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Epicurean Ramblings - July 2014 Archives

Thoughts on Beer & Food, Home & Away

Deep in the Heart of Texas
Posted Friday, June 27th, 2014 by thewimperoo

Last week, the family and I flew to San Antonio to visit the wife's brother. We hadn't seen him in over 2 years so the main goal was to just hang at his house and spend some time together.  I had a few other goals that I hoped to accomplish during our 4 days in Texas. 


1. Eat BBQ in Lockhart (Smitty's, Black's, etc)

2. Visit Freetail

3. Drink Live Oak Hefeweizen

4. Meet up with Chip and drink at Jester King


Eating BBQ in Lockhart ended up being a failed goal.  Just couldn't make it happen.  In consolation, we paid a visit to the Granary in San Antonio.  For lunch, it's straight market style bbq while dinner is more upscale plates centered around bbq.  We ended up visiting for lunch. In addition to bbq, they make their own beer and soda.


Menu board of options - Turkey was the item sold out


To start we ordered a rye saison, belgian pale ale and ginger peach soda (pictured in that order).  Beers were fine. Nothing special, but clean and drinkable.  The ginger peach soda was fantastic. Not at all sweet. If I had to nitpick, I'd say tone down the ginger a touch and up the peach flavor a bit.


For food, we ordered as much of the menu as we could reasonably eat.  Brisket and Spare Ribs were excellent. Have never been a huge fan of Texas style beef sausage and this version didn't change that opinion. The sides were all quite good. House made pickles, burnt end beans and buttermilk cole slaw.


Sausage Guts


Next day consisted of visiting Freetail and hitting a couple of bottle shops.  Grabbed a few Prairie beers that we can't get at home any longer due to Shelton being Shelton, but other than that not much really aroused my sensibilities.  

Freetail was decent.  Definitely in full World Cup mode. Sports bar atmosphere. Loud with lots of TV's.  9 house beer and 8 guest beers. Wood burning pizza oven.  


Hibiscus Berliner was really nice.  Had two glasses of this one


Amarillo hopped saison was also pretty tasty


The waitress toyed with my emotions and said Live Oak Hefe was on tap, but then once I ordered it she revealed it was gone. Ended up with a White IPA that was ok.


Went with a brisket pizza and a 5 cheese (Gouda, Provolone, Asiago, White Cheddar & Mozz). Both were pretty good. Wish they would have been crispier. 


Next day we were supposed to check out the Riverwalk (FYI: Pretty f'ing lame) so I searched beer lists to make sure we ate lunch somewhere that had Live Oak Hefe on tap.  Ended up at the Esquire Tavern.  Oldest bar on the Riverwalk.  Place had tons of charm.  100 foot long wooden bar, plush bar chairs.  Just seemed like a place where you could spend the day drinking. Very chill.  Food was tasty.  Long story short, Live Oak Hefe was available and I consumed it.  Lived up to the hype. Wish I could drink it much more often. Also had a (512) Pecan Porter, a roasty as fuck porter.


Last day, I ditched the family and made my way up to Jester King for a meat up with Chip. Made great time and arrived about 45 minutes before Jester King opened. This gave me enough time to snap a few pictures of the grounds and then grab a beer and a pizza from the pizza barn on Jester King's property.  

The view that greeted me when I arrived


Ended up going with the Prairie Birra and the Penelope pizza. Crushed the whole pizza in no time.  Really good stuff. 


By the time I was done eating, Jester King was open for business.  They have 3 different areas where you can make purchases.  Inside the barn they have beers on tap, a tent outside with additional taps and another tent where you can buy bottles to go and swag.  The cool part is their POS system had all tents linked together so you could just open a tab and order from any of the areas and then just pay at the end of the day when you were done.  Made it super convenient. Really nice touch.  

I happened upon Jester King on a pretty good day.  Lots of different saisons/sours on tap. 4 different bottles available to go, even if that wasn't really a priority. Started with a glass of Provenance (a lemon lime saison) and Atrial Rubicite. The Provenance was just ok.  Needed more funk to overset all of the sprite-like lemon lime.  Atrial was crazy good.  Almost as jammy as fresh New Glarus VSB, almost.  


Chip and his buddy arrived as I was working through these beers.  Good conversations and laughs were had.  Successful meat up. Thanks again to Chip for the beer and cinammon rolls. 

Next beers for me were Nocturn Chrysalis (blackberry sour) and Biere de Miel (saison with honey). The nocturn was good, but not great. The Biere de Miel was fantastic.  2nd favorite beer of the day.

