This past weekend here in Austin was the 5th Annual Off-Centered Film Festival, a most perfect union of Dogfish Head Brewery and the Alamo Drafthouse. This is like the Reese’s cup of events. Two great things that go great together.
While the festival itself celebrates short films referencing Dogfish Head beer made by folks from around the country, there are other events that have become part of the yearly festival. Thanks to the kind folks at Do512, I received two passes for the Fest’s opening night event – The Blazing Saddles Quote-Along Beer Party. OK so not only is Blazing Saddles one of my all time favorite comedies (tied only with The Jerk), but there was plentiful special brews from all of my favorite local breweries.
The pours were small (roughly 4oz) and were $3 each benefiting the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. Before you scream, “Rip-off!” understand that not only were many of these beers rather potent and special, but this was an event to RAISE money for a very good cause. If you know anything about craft breweries in general and the uphill battle they have been fighting in Texas with the Texas Alcoholics Beverage Commission (TABC), you would think it worth the price and then some. I actually liked the small pours since it gave me the opportunity to sample a few. Here they are in no particular order:
Jester King/Mikkeller Beer Geek Rodeo – Imperial Oatmeal Stout, roasted malt, chipotle peppers and Vietnamese Civet coffee. Jester King is one of my favorite breweries for a number of reasons, not least of which are their repeated collaborations with the Danish Gypsy brewer Mikel. Smoky, deliciousness, not much more I can say except that I loved it and can’t wait to have more.
(512) Brewing Company Pecan Porter with Toasted Coconut and Dried Cherry – Though not as delicious as the Whiskey Barrel aged Double Pecan Porter (sigh), it was an interesting brew. Very nice cherry aroma with hints of the coconut which went nicely with the usual nuttiness of the Pecan Porter which is my favorite regular brew from (512).
South Austin Brewing Saison d’Austin – Saisons are my Belgian brew of choice these days, and this was a nice one. While it is one of their standard brews, it was my first taste from this new Austin brewery. Lovely fruitiness and a spicy aroma make this 8% ABV go down a little too easy.
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling Strawberry Milk Stout – Before you think of strawberry Quik beer (yuck), let me tell you, this beer was amazing. Complex and not cloyingly sweet as one might expect with a slight real strawberry aroma. And to make it even better, they used locally grown Poteet strawberries, making it a true farm to pint beer. Can’t wait to have this brew again. So unique.
Thirsty Planet Brewing Jittery Monk Smoked Coffee Dubbel – While many of the readily available brews from Thirsty Planet are solid straightforward brews (Buckethead IPA is a fave), there are some adventurous beers to be had when you visit the brewery’s tasting room on Saturdays. A Basil Melon Wit and an Acorn Squash IPA have been on tap when I have visited, as well as other brews that don’t make it outside the tasting room. Jittery Monk is definitely different and in the best way. It has a very strong coffee character, but because it is a dubbel instead of the usual porter or stout, it was even easier to drink. Needless to say, I was glad to find out from the Thirsty Planet folks that it wasn’t just a special experimental brew will be available around town in May.
So after all of those lovely beers, an outdoor Quote-Along screening of Blazing Saddles (complete with cap guns and free beans) was the perfect finish to the night. This film, along with Young Frankenstein, are in my opinion, two of Mel Brook’s masterpieces. Witty, often slapsticky, but both films are ultimately about outsiders trying to fit in.
Stay tuned for Off-Centered Film Fest 2012 Part 2 – Great Food, Leone, and More Beer (Oh My!)