As the great philosopher Plato once said, "He was a wise man who invented beer." It was yet another great philosopher who remarked, "Milk is for babies. When you grow up, you have to drink beer." That, of course, was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Aside from the omnipresent Budweiser, the 2013 Austin City Limits Festival is offering 16 draft beers in its new Barton Springs Beer Hall. While we would be remiss in failing to mention that the Beer Hall features a surprising lack of Austin beers (seriously, where is the Austin Beer Works Pearl Snap? Where is the 512 IPA or, better yet, their Pecan Porter? And the fact that the award-winning Hops & Grain Alt-eration isn't offered is a crying shame!) But, props to the festival for providing three Blanco, Texas-based Real Ale selections.
While everyone else was enjoying the sweet jams of ACL on weekend one, your fearless writer was embarking on a quest of her own: to find the top 6 beers at ACL 2013.
You're welcome, everyone!
There are only a handful of wheat beers on tap in the tent this year, but of them all, Harpoon's UFO White is our favorite. Light with hints of spice and orange, the UFO is a highly drinkable (read: it sneaks up on you) beer. Though it's only been around since 2009, the UFO takes its inspiration from the Belgian-style spiced wheat beers that have been brewed for more than three centuries.
Alcohol by volume: 4.8%
Now, before you comment, "Cider isn't beer!" let me remind you that some of our friends have a gluten intolerance, so this is really for them, and you should be polite and skip to number 4 if it bothers you so much. There are two cider options at this year's ACL Fest: the Ace Pear Cider and Woodchuck Amber Cider. We're going with the Ace because it's crisp, not too sweet and refreshing after a long day of music and dodging people who aren't wearing shoes for some reason.
ABV: 5 %
A friend once remarked that she didn't like IPAs because she thought they tasted like grapefruit juice. This writer happens to like grapefruit juice — and love IPAs. The Founders has a less-hoppier finish than Lagunitas IPA or Sierra Nevada, which are also available in the Craft Tent. Founders Brewing Co. has been rated one of the top breweries in the world over the past four years by ratebeer.com and has scored medals at the 2010 and 2012 World Beer Cup.
It is the writer's belief that it's completely acceptable to drink both red wine and dark, heavy stouts in the middle of summer. While temperatures are predicted to hit the high 80s, that shouldn't deter you from grabbing a pint of this delicious, creamy stout. Though it's not as dynamic as some milk stouts, it's a drinkable, delicious treat that looks like a Guinness but tastes of cocoa and coffee.
2. Stone IPA
I'm an IPA gal all the way, which is why you'll find two on this list. You dig hops? This is the brew for you. Stone IPA proves that just because you're widely available, it doesn't mean you're not good. Sweet, citrusy and smooth from start to finish, this is the kind of IPA that can convert the most hardcore of wheat-beer drinkers to the hop side.
ABV: 6.9% (highest on the list!)
A Texas beer just must top this list. Light in color, this classic, German-style pilsner takes its inspiration from Northern Germany, where the beers tend to be hoppier. Though the Hans' Pils is certainly smooth enough to drink when you're having more than one, the Texas Hill Country-based brewery is also serving up its classic Firemans 4 Blonde Ale and its seasonal 4-squared, which is a "super-hopped" version of the classic Fireman's.