Next set of beers was Hibernal Dichotomous (blend of old and new saison with different herbs and watermelon juice) and Live Oak Pilz.  The refreshing watermelon finish on Hibernal was quite nice, although all of the herbs gave it a bit of a medicinal aroma.  Live Oak Pilz was a good change up.

Only had a couple of hours before I had to head back to San Antonio so I finished with another set of Biere de Miel and Atrial on cask. 


Definitely a great place to spend the day.  Beautiful atmosphere, excellent beers. Would come often if I lived in Austin. Here's a few other pics of the grounds.



Alamo remembered and now forgotten


Link to full sets of pictures



Great Taste Weekend 2013 Food Porn and What Not
Posted Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 by thewimperoo

The best weekend of the year for eating and drinking. Here's a rundown of all of the aforementioned porn.

Pineapple and Bacon Fritter from Glazed & Infused


Personal Sausage from Pequod's


Fun on Baby Jesus' Porch


Starting off pre-partying at Dexter's with a Toppling Goliath Pseudosue

Questionable company


Next stop was Ale Asylum's new facilities. 


Blonde IPA






Free Beer Pandemonium at Madison's for the Goose Island Pre Party


Sofie Paradisi and BCS Cherry Rye


The Illinois


Dinner at Paul's Pelmeni.  Glorious dumplings in a little spot just a block or so away from Brickhouse.  Pete, Kevin and I gorged on these in record time.  Surprise food of the weekend for me.  


Good times at the Brickhouse Pre Party.  The setup worked much better with the special timed beers up on the 3.5th floor.  


Marigold Kitchen for breakfast on Saturday morning for the 4th straight year.  Duck Confit Hash for me, Breakfast Sandwich for the wife.


A little snack after walking around the Farmer's Market.  Venezuelan empanadas.  Breakfast and Apple Cinnamon.  These were tasty.  The Breakfast had Nueskie's Bacon, scrambled eggs and aged cheddar.  


No pictures from the fest, but I thought it was a great time again this year.  I avoided almost all of the lines and didn't really have a strict schedule like in years past.  Just kind of randomly wandered around and drank tons of awesome beer.  


Forequarter for dinner.  I think this place has tons of potential.  Not every dish that we had was a star, but overall it was an enjoyable experience.  There was a fried chicken dish that looked awesome, but was 86'd by the time we were seated.  It was super dark in there so the pictures are the greatest.

Started off with a charcuterie plate with pickled vegetables and lomo aka melt in your mouth pork fat goodness


A Kolsch from House of Brews.  Really nice and went well with the food.


Fried shitake & oyster mushrooms, sprouted lentils, pickled serranos, balsamic reduction and salted lime curd


Roasted Green Beans with garlic confit, pickled mustard seeds, fermented green tomatoes and crispy braised goat


Blistered shishito peppers with lemon and parmigiano reggiano


Chocolate terrine, mint panna cotta, currant reduction and fresh currants


Up early Sunday morning to get to New Glarus, so we just stopped at Greenbush Bakery on the way out of town.  Sad that I missed out on the staple Old Fashioned Sunday breakfast, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for beer. The giant apple fritter hit the spot like it always does.

Not too many people beat us to New Glarus when we got there around 8:30.  




Final haul of beer from the weekend


Already jonesing for next year.  Can't get here soon enough.


Proper Glassware is Serious Business
Posted Sunday, June 9th, 2013 by thewimperoo

Proper Glassware tasting last night



Lot of great beers.  Highlights were the 2012 Fou Foune, Brother Soigne, 2012 Blabaer, Resurgam and 2011 Elijah Craig 12 Eclipse.  


Dark Traveler Release Party
Posted Thursday, April 4th, 2013 by thewimperoo


Last night I was fortunate enough to partake in the release party for the new Goose Island Fulton & Wood series beer, Dark Traveler.  I'll share some pictures and video from the night, but first just a few words.  

It was a really great time.  Watching Dave work the room, while everyone enjoyed his beer put a smile on my face. Very proud and happy for Dave.  In my opinion, the beer was a success.  Light, crisp, full of flavor with maximum drinkability. At ~5% abv, you can drink this all night (which we did) and not feel much effect.   

Thanks again for the invite Dave.

Dark Traveler in the glass

Dave with his boot

Dave giving the first of two speeches on the night

Sr Brewer Keith with a photobomb by Hack

Swedish Jesus looking fine as always

Dave's speech to the masses (hopefully it embeds, if not click the link)


Crazy Good Time
Posted Thursday, February 7th, 2013 by thewimperoo

This past Saturday night, my wife and I partook in the Revolution 3rd Year Anniversary Party.  $50 for 3 hours of unlimited eating and drinking, plus a bottle of the 3rd Year beer and a tasting glass.  Unreal value for the food and beers being served.  I've missed out on all of the past Revolution parties and have always regretted it after reading recaps.  As soon as I heard about this party, I knew I couldn't miss it.  We opted for the 5pm-8pm session, which turned out fortunate since we never would have made the 1pm session.  Arriving around 4:30 we were greeted with a sign to grab our tasting glass.

