July drinking events calendar

Photo by Banger's Austin. On July 8, a new event is kicking off at Banger's: a brewers roast that will feature the beer and brewers of Austin Beerworks, Hops & Grain and Pinthouse Pizza.
Photo by Banger’s Austin. On July 8, a new event is kicking off at Banger’s: a brewers roast that will feature the beer and brewers of Austin Beerworks, Hops & Grain and Pinthouse Pizza.

Live Oak Brewing’s HopfenWeisse Release Party at Cuvee Coffee, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, July 2. This new beer is styled after Live Oak’s lauded Hefeweizen, but with the added twist of a late addition of hops.

The Brew & Brew’s ‘Merica Fest, 6 p.m. Thursday, July 2. Real Ale’s Hans Pils, Empire, Morgul, Fireman’s 4, White and Full Moon are all going to help you pre-celebrate Independence Day.

Fall Creek Vineyard’s Burgers ‘n’ Blues, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 4. Wine tastings, burgers fresh off the grill, live blues music, Frisbee golf it’s a classic Independence Day celebration. $16.95.

Hops & Grain’s 2nd Annual 4th of July Celebration, 12 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 4. $15 tickets get you a special patriotic glass with four pours, an American flag keychain and more.

Independence Brewing’s 4th of July Brew & BBQ, 12 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 4. It only makes sense to spend your Fourth of July afternoon at a place named Independence drinking beer, doesn’t it?

Craft Pride’s 1st Annual Freedom Fest, 4 p.m. Saturday, July 4. A special cask tapping of Save the World’s Verbum in Tenebris is among the special beers you’ll want to toast America’s birthday with.

First Mondays at Arro, 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday, July 6. This month’s pairing will feature wine with different cheeses from Antonelli’s.

Tiki Tuesdays at Hotel San Jose, 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 26. This weekly tradition features the new frozen drink Pineapple Mango Crush and surf rock from the Avocados.

The Brewer’s Roast at Banger’s, 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 8. The head brewers of three beloved Austin breweries are in for a good roasting, featuring 3 different Double IPAs and the men who brew them: Hops & Grain’s Dispensary Imperial IPA with Josh Hare, Pinthouse Pizza’s Fully Adrift Double IPA with Joe Mohrfeld and Austin Beerworks Doppio Salmone Double IPA with Will Golding.

Central Market’s Wine Stroll, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 9. Central Market’s Wine Week kicks off with this tasting that will take you through the world of wine with 9 different stations throughout both Austin stores. $10.

Girls Night Out: Cherries & Wine at Central Market, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 10. Learn how to pair food with various types of wine, from a sparkling rose to a red wine.

The Beer Diaries’ Beer Bus Tour, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 11. Ride in the Beer Diaries’ decked-out limo to various brewery spots: Kamala Brewing at Whip In, Jester King Brewery, Last Stand Brewing and Twisted X Brewing. $100.

Adelbert’s Whimsical Hibiscus Saison Release at Craft Pride, 3 p.m. Saturday, July 11. Adelbert’s new rotating beer series, Whimsical, debuts with a saison so delightfully pink that the brewery is giving a portion of the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas.

Greenhouse Craft Food’s Hops & Grain Beer Dinner, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 12. Try Hops & Grain’s Vienna Lager, A Pale Mosaic, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Alteration and more at this pairing dinner. $57.71.

The Austin Winery Pairing Dinner at Central Market, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 18. This 5-course meal will showcase the wines of the urban Austin Winery.

Cinebrew at Violet Crown Cinema, 7:15 p.m. Thursday, July 23. The 2004 Sundance Film Fest winner “Primer” is paired with a flight of three beers: Destihl’s Counter Clockweisse, 8th Wonder’s Alternate Universe and Stone’s Stochasticity Project Hifi +Lofi Mixtape. $11.

Summer Rosé Dinner at Lenoir, Friday, July 24. Texas summers always call for rosé, so Lenoir is hosting an intimate 5-course dinner with rosé pairings and even a porrón. $110.

