10 Texas beers to enjoy all summer long

Texas brewers know just the kinds of beers we need to combat the heat. Here are 10 mostly Austin beers (and a cider-wine hybrid because it’s divine) to keep you cool all summer long.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Brazos Valley Brewery, in Brenham, has made a peach wheat with a couple of sneaky musical references.

Austin Beerworks Einhorn: The essential summer beer of Austin was recently put into powder blue cans decorated with unicorns (‘einhorn’ means unicorn in German) and sent all over town. Crisp, a little tart and very refreshing, the Berliner Weisse-style brew might not be as rare a find as the mythical horned horse now, but it’s not any less beloved. The North Austin brewery has even helpfully supplied a map to help us locate a six-pack, although you don’t have to rush out to find it: Einhorn will be available throughout the summer.

Live Oak Hefeweizen: A lot of the beers on this list are new, seasonal or small-batch, or some combination of the three. This one’s on here because it’s trusty — easy to get both in cans and on draft and always the straw-colored, aromatic gem we expect — and we should never take it for granted. Go get some.

The ABGB’s Rocket 100 Pilsner: This one is another reliable Austin brew and one of the beers that helped to cement the ABGB’s win as the Great American Beer Festival’s Brewpub of the Year. A pre-Prohibition example of a pilsner, it’s brewed with corn, one of the ingredients that German immigrants to our country would have used. Take it home in a growler or, better yet, a three-pack of crowlers.

Hops & Grain River Beer: Modeled after light lagers like Coors Banquet, with corn in its grain bill, River Beer is intended to accompany you on all your boat rides on Lake Travis, your tubing trips down the San Marcos River, anytime you are in or over a body of water in Texas. With it, Hops & Grain is hoping to attract people who drink the likes of Coors and Budweiser, but it’s flavorful (even a little sweet, thanks to the corn) and will no doubt be the favorite of regular craft beer lovers, too.

Adelbert’s Mango Wit: As I noted in a roundup of beers suited for springtime imbibing, the year-round Mango Wit is especially suited for the spring and summer months thanks to its sweet tropical notes. Now that it’s summer, let me just go ahead and quote myself: Adelbert’s made the Mango Wit with lemon peel and real, true, juicy mango, and let me emphasize the word “juicy” again. That’s exactly how this beer tastes: as if Adelbert’s filled cans with the sweet liquid squeezed from pounds of mangoes, threw in some citrus for balance and carbonated the result.

Brazos Valley Millions of Peaches Peach Wheat: Probably, the Brenham brewery is making a reference with the name and the can design to the Allman Brothers’ “Eat a Peach” record. But the six-pack I stumbled on at Whole Foods immediately made me crack a grin because Millions of Peaches is, to me, a nod to the insanely catchy ’90s diddly “Peaches” by the Presidents of the United States of America.

I bought the cans for the memory of belting out “millions of peaches, peaches for me” the summer in between high school and college and that alone, without knowing a thing about the beer, but fortunately it’s delicious. In the wheat beer, the sweet nectar of one of Texas’ most beloved fruits is preserved without being overly cloying, a danger that some fruit beers can face.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Got any outdoor summer activities planned? Don’t leave your six-pack of Oasis at home.

Oasis, Texas’ You May All Go to Helles and I Will Go to Texas: Are your Texan heartstrings tugging yet at this Davy Crockett reference (and well-placed beer pun)? Even if they’re not, the Lake Travis-area brewery has crafted a beer, light and thirst-quenching, that seems tailor-made for our state. The cans are a limited release, so don’t miss them.

Zilker Brewing’s Parks & Rec Pale Ale: Brewed in collaboration with the Austin Parks Foundation to celebrate Zilker Park’s 100th anniversary, the seasonal pale ale, now in cans, doubles as a good cause. A portion of the proceeds from the beer, made with old-school hops like Centennial to emphasize bright citrus notes, is being donated to the Austin Parks Foundation for Zilker Park’s upkeep. Not that you needed an extra reason to go buy it, right?

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Zilker Brewing’s newest canned beer was made to highlight Zilker Park’s 100th anniversary.

Jester King Foudreweizen: The brewery’s big and boozy Boxer’s Revenge, a a barrel-aged sour strong ale, releases this weekend, but it’s not exactly conducive to summer drinking. Buy a few bottles of that to go, since it ages so nicely, but don’t miss out on Foudreweizen. The collaboration between Jester King and Live Oak Brewing is also back and so nicely captures what both breweries do best.

It was made when wort brewed at Live Oak and inoculated with its hefeweizen yeast was taken to Jester King to transform at the hands of the native yeast and bacteria, alive in the walls of the farmhouse brewery’s foudres, and the resulting Foudreweizen tastes in essence like a funky wheat beer — bonkers good.

A crowler of Pinthouse Pizza’s latest IPA: Both locations of the brewpub are producing fresh examples of the hazy, juicy IPA they’ve perfected, from the This Is Juice at the flagship on Burnet Road to the Electric Jellyfish IPA that the South Lamar brewpub can’t seem to make enough of. IPAs generally aren’t my go-to style on hot summer days, but Pinthouse makes the beer low in bitterness, albeit with the aroma and flavors that hops can impart. Like the ABGB, both locations have crowlers.

