. brewers from coast to coast are making tasty examples of staple styles and also coming up with brand-new brews. To celebrate, cities all over the country are participating in American Craft Beer Week with fun events at local bars and breweries from Monday through Sunday this week, and Austin is no exception, with plenty to do throughout the week. Here’s a round-up of local American Craft Beer Week offerings:
Dogfish Head Flight + Pairing at Easy Tiger. Sample Namaste, Sixty-One, Black & Blue and 120 Minute IPA with pairings. $8 for a 3 oz. tasting of 4 beers or $15 for beer flight plus a tasting board. This event is also taking place on Tuesday. More information here.
Hopfields’ Beer and Ice Cream Pairing. Austin Beerworks brews (Heisenberg, Pearl Snap, Black Thunder and the Templar Knights Chocolate Milk Stout) are paired up with Lick ice creams. More info here.
Hops & Grain Beer Dinner at St. Philip. 5-course meal paired with both Hops & Grain mainstays and small-batch brews including Don’t Touch Willy. Tickets here.
North Coast Vertical Tapping at Flying Saucer. Go back in time with this vertical of North Coast Brewing Company Old Stock Barleywine — 2010, 2012 and 2013 vintages. More info here.
School House Pub’s Libations 101 series. This month’s cocktail how-to will feature beer cocktails with Independence Brewing. Tickets here.
Austin Beerworks Dinner at St. Philip. Some of Austin Beerworks’ rare seasonal brews (in other words, some stuff that’s typically only available in their taproom) will be featured at this pairing dinner. Tickets here.
Brewers Panel Discussion at Craft Pride. Listen in on a discussion with brewers and brewery owners on the latest and potential Texas beer legislation and its effects on the craft beer industry. The focus will be on HB 3389, which would limit distribution amounts for self-distributing Texas breweries. An audience Q&A will take place at the end of the talk, which will feature the likes of (512), Live Oak, Revolver, Guadalupe and more. More info here.
Hops & Grain’s Whole Foods Tap Takeover. The Domain location will offer a special Hops & Grain passport to participants, who can collect stamps by trying different beers on tap. Once they get five stamps, they’ll receive a special Hops & Grain gift. More info here.
Independence Brewing’s Beer and Cheese Pairing Class. Independence cellarman Max Saballett will lead this guided flight of 6 cheeses paired with Independence beers. Drawing on his former life as a chef, Saballett will discuss how the beer and cheese selections enhance each other and how to build a great beer and cheese plate. Tickets here.
Prairie Artisan Ales Tap Takeover at Flying Saucer. A bunch of coveted Prairie beers will be available, including Bible Belt, Cherry Funk, Christmas Bomb, Ok Si and more. Plus, owner Chase Healey will be on hand for you to meet. More info here.
Founders Brewing Dinner at St. Philip. 5-course feast paired with Founders Brewing beers, including Rubaeus, Dirty Bastard and Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Tickets here.
Hops & Grain Hop Night at Hopfields. Featuring the Greenhouse IPA, A Pale Mosaic, Dry-Hopped Red, Half Nelson and more, this guided tasting and talk with Hops & Grain founder Josh Hare is putting the spotlight on one of his favorite ingredients, the hop. More info here.
Independence Brewing’s Beer and Chocolate Pairing Class. Power & Light, Austin Amber, Bootlegger Brown Ale, Stash IPA and Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout are all getting paired up with some seriously tasty-sounding chocolates from Delysia Chocolatier Nicole Patel. Tickets here.
Last Stand Tap Takeover at Black Star Co-op. Three of the beer from one of Austin’s newest breweries will be on tap. More info here.
Real Ale Tap Takeover at Whole Foods Lamar. All 10 of the beer taps at Bar Lamar will be taken over by Real Ale brews. More info here.
Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel Vertical Tasting at Craft Pride. A guided tasting of all nine of the St. Arnold Bishop’s Barrel releases to date, hosted by the Saint Arnold’s founder Brock Wagner himself. Tickets here.
Star Bar Cellar Sale. $20 for bombers, $10 for 12 oz. bottles. A mouthwatering list of beers – such as Ranger Creek Small Batch 7, Prairie Wine Barrel Noir from 2013 and more – that have been aging at Star Bar will make you wish your paycheck came mid-week.
Avery Brewing Beer Dinner at Flying Saucer. Four-course feast featuring beers from Colorado’s Avery Brewing, including Lilikoi Kepolo, Hog Heaven Barleywine, Uncle Jacobs BBA Stout and more. More info here.