Hops & Grain’s Bike Affair Part 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 25. This fundraiser for 1400 Miles will promise good beer and coffee, a raffle with fun prizes and more to draw you into the cause. $15.

Ranger Creek Whiskey Tasting at Opal Divine’s, 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25. Join Ranger Creek founder Mark McDavid in this sampling of the full range of the “brewstillery” whiskey portfolio. $15.

Easy Sunday at Easy Tiger, 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 26. $1 Real Ale Hans Pils, Gose and Fireman’s 4 and Mysterium Verum on draft. Plus, food specials, screen printing and more.

Russell’s Reserve Whiskey Pairing, 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 29. Meet Bruce Russell, grandson of Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, at this event pairing Russell’s Reserve whiskeys with TenOak bites. $30.

Oasis, TX Brewing offers good beer, food and Lake Travis views

Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing's Bowsaw Pils is a draft-only offering at the Lake Travis brewery.
Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing’s Bowsaw Pils is a draft-only offering at the Lake Travis brewery.

I always look for silver linings.

It’s not too hard to find one when I think about all the rains that have fallen on Central Texas in the past month: Lake Travis is nearly full again. That means it’s time to explore all the things to do in and around it; for my Austin360 cover story that runs tomorrow, I did exactly that, visiting eateries by the lake and checking out fun activities like Shore Club Volente Beach’s water park. But my most favorite Lake Travis haunt (because I am a beer writer, after all) was Oasis, Texas Brewing in the Oasis complex. It’s truly got it all: good beer, good food and stunning Lake Travis views.

Here’s my write-up of Oasis, Texas Brewing in tomorrow’s paper.

Oasis, Texas Brewing Co.

6550 Comanche Trail. 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday, noon to 12 a.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays. otxbc.com.

Drink up, Austinites.

You won’t just be thirsty for the beers. You’ll keep gulping in the glorious sight of Lake Travis too — an infinity of blue water far below. Those two tantalizing liquids will draw you to the taproom of Oasis, Texas Brewing, located on the top floor of the Oasis complex, again and again. There’s not a more scenic place in town to drink beer right from the source.

It helps that the beers are good, of course. From its start last year, Oasis, Texas Brewing has always known exactly what the focus is under head brewer Spencer Tielkemeier: sessionable beers in easy-to-travel cans. That’s especially perfect for the brewery given its lake location — light lagers and pale ales packed full of flavor are ideal for outdoor drinking — and it’s no doubt contributed to the brewery’s early success.

Currently, there are four dry, easy-drinking beers on the year-round lineup: the Luchesa Lager, the Slow Ride Pale Ale, the London Homesick Ale and Metamodern Session IPA, the most recent release.

These and more (including a barrel-aged series called Lake Monster) are all available during Oasis, Texas Brewing’s Thursday through Sunday taproom hours. Skip the long waits at the Oasis restaurant and go upstairs to the brewery, where on weekends there is often live music, food trucks and plenty of seating both inside and along a deck showcasing those gorgeous lake views.

If you aren’t sure which of the beers you want, try a flight of all six for $10 or get a half-pour for $2.50. Pints are $4.50.

The Townsend opens on Congress Avenue with craft cocktails, live music

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. The Lamplight (left), the Single Engine Plane and the Carriage House are among the tasty cocktail on the menu at the Townsend, Congress Avenue's newest bar.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. The Lamplight (left), the Single Engine Plane and the Carriage House are among the tasty cocktails on the menu at the Townsend, Congress Avenue’s newest bar.

While coming up with a bar concept that would fill the bottom-floor space of a historic building on Congress Avenue, owner Steven Weisburd struck up a revolutionary idea — paying royalties to bartenders who create original, well-crafted cocktails.

