Austin’s drinking events calendar, June 2017

Contributed by Olive & June. Negroni Week returns to participating Austin bars and restaurants from June 5-11. Proceeds from Negroni purchases, like this Frozen Show Pony Negroni from Olive & June, go toward good causes chosen by each place.

Thursday, June 1

Banger’s Summer Love Luau with Victory Brewing, 6 to 10 p.m. Summery outfits are encouraged at this party featuring a variety of Victory beers, including Summer Love Blonde Ale.

Boots & Bourbon at the Driskill Grill, 7 to 9 p.m.The Driskill restaurant is pairing meats from Austin’s Ranger Cattle with whiskey from Fort Worth’s Firestone & Robertson Distilling. $79.

Friday, June 2

Blue Owl Brewing Saison Puede Release, 12 p.m. Don’t miss this limited run of bottles filled with Blue Owl’s sour, spicy and fruity spring seasonal.

Uncle Billy’s June First Friday Firkin, 5 p.m. This month’s firkin is a Coffee IPA: the Green Room IPA with lightly roasted Puerto Rican Arabica coffee beans.

Saturday, June 3

Craftsman’s 2nd Anniversary Luau, 4 p.m. Pau Maui Vodka cocktails, a pig roast, hula girls and fire dancers will mark the birthday of this East Cesar Chavez bar.

Crystal Creek Distillery’s Grand Re-Opening Bash, 5 p.m. The Spicewood spirits maker has a new distillery and tasting room and wants to show it off with live music, giveaways and more.

Monday, June 5

Friends & Allies Can Release, 4 to 10 p.m. Friends & Allies Brewing is releasing its beers in cans for the first time. Pick up a six pack, but first, enjoy a draft pint of one of its limited seasonal options.

Gin Class at Bullfight, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Parkside Projects’ beverage classes continue with this study of gin, featuring gin cocktails and tapas from the Spanish-inspired restaurant. $32.50.

Astronomy on Tap, 7:30 p.m. This special edition of the monthly talks about the cosmos over beers brings in astronomers from the American Astronomical Society.

Thursday, June 8

South Lamar Negroni Stroll, 6 pm. Sip Negroni cocktails from Backbeat, Vox Table, El Burro and the Highball as part of the charity-focused Negroni Week.

Friday, June 9

Kings of Craft Series: Meet David Walker of Firestone Walker, 6 p.m. Flying Saucer is hosting a Firestone Walker tap takeover with the founder and lots of Parabola variations.

“Trappist Beer Travels” Book Release at WhichCraft Taproom, 6 to 10 p.m. The locally based authors of the new book about Trappist breweries will officially share the combination beer journal, history book and travelogue.

Saturday, June 10

Now That’s What I Call a ’90s Party at Hops & Grain, 1 p.m. Come dressed as your favorite Nickelodeon character or in straight-up ’90s garb for this old-school party at the brewery.

Reinheitsgebot Party at Orf Brewing, 2 p.m. No, Austin’s newest brewery isn’t celebrating the German purity law — just the German way of partying with beer.

National Rosé Day at Backbeat, 4 p.m. Say yes way to rosé with Backbeat, which is expanding its summer rosé list with 7 incredible rosé wines from around the world.

Sunday, June 11

Austin’s First Tequila ‘n’ Tacos Crawl, 1 p.m. Enjoy helpings of Austin’s favorite food with cocktails while exploring West Sixth bars like Star Bar and Parlor & Yard. $35.

Whisler’s 4th Anniversary Party, 1 p.m. To celebrate this boozy birthday, on-site food truck Thai Kun is whipping up something special. Plus, there will be live music, drink specials and prizes.

Monday, June 12

They’re Back! Celis Re-Launch at Whip In, 5 p.m. Celis’ iconic Celis White and new Citrus Grandis IPA will be on tap in advance of the brewery’s reopening in North Austin.

The Craft Series at 1886 Cafe & Bakery, 6 to 9 p.m. The Driskill Hotel’s beer pairing dinner series continues, this time with Blue Owl Brewing’s sour-mashed beers. $40.

Tuesday, June 13

Easy Tiger’s Celis Launch Party, 5 p.m. Raise a glass of Celis White or Celis Citrus Grandis IPA with Christine Celis, the daughter of Celis Brewery’s original founder Pierre.

Wednesday, June 14

National Bourbon Day at Easy Tiger, 5 p.m. Celebrate this most important day with a special flight of Basil Hayden’s, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek & Booker’s for $12.

Vox Table’s Shacksbury Cider & WhistlePig Whiskey Dinner, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Chef Joe Anguiano has prepared a special four-course menu to pair with the cider and whiskey. $65.

Thursday, June 15

Cannon + Belle’s Texas Winemaker Dinner Series, 7 p.m. This month’s multi-course feast will feature wines from Lubbock’s McPherson Cellars as well as the founder, Kim McPherson.

Saturday, June 17

Hi Sign Brewing’s New IPA Release Party, 12 to 10 p.m. The brewery is making its lucky number seven beer and wants to celebrate the milestone with you. Relax in Hi Sign’s on-site hammocks.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Hi Sign is releasing a new IPA at the brewery, the seventh beer it has made.

Off Flavor Tasting at B.B. Rover’s, 3 to 6 p.m. Train your palate to recognize off flavors in your beer with the help of this workshop led by a certified cicerone (beer expert). $25.

Garrison Brothers’ Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner. The Hill Country whiskey distillery is hosting a dinner to celebrate filling its 10,000th barrel with booze. $25-$40

Sunday, June 18

Father’s Day BrewBCruise, 2 p.m. Feast on Uncle Billy’s barbecue and beers while enjoying a relaxing cruise down Lady Bird Lake with your old man. $40.

Central Market Cooking School: Father’s Day Beef & Beer Dinner, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Spend the evening with Dad while learning to make beefed-up dishes paired with craft beer. $140.

Monday, June 19

St. Elmo Brewing, Soursop and Lewis & LeRoy Beer Dinner, 6 p.m. This collaborative dinner between two Austin food trucks and a brewery will feature a special beer, a Sichaun Saison. $78.

