The Austin burger joint has always focused on offering good beers (the word ‘hop,’ a key ingredient in beer, is in the name of the restaurant, after all), but the program is being taken up a notch on Aug. 24, when Hopdoddy on West Anderson Lane will have bottles of Jester King’s Snörkel available for $20.
Jester King beers can be difficult to find beyond the scenic Hill Country brewery, but this one will probably go fast, too. Hopdoddy has only 24 bottles of the farmhouse ale for sale starting at 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday. In addition to the 750 ml bottles, Hopdoddy diners will also receive Jester King glassware and other goodies from Hopdoddy until the supply runs out.
Snörkel is brewed with alderwood smoked sea salt and oyster mushrooms from nearby Logro Farms, taking “partial inspiration from traditional German gose,” a tart and salty brew, while exploring “the savory characteristics of umami through the use of oyster mushrooms,” according to the brewery. Hopdoddy recommends pairing the beer with the Magic Shroom burger, which comes with angus beef, Texas goat cheese, field mushrooms, mayo, basil pesto, red leaf lettuce, white onion and beefsteak tomato.
It’s worth noting that if you aren’t able to snag a bottle in time at Hopdoddy, Jester King currently sells bottles of Snörkel for $13 at the Dripping Springs-area brewpub.
Freya: vodka, lemon, honeydew, mint, elderflower liqueur and sparkling rosé
Keep an eye out for more details on Ah Sing Den’s grand opening celebration set for September. The bar is opened daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 1100 E. Sixth St. For more information, visit facebook.com/ahsingden.
Now, breweries wanting to join the guild, which currently has 205 breweries either in-planning or already operating, have to be independent and not owned or partially controlled “by an alcoholic beverage industry member that does not otherwise qualify under this definition,” as the Texas Craft Brewers Guild noted in a release yesterday.
The update was approved unanimously by the guild’s board members as a direct result of a recent trend in the industry: the purchase of small breweries by beer conglomerates like AB InBev and equity firms like Fireman Capital. Revolver Brewing is far from being one of the first of these beer makers to be scooped up.
“We had seen the acquisition activities really heating up within the last year and anticipated there would be some acquisitions in Texas. We have been working to address our definition, although the acquisitions got ahead of us,” the guild’s executive director, Charles Vallhonrat, said. “The primary reason is that we want to make it clear we’re focused on supporting the smaller independent breweries of Texas. We’re pleased with our members that find financial success and opportunities that suit them, but they don’t need assistance with regulatory and legislative work. It’s those smaller guys we’re trying to help.”
With this update in membership to the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, Revolver Brewing can no longer be one of those breweries. Neither can Austin’s own Independence Brewing, which gave up a minority stake in the business earlier this summer to Lagunitas Brewing in California, 50 percent owned by mega-brewer Heineken. But the guild also announced yesterday that it is creating an associate membership for Texas breweries like them that “wish to be involved with guild activities such as member meetings, educational activities, and promotional work, but do not meet the criteria… to be a voting member,” according to the guild.
Both breweries have cited a desire for growth as the primary reason for their purchases. In June, Independence noted that “this unique partnership with Lagunitas” would help “expand (our) brewing capacity.” And yesterday, the Dallas Morning News reported that Revolver is looking for statewide growth, with a particular eye on moving into Houston.
One of the primary goals of the guild is to advance the interests of state breweries, in the hope of helping them flourish. In 2013, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild successfully lobbied for changes in Texas law that have since transformed the brewing industry here, including the ability for production breweries to sell their beers on-site. And in 2017, Vallhonrat said, the guild aims to do more of the same — with the decision of what to lobby for resting squarely in the hands of each member brewery.
Before yesterday, the definition of membership in the Texas Craft Brewers Guild was “very nebulous,” Vallhonrat said. The new one dictates that to join, breweries licensed in Texas must also have an “annual production of 2 million barrels of beer or less” and make a majority of beers from “traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.”
The recently opened Oskar Blues Brewery in North Austin, which hails from Colorado, is qualified to be a member of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild because it makes far under 2 million bbls of beer in its Texas facility and isn’t owned by a big brewer with competing interests.
Its arrival means that Austin is now the home to one of the country’s largest craft breweries: Oskar Blues ranks as the 14th biggest brewery in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association. None of Austin’s other breweries come close in terms of sales. But the brewery aims to fit in here, not stick out.
And Oskar Blues is doing that already, by offering the sort of place locals would want to visit. The brewery’s Tasty Weasel taproom, at a sprawling 5,000 sq. ft, has plenty of seating inside as well as outside on a long deck, and the taproom’s central feature is a stage where bands will play five days a week beneath a colorful mural designed by SprATX, a collective of street artists and muralists.
