Austin’s coolest theater chain is offering another limited film-inspired beer produced by a local brewery — this time, Real Ale Brewing.
Real Ale created Seoul Crusher, a saison brewed with rice, fresh ground ginger, lemon peel and just a hint of Korean red chilies, as a tribute to the upcoming oddball mash-up of monster movie and romantic comedy “Colossal,” starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. The beer is only on tap at Alamo Drafthouse locations and a few other places across Texas.
Without revealing too much about the movie, already getting favorable reviews from critics, we can say that Real Ale made the beer to nod at one of the main settings of “Colossal,” South Korea, where a Godzilla-like creature is wreaking havoc. (What might that have to do with Anne Hathaway’s Manhattan blogger Gloria? She might somehow be causing all that chaos.)
Seoul Crusher — a brilliant pun of a name — is “a traditional saison with a Korean twist,” Real Ale’s head brewer Schmitty Schmitterson said in a press release. “Colossal helpings of fresh ginger and lemon peel add additional layers of complexity to an already flavor-intense style rife with notes of herbal citrus and a spicy dryness.”
That sounds just about as delicious as watching Hathaway face off with Sudeikis’ bar owner character, Oscar. The brewery only made 60 barrels of the saison, so make sure you order some at your local Drafthouse while it’s still available.
Pinthouse Pizza’s 1st Annual Hootenanny, 11 a.m. In addition to a petting zoo, caricature artist, Jim Jim’s Water Ice and more, the South Lamar location will release a special IPA every two hours throughout the day.
Real Spirits Launch Party, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Real Ale Brewing is finally launching Real Spirits Distilling with three new products: a gin and two aged whiskeys. All three will be in bottles to go.
St. Elmo Brewing Crawfish Boil, 12 to 10 p.m. The afternoon will include beer and live music from Charles Thibodeaux and the Austin Cajun Aces, in addition to a Vietnamese-style crawfish boil from Soursop.
Easy Sunday with Austin Beerworks, 2 to 6 p.m. Easy Tiger will have $1 cans of beers like Pearl-Snap Pilsner and Bloodwork Orange IPA, as well as other Austin Beerworks brews on draft.
Monday, April 10
The Craft Series at the Driskill, 6 to 9 p.m. This month’s beer pairing dinner at the Driskill’s 1886 Cafe & Bakery will feature brews from the DFW area’s Community Beer Co.
Wednesday, April 12
Hops & Games at Hops & Grain, 6 to 10 p.m. It’s the monthly board game night at the brewery; you can either bring your own or play some of the games provided.
Real Ale’s 21st Birthday Kegger, 12 to 5 p.m. This old-school kegger is a nod to the days when beer was simpler, so for this year’s anniversary beer, simply being called 21, expect a pre-Prohibition lager. $20.
Geraldine’s On Deck, 5 to 8 p.m. Relax poolside at the Hotel Van Zandt, where you can sip cocktails made with Treaty Oak Distilling spirits and listen to hot tracks from Mixer Rogers.
Tuesday, April 25
Boston to Austin Tap Takeover at Whip In, 5 to 10 p.m. Infamous Brewing and Samuel Adams collaborated on a beer together, the BOSxAUS, a smoked oyster stout. It’s tapping along with other beers from Infamous and Samuel Adams.
Love Belgian Beer Fest, 1 to 8 p.m. Taste local Belgian-style brews and authentic imports, as well as enjoy live music and comedy, for a good cause. The event benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Austin. $53.74-$111.77.
The Brewers Association, the trade group that represents the country’s small and independent breweries, released the list yesterday with numbers based on beer sales volume: how much beer each of the producers sell each year.
Also representing Texas on the list is Gambrinus, the producer of Shiner beers, at number five. Oskar Blues Brewery, which has an Austin operation that opened last year in addition to breweries in Colorado and North Carolina, rounded out the top 10.
But Real Ale, remarkably, is only one of two breweries on the list that distributes only to its home state. That’s a purposeful decision for owner Brad Farbstein, who said in an American-Statesman article last year about the brewery’s 20th anniversary that Texas still provides “more opportunities for us to expand. It’s not the way every brewer does it, but we do it the way we feel is the right way.”
The brewery’s Firemans #4, a blonde ale, accounts for a good 60 percent of its total output, which last year was about 61,000 barrels of beer annually.
