This Saturday I selflessly* volunteered for the Texas Craft Brewers Festival. Once I sold tickets for a couple hours, I was chosen** to volunteer at the food/beer pairings. I spent the rest of my afternoon running back and forth between brewers’ tents toting growlers of craft beer, punctuated by lessons in cheese, chocolate, and beer from John Antonelli of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop and Chef Evan from Le Cordon Bleu Austin.
*There may have been a commemorative cup, t-shirt, and a few free beers involved
**Actually, more like “I forcefully requested”
When my designated driver arrived at 7 p.m., I had so much more appreciation for beer than I’d had when he dropped me off at 1 p.m (plus, I was a little tipsy). I chatted with Live Oak’s Chip McElroy about his job responsibilities, which allegedly involve lots of “hookers and blow.” Somehow I doubt it takes more than that to achieve Beer Advocate’s #1 spot on their list of Top Beers in the Southwest (yay, hefeweizen!).
I also got over my fear of stout after Jud Mulherin introduced me to Circle’s Nightlight dry Irish stout. It’s dark and flavorful, but it’s not heavy. It’s surprisingly refreshing, and probably the best beer I tasted at the fest.
The next day, I cured my hangover with a brunch at Hickory Street Grill. I would review it, but when we got there, we realized this is their last brunch ever–they’re closing in a few days so that a developer can build a high rise over the restaurant. So I leave you with one bit of advice: eat local, support small businesses and breweries, and don’t live in a yuppie high rise.
[Now, I know what you’re thinking–brunch isn’t vegan. Neither is the cheese part of a beer-cheese pairing. I suspended veganism this weekend in favor of vegetarianism. Back to the experiment on Monday.]