The space, at 10420 Metric Blvd., also hearkens back to its former recycling center roots, as the taproom is a mixture of new and salvaged pieces — such as the wall to the right of the stage where vintage speakers stack tall.
Like Oskar Blues’ other locations in Colorado and North Carolina, this one will “probably take on a life of its own because of the people who work here,” Chad Melis, Oskar Blues’ marketing director, said. “They’ll build a culture that’s unique to this place.”
At the same time, the Austin brewery — capable of producing more than 100,000 barrels of beer per year, although its initial capacity is much smaller — fits easily into the fun-loving vibe of the brewery’s other locations. Choosing Austin as Oskar Blues’ next city had been an easy decision for employees.
“Elements of Austin were already in the fabric of Oskar Blues,” brewery founder Dale Katechis said on a June visit to the Austin location. “Irreverence, authenticity, live music. That’s one of the reasons coming here gained momentum naturally early on. We didn’t have to spend time on buy-in, which is good because with our company, the pirates run the ship.”
At the moment, Oskar Blues’ Austin outpost has only four of its 14 total canned options available at the taproom for $4: Dale’s Pale Ale (the flagship), Pinner Throwback IPA, Oskar Blues IPA and Mama’s Little Yella Pils. Eventually, however, visitors will have many more beers to choose from, including some of those same ones on draft. Food trucks will provide the grub.
And on Sept. 17, the brewery plans to throw an official grand opening party. If Oskar Blues’ annual Burning Can “Extravacanza” is any indication, it’ll be a celebration worth attending.
Oskar Blues is opened from 4 to 8 p.m. daily, although these hours will expand to 12 to 10 p.m. daily once the brewery gets draft approval. For more information, visit oskarblues.com.
Starting Monday, Austinites will start noticing drinks with a literary theme in some of their favorite local bars. Places like Weather Up, Backbeat and the Wheel are offering these cocktails on special as part of Literary Libations Week, which benefits the Texas Book Festival’s Lit Crawl event in the fall.
Each of the participating bars made drinks inspired by books — a diverse range of tomes, from Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” to Gabriel García Márquez’ “Love in the Time of Cholera.” The cocktails are similarly wide-ranging. And it’s not just Austin bars participating, either: Houston and San Antonio spots, such as Mongoose Versus Cobra and the Esquire Tavern, have also mixed up some booze for the love of books.
“Nothing complements summer reading better than a summer cocktail,” Julie Wernersbach, literary director of the Texas Book Festival, said in a press release. “As a team that lives and breathes books and that celebrates the end of every week with a regular Friday wine-down, we’re excited to take our literary conversations to some of the state’s finest bars.”
Among them is the Townsend on Congress Avenue, where beverage director Justin Elliott crafted the Samizdat, with Scotch, Topo Chico and Cointreau Liqueur de Camomille, after a long winter reading David Foster Wallace’s hefty tome “Infinite Jest.”
“It’s transportive in much the same way that many of the world’s finest spirits are transportive,” he said in the release. “I think about books I’ve read, and I can recall being transported to the world of the book while reading. And in the same moment, I’m transported to where I was in life when I was reading the book. And then I think about what I was drinking while I was reading it.”
Here’s the list of Austin bars participating in Literary Libations Week and the cocktails they are making for it. A portion of the proceeds go toward the Texas Book Festival in November.
Backbeat: A Farewell to Armagnac, with Tariquet VS Armagnac, Batavia Arrack, Averna, Pierre Ferand Dry Curaçao and Angostura bitters
Freedmen’s: Life Finds a Way, with rye whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse and sweet vermouth, topped with orange bitters and garnished with T-Rex-shaped orange swath. Inspired by “Jurassic Park.”
Gibson Street Bar: No Good Deed, with Bar Hill Tom Cat Aged Gin, Tempus Fugit Alessio Vino Chinato Vermouth, blue curaçao, Lightning Rod Adobo bitters, lime juice and an edible flower. Inspired by “Wicked.”
Nightcap: Tequila Mockingbird, with Don Julio Blanco, chartreuse, lime juice, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and pineapple
Searsucker: Cachaça on a Hot Tin Roof, with Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça, Aperol and cinnamon syrup
Small Victory: Love in the Tom of Collins, with lemon, simple syrup and Old Tom Gin
The Dogwood: A Cocktail of Two Cities, with Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lemon juice, Bar Keep Lavender bitters and champagne
The Roosevelt Room: Ahab’s Odyssey, with Bombay Sapphire Gin, white grapefruit-lime cordial, Cubeb berry-infused manzanilla sherry, Capillaire syrup, Bolivian rose salt water and wine tannins. Inspired by “Moby Dick.”
