Circle Brewing celebrates six years with rebrand, canned beer releases

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Six-year-old Circle Brewing is celebrating its anniversary with a polished rebranding and the introduction of cans.

In a sign of how much Circle Brewing has grown in six years, the North Austin brewery is launching redesigned branding, a line of canned beers and a new spring seasonal during the anniversary party this weekend.

Circle co-founders Ben Sabel and Judson Mulherin decided last year that it was time to move on from bottles to cans and, while they were at it, to redesign their brand to a more sophisticated look. Now, they’re ready to showcase the big changes at the party from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, when the brewery will have live music, games, food trucks the Evil Wiener and Rebel Pizza Bar, and new merchandise to boot.

The six-year anniversary party will also offer a first taste of Circle Brewing’s M’Lady English IPA, a historical style that American breweries have made far more hoppy than had been traditional.

Like all of Circle’s beers, the English IPA is made with beer’s four main ingredients — malt, hops, yeast and water — and nothing else. It remains important to Sabel and Mulherin to continue their practice of following Reinheitsgebot, the ancient German Beer Purity Law dictating how beer could be made.

“We’re not changing who we are, just polishing the way we look,” Sabel said. “Working with those ingredients presents innumerable possibilities, and I think it’s shortsighted to think you can’t do enough with them. You don’t need to add orange and lemon into this beer to make it taste orange and lemony.”

M’Lady English IPA isn’t overly hoppy, although the East Kent Golding hops in the beer contribute a strong citrus characteristic. The beer is “emulating the original British style with English ale yeast, with dried fruit notes present, but mostly what you’re getting is a good malt base,” Sabel said. That might sound contrary to what an IPA typically tastes like, but Circle is drawing from Old World IPA recipes that offer more balance between the hops and malts.

It’s not the first time that Circle Brewing has turned to history to make an IPA. Last year, the brewery won a World Beer Cup gold medal in the historical beer category for its Archetype Historical IPA, made so authentically that Circle collaborated with local maltster Blacklands Malt to recreate a now-nonexistent malt called Burton White Malt.

The 2017 version of Archetype will also be at Circle’s six-year anniversary party this weekend. Although the brewery is transitioning its year-round brews — the Alibi Blond, Envy Amber and Blur Texas Hefe — from bottles to cans, the Archetype will remain in large-format bottles.

Circle Brewing, Sabel said, also plans to can one more of its beers, but he and Mulherin haven’t decided which one it will be. They do know it’s going to be “a battle royale” between the three IPAs: current fall seasonal Tuxedo T-Shirt Black IPA, M’Lady English IPA and an upcoming American IPA that will borrow qualities from both West and East Coast styles.

Once the American IPA is released, they’ll decide which IPA is going to be the biggest hit to put in cans based on their supporters’ reactions to each.

Sabel said that once the brewery chose to start canning, it only made sense to rebrand as well, something that they’d long wanted to do. Circle enlisted the design services of Trina Bentley of Make & Matter, which has been behind the sleek looks of companies like Hat Creek Burger Co. and Swift Single Malt Whiskey.

“When we made the decision to move into cans, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to polish the brand and make it more representative of us,” he said.

Each of the cans are decked out in bright colors and feature the geometric shape from which Circle Brewing took its name. Also present on the can are images of the four ingredients found exclusively in Circle beers, still important for the brewery to emphasize.

“We wanted the four ingredients to be represented,” Sabel said.

To attend the party Saturday at Circle Brewing, at 2340 W. Braker Ln., you’ll pay $15 at the door and receive a collectible 6th anniversary glass and three drink tickets.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Circle is releasing a new spring seasonal, the M’Lady English IPA, which has nice citrus notes from the East Kent Golding hops balanced with European specialty malts.

This post has been corrected to reflect that Archetype Historical IPA was made with Burton White Malt.

Austin’s drinking events calendar, March 2017

J. Potter-Miller. Last Stand Brewing teamed up with a group of local bars to create a beer inspired by a taco.
J. Potter-Miller. Last Stand Brewing is celebrating its 2nd anniversary with a big party at the brewery, on the road to Dripping Springs.

Bell’s Brewery Launch Party at Easy Tiger, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. The beloved Michigan brewery has arrived in Texas with $10 flights at Easy Tiger, as well as cans and more.

Coast’s 9 Banded Whiskey Pairing Dinner, 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. The downtown seafood spot is offering this three-course dinner with 9 Banded cocktails to get you in the SXSW mood. $55.

Whiskey Class with Chocolate Pairing at Craftsman, 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 1. Sample three Teeling Irish whiskeys with three chocolate pairings. $15.

Texas Independence Day with Yeti, 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Buy a custom Yeti drinkware product and the new flagship store and bar will fill ‘em up on the house, with proceeds going to the Austin Music Foundation.

$2 Pint & Karaoke Night with Batch Kolache, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, March 2. At Cuvee Coffee, make sure you’ve got a microphone in one hand, a kolache in the other and a beer nearby.

Contributed by Easy Tiger. Bell's Brewery is officially launching in Texas the first week of March.
Contributed by Easy Tiger. Bell’s Brewery is officially launching in Texas the first week of March.

Bell’s Brewery Launch Party at Via 313, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Michigan pizza with Michigan beer, united at last: Via 313’s brick-and-mortar locations will bring back a pizza special for the occasion.

Gusto Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar’s 5th Anniversary, 8 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Live jazz, complimentary appetizers, drink specials, a special performance from a quartet of Conspirare singers and more to celebrate this big milestone.