Saturday, June 24

Meet the Founder of Avery Brewing, 12 p.m. Banger’s is hosting Adam Avery of the Colorado brewery and will have a variety of Avery beers on tap like Liliko’i Kepolo.

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, 5 to 9 p.m. Beer Camp on Tour comes to Austin and will feature both Beer Camp collaborations and other beers from U.S. breweries. $40-$75.

Rosé all day with 100 wines featured at Whip In’s 6th Annual Pink Mahal

Photo by Matt McGinnis. Try a variety of different rosé wines at Whip In’s returning Pink Mahal tasting this weekend.

Rosé is red-hot, and the Whip In knows it.

The 6th Annual Pink Mahal, a celebration of rosé wine, returns this weekend with the largest selection of rosé in the city: about 100 available for tasting (although tickets will only supply you three glasses, so choose well).

Arguably, the wine and beer bar, Indian restaurant, live music venue and bottle shop in South Austin knew how good rosé is a couple of years before it became such a sought-after style of wine. (The Whip In did the same with craft beer, too, in the Budweiser-dominant 1980s and ’90s.) The wine, previously scorned as pink wine or blush wine, has achieved its near-universal popularity only in the last few years.

Rosé wine —  a style that gets more color from grape skin contact than white wine but not enough to be considered red wine — is in the midst of a heyday, especially in Texas, where the wine is a refreshing complement to our hot, hot summers. It’s not hard to guess why we want rosé all day.

In addition to coming in shades in between red and white wine, the diverse rosé is a perfect middle ground between them: able to be made with a variety of red wine grapes but resulting in a lighter body and brighter flavors more similar to white wine.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on May 20, both Whip In’s patio and wine bar will have rosé exclusively, having both large-format bottles and even some of the wine on tap. The $35 tickets get you three glasses of any of the rosé and access to an appetizer bar with “plenty of pink-friendly pairings,” according to Whip In. Additional glasses can be purchased for $5.

Don’t miss the Dandy Rosé from Rae Wilson of Wine for the People, which is helping to produce the event. Made with all Texas-grown grapes, the wine is a dry French-style rosé — an example of the delicious locally grown and produced wines that Texas excels at making.

Should Texas wine be made with 100 percent Texas-grown grapes?

Miguel Lecuona for American-Statesman. William Chris Vineyards makes wine from 100 percent Texas-grown grapes and supports a House bill that would require all wineries to use state fruit for a Texas label.

Far fewer people now doubt that Texas can make wine on par with California, France and other top winemaking regions of the world. With the reputation of the state’s flourishing wine industry secure, a small but growing group of winemakers believe the next step should be authenticity — a law establishing that wine can only be granted Texas appellation if it’s made from 100 percent Texas-grown grapes.

Others in the industry, including the main organization Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, are against the proposed bills, House Bill 1514 and Senate Bill 1833, that would seek to make this designation a reality. They argue that the state’s grape growers haven’t yet established they have the yields, year after year, to fully supply the winemakers, especially when vineyards are so often at the mercy of the weather.

But for Chris Brundrett, arguably the biggest proponent of the bill and the co-owner of William Chris Vineyards in Hye, a small town on the road to Fredericksburg, there’s one irrefutable reason to support what he calls greater transparency with Texas wine: because it will lend more significance to the notion of Texas wine, especially to many of the state’s own consumers who expect their wine to have been grown here, too, and not just made or processed here.

“We want to grow this industry and want our consumers to know that if we put Texas on the label, it means as much as Washington or California,” Brundrett said, citing two states with more stringent labeling guidelines.

Like other states besides California, the Texas wine industry currently follows federal labeling regulations. Wines can have an appellation of origin (a geographical indication given to certain products derived from a specific place) if they’re made with a minimum of 75 percent grapes grown in that state. The other 25 percent can come from anywhere.

HB 1514 and its Senate counterpart would seek to change that: to guarantee that wines with a Texas label be made using entirely Texas-grown grapes.

The former bill is currently pending in committee and, with so little time left for the 85th Texas Legislature, might not even be considered on a wider scale. But the passionate feelings on either side — with winemakers straddling both ends of the debate — nonetheless provides insight into the state of the Texas wine industry and whether it’ll be ready in two years, the next legislative session, for a decisive labeling law.

For Brundrett, the problem isn’t that many Texas winemakers still make a lot of their wine with out-of-state grapes — it’s that they aren’t clear about it. That’s something fellow Hye winemaker Benjamin Calais, of Calais Winery and nearby distillery Hye Rum, has also noticed. Both of their wineries make wine with 100 percent Texas-grown grapes and say they have earned loyal customers because of it.

“We’re a minority right now,” Calais said. “A lot of Texas wineries are using 25 to 30 percent of California juice to blend with Texas juice, and when you tell people that, they are unhappy about it. It’s like the craft beer movement, when breweries get sold, and people decide they won’t support those breweries anymore. For wine drinkers, there’s an expectation when you’re visiting a small winery in the Hill Country that the person in front of you is being truthful, and it’s just not always the case.”

Brundrett also said that a stricter labeling law won’t disrupt anyone who still wants to produce wine with out-of-state grapes; they just won’t be able to label it as Texas wine anymore.

“We get a lot of hailstorms and freezes and other weather situations that can damage our grapes, so Texas wineries have the choice not to take the risk of using Texas grapes. We’re not trying to take that away,” Brundrett said. “All the bill does is respect the sense of place of Texas wine.”

But other winemakers — many of them the biggest producers of Texas wine — think more regulation on the industry would stunt the growth of it so early in its development.

Messina Hof, the largest and one of the oldest wineries in the state, makes approximately 60,000 cases of wine a year in comparison to William Chris Vineyards’ 25,000 cases and tries to get as many grapes as possible from Texas. That’s just not always possible, Messina Hof CEO Paul M. Bonarrigo said, citing a loss of 25 percent of the winery’s crop last year due to hail.