Parabola Vertical Tasting at Hopfields. Try Firestone Walker Parabola from 2013, 2014 and 2015 with a house-paired dessert. More info here.
Squatters Bumper Crop Launch at Wright Bros. Brew & Brew. This honey ale is brewed with lavender and pretty much tastes like summer in a bottle. More info here.
Yodel for Odell at Hi Hat Public House. Cucumber-Pomegranate St. Lupulin, plus many other Odell Brewing goodies. More info here.
Court is in (IPA) Session at Whole Foods Domain. Eight different session IPAs are on trial at the Draft Shack tonight. Brewery reps will be there duking it out for your support. Try them all and cast your vote. More info here.
Hops & Grain Happy Hour at Star Bar. No word yet on the exact list of special tappings from Hops & Grain, but the brewery will also have a swag giveaway. More info here.
Jester King Beer Dinner at Hi Hat Public House. 5-course feast featuring Jester King favorites, such as Snorkel, Montmorency Vs. Balaton and Natural Union. More info here.
Real Ale’s American Craft Beer Week Tappings. Go out to Blanco for some of Real Ale’s cellar beers, including Scots Gone Wild, Blakkr, Baltic Porter, Real Heavy and a cask of Sisphyus 2012. More info here.
Uncle Billy’s Tap Takeover at Black Star Co-op. A tap takeover that also functions as a release party, the event will feature two of Uncle Billy’s newest beers, the Lazy Day Lager and Barton Springs Pale Ale. Black Star will also be putting on a keg of the Green Room IPA. More info here.
American Craft Beer Week: Texas Edition at Hi Hat Public House. Yeah, yeah, the U.S. is making good beer from coast to coast, but Texans never pass up the opportunity to celebrate what our state’s got to offer: Real Ale, Buffalo Bayou, Jester King, Lone Pint and more will be tapped. More info here.
Goose Island Tapping at Easy Tiger. If you thought all those chances to get your mitts on the Chicago brewery’s famed Bourbon County Stout were gone until November, think again. Easy Tiger is tapping a keg of it starting at 3 p.m. More info here.
Rogness Brewing 3rd Anniversary Party. Three years of the Pflugerville-based brewery means lots of beers on tap. A total of 14 to be exact, including the debut of a Doppelsticke (a double altbier) brewed with award-winning homebrewer Mark Schoppe. Your $12 ticket will get you three of those beers and a mason jar Rogness glass (and if you want more beer, they are $3 a pour). Tickets here.
(512) Brewing Tap Takeover at Wright Bros. Brew & Brew. Wild Bear, White IPA, Three (a tripel), Pecan Porter and more are going on tap. More info here.
Brunch on the Boulevard at Whole Foods Domain. Boulevard Brewing is hosting a beer brunch in the Draft Shack featuring a lineup of their beers on tap. Don’t miss out on their Imperial Stout (or any of the others, for that matter). More info here.
Later this month, Spec’s and Twin Liquors will be joined by another big liquor store chain that already has eight other locations in Texas.
Total Wine & More, the country’s “largest independent retailer of fine wine, spirits and beer,” will offer a greater selection of these beverages than any other retailer in Austin, according to a press release.
The first Austin location, opening at 5601 Brodie Lane in Sunset Valley, won’t just have an extensive selection of alcoholic drink options. The store will also have a climate-controlled wine cellar for rare selections, a separate walk-in humidor for cigars and growler stations with fresh-brewed beer from the tap — all store offerings characteristic of the chain.
“Our selection comes from all over the world and includes more than 8,000 individual labels of wine, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers, but what really sets us apart is our desire to educate and share our passion for our products with our customers,” co-owner David Trone, who owns Total Wine with his brother, Robert, said in the press release.
In addition to those features, Total Wine plans to host regular beer, wine and spirits tastings that will be based around wine-producing regions and seasonal topics, as well as offer “an in-store classroom for themed private tastings, consumer education courses and community and business meetings,” according to the press release. Plus, iPads will be available so that customers can figure out which wines to pair with their meals.
Total Wine, which is in a total of 16 states around the U.S., already plans to open additional locations in Austin once the Sunset Valley spot gets up and running. Currently, the liquor store giant has permits to build another location at 11066 Pecan Park Blvd., near Lakeline Mall.
