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Blog posts of '2017' 'September'

Austin

My daughter is in to the comic/game/sci-fi/cosplay stuff, so my wife and I agreed to visit her and go on a family outing to RTX. Rooster Teeth, a company well-known for their web-series and gaming content, hosts RTX every July in Austin, Texas. As with other comic-style conventions, people attend dressed-up as their favorite characters. My daughter went as Black Cat from the Spider-man comics, my wife was Tank Girl costume (both designed and handmade their own outfits), and I had on a Captain America shirt. Yes, I know I was the party pooper, but it was my duty to take all of the photos of the two with other cosplayers and fans. But wait a minute, where is the beer and music? While there weren’t any beer booths at the convention, Mike’s Hard Lemonade was hosting a bull-riding machine in the shape of a mirror-covered shark. As there was no beer, my wife thought: why not get some pictures riding a disco shark?

Austin is well known for its music seen. From the “Austin City Limits” show on PBS to the many nightclubs, music is everywhere. There is not a single bar or club that does not offer live entertainment! During previous visits to Austin, my wife got to sit in on the filming of “Austin City Limits”, visit tap houses and listen to bands. We thought this trip would be a great opportunity to visit some of the local breweries.

My wife and I arrived in Austin a little after noon on a Thursday. After setting up the 5th wheel, we headed out for some food and to find the Hops and Grain Brewery. It is tucked behind an industrial park, resulting in a less-than-inviting exterior. However, inside was not bad and my wife ordered her flight. As I am not a beer drinker and usually hold the position of designated driver during our trips, there isn’t much for me at breweries that do not also serve food. Thus far, I have found two breweries that offer their own root beer on tap and have greatly appreciated it. But I digress.

The beer was not all that interesting. The ones my wife tried were good, but not especially noteworthy. Her flight consisted of: ALTeration, Zoe (a pale lager), Porter Culture (a Baltic Porter with a hint of coffee), and Maibock (a bock style beer). The most interesting part was the fact that they also sold dog biscuits. Apparently instead of dumping the spent grains from the brewing process they use them to make dog treats. I thought that was pretty cool.

The next day we stopped at Adelbert’s Brewery. While it was also in an industrial park, it was far more inviting. We arrived just as they were opening and it quickly became packed. Here, when you order a flight, you get an 8oz glass that you can keep and your choice of 4 samples. But be warned, beer with a higher alcohol content can count as two samples. My wife went up to order her flight while my daughter and I waited. She finally returned to the table carrying a very large sample of beer. Apparently, she found common ground with the lady behind the bar and were busy friending each other on Facebook. Every sample Lucy tried was a hit. The people were very nice and friendly, but no music that night. The beer was excellent and can be purchased in many places around Texas.

The last brewery we went to in Austin was a little out of the city. The Jester King Brewery is an open venue situated on a working ranch. It can be a little hard to find, but well worth the effort. It has a great family atmosphere with large shady trees and boasts wood fired pizza place which shares the property. Stanley’s Farm House Pizza alone is worth stopping for. The area is dog-friendly and they have a sand box for kids to play in. Despite the outdoor environment, the brewery and pizza house are both very clean. They also recycle and compost all the leftover boxes. It was difficult to get a flight, as the beer list was extremely long. Instead, Lucy enjoyed a couple of samples. I wish we were there when they offered live music, but our bad luck on this trip was continuing: no music. If you are in Austin, I would strongly suggest stopping by the Jester King Brewery. With such a long list of beers, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Rooster Teeth

Hops and Grain

Adelbert's Brewery

Jester King Brewery

Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza

Fredericksburg

A small yet well-known city, Fredericksburg has a long and interesting history. Of course, if you were interested in that, you’d be reading a book. This is about music and beer.

We stopped at a local RV park for two nights on the way to visit our daughter in east Texas. After unhooking our 5th Wheel, we headed downtown. When visiting Fredericksburg, it is important to keep an eye on the time as the main strip is more or less closed by 5pm. We arrived around 5:30. Luckily, there was something a lot more exciting that the shops in our sights.

We began with a familiar place: the Frederiksberg Brewing Company. It is tap house, restaurant and bed and breakfast, coining the term “Bed & Brew”. Sitting down, my wife immediately ordered a flight of beer. First up was the “Not So Dumb Blonde Ale”, a light beer similar to a German style Kolsh. My wife found it a bit too light for her taste. Next up was “Helles Keller”, a light, unfiltered lager. Falling back to her comfort zone, my wife tried the Hefeweizen: “El Hefe” which boasted a “hint of cloves” which she very much enjoyed. The “Enchanted Rock Red Ale” was a red amber ale with a malty flavor and eventually proved to be the winning brew. Finally, she tried the “Pioneer Porter”, an English style ale. In the end, the only other beer that she didn’t test was the “Peace Pipe Pale Ale”. My wife does not enjoy the grapefruit flavor of many IPAs and finds them too bitter. This is an interesting contrast to her father who is an IPA man all the way. Unfortunately, as we stopped by during the middle of the week, there was no live entertainment.

The next day we travelled downtown earlier to visit the wineries and chocolate shops. A bit after noon we stopped by Hondo’s: the restaurant and bar named for John Russell (Hondo) Crouch of Luckenbach, Texas. I am sure you have heard the Luckenbach, Texas in a song or two. While Hondo’s only sells beer in cans and bottles, they do have live music, a beer garden, and good food. In fact, they actually smoke their own meats on site. Once again, we found ourselves at the right place but at the wrong time: no music today. We ordered our food and my wife picked a bottle from the local brewery: Altstadt. The bartender was nice enough to offer to pour it in a glass from the beer’s brewery that she was later allowed to keep. He also informed us that they were in the process of building a large tap house just outside of town.

Afterwards, we continued our walk up and down the streets of Fredericksburg, eventually ended the day at Pedernales Brewing Company. As per usual, my wife ordered a flight of beer. However, unlike most flights (4 to 5 - 4oz beers), the Pedernales Brewing Company offered an 8oz sample of 4 beers with the option to keep your glass. A great deal for a decent price! My wife started with the “Lobo Negro”: a dark, German-style lager with a hint of coffee and chocolate. The second was the “Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils”. It is a light lager with a hint of honey. Her favorite turned out to be the “Midnight Porter”. She even found it to be better than their Hefeweizen (the “Lobo Hefe”). As the brewery is close to town, a food truck is often available onsite. Once again, the Pedernales Brewing Company offered live music, but only on the weekends.

If you like music and beer, Fredericksburg, Texas is a great place to visit. Just make sure it is on the weekend. The stores in town may close early, but the breweries are open late.

Fredericksburg Brewing Company

Hondo's on Main

Pedernales Brewing Company