Texas Keeper Cider’s Grafter Rosé: The best drink of 2016 is back in bottles and available at the cidery starting tomorrow afternoon, where you can sip it while enjoying barbecue from the new LeRoy and Lewis. This year’s Grafter Rosé, dry, spritz-like and tart, is made with Rome Beauty apples and Texas-grown Tempranillo and Carignan grapes.

Have 67-cent beers at Austin breweries during Barks for Beers fundraiser

Ralph Barrera / American-Statesman. Divine Canines’ annual fundraiser, Barks for Beers, is taking place at 30 local breweries throughout the month of May.

If you visit all 30 of the local brewpubs and breweries participating in this year’s Barks for Beers fundraiser, each of the beers you receive from the fundraiser will amount to a total of roughly 67 cents.

That’s quite a deal, and the organization behind Barks for Beers, the Austin-based pet therapy organization Divine Canines, is banking on it to reach its goal of raising $75,000 — the highest amount yet for the boozy benefit now in its fourth year.

Here’s how it works.

It’s pretty simple: Buy a Barks for Beers pint glass and an accompanying “pawsport” for $20, and you’ll be able to take them to any of the 30 participating breweries and receive a free pint of beer in return (but only one from each brewery). Participants include Barks for Beers veterans like Hops & Grain, Thirsty Planet and the ABGB and newcomers like Hi Sign Brewing, St. Elmo Brewing and Idle Vine Brewing.

Although the fundraiser officially kicks off at the beginning of May and runs the entire month, some breweries are getting started early and already have pint glasses available for purchase.

Barks for Beers organizer Mike Pizinger, whose two dogs, Shiner and Amstel, act as therapy dogs through Divine Canines, has been able to grow the event every year, increasing both the number of breweries participating and the number of people purchasing the pint glasses. It helps, of course, that Austin seems to add a new brewery to town on a near-monthly basis. But he thinks the success of Barks for Beers is a result of something else, too.

“It’s just this great way for people to check out the breweries,” he said, noting that he’s heard Barks for Beers used as a brewery-hopping experience during a family reunion, as a welcome-home gift from a father to his college-age daughter and as the first introduction to local breweries from locals who want to help out a good cause.

All proceeds from the sales of the pint glasses go directly toward Divine Canines. So far, Pizinger said, the fundraiser has proved invaluable in more ways than one.

“In addition to Barks for Beers being our primary fundraiser, it is also a community outreach program and how we gain new volunteers,” he said. “We have a waiting list of organization who would like our services, but we need more dogs and handlers to meet the demand. All of the breweries and retailers are dog-friendly, so even if your canine isn’t ‘divine’ yet, bring them out to learn more about the Divine Canines organization.”

You can get your free pint of Barks for Beers brew at any time the breweries are open, but many of them are also throwing specific Barks for Beers events. Here are some of the ones you don’t want to miss:

  • Craft Yoga + Barks for Beers at South Austin Brewery on April 29. You probably won’t see any dogs doing yoga, but you’ll be able to follow up your workout with your first drink in the 2017 Barks for Beers pint glass.
  • Hops & Grain’s Barks for Beers Kickoff Party on April 30. Hops & Grain is one of the breweries wanting to get the fundraiser started early. Visit the East Austin brewery from 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, and you’ll get to check out pet-friendly vendors on site, a photo booth, a food truck for the humans and YoDog Snackery for the pups, as well as meet Hops & Grain’s four-legged Divine Canines ambassador.
  • Barks for Beers & Baubles at Copeland Jewelers on May 4. Nope, it’s not a brewery, but the Westlake Hills jewelry store is a big supporter of the cause and is selling the pint glasses. There will be many cute Divine Canines running around, as well as free beer from Strange Land Brewery and free pizza from 360 Uno.
  • Barks for Beers at Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling on May 7. Newly a brewery, Treaty Oak will just about have it all at this special event for dog and beer lovers. Meet some of the dogs involved with Divine Canines and enjoy live music, beer and cocktails, and brunch at the recently opened restaurant on-site at the ranch.
  • Bluebonnet Beer Co.’s Barks for Beer Party on May 13. Even Round Rock is getting a taste of the Barks for Beers fun thanks to Bluebonnet Beer, which became a participant for the first time this year. There will be cool doggy swag at the event, as well as a food truck.
  • Barks for Beers Pup Run on May 13. The first-ever pup run will start at Hops & Grain and will take you and your furry friends on a two-mile adventure to some of the other participating Barks for Beers breweries.

Plus, don’t forget to tag #barksforbeers on Instagram during your Barks for Beers adventures next month to be entered into a weekly contest. One photo will be chosen each week, with the winner getting a cool prize.

For more information, visit divinecanines.org/barksforbeers.

Austin’s drinking events calendar, December 2016

Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell / American-Statesman. 'Tis the season for holiday treats like spiked hot chocolate, which will be at LaV's Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 5.
Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell / American-Statesman. ‘Tis the season for holiday treats like hot chocolate, which will be pouring at Jacoby’s Festivus on Dec. 6.

