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.

6 Austin breweries with outdoor beer gardens for springtime imbibing

Jester King Brewery, located a little outside of town, is one of the most picturesque breweries in the Austin area.

Now that it’s springtime, we want to spend all of our time outdoors, soaking up the sunshine before it gets too hot — in what will sadly be just a short couple of months.

In the meantime, here are a half-dozen Austin-area breweries that will deliver the transcendent outdoor experience so precious to many a beer lover.

Jester King Brewery

13187 Fitzhugh Rd., jesterkingbrewery.com.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the farmhouse brewery in the Texas Hill Country is a veritable oasis, with much of the seating spread underneath the shade of tall leafy trees that are strung with twinkling lights to brighten the night. The surrounding landscape is made all the more meaningful when you realize that Jester King makes beers like the sublime and simple Le Petit Prince with the help of natural features around it, giving it a strong sense of place.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing has irresistible views of Lake Travis from its upper-story taproom and patio.

Oasis, Texas Brewing

6550 Comanche Trl., otxbc.com.

OK, technically the Lake Travis-area brewery in the Oasis complex doesn’t have the greenery that surrounds many of these other spots, but it’s got the view: Oasis, Tex Brewing is located on a deck high above the lake and guarantees Instagram-worthy sunset photos that will have you gasping in delight. The beers — such as the juicy Metamodern Session IPA — are also pleasing to the palate and light enough in alcohol that you can have more than one.

Live Oak Brewing

1615 Crozier Ln., Del Valle, liveoakbrewing.com.

The nearly 20-year-old brewery moved from one tiny warehouse space in East Austin at the end of 2015 to a much bigger location built on 22 acres of land near the Colorado River and the local airport. Although there’s plenty of indoor seating in the taproom, you’ll be lured outside on a nice day. The beer garden is nestled, appropriately, underneath a majestic grove of live oaks where you can enjoy the classic Hefeweizen with food truck grub.

Middleton Brewing

101 Oakwood Loop, San Marcos, middletonbrewingtx.com.

When this brewpub south of Austin upgraded to a brewing system 20 times bigger than the previous one, the owners made everything else better, too, by moving into a specially built brewery complete with an expansive patio that has seats in the sun or the shade, depending on your preference. Middleton Brewing is also staffed with dog lovers who often bring their pooches to work with them, and your own furry friends are welcome to run around outside.

Hi Sign Brewing has just officially opened, but it’s already got a patio with pretty wooded views.

Hi Sign Brewing

1201 Bastrop Hwy., hisignbrewing.com.

Not far from Live Oak Brewing, one of Austin’s youngest breweries has a modest acre of outdoor space to play with but has already made the most of it — Hi Sign Brewing’s recent grand opening celebration had a crawfish boil and a disc golf tournament out there. Visitors to Hi Sign, sipping on beers like the juice-like New England IPA, can hang out on the deck or in the tree-lined yard beyond where lights have been strung and tables set out.

Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling

16604 Fitzhugh Rd., Dripping Springs, treatyoakdistilling.com.

Off the same road as Jester King but much closer to Dripping Springs, this “brewstillery” ranch just about has it all: live music, food, play areas for the kids, plenty of outdoor seating both in the sun and in the shade and, perhaps best of all, a variety of beers and cocktails depending upon what you’re craving. (The distillery added a brewing program that launched at the end of last year.) With so much on offer, you’ll find it hard to leave the scenic serenity that pervades Treaty Oak.

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.


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.

Austin’s drinking events calendar, January 2017

Freedmen's Facebook. On New Year's Day, go out for brunch at places like Freedmen's to recover from the night before and enjoy hair-of-the-dog items like Bloody Marys.
On New Year’s Day, go out for brunch at places like Freedmen’s to recover from the night before and enjoy hair-of-the-dog items like Bloody Marys.

Bubbles & Barbecue Brunch at Freedmen’s, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. The usual barbecue menu is being joined by items like biscuits & gravy, plus bubbly cocktails like mimosas, poinsettias and pomelos.

New Year’s Day Brunch and Football at Uncle Billy’s, 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. NFL games plus the usual college football bonanza on New Year’s – and the brewpub’s barbecue and beer – means football fans are starting 2017 on the right foot.