The Local Post Pub Grand Opening, 10 p.m. Thursday, March 2. The Burnet Road bar promises irresistible drink specials to enjoy with a late-night food menu.

First Friday at Infinite Monkey Theorem, 4 p.m. Friday, March 2. The urban winery is celebrating the release of its 2016 Texas Rosé with live music and silent disco.

First Friday Firkin at Uncle Billy’s, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 3. This month’s cask, Hoppy Hefe, is the brewpub’s newest seasonal, the Hammock Hefeweizen, with Centennial hops added.

Real Ale’s Pinsetter Release Bowling Party, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 4. Real Ale is launching a new year-round beer, an amber lager, named after the popular Hill Country tradition of nine-pine bowling.

Welcome to Texas: Bell’s Brewery Launch at Pinthouse South Lamar, 11 a.m. Saturday, March 4. Eight of the Michigan brewery’s beers will tap when the brewpub opens for business.

Faust Brewing Grand Opening, 12 p.m. Saturday, March 4. The New Braunfels brewery has finally broken in the new location enough to have a big party, with a 12-hour extravaganza planned.

Last Stand Brewing’s 2nd Anniversary Party, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 4. Enjoy the Anniversary Double IPA and other beers at the Hill Country brewery; bring home an anniversary glass. $20.

Aviator Pizza & Draughthouse Grand Opening, 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 4. The South Congress pizza and beer joint is donating a portion of the proceeds from this event to Austin Pets Alive.

Pinthouse Pizza’s 2017 Cellar Series, 6 to 11 p.m. Monday, March 6. On the first Monday of every month comes a rare keg on tap, in case you need a boozy start to your week.

Licha’s Cantina Tequila Pairing Dinner, 6:30 to 10 p.m. Monday, March 6. Make reservations for this special dinner with Azunia Tequila. $75.

International Women’s Day Celebration with the Beer Museum, 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 6. Head to Hops & Grain for this insightful talk about women in craft beer.

Hops & Grain River Beer Debut at Whip In, 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 7. Hops & Grain is releasing a premium lager meant for outdoor sipping, with free pint glasses available while supplies last.

Italic’s La Valentina Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Dinner, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9. Italic is highlighting Central Italy’s revered La Valentina winery with complimentary wine tastings and a special three-course dinner, no reservations required.

Bell’s Brewery Tap Takeover at Whip In, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9. Meet craft beer pioneer Larry Bell while enjoying beers like the new Am I Right or Amarillo, brewed just for Texas.

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Central Market Cooking School: Wrath Wines Paired with Family Favorites, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9. The winemaker will discuss the wines while you learn how to make recipes that best highlight them. $65.

Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing’s 2nd Anniversary Parties, 4 p.m. Friday, March 10 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 12. It’s a whole weekend of special beers, including Red Horn’s very first bottle releases.

Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling’s 2nd Annual Kitetail Fest, 12 p.m. Saturday, March 11 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 12. Come for the kites; stay for the cocktails. There will also be a balloon artist, face painting and live music performances.

Photo by Ben Sklar. Texas Keeper Cider's cidery in the Onion Creek area of South Austin isn't opened with regular hours yet, but the cider release party on June 20 is a good opportunity to visit the scenic cidery in the meantime.
Photo by Ben Sklar. Texas Keeper Cider’s cidery in the Onion Creek area of South Austin is celebrating its first year open with the release of Grafter Blanc.

Texas Keeper Cider’s 1 Year in the Taproom Party, 12 p.m. Saturday, March 11. It’s been a year since the cidery opened its charming far South Austin tasting room, so celebrate with the springtime release of Grafter Blanc.

Circle Brewing’s 6th Anniversary Party, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 11. This year’s celebration coincides with a big rebranding and Circle’s first-ever cans, as well as a new seasonal, M’Lady English IPA.

Re-Release of Black Star and Blue Owl’s Collaboration, 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, March 15. The sour-mashed double IPA that Black Star Co-Op and Blue Owl Brewing produced last year was so popular that it’s getting a second release.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Opal Divine’s, 11 a.m. Friday, March 17. There will be plenty of fresh Guinness on tap for this all-day celebration also featuring live music, fish and chips, and Irish stew.

San Gabriel River Brewery’s St. Patrick’s Day Party, 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 17. Show your Irish spirit and enjoy green-hued brews. Plus, Rolling Thunder Roadhouse will be on site providing the grub.

St. Patrick’s Day at North by Northwest, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 17. Special cask tappings, Irish stew and Irish music promise fun for the whole family (even a bouncy house and balloon artist for the kids.)

Free St. Patrick’s Day Party at Strange Land Brewery, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 17. Two limited-edition brews, a Dubliner Irish Irish Stout and its barrel-aged counterpart, are going on tap to celebrate the Irish holiday.

Hi Sign Brewing Grand Opening Party, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 18. The East Austin brewery is officially opening with a crawfish boil, disc golf tournament and more. $15.

Infamous Brewing’s 4 Year Anniversary, 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 18. A whopping 16 taps with a crawfish boil and live music will guarantee you a day you won’t want to end.

The Beer Train with the Bluebonnet Beer Co., 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 18. The Austin Steam Train is hosting another boozy train ride, this time with beers from Round Rock’s only brewery. This event has been rescheduled to May 20 due to mechanical issues.

Sophia’s Bubble Brunch Launch, 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 19. The supper club is debuting a monthly brunch with prosecco-based cocktails, champagne bottle service and brunch dishes with an Italian twist.