Opal Divine’s 14th Annual Whisky Festival, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. Sample the finest whiskies from Scotland and beyond while enjoying food and holiday merriment. $40 in advance, $45 at the door.

Six Pack Stories, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. The final installment of this speaker series about beer focuses on why we love it so much – the taste. Prepare for beer pairings with food, coffee and spirits. $35.

Rolling Stones Listening Party at Irene’s, 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. Sip on Rolling Stones-inspired drinks as one of the first to hear the Stones’ first new record in a decade.

The Brass Tap Domain’s Grand Opening, 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2 to 2 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. It’s a full weekend of festivities, with live music, rare beer releases (including Goose Island Bourbon County Rare) and more.

First Friday Firkin at Uncle Billy’s, 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. This month’s firkin is festive: Uncle Billy’s Green Room IPA with spruce tips and cinnamon added. $3.

St. Elmo Brewing’s Grand Opening Party, 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Celebrate the opening of the new South Austin brewery with more than six beers on draft, live music and Southeast Asian bites from on-site food truck Soursop.

Thirsty Planet’s Silverback Pale Ale Release, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Silverback season has returned. Stop into the tasting room for a pint and sign up for the Austin Gorilla Run while you’re at it.

Leap into the Holidays Party at Armadillo’s Leap Winery, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Both locations of the winery are offering a celebration with wine tastings and reindeer mix to snack on.

Texas Keeper's Cider Noir is a perfect Christmastime treat releasing the first weekend in December at the cidery.
Texas Keeper’s Cider Noir is a perfect Christmastime treat releasing the first weekend in December at the cidery.

Texas Keeper Cider’s Cider Noir Release Party, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Try this special winter cider alongside smoked meats and sides from pitmaster Evan LeRoy, formerly of Freedmen’s.

Hot Drinks Menu Party at Craftsman, 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. A new menu of hot cocktails is debuting, with s’mores also available for $5. Part of the proceeds benefit the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign.

Little Woodrow’s at Tech Ridge One-Year Anniversary Party, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Taste samples of Independence Brewing’s new Brown Sabbath beer, as well as other Indy beers at this tap takeover.

Champagne Class at Backbeat, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. This primer on champagne will get you all prepared for New Year’s Eve festivities – you’ll embark on a guided tasting to learn how the bubbly wine is made, why it’s so special and more. $50.

Christmas Flight Nights at Easy Tiger, 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5 and Tuesday, Dec. 6. Get into the holiday spirit by sipping four winter brews, including the Ballast Point Peppermint Victory at Sea. $10.

Jacoby’s Festivus, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6. Enjoy hot chocolate and holiday cookies while gathering on Jacoby’s bluff overlooking the Colorado River. Then, Sip & Shop in Jacoby’s Mercantile.

Russian Tea Drinking & Traditions at Russian House, 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. Sip an unlimited supply of Russian tea while learning the importance of tea in Russian culture. $12.

2nd Annual Odell Brewing Ugly Sweater Party, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8. Come decked out appropriately for this party at Pinthouse Pizza, which will have rare and seasonal Odell beers on tap. Odell is donating $10 to the Central Texas Food Bank for every ugly sweater present.

Holiday Wine Dinner at Duchman Family Winery, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9. Gift yourself this four-course feast featuring Duchman’s Italian-focused wines. $65.

Holiday Spirits Mingle at the Spirit of Texas Distillery, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Party at the Pflugerville distillery, which will have food, drink and music for the festive afternoon.

12 Bars of Charity, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Sign up for this bar crawl that will help raise money for specific local charities. Just donate $10 and you’ll be able to enjoy half-priced drink specials at participating bars.

Austin Beerworks Sputnik Launch, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. The beloved Sputnik Russian Imperial Coffee Oatmeal Stout is making its return. The launch opens to the public at 1 p.m., but come early for $30-$45.

Beer & Brunch at Blue Owl Brewing, 12 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. Pair Blue Owl’s sour-mashed suds with kolaches from the upcoming Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches eatery.

Juniper’s 1st Annual Ugly Sweater Holiday Party, 4 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. A ticket gets you two cocktails, some of the chef’s most popular treats, live music and dancing, and a chance to win door prizes. $30 in advance, $40 at the door.

The Craft Series at the Driskill, 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12. Feast on four courses with four Austin Beerworks beers — including the hotel and Austin Beerworks’ special collaboration brew, the Cattle Baron Wheatwine. $40.

Mega Mutt Monday at Banger’s, 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12. At this holiday edition of the pet-friendly event, Santa will be at the bar to pose with your furry friends, along with the usual pet vendors.

Rabbit Hole Brewing’s Austin Debut, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13. The brewery from the Texas town of Justin is coming for tap takeovers at Star Bar and other places.

Uncle Billy’s Shakolad Chocolate Imperial Stout Release, 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14. These seasonal suds contain large amounts of cocoa nibs from Srsly Chocolate to give it flavors of dark cherry, plum and chocolate.

Austin Beer Guide 2016 Awards Party, 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15. Find out who the winners of this year’s awards are while sipping on special beers. Craft Santa will even be on hand to hand out the awards.

A Founders’ Christmas Carol at Banger’s, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15. Some harder-to-find Founders beers will be on draft and paired with different chocolates.