The Townsend will do just that once the bar kicks off a residency system later this summer featuring a trio of cocktails from guest bartenders. Giving them a 1 percent royalty for each of their drinks purchased is an idea that originated for Weisburd in part because of his background as a lawyer representing artists and record companies in the entertainment industry, among other clients. Musicians and producers receive royalties for use of their work, as well as other artists, so why shouldn’t bartenders, he said?

“The royalty program… is, at bottom, one of the ways in which we want to put some teeth to the notion of respecting those who create great unique cocktails,” he said. “It is one thing to say it and another to put some money where your mouth is.”

Helping to put together this program — which will feature drinks from both local and national rising stars in the bar scene — is cocktail guru Justin Elliott. He recently left Qui to join the team behind the Townsend, a group called Penumbral Strategic Ventures, as director of hospitality projects, a move that has helped to generate curiosity from local cocktail lovers about the brand-new bar.

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. The Townsend bar hopes to start a royalty program that will give guest bartenders compensation for the cocktails they create.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. The Townsend bar hopes to start a royalty program that will give guest bartenders compensation for the cocktails they create.

Leaving Qui hadn’t been his original intention, but he realized how good of a fit the Townsend would be over the course of doing consulting work for Weisburd.

“Steven just believed in a lot of the stuff I believe in,” he said. “We’re creating a culture here of hospitality and creativity, but not in a super showy way. We want to give this part of Austin a really great everyday kind of bar.”

So in addition to the three cocktails that will be created by guest bartenders, the Townsend offers about a dozen cocktails, all created by Elliott, that mirror the “general sensibility” of the room: simple, timeless drinks with evocative names.

“There’s something about this historic building that really inspired some of the cocktails,” Elliott said. “My aim has been to create cocktails that look like they could be found in any vintage cocktail book but aren’t. I want them to seem timeless. I don’t want anyone to see my hand in the cocktails; I don’t want my fingerprints on them.”

Among them are cocktails with names that almost read like bits of poetry, like the Single Engine Plane with Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, orgeat, lime and aromatic bitters. This riff on the daiquiri “hits all the notes one loves in a daiquiri,” Elliott said, “but it’s a little more rustic; it’s got a little more funk. It’s like the Clash doing a reggae song.”

He’s got a special affinity for the Carriage House, with Ransom Old Tom Gin, Tequila Ocho Reposado, Cynar and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. A split-spirit cocktail like the Vieux Carré, this savory drink stays light-bodied while still showcasing the wood elements in the gin and tequila, he said.

The lemon-colored Lamplight, with Old Grand-dad Bonded Bourbon, Drambuie, lemon and Chinese 5-Spice, is as bright and vibrant as its name suggests. Elliott doesn’t normally go for bourbon and citrus drinks, “which can present too tannic,” but the honey in the Drambuie tones that down, drawing out the fruitiness of the bourbon that otherwise gets lost in these kind of cocktails.

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Steven Weisburd has turned the bottom floor of the Townsend-Thompson building, constructed on Congress Avenue in 1875, into a bar that retains the stately character of the old building.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Steven Weisburd has turned the bottom floor of the Townsend-Thompson building, constructed on Congress Avenue in 1875, into a bar that retains the stately character of the old building.

Like Weisburd, he supports the notion that bartenders not on staff at a certain bar should get the credit for creating a cocktail that ends up on the menu, in part because of the naming convention “deeply ingrained in cocktail culture.”

“These drinks with these names very much become associated with these figures,” he said. “To not give them proper credit and compensation, I don’t see how you could make an argument that it’s in any way acceptable.”

The Townsend’s bar program is far from the only thing that will draw you in. The long, warm space, banded on one side by a vintage wooden bar and on the other side by cozy couches sitting below shelves of old hardback books, leads to a smaller room at the very end carefully wired for live music shows. Plus, a menu of upscale pub bites — such as smoked trout pâté, quail knots and street corn risotto — will make the Townsend a worthy happy hour or dinner spot.

It’s now opened at 4 p.m. every day except Sunday in the historically designated Townsend-Thompson building, just across the street from the Paramount Theatre, at 718 Congress Ave. For more information, visit thetownsendaustin.com.