SXSW Recovery Party at Irene’s, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, March 20. Hair of the dog is sometimes the only way to recover from a week-long fest, so Irene’s will have drink specials on wine, beer and Tito’s Vodka.

Altstadt Brewery’s Launch in Fredericksburg, 12 p.m. Monday, May 20. You’ll start finding beers from this new brewery on Highway 290 on draft in this first town to carry Altstadt.

Astronomy on Tap, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21. Three out-of-this-world talks will be accompanied with pints of beer, astronomy-related art on display from local artists, and more at the North Door.

Pug Rescue of Austin Charity Brew at Pinthouse Pizza, 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 22. All proceeds from the brewpub’s Calma Muerta Session Ale will go toward the dog-friendly organization, which will be present from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Grappa Masterclass at Drink.Well, 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 22. Learn about the Italian brandy and how it’s made with this education course from Bonollo, a world-class distillery in Italy.

Reserve Wednesday at Sophia’s, 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 22. The downtown Italian restaurant is partnering with Italian winemaker Le Monde for this happy hour wine tasting.

Balcones Whisky Dinner at the Carillon, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22. Taste Texas whisky alongside a three-course feast. Call 512-404-3655 to make your reservations. $48.

Pints & Paws Happy Hour at Whitestone Brewery, 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 23. $1 of every pint sold will go toward Texas Humane Heroes, a rescue organization.

Yes Chef Beer Release at Black Star Co-op, 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, March 23. The brewpub’s beer team collaborated with its kitchen staff to come up with a beer perfect for the end of a long, hot kitchen shift: an adjunct cream ale.

Fourth Saturday at Real Ale Brewing, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25. In honor of the brewery’s 21st birthday, Real Ale is debuting two more beers in the Mysterium Verum series: Magnum Trux and Rex Indomitus.

Crawfish Boil & Craft Beer Bash at Independence Brewing, 1 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25. Enjoy fresh Louisiana crawfish with sweet corn, red potatoes and your favorite Independence beer.

Craft Pride’s 4th Annual Pepper Beer Party, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25. Spicy beers from (512) Brewing, Lakewood Brewing, No Label Brewing and more are going on tap in a heated celebration.

Red Line Brewery Tour, Spring 2017, 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 25. Train-hop to check out three local breweries near the Capital MetroRail Red Line: Zilker Brewing, Black Star Co-op and Circle Brewing.

Tiki! A Hye Rum Event, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25. A new rum distillery from the makers of Calais Winery in the Hill Country is hosting a whole hog roast buffet-style dinner. $65-$595.

William Chris Vineyards’ 4th Annual Vibes & Vino, 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 25. San Antonio’s celebrated alt-country band Two Tons of Steel will perform while you partake in a wine and seafood feast. $35.

Independence Brewing Beer Dinner at Greenhouse Craft Food, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 26. This multi-course pairing dinner will feature beers from Independence, including the new Illustrated Man Dark Sour. $64.12

Mega Mutt Monday at Banger’s, 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 27. This month’s edition of the pet-friendly event celebrates the pit bull thanks to participating organization Love-A-Bull.

Antonelli’s Cheese Pairing at Adelbert’s, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 27. Adelbert’s Mango Wit, Whimsical Cherry Sour and more are being paired at this cheesy dinner at the brewery. $45.

Thirsty Thursday at the White Horse, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, March 30. Quench your thirst for good beers and music at this late-night show that will include tunes from Mayeux & Broussard.

Harry Potter-themed yoga at Circle Brewing returns with magical beers

Alexa Gonzalez Wagner. Circle Brewing threw a Harry Potter-themed yoga class over Halloween weekend and, thanks to overwhelming demand, has added two other sold-out classes to the schedule.
Alexa Gonzalez Wagner. Circle Brewing threw a Harry Potter-themed yoga class over Halloween weekend and, thanks to overwhelming demand, has added two other sold-out classes to the schedule.

The Harry Potter-themed yoga class that Circle Brewing hosted on Halloween weekend received unexpected international attention — to the point that Circle, in North Austin, decided to offer another one.

That second class on Nov. 20 is already sold out. So is the one that Circle added on Friday for Nov. 27. Clearly, the brewery has found a magical way to put together beer and yoga, a combination that other local breweries, like Zilker Brewing and Hops & Grain, have been doing as well.

As Entertainment Weekly reported over the weekend, yoga instructor Isabel Beltran, who offers yoga at the brewery every Sunday, has found a way to make the Harry Potter-themed hatha yoga classes truly infused with details from the wizarding world. Every person who stretches out on a mat receives a wand to do poses with, and these poses get renamed to terms any Harry Potter fan will recognize: the “Whomping Willow” for the tree pose, for instance, and the three-legged pose as “Fluffy.”

The Nov. 20 class is on the same weekend that “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the Harry Potter spin-off prequel film, debuts in theaters across the country. Beltran plans to have themed poses for that film as well, noting in the EW article that “we’re going to use different quotes from the book and incorporate the different magical creatures into poses.”

But don’t forget about the beer.

Part of the $20 admission fee gets you a pint of Harry Potter-inspired beer as well. (“Not Your Favorite Wizard’s Butterbeer,” amiright?) On Oct. 30, Circle Brewing had a couple of special casks on hand for the inaugural wizard yoga class, including one called “Pumpkin Juice” — a pumpkin-spiced Blur Texas Hefe.

Future classes aren’t abandoning the Harry Potter brews. On Nov. 20, the brewery has two additional casks planned that will have any Potter fan thirsting to try them.