The son of the original founders, Paul V. and Merrill Bonarrigo, he is not in support of HB 1514 for reasons beyond the availability of Texas grapes. He sees other issues as more pressing to the Texas wine industry, including new herbicides that he fears are unintentionally killing whole vineyards in the Texas High Plains as they drift in the wind from nearby cotton fields. The Texas High Plains produce a significant number of grapes for wineries around the state, and Bonarrigo sees the herbicides as a real threat to Texas wine.

“Our industry is in a delicate position,” he said. “My concern is that if we focus our energy on something like (HB 1514), we’re going to lose support legislatively on things that are very important for us to survive.”

The Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, which represents winemakers like Messina Hof and William Chris Vineyards, ultimately opposed the bill as well and wrote a letter to the sponsoring legislator, Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, about its decision made after “considerable discussion” about HB 1514.

“While we appreciate your interest in this issue, we feel that the regulations imposed by your bill would not benefit the industry or consumers at this time,” according to the letter signed by president Dusty Timmons. The association “has formed an internal committee to work on this issue and hopefully over time we will find a reasonable solution that will benefit everyone involved.”

Whether that solution will come in time for another proposed bill in the Texas Legislature in 2019 is still a big question. Brundrett, like other small winemakers who have worked hard to guarantee wines made only from Texas-grown grapes, is already confident the state is ready.

“Growing grapes in Texas is not easy. There are windstorms, hail and late freezes. A lot of uncontrollable variable. But there is so much technology and technique that has taken us out of the dark ages at the same time,” he said. “Now you’re seeing much more consistent crop levels. We’re growing an agriculture product with integrity, and we need this to take the industry to the next level.”

The Austin Winery celebrates move to South Austin with grand opening party

Contributed by the Austin Winery. The Austin Winery’s new location is finally open and will celebrate with an all-day party this weekend.

The Austin Winery will continue to be an urban destination with its move south to the mixed-use industrial complex called the Yard, where St. Elmo Brewing, Spokesman Coffee and others like a forthcoming whiskey distillery are also situated.

Founded by three young entrepreneurs — CEO Ross McLauchlan, VP and winemaker Cooper Anderson, and chief of operations Matthew Smith — the winery is officially open in its new location and wants to celebrate with you tomorrow at a grand opening party.

There, the small food menu with light bites like meats and cheeses is debuting for the first time, as well as new releases of some of the winery’s staple wines: Euphoria, Work Horse, Quarter Horse and Rosé. Bottles will be 15 percent off all day.

McLauchlan is excited to expose more locals to the Austin Winery with a more central location and has made sure that visitors have plenty to explore. The Austin Winery has a barrel room, a tasting room, a mezzanine and even an on-site kitchen that will allow the winery to play host to guest chefs and supper clubs.

“There will be much more room, so it’ll be nice to have an expanded presence and options for people to relax, engage and enjoy the space,” he said last year, when the winery was still in the process of constructing the new facility. “Wine is great on its own, but it’s always better when paired with other things, whether that’s food, music or shopping.”

The bigger space has big benefits in other ways, too: being able to produce up to 20,000 cases per year of wine.

Tomorrow’s celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Regular tasting room hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 12 to 7 p.m. Sundays, during which there will often be live music, DJ sets, food trucks on weekends, trivia nights and trunk shows. The Austin Winery also has plans for a set of wine classes for both novices and professionals.

The Austin Winery is located at 440A E. St. Elmo Rd. For more information, visit theaustinwinery.com.

Austin’s drinking events calendar, May 2017

 

The Barks for Beers fundraiser runs through the month of May for dog and beer lovers alike.

Monday, May 1

Barks for Beers, ongoing through May 31. The fundraiser for Divine Canines officially kicks off with 30 participating breweries. Buy a pint glass for $20 and get a free pour at each one.

Cannon + Belle’s Texas Winemaker Dinner with Duchman Family Winery, 6:30 p.m. The first in this new culinary series will feature bites from the Hilton Austin’s new restaurant with accompanying Italian-centric wines from Duchman.

Tuesday, May 2

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Riverboat Dram Cruise, 7 to 9 p.m. Hop aboard for a tasting of 10 sublime casks from Speyside, Highlands and Islay, with Ruby’s BBQ offering the bites. $100.

Wednesday, May 3

Run for the Rosé with Twin Liquors, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Derby Day doesn’t have to be all about mint juleps. Twin Liquors’ Hancock location will have up to 20 different rosés featured to celebrate the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

Central Standard Wine Dinner with Mondavi, 7 to 10 p.m. The five-course dinner will feature wine pairings curated by special guest Dina Mondavi, co-founder of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate known for its Napa Valley wines. $160.

Easy Tiger’s Meet the Brewer Night will offer a special chance to try the sought-after Founders KBS.

Thursday, May 4

Founders’ Meet the Brewers Night at Easy Tiger, 5 p.m. Meet Founders brewer Jeremy Kosmicki while pairing beers like Frootwood and KBS with snacks from Easy Tiger. $10-$15.

Wine and Chocolate Pairing at Lenoir, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Relax in Lenoir’s outdoor wine garden while pairing Chocolaterie Tessa chocolates with fine wines. $50.

Official Drink of Austin, 7 to 10 p.m. Find out which Austin bar team will take the boozy title at this year’s competition, held at Fair Market. $65.

Opal Divines’ North American Whiskey Festival, 7 p.m. American and Canadian whiskey, from rye to bourbon to single-malt and more, will be available for sampling along with passed appetizers. $40.

Friday, May 5

Pinthouse Pizza’s 2017 Burro’s Breakfast Release Party, 11 a.m. Pinthouse’s Mexican lager is going on tap at this all-day celebration, timed with Cinco de Mayo, that will have mariachi music and limited-edition shirts.

Cinco de Elmo at St. Elmo Brewing, 12 p.m. The South Austin brewery is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a new beer, Señor Bueno Mexican Lager with lime, and will have $3 micheladas from 4 to 6 p.m.

Oskar Blues’ Fugli IPA Release Party, 12 to 10 p.m. The Austin brewery is sending up a new summer seasonal, an IPA made with yuzu and ugli fruit infusions, with cans to come.

