Brewmaster Steve Anderson, of Big Bend Brewing, dies

Steve Anderson, formerly of Live Oak Brewing, is coming back to Austin Friday to offer a taste of his beer at Big Bend Brewing, which plans to start distributing here this summer.
Steve Anderson, formerly of Live Oak Brewing, died of cancer last week at his home in Alpine, Texas, where he’d been an integral part of Big Bend Brewing.

Big Bend Brewing founder Steve Anderson, who helped to feed Austin’s thirst for local beer in the 1990s with Waterloo Brewing and Live Oak Brewing, died Wednesday at his home in Alpine, Texas, of cancer. He was 53.

Although Anderson moved to the tiny West Texas town of Alpine to open Big Bend in 2012 with a series of solid mainstay beers that started selling in Austin earlier this year — he had deep roots in Austin, too. He was integral in introducing the city to the idea of locally made beers more than 20 years ago, when the laws in Texas had only just started to change in favor of visionary brewers like him.

“All of Texas lost a true craft beer pioneer and a friend,” according to a press release Big Bend Brewing sent out following his death.

That’s not an overstatement: On social media throughout the weekend and today, brewers and others in the industry have talked about Anderson’s impact and how much he meant to them. Among them was Jester King Brewery, which released a brief statement titled “In Remembrance of Steve Anderson” on its website.

“We learned a great deal from Steve, especially during Jester King’s startup phase when we were struggling to make the transition from homebrewing to professional brewing,” according to the statement. “Steve was very generous with his time, and was happy to welcome and help newcomers to the scene like us… We will miss him.”

Anderson and his longtime friend Billy Forrester, who became inspired to open a brewpub together after a 1991 trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, came up with a plan to see that dream realized, according to Big Bend.

“Steve would attend the Siebel Institute Brewing Program to refine his brewing knowledge, and Billy would lobby the Texas Legislature to change the law,” according to the press release. “Two years after that trip, with the law successfully changed, they made their dream a reality and opened Waterloo Brewing Co. at 4th & Guadalupe, making Steve the first brewmaster of the first brewpub in Texas.”

Although Waterloo closed down in 2001 “an early victim of escalating Austin rents” Anderson wasn’t done molding beer lovers’ palates. He worked side-by-side with Live Oak Brewing founder Chip McElroy for 11 years, making sure as Live Oak’s head brewer that the East Austin brewery would become one of the most respected and beloved ones in town.

In 2012, he and his wife decided to move to Alpine “for a slower pace of life,” according to Big Bend. That’s where he helped open his final brewing project, Big Bend Brewing, which grew from “zero to over 5,000 barrels of annual production” over the past three years in an isolated part of the state. It wasn’t until earlier this year that Austinites finally got to try some of Big Bend’s mainstay brews, including Tejas Lager, La Frontera IPA and 22 Porter.

Anderson, however, hadn’t been planning to stop with them: He “turned his attention to developing our small batch brewing program, purchasing a small brewpub system to brew specialty series, collaborations with other breweries, and exclusive tap room beers,” according to Big Bend. He wasn’t able to finish.

“But we will carry on his legacy,” according to Big Bend. “To honor Steve, we will be naming the taproom at BBBC ‘Steve’s Cantina.’ We welcome current, future, and aspiring Texans to share great craft beer and memories from one of the originals. There will be only brewers in Steve’s Cantina, no brewmasters: it will only ever have one.”

Big Bend Brewing will celebrate Anderson’s life at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the brewery, at 3401 W. Highway 90, Alpine. Instead of flowers, the brewery suggests making a donation to Pints for Prostate, an organization that encourages men to get regular prostate screenings.

December drinking events calendar 2015

Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell / American-Statesman. 'Tis the season for holiday treats like spiked hot chocolate, which will be at LaV's Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 5.
Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell / American-Statesman. ‘Tis the season for holiday treats like spiked hot chocolate, which will be at LaV’s Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 5.

First Tuesdays at Arro, 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday, Dec. 1. Now on Tuesdays, Arro’s popular pairing tradition continues with a five-course dinner and some top California wines.

416 Bar & Grille’s Whiskey Wednesday, 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2. Practice your Scottish brogue for the latest installment of this whiskey series, this month featuring blended and single malt Scotch whiskies.

Flying Saucer Austin’s The Flights Before Christmas, 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3. Rare bottle flights from Brooklyn Brewery, Firestone Walker, Prairie Artisan Ales and more.

