Monday, September 26, 2011

Fun day of bikes, friends and beer!

As soon as I found out about the Texas Craft Beer Festival ( ) I made sure that I had that weekend off! We went to a beer festival last year at the Flying Saucer and we had a really good time. We chose to do this festival this year (instead of the Flying Saucer) because it was local brews and it was something new. This festival was being held at Fiesta Gardens which is right off of Lady Bird Lake.

Since this was the same weekend as the Pecan Festival, we decided to drive to downtown with our bikes, park in the middle of the two events and then just bike from place to place instead of looking for parking multiple times. Unfortunately the heat crept back up this weekend and the high was 102 so it was quite gross outside.

Here I am doing a self portrait while riding a bike, and Jim is in the background on the phone. We are talented peeps.

Our first stop, after meeting up with Chris and Lindsay, was at the Twisted X booth. I tried their Siesta Prickley Pear Lager as my first beer. Here is the description from their website: "A summer seasonal based on Twisted X. "Bloody Butcher" red corn from Richardson farms provides a slight hint of color. Prickly pears from the fields of Texas provide the rest of the color and add a fruity cactus flavor. Siesta is more carbonated than our other beers and this adds to its summer time drinkability. It has 5.5% alcohol by volume. We vote to reinstate the Siesta tradition, sit back, take a snooze, relax and ride the Texas heat wave with a refreshing Siesta." I really enjoyed this beer, a slight hint of sweet but not overpowering.

My second beer was one that I have read about on the internet and heard about from friends... From the website....This extra hoppy Pilsner has a jalapeno aroma, a mild jalapeno flavor, and leaves you with pleasant warmth in the back of your throat. At 6.5% alcohol by volume Fuego is strong yet still crisp and refreshing. Most chili beers are more focused on the heat, but this one is 100% beer. The secret to this beer is the amount and duration of the jalapeno soak, as it has taken nearly two years to get it just right. At my first sip I was a little disappointed because I didn't detect the heat but after a minute or two I got a little tickle in the back of my throat and that is when the heat came on. I really enjoyed this beer but I don't think that I could drink them all night long, it is more of a one or two beer at a time.

Jim, Lindsay and Chris

Me, Jim and Lindsay

Another favorite of mine at the festival was the Austin Beerworks Pearl Snaps. Okay, not going to lie, I was pulled in by the name Pearl Snaps :) Description from Austin Beerworks website: When the temperature hits 100, this beer will be your best friend. When it hits 109, six of these will be your girlfriend. It has a bright hop character with a finish so clean it will pick up after itself. It’s Crisp, Refreshing, and Clean. I have to agree that the beer was crisp and clean. I didn't go back for seconds, but I will be looking for this beer in the future to give it a second try.

One of my favorite food carts, Chilantro, was at the festival. I have had just about everything on their menu and haven't found much that I don't adore. They had a limited menu at the festival so I went with the beef tacos. I was saddened by the fact they didn't have their wonderful kim chee on the menu :( In my opinion, their kim chee is what puts their food above other food carts.

Next up for our tasting, was Ranger Creek. They are a brewery out of San Antonio that brews their own beer as well as whiskey.

I tried their Heffe, which I really enjoyed. I am finding that banana is a common flavor in Heffe's. I tried to research it on their website but that beer isn't listed. I can't say their beer was my favorite, but they certainly weren't my least liked of the festival.

Ranger Creek Beers at Festival

I finally got around to going to Thirsty Planet. I am familiar with a couple of their beers so I didn't want to use up all of my "tokens" at their booth. When I finally got around to the booth I found out they had just opened a keg of their new beer, Smittle Fest, which is their Oktoberfest type beer. They don't have this beer listed on their website, but I did find the owners last name is Smittle, so I guess that explains the name :) I also asked one of the guys serving beer when they were going to bottle beer and I was told they are working on it but they were given directions in Italian. So Thirsty Planet so get Rosetta Stone and bottle your beer! I would love to buy your beer to enjoy at home!!

Me, Jim, Chris and Lindsay

Jim and Chris doing their tough guy looks

After a couple of hours at the festival, we were out of tokens and totally tired of sweating. We hopped on our bikes and headed towards Rainey Street. Our initial plan was to go to Pecan Street Festival but we were so sick of sweating that we wanted AC. So we headed over to Bar 96 bar.

First ever attempted self double portrait while riding bikes. So glad I didn't crash and burn while trying to take this picture :)

Ahhhh... AC at Bar 96. We ended up watching some college football and got a bite to eat.

Jim and I split a chicken quesadilla and a brisket sandwich. The brisket sandwich was really good. Not much to it but the brisket was cooked well. The quesadillia was just meh, nothing that really stood out to us.

After cooling down and eating at Bar 96 we headed over to Luster Pearl to play a little ping pong. We never made it over to the Pecan Street Festival, but we had a great day with good beer and great friends!

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