Real Ale Mysterium Verum Benedictum Bottle Release, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. The rare bottles of Real Ale continue their launch with Benedictum, a sour brown ale barrel-aged with wild yeast, bacteria and tart cherries.

Hi Hat Public House’s 4th Birthday Bash, 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Drool-worthy beers on tap and a dance party with Foot Patrol music starting at 9:30 p.m.

Pinthouse Pizza’s Fully Adrift Wet Hop Double IPA Bottle Release, 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Grab the first edition in the Lost at Sea series featuring different Fully Adrift versions.

Holiday Pop-Up Market at Circle Brewing, 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Finish up your holiday shopping with local vendors. Plus, enjoy holiday cask beers, cheery tunes, food truck grub and more.

2016 FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships, 1 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. This unofficial sport’s final race dashes into Austin, featuring some of the world’s best beer milers who know how to run with a belly full of beer.

Julia Robinson for American-Statesman. Think you can chug a beer and then run a mile? These champions at the FloTrack Beer Mile sure can.
Julia Robinson for American-Statesman. Think you can chug a beer and then run a mile? These champions at the FloTrack Beer Mile sure can.

Howliday Market at the ABGB, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. The ABGB’s latest release in the APA!APA series, which raises funds for Austin Pets Alive, is debuting with a market of holiday goodies for your pup.

“Home Alone” at Live Oak Brewing, 6:30 p.m. doors Dec. 17. Bring your fold-out chairs and blankets for this outdoor screening of the Macaulay Culkin classic. Beer and food will be available for purchase. $10.

Sundayfundaymas at the ABGB, 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. On this last Sunday before Christmas, enjoy reindeer games, a holiday market and song swap, and beer from the ABGB.

More Than a Tip at the Dig Pub, 4 to 11 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19. Bartender Ben Kazda is once again donating all tips of the night to the Salvation Army’s Austin Shelter for Women and Children.

Idle Vine Brewery Debut Party, 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. Get a first taste of the beers from the new Pflugerville brewery, which will have its four core beers on draft at the Dig Pub.

Tun Tun Tun Fest 4.0, 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. The Brew & Brew’s blowout beer celebration returns with beers from Jester King, the Bruery, Dogfish Head, Cascade and more.

St. Elmo Sing-a-Long, 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. St. Elmo Brewing is hosting musicians Craig Calvert and Mike Jackson, as well as their guitars, for this evening of merriment, beer and hot cocoa.

Prairie Christmas Bomb Tapping at Flying Saucer, 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. There’s no better beer for some Christmas Eve fun than this dark, spicy and chocolatey brew from Prairie Artisan Ales.

NYE Wee Celebration at Blue Owl Brewing, 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Ring in the New Year six hours early (hey, it’s midnight in Scotland) with Wee Beastie in hand.

Hopfields’ Rat Pack New Years Eve, 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Dress in your best Sinatra, Havana nights, Mad Men, Rat Pack wear and join the beer bar for a party complete with champagne toasts and a photo booth.

Here’s your guide to Austin Beer Week 2016

Photo by Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman. Real Ale's Firemans #4, left, is easily the brewery's most sold beer in Texas, allowing it to branch out and offer a wide range of beers.
Photo by Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman. Real Ale Brewing is just one of the local breweries providing a host of Austin Beer Week fun through Nov. 6.

The glorious 10 days of beer-soaked fun known as Austin Beer Week have returned with the usual frenzy of events at local bars, breweries and restaurants, all to celebrate Austin’s close-knit beer industry. The Austin Beer Week website lists all of the things to do around town — and there are a lot — so consider this post your guide to what to choose throughout the next several days.

Austin Beer Week starts Friday with a special kick-off party at Craft Pride and runs through Nov. 6. Here’s a sampling of some of the best events to check out — ones you won’t want to miss.

Friday, Oct. 28

Official Kick-Off Party at Craft Pride: Welcome the week ahead with a beer list that will surely make your mouth water. Is that nearly a whole lineup of Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel brews we spot on there?

ATX Brewpub Collusion: The first of the pale ales being released for this collaboration running the duration of Austin Beer Week is being tapped at Black Star Co-op. It’s one of six local brewpubs that has brewed the same recipe, but thanks to each brewpub’s own personal touches, the beers will all result in different flavors and aromas. Try ’em all throughout the week.

Saturday, Oct. 29

An Chih Cheng / American-Statesman. The Draught House is celebrating another big birthday with a lot of hard-to-get beers.
An Chih Cheng / American-Statesman. The Draught House is celebrating another big birthday with a lot of hard-to-get beers.

The Draught House’s 48th Anniversary Party: Thank the beer gods for another year of this beloved local brewpub with another irresistible beer list, as well as craft ice cream, a live show from the Dead Music Capital Band and an event called the Beer Olympics.

(512) Brewing’s 8th Anniversary Party: Yes, it’s another year of having to choose between this brewery’s bash and the Draught House’s. But (512) makes a good argument for its own — namely, a roster of (512) brews you can’t get anywhere else. If only we could be in two places at once.