Irene’s New Year’s Day Biscuits & Booze Brunch, 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. Happy hour specials start extra early. Plus, chow down on black-eyed peas and collard greens for prosperity in the new year.

New Year’s Day Party at Adelbert’s, 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. Start the new year off right by sippping on beermosas while chowing down on grub from Emojis Grilled Cheese Bar.

New Year’s Day Hangover Brunch at Drinks Lounge, 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. No reservations or resolutions required to attend this carb-heavy feast with mimosa buckets and other boozy goodness.

2nd Annual Hair of the Dog New Year’s Day Party at Yard Bar, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. Hairy dog contests, gumbo and Bloody Marys sound like a perfect way to spend the first day of 2017.

Pinthouse Pizza’s 2017 Cellar Series, 6 to 11 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2. This new monthly tradition will feature a rare beer, starting with the Avery Tweak, a bourbon barrel-aged coffee stout.

Id Beer Release at Black Star Co-op, 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3. This hoppy blonde ale is special because it was brewed exclusively with Texas’ first grown and malted barley from Blacklands Malt.

Star Bar Rolling Blackout, 4 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5. Enjoy some high-gravity beers from the past two years that will certainly make 2015 and 2016 seem a little better.

Game Night at Apanas Coffee & Beer, 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4. Specials on beer, wine, coffee and food in honor of this game night featuring UNO, Cards Against Humanity and more.

First Friday Firkin at Uncle Billy’s, 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. The winter seasonal, Shakolad Chocolate Imperial Stout, gets a peppermint perk with the addition of candy canes.

Pints for Pups at Texas Beer Company, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. Take a drive to Taylor, east of Round Rock, for a night supporting the Taylor Animal Shelter. $1 per pint will go toward the shelter.

Trivia Night at the Hive, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6. Win prizes at Meridian Hive Meadery’s trivia night featuring teams of 3 to 6 people powered by mead.

Greater Good Coffee Roasting’s Open House, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. Celebrate the roastery’s new tasting room with live music, brunch goodies from local vendors, and coffee from the big-hearted company.

Vox Table’s Hangover Brunch, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8. Brunch will be extended with a $25 brunch sampling menu and $1 mimosas.

Hops for Hunger at Mort Subite, 2 p.m. Sundays in January. For every glass of Bavik sold, the Belgian beer bar will donate $1 to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Paint Your Own Pale Ale at Real Ale Brewing, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8. Paint your own interpretation of Real Ale’s Four Squared Dry-Hopped Pale Ale can.

Lone Pint Pairing Dinner at G’raj Mahal, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10. This four-course pairing dinner features Lone Pint brews and starts with an all-you-can-drink happy hour.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Treaty Oak brewmaster Chris Lamb has put a lot of work into crafting easy-drinking beers, and he's finally ready to say they're ready for Austin drinkers.
Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Treaty Oak brewmaster Chris Lamb is introducing locals to Treaty Oak beers at Little Woodrow’s locations.

Treaty Oak Tap Takeover at Little Woodrow’s, 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11. Taste Treaty Oak Distilling’s new beers at the Parmer location of Little Woodrow’s. Plus, meet the brewer.

Coffee, Beer & Birthdays at Banger’s, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. Celebrate Shiner Beer’s 108th birthday with a new release: the Cold-Brew Coffee Ale, made in collaboration with Chameleon Cold- Brew.

Viva Texas Vino, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. The Bullock Museum is hosting a talk by certified sommelier Jessica Dupuy and a tasting featuring Texas Fine Wine.

Lazarus Brewing’s Grand Opening, 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. Welcome East Austin’s newest brewery by enjoying coffee, tacos, live music and beer, including the much-anticipated 40 Days & 40 Nights American IPA.

Flying Saucer Austin’s 9th Anniversary Party, 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday, Jan. 15. Toast the birthday with Austin Beerworks El Sputniko and other special brews, as well as ‘90s trivia and costume contest.

Lobster Brunch at Craftsman, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. Enjoy drink specials like champagne and beer buckets with Garbo’s beloved lobster rolls.

Peat Week at the Blackheart, 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15 through midnight Sunday, Jan. 22. The Rainey Street bar loves Scotch whisky so much that it’s devoting an entire week to it.

The Craft Series at 1886 Cafe & Bakery at the Driskill, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16. This month, the beer pairing dinner will feature beers from Last Stand Brewing.