Since we arrived early, we were able to snag a barrel to set up shop for when it came time to eat.  There were 9 food and beer stations setup throughout the brewery.  It was a highly efficient setup which led to very little lines despite 500 people in attendence.  

The menu for the night

In addition to the 9 food and beer stations, the main bar was open for drinking as well with additional choices. Highlights included Coffee Eugene, Very Mad Cow, 3rd Year Beer, Coup d' Abricot and Nip Pils

First station that we hit was the Chicken Liver Ballantine w/Sage Jus and Moby the Great White Ale.  Moby was a new beer to me, an imperial wit.  It went nicely with the food. The sage jus was great.

Second pairing we went for was the Scallop Ceviche w/Sour Orange Zest and A Little Crazy Belgian Pale.  I wasn't a huge fan of this food dish.  The beer is very good though, and the citrusy Citra hop profile went well with the orange flavor of the dish.

The third pairing we went after was the Bulgogi Beef Skewer w/Crimini Mushroom and Infiltrator Dopplebock.  Was a little surprised when I bit into the skewer and it was cold, but that didn't detract from the awesome flavors of the meat.  One of the dishes I went back for seconds of.  Really tasty.  The dopplebock was solid, but unspectacular.

Our fourth pairing was the Veal Sweetbread & Pork Sausage, Chow Chow and Salisfy Puree and TV Party Rye IPA.  The complimentary items on this dish were the stars more so than the sausage.  The casing on the sausage was a bit tough.  The Chow Chow was awesome.  I need a jar of that to just eat. 

Fifth pairing was Duck & Bacon Ragout, Smoked Gouda Grits, Pickled Shallots and Basil Orange Puree and Ivan's ESB. This was another of my favorite dishes.  Ended up eating a couple of bowls.  Great combination of flavors. Pickled onions of any kind are a weakness of mine.  Just the cherry on top. Ivan's is a 7+% ESB, not bad but not a favorite.

Sixth pairing we had was the Wild Rice & Barley Risotto w/Coffee Smoked Parsnip Cream and Coffee Eugene.  I'll start with the beer since it's awesome.  Easily my favorite beer of the night.  Ended up having 4 or 5 glasses over the course of the night. The food was my least favorite dish of the night.  I'm not sure if rice and barley was undercooked or it was supposed to be as al dente as it was, but the crunchiness to it was unappealing.  Didn't finish it.

Girl with really cool tats was pouring the Coffee Eugene

Seventh pairing was the Buffalo Chili Surprise and Very Mad Cow, BA Milk Stout. The flavor of the chili was really nice. Complex, tons of flavor layers and a building heat on the back end.  I'm more of a Texas Chili guy so the amount of beans in this chili was unfortunate to me.  I tried to eat around them, but it was basically impossible to get a bite without multiple beans in it.  The Very Mad Cow went great with chili.

Moving onto the dessert portion of the evening. Eighth course was a Dark Chocolate Candy Bar w/Whipped Malt Mougat & Hop Rocks and Winter Woman Imperial Brown. This was a nice combination of food and beer.  The hoppy brown went well with the richness of the nougat.  The hop rocks were a fun gimmick. 

The final dish of the night was probably my favorite, and that's saying something since I'm not really a dessert person. Ninth course was Pears Foster & Piloncillo Ice Cream and 3rd Year Beer, a Rum Barrel Aged Wheat Barleywine. The warm Pears Foster and the cold ice cream made a great counterbalance.  The crunch from the nuts sprinkled on top perfected the texture.  Had a few bowls of this one.

The 3rd Year Beer is quite nice.  Sweeter than Straight Jacket, but not overly sweet.  A bit hot, but also not overpowering. Glad to get the bottles to bring home.

Once we made our way through all of the stations the first time, we hit ones that we enjoyed for seconds and thirds. Then hit the bar for more beer.  For about the last hour as people got more tipsy a dance floor broke out.  Drunk white beer nerds and/or middle aged people dancing is always good entertainment. At one point Josh Deth, Chairman of Rev, busted out the worm and break danced.  Good times all around.  I expected the party to be awesome, and I was not let down.  It will be hard to miss any Rev parties in the future now that I've finally got a taste of the fun.

I'll leave you with some videos of people getting down.