Real Ale 20th Anniversary Collaboration at Pinthouse Pizza: Real Ale and Pinthouse have collaborated on making a pilsner together to celebrate Real Ale’s big milestone. Did you know Tim Schwartz, director of brewing at Real Ale, and Joe Mohrfeld, director of brewing at Pinthouse, met at brewing school eight years ago? The beer they’ve made together will showcase elements of what both breweries do so well.

Sunday, Oct. 30

Hans’ Fest at Yard Bar: The pooch-friendly bar couldn’t be a more perfect place to host a celebration of Real Ale’s Hans’ Pils, a beer named after the owner’s beloved dog. Other Real Ale brews will be on tap as well.

Monday, Oct. 31

Hops & Grain’s 4th Annual Halloween Party: The only time the brewery is 21 and up, this boisterous Halloween bash is worth the headache you might wake up with Tuesday morning. Expect a costume contest, extra beers on tap and a DJ for your dancing pleasure.

Tuesday, Nov. 1

Blue Owl Brewing Flight & Seminar: Stop into Easy Tiger from 6 to 7 p.m. for a talk by Blue Owl’s Jeff Young and taste a flight of four sour Blue Owl beers, including the new Wee Beastie, a Wee Heavy with peated malt.

Wednesday, Nov. 2

Everything East at Hi Hat Public House: Love all of the beers made in East Austin? Hops & Grain, Zilker Brewing, Friends & Allies, Blue Owl and more will all be represented at this tap takeover celebrating neighborly love.

Jester King and Jolly Pumpkin Beer Dinner at Hopfields: Sure, it’s $120 per person, but the 8-course dinner is well worth it for the food and the beers (Jester King Cru-55! Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura! and many more!) that you’ll feast on, with rare bottles available for purchase afterward.

Dai Due’s Real Ale Beer Dinner: OK, big decision to make because you can’t attend both dinners. This one’s promising, too: $100 for a meal at one of Austin’s best restaurants, paired with beers — like the new Axis IPA — from our oldest brewery.

Thursday, Nov. 3

Austin Beer Week Discussion: What Is Hoppy?: The week couldn’t be all fun and games. Get serious with hop wizards Will Golden of Austin Beerworks, Joe Mohrfeld of Pinthouse Pizza and Josh Hare of Hops & Grain, who will focus on hops — how to source them, how hopping techniques work and what the future looks like for hoppy beers. Come early for a flight of hoppy offerings from the participating breweries.

Jester King Flight & Seminar: Grab your $25 tickets to listen to Jester King founder Jeff Stuffings discuss his popular farmhouse brewery while you sip on your flight of four Jester King beers, which include Fen Tao and Atrial Rubicite.

Gluten-Free Oktoberfest at Texas Keeper Cider: Take a break from beer (as if you’re sick of it) with this $65 three-course dinner featuring food from Anjore and three ciders, including Texas Keeper’s new Honey Thief Cyser.

Antonelli’s Cheese Pairing Class: Circle Brewing and Antonelli’s have teamed up to demonstrate all the ways that beer and cheese are a perfect match. Not that we ever doubted it, of course. Reserve your $25 ticket ahead of time.

Friday, Nov. 4

Austin Homebrew Festival: You never know — one of the featured homebrewers might one day own your favorite neighborhood brewery. Try their beers at this special fest that raises money for the AHB Community School. The $15 tickets get you access to the event, where you can vote on your favorite homebrew or bid in the silent auction.

Big Mama Red’s Magic & Mayhem: The ABGB is celebrating its biggest beer with a bodacious show featuring burlesque and vaudeville acts. If you purchase a $25 VIP ticket, you’ll be front and center for all the red-hot action.

Photo by Emma Janzen. Pinthouse Pizza is celebrating two years in business in November.
Photo by Emma Janzen.
Pinthouse Pizza has collaborated with Craft Pride on a special new beer.

Craft Pride Collaboration at Pinthouse Lamar: That’s right: Craft Pride made a beer with lots of help from Pinthouse Lamar, where the Alpha Beta IPA will be tapping. It was brewed using new-age hop techniques and dry-hopped with experimental hops. Sounds like a good one.

Saturday, Nov. 5

Contemplating Waterloo at Adelbert’s: The limited-release gin barrel-aged saison has returned, so get it on tap or take it in bottles to go from Adelbert’s, where you can also enjoy free games like giant jenga, corn hole and hula hoops.

Hops & Grain And Grapes: Try three different versions of Hops & Grain’s Alteration at the Brew & Brew, where you can learn about the effects of wine barrel-aging and wine barrel-fermenting. Both processes yield intriguing (and delicious) results if done right.

Sunday, Nov. 6

Pints & Poses at Circle Brewing: Close out the week with a detoxifying hatha yoga class that will help you recover. You can also grab a pint of Circle beer if you’re up for it. And don’t forget your mat! The class and beer are $10.

Catch the ATX Brewpub Collusion during Austin Beer Week

The brewers of a handful of local brewpubs collaborated on a pale ale recipe for a special Austin Beer Week event, the ATX Brewpub Collusion.
The brewers of a handful of local brewpubs collaborated on a pale ale recipe for a special Austin Beer Week event, the ATX Brewpub Collusion.