When summer is at its zenith, the only antidote during those long hot days is a refreshing pint of low-alcohol beer. Pale ales, session IPAs and hefeweizens are common styles, but one that has lately been capturing the attention of local brewers is the Berliner Weisse, a tart German-style wheat beer that falls on the approachable end of sour styles, typically falling between a light and crisp 3 to 5 percent ABV. (The tartness comes from fermenting lactic acid bacteria in addition to yeast.)
A handful of Texas breweries have been producing it just in time for the upcoming scorching months. Here are five solid Berliner Weisse-style brews from this state to seek out in bars and stores:
Austin Beerworks Einhorn: This summer seasonal is a staple of the style (and because it was one of the first among Central Texas breweries, it’s also a bit of a pioneer that established the bar for the rest). Always highly anticipated (and not out quite yet this year), Einhorn has the snap of lemon that has defined the style, with a burst of effervescence on the tongue that gives way to a spark of astringency. At only 3.5 percent ABV, it’s one of those beers you’ll find yourself downing again and again and feeling only refreshed afterward.
Freetail Brewing Yo Soy Un Berliner: As Freetail’s Scott Metzger announced on Twitter the other night, the San Antonio brewpub’s Yo Soy Un Berliner is becoming a canned summer seasonal (and boy, is that can a beaut). “Wanted to do a canned Berliner for a long time,” he said in a later tweet. “Apparently I wasn’t alone! A good time to be a German-style sour ale drinker!” But even if Berliner Weisse brews are taking up a lot of shelf space this year, make room for Yo Soy Un Berliner.
Independence Brewing Redbud:As I wrote last month in a canned beer round-up for Austin360, this new brew from local brewery stalwarts Independence, Redbud (named after a beloved Austin watering hole) is “a striking example of the German style, unfolding slowly like a flower, with a soft citrus nose and a crisp acidity that blooms into a tart, easy-drinking treat. Redbud’s sour soul won’t make you pucker; instead, you’ll relish the dance each sip makes on your tongue.”
Live Oak Berliner Weisse: My first taste of Live Oak’s latest release a couple of weeks ago made me wish, yet again, that the Austin brewery would hurry up and start packaging their beers already (which will happen with the opening of a much larger brewing space in East Austin). That’s because the Berliner Weisse is exactly the sort of clean, perfectly balanced beer I’d want with me on a river float or a backyard barbecue. It’s a stand-out of the style so well done that no aspect has gone unconsidered. Even the logo lettering features the authentic spelling with the ß where the two s’s should be.
Saint Arnold Boiler Room: One of my favorite beers from this longtime Houston brewery, the 3.5 percent ABV Boiler Room is one of their newer beers, a disarmingly light-bodied brew packed with flavor. While it might not completely scratch anyone’s itch for a good tart punch, it’s still got notes of berry and lemon and a subtle funk. The Boiler Room isn’t as overtly sour as Einhorn, say, but its balance makes it a bottle you’ll turn to for liquid relief after a hot day outdoors.
I’ve also got to mention Black Star Co-op’s Waterloo, a sour mashed Berliner Weisse fermented with 252 lbs. of apricot (and served at the brewpub in a 20 oz. schooner). Black Star tapped Waterloo on April 25, but cross your fingers that 2015 hasn’t seen the last of it.
Not so fast, New Belgium Brewing: Oasis, Texas Brewing can continue to make Slow Ride Pale Ale under that name after the lawsuit against the local brewery was dismissed by a Colorado judge.
Earlier this year, the two breweries became entangled in a legal conflict over the trademark for the beer name Slow Ride, which both claim to have the right to use. New Belgium, located in Fort Collins, Colo., took Oasis, Texas Brewing to court — but the U.S. District Court of Colorado recently granted Oasis, Texas Brewing’s motion to dismiss, citing that the jurisdiction of Colorado was not the appropriate one for the lawsuit, according to an Oasis, Texas blog post.
The judge also declined to transfer the case to a court in Texas.
The dismissal served as a nice victory for Oasis, Texas Brewing. “We will be steadfast in defending our rights to our beers and continue to brew and distribute (the original) Slow Ride,” the blog post said.
A statement from New Belgium Brewing on the brewery’s page about the lawsuit indicates that the court battle might not be over, however.
“This is in no way a reflection of the merits of our case, but simply a redirection to the US District Court of Texas as the proper venue to determine this case,” New Belgium said in the statement. “We remain open to settling this situation amicably and out of court. Short of that, we will continue to pursue geographic clarification as to rights and usage of our Slow Ride trademark brand in a Texas US District Court.”
