Austin’s coolest theater chain is offering another limited film-inspired beer produced by a local brewery — this time, Real Ale Brewing.
Real Ale created Seoul Crusher, a saison brewed with rice, fresh ground ginger, lemon peel and just a hint of Korean red chilies, as a tribute to the upcoming oddball mash-up of monster movie and romantic comedy “Colossal,” starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. The beer is only on tap at Alamo Drafthouse locations and a few other places across Texas.
Without revealing too much about the movie, already getting favorable reviews from critics, we can say that Real Ale made the beer to nod at one of the main settings of “Colossal,” South Korea, where a Godzilla-like creature is wreaking havoc. (What might that have to do with Anne Hathaway’s Manhattan blogger Gloria? She might somehow be causing all that chaos.)
Seoul Crusher — a brilliant pun of a name — is “a traditional saison with a Korean twist,” Real Ale’s head brewer Schmitty Schmitterson said in a press release. “Colossal helpings of fresh ginger and lemon peel add additional layers of complexity to an already flavor-intense style rife with notes of herbal citrus and a spicy dryness.”
That sounds just about as delicious as watching Hathaway face off with Sudeikis’ bar owner character, Oscar. The brewery only made 60 barrels of the saison, so make sure you order some at your local Drafthouse while it’s still available.
Having a dog means that you’ve always got a friendly face happy to see you when you come home — but it also means that sometimes you’re limited in where you can go out, if you don’t want to leave your four-legged buddy behind.
Austin, thankfully, is a big dog-loving city with ample parkland, like Zilker Park, where they can run and play. And many of the local bars, with spacious patio areas, are happy to accommodate your pooch while you can lounge with friends. Here are a handful of those places.
If there was any hangout in town intended just as much for the pooches as for the humans, this one’s it. Yard Bar opened in summer 2015 as a combination dog park, bar and restaurant — with the outdoor patio seating where you eat kept separate from the large, wide-open play area for the dogs — and has since proven to be a delight for both owner and pet.
The canines have tennis balls to catch, obstacles courses to work out and toys to play with, all under the supervision of watchful Yard Bar employees. You can join them in the fenced-in park, sipping a canned beer purchased from the inside bar, or take refuge at one of the picnic tables under a set of leafy trees outside the park. That’s where classic snack and pub food, like spicy deviled eggs and a fried chicken sandwich (called the Yard Bird), keeps us as happy as our pups.
The East Austin brewery doesn’t have a very large outdoor area, but make no mistake — Hops & Grain loves all of our four-legged friends. Founder Josh Hare and his wife, Meg, have two of their own and even named two of the brewery’s most well-known beers after them: Pale Dog, now part of the seasonal roster, and The One They Call Zoe, arguably the most beloved Hops & Grain brew.
Plus, Hops & Grain offers brew biscuits in the taproom made from spent grains. So while you’re drinking the latest Greenhouse IPA, your dog has a pretty special treat of his own as well.
While you sip on some rare small-batch brew only available at a few bars around town, your furry friend can romp around in the off-leash dog park at the back of the beer garden or simply sit at your feet.
The Rainey Street bar also regularly hosts Mega Mutt Monday, which brings in various canine-related vendors, plays live music and has all-day happy hour each time. This month’s event is from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 17 and will have YoDawg Snackery, Dawgtown, Ruff Adventures Photography and more offering their wares and services, along with tunes from the Rollfast Ramblers.
A far South Austin dive with locally sourced food and drinks, the Little Darlin’ opened last spring as the brainchild of a group of experienced bar owners who knew exactly what the area needed: a bar that feels more like an old friend’s home, with an expansive backyard, a covered patio with TVs and a split-level interior with booths, pool tables and cold Austin beers. The backyard also has washer and horseshoe pits and — perhaps most importantly for us — lets in dogs on leashes.
People who live north of town don’t have to drive too far to find a prime pooch-loving place, either, thanks to Dog House Drinkery. The 2 1/2 acre hangout got its start with a large dog park and then added food and drink for the humans. Enjoy those — either beer or wine, and then comfort food like burgers — in a wood-walled bar area covered in funny canine-related sayings (“In dog beers, I’ve only had one”). In there, your pet can stay with you.