Austin Beer Week — which starts Friday and runs through Nov. 6 this year — celebrates local brews through a multitude of events at bars, breweries and restaurants throughout the week.

This time around, a half-dozen of Austin’s brewpubs are doing something new to highlight the collaborative spirit that so often defines the beer industry locally and beyond: the ATX Brewpub Collusion.

Brewers from the ABGB, Black Star Co-Op, NXNW Restaurant & Brewery, Pinthouse Pizza, Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co., and Uncle Billy’s Brewery & Smokehouse are each releasing a special collaboration beer — a pale ale made using a specific recipe. The brewpubs came up with this recipe together, but each one then made the pale ale using their own particular style and techniques, guaranteeing that the beer will taste differently at each brewpub.

During Austin Beer Week, you’ll be able to try each version at all of the brewpubs starting with Black Star Co-op on Oct. 28.

The brewpubs created the idea of the ATX Brewpub Collusion after conversations at a recent gathering for the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, an organization that fosters and develops the natural camaraderie among the state’s brewers. The ABGB, Black Star and the other Austin brewpubs decided to create a pale ale with a pilsner base and only Columbus and Mosaic hops, but they could interpret the recipe with their own twists beyond those parameters.

Here’s the schedule for each ATX Brewpub Collusion release during Austin Beer Week. (Each of the links will take you to the corresponding Facebook event.)

If you try all eight of the beers and post photos of them with the location on Instagram or Twitter and the hashtag #ATXBrewpubCollusion, you’ll be entered into a drawing for the chance to win a prize. Three winners will be chosen at random and announced through social media.

Tomorrow, look for a guide to Austin Beer Week in this blog that will help you sort through and select among all of the fun events.

The ABGB, other Texas breweries win big at Great American Beer Fest

The ABGB crew were all smiles Saturday when the brewpub won "Large Brewpub of the Year" at the Great American Beer Fest competition.
Jason E. Kaplan. The ABGB crew were all smiles Saturday when the brewpub won “Large Brewpub of the Year” at the Great American Beer Fest competition.

This year’s Great American Beer Festival, the biggest beer event in the country, proved to be another fruitful competition for Texas breweries.

Although the state’s brewers didn’t top 2014’s record of winning 16 gold, silver and bronze medals at GABF — or last year’s unprecedentedly high number of gold medals in particular — one local brewpub represented Texas’ potential as a craft beer powerhouse in a big way.

Held as always in Denver, the festival this weekend saw a record-shattering number of breweries participating in the competition. According to the Brewers Association, the organization that produces the fest each year, winners were selected from 7, 227 competition entries, a number nearly nine percent higher than the 6,647 entries last year and “surpassing all previous participation records.” A total of 1,752 breweries sent in their beers for judging.

All of that fierce competition didn’t matter for Austin’s the ABGB, however.

The brewpub on West Oltorf Street first learned at the awards ceremony on Saturday that it had grabbed a gold medal for the ABGB Industry Pilsner in the German Pilsner category. Not long afterward, the ABGB also nabbed a bronze medal for the Hell Yes Helles in the Munich-style Helles category.

Good things come in threes: the ABGB earned an even bigger honor at GABF later — the Large Brewpub of the Year Award. Receiving that prize was a first for the ABGB and for Texas brewers in general, too.

And getting it, on top of two medals, was far beyond anything that the ABGB’s brewers, Amos Lowe, Kim Mizner and Brian “Swifty” Peters, could have imagined.

“Winning either a pils or a helles medal would have made our year,” Peters said. “Winning both is a dream come true. Amos, Kim and I have been working towards this since we opened, and all of the hard work paid off with being awarded large brewpub of the year. You don’t allow yourself to ever think that you might win it. But now it’s ours and we did it with lagers! I can’t stop smiling.”

Lager beers are the ABGB’s specialty, as I noted in this recent profile I wrote about the brewpub in celebration of its three year anniversary. The ABGB’s brewers don’t just love making them — they are also very good at it.

“People bash lagers because they’re so subtle in flavor. Like the helles we have,” Peters said in the story. “They bash the beers because they can’t taste the flavors. But lagers are so precise and so clean.”

Texas breweries won a total of 12 awards at this year’s GABF, the 30th annual version of the festival. Though we’ve gotten less of a medal count than in the past two years, it’s worth remembering that competition was tougher than ever. On average, the Brewers Association noted, 75 beers were entered in each category, “making the 2016 Great American Beer Festival competition the most competitive ever.”

Here’s the list of winners:

  • The ABGB’s Industry Pilsner gold in German Pilsner category
  • The ABGB’s Hell Yes Helles bronze in Munich-style Helles
  • Adelbert’s Brewery’s Flyin’ Monks bronze in Belgian-style Dubbel or Quad
  • Community Beer Co.’s Witbier — bronze in Belgian-style Witbier
  • Grapevine Brewery’s Sir William English Brown Ale silver in English-style Brown
  • Independence Brewing’s Cucumber RedBud bronze in Field Beer
  • Nine Band Brewing’s Toad Choker Barleywine — bronze in Barleywine
  • Panther Brewing and Clifton Ellis’ Just Rye’te — gold in pro-am competition
  • Real Ale Brewing’s Real Heavy — gold in Scotch Ale
  • Revolver Brewing’s Anodyne Wheat Wine — gold in Other Strong Beer
  • Solid Rock Brewing’s Big Drought Stout — gold in Classic Irish Dry Stout

Three years in, the ABGB focused on lagers, live music

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. The ABGB's stage is the perfect visual example of how fluidly the brewpub combines beer and live music. The ABGB celebrates its three-year anniversary on Labor Day.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. The ABGB’s stage is the perfect visual example of how fluidly the brewpub combines beer and live music. The ABGB celebrates its three-year anniversary on Labor Day.