Moebius Release at Black Star Co-op, 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17. The brewpub is putting a very special beer on tap: Black Star’s Woodford Reserve Whiskey barrel-aged imperial stout.

Lord Admiral Gravitas Release at Blue Owl Brewing, 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18. This Balcones barrel-aged beer takes the Admiral Gravitas beer up a boozy notch.

Beer and Cheese Pairing Class with Sweetwater Brewing, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18. Taste five beers and three cheeses at Craftsman with the guidance of a Sweetwater representative. $15.

Silverback Pint Night at Doc’s Backyard, 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19. Proceeds from Thirsty Planet’s Silverback Pale Ale support the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund.

Vietti Winery Free Tasting and Pop-up Dinner at Italic, 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19. No reservations are required for this two-part event featuring winemaker Luca Currado and three special dishes paired with three of the wines.

Inauguration Rapture Happy Hour at the Whip In, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20. Whether in total protest or blissful celebration, day drinking because of the presidential inauguration is qualified, so every local beer is $4.

Ruggedman Brewing Grand Opening Weekend, 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 through 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. Taste the mainstay and small-batch brews of this newly opened New Braunfels brewpub owned by three Marine veterans.

Pinthouse Pizza’s Fully Adrift Coffee-Infused Bottle Release, 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. It’s the second edition of the Burnet brewpub’s Fully Adrift Double IPA “Lost at Sea” series, this time featuring a coffee infusion.

Gorilla Pub Crawl, 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Drink Thirsty Planet’s Silverback Pale Ale and save a gorilla at this crawl along Rainey Street, which kicks off at Banger’s.

Out of the Cellar: A Rare Texas Beer Dinner, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. Greenhouse Craft Food in Round Rock is pairing five hard-to-find beers from breweries like (512) and Saint Arnold with five courses. $100.

Angel’s Envy Pairing Dinner at District Kitchen + Cocktails, 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23. Enjoy a specially created dinner paired with Angel’s Envy cocktails for an indulgent evening.

Amari Dinner at Olive & June, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23. Sip on craft cocktails highlighting the flavors of Italian amari while enjoying a four-course menu of Southern Italian cuisine. $68.

“Zoolander” Pub Run, 6 p.m. doors Tuesday, Jan. 24. Join Whole Foods and Stateside at the Paramount for this evening featuring Blue Steel photo sessions, dance music, and a costume contest. $20.

Robert Mondavi Winery & Casa Nobles Tequila Dinner at Oasthouse, 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25. The first chef’s tasting menu of the year will feature four courses from Chef Amir Hajimaleki paired with either a Casa Nobles spirit or Robert Mondavi wine. $65.

Cuvee Coffee Bar’s Crowler Cup Showdown, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. Six east side breweries are facing off in the hopes of winning your favor. Your drink equals your vote.

Vigilante Gaming Bar’s Grand Opening, 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Game rentals will be free at the opening weekend of the craft beer-focused gaming bar. (Grand opening has been moved to weekend of Feb. 17.)

Real Ale Scots Gone Wild + Coffissar Release Party, 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Two more Mysterium Verum bottles are getting released in one weekend. How empty is your wallet getting?

Barrel Bonanza Smoke Out Saturday at Banger’s, 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Smoked sausage and brisket will pair nicely with barrel-aged brews like Avery Tangerine Quad and Wicked Weed Silencio.

Idle Vine Brewing’s Grand Opening, 12 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Food trucks, 12 beers on tap, eight brewery-exclusive beers and a special bottle release mean a drive to Pflugerville will be well worth it.

Austin Bacon & Beer Festival, 12:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Bacon-centric food prepared by local chefs with Texas craft beers – what could be better than that?

Wicked Weed Beer & Coffee Pairing at WhichCraft Mueller, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Try five fruited sours and a bourbon barrel-aged stout from the lauded Asheville brewery alongside four different preparations of coffee from Austin Roasting Co.

The Barber Shop 6th Anniversary, 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. The small Dripping Springs brewpub is celebrating another birthday with food, fun and, of course, plenty of beer.

Winter Beer Party at Craft Pride, 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Stouts, porters, winter warmers, barleywines and more will go on tap to warm you up on a winter’s day.

Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling officially unveils beer program

Photo by Matt McGinnis. Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling now offers beverages for beer lovers and cocktail aficionados alike.
Photo by Matt McGinnis. Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling now offers beverages for beer lovers and cocktail aficionados alike.

Although visitors to Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling ranch in the Hill Country have seen house beers on the menu for some months now, the brewmaster hadn’t been ready to launch the beers more widely.

That’s changing this week: Treaty Oak has perfected the recipes and is sending three core brews into local bars and restaurants.

Chris Lamb, formerly the head distiller, started learning a new skill last year when owner Daniel Barnes decided it was time for Treaty Oak to expand its boozy horizons. The distillery, now 10 years old, had moved onto 27 acres and had the room for trying something new. But Lamb didn’t expect he would dive full-force into the project so quickly.

“Daniel originally proposed the idea of a seven-barrel system but then goes off and orders a 30-barrel system. Totally different monster,” he said. “Because we started on a 30-barrel system right away, we had to do lots of trial and error and experimenting to get things right.”

But unlike many other breweries going through rough starts, Treaty Oak has a couple of advantages. Fermentation, a process key to beer-making, is also a primary step in the distillation of Treaty Oak’s spirits — something the distillers have been doing in some form for a decade.

Plus, Treaty Oak has a full-fledged tasting room where visitors have been sipping on cocktails made from the distillery’s vodka, gin, rum and whiskey. Lamb was able to put the beers he was testing on draft at the rickhouse to get feedback. He would read reviews on the app Untapped, he said, and ask the bartenders what customers thought. And he would tweak and change and fret.

Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Treaty Oak brewmaster Chris Lamb has put a lot of work into crafting easy-drinking beers, and he's finally ready to say they're ready for Austin drinkers.
Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Treaty Oak brewmaster Chris Lamb has put a lot of work into crafting easy-drinking beers, and he’s finally ready to say they’re ready for Austin drinkers.

Now, the beers have met even his high standards.

Treaty Oak is debuting the beer program with the Bright Side Blonde Ale, the Lil’ Hop Session IPA and the Fitzhugh Ale, a British mild. Each one is low ABV and balanced between each of the ingredients, including the Mandarina hops he favors that are “a wonderful sun-kissed orange flavor bomb.”

“The goal with all of (the beers) was to be extremely sessionable, like the current trend, so they’re all between 3 ½ and 5 ½ percent ABV,” Lamb said. 

Eventually, Treaty Oak will be able to make the equivalent of 27,500 cases of beer a year — probably more, with the addition of two coming fermenters.

Although the three mainstays are on draft only for now, the brewery is hoping to release them in cans in March. Other brews are also in the works, but Lamb’s focus on the first three means he can scarcely fathom new styles at the moment.

“Once we get our feet underneath us, we will definitely do seasonals,” Lamb said. “Maybe a saison, maybe a maibock in the spring. It’s so early to say. But once we have details ironed out on the production side, I can slip away and do all these experimental things, which I really want to do.”

Expect plenty of experiments, a core activity at the ranch. The rickhouse is filled with barrels aging spirits, but they can age beer, too. And what about distilled beer? That’s already happening, of course.

In the meantime, Treaty Oak is planning tap takeovers and meet-the-brewer nights at area bars to introduce the beers. That has turned out to be another advantage for the company: Treaty Oak and its distributor have barely had to convince potential retailers to take a chance on them.

“Having that name recognition in all the bars around the state, it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure.’ A lot of accounts have signed up without even tasting it,” Lamb said.

How to help Austin food & drink purveyors with Louisiana flood relief

Although the flooding in Louisiana this week hasn’t quite gotten the level of coverage or attention that Hurricane Katrina received, our next-door neighbors are still in need of help to recover from the millions of dollars’ worth of damage — and a few local places want to help.

As we reported yesterday, an Austin food truck called Baton Creole is sending 100 percent of the profits from $8 gumbo sold to Louisiana flood relief. But a couple of area distilleries and breweries also want to contribute.