The Townsend: The Samizdat, with Bruichladdich Rockside Farm Islay Barley 2007 Vintage, Cointreau Liqueur de Camomille and Topo Chico
Weather Up: Our Man in Havana, with Cuban rum, maraschino, Pimm’s, grapefruit, lime, strawberry and a cucumber slice
The Wheel: Around the World in Eighty Proof, made with Tullamore DEW, Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Aperol, Lillet Blanc and Peychaud’s bitters
Each of these cocktails will be available through Aug. 19 next week.
Austin Beer Guide’s Lager Jam is returning for a third year at Billy’s on Burnet Saturday to celebrate the wonders of the bottom-fermenting brew, offering 25 beers from local breweries.
The $30 tickets, which you should buy ahead of time online, include a Lager Jam glass and koozie, on-site screen-printed T-shirt and three pours of beer. Or, if you’d prefer to pay a la carte, the event will have a limited number of glasses for $5 and shirts for $15, in addition to the beer you’ll pay for as you go.
The local publication, which releases a free twice-a-year guide to Austin’s burgeoning beer scene, started the Austin Lager Jam two years ago as a way of showcasing the talent and creativity of the area’s breweries. This year, Austin Beer Guide has also teamed up with three of these breweries — Austin Beerworks, Hops & Grain and Oasis, Texas Brewing — to bring special collaboration beers to the event.
Here’s the full list of beers you can expect to enjoy at Lager Jam 3, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Billy’s on Burnet at 2105 Hancock Dr.
Oasis, Texas Brewing
Luchamosa (the brewery’s Luchesa Lager mixed with orange juice)
Das Mutt (the Austin Beer Guide collaboration, a Dortmunder Export Lager)
Moment of Clarity (a dry-hopped Zwickelbier)
Gal-Lager (the Austin Beer Guide collaboration, a watermelon light lager)
Hops & Grain
Bizzaro Zoe (the Austin Beer Guide collaboration, the brewery’s pale lager made with experimental hops)
When it closed earlier this February, a World of Beer employee noted that the company may try to find another location in town, although there have been no whispers since then of that happening.
But the Ginger Man and the Flying Saucer — which Draft Magazine noted have been around since 1985 and 1995, respectively — still command a considerable crowd of regulars.
“What started in 1985 in Houston has expanded to seven Texas locations, all of which have a laid-back neighborhood vibe and top-notch beer lists,” Draft said about the Ginger Man, adding about the Flying Saucer that it “has set the standard” with its 16 locations stretching from Texas to North Carolina.
Austin, a city that tends to like keeping it local, nonetheless recently drew another chain beer bar to the Domain Northside this spring, with the opening of Yard House. The California-based chain now boasts more than 60 locations nationwide and, although it didn’t make Draft’s cut, has done well in Austin, at least, in giving the bar and restaurant a focus on locally and regionally made brews.
These local bars and restaurants — some that regularly show sports, some that don’t — are going above and beyond to make sure your experience watching the Olympics this month is as thrilling as all the sporting events on the TV (or at least worthy of stepping outside the comforts of your home to view).
It’s not a comprehensive list; we’ll update as we spot more places getting in on the Olympics action.
4024 S. Lamar Blvd., 11601 Domain Dr. #200
Starting tomorrow through Aug. 21, the last day of the games, the sports bar is offering Brazilian-inspired food and drink specials to go along with its abundance of TVs. Those specials include the caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail that comes with cachaça, lime and sugar, for $8 or $5 during happy hour. Pair the drink with Brazilian flat iron steak for $20 and you’ve got a full-on Brazilian-style dinner. Five percent of the Park’s total sales from these Olympic specials go toward Habitat for Humanity Brazil.
400 W. Second St.
This upscale Mexican restaurant in the heart of downtown is putting the caipirinha back on special (just as it did two years ago during the World Cup, also in Brazil). Both a standard version and a frozen one will be half-price, $6, at the bar and bar patio during all Olympics soccer games, which will be aired on the screens in the restaurant.
2310 Manor Rd.
This mecca for good beer and comfort food wants to keep you coming back for all your Olympics fun. And Haymaker is making a strong argument for it, too, by offering an Olympics punch card that you can get punched for up to three times per day, in the hopes of winning Haymaker’s equivalent of a gold, silver or bronze medal. (You can get it punched simply by watching a game.) The restaurant is also throwing its Olympic-themed anniversary party on Aug. 20 with the chance to win more prizes by playing bar games like pool and darts.