Slow Food Austin’s Beer & Cheese Tasting, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3. Meet at (512) Brewing for this annual pairing of beers with Antonelli’s Cheese. $50-$60.

Opal Divine’s Whisky Festival, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3. More than 80 single-malt whiskies available to try, including new and rare offerings from the Macallan, Laphroaig, William Grant & Sons and more.

A Merry Little Christmas Tree Lighting at La V, 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. Hot toddies, mulled wine and spiked hot chocolate for the adults and a hot chocolate bar for the kids at this inaugural event that raises money for Operation Blue Santa.

Beersgiving 2, 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. Celebrate another successful year of fundraising for 1400 Miles with the Beerliner folks, who are offering a variety of Houston and DFW beers at the Waller Creek Ballroom.

Benji’s Cantina Tequila Dinner, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8. An intimate four-course feast paired with Milagro and Suerte tequilas.

“A Christmas Story” Screening at Easy Tiger, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8. Watch this holiday classic while sipping on Karbach’s seasonal brew Yule Shoot Your Eye Out.

Saint Arnold Cellared Beer Tappings at Opal Divine’s Marina, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. Bishop’s Barrel No. 12, Pumpkinator 2013 and 2015, Divine Reserve No. 13 and more.

National Lager Day at Easy Tiger, 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. $4 drafts of Austin Beerworks Black Thunder, Victory Prima Pils, Real Ale Hans’ Pils, Brooklyn Lager and Dogfish Head Piercing Pils.

Lost Pines Christmas Wine Swirl, 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. Sip and shop your way through a winter wonderland in historic downtown Bastrop, where Texas wineries will offer tastes of their best wines. $40-$110.

The ABGB’s Hell Yes Holiday Parade, 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. A bike ride from the ABGB to the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. Your $10 entry gets you a pint upon your return, the chance to win cool prizes in a raffle and participation in the holiday parade costume contest.

Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing’s Dark Side of the Wall Beer Fest, 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. The biggest, darkest and rarest beers this Cedar Park brewpub could find are all tapping at the same time.

3 Years of Beer at Hi Hat Public House, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Celebrate Hi Hat’s 3rd anniversary with special beer tappings all day and a Foot Patrol dance party starting at 9 p.m.

Uncle Billy’s Christmas Beer Dinner, 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Uncle Billy’s brews paired with four courses not usually available at this barbecue-focused brewpub. Bring an unwrapped toy for a Toys for Tots drive and get a special Uncle Billy’s souvenir glass in return.

Hops & Grain’s 2nd Annual White Elephant Party, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. In addition to a white elephant gift, you’ll also get an ugly holiday sweater from Hops & Grain and four pours of beer. $30.

Pints for Presents Holiday Party at Last Stand Brewing, 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. A s’mores roast, Christmas movie marathon and a tacky Christmas sweater contest. Oh, and beer in a free pint glass, too. Just bring some Toys for Tots. $53.44.

Apothecary’s Goose Island Beer Dinner, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15. What’s that you see on the menu? Goose Island’s Rare Bourbon County Stout? Your eyes aren’t deceiving you — it’s just one of the six beers you’ll drink alongside a six-course feast at Apothecary. $125.

The Brew & Brew’s Tun Tun Tun Fest 3.0, 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. Odell Russian Pirate, Austin Beerworks Midnight Swordfight, Karbach Trigave and many other brewed goodies that will give you an excuse to skip work.

Austin Beer Guide’s Best of 2015 Party at the ABGB, 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17. Fun beers and the usual hijinks along with the Best of 2015 Awards ceremony focusing on all things beer-related in Austin.

Mega Mutt Monday at Banger’s, 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. For this special holiday edition of this dog-friendly event, your pups can take photos with Santa and his elves while you enjoy a pint of beer.

Independence Festivus, 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23. Ugly Christmas sweaters are encouraged at this holiday party at the brewery that will also feature shotgunning beers and arts and crafts.

Revolution Spirits debuts a line of farmhouse fruit liqueurs

The cluster of booze makers along Fitzhugh Road in Dripping Springs — including Jester King Brewery, Treaty Oak Distilling and Argus Cidery — aren’t just neighbors; they’re good friends who like to talk shop, swap drinks and help each other out when possible. The latest example of this collaborative spirit is Revolution Spirits’ newest release, a line of farmhouse fruit liqueurs using the leftover pulp from the fruited sours that Jester King makes.