Cinco de Meow at Mean Eyed Cat, 5 p.m. Celebrate America’s favorite Mexican holiday with margarita, tequila and beer specials, along with piñatas.

Uncle Billy’s 11th Anniversary First Friday Firkin, 5 p.m. In celebration of 11 years in business, Uncle Billy’s will have two casks of a new saison available, along with a special of moules-frites.

Meridian Hive Meadery’s Fandango Release Party, 5 p.m. Austin’s only meadery is releasing an agave and lime mead and will have $2 tacos and a screening of the road trip movie “Fandango.”

Cinco de Mayo at Guero’s Taco Bar, 6 to 9:30 p.m. Where else to spend this Mexican holiday but at a Mexican restaurant? Guero’s garden will have Tequila Cazadores cocktails and live music from Peligrosa.

Saturday, May 6

19th Annual Becker Vineyards’ Lavender Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Sip and swirl with live music, artisans and nearby lavender fields in bloom. $85 for luncheon.

Inaugural Crawfish Boil at Twisted X Brewing, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. $20 gets you unlimited crawfish, a commemorative cup with complimentary pour, live music and more.

2nd Annual Cider Fest at Whip In, 1 to 9 p.m. Whip In is tapping some of the rarest and best ciders, including many locally based ones like Texas Keeper and Argus.

Derby Day at the Four Seasons, 2 to 6 p.m. Pull out your seersucker suit for an afternoon of Kentucky Derby watching, Maker’s Mark mint juleps, a costume contest and a derby hat pop-up shop. $20.

Irene’s Kentucky Derby Party, 3 to 7 p.m. The patio at this downtown bar will have full race coverage and traditional Kentucky treats, including mint juleps and hot brown sandwiches.

Revelry Kitchen + Bar’s Kentucky Derby Viewing Party, 3 p.m. Dress your derby best – including the hat – to try and win a costume contest. Plus, draft mint juleps, Kentucky mules, boozy lemonade and more.

Monday, May 8

The Craft Series at 1886 Café & Bakery, 6 to 8 p.m. The Driskill Hotel’s beer pairing series is bringing back Independence Brewing beers for its four-course feast. $40.

Hops & Helado Pairing, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Didn’t think beer and ice cream could pair? Think again. The $35-$40 tickets get you 5 beer samples at Lazarus Brewing with 5 ice creams, all seasonal flavors.

Tuesday, May 9

Thirsty Planet Buckethead IPA Launch Party, 7 to 10 p.m. Thirsty Planet’s Buckethead IPA and Yellow Armadillo Wheat are finally in bottles, and Black Sheep Lodge is celebrating with free bites, a photo booth and more.

Slow and Low Whiskey Pop-Up Gallery, 7 to 10 p.m. Photographer Asher Moss is showing off his work at Byron & Blue with whiskey cocktails and music from Kalu and the Electric Joint.

Wednesday, May 10

Adelbert’s Beer Tasting at the Carillon, 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Carillon’s chef, Dan Bressler, will present delicious bar bites to go with your cold beer. $20; reservations required.

Saturday, May 13

The Austin Winery Grand Opening, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The urban winery has moved into its South Austin location and is ready to celebrate with new wine releases.

Index Fest, 12 p.m. Previously Untapped, the rebranded festival continues its focus on live music and craft beer, while also offering art and food components. $25-$119.

Fall Creek Vineyards’ A Toast to Mothers Luncheon, 12 to 1:30 p.m. Treat Mom (or any other special woman in your life) to this multi-course lunch paired with Fall Creek wines. $40.

New Braunfels Brewing’s 4th Anniversary Party, 1 to 7 p.m. More than 20 beers will be on tap for this birthday bash, including Bier No. 217, Very Seldom Naughty and more.

Sunday, May 14

Mother’s Day at Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling, 12 to 9 p.m. Celebrate Mom with a special Mother’s Day brunch and cocktails, along with live music.

Mother’s Day Maifest at Live Oak Brewing, 1 to 6 p.m. A petting zoo, live music, food from Kick Drum Burgers and beer from Live Oak will make Mom feel special indeed.

Half Step’s Alabama Bug Boil, 2 to 10 pm. Enjoy bourbon punch, a crawfish boil and live music from the Pine Hill Haints of Mobile for only a $10 suggested donation.

Mother’s Day Champagne Class at Backbeat, 3:30 to 5 p.m. What better way to celebrate your mom than treating her to this guided tasting flight of bubbly wines? Light bites will be included. $55.

Monday, May 15

Mega-Mutt Monday at Banger’s, 6 p.m. This month’s beneficiary of the dog-friendly event is Greyhound Pets of America-Central Texas. There will also be other pet-related vendors and live music.

Tuesday, May 16

Astronomy on Tap, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The out-of-this-world bar talk returns to the North Door with explorations about ice on Mars, merging galaxies and more.

Wednesday, May 17

Central Market Cooking School: Southern Cheeses, Southern Wines, 4:30 p.m. Central Market’s “Taste the South” promotion kicks off with a class pairing cheese and wine from the South. $40.

Donkey & Goat Wine Dinner at Olamaie, 6 to 8 p.m. The five-course dinner is being paired with the wines of Jared and Tracey Brandt, who take a hands-off approach to natural winemaking. $100.

Thursday, May 18

Chocolate & Spirits Tasting at Backbeat, 6 to 8 p.m. Want a little booze to go with your bon bon? Chocolaterie Tessa is teaming up with the cocktail bar to show what a divine pairing spirits and chocolate can be. $45.

St. Genevieve’s Champagne Social, 9 p.m. The Rock Rose wine lounge’s new monthly event kicks off with a champagne fountain and a free dessert bar. Your weekend starts now.

Friday, May 19

Blueberry Sour Release at Adelbert’s, 3 p.m. The latest in Adelbert’s taproom-only fruited sour series will go on sale, $4 for 5 oz. pours and $15 per bottle.

Circle Brewing’s Fanny Pack Kolsch Release Party, 4 p.m. Head to Cheer Up Charlies for the debut of Circle’s refreshing summer seasonal. Free fanny packs while supplies last.