Photo from Treaty Oak's Facebook page. Enjoy a frozen drink and lunch at Treaty Oak Distilling to help benefit Louisiana flood relief.
Photo from Treaty Oak’s Facebook page. Enjoy a frozen drink and lunch at Treaty Oak Distilling to help benefit Louisiana flood relief.
Treaty Oak Distilling and the nearby Revolution Spirits, both off Fitzhugh Road near Dripping Springs, are donating much-needed items to flood victims with the help of Rally Texas for Baton Rouge. Throughout this weekend, both booze producers will have their doors open to accept goods like paper towels, pet food, hand sanitizer and nonperishable food and snacks. Check out their Facebook pages to see the full list of requested items.

Additionally, Treaty Oak is also taking a page out of Baton Creole’s book and offering a couple of food and drink specials on the menu whose profits will go toward “the over 130,000 people that have been left homeless by the recent flooding in Louisiana,” Treaty Oak noted in the Facebook post. “First, we are donating profits from our two Louisiana-themed specials. The Ca c’cest Bon Punch is served frozen and made with vodka, bourbon, clarified milk, spiced black tea and fresh citrus. Our food special is buttermilk beignets with andouille sausage, pecan praline and Tabasco honey. Plus, we’ll be donating funds from the sales of our new housemade sweet or spicy jerkies.”

Both distilleries have covered areas that will keep you out of the rain. 

A local brewpub is also helping out. Pinthouse Pizza on South Lamar is hosting a Louisiana Flood Relief Pint Night starting at 11 a.m. tomorrow, with 100 percent of the proceeds from the Flood Relief IPA going toward the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

See other places that are doing their part to help? Let us know in the comments. We’ll update this post throughout the day with additional spots when we hear about them.

Austin’s drinking events calendar, May 2016

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a margarita at parties around Austin.
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a margarita at parties around Austin.

Barks for Beers, ongoing from Sunday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 31. The fundraiser for Divine Canines returns for a third year. Just purchase the Barks for Beers pint glass at one of the participating breweries and you’ll get a free pour at each of them in return. $20.

Bringing Alsace to Austin at Easy Tiger, 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Party Alsatian-style with food and wine served by the glass from this fabled region of France.

Hotel Van Zandt’s On Deck, 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Live DJ music, tiki-themed cocktails and beautiful views of the city while you relax on the pool deck at Hotel Van Zandt.

Alcomar’s Uno de Mayo One-Year Anniversary Party, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1. Drink specials include $1 oyster shooters, mimosas and cervezas, as well as a peek at the new bar menu.

Flight Night with Pappy Van Winkle at Easy Tiger, 5 p.m. Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3. Just 30 flights of this very special whiskey are available for each of the two days. $50.

Mt. Beautiful Wine Dinner at Jenna’s Asian Kitchen, 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 3. The restaurant is throwing a four-course dinner featuring New Zealand wine to benefit Texas ProStart. $60.

Ay, chihuhua! Cinco de Mayo at Yard Bar, 11 a.m. Thursday, May 5. Food and drinks specials, plus dogs in sombreros. Need we say more?

Cinco de Mayo at Z’Tejas, 11 a.m. Thursday, May 5. $5 Dulce Vida margaritas, $3 Corona beers and a Habanero Inferno Taco Challenge that will get you $5 off the meal — if you can finish it.

Cinco de Mayo Party at Pelons Tex-Mex Restaurant, 2 p.m. Thursday, May 5. 10 different tequila producers will have tastings throughout the day, plus mariachis from 2 to 5 p.m. and a DJ after that.

Cinco de Mayo at Whisler’s, 4 p.m. Thursday, May 5. Celebrate with El Silencio Mezcal and Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, as well as live music from Luis Banuelos.

First Thursday: Cinco de Mayo at South Congress Hotel, 5 p.m. Thursday, May 5. $6 margaritas, music from El Tule, an extended happy hour and festive treats from an ice cream truck.

Tacos & Tequila at the Belmont, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 5. Enjoy tequila samples, margaritas and live music from Grupo Fantasma at this party hosted by Mix 94.7, Majic 95.5 and others. $30.

Liberty Kitchen’s 1st Anniversary Party, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Live music, local beers, a crawfish boil and Derby Day cocktails make this celebration hard to miss. Call for reservations: 512-840-1333.

Rogness Brewing’s 4th Anniversary Party, 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Twelve beers on tap and two food trucks to celebrate the milestone; $12 tickets get you up to 10 pours in a Rogness glass you can keep.