Events: Grab a beer this weekend at the ABGB or Billy’s on Burnet

Two beer events are returning this weekend — one to bestow some care on an adorable bunch of shelter dogs and another to show some love for an unappreciated but oh-so-good beer, the lager.

First up on Saturday is an Austin Pets Alive benefit at the pizza-focused brewpub the ABGB, followed by a lager festival featuring beers from many local breweries at Billy’s on Burnet. Come thirsty.

The ABGB's American Pale Ale series has raised thousands to help out Austin Pets Alive's long-stay dogs.
The ABGB’s American Pale Ale series has raised thousands to help out Austin Pets Alive’s long-stay dogs.

The ABGB’s APA Release Party

Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. Free. 1305 Oltorf St. theabgb.com.

The ABGB and Austin Pets Alive are celebrating the release of the fourth American Pale Ale brewed to promote the adoption and care of APA’s long-stay dogs. A $1 of every pint sold goes toward this program; the three prior APA APA beers and additional fundraising at the brewpub have so far raised more than $12,000. In addition to the newest pale ale, there will also be a dunking booth, a doggie swimming pool, a cornhole tournament and more.

Each beer in the APA series is single-hopped to showcase the characteristics of the hop used. This edition, according to a press release, “will feature Mosaic, a hop known for a complex array of tropical fruit, citrus, berry, herbal, earthy and pine characteristics.”

“The ABGB believes American Pale Ales share a noble characteristic with these long-stay dogs looking for homes: they are like a trusted best friend,” according to the press release. “Their beauty and strength is found in being steady, friendly and reliable.”

Austin Beer Guide’s Lager Jam 2

1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. $25. Billy’s on Burnet, 2105 Hancock Drive. austinbeerguide.com.

Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing's Bowsaw Pils will be among the beers available at Austin Beer Guide's Lager Jam 2.
Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing’s Bowsaw Pils will be among the beers available at Austin Beer Guide’s Lager Jam 2.

The lager isn’t like it used to be — the bottom-fermented beer is better than ever thanks to the craft brewers who are bringing it back to life. So many breweries have such tasty takes on the lager that the Austin Beer Guide is throwing the Lager Jam for the second year running. This year’s is even bigger, with 20 beers from 11 Texas breweries on tap.

Get your ticket soon (they sold out last year) for access to a sudsy selection that includes Austin Beerworks GalLager, a watermelon lager; Live Oak Speisse Grodz, a cask-conditioned grodziskie-style smoked lager; and Oasis, Texas Brewing’s LuchaMosa, a kellerbier with blood oranges. Austin Beerworks’ Lager Jam collaboration, a Vienna lager with soured peach juice, will also be available.

Tickets will get you three Lager Jam pours, a limited-edition Lager Jam pilsner glass and an onsite screen-printed T-shirt from Fine Southern Gentlemen that will feature art by Dusan Kwiatkowski. You can also try buying the glasses, the shirts and the beers a la carte at the event.

Help us find Austin’s favorite place to grab a beer

We need your help, Austin: Where is your favorite place to grab a cold one? Is it because of the craft beer selection? The sheer number of beers on tap? The rotating specials? The dog-friendly patio? The snacks? The ease of parking? The jukebox?

Photo by Mark Matson
Photo by Mark Matson

We want you — the beer-drinking reader — to decide. Vote in our poll below and we’ll use your answers to make an interactive map and guide ranking readers’ favorite places to grab a beer. Use the comments to tell us why you voted.

Taste a sweet side of Texas with SKYY’s grapefruit vodka

Contributed by SKYY Infusions. Wanting to taste a piece of Texas? Try SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit, which adds a nice citrus element to many cocktails including Gimme the Peat.
Contributed by SKYY Infusions. Wanting to taste a piece of Texas? Try SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit, which adds a nice citrus element to many cocktails including Gimme the Peat.