Revolution Spirits, which is most known for its Austin Reserve Gin, is debuting these liqueurs tomorrow at the distillery in limited numbers. The Farmhouse Series Fruit Liqueurs, in flavors of raspberry, apricot and cherry, are so few that visitors to Revolution can purchase one bottle of each at a time.

Revolution Spirits' new line of fruit liqueurs debuts Saturday at the distillery.
Revolution Spirits’ new line of fruit liqueurs debuts Saturday at the distillery.

After Jester King finished production of three of its farmhouse ales — Atrial Rubicite and La Vie en Rose, Aurelian Lure and Montmorency vs. Balaton — the brewery passed along the remaining fruit pulp from each of these beers to Revolution Spirits down the road. Revolution then distilled the raspberry, apricot and cherry leftovers into liqueurs.

“We capture the character of both the fruit and the wild yeast and bacteria used in the fermentation of the beers, creating a complex blend of flavors that is completely unlike a traditional fruit infusion,” according to a post on Revolution Spirits’ Facebook page.

Distillery founder Mark Shilling said via email that there wasn’t “a specific profile we were looking for but rather to let fruit and the spirit sort of tell us what it wanted to be.”

“I’d compare the farmhouse series to an old world red wine, more earthy, subtle and complex whereas your more typical fruit liqueurs I would liken to a big, in-your-face fruit bomb,” he said, noting that only a small amount of added sweetness contributes to each of the liqueurs’ final flavors.

This series is just one of the many boozy, see-how-it-goes experiments that Shilling and Revolution Spirits enjoy doing — and yet another that sour beer-focused neighbor Jester King has helped them with (the brewery also provided Revolution with an old barrel that had formerly aged RU-55, Jester King’s farmhouse red ale, for the distillery’s Single Barrel series).

“We’re really focused on making creative, fun and unique products so it was really easy to say, ‘Hey, so what are you gonna do with fruit when you’re finished with it?’ while at the same time thinking, ‘Hmm, wonder if we could something cool with it,'” Shilling said.

Tomorrow, the day the fruit liqueurs debut, Revolution Spirits is open from 1 to 7 p.m. at 12345 Pauls Valley Rd. For more information, visit revolutionspirits.com.

Instacart adding alcohol delivery in Austin and Houston

Instacart has already established itself as a retail delivery service bringing groceries and other items to customers’ doors, but it’s branching out to include something a little boozier.

The service has teamed up with Spec’s Wine, Spirits, and Finer Foods to offer same-day delivery of beer, wine and spirits as well in parts of South Austin and downtown Houston. As this mystatesman.com article notes, Instacart’s offering alcohol delivery in a limited number of zip codes at first, with plans to expand into other parts of Austin: 78735, 78739, 78745, 78748 and 78749.

Photo by Brian K. Diggs, American-Statesman. Spec's is teaming up with Instacart to offer alcohol delivery straight to customers' doors.
Photo by Brian K. Diggs, American-Statesman. Spec’s is teaming up with Instacart to offer alcohol delivery straight to customers’ doors.

“Beer, wine, and liquor are all natural extensions of the grocery shopping experience, so we’re very excited to welcome Spec’s into the Instacart marketplace,” Vishwa Chandra, vice president of retail accounts for Instacart, said in a written statement. “We’ve received a lot of interest from our customers in Texas, so we’re thrilled to have Spec’s on board to give our customers fast and easy access to goods they want.”

Delivery fees for alcohol will remain the same as they are for other items, Instacart said — $3.99 for two-hour delivery and $5.99 for one-hour delivery for orders over $35, with a minimum order size of $10. Or you can purchase Instacart’s annual $99 membership.

Spec’s, originally a Houston business, has 12 locations in the Austin area. If you purchase items from Spec’s for delivery, you might notice their prices “may vary from in-store prices,” according to the Mystatesman story.

Instacart isn’t the first to bring alcoholic drinks straight to your door. Delivery services focusing specifically on booze, such as BrewDrop, Drizly and Thirstie, have launched here in the past couple years, and Sourced Craft Cocktails now even delivers the ingredients and the recipes you’ll need to make a good stiff cocktail.