Derby Day at the Four Seasons, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Get dressed up for this party with a Build-Your-Own-Mint-Julep bar, fun giveaways and costume contests and food specials.

Photo by Chisum Pierce. Don your elegant hat and join Drink.Well to watch the Kentucky Derby, mint julep in hand.
Photo by Chisum Pierce. Don your elegant hat and join Drink.Well to watch the Kentucky Derby, mint julep in hand.

Drink.Well’s 5th Annual Derby Day Celebration, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7. In addition to a menu of mint juleps, the North Loop bar will have bourbon punches, Kentucky hot browns and other southern specialties.

Opal Divine’s American Whiskey Festival, 6 p.m. Saturday, May 7. A live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby will play while you can try bourbons and ryes from Kentucky and beyond. $43.19.

The Craft Series at the Driskill One-Year Anniversary Celebration, 6 p.m. Monday, May 9. A four-course feast paired with Live Oak Brewing beers to commemorate a year of this culinary series at the 1886 Café & Bakery. $40.

Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider Launch Party, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10. Get a first taste of this new cider at Easy Tiger, where there will be cider flights, food specials and goody bags.

Official Drink of Austin, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 12. Try the boozy creations of local bar teams as they duke it out to make the winning cocktail. The event benefits the Austin Food & Wine Alliance. $55-$65.

Book & Beer at in.gredients, 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 13. The Austin Public Library’s brilliant mix of literature with libations returns with discounted beer specials and an unveiling of in.gredients’ Little Free Library.

Craftsman 1-Year Anniversary Party, 11 a.m. Saturday, May 14. $1 prosecco on tap, Goose Island samples and giveaways, and live music to celebrate one year of this east side bar.

Spec’s Fest, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Live music, food samplings, fun door prizes, expert advice on pairings and store-wide specials will be offered during this free event at the 4970 W. Hwy. 290 location.

Off-Centered Film Fest, 12 to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 14. The film and beer festival from the Alamo Drafthouse and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has returned with a boat party and film screening.

“United Tastes of Texas” signing at Treaty Oak Distilling, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14. Cookbook author Jessica Dupuy will be on hand with copies of her book and cocktails from Treaty Oak.

Untapped Festival Austin, 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14. More than 300 beers from more than 75 breweries are ready for sampling at this beer fest that will also have great live music. $37-$135.

Brewery District Bike Tour, 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Start at Adelbert’s and bike your way to 4th Tap Brewing Co-op and Circle Brewing for an afternoon of both beer and exercise.

Whip In’s 5th Annual Pink Mahal Party, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21. Welcome rosé season with rosés from all over the world, paired with an appetizer bar. $25 gets you three glasses of wine, as well as access to the bites.

Barrel-Aged Beer Party at Craft Pride, 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21. More than a dozen Texas-made barrel-aged brews will be tapped for this wrap-up to American Craft Beer Week.

Texas Keeper Cider’s Grafter Rosé Picnic, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 21. The second batch of this popular cider-wine blend debuts at the cidery with a picnic lunch and live music. $15 tickets include a special souvenir glass and the picnic.

Barton Springs Full Moon Swim with Uncle Billy’s, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21. Beer specials and plenty of spicy barbecue await after your chilly swim through Austin’s favorite watering hole.

“Bridesmaids” Pub Run & Screening, 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 24. Don your ugliest bridesmaid’s dress and meet at the Paramount Theatre for this pub run and screening of the Kristen Wiig comedy.

National Wine Day at St. Genevieve, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25. Whether you prefer red, white, rosé, or sparkling, you’ll be able to enjoy $2 off all wine by the glass in celebration of this important holiday.

Real Ale Mysterium Verum Beer Dinner, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26. There isn’t much information about this pairing dinner — or many tickets left — but the words “Mysterium Verum” are all you need to know.

Bars and other hangouts that take you far from SXSW

Although today — with rain, the start of South by Southwest and the arrival of President Barack Obama — might be best spent at home, Austinites will eventually want to get outdoors and explore their city.

Just, you know, not during the festival, which runs through next Sunday and takes over much of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

Want to avoid the crowds and chaos of SXSW, while still getting out and having fun? These bars on the outskirts of Austin are ready to serve you — and the many others flocking from Austin’s core over the next 10 days. The Brass Tap’s owner, Steve Sheets, has even noticed a rise in visitors during the week of the fest, although not enough to keep you from having a good time.