Central Market Cooking School: Lazy Magnolia Beer Pairing, 4:30 p.m. This time, Central Market is pairing regional cheese with beers from Mississippi’s Lazy Magnolia Brewing. $40.

Saturday, May 20

Whip In’s 6th Annual Pink Mahal, 1 to 5 p.m. It’s officially rosé season, and Whip In boasts one of the largest rosé selections in the country. The wine bar will have 100 rosés from all over the world available for tasting. $35.

Orf Brewing Open House, 1 to 6 p.m. Austin’s newest brewery is open for business for the first time. Tour the space and taste the beers, like an Asian white ale, that will be on tap.

6th Annual Pup Crawl for Austin Humane Society, 2 to 8 p.m. Drink specials will be available for participants in the charity bar crawl along Rainey Street. $25 wristbands.

Barrel-Aged Beer Party at Craft Pride, 3 to 11 p.m. Just because it’s almost summertime and already hot outside doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy barrel-aged brews like Austin Beerworks Midnight Swordfight.

Sunday, May 21

Whisler’s Crawfish Boil, 1 p.m. $15 will get you a pound-and-a-half of crawfish, a beer and a raffle ticket. There will also be Bloody Marys, sangria and mules.

Tuesday, May 23

Drink Beer, Save Turtles on World Turtle Day, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Hops & Grain is teaming up with the Turtle Survival Alliance to host a night of awareness at the County Line on the Lake.

Wednesday, May 24

Hops & Grain’s River Beer Can Launch, 5 to 8 p.m. Eat some barbecue at the Salt Lick and discover how well the new light lager from Hops & Grain pairs with the summer months to come.

Saturday, May 27

Forager Fest at Zilker Brewing, 12 to 4 p.m. Celebrate local, wild and cultivated ingredients with different versions of Zilker’s saison made with foraged items.

Texas Keeper Cider’s Grafter Rosé Release Picnic, 2 to 6 p.m. The return of this tart, dry cider and wine blend will be hailed with barbecue from the new LeRoy and Lewis.

Monday, May 29

Austin Beerworks’ Memorial Day Einhorn Release, 12 to 8 p.m. The beloved Einhorn Berliner Weisse is making its debut for summer with Mr. Sparkle German Pilsner.

Wednesday, May 31

Freedmen’s May Whiskey Dinner, 7 to 9 p.m. Taste whiskeys from Firestone & Robertson Distilling in Fort Worth with three courses of paired bites. $36.

Austin’s drinking events calendar, April 2017

Photo by Tyler Malone. Live Oak Brewing, owned by Chip McElroy, is celebrating 20 years this month with an anniversary party.

Saturday, April 1

Pinthouse Pizza’s Fully Adrift Coffee-Infused Bottle Release, 11 a.m. The third beer in the brewpub’s Lost at Sea series is a double IPA infused with Houndstooth’s Tweed Coffee.

Starkbierfest with Dai Due, 5 p.m. Raise a stein to Austin Saengerrunde with this tasting of strong beers (like springtime doppelbocks) and a six-course paired dinner from Chef Jesse Griffiths.

Sunday, April 2

Texas Wine Revolution, 1 to 5 p.m. The tasting event at William Chris Vineyards returns with a focus on more than 25 Texas-made rosés from some of the state’s best wineries. $50.

Crawfish Boil Fundraiser at Bluebonnet Beer Co., 3 to 7 p.m. The Round Rock brewery’s first-ever crawfish fish benefits a good cause, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. $25.

Divine Chocolate & Beer Pairing at Black Star Co-op, 4 to 6 p.m. Seven of Black Star’s house beers will be tasted alongside fair-trade chocolate bars; pay for the flights, but the chocolate is complimentary.

Monday, April 3

Massican Wine Release Party at Italic, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The Italian restaurant is hosting Massican owner and winemaker Dan Petroski, who has free pours of his latest vintage.

Friday, April 7

Dutch Party at Brentwood Social House, 6 to 9 p.m. Bring your own drinks to this celebration of European food such as stroopwafels, bitterballen and maybe even herring.

Saturday, April 8

Pinthouse Pizza’s 1st Annual Hootenanny, 11 a.m. In addition to a petting zoo, caricature artist, Jim Jim’s Water Ice and more, the South Lamar location will release a special IPA every two hours throughout the day.

Real Spirits Launch Party, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Real Ale Brewing is finally launching Real Spirits Distilling with three new products: a gin and two aged whiskeys. All three will be in bottles to go.

Texas Beer & Crawfish Boil at Texas Beer Co., 1 to 10 p.m. Make the drive to Taylor for an afternoon of beer, live music and crawfish from legendary cook David Terrell of the Austin BBQ Company.

Sunday, April 9

St. Elmo Brewing Crawfish Boil, 12 to 10 p.m. The afternoon will include beer and live music from Charles Thibodeaux and the Austin Cajun Aces, in addition to a Vietnamese-style crawfish boil from Soursop.

Easy Sunday with Austin Beerworks, 2 to 6 p.m. Easy Tiger will have $1 cans of beers like Pearl-Snap Pilsner and Bloodwork Orange IPA, as well as other Austin Beerworks brews on draft.

Monday, April 10

The Craft Series at the Driskill, 6 to 9 p.m. This month’s beer pairing dinner at the Driskill’s 1886 Cafe & Bakery will feature brews from the DFW area’s Community Beer Co.

Wednesday, April 12

Hops & Games at Hops & Grain, 6 to 10 p.m. It’s the monthly board game night at the brewery; you can either bring your own or play some of the games provided.

Meet the Brewer: BOM Brewery at Mort Subite, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Bert Van Hecke of BOM Brewery, which does all its own malting, will be at the Belgian beer bar with a curated selection of BOM beers.

Thursday, April 13

Spring Wines & Chocolate Pairing, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Chocolaterie Tessa is partnering with Mark Rashap, of KOOP Radio’s Anothe Bottle Down, for this delectable tasting. $55.

