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.
“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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.