It’d be hard to distill the essence of Texas into a bottle. Would this state taste like Fredericksburg peaches? Like High Plains or Hill Country grown grapes? Like Rio Grande Valley grapefruit?

A couple of vodka producers would argue the latter. Austin’s Deep Eddy Vodka has struck gold with its pink infusion of neutral grain spirit and grapefruit juice, the Ruby Red vodka that has flown off store shelves ever since it was first introduced in 2013. But it’s not the only one anymore: SKYY Infusions has also capitalized on a clear thirst for the sweet fruit by releasing SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit earlier this year, sourcing the grapefruit from state growers.

Since Texas grapefruits aren’t in season currently, look to these two spirits if you’re wanting to put grapefruit into a cocktail. The vodkas can stand in for the juicy red fruit until October, when they’ll return widespread in stores. But which vodka captures the sweet soul of a Texas-grown ruby red grapefruit the best? I tasted each one by themselves to find out.

The SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit is a more vibrant expression of the citrus fruit than Deep Eddy Ruby Red, with a blossoming aroma and an almost candied approach to showcasing grapefruit’s sweet side. On the other hand, the subtlety of the Ruby Red is more appealing in part because the Deep Eddy vodka smells, tastes and looks exactly like what it is without being overwhelming.

But if you like the sweet burst of grapefruit in a cocktail that the SKYY Infusions vodka provides, go out and get a bottle of it. That level of vibrancy does well in cocktails — like the one below with Scotch and an element of smoke from a special ice ball. (Note that because of the smoked ice ball, the flavor of the drink will change as you sip and the ice melts.)

Gimme the Peat

2 oz. SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit
1 oz. Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch
1 tbsp. Simple Syrup
Liquid smoke ice ball (see below)

Combine SKYY Infusions Texas Grapefruit, Glen Grant Single Malt and simple syrup in a double rocks glass.

Place smoked ice ball in glass and stir 5 times. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

Smoked Ice Ball

Use an ice ball mold to produce a large round ice sphere. Before placing in freezer, drop approximately 5 drops of liquid smoke into the water used. Freeze. Remember to use sparingly as liquid smoke is potent.

— Adapted from Sheridan Fay

Stiles Switch sauce a crucial ingredient in Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix

North Lamar’s Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew makes a barbecue sauce that doesn’t just spice up the smoked meats — it’s also an essential ingredient in a new Bloody Mary mix.

Photo by Wyatt McSpadden. Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix features Stiles Switch barbecue sauce as an ingredient, making it a smoky, spicy delight.
Photo by Wyatt McSpadden. Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix features Stiles Switch barbecue sauce as an ingredient, making it a smoky, spicy delight.

Since Texas barbecue puts such a spotlight on the meat and not the sauce, Stiles Switch’ house sauce, a light tomato-based mixture of smoked black pepper and other spices, takes a supporting role on the plate. But it’s such a tasty accompaniment to meals at the restaurant that Catherine Stiles, wife of Stiles Switch owner Shane, always thought it would be just the right ingredient for a beverage she’s been making homemade for awhile.

She began to play around with the sauce in Bloody Marys and, after a year-and-a-half of tinkering with the recipe, finally produced an all-natural, preservative-free mix she thought was worthy of selling. Now, Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix is available for $12 at Stiles Switch and, later this month, will be found at small locally owned stores as well.

And for her, it’s much more than just a drink mix.

“A lot of me went into this project,” she said, noting that the design of the bottle was just as important to her as the quality of the mix.

To get the right look, she worked with Austin artist Gary Dorsey to come up with the double-sided label on the bottle: white lettering on the outside and an illustration on the inside depicting one of a series of “Barbecue Wives” — women, from a cheerleader to a Scarlett O’Hara-esque character, who embody the sort of strong, independent wives of men in the local barbecue scene she’s met since her own husband first opened Stiles Switch in December of 2011. Even before she started producing the mix, she thought it was important to highlight them.