Adelbert’s releases another Whimsical beer

Adelbert's Sundowner, a champagne-like beer, is now on store shelves and in bars, perfect for any holiday toasts this year.
Adelbert’s Sundowner, a champagne-like beer, is now on store shelves and in bars, perfect for any holiday toasts this year.

Just in time for the holidays, Adelbert’s has two new beers hitting draft lines and retail shelves: the latest in the North Austin brewery’s rotating special release series, Whimsical, and the return of a popular one from this season last year.

Following up the debut of the first Whimsical beer, a pink-hued hibiscus saison, is Adelbert’s Whimsical Wild Pale Ale, a 6.9 percent ABV brew that was dry-hopped for a floral aroma and also fermented with 100 percent Brettanomyces yeast, according to a press release. All that Brett a funky yeast commonly used in brewing, albeit not as often in such high quantities imparts on the beer a bunch of fruity and earthy notes.

The beer is on draft only, but try to order a glass of it if you can: Adelbert’s founder Scott Hovey is particularly proud of the beer and the Whimsical series as a whole, noting in the press release that it was “perfectly crafted by our team.”

Adelbert’s other beer to look out for is the Sundowner, a bière brut that makes for a solid alternative to champagne during holiday toasts this season. Although the Belgian style isn’t often produced here, Adelbert’s brewers think maybe it should be. They were surprised at how quickly their version flew off the shelves last year.

“It was our best received first pass of beer we’ve ever done,” Hovey said in an interview earlier this year.

Sundowner, brewed with champagne yeast, has “a blend of the spicy, fruity notes of a Belgian ale balanced with the mouthfeel and body of a sparkling wine. The effervescent ale possesses hints of white grape and green apple with a crisp, bone-dry finish,” according to a press release. And its striking similarity to champagne does indeed mean that people who don’t like beer might find themselves sipping on Sundowner. Just keep in mind that like champagne, the beer is 12 percent ABV.

“It is our hope that this crossover style will give beer lovers and non-beer fans something to enjoy together,” Adelbert’s general manager Sarah Haney said last year. “Plus, it’s the perfect New Year’s drink for craft beer fans.”

For more information about either beer, visit adelbertsbeer.com.

Austin Brewery Tours now available for booking

Visiting more than one brewery in a day can be tricky — what happens when you’ve enjoyed a few beers but still have to drive home safely?

That’s where transportation services like Austin Brewery Tours can come in handy. Recently launched by local beer lover Shane Orr, Austin Brewery Tours shuttles people to a trio of breweries and has knowledgeable guides to take you through tastings and demonstrations of the brewing process at each one. A recent trip, for example, delivered Austinites to Zilker Brewing and Hops & Grain on the east side and to Adelbert’s Brewing farther north, all in a four-to-five hour timespan.

“I decided to offer the tours to help promote the Austin lifestyle, (so tied to) its craft beer scene,” Orr said in an email.

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. You can enjoy beer tastings during a trip with the Austin Brewery Tour.
Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. You can enjoy beer tastings during a trip with the Austin Brewery Tour.

He’d noticed that there aren’t many tours locally offering a specific focus on breweries and wanted to change that, especially after a quick Google search revealed the wealth of offerings in Central Texas — “around 40 in and around Austin, with more on the way,” he said. With so many breweries in the area, it seemed to him that they were in need of a safe way to bring groups to them.

And so far, his instincts seem to be right. A couple of the Austin Brewery Tours trips have sold out this month, and brewers at many of the stops the tour makes have so far been supportive of the tours. “Some of the breweries and I developed background stories to share,” Orr said.

The $70 tours get you everything, according to the website, including transportation to three local breweries and beer samples at each of them; the cost even covers tipping. So far, the tours are private and begin and end at a group’s meeting spot, like a hotel or house. You can bet at all of them that the tour guides will offer up plenty of tidbits about the breweries — the tours are partly how Orr has become such an expert on the beer scene.

“Doing repeated tours, you learn a lot about each brewery, their processes, and who runs them,” he said.

To purchase a tour, visit austinbrewerytours.com.

Untapped’s Canned beer festival postponed to TBD 2016 date

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Right now, Texas beer drinkers can only purchase canned or bottled beers from retail stores or brewpubs - not from the many microbreweries whose taprooms can offer you a beer to drink on-site.
Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Untapped’s festival devoted to canned beers is being rescheduled for another date.

