Off-Centered Film Festival Strange Brew Beer Party Recap

by Matt A on April 15, 2011

What happens when you combine all of the local breweries in Austin, and add a pinch of the quirkiness from both Alamo Drafthouse and Dogfish Head? You get a fun filled (beer filled really) event that focuses on the local talent of Austin craft brewers. This Off-Centered Film Festival has been going on for a few years now with the help of Sam Calagione (founder of Dogfish Head) and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. For more information on the weekend long event, go here.

Last night’s event was a beer party, with a big screen showing of the movie Strange Brew, a cult classic revolving around the beer crazed adventures of two Canadians eh? The event was right in the heart of downtown Austin, which made it even more fun. The weather was perfect, and the people were relaxed and having fun.

Meggie and I got there right at 6 when the doors opened (I didn’t want to take any chances). To my surprise, the event never really got that packed. This was a very pleasant surprise, as these kind of events can get over-crowded with disastrously long lines. My only complaint was there were only three bathrooms. Really? Three bathrooms for 600 beer drinkers? Oh well, small potatoes.

Here was the beer menu for the evening:

Let me start by saying I enjoyed all of the beers I got to try.

(512) Brewing – The (512) cask of their Cascabel Cream Stout was smooth, with a small bite from the peppers. The peppers added a nice sweetness though, which was quite nice.

Circle Brewing – I didn’t get a chance to try their beers, but heard they were tasty.

Dogfish Head – I didn’t do the Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, as I’ve enjoyed plenty of pints of that already.

Independence Brewing – I didn’t try the Independence Brewluminati (heard it was quite tasty), but they did have another one not listed called the Independence Rood. They described it as a Belgian inspired Red ale, using Belgian yeast. It was very tasty. It had a sour note I wasn’t expecting, with a nice punch of hops at the end.

Jester King – I was bummed they didn’t have their Drink’in the Sunbelt. I was really looking forward to trying it. Oh well, the cask of their Wytchmaker Rye IPA was smooth, hoppy, dry, and delicious.

Live Oak – This was my least favorite of the night, still interesting though. TheirLiberation Ale is an IPA, which is very good. However, this one was brewed with chipotle peppers, giving it quite the kick. It really did have a lingering spice, that did kind of overpower any hoppiness you would’ve gotten otherwise. It was still fun to try though, as I’ve never had a beer quite that spicy.

Ranger Creek – The guys from San Antonio. Well, they delivered! This was one of my favorites of the night. They had a Port Barrel Aged version of their La Bestia Aimable(Belgian Strong ale). I believe they said they aged it in the port barrels for 4 or 6 months. Anyway, the aging was crazy good. It lent an amazing sour cherry note on both the aroma and flavor. I could’ve drank this one all night. If you’ve ever had their La Bestia from draft or bottle, it’s crazy how much the flavor profile changed just from aging it in port barrels.

Real Ale – There can only be one…Highlander. This is a barrel aged version of their Wee Heavy (a strong Scotch ale). This one was also delicious, with more sour notes. It seems that the theme of the night was sour, since a lot of these ales had a surprising sour note. I could’ve drank this one all night too. Our friends Wes and Vanessa also really enjoyed this one.

Thirsty Planet – And in this corner, weighing in at 12% abv, the one, the only, Double Buckethead IPA! I started the night off with this, and ended the night on it too. It’s big, it’s bold, and packs quite the punch. They hid the alcohol very well with this one.  Not as hoppy as I would’ve liked, but it had a nice malty backbone to it.

All of the brewers were fun to talk with, especially Thirsty Planet. If you get a chance to go to their tasting room at the brewery, do it. They are a fun group! The highlight of my night though was finally getting to meet and talk with Sam Calagione. He got there when it started getting more crowded, so people (including me) were bombarding him. However, he was kind enough to sit and chat with everyone he could. In fact, it’s what he wanted to do. He genuinely loves talking about beer with everyone. He was even kind enough to take a picture with me.

Before the movie started, all of the brewers got on stage to talk about the beers they brought, along with thanking everyone for coming out and supporting them. Sam Calagione got on and thanked everyone, and was saying how exciting it is for Austin becoming another big craft beer city. After that, there was a jelly-filled doughnut eating contest among the brewers. Fun to watch, and Sam won even with having to eat one more doughnut than everyone else (I heard whispers of a Texas sized conspiracy with this though. Oooooooo).

All-in-all, it was a great event. It was fun seeing how excited people were over all of the local craft beer that was offered. It’s events like this one that can really help spread the news on how many great local craft brewers Austin (Austin area) has. I hope everyone else enjoyed the event as much as we did.

For more Texas beer news, check out http://www.youstayhoppyaustin.blogspot.com, or follow @stayhoppyaustin on Twitter.

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