But if you’d rather be outdoors with your dog, that’s an option with a choice of three dog parks: the main one (a half-acre off-leash area) and additional ones specifically for small dogs and for special events like adoptions and training. The main park, helpfully, provides easy access to the bar.
If Austin’s wacky essence could be embodied by a cocktail, what would it taste like? That’s the basic premise behind the Official Drink of Austin competition, which returns May 4 this year at Fair Market.
Early bird tickets for the boozy event are on sale now for $55; wait a little while, and the price will jump to $65 online, $75 at the door. You can buy them at the website of the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, the organization behind the Official Drink of Austin.
As in past iterations, the Official Drink of Austin competition involves eight bar teams from local bars and restaurants going shaker to shaker against each other — with each team preparing Austin-inspired cocktails, using at least one local ingredient, that attendees and a small group of judges will taste and evaluate.
The teams this time around are from Drink.Well, Frank, Javelina, Clive, Firehouse Lounge, Alcomar, Kuneho and the Driskill (having all been selected through a previous showdown). Drink.Well, the first local bar from husband-and-wife owners Michael and Jessica Sanders, has participated as a finalist in the competition since the Austin Food & Wine Alliance resurrected it in 2014.
Each of the eight teams will set up a bar representing their establishment. Attendees will be able to taste the drinks at their leisure and pair them with bar snacks from local chefs.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on April 7, 2017 for National Beer Day.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: National Drink A Beer Day. Austin is home to a booming craft beer scene, and any Austinite can talk until they’re blue in the face about their favorite beers and breweries around town.
For example, I’m a sucker for a good German or Czech-style beer (blame it all on my roots), so my local go-to is Live Oak Brewing’s HefeWeizen: it’s light, smooth and just the right amount of sweet (those banana and vanilla flavors are so crisp and refreshing). The day they started selling it in cans changed my life.
So, I surveyed my colleagues at the Austin American-Statesman and asked the simple question: What’s your favorite local beer? Here are their responses:
“All of them, except the sour beers from Jester King. Thirsty Goat is probably my go-to when I’m at a bar and can’t decide.” — Addie Broyles, food writer
“512 Pecan Porter! It’s the little engine that keeps on chugging, been around a while, but you can’t get it except off a tap, almost only served at the coolest places around. Lone Star, on the other hand, is a great tourist identifier.” — Gardner Selby, PolitiFact Texas editor
“I second Gardner’s endorsement of the 512 Pecan Porter. It’s heavenly. I also love Austin Beerworks’ Pearl Snap Pils and Thirsty Planet’s Thirsty Goat.” — Jake Harris, social content producer
“Hans Pils. Real Ale.” — Robert Eckhart, investigative editor
“Cold. Free. Free cold above the others. Thirsty Goat is my favorite local beer. Amber is my favorite style. German Pilsner is my second favorite style.” — Christian McDonald, online projects and data editor
“Blue Owl. All of them. I will give a shoutout to Shiner Bock, the first beer I learned to like. But I first sampled Blue Owl’s wares at a craft beer festival, and I felt like I had found my “thing.” They do so many different things with the idea of a sour – sticky cherry stout Professor Black, bright and not too hoppy Spirit Animal, and my favorite, the endlessly drinkable wheat beer that is Little Boss. Little Boss will get you in trouble. Plus, their can designs are dope.” — Eric Webb, social media and engagement editor
“Live Oak HefeWeizen is best traditional hefe in country, IMO. Good summer beer, too. Real Ale Devil’s Backbone is awesome, if you like bite. ABGB’s Helles is a great summer beer, clean as a whistle.” — Thomas Jones, community sports editor
“I had Live Oak’s Primus Weizenbach at Barley Swine last week and it was so good I went to Live Oak Brewery to have some more. One of the best beers I’ve ever had. (Their hefeweizen is great, too, and served at the Alamo Drafthouse).” — Omar Gallaga, technology culture writer
“Big Mama Red at ABGB, probably.” — Peter Blackstock, music writer