In no particular order:

The Brass Tap, 204 E. Main St., Round Rock. The beer bar’s 60 taps rotate through a variety of beers each week, so you can visit multiple days and will probably find something new to try each time.

Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Oasis, TX Brewing's Bowsaw Pils is a draft-only offering at the Lake Travis brewery.
Photo by Laura Skelding / American-Statesman. Want a lake view with your beer? Visit Oasis, Texas Brewing in the Lake Travis area.

Oasis, Texas Brewing and Infamous Brewing, 6550 Comanche Trl. and 4602 Weletka Dr. Turn a weekend afternoon into a Lake Travis beer crawl with a visit to these local breweries. Infamous’ three-year anniversary party is next Saturday, with lots of good beers on tap for the occasion.

Treaty Oak Distilling, 16604 Fitzhugh Rd, Dripping Springs. This Hill Country destination just about has it all: cocktails, food, live music, a play area for the kids, even helicopter tours. This weekend, the distillery is also hosting the inaugural Hill Country Kitetail Fest starting at noon Sunday.

The Growler Bar, 1300 FM 685, Pflugerville. This just-opened craft beer spot from a father-and-son team has more than 50 taps for beers, cold-brew coffee, even wine, and you can stop in quickly to fill up a growler or stay awhile to nurse a pint or flight.

Moontower Saloon, 10212 Manchaca Rd. This dog-friendly hangout in far South Austin promises plenty of seating on an oak-shaded patio. Plus, there are food trucks, a volleyball court and often live music.

Live Oak Brewing, 1615 Crozier Ln., Del Valle. Now opened seven days a week from noon to 8 p.m., the new brewery comes with a beer garden shaded by towering live oak trees. Sit beneath one while sipping on one of Live Oak’s European-style beers, like the tart Berliner Weisse.

Ski Shores, 2905 Pearce Rd. The restaurant’s easygoing atmosphere, juicy burgers and a solid selection of cocktails and local craft beers, as well as lakefront views and a playground for the kids, makes Ski Shores a go-to spot for locals looking for laid-back fun on a huge deck.

Texas Keeper Cider, 12521 Twin Creeks Rd., Manchaca. Starting tomorrow with a grand opening celebration, the far South Austin cidery is ready to welcome visitors to the Texas Keeper taproom, which was renovated out of a historic farmhouse on a scenic 20-acre stretch of ranch land.

Learn to make cocktails with Treaty Oak Distilling

Treaty Oak Distilling will teach you how to make an bourbon Old Fashioned next weekend at a special cocktail class.
Treaty Oak Distilling will teach you how to make an bourbon Old Fashioned next weekend at a special cocktail class.

Treaty Oak Distilling is opened every weekend to offer you cocktails made from the Treaty Oak spirits lineup — including Starlite Vodka, Waterloo Gin and Red-Handed Bourbon Whiskey — but next weekend, the distillery is hosting a class to teach you how to make these cocktails yourself.

The cocktail class on Dec. 19 is being taught by Treaty Oak’s cocktail guru Matt Moody, which means you’ll be in good hands if you’ve never mixed up a drink before. He’ll teach you how to make two classics: an Old Fashioned featuring the bourbon and a daiquiri featuring Treaty Oak Rum. His “fun and informative session will explore the history, the process and the methods needed to rock these recipes at home,” according to a press release.

For $38, you’ll also get a light food buffet paired with the drinks, a branded Treaty Oak rocks glass and recipe cards of each of the featured cocktails. Or, if you really want to go all out, upgrade your ticket for $117. That’ll get you a full bag of professional cocktail tools and a bottle of one of Treaty Oak’s clear spirits — you can choose which one. Reserve your spot ahead of time here.

Once the 2 to 5 p.m. cocktail class is over, stay for an evening of games, cocktails and live music from Sophia Johnson, who’s performing at the rickhouse from 4:30 to 8 p.m. The Treaty Oak ranch is located at 16604 Fitzhugh Rd., in Dripping Springs.

Treaty Oak isn’t the only booze maker in Dripping Springs ready to turn you into your own home bartender. For anyone who prefers vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka is offering another “Dive in to Mixology” class on Thursday. This one is $37.92 and gets you small bites, cocktails and a souvenir glass to take home. Tickets to the class are here.