The owners of the ABGB — short for the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., but no one ever calls it that — feel pretty good as they approach the third anniversary of the brewpub. (The party for it, as always, is on Labor Day.)

So far, it’s become exactly what they hoped it would be: a place that attracts all walks of life, whether they’re looking to dance to the live music, chow down on a 16-inch pizza pie or gulp down a mug of house-made beer while hanging out with friends. It’s an art gallery displaying some of the works of a friend of theirs, and it’s often the site of potential pet adoptions when Austin Pets Alive, a frequent collaborator, brings shelter dogs to ABGB events.

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Amos Lowe, left, and Brian Peters, who previously worked together before at Uncle Billy's, are the head brewers at the ABGB and bring a focus to lagers on the menu.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Amos Lowe, left, and Brian Peters, who previously worked together before at Uncle Billy’s, are the head brewers at the ABGB and bring a focus to lagers on the menu.

Two of the owners, Brian Peters and Amos Lowe, double as the head brewers who have turned the ABGB into one of the best places to grab a beer in Austin, but they like that the beers are just one part of the overall experience the ABGB provides.

“If you just obsess over the beverage, you miss the point,” Lowe says.

That’s not to say he and his good friend Peters — who has been involved in Austin’s brewing scene for almost as long as there’s been one — don’t care about the beer, of course. They are among the most precise of scientists when it comes to the beer they make. They have to be: Lowe and Peters both love lagers, which are some of the trickiest beers to brew and hide no mistakes when finished.

Despite their difficulty, the ABGB currently has five lagers available on the menu divided into nine “always” and “sometimes” beers.

The Hell Yes Helles, easily the most ordered beer, is always on tap, along with the Industry Pilsner and the Rocket 100, another pilsner that has so far won two big beer awards. The ABGB also has the Negra Royale Dunkel and the New Style American Girlfriend (yes, a name from the Molly Ringwald-helmed “Sixteen Candles” movie), which is an international-style lager, on tap currently.

The lager-heavy list is unusual for a brewery even now as beer makers across the country become more experimental.

“Now we have three lagers on full-time, making life harder for ourselves,” Peters says. “Having three on all the time is really tough, but it’s also really awesome. We’re lager brewers.”

For the longest time, he says, people turned their noses up at lagers because those were the beers of Budweiser and Miller, and the smaller upstart breweries of the craft beer movement wanted to distance themselves from the lighter-flavored macro options. As a result, there are some misconceptions about what lagers are and what they should taste like.

“People bash lagers because they’re so subtle in flavor. Like the helles we have,” Peters says. “They bash the beers because they can’t taste the flavors. But lagers are so precise and so clean.”

You’ll be able to try the ABGB’s solid examples of the lager on Labor Day, when the brewpub is throwing its third anniversary party. The bash will run from noon to 9 p.m. and have all the things that have made the South Austin hangout so great: beers, live music and a few surprises.

As our music writer Peter Blackstock has noted in this Austin music round-up about the Labor Day party, you’ll want “to come early for brewery tours, or arrive at 4 p.m. to see exactly what Leslie Sisson’s Olivia Newton John Project is all about. (If it’s the Moving Panoramas leader singing the likes of ‘Xanadu’ and ‘Have You Never Been Mellow,’ we’re intrigued.) Hear more covers from the Motts (playing Willie Nelson), Draft Punk and We Are Not Men.”

The ABGB is located at 1305 W. Oltorf St., and though the brewpub has lots of parking, the popularity of the party will make another good argument for showing up early. For more information, visit theabgb.com.

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.

Where to watch the Super Bowl in Austin for a boozy good time

In case hosting a Super Bowl party sounds like too much work this year, you’ve got ready alternatives in Austin bars. We’ve gathered up some options for different parts of town, each one broadcasting the big game of the Denver Broncos versus the Carolina Panthers.

East Austin: Craftsman’s SOUPer Bowl

While you watch the Broncos and Panthers duke it out in the Super Bowl, seven breweries are going head to head in a very different challenge at Craftsman starting at 6 p.m. They’ll make a soup, stew or chili with one of their beers and you’ll decide the favorite. Participating breweries include locals Hops & Grain and Friends & Allies and regional ones like Abita and Deep Ellum; expect their creations to encompass everything from a Black Stout Chili to a Brown Ale Gumbo. Their beers will also be on tap to drink during the game, which is playing on three TVs with the sound turned up.