“There’s no voice or platform for the women in the barbecue community supporting their husbands who go out and smoke meat every morning,” she said. “I’m hoping to give a voice to those women. We’re not just stay-at-home moms; we’re hard workers, entrepreneurs. And there’s just not a lot of representation for us in a male-dominated industry.”

Photo by Wyatt McSpadden. Catherine Stiles is passionate about telling the stories of the "barbecue wives" she's met since her husband opened a barbecue restaurant, Stiles Switch, in late 2011.
Photo by Wyatt McSpadden. Catherine Stiles is passionate about telling the stories of the “barbecue wives” she’s met since her husband opened a barbecue restaurant, Stiles Switch, in late 2011.

She’s been giving women like her a voice since well before the Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix ever hit the market earlier this spring. She started @BarbecueWife on Twitter a few years ago to talk “about what life is like when your husband owns a barbecue restaurant,” she said. It has proven to be a fun outlet, she said, that’s now turned into a way to spread the word about her new Bloody Mary mix.

The current five women depicted on the Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix bottle (who you can’t see until you drink up some of the mix) will eventually get switched out with another round of Barbecue Wives, she said.

In the meantime, pick up a bottle soon at the restaurant. This weekend is a special opportunity to try Barbecue Wife because Stiles Switch is hosting a “BYOV”: Purchase the mix, bring the vodka and load up your Bloody Mary with all the fixings you could want.

You’ll find the Barbecue Wife mix carries a delightfully savory punch of smoke and heat — something you’ll want to sip on slowly while you feast on, well, some barbecue. For more information, visit Barbecue Wife’s Facebook page or visit barbecuewife.com.

This post has been corrected to reflect that Gary Dorsey designed the bottle labels of Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary mix.

Qui’s Justin Elliott moving to new bar the Townsend

Photo by SJ Reid Photography. Justin Elliott's the Blush of Youth, with Ford’s Gin, Liqueur de Camomille, lime and Crème Yvette, is one of the cocktails available at the Townsend.
Photo by SJ Reid Photography. Justin Elliott’s the Blush of Youth, with Ford’s Gin, Liqueur de Camomille, lime and Crème Yvette, is one of the cocktails available at the Townsend.

Cocktail guru Justin Elliott is leaving Qui for a very different bar project that’s now opened on Congress Avenue.

The Townsend, located in a historic building across the street from the Paramount Theatre, is bringing Elliott on as director of hospitality projects, where he’ll oversee much more than the cocktail menu. That’s because the Townsend is doing something few other bars have attempted: a royalty program that will give guest bartenders a 1 percent royalty for every original drink of theirs that’s purchased. This residency system will start next month.

In the meantime, Elliott is gearing up to say good-bye to his coworkers at Qui, who have “been my family for two years,” he said.

He originally started with the Townsend in a consulting role, crafting the launch menu of drinks, but decided to make it more permanent when he realized how good of a fit it was. “Steven (Weisburd, owner of the Townsend) just believed in a lot of the stuff I believe in,” he said. “We’re creating a culture here of hospitality and creativity, but not in a super showy way. We want to give this part of Austin a really great, (everyday) kind of bar.”

That means “you won’t see any five-ingredient syrups,” he said. Instead, the Townsend is embracing simplicity and restraint — and timelessness, too.

“There’s something about this historic building that really inspired some of the cocktails,” Elliott said. “My aim has been to create cocktails that look like they could be found in any vintage cocktail book but aren’t. I want them to seem timeless. I don’t want anyone to see my hand in the cocktails; I don’t want my fingerprints on them.”

Look for a more extensive story on the Townsend, opened 4 p.m. every day at 718 Congress Ave., next week in this blog.

Whisler’s to celebrate 2-year anniversary on June 28

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Whisler's celebrates its 2-year anniversary on June 28.
Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Whisler’s celebrates its 2-year anniversary on June 28.

It’s almost time to raise your glass to Whisler’s new milestone: two years in business in the same old building that used to house the iconic Austin dive bar Rabbit’s.