  • Goblet of Fire: the Tuxedo Tshirt Black IPA with habanero and cinnamon
  • Phoenix Feather: the Pacific Jade Dry-Hopped Saison with pomegranate

It’s not hard to imagine that there’s lots of crossover between beer lovers and Harry Potter addicts, but “most outlets barely mention (the beer),” brewery representative Alexa Gonzalez Wagner said via email.

In any case, accio Nov. 20.

Tickets for September’s Texas Craft Brewers Fest now on sale

Save the date for the state’s largest craft beer festival focusing solely on Texas-made beer: Texas Craft Brewers Fest returns on Sept. 24 with more than 65 breweries pouring their sudsy wares.

Photo by Tyler Malone. The Texas Craft Brewers Festival on Saturday has some exciting new additions on tap, including brewers' talks throughout the afternoon.
Photo by Tyler Malone. The Texas Craft Brewers Festival returns this year on Sept. 24.

Tickets for the festival are now on sale at three levels: VIP for $75, general admission for $30 (an early-bird rate that expires on July 15) and designated driver for $10.

The $75 VIP ticket price might seem a little steep, but it’s a good deal for serious beer fans. They’ll get access to Fiesta Gardens, the location of the fest, two hours early, with “quality mingle time” with some of the brewers in store during that time. VIP tickets also come with a commemorative T-shirt and souvenir glassware.

Both VIP and general admission ticket holders will get 8 beer sample tickets — and plenty of time to roam the grounds, discovering new beers and breweries that might not be available in their city.

“Once again, we are excited to bring Texas craft brewers and Texas craft beer fans together in Austin for our unique celebration,” Charles Vallhonrat, the executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the organization in charge of the festival, said in a press release. “The Texas Craft Brewers Festival is one of a kind because it really is the brewers’ festival. With nearly 200 operating and in-planning brewery members, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild is the leading advocate for Texas craft beer.”

For the second year running, part of the proceeds from festival sales are going toward a good cause. The House That Beer Built, a collaboration between local breweries and the Austin branch of Habitat for Humanity, “aims to raise $85,000 to build a new home for a deserving Austin family,” according to the release.

For more information, visit texascraftbrewersfestival.org.

American Craft Beer Week in Austin, May 2016

Photo by Ralph Barrera / American-Statesman. Try a taproom-only beer at Blue Owl Brewing for American Craft Beer Week.
Photo by Ralph Barrera / American-Statesman. Try a taproom-only beer at Blue Owl Brewing for American Craft Beer Week.

Throughout this week, bars and breweries around the country are celebrating a big occasion in beer: American Craft Beer Week. Austin is no different, with multiple events each day through Sunday this week that will offer lots of good brews and good times.

Here’s a round-up of some of the ones you won’t want to miss, starting with a couple of events today.

Tuesday

Avery Sour Flight at Easy Tiger: Sample a flight of four tart brews from Avery Brewing in Colorado for $8: the Avery Lunctis Viribus; the Avery Fortuna; the Avery Dihos Dactylion; and the Avery Oud Floris, a Flanders Oud Bruin. The fun starts at 4:30 p.m.

Austin Beerworks Tap Takeover at Pinthouse Pizza South Lamar: Stop in throughout the day, starting at 11 a.m., for some of Austin Beerworks’ specialty beers, including Sputnik Russian Imperial Stout, the Red Snapper Sour Ale and the Gringo Mexican lager, the brewery’s fifth anniversary beer.

Wednesday

Bishop’s Barrel Beer Dinner at the Dig Pub: This five-course feast features rare beers from Saint Arnold — Bishop’s Barrel brews 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13. The lucky diners will also be able to purchase Bishop’s Barrel 9 (Pumpkinator in bourbon barrels) and 12 (Christmas Ale in sauvignon blanc barrels with cherries and brettanomyces) to take home with them.

Tiny Barrel Release at Blue Owl Brewing: The East Austin brewery is releasing a tasting-room exclusive: a blend of pre-raspberry Dapper Devil, Blue Owl’s Belgian Strong Ale, with the new Saíson Puede, that’s been barrel- aged with the addition of Meyer lemon and pink peppercorn. The beer taps at 3 p.m.

Thursday

The Hops & Grain Experience: The brewery is hosting a first-ever cold brew and brew event, featuring a panel with Hops & Grain founder Josh Hare and three top Austin baristas, as well as six beer styles with added cold brew. The $32.46 ticket gets you a commemorative gold-rimmed tulip glass with the brewery’s new coffee logo.

The new Growler USA is opening in the campus area with 100 taps, primarily of local and Texas beers.
The new Growler USA is hosting a tap takeover with 4th Tap during American Craft Beer Week.

4th Tap Brewing Co-op Tap Takeover at Growler USA: In addition to $1 off all beers at the campus-area pub, there will also be a 4th Tap brewery rep handing out samples and free glassware.

Friday

The Pinthouse Pizza, Hops & Grain and Austin Beerworks Dry-Hopped Kettle-Soured Collaboration. At Pinthouse Pizza South Lamar, try three different kettle-soured beers dry-hopped with various hop combinations that the trio of local breweries have put together and discover which one you like best. The beers all tap starting at 6 p.m.

Kamala Gardens at Waller Creek Pub House: Miss the Whip In’s house beers? The Whip In’s Dipak Topiwala has started a new brewery, Kamala Gardens, and is offering an early taste on Friday evening. Try the Bitterama — a new incarnation of an old Whip In brew.

Saturday

The ABGB’s Ruby Bottle Release: Tour the brewpub while securing your bottle of Ruby, an American sour that is part of the ABGB’s You’ll See, Baby series of sour beers. Reserve your spot for $6; only a limited number of spots are available for the tour, so you’ll want to do it early.