Friday, April 14

Flight of the Baptist at Flying Saucer, 11 a.m. There will be a mouthwatering flight on offer of all Epic Brewing Big Bad Baptist variations, including Son of the Baptist and Baptista.

Saturday, April 15

Austin Beerworks Sputnik Event at Pinthouse Pizza, 11 a.m. Sputnik and all of its variations, as well as another Austin Beerworks brew or two, are going on tap for this celebration of the Russian imperial stout.

2nd Annual Crawfish Boil at Whip In, 12 to 8 p.m. Get to the party promptly at noon for a cheap early-bird beer menu and enjoy crawfish and New Orleans-style music all afternoon. $24 for two people.

Live Oak Brewing’s 20th Anniversary Party, 12 to 10 p.m. Enjoy food truck grub from Quality Seafood, Texas Chili Queens and others while toasting to the East Austin brewery’s big birthday.

Monday, April 17

Rosé Tasting at the Austin Shaker, 6 to 9 p.m. Drink pink with the East Austin liquor store, which is hosting a tasting of several different rosé wines from France and the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, April 19

Brewery Rep Death Match at Flying Saucer, 6 to 9 p.m. Two Colorado breweries, Odell Brewing and Avery Brewing, are facing off for pride and glory, with much swag to be had for the spectators.

Spirit Tasting & Class: Scotch Edition at Craftsman, 7 to 10 p.m. Craftsman’s boozy classes exploring various spirits continue, this time with a focus on Scotch from Glenlivet. $22.09.

Thursday, April 20

ATX IPA Throwdown, 4 p.m. Star Bar has created what is sure to be a heated competition, with some of the city’s favorite IPAs going hop to hop against each other.

Austin Beer Guide Release Party, 6 p.m. The spring and summer issue of Austin Beer Guide is releasing at this Draught House party that will have special tappings and more.

4/20 Fest at Banger’s, 6 to 9 p.m. Celebrate the quintessential stoner holiday with beer, with a tap list that includes such themed suds as Sweetwater Hash Session and Independence’s Hop Brownie.

Saturday, April 22

Friends & Allies Brewing’s Grand Opening, 12 p.m. Celebrate the official opening of the East Austin brewery with all your favorite Friends & Allies beers.

Real Ale’s 21st Birthday Kegger, 12 to 5 p.m. This old-school kegger is a nod to the days when beer was simpler, so for this year’s anniversary beer, simply being called 21, expect a pre-Prohibition lager. $20.

Texas Keeper Cidery’s Earth Day Gardening Party, 12 to 5 p.m. Learn about tree grafting, heirloom plants and more while enjoying the cidery’s second collaboration cider with Blue Owl Brewing. $4.

Sunday, April 23

Geraldine’s On Deck, 5 to 8 p.m. Relax poolside at the Hotel Van Zandt, where you can sip cocktails made with Treaty Oak Distilling spirits and listen to hot tracks from Mixer Rogers.

Tuesday, April 25

Boston to Austin Tap Takeover at Whip In, 5 to 10 p.m. Infamous Brewing and Samuel Adams collaborated on a beer together, the BOSxAUS, a smoked oyster stout. It’s tapping along with other beers from Infamous and Samuel Adams.

Whiskey and Cheese Pairing at Craftsman, 7 to 8 p.m. Teeling Irish Whiskey will prove that wine isn’t the only alcoholic beverage that can pair with one of our favorite foods. $16.82.

Wednesday, April 26

Whiskey Roundup at TenOak Bourbon House & Lounge, 6 to 9 p.m. You’ll get to try six of a variety of different whiskeys and meet the makers behind them; plus, food and cocktails available for purchase. $15 in advance; $20 at the door.

Friday, April 28

Dapper Devil Bottle Release at Blue Owl Brewing, 12 to 10 p.m. Love the raspberry Belgian strong ale that sour mashing brewery Blue Owl makes? It’ll be in bottles, with a limit of one case per customer.

Austin Food & Wine Festival, 5 p.m. Friday through 5 p.m. Sunday. The fest returns to Auditorium Shores with top chefs, savvy sommeliers and talented winemakers from across the country. $250-$625.

Saturday, April 29

Zilker Brewing’s 2nd Anniversary Party, 12 to 6 p.m. The East Austin brewery will have an extended tap list in honor of its birthday, as well as live music, food and more.

Return of Tiki at Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling, 12 to 10 p.m. Delicious tiki cocktails, Polynesian-inspired food, live music, hula and fire dancers, and a live demonstration of tiki carving by Doug Moreland await you.

Love Belgian Beer Fest, 1 to 8 p.m. Taste local Belgian-style brews and authentic imports, as well as enjoy live music and comedy, for a good cause. The event benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Austin. $53.74-$111.77.

Sunday, April 30

Bluebonnet Beer Dinner at Greenhouse Craft Food, 6:30 to 9 p.m. The Round Rock restaurant’s regular beer dinners continue, this time with a Round Rock brewery. $64.12.

Texas Wine Revolution returns as rosé celebration in April

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Texas-grown rosés are being spotlighted at a wine event in the Texas Hill Country on April 2.

Still one of the hottest trending wines, rosé is again the focus of William Chris Vineyards’ upcoming Texas Wine Revolution, an afternoon festival in the Hill Country with all Texas-made wine, food and music.

Rosé wine — a style of wine that gets more color from grape skin contact than white wine but not enough to be considered red wine — is now made by many of the major wineries in the state because of its popularity, and attendees of the April 2 event at William Chris, in Hye, will get to sample all of the best ones from more than 30 wineries.

William Chris Vineyards’ co-owner, Chris Brundrett, decided to move the second annual tasting event to the springtime, rather than summertime, because it’s outdoors at the winery. That’s one of the only things he changed.

“We decided to keep the focus on rosé again and turn this festival into an annual event,” he said. “Long term, we would love to start incorporating other styles of wine, but we want to perfect the process it takes to plan this unique event first.”