The craft cocktail bar (one of my favorites in Austin and the best place, in my opinion, to get an Old-Fashioned) is throwing an anniversary celebration on June 28, a Sunday, complete with live music, barrel-aged cocktails and lots of food.

At the heart of Whisler's tequila-based Greenbelt is verdita, a mixture of pineapple, cilantro and jalapeno juice.
At the heart of Whisler’s tequila-based Greenbelt is verdita, a mixture of pineapple, cilantro and jalapeño juice.

Starting at 1 p.m., you’ll be able to enjoy grub from nearby Salt & Time and on-site food trailer East Side King Thai-Kun, as well as Austin Beerworks brews and a special barrel-aged beer cocktail from Oasis, Texas Brewing Co. The Lake Travis-area brewery has aged its award-winning London Homesick Ale in a bourbon barrel and will serve it Old Fashioned-style with an orange peel at Whisler’s.

Music will be provided by Odas Williams Soul Revue, with special guests to be revealed throughout the day.

Whisler’s anniversary party is also a good opportunity to try the bar’s seasonal cocktails if you haven’t yet this summer. The menu is always thoughtfully crafted — with a mix of classics and original creations by bar staff — and the current one is no exception.

I recommend the Greenbelt, a cocktail I mentioned in my Austin summer cocktails round-up last month: “Whisler’s Greenbelt, a tequila concoction with genepy, velvet falernum and lime, is beautifully three-dimensional because of a final, little-known ingredient called verdita, made from pineapple, cilantro and jalapeño juices.”

For more information, visit whislersatx.com.

Austin bars host benefits for flood relief

Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. The Gatsby, a cocktail bar modeled after the fun speakeasies of the 1920s, is throwing a flood relief benefit this weekend.
Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. The Gatsby, a cocktail bar modeled after the fun speakeasies of the 1920s, is throwing a flood relief benefit this weekend.

The Gatsby joins a growing list of bars in the Austin area that have or plan to help out the Central Texas flood relief efforts by raising money.

Tomorrow, the downtown cocktail bar will bring in more than 30 bands and musicians, including Southern Gold, Nathan Olivarez and more, for a benefit concert called SHARE. The Gatsby is partnering with the Austin Disaster Relief Network to aid in flood relief.

In addition to live music in both the outdoor and upstairs stages, the Gatsby is going to have a screen printing booth to receive additional donations, and all of the proceeds from Independence Brewing beer sales will go toward the cause as well. Music starts at 1 p.m. and will play on until 1 a.m., with the headlining act to be revealed.

Or, if you live farther south, a couple of bars on Manchaca Road south of Slaughter are hosting events or special deals. Throughout the month of June, Indian Roller is donating 50 percent of the proceeds of all Tito’s Vodka sales to flood relief and is also collecting gift cards from stores like HEB and Home Depot to donate to United Way. Last week, the bar’s fundraising efforts collected $500.

And next Thursday, Moontower Saloon is throwing the Hays County Food Bank Flood Benefit, with live music starting at 2 p.m., Salt Lick barbecue specials, drink specials and fun giveaways.

These are just the latest efforts of many in the hospitality industry to help out Central Texas flood victims and aid organizations. Deep Eddy Vodka donated all of the proceeds from its distillery tasting room, a total of $10,000, to United Way for Greater Austin and the Barnabas Connection a couple of weeks ago. (Each organization got $5,000.) And local restaurants have been doing their part, too.

The City of Austin’s big flood relief benefit is taking place June 28 at the Palmer Events Center. Flood Aid TX, also co-hosted by Travis County, the Lower Colorado River Authority and the Texas Music Office,  is pulling in big acts like Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson, singer-songwriter Jack Ingram and more to raise money for United Way of Hays County the Flood Relief Fund and the Austin Disaster Relief Network.

This post has been edited to reflect that Deep Eddy Vodka raised $10,000 for flood relief efforts.