Real Ale Brewing has a new year-round beer that the brewers have named after a longstanding activity in the Texas Hill Country. The Pinsetter Amber Lager is a nod to old-fashioned 9-pin bowling, a hobby the Germans brought over to the U.S. but is now extinct everywhere but in Texas.
Only a few 9-pin bowling clubs — which rely on people, or pinsetters, to reset the pins, rather than the modern machines predominantly in use — remain in the state today, and they’re particularly vibrant in Real Ale’s Blanco home.
Nine-pin bowling in Texas goes back about 180 years, and the style of beer that Pinsetter Amber Lager is inspired by, a California Common, comes from just about the same time period: when our West Coast neighbor was newly a state but didn’t have the refrigeration capabilities to brew a lager, which ferments at colder temperatures.
“The really cool thing about this beer is that we’re using steam-style fermentation techniques,” Tim Schwartz, Real Ale’s Director of Brewing Operations, said in a press release. “We use lager yeast for fermentation, but bring it closer to 60 degrees, which is right between lager and ale fermentation temperatures. It’s kind of a hybrid, which gives us a unique twist and a lot more complexity to step this beer up a notch.”
According to the brewery, the Pinsetter Amber Lager has a medium body, a slight fruitiness and “a lager-clean malt character.”
Not sure what to get your picky friend or family member for Christmas? Chances are good that they’ll be happy to receive a bottle of booze — especially if it comes from an Austin-area producer.
Here are a handful of suggestions with a seasonal focus. With many of these, you won’t want to delay in grabbing a bottle.
Texas Keeper Cider’s Cider Noir:Apples are a key fall flavor, but the fruit hadn’t displayed its full potential so well this time of year until the trio behind the far South Austin cidery got a little inventive.
For Texas Keeper’s winter release, Cider Noir, they decided to age Baldwin and Idared apples on oak. That’s not all they’ve done to make the cider a seasonal stunner — the apples are first double-fermented with Belgian candi (which is typically used in dubbel and tripel ales) and then aged with toasted pecans and orange peel. As a result, it’ll pour as dark as a porter and as boozy as many a stout, at a robust 10.1 percent ABV.
Real Ale Benedictum: The Black Friday release of Tenebra Aeterna, the first Mysterium Verum beer to be bottled, seemed to indicate Christmas had come early for many fans of the Blanco brewery. Now, it really has, as Real Ale is releasing another in the series of sour and barrel-aged brews this week.
Benedictum, an award-winning sour brown ale with cherries, can now be found in stores across the state. Or, if you want to get it closer to the source, Real Ale is hosting a bottle release party on Saturday encouraging you to pick up Benedictum at one of two nearby stores and then driving to the brewery to get the bottle signed by the people who made it. That’s an extra special touch if you want to gift it to a lucky loved one.
Pedernales Cellars’ Stonewall Glögg: Mulled wine is a popular seasonal beverage that many people like to make themselves. But this year, let a wine expert do it: Texas Hill Country winery Pedernales has bottles of its glögg, a traditional Swedish dessert wine, on sale in the tasting room and at both locations of sister winery Armadillo’s Leap.
Adelbert’s Brewery’s Barrel of Love trio: The North Austin brewery clearly knows how great the gift of beer is because it’s offering a whole ready-made gift pack of one of its rarer offerings.
This branded gift box, available at the brewery at 2314 Rutland Dr., has a trio of beers inside of it — three different versions of the Barrel of Love, Adelbert’s whiskey barrel-aged quad.
First up is the 2015 Barrel of Love, which has had an extra year of bottle-conditioning to develop deeper, richer flavors. Then there’s the 2016 Barrel of Love, full of “complex fruity notes of figs, raisins and plums with a soft whiskey bite,” according to the brewery. Bottles of this beer are being separately shipped out to the Texas market; only this version is leaving the brewery.
Rounding out the pack is the Blackberry Barrel of Love, the first taproom-only bottle release since Adelbert’s switched to a brewpub license early this year. Yes, it’s got lots of blackberries and tastes as such.
Revolution Spirits’ Chocolate Cafecito Liqueur: Although this distillery on the road to Dripping Springs has become recognized for its Austin Reserve Gin, Revolution also makes a variety of experimental products — chief among them the Cafecito Coffee Liqueur, liquid gold for any coffee fan out there.
