Austin Beer Guide celebrates third issue during Austin Beer Week
From the days when we downed black & tans at the old Maggie Mae's, to the opening of Waterloo Brewing Company (the first legal brewpub in Texas) and many others that followed, to the now-thriving craft brewery scene, Austin has long been a community for beer lovers. Aaron Chamberlain and Chris Troutman, proud brewheads themselves, started sharing their passion for all things hoppy on their personal blogs, Craftaustin in 2008 and Beertown Austin in 2009 respectively, to an audience eager for news on brews and their favorite spots to enjoy them. Noticing a void in beer coverage in the local print media, the duo decided to combine resources to create the Austin Beer Guide in the spring of 2011.
This cooperative effort, now in its third issue, features a reference guide with basic info on breweries and types of beer available, brewpubs, beer-friendly establishments and maps, as well as a column brought over from each of their blogs. These short articles feature stories on breweries, news from the brewing scene, interviews with brewmasters, chronicles of their beer drinking outings, and more. To complement the quarterly magazine, which is free and available for pick up at many locations around town, they keep the website updated with fresh, relevant content, the latest news on the scene, and a calendar of events that take place between printings.
"The printed guide was Chris' idea originally, as a way of grabbing non-beer blog readers," says Chamberlain, who works in publishing and was able to make it a reality. And as far as things are going, the Austin Beer Guide has been a success.
"We are seeing a positive response," says Troutman. "There is lots of interest from breweries and pubs that want to get involved in the project through advertising, and also from the public." The 1,000 copies of the 24-page Spring issue quickly dissapeared, as did 2,000 of the Summer issue. "I went to deliver a stack of copies at the Draugh House," say Troutman. "People were picking them up as they came in. I watched the whole stack disappear in the time it took me to drink a pint."
The team printed 5,000 copies of the just released Fall issue—which has grown to 64 pages and is dedicated to coverage from the Great American Beer Festival—hoping for wider distribution. "The main goal for the Fall guide is to have it around for people to find it," says Troutman. It really is a handy guide, chock-full of pertinent info and an easy going writing style that keeps readers engaged. Like a travel guide, it helps the uninitiated to navigate the ever-growing craft beer scene in Austin, and the featured original content serves as the voice for the craft brewers to reach an incresing audience.
The launch of the Fall 2011 issue coincided with the now very popular Austin Beer Week, organized by the Texas Craft Brewers' Guild, which started on October 22nd and continues until the 30th with events all across town, from beer debuts to seasonal keg tappings, beer and cheese pairings, beer dinners, local beer specials and more. Incidentally, the Austin Beer Guide launch party at the Drafthouse Pub & Brewery on Wednesday was also the debut of Hops & Grain's beers to the general public (for those who don't know, Hops & Grain is the newest brewery in Austin, located at 507 Calles, right at the corner where E. 6th St. dead-ends).
This weekend's events include Halloween-themed brewery tours and events, a Jester King keg tapping/zombie movie screening at The Dig Pub in Cedar Park, and a couple food and beer pairing events including a Halloween Ball at Judge's Hill restaurant. For a complete schedule of events, visit the official Austin Beer Week website or find a copy of the Austin Beer Guide at your favorite pub or local beer store. Cheers, Austin!