Oasis, Texas Brewing’s Slow Ride Pale Ale is a big producer of sales for the Lake Travis-area brewery, which also makes three other core beers. Head brewer Spencer Tielkemeier said Slow Ride is “currently our best seller, accounting for a little more than 1/3 of our product sold.”
As May heats up, we’ll be pulling out our tubs of ice cream and our favorite ingredients for a refreshing summer cocktail — but probably not both at the same time.
Lick Honest Ice Creams’ Anthony Sobotik and Genius Gin’s Mike Groener are making edible arguments in favor of combining the two treats on Saturday, when they’ll be serving up free ice cream cocktails in Métier Cook’s Supply’s side garden. The duo will showcase one shaken drink and one stirred, both featuring seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
Saturday won’t be the first time they’ve teamed up to combine their beloved products. Groener and Sobotik have created ice cream flavors using Genius Gin in the past, including Sweet Lemon, Gin and Juniper, Blushing Blueberry and Plum Jam and Gin Cake, according to a press release. The flavors were available at Lick locations and other stores.
But the Ice Cream and Cocktails event, running from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at 1805 S. First St., will be the best chance to see how the men have made ice cream and gin such a successful pairing. They’ll be making a Lemon Bitters Float and a Lime Gimlet.
Craftsman’s Grand Opening Party, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3. This new East Cesar Chavez Street bar is celebrating with good drinks and a live performance by Roxy Roca.
Arro’s First Mondays Pairing, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Monday, May 4. This month’s features regional French cuisine paired with a fantastic selection of rosé wines. $60 for five courses; $100 with wine.
Arro’s Producer on the Patio series, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5. An intimate happy-hour tasting with French wine importer Jon-David Headrick. Sample four wines with light bites.
Cafe Josie’s Wine Me Dine Me Dinner, 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 5. This five-course feast focusing on the cuisine and wines of Spain will feature Dan Redman of Mosaic Wines discussing each of the wines. $85.
Uncle Billy’s 8th Anniversary Party, 12 p.m. Thursday, May 7 through 10 p.m. Sunday, May 10. Limited release beers, cask beers and special tappings including Billy’s Bock, The Elegast Belgian Red, UB Trippin Tripel, and the Crazy Day Maibock. Plus, a crawfish boil on Saturday.
Firkin Tappings at Banger’s, 6 p.m. every Thursday in May. The month’s firkins include (512) Violet Beauregard on May 7, Lone Pint Gentleman’s Relish with Vanilla on May 14 and Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #15 on May 21.
Meridian Hive’s Grand Opening Party, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 9. Austin’s only meadery is finally throwing a big party to celebrate. $15 for three session meads or three still meads or a combination of the two.
Wurstfest’s Craft Beer Festival, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 9. 40 craft beers on tap, plus a variety of food trucks, because Wurstfest’s November festival just isn’t enough.
Bitch Beer’s Blog-a-thon, 1 p.m. Sunday, May 10. Help the Bitch Beer writers raise money for their trip to Belgium with this afternoon of special beer tappings, raffle prizes and more.
La V’s Boutique Spirits Dinner, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14. The restaurant doesn’t just have an extensive wine list. To show off its well-crafted spirits options, La V is throwing a 5-course dinner with spirits pairings. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
The Austin Winery’s 1 Year Celebration, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 15. 15% off all bottles and pours during the party at the urban winery. Plus, if you buy a bottle, you’ll be entered to win a wine club membership for one year.
Spec’s Fest, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Enjoy a huge selection of gourmet food offerings, live music, storewide specials and amazing prizes, plus gain insider tips on wine and food parings from the Spec’s experts. The fest is going on at two locations, Arbor Walk and Brodie Lane.
Sullivan’s Steakhouse Patron Dinner, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20. Four-course dinner featuring pork belly tacos, tamales, braised beef shortribs and tres leches cake, all paired with a Patrón drink. $79.
Pre-Release Gose Tapping at Real Ale Brewing, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 23. The beer from last year’s anniversary party is returning this year as a canned summer seasonal. Get a special early taste of the salty treat at the Blanco brewery’s taproom.
Brews for Better Lives at Hops & Grain, 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 24. $25 ticket includes live music, beer, 1 meal ticket, games and more, and all proceeds benefit the Whole Planet Foundation.