Treaty Oak Distilling to open in Dripping Springs Sept. 26

Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. Treaty Oak Distilling founder Daniel Barnes wanted to move his distillery out to ranch space in the Hill Country to bring visitors a whole experience.
Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. Treaty Oak Distilling founder Daniel Barnes wanted to move his distillery out to ranch space in the Hill Country to bring visitors a whole experience.

If it’s taken Treaty Oak Distilling far longer than expected to open its sprawling new distillery ranch on 27 acres of land in the Hill Country, that’s because founder Daniel Barnes wanted to do it right.

“We’re not going to release anything unless it’s absolutely met our expectations for quality, and the same goes for everything on the property. We’ve got very specific parameters for what we’re looking for this to be,” Barnes said on a recent tour of the Treaty Oak land.

Permitting delays also set back the re-opening of the distillery. But it’s finally almost here: Treaty Oak’s grand opening party will offer Austinites a first glimpse of Barnes’ vision for a large experiential drinking destination that will offer, once it’s fully rolled out over the next few years, several places to dine and drink, beverage classes for the curious imbiber and even a brewhouse where the distillers will transition to also being brewers.

That soon-to-be-installed 30-barrel brewing system is the focus of my story in today’s Austin360. Treaty Oak and Real Ale Brewing, farther west in Blanco, are among the latest of beverage producers to branch out from their respective niches, pushing themselves into new frontiers to continue learning, experimenting and having fun. Real Ale is going to start producing a gin, a blue agave spirit (a.k.a a Texas tequila) and various whiskeys come springtime. And sooner than that, Treaty Oak plans to make beer.

Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. Later this year, Treaty Oak's Red Handed Bourbon will be joined by a variety of other whiskeys made in-house.
Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman. Later this year, Treaty Oak’s Red-Handed Bourbon will be joined by a variety of other whiskeys made in-house.

But that’s not all the ambitious distillers are gearing up to do. They’ve got quite a spread on Fitzhugh Road, off U.S. 290 West. Among the attractions is the heart of the Treaty Oak ranch: a large distillery where four 1,000-gallon, open-top whiskey fermenters will help produce a number of new whiskeys beyond Treaty Oak’s lauded Red-Handed Bourbon (which the distillery is open about: Red-Handed is whiskey culled from .

“I think we released our first product at the end of 2007, beginning of 2008, and we’ve been making whiskey ever since then; we’ve just never released any of our in-house whiskeys,” Barnes said. “That will be one of the first things we do out here. The whiskey’s ready. Early part of next year or later this year, depending on when we get our TABC label approval, we’ll start releasing some of those different whiskeys and having fun with the different mash bills.”

Relying on the open air for fermentation isn’t common, he said, but “we discovered we’re big fans of it as we played with all the recipes that we’ve done.”

On Sept. 26, Treaty Oak will open with tours of the property and distillery, live music, games for children and adults, cocktail samples and food for purchase from the food truck.

A rickhouse storing some of the barrels Treaty Oak uses will double as a bar where people can order up to a dozen or so different cocktails on tap (and eventually beer on tap, too). Plus, a gift shop in front of the barn-style building will allow them to peruse cocktail books and tools and various other knick-knacks and, of course, to sample and take home bottles of Treaty Oak spirits. The ranch will also, in a later phase of the build-out, have a restaurant and cocktail house with food created just as thoughtfully as the drinks.

This Prickly Pear Gimlet, made with Starlite Vodka and cactus juice plucked straight from Treaty Oak's sprawling land, won't be the only cocktail you'll be able to try once the distillery opens on Sept. 26.
This Prickly Pear Gimlet, made with Starlite Vodka and cactus juice plucked straight from Treaty Oak’s sprawling land, won’t be the only cocktail you’ll be able to try once the distillery opens on Sept. 26.

Dispersed throughout the center of the ranch, including in front of the building that will become the restaurant, are a variety of large old trees, their leafy branches stretching upward into the glorious Texas sky. They’ll become shady refuges underneath which visitors can sit with a cocktail in hand — the epitome of the experience Barnes is aiming for his guests to have.

“These huge trees are partly why we wanted this property,” Barnes said. “We’re Treaty Oak.”