Barrel-Aged Beer Party at Craft Pride. The Rainey Street bar is tapping more than a dozen barrel-aged offerings and releasing bottles from the cellar. Some of the beers not-to-miss at this event include Community Barrel-Aged Legion, Real Ale Lux Aeterna and Buffalo Bayou Red Wine Barrel-Aged Red Velvet. The tapping starts at 1 p.m.; live music starts at 1:30 p.m.

Brewery District Bike Tour. Round out your American Craft Beer Week with this event postponed from the previous week because of rain. You’ll ride to Adelbert’s Brewery before heading to 4th Tap Brewing Co-op and finishing up at Circle Brewing.

Austin Steam Train Beer Flyer with Red Horn. The Cedar Park brewpub is pairing up its beers with a dinner from Greenhouse Craft Food in an unusual venue: aboard a train pulled by a diesel locomotive. It’s a three-hour round trip with limited seating and plenty of fun.

Three Austin brewers take home World Beer Cup wins

Photo from Circle Brewing's Facebook. Circle Brewing's newest release, the Archetype Historical IPA, took a gold medal at the prestigious World Beer Cup.
Photo from Circle Brewing’s Facebook. Circle Brewing’s newest release, the Archetype Historical IPA, took a gold medal at the prestigious World Beer Cup.
Seven Texas breweries won big at the World Beer Cup this weekend in Philadelphia — and three of them were from Austin. Circle Brewing, Independence Brewing and the ABGB won gold medals and a bronze medal, respectively.

The World Beer Cup, a prestigious competition held by the Brewers Association, is one of the highlights of the Craft Brewers Conference, a five-day educational conference and trade show for more than 1,400 participating craft breweries. The competition, featuring U.S. and international breweries, closes out the conference.

And if a brewery takes home a medal from the World Beer Cup, they must be doing something right: 96 categories and more than 6,500 entered beers means there’s a lot of competition and no guarantee that a brewery will come back with a win. That’s why Circle Brewing, Independence Brewing and the ABGB getting medals is all the more remarkable.

Circle Brewing earned a gold medal in the historical beer category for the recently launched Archetype Historical IPA, which the brewers created to taste exactly as an IPA would have tasted hundreds of years ago. The brewery got its start in Austin five years ago by making beers using only the four traditional ingredients of hops, malts, yeast and water, also a historical practice.

Independence Brewing was another Austin medal winner — for the brewery’s Power & Light Pale Ale in the golden or blonde ale category. The light, easy-drinking brew launched in 2014 as an homage, like many of its canned brews, to Austin.

The final Austin brewery to win was brewpub the ABGB, whose pilsner called the Rocket 100 grabbed a bronze medal in the American-style lager category. The Rocket 100 has already been a medal winner, having gotten a gold at last year’s Great American Beer Festival. (That’s another notable beer competition in the U.S.)

Texas’ four other World Beer Cup are Houston’s Karbach Brewing, Dallas’ Deep Ellum Brewing, Dallas’ Oak Highlands Brewery and Addison’s Bitter Sisters Brewing.

For more information, visit worldbeercup.org.

Austin’s drinking events calendar, March 2016

Photo by Ben Sklar. Texas Keeper Cider's cidery in the Onion Creek area of South Austin isn't opened with regular hours yet, but the cider release party on June 20 is a good opportunity to visit the scenic cidery in the meantime.
Photo by Ben Sklar. Texas Keeper Cider’s tasting room, built out of a historic farmhouse, is finally ready to open this month with a grand opening celebration.

Drink.Well’s Anniversary Week, 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 through 11 p.m. Sunday, March 6. Toast to four years of this North Loop bar with a week full of throwback cocktails from earlier menus.

6th Annual Republic of Jack at Jack Allen’s Kitchen, 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 2. Celebrate Texas Independence Day with $6 Z Tequila and Republic Tequila cocktails, as well as plenty of snacks.

Parlor & Yard’s Grand Opening Party, 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 2. The newest Bridget Dunlap bar opens on West Sixth with live music, free T-shirts and a roll-out of the cocktail menu.

Ballast Point Sculpin Tap Takeover at Pinthouse Pizza, 5 p.m. Thursday, March 3. How do you like your Sculpin? Taste all five varieties – from nitro to grapefruit to pineapple – in a side-by-side flight.

White Rabbit Pub Crawl on Rainey Street, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3. Chase the white rabbit – a.k.a. a pint of Independence Brewing’s white ale – through various bars, including Craft Pride, Banger’s and Bungalow.

Uncle Billy’s First Friday Firkin, 5 p.m. Friday, March 4. Kick off your weekend with a refreshing version of the popular Lazy Day Lager made with prickly pear, sour orange, and lemon zest.

Twisted X 5K Beer Run, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 5. When you’ve finished up this easy street run through Dripping Springs, you can return to the brewery for a post-race party with beers, food trucks and music.

Wurstfest’s Craft Beer Festival, 12 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 5. Pours of more than 80 craft beers are available at this New Braunfels festival. $35 in advance, $50 at the door; $100 VIP tickets.

Contributed by Independence Brewing. Chase the white rabbit at a pub crawl and at Independence Brewing this month.
Contributed by Independence Brewing. Chase the white rabbit at a pub crawl and at Independence Brewing this month.

Independence Brewing’s Crawfish Boil & Craft Beer Bash, 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5. Wash down pounds of fresh Louisiana crawfish with White Rabbit White Ale, the brewery’s spring seasonal.