Photo from Brew Exchange Facebook. One option for watching the Super Bowl is Sixth Street's Brew Exchange, which has plenty of good beers on tap.
Photo from Brew Exchange Facebook. One option for watching the Super Bowl is West Sixth Street’s Brew Exchange, which has plenty of good beers on tap.

Downtown: The Brew Exchange’s Super Boil

The puns are on point this year. But instead of soup, the Brew Exchange — which remains the only bar in Austin whose concept is centered around

South Austin: the ABGB’s Make Your Own ABGB Beer Commercial Sweepstakes

All right, you’ll have to do a little bit more work with this one than just show up, but if you’ve got the creativity and the desire to show that the Super Bowl commercials have nothing on your video skills, you should enter in the ABGB’s beer ad challenge. Make a 60-second or less commercial about why you love the ABGB or Austin Pets Alive and you could have the chance to win a beer and pizza party for up to 15 people. The finalist videos will be shown during the halftime of the Super Bowl, which the brewpub will be playing on a big screen starting at 5 p.m.

Photo by Matt McGinnis. North Austinites can watch the Super Bowl at Little Woodrow's Tech Ridge Sunday.
Photo by Matt McGinnis. North Austinites can watch the Super Bowl at Little Woodrow’s Tech Ridge Sunday.

North Austin: Little Woodrow’s Watch Party

Don’t want to miss a second of the bowl game fun? Each of the five Little Woodrow’s locations in Austin are playing full broadcasts of the pre-game, game and post-game action on 16 or more HD screens in the bars and on the dog-friendly patios, including the newest one in North Austin at Tech Ridge. There, you’ll be able to take advantage of a “draftmania” special whereby most beers on tap are $1 off. Sibling business Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse & Brewery, farther south on Barton Springs Road, is going to have a special Super Bowl firkin of the Green Room IPA as well.

West Austin: Punch Bowl Social’s Super Bowl 50 Party

Bowl while you watch the bowl (OK, that’s my bad pun). The bowling alley bar — which also has vintage arcade games, ping pong, shuffle board and private karaoke rooms — is offering specials on all the sorts of food you want to eat during the game, including 50 percent off wings, chips and salsa, and brats. Or you can hole up in one of the karaoke rooms with friends for a more personal watch party, where you can get all-you-can-eat wings, nachos, Frito pies, hot dogs and Bud Light for $65 per person. The fun starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Events: Grab a beer this weekend at the ABGB or Billy’s on Burnet

Two beer events are returning this weekend — one to bestow some care on an adorable bunch of shelter dogs and another to show some love for an unappreciated but oh-so-good beer, the lager.

First up on Saturday is an Austin Pets Alive benefit at the pizza-focused brewpub the ABGB, followed by a lager festival featuring beers from many local breweries at Billy’s on Burnet. Come thirsty.

The ABGB's American Pale Ale series has raised thousands to help out Austin Pets Alive's long-stay dogs.
The ABGB’s American Pale Ale series has raised thousands to help out Austin Pets Alive’s long-stay dogs.

The ABGB’s APA Release Party

Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. Free. 1305 Oltorf St. theabgb.com.

The ABGB and Austin Pets Alive are celebrating the release of the fourth American Pale Ale brewed to promote the adoption and care of APA’s long-stay dogs. A $1 of every pint sold goes toward this program; the three prior APA APA beers and additional fundraising at the brewpub have so far raised more than $12,000. In addition to the newest pale ale, there will also be a dunking booth, a doggie swimming pool, a cornhole tournament and more.

Each beer in the APA series is single-hopped to showcase the characteristics of the hop used. This edition, according to a press release, “will feature Mosaic, a hop known for a complex array of tropical fruit, citrus, berry, herbal, earthy and pine characteristics.”

“The ABGB believes American Pale Ales share a noble characteristic with these long-stay dogs looking for homes: they are like a trusted best friend,” according to the press release. “Their beauty and strength is found in being steady, friendly and reliable.”

Austin Beer Guide’s Lager Jam 2

1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. $25. Billy’s on Burnet, 2105 Hancock Drive. austinbeerguide.com.

Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing's Bowsaw Pils will be among the beers available at Austin Beer Guide's Lager Jam 2.
Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing’s Bowsaw Pils will be among the beers available at Austin Beer Guide’s Lager Jam 2.

The lager isn’t like it used to be — the bottom-fermented beer is better than ever thanks to the craft brewers who are bringing it back to life. So many breweries have such tasty takes on the lager that the Austin Beer Guide is throwing the Lager Jam for the second year running. This year’s is even bigger, with 20 beers from 11 Texas breweries on tap.

Get your ticket soon (they sold out last year) for access to a sudsy selection that includes Austin Beerworks GalLager, a watermelon lager; Live Oak Speisse Grodz, a cask-conditioned grodziskie-style smoked lager; and Oasis, Texas Brewing’s LuchaMosa, a kellerbier with blood oranges. Austin Beerworks’ Lager Jam collaboration, a Vienna lager with soured peach juice, will also be available.

Tickets will get you three Lager Jam pours, a limited-edition Lager Jam pilsner glass and an onsite screen-printed T-shirt from Fine Southern Gentlemen that will feature art by Dusan Kwiatkowski. You can also try buying the glasses, the shirts and the beers a la carte at the event.