Canned, Untapped’s canned beer and live music-focused festival, is being rescheduled to a TBD date in 2016, according to an announcement made last night on Untapped’s website.

The festival, which had been planned for Dec. 5 on the Austin Studios lot, has been moved to next year for “circumstances beyond our control,” festival organizers said in the announcement. Ticket holders will be receiving full refunds.

“We wish this could have been avoided and still look forward to producing the event in the future,” according to the statement. “Once the dates and information for the 2016 event come available, you will be the first to know.”

For any questions about refunds, reach out to support@prekindle.com. Allow 3 to 5 business days to see the refund hit your account.

 

Mi Madre’s team opens rooftop mezcal bar, Techo

The top floor of the brick-red Mi Madre’s building on Manor Road hadn’t been used for anything until the owners found a perfect fit for it: a rooftop mezcalaria and tequila bar they’ve called Techo.

Edgar and Christina Torres, whose family owns the traditional Tex-Mex spot Mi Madre’s, took their time turning the empty upstairs space into a bar because they wanted to get it right without feeling rushed, Christina said. The result is Techo, now softly opened as a cozy tribute to the Oaxacan mezcalarias that are a big part of Mexican culture.

Techo Mezcalaria and Agave Bar is opening with a focus on mezcal and tequila drinks. A favorite of the owners is the Tepache Mapache, which features house-made fermented pineapple.
Techo Mezcalaria and Agave Bar is opening with a focus on mezcal and tequila drinks. A favorite of the owners is the Tepache Mapache, which features house-made fermented pineapple.

“It was Edgar’s idea to do mezcal, but we wanted something everyone could enjoy,” Christina said.

The Torres’ recognized that not everyone loves mezcal as much as Edgar, so in addition to mezcal — which is typically served in Mexico by itself in clay copitas — Techo also offers tequila and a couple of beers. The bar’s cocktail menu features a mix of mezcal, tequila and even bourbon; the option of ordering the spirits to sip straight is available, too.

At the heart of it, though, is the mezcal. The bar currently has about 14 different bottles, and the owners plan to let this selection grow with time. “We’re building our back bar with our favorites,” Christina Torres said.

She and Edgar came up with each of the cocktails themselves and tested the recipes on customers at Mi Madre’s and School House Pub, the other bar they own right next door, ahead of time. And when Techo opened its doors for the first time yesterday, reception was positive.

“We opened last night to get a handle on the drinks, see how everything would go, and it went great,” Christina Torres said.

Techo, which means “rooftop” in Spanish, has an indoor and outdoor area both seating about 20 people. Inside is “traditional Mexican,” she said, with stained glass windows and colorful tiles. “You walk in and feel like you’re in Mexico… Our main goal for it was to be cozy.”

Outside, the rooftop patio is far more open. “It’s really pretty; you can see the sunset,” she said.

Techo, accessible through a staircase in the School House yard, is opened 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Fridays and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/techomezcalaria.

Hipside Peddler offers 15-passenger bike tour of East Austin bars

Photo contributed by Kristin Weaver. The Hipside Peddler pub crawler bike takes beer-drinking passengers to bars on the east side like Whisler's and Craftsman.
Photo contributed by Kristin Weaver. The Hipside Peddler pub crawler bike takes beer-drinking passengers to bars on the east side like Whisler’s and Craftsman.

Four residents of East Austin’s Mueller neighborhood have been exploring the east side of town since they met five years ago. But they hadn’t been doing it by party bike — the large multi-passenger pub crawler that groups of people pedal from place to place while drinking a beer — and thought their part of town could benefit from such a service.

After deciding to have one made for them, they’ve launched the bike as a new business called Hipside Peddler and are now offering tours to various East Austin bars with it.

“We thought, ‘Oh, this would be a fun thing on the east side, right?'” Hipside Peddler co-founder Kristin Weaver says.

She, her husband Johnny, and their friends Andrej and Rachel Simic started operating their custom-made 15-passenger bike earlier this summer as a two- or three-hour ride to spots like Craftsman, Bar 2211 and Hi Hat Public House. Groups of no less than 6 people and no more than 15 can opt for a day or nighttime tour for a total of $205 per hour, and they’ll have plenty of fun along the way, Weaver said.

On the Hipside Peddler bike, passengers are allowed to brings their own kegs or cans of beer and wine; the bike has a tap line or two and coolers to keep the cans cold. “It’s a BYOB situation, not a bar,” she says.