Last Stand Brewing’s 1-Year Anniversary Party, 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5. Limited release brews will commemorate the milestone along with food truck grub and live music.

Pints for Pits at Opal Divine’s Penn Field, 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 5. Love-A-Bull’s annual St. Pittie’s Day event invites you to bring your pup, wear green and enjoy a beer – all for a good cause.

BeerYoga at Hops & Grain, 10 a.m. Sunday, March 6. A one-hour, all-levels yoga class will relax you just in time for a pint of beer. $19.44.

Craftsman Monthly Crawfish Boil, 1 p.m. Sunday, March 6. $5 per pound of crawfish, along with $5 Tito’s Handmade Vodka and $10 Tecate 6-packs (or $2 Tecate singles).

Wine Slushies at the Infinite Monkey Theorem, 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 through 10 p.m. Monday, March 21. Slurp your wine throughout SXSW, when the urban winery is offering a very fun alternative to the normal way of drinking wine.

Victory Brewing’s 20th Anniversary Celebration at Easy Tiger, 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 9. Special tappings of Anniversary 20 Experimental IPA and Ten Years Alt.

Books & Beers at Blue Owl Brewing, 5 p.m. Thursday, March 10. Librarians will be at this happy hour, pairing their favorite books with Blue Owl brews. Plus, bring in gently used books for donations and sign up for your very own library card.

Irish Whiskey at Twin Liquors Round Rock, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10. Prep yourself in advance of St. Patrick’s Day with this guided tasting of Beam Suntory whiskeys, including Kilbeggan and Connemara. RSVP in advance to secure a seat.

Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing’s Unoversary, 7 a.m. Friday, March 11 through 11 p.m. Saturday, March 12. Two days of celebrations, including special beer releases: Unoversary Smash, You Be Forty Barrel-Aged Belgian Red, Vanilla Whiskey Barrel Suburban Ninja and more.

Circle Brewing 5th Anniversary Party, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 12. Celebrate five years of Circle with the brewery’s new Archetype Historical IPA. There will also be food trucks, live music, fun games and firkin tappings.

Photo by Kooper Family Whiskey Co. Austin's finally got a rye whiskey produced here with the arrival of Kooper Family Rye to the local market.
Photo by Kooper Family Whiskey Co. Try the locally aged Kooper Family Rye at the brand-new tasting room in Dripping Springs.

Kooper Family Rye Tasting Room Opening, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 12. The Dripping Springs tasting room and barrel house will have whiskey samples and Old Fashioneds to enjoy Saturdays starting this weekend. $5.

Texas Keeper Cider Taproom Opening Party, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 12. The doors of a historic farmhouse are officially opening at this party with special-release cider, lawn games and more. $10.

Treaty Oak Distilling’s Inaugural Hill Country Kitetail Fest, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 13. Bring your kite to fly with dozens of others, and even if you don’t win one of the contests, you’ll still get to enjoy a Treaty Oak cocktail.

Cheese-Y Movie Night Part II at 4th Tap Brewing Co-op, 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 16. 4th Tap beers paired with Antonelli’s Cheese and a screening of the St. Patrick’s Day movie “Leprechaun.”

Jack & Ginger’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, 12 p.m. Thursday, March 17. This Irish pub is going all-out with live music throughout the day, including bagpipes at 5 p.m. There will also be lots of beer and street vendors.

St. Patrick’s Day at Opal Divine’s, 12 p.m. Thursday, March 17. Two Opal locations – Penn Field and Marina – are offering live music all day, as well as the usual pints of beer (that won’t be dyed green).

St. Patty’s Day Celebration at Zilker Brewing, 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17. You probably won’t have to worry about green beer at this party, but you will drink Zilker beer to the sounds of Irish music.

Black Star Co-op Crawfish Boil, 1 p.m. Saturday, March 19. A whole boatload of Gulf Coast crawfish awaits for a boil on the patio, where you can chow down on a 2 lb. plate for $12.

Infamous Is Turning Three, 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 19. Ten Infamous Brewing beers – including Sweep the Leg, Party Juice and a third anniversary brew – will be the highlights of this special day.

Fixe’s Halter Ranch Vineyard Happy Hour, 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23. Enjoy a complimentary wine tasting with small bites on the patio with the Paso Robles winemakers. RSVP through Facebook to attend.

Banger’s Smoke Out Saturday, 12 p.m. Saturday, March 26. You know the drill. Enjoy a feast (a seafood boil this month) with live music and one of Banger’s many beers.

The ABGB’s A Nice Pear Bottle Release, 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26. Tour the brewery and pick up a bottle of the latest brew in the You’ll See, Baby series of sour beers.

Blue Owl Brewing’s Blue Egg Hunt, 2 p.m. Sunday, March 27. Spend your Easter at the brewery searching for eggs and expect surprises, prizes and – naturally – lots of fun. $20.

May drinking events calendar

Photo contributed by Kerry Sholly: The Four Seasons Hotel will have mint juleps during the Lobby Lounge's Derby Day celebration.
Photo contributed by Kerry Sholly: The Four Seasons Hotel will have mint juleps during the Lobby Lounge’s Derby Day celebration.

Barks for Beers, ongoing Friday, May 1 through Sunday, May 31. This fundraiser for local organization Divine Canines is a fun, easy way to give back: For $20, buy a special pint glass; get a free pint at participating breweries.

Circle Brewing’s .5K Micro Marathon, 12 p.m. Saturday, May 2. A 1,640 ft. race around Circle Brewing’s parking lot with two pints in your hands – think you can do that without spilling too much?