Hi Hat Public House
2121 E. Sixth St.
For a quieter experience watching the games, the cozy Hi Hat Public House, a beer bar, is a good bet. Hi Hat will have the Olympics playing throughout the duration of the event, so pair your cheering on of the U.S. team with the latest Austin Beerworks brew and Hi Hat’s decadent mac ‘n’ cheese.
1603 S. Congress Ave.
The trendy restaurant inside the South Congress Hotel will have a Brazilian menu, in collaboration with authentic Brazilian street food truck Boteco, for one more day this week. Stop in for dinner tonight to try a variety of Brazilian favorites, either by ordering the full tasting menu with a friend, or a la carte if you’re by yourself. Central Standard will also be a place to watch the Olympics this month.
Black Sheep Lodge
2108 S. Lamar Blvd.
Looking for a place to watch the Olympics opening ceremony? This casual beer bar will have $1 Jell-O shots, $2 Miller Lite pints and $8 Miller Lite pitchers, as well as a a Rio Rumchata cocktail, to go along with the usual Friday specials. Black Sheep Lodge will also be a constant site of Olympics enthusiasts.
Russian House of Austin
307 E. Fifth St.
Although this downtown restaurant is sure to immerse you in Russian culture on most nights — including through its many vodka infusions — the Olympics is transforming it for one night into a Brazilian spot. The Russian House’s Samba event on Friday, in honor of the Olympics opening ceremony, will have samba classes and performances, as well as live music by the Latin Dukes. The party will also have caipiroskas, a twist on the caipirinha because it’s made with vodka instead of the usual cachaça.
The Warehouse District bar and restaurant has been posting about the Olympics on Facebook, so needless to say, it’s a good place to go for like-minded fans — especially if you avidly watched the World Cup and love soccer. Fado has whiskey-focused cocktails like the Manhattan and the Whiskey Sour, but it’s hard to deny that a beer will always pair well with Olympics watch parties.
Starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, the upcoming film “Hell or High Water” depicts scenes of rugged West Texas beauty, juxtaposed with the story of two desperate brothers, played by Pine and Ben Foster, who decide to hold up banks in an effort to save their family’s land.
And in Austin, the modern-day outlaw movie will be accompanied by something boozy: Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse has made a lager inspired by “Hell or High Water.” The Hell or High Water LAWger, as the brewpub is calling it, was made with the addition of prickly pear — to give it just the right amount of West Texas flair.
“It’s a traditional-style German lager with a slightly sweet maltiness enhanced with earthy, sweet flavors and a beautiful, vibrant color from prickly pear cactus grown in West Texas,” Uncle Billy’s head brewer Trevor Nearburg said in a press release.
The prickly pear, assistant brewer Daytona Camps said in an interview, isn’t as sweet as you might think — instead, it contributes an earthiness to Uncle Billy’s Lazy Day Lager base. The prickly pear, which she said “represents Texas so well,” is added as a puree.
“I was not expecting to be able to brew a beer for a movie, especially one with Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine,” she said. “It’s still a mind-boggling experience, especially when we heard the cast and crew all really liked it.”
“Hell or High Water” debuts in limited release on Aug. 12 and more widely on Aug. 19. Also starting Aug. 12, the beer will only be available at Alamo Drafthouse’s South Lamar location, as well as Uncle Billy’s, until the small-batch brew runs out.
In that role, he’ll act as “the chief storyteller for Wild Turkey both behind the camera and in front of it, reintroducing the world to the legendary bourbon brand,” according to a press release. He’s not only going to be the face of the company — he’s also going behind the scenes to direct some TV and digital ad campaigns that launch in September.
“Wild Turkey has the history and qualities of a brand that depicts the dedication of someone to do something their own way — even if that way isn’t always the most popular,” McConaughey said in a press release. “I want to help share their unique story, starting with a new ad campaign that I feel really captures the special essence of this brand while introducing itself like never before.”
His gig with Wild Turkey will be the first time he’s served as a commercial creative director and behind-the-camera director, according to the release.
“As we introduce a new generation to Wild Turkey, it was important to me to find someone who shares our passion and understands what makes Wild Turkey special,” Wild Turkey master distiller Jimmy Russell said in the press release. “After spending time with Matthew at the distillery, I was impressed by how much he knew about Wild Turkey and how interested he was in telling the world more about us. It is incredible to think that an Oscar winner would want to help tell Wild Turkey’s story, but like an extra scoop of ice cream on pecan pie, I will certainly take it.”