In addition to the tastings, the Texas Wine Revolution will also have live music from Uncle Lucius and Ravenna Sun and bites from Garbo’s Fresh Maine Lobster, Hitchin’ Post Steakhouse, Trudy’s Tex-Mex Restaurant & Bar, Mongers Market + Kitchen and Gillen’s Candies. You’ll be able to sample the food and then purchase your full meal.

Tickets are $50 and will include a souvenir wine glass, food samples, tastings of more than 25 Texas-made rosés, a tote bag that can hold six bottles of wine, and a booklet that explains each of the participating wineries’ rosés. Rosé can be made with a range of grape varietals — many of which are specially suited for the hot Texas climate.

“Rosé is such a wonderful style of wine for our state to grow, produce and pair with Texas cuisine,” Brundrett said.

To buy tickets to the 1 to 5 p.m. event and get more information, visit texaswinerevolution.com.

Hye Rum now the second boozy project of Texas winery owner

The owner of Calais Winery has already delivered a French flair to his Texas wines — and now wants to offer his take on rum, another popular drink in his native France.

Benjamin Calais, the winemaker at his Hye-located winery in the Hill Country, has partnered up with friends James Davidson and Stephanie Houston to open Hye Rum not far from the winery on Highway 290 West, with Davidson taking on the role of head distiller and Houston all of the sales and marketing.

Hye Rum will release bottles of its new white rum within the next couple of weeks.

Calais felt passionate about diving into rum, in addition to wine, because he noticed a very different attitude toward rum in the states than abroad.

“I just don’t feel like rum has the place it deserves in the U.S.,” Calais said. “It’s used as a mixer, so it’s often as neutral as possible, and I just don’t think that’s part of the rum tradition. Bigger, fuller spirits, like a Jamaican-style rum but not as rough around the edges, that’s what we’re going for.”

When people visit the distillery and its accompanying tasting room, the centerpiece of their experience will be cocktails, he said: an opening menu of 10 “traditional Caribbean-style and New Orleans-style drinks, like Mai Tais and Hurricanes.”

Hye Rum — located in a small town with a big interest in well-made booze like wine and whiskey — will make from scratch the additional ingredients of each drink in addition to the rum, such as bitters.

“We will have everything from sweet dessert-style cocktails like the Painkiller to more bone-dry options, like the Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned and Navy Grog,” Calais said. “We will have a daiquiri, our version of the Cuba Libre, a Dark and Stormy, a mojito, a piña colada… I feel like those are the fundamental rum cocktails.”

The distillery is aiming for an early April opening; in the meantime, rum lovers can get an early taste of what’s to come with Tiki! A Hye Rum Event on March 25, which will have a whole hog roast, buffet-style dinner and a preview of the distillery and its pot still. Tickets range from $65-$595.

Having a pot still rather than a column still will help Hye Rum’s mission of producing flavorful, full-bodied rum products using molasses — a boozy mix that will include a white rum and others that have been aged in a variety of French oak barrels, most of which have originally come from Calais Winery. Column stills, he said, traditionally make more neutral spirits.

“We’re going to run an old-fashioned pot still, fermenting from scratch, and distilling twice,” he said. “We’re not taking any shortcuts on the production side to get a bigger, heavier, deeper flavor. We’re using all the fermentation tricks that I’ve learned in the wine business to create a fuller product; I just have to remember we’re working with molasses instead of grapes.”

He and Davidson — whose first love, he said, is whiskey, but who jumped at the chance to open the distillery with Calais and has done a lot of research on rum — have drawn inspiration for the rum they’ll make from Caribbean islands like Jamaica.

Although Calais loves rum from French islands like Martinique and French Guyana, the spirits there are primarily made using sugarcane juice, versus from a sugarcane byproduct like molasses, the base of Hye Rum. The sugarcane juice gives the rum a floral character that Calais and Davidson will replicate only in very small releases. Because the distillery isn’t located in the Caribbean, they don’t have regular access to fresh juice, he said.

“There hasn’t been a craft revival for rum as there has been for gin and whiskey,” he said. “There is not much interesting rum produced in the U.S. for the U.S. market. People design them as vodka-like.”

For that reason, he expects to have to educate visitors to the tasting room once it officially opens, but having run Calais Winery for nearly 10 years in a state still being introduced to its own wine, he is well-versed in what it takes to get people used to and preferential toward his beverages.

“If you have a good product and people don’t know about it, they want an education, and we can show people actual fermentations, what the products look like and taste like, and the results we get out of it,” he said. “Being able to show our product straight and in cocktail form should help people understand this is the right way to do it.”

Once Hye Rum opens, tours and tastings to the distillery at 11247 Hwy. 290 West will be by appointment only so the staff isn’t overrun by what Calais has seen as strong initial interest. After that, he said, Hye Rum will move to regular tasting room hours.

Bottles of the white rum will be out in the next two weeks. Although the bottle designs for subsequent rum releases will be different each time, people can at least expect that the bottles will always hold rum.

“We’re only going to make rum. We’re going to stay focused on that and try to be the best at it,” he said.

For more information, visit hyerum.com.

Stock up on your booze with Twin Liquors’ 80th anniversary dollar sale

It’s the 80th anniversary of Twin Liquors, so all 80 locations are giving us a boozy treat: the return of the dollar sale, when prices of wine and spirits drop to “rock bottom.”

The sale sadly does not extend to most beer — which is generally pretty cheap anyway — but it’s a good deal if you’ve been eyeing a rare whiskey that wasn’t previously agreeable with your booze budget. During the sale, which starts today and lasts through Saturday, Twin Liquors brings the prices of all wine and liquor in bottles 750 ml or larger to wholesale cost and adds a buck. 

Some beer bombers and larger-format bottles have been included in the sale as well. That’s a deal hard to pass up. 

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Head to Twin Liquors this weekend for the company's dollar sale, which drops the price of wines and spirits.
Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Head to Twin Liquors this weekend for the company’s dollar sale, which drops the price of wines and spirits.
So dream big when you stop into your neighborhood store. The dollar sale won’t affect more affordable items as much as it will the more luxury products, the expensive wines and older aged spirits that we merely sigh wistfully at when we’re browsing the shelves for bottles to supply our weekend fun.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to marvel at the fact that Twin Liquors is an 80-year-old company, founded in Austin in 1937, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.

