Monday, June 27, 2011

Movie Theater Brewpub to Open in Round Rock

If you're a movie buff, even outside of Austin, you've probably heard of Alamo Drafthouse, the movie theater that serves you food and drinks (including craft beer) while you watch the show. The Austin chain is pretty famous, including getting named best movie theater in America by Entertainment Weekly. Well now, a group of investors is taking on Alamo on their home turf, but with a twist: The new Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock (an Austin suburb) will not only serve craft beer, they're also going to brew their own. Press release below, and yes, I noticed they don't identify their brewmaster. I'm looking into it.

(UPDATE: Flix sent me an e-mail stating, "
Flix Brewhouse is proud to welcome Justin Rizza on board as our Brewmaster. Formerly at Independence Brewing, Justin was the man behind their Saison, Stash IPA, and Killshot Scotch Ale.")

Flix Brewhouse Sneak Peek

Debuts with Transformers 3

ROUND ROCK, TX ‐ Flix Brewhouse by Galaxy, the only first run movie theatre in the world with a working microbrewery, opens this Wednesday [June 29th] at 6:00 pm with the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Sony Pictures’ Bad Teacher. The popularly‐priced new cinema anchors the Sky Ridge Plaza community lifestyle center at the northwest corner of IH‐35 and Hesters Crossing, exit 251 in Round Rock.

A joint effort of Los Angeles‐based Galaxy Theatres and a local investment group, Flix Brewhouse will first operate in “Sneak Peek” mode with the best in projection and sound, 42 draft beers, an extensive wine list, and traditional snacks. The full‐service kitchen, helmed by noted local chef Scott Reed, will be in full swing for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 on July 15 and the first tastings from the brewhouse are slated for mid‐August.

Flix was designed to deliver in‐theatre three of adult America’s greatest loves – craft beer, great food and the latest hit movies. All six of Flix’s stadium seating “dining rooms” are outfitted with the latest high‐definition digital cinema projection and sound technologies, wall‐to‐wall curved screens, cushy high back chairs and the innovative Easy Glider moveable table top.

The microbrewery, run by the former head brewer of a renowned Texas craft brewery, will brew a selection of 6 to 8 beers ranging from its signature golden ale to seasonal specials like “Round Rock Red.” The Flix Mix lobby bar and cafe is open seven days a week, no ticket required, and auditoriums are available for daytime rental and special presentations.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Maui Brewing Takes Over Draught House

Message from Josh over at Draught House about stuff happening TODAY:
Another " tap takeover " ....
This Friday 5 of our taps will be taken over by Maui Brewing Company . We will be pouring the Coconut Porter, Imperial Coconut Porter , Mana Wheat , Big Swell IPA , and Double Overhead IPA. Glasses will be available with some of their beers, and Maui Brewing Co. owner Garrett Marrero will be present from 6-9 pm to answer any questions abut his beers . Hope to see you there ,...

Texas Craft Brewers Fest Coming in September

Sorry to only have bare-bones info at the moment, but I just got alerted that this is coming. I'm already psyched. Cut-and-paste from Facebook:

Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Saturday, September 24 · 2:00pm - 9:00pm

Fiesta Gardens
2101 Jesse E Segovia St

Created By

More Info
A craft beer festival from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. More information will be coming shortly.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Austin Chronicle: Best Convenience Stores for Beer

Which convenience stores in Austin have the best beer selections? I make my picks in this week's Austin Chronicle. What do you think? Did I miss your favorite? Leave comments either here or at the story itself.

Thanks to my Facebook and Twitter friends who gave me tips.

(Photo by Lee Nichols)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New 'Austin Beer Guide' Out, Party Tonight

The summer edition of the Austin Beer Guide is printed up and ready for perusal. You should be able to get it at your favorite quality beer bar, but if you just can't stand to wait that long (or if you're new to town and want to know which bar to head to) you can download a PDF version here.

ABG will be hosting a release party tonight at the Draught House, 7-10pm. They report, "There will be brewers present, maybe some special beers, and NEW MUSTACHE GLASSES! Buy any beer from a brewery featured in the guide, and keep the mustache glass." Sadly, I can't make it. :-(

This venture must be going well: This issue is 48 pages, up from 32 back in the spring.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Austin Beerworks Meet 'n' Greet at Black Star

And yet another brewery on the Austin scene. Damn this town is getting good.

The newest kid on the block is Austin Beerworks, and I finally got to taste their wares at a meet 'n' greet party at Black Star Co-op. Like more and more craft brewers are doing these days, Austin Beerworks is canning instead of bottling.