Plus, the bike has a 6-speaker sound system that you can plug your phone into and karaoke for you to croon along with.

And yes, you do have to pedal. That’s probably the question Weaver and her co-founders get the most often: “Do we actually have to pedal?” she repeats with a laugh. “It’s a little bit of work but not the hardest thing in the world.”

For others, the chance to exert some energy while sipping on a can of beer is the best of worlds, she says. “Everyone says this is a great exercise dream: Maintain your buzz while you pedal. You feel like you’re doing something active, so it’s really a win-win.”

Right now, Hipside Peddler offers two main tours: one for a daytime ride and another for nighttime, when Hipside operators have to abide by a city rule that states they can only have the bike out on multi-lane roads. By day, stops include Craftsman, Buckets Deli and Sports Bar, Drinks Lounge and Hi Hat Public House; by night, the bike travels to Bar 2211, the newly reopened Dog and Duck Pub, Whisler’s and St. Roch’s. All tours start and end at Hops & Grain.

Although the Hipside Peddler operators are open to going to other places — and are also in the process of planning a craft beer tour involving Hops & Grain, Blue Owl Brewing and Zilker Brewing — Weaver said they’re restricted by the city’s open container laws to staying east of Chicon Street, a boundary that limits their options.

Still, she and the others are excited about their new business, which they hope will one day grow and be profitable enough to take on full-time.

“I think that’s the aim, to see how big we can get it,” she said. “For us, we look at it as it’s exercise, it’s fun, it’s running around in a part of town we like and checking out new spots. It’s something we like to do anyway.”

For more information, visit www.hipsidepeddler.com.

Eater Austin names the Roosevelt Room’s Justin Lavenue Bartender of the Year

It’s been a good year for Justin Lavenue.

He’s opened his own bar, the Roosevelt Room, in downtown Austin with bartending partner Dennis Gobis and won a cocktail competition or two — and now he’s also picked up a nice new title from Eater Austin’s Eater Awards 2015: Bartender of the Year.

After competing against the likes of Justin Elliott, Jennifer Keyser and other notables in Austin’s ever-growing bar scene, Lavenue was declared the winner today on Eater Austin, which also listed winners for restaurant and chef of the year and other accolades.

“Justin Lavenue knows his cocktails, after working at Whisler’s, Drink.Well, and Half Step,” according to Eater Austin’s announcement. “Now he gets to shine with the Roosevelt Room, before he and co-owner Dennis Gobis turn the West 5th bar into a three-story drinking destination next year. For now, though, the Roosevelt Room is his drinking playground, where he explores every iteration of the cocktail, from past to present.”

Photo contributed by the Roosevelt Room. Fifty-three drinks are on the menu of classic cocktails at the Roosevelt Room, which is separated into different eras of drinking.
Photo contributed by the Roosevelt Room. Fifty-three drinks are on the menu of classic cocktails at the Roosevelt Room, which is separated into different eras of drinking.

That might be my favorite part of the Roosevelt Room: the menu that showcases each era of American cocktails. That’s a total of 53 drinks, in addition to the entirely separate menu of original cocktails, but Lavenue, Gobis and their bar team pull off such a feat with their usual skill and flair. On a recent trip to the West Fifth Street bar, I tried the Prohibition-era Charlie Chaplin with sloe gin, apricot brandy and lime; bright and fruity, it’s been one of the best drinks I’ve had in awhile.

To taste Lavenue and Gobis’ bartending talent yourself, stop by the bar on a Tuesday. Every week, that’s when happy hour will last all night from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. The deal includes $6 cocktails like the Palma Fizz, El Diablo and Old Fashioneds, as well as $1 off beer and $2 off wine.

The Roosevelt Room is also about to debut Whiskey Wednesdays, according to a press release — kicking off this week with half-priced pours of Rip Van Winkle 10 Year. It’s a good bet the bottle won’t last long, so get there early.

Another bartender featured in Eater Austin’s Bartender of the Year competition was Travis Tober of Vox Table, but he won’t be on Austin “best of” lists much longer — yesterday he announced he’s becoming the director of education and advocacy at Portland’s House Spirits. The distillery produces his beloved Aviation Gin, which he’s peddled on a part-time basis for the past couple years.

“I’m sure (Vox Table’s) bar team is going to keep on racking up the accolades long after I’m gone,” he wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.