Twisted X’ 4th Anniversary Party, 12 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Special beer releases throughout the day, including Saison X, which was aged in Cabernet wine barrels for nine months.

Austin Beerworks’ Cuatro Años, 1 p.m. Saturday, May 2. The fourth anniversary celebration for Austin Beerworks is already sold out – and with so many good beers on the menu, that’s not surprising.

Whip In’s 4th Annual Pink Mahal Party, 1 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Kickoff the rosé season with three glasses of the pink wine and some rosé-friendly appetizers for $25.

The Austin History Center’s 3rd Annual Beer Garden Social, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 2. This year’s event at Scholz Garten will focus on music of the Civil War.

Drink.Well’s 4th Annual Derby Day Celebration and Julep Jubilee, 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Enjoy a special julep menu and Kentucky-inspired cuisine while watching the big race.

Four Season Austin’s Kentucky Derby Day, 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Sip on Kentucky-inspired cocktails (including the classic Mint Julep) while big screen TVs broadcast the race.

Craftsman’s Grand Opening Party, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3. This new East Cesar Chavez Street bar is celebrating with good drinks and a live performance by Roxy Roca.

Arro’s First Mondays Pairing, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Monday, May 4. This month’s features regional French cuisine paired with a fantastic selection of rosé wines. $60 for five courses; $100 with wine.

Arro’s Producer on the Patio series, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5. An intimate happy-hour tasting with French wine importer Jon-David Headrick. Sample four wines with light bites.

Cafe Josie’s Wine Me Dine Me Dinner, 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 5. This five-course feast focusing on the cuisine and wines of Spain will feature Dan Redman of Mosaic Wines discussing each of the wines. $85.

Uncle Billy’s 8th Anniversary Party, 12 p.m. Thursday, May 7 through 10 p.m. Sunday, May 10. Limited release beers, cask beers and special tappings including Billy’s Bock, The Elegast Belgian Red, UB Trippin Tripel, and the Crazy Day Maibock. Plus, a crawfish boil on Saturday.

Firkin Tappings at Banger’s, 6 p.m. every Thursday in May. The month’s firkins include (512) Violet Beauregard on May 7, Lone Pint Gentleman’s Relish with Vanilla on May 14 and Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #15 on May 21.

Mother’s Day Wine Luncheon at Fall Creek Vineyards, 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, May 9. The Tow location will have a three-course meal with wine pairings for all the special wine-loving moms out there. $36.99

Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing’s Pints for Pups, 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 9. A $10 donation benefiting the Austin Dog Alliance gets you a special event glass and a beer from Red Horn.

Meridian Hive’s Grand Opening Party, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 9. Austin’s only meadery is finally throwing a big party to celebrate. $15 for three session meads or three still meads or a combination of the two.

Metier Cook’s Supply’s Ice Cream and Cocktails, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 9. Ice cream cocktails made with Genius Gin – free while supplies last.

Wurstfest’s Craft Beer Festival, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 9. 40 craft beers on tap, plus a variety of food trucks, because Wurstfest’s November festival just isn’t enough.

Bitch Beer’s Blog-a-thon, 1 p.m. Sunday, May 10. Help the Bitch Beer writers raise money for their trip to Belgium with this afternoon of special beer tappings, raffle prizes and more.

La V’s Boutique Spirits Dinner, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14. The restaurant doesn’t just have an extensive wine list. To show off its well-crafted spirits options, La V is throwing a 5-course dinner with spirits pairings. Email reservations@lavaustin.com to reserve a spot.

The Austin Winery’s 1 Year Celebration, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 15. 15% off all bottles and pours during the party at the urban winery. Plus, if you buy a bottle, you’ll be entered to win a wine club membership for one year.

Spec’s Fest, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Enjoy a huge selection of gourmet food offerings, live music, storewide specials and amazing prizes, plus gain insider tips on wine and food parings from the Spec’s experts. The fest is going on at two locations, Arbor Walk and Brodie Lane.

Rogness Brewing’s 3rd Anniversary Party, 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 16. $12 tickets will get you three beers and a special mason jar glass to celebrate three years of the Pflugerville brewery.

New Braunfels’ Brewing’s 2nd Anniversary Party, 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16. $18 tickets will get you a commemorative glass and three beers.

Whiskey Roundup at TenOak Bourbon House + Kitchen, 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 20. Sample 6 whiskeys and learn how to pair them with food. $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Independence Brewing’s Beer and Chocolate Pairing, 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 20. This guided flight of 5 chocolates matched with Independence Brewing beers will have your mouth watering before you even walk in the door. $25.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse Patron Dinner, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 20. Four-course dinner featuring pork belly tacos, tamales, braised beef shortribs and tres leches cake, all paired with a Patrón drink. $79.

Pre-Release Gose Tapping at Real Ale Brewing, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 23. The beer from last year’s anniversary party is returning this year as a canned summer seasonal. Get a special early taste of the salty treat at the Blanco brewery’s taproom.

Brews for Better Lives at Hops & Grain, 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 24. $25 ticket includes live music, beer, 1 meal ticket, games and more, and all proceeds benefit the Whole Planet Foundation.

20 Wines for $20 at Tony C’s Avery Ranch, 2 to 4 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 24. A wine tasting with live music and light appetizers, to benefit Austin Pets Alive. $20.

Antonelli’s Cheese Collaboration at Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co., 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 27. Five cheese, plus charcuterie, paired with Red Horn’s house beers. $40.