The most recent release is even sweeter. For the Chocolate Cafecito Liqueur, a new seasonal bottling available from December through February each year, the distillers have macerated fair-trade OKO Caribe cacao nibs from SRSLY Chocolate, adding them to the coffee beans Revolution receives from local Cuvee Coffee.
There’s a lot more coffee than chocolate in the mix, but the chocolate is present enough to satisfy any sweet tooth over the holidays. Pick up a bottle at the distillery during open Saturday hours.
Last Stand Brewing’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout: Located just yards from Revolution Spirits, the small-batch Last Stand doesn’t bottle many of its beers, which makes the special release Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout extra special.
The brewers have had this project in the works for awhile. They “filled two freshly emptied Donner-Peltier LA1 Whiskey barrels one year ago with our first batch of Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout,” according to the brewery, and debuted the results of it last weekend at the taproom at 12345 Pauls Valley Rd. Bldg. I.
Only 200 bottles are available, so if this one looks like the winning stocking stuffer you’ve been looking for, stop by Last Stand during weekend taproom hours to grab one.
Austin Beerworks Sputnik: The seasonal necessity is only on draft for now, as it has been in winters past, but any day now — pending TABC approval — local stores will also receive six-pack cans of the Russian imperial oatmeal stout. Austin Beerworks has been in the midst of a large expansion that has allowed the North Austin brewery to start canning some of its seasonal beers, including Sputnik.
At 7010 Easy Wind Dr. — in the same multi-use complex as Black Star Co-Op, off North Lamar Boulevard — Vigilante is officially opening its doors at 4 p.m. on Jan. 27 next year. The bar’s CEO Preston Swincher and president Philip “Flip” Kromer promise that game lovers will finally have a place to go to both play their favorite games and enjoy good food and beer to boot.
Already, Vigilante has stocked up on the more than 150 games that are going to be offered: everything from the classic chess to Cards Against Humanity to Magic: the Gathering, and far more obscure titles. Participants will get seated based on the size of their group and on what type of table their chosen games require, and they won’t even have to get up to order food and drink — they’ll simply have to press the “Accio Server” button on the custom Vigilante tables.
“Seeing as we are fortunate to operate in a craft brew hub, we are focusing exclusively on local Austin breweries,” marketing director Zack Daschofsky said via email. “Our vendors include Friends & Allies, Real Ale, Thirsty Planet, Hops & Grain and Austin Beerworks.”
He noted that the Vigilante team, which includes Swincher and Kromer, have developed a digital game menu that will be “accessible via tablets in the space and on the web,” he said. “This tool lets us add custom reviews, categories, mood and a number of other variables to help connect our customers to a game they would love to play.”
It’s still in beta for now, but the late January opening will give Vigilante time to perfect it and other key elements to the bar. Chief among them are the custom private rooms, like the first one called the Wizard’s Office, that will transform the gaming experience.
“Our goal (with these rooms) is for our patrons to feel like they are stepping into a completely new space/world,” he said.
Before the Jan. 27 official opening is Sneak-Peek Week, available to anyone who backed Vigilante in the NextSeed campaign or the Kickstarter before that.
Once Vigilante Gaming Bar is up and running, it’ll be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily and offer a full kitchen; a drinks list of beer, wine and sake; and the digital game menu with a variety of different games to choose from.
Both beer makers agreed on a settlement in Texas federal court last week that prevents “Fireman’s Brew Inc. (from) using the Fireman’s mark to sell beer in Texas,” according to legal news site Law360. Fireman’s Brew also can’t use any “confusing similar variations of the mark” in the state.
Real Ale felt the lawsuit was necessary because of Firemans #4, the Blanco brewery’s biggest seller and one of Texas’ most well-known craft beers. In addition to having a similar name, Fireman’s Brew has a red logo, the same color as Firemans #4’s packaging. Those two elements, Real Ale believed, could cause consumer confusion while at bars and stores selling both products.
When reached, Real Ale declined to comment on the outcome of the settlement. Fireman’s Brew is also staying silent.
“The terms of the settlement are confidential, and we have no comment,” David Johnson, chief operating officer at Fireman’s Brew, told Law360 last week.