I sat down for a taster flight, and was easily moved to try full pints. Nothing that blew my mind, but they aren't really attempting the mind-blowing stuff yet — just the basics you expect from a craft brewery. Something drinkable, something hoppy, something dark. Their lineup:
  • Pearl Snap German-style pils: A very sold pils, perfect for the godawful heat wave we're having in Texas right now. Stronger hop presence than you usually get from a pils.
  • Fire Eagle American IPA: actually underwhelmed me a bit, surprising since I'm fairly easy to please with the hoppy stuff. Nonetheless, still a good beer.
  • Black Thunder German-style Schwarz: Very nice. Rich. I really wish I'd had a full glass of this roasty goodness, but after full glasses of the pils and IPA, I was getting pretty pickled (I hadn't had dinner yet, plus I've been losing weight, so I'm a cheap date these days). I definitely want to go back and try more.
  • Peacemaker Extra Pale Ale: They didn't have any of this at the tasting, but I'm looking forward to it.
I interviewed one of the owners at the party, but don't have time to transcribe it right now. I'll try to post it later.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Product Review: Newcastle DraughtKeg

I got a press release back in April asking if I wanted to check out a new product — the Newcastle Brown Ale DraughtKeg. A free 5 liters of beer? Heck yeah, I'll do that.

Now, this isn't really a new product. Heineken (which owns Newcastle) has been available in DraughtKeg since at least 2007. But it's new to me, and probably new to a lot of my readers, who probably aren't big Heineken drinkers.

I know you've probably seen similar 5 liter kegs in the store, but this product has a key difference that puts it well ahead of those: It's pressurized. The others are simply oversized cans — the beer comes out via gravity, and must all be consumed at once. Which isn't too hard if you're buying for a party.

But the DraughtKeg's patented pressurization system (it has some sort of widget inside, like the "draught cans" we've seen from a lot of English beers lately) and specialized tap actually keeps the beer good for up to 30 days. In fact, I decided to test them on this claim – rather than knocking this thing out all at once, I kept it in my beer fridge and took a glass every so often. I finally killed the last of it at a party exactly 30 days later, and sure enough, it had not gone flat. Creamy smooth, still at the same level of carbonation as the first day. So obviously, that's huge advantage over the others — buy it for a party, or just because you want to have a steady supply of draught Newcastle around your house on demand. Either way, it works superbly, and if you have a BeerTender system, it's compatible with that.

My only quibbles with the DraughtKeg:
  • The "patented" part. That means you're only going to purchase this if you like Heineken or Newcastle. Really, I'm not a big fan of Newcastle. (Actually, to be fair, I'm not a fan of brown ales generally.) But I know many of you are, which made this product worth reviewing. I dearly wish Heineken would decide to really capitalize on this technology and sell the rights to some other breweries. Keep a mini-keg of Sierra Nevada in my fridge? You bet!
  • It's "recyclable." I put that in quotes because I'm not so sure about that, despite their claim that it is. Technically, yes, it is made out of recyclable materials — steel and plastic. But it isn't easily disassembled, and I'm hesitant to crack open a pressurized can to get that widget out. The question is, will your recycler accept it? I asked our local recycler, the city of Austin, and they said they cannot. They suggested I take it to a private recycler such as Ecology Action and ask them. If it's not easily recycled, that certainly discourages a tree-hugger like me from buying it. Of course, if you live in a locale that doesn't have a good recycling program, then I suppose you can buy it guilt-free, because either way your beer container is going to a landfill.
  • There tends to be a bit of drippage after you pour, which can be a little messy if you store it in your fridge.
Overall: A great product, with only minor drawbacks. If you like Newcastle, you're going to love this.

(Photo copyright Lee Nichols)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beer Events Coming Up

I've been way busy lately. If you sent me a press release and I lost in my mountain of unchecked e-mail, I apologize. Please give me a nudge and I'll try to add it. But here's what I'm sure of:

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Beer Tasting at Sunrise Mini Mart

I just chatted with Ray, the beer buyer at Sunrise Mini Mart. That's the tiny little Citgo station at 1809 W. Anderson Lane, just up the street from my house, with absolutely absurd beer selection. Seriously, you can't imagine how much amazing beer they cram into such a small little place. I'll be writing more about them soon, but I just wanted you to know: They're hosting a beer tasting this Friday (June 3), 4-6pm, featuring six breweries: Ommegang, Duvel, Young's, Deschutes, Butte Creek, and Kingfisher.