Texas German Bier Festival, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 30. German-style bier tastings, live polka music and bowling. $25.

March drinking events calendar

The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas’ Toast & Roast, 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1. Taste the 20 Texas wines that made Texas Monthly’s list of Best Texas Wines 2014 – the only opportunity you’ll have to try them all together. Plus, Chef John Bates of Noble Sandwiches is roasting up a pig, goat and lamb. $100.

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Circle Brewing is throwing their 4th anniversary party on March 14.
Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Circle Brewing is throwing their 4th anniversary party on March 14.

Texas Independence Day at Oasis, Texas Brewing, 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 2. Toast to Texas independence with OTXBC’s core beers and a special sneak tasting of the upcoming Metamodern Session IPA. WhichCraft Beer Store is also hosting a free OTXBC tasting from 6 to 8 p.m.

Arro’s First Mondays Pairing, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Monday, March 2. An exploration of wines and cuisine from the Languedoc/Roussillon region of France. $60; additional $40 with wine pairings.

Live Oak Beer Dinner at Odd Duck, 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 2. The five-course meal will include Live Oak’s Liberator and Primus. Make reservations by emailing oddduckevents@gmail.com. $101.

5th Annual Republic of Jack Party, 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 3. Oak Hill location will have live music, $5 Pepe Z Tequila cocktails and Jack’s cooking.

Odell Brewing Tap Takeover at Banger’s, 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 4. A mix of 10 firkins and draft beers from Odell, including Wolf Picker, Barrel Thief, Loose Leaf, Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout and more.

Save the World Beer Dinner, 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 4. 5-course pairing dinner at Fork & Vine. $80.

Highland Park Whisky Tasting at Opal Divine’s Marina, 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7. Tasting of the Highland Park portfolio, including the new Dark Origins whisky. $40.

Hops & Grain Party at Barley Swine, 6 p.m. Sunday, March 8. Mingle with the chefs and brewers and enjoy special food and drink options, in particular a limited-edition beer served only at the dinner. Email info@barleyswine.com to make reservations. $85.

Bluebonnet Beer Co. Dinner at Greenhouse Craft Food, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 8. 6-course beer dinner featuring Round Rock’s Bluebonnet beers, including their seasonal smoked porter. $54.

Beer & Bacon Pairing Class at Central Market North Lamar, 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 9. Taste a variety of different bacon with beer, including Founders Porter, Rahr & Sons Blonde Ale and more. $25.

Libations 101: History of Gin at School House Pub, 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 9. This monthly how-to about cocktails focuses on gin this time. You’ll learn how to make tonic, the difference between gin styles through a tasting of Aviation, Waterloo and Beefeater gins, and the step-by-step process of infusing spirits.

Spring Break Lunches at Fall Creek Vineyards, 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14 and 21. Have lunch on the terrace of the Tow location; glass of wine included. $19.50-$24.

Circle’s 4th Anniversary Party, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14. $15 gets you a pint glass and three drink tickets. Better put one of those toward a taste of the new Devil’s Envy Whiskey Barrel-Aged Amber.

Wine Workshop: Coming to Your Senses at Central Market North Lamar, 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 23. A blind tasting of six wines to help you hone your palate and ability to identify flavors. $10.

Infamous Brewing’s 2nd Anniversary Party, 12 p.m. Saturday, March 28. Live music, food from the excellent Schmidt Family Barbecue and, of course, beer.

#Austin360Drinks Koozie Party, 1 p.m. Saturday, March 28. Celebrate the koozie with Austin360 at Bar 2211, which has only canned beer, and bring your favorite koozie to the party.

Craft Pride’s 2nd Annual Hot Pepper Beer Party, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 28. Several pepper beers will be on draft and in casks; plus, the Craft Pride crew will run a couple of other beers through Hop Rockets stuffed full of peppers to create their own spicy offerings. Come ready to burn.

Banger’s offering firkin tappings every Thursday

Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Banger's is offering firkin tappings every Thursday.
Photo by Emma Janzen / American-Statesman. Banger’s is offering firkin tappings every Thursday.

Relishing in the new flavors you can find in your old favorite brews, tapped from a firkin, is just one of the many benefits of the small casks. These vessels are used for conditioning and serving beer that is typically unfiltered, unpasteurized and served without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure, making it less carbonated and smoother than beer poured from a draft system.

Another plus to using a firkin for serving beer is that it’s kept at a warmer temperature, augmenting the flavor profile and aroma.

In other words, firkins can pull out fresh nuances of the beer your tongue hadn’t detected before. Brewers use the firkins to experiment with their beer recipes, sometimes adding new ingredients to the beer, such as a different type of hops or something more unusual like toasted coconut. And since the beer in them is thus very limited (the cask holds about 41 liters of liquid), beer lovers often scramble to get their hands on a glass of some before it’s all gone.

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden on Rainey Street is making the scramble a little easier with a firkin tapping every Thursday at 6 p.m. Each of the beers will have been “infused with unexpected additions such as fruits, herbs and spices,” according to a press release.

Here’s the full list of February firkin tappings.

  • Thursday: Jester King Le Petit Prince, dry hopped with Mosaic hops
  • Feb. 12: a double tapping of (512) Bruin with French oak tips and (512) Cascabel Cream Stout Mexican Hot Chocolate
  • Feb. 19: Circle Night Light with Guatemalan coffee
  • Feb. 26: Ballast Point Victory at Sea with Devil’s Share Whiskey-soaked oak chips

6 p.m. Thursdays. Free. 79 Rainey Street. bangersaustin.com.