“The Jabour family ventured into the liquor industry with ‘Jabour’s Package Store,’ which contained a liquor store, a drug store and a soda fountain that were all under the same roof,” according to Twin Liquors. “During this era, operating a liquor store along with a soda fountain and a drugstore was the trend. Competition was fierce after Prohibition, and there were approximately 26 liquor stores within a two-mile area. The Jabour family worked hard and, by the mid-1940s, had expanded the business to three liquor stores and a tavern that only sold beer.”

And now, the home-grown franchise has expanded across Central Texas, venturing north to Waco, south to San Antonio and east to parts of Houston and College Station.

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For more information, visit twinliquors.com.

Here are the 10 best wine bars in Austin, according to Yelp

Editor’s note: Updated on May 24, 2017 for National Wine Day, because apparently one wine-related holiday isn’t enough.

Yep, you read that right — February 18 is National Drink Wine Day. Now that’s a national holiday we can get behind. We’ve gathered up a list of the 10 best wine bars in Austin, according to Yelp, along with some highlights from Yelp user reviews.

Contributed by Daffodil Reumund. Messina Hof has been making wine in Texas since 1977, when there were only three wineries in the state.
Contributed by Daffodil Reumund. Messina Hof has been making wine in Texas since 1977, when there were only three wineries in the state.

10. The Butterfly Bar — 2307 Manor Road

“The Butterfly Bar is one of those places that I visit once every 6 or so months and wonder why I’m not there all the time.” Luci H.

“Can’t say enough about Butterfly Bar… feels like you’re driving in your best friend’s back yard. Good vibes, good vibes.” Hilary M.

“Great atmosphere and very chill. Kid and pet friendly with neat little attractions all around. This place a combo of Austin coolness!” Vandesha L.

9. Wink — 1014 N Lamar Blvd Suite E

What I loved most were the amount of wines by the glass. Wink has a wine bar across from the restaurant proper and they are able to have about double the amount of wines open at any given time. So, you can have a great meal and try different tastes together.” — Melody M.

“Whether in the Wine Bar or Restaurant, we always enjoy Wink. Service is wonderful with emphasis on the ability to inform you about wine and beer in the cute, less fancy pants Wine Bar.” — Christine A.

8.Vino Vino — 419 Guadalupe St

“The cutest little wine bar in the Hyde Park area.” — Sherill T.

“In our most recent visit, sitting toward the back, I was struck again how warm and pleasant the space is becoming. It’s just a nice feeling place to hang out for a while.” — Dennis S.

 

7. House Wine —  408 Josephine St.

“Located in an adorable little house, House Wine has an inviting, intimate atmosphere.” — Giselle C.

“Super cute place. Definitely an Austin spot. I have had so many people speak highly of Wine House and I can see why.” — Lindsay M.

6. Gino’s Vino Osteria — 1239 E. 51st St.

“I truly don’t understand how it is not packed all night long. Everyone from our waitress to Gino himself was incredibly friendly.” — Brandon K.

“WOW!  The wine list at Gino’s is simply fantastic.  Peruse.  Find one, two or three you love.  And the cocktails that man makes – WOWZERS!  Again – favorite Uncle Gino!” — Shani S.

 

5. Winebelly — 519 W. Oltorf St.

“Winebelly has all the perks of the high standards we’ve come to expect in Austin, with none of the pretentiousness attached with it. Just a good ol’ fashion South Austin welcoming vibe.” — Victoria S.

“This is the perfect first date spot! Love all of their wines, appetizers, and cocktails- everything is so so so good!” — Alysha M.

4. Counter 3. FIVE. VII — 315 Congress Ave. Suite 100

“Jason, the Sommelier, is brilliant with his wine pairings and the Pastry Chef Daniella lays out sumptuous desserts. It will be a long time before I’m this impressed with a meal. Perhaps not until my next life.” — Christine A.

“The meat seemed to call for wine so we ordered a glass, at the sommelier’s recommendation and I swear, the food and wine sang together. Like literally (in the figurative sense).” — Alice T.

 

3. Aviary — 2001 S. Lamar Blvd. Suite C

“This is genuinely one of my favorite places in Austin.” — Kim O.

“Aviary is your home away from home that puts you back into your best mood. A must in Austin: we love it.” — Thom and Vicky H.

 

2. The Red Room Lounge — 306 E. 3rd St. Suite A

“If you love wine and you like that Speakeasy kind of vibe/going on a scavenger hunt for a wine bar-then Red Room Louge is the place to check out.”  — Angela W.

“The staff is what really makes this place special. They are knowledgable [sic] beyond any sort of wine comprehension that I possess. Friendly and informative. Frinformative.” — Luci H.

1. Santorini Cafe — 11800 N. Lamar Blvd.

“Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, friendly staff, delicious Greek food, good wine selection, and tasty coffee drinks. Live music on Thurs. and Friday nights.” — Julie P.

“I already like Greek food, but every bite here was above par. Nice wine, good people.” — Alan M.

Honorable mentions:

The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen  — 800 W. 6th St.

“Great modern spot downtown for drinks and food. They have a nice patio as well.” — Anh N.

“Great patio, excellent happy hour, exceptional wine list and gorgeous dining room!” — Amy D.

Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar — 4800 Burnet Rd. Suite 450

“Reminds me of the neighborhood cafes in France. Equally good for date night or friends.” — Karen G.

“The food, the romantic vibe and the service made this place 5 stars for us.  As I’m enjoying my 2nd glass of wine…I’m texting all my friends to check this place out!” — Kristine F.

Baretto — 10710 Research Blvd. Suite 314

“This place is super cute and nook-like. It’s small and I’m pretty sure it’s seat-yourself-wherever-you-can. All the staff that we encountered were very polite and helpful.” — Yelena S.

“Atmosphere is casual, interior had a nice cozy feel with all the brickwork. All in all a very nice experience.” — Veek N.

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Happy drinking!

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 Editor’s note: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect Yelp rankings.