Quite a weekend. It was Austin Beer Week and we definitely couldn't let that go by without hitting up some events. On Thursday we went to North by Northwest's Cask Tapping and Brewer's Dinner.
NXNW is a brewpub that has always been one of those reliable Austin standbys, and for that reason I always kinda took it for granted. After this event, I can assure you that will never be the case again. I have always liked their food, and any beer of theirs I have gotten has been good, but I never really took the time to slow down and enjoy what they have to offer. I probably have a bias where I think brewpubs don't dedicate as much time to the craft of beer making as a full-fledged brewery, so I took the NXNW brewer's dinner as an opportunity to really immerse myself in what a successful brewpub had to offer. I was also very happy that Ashley and our lil guy came to dinner as well. It was nice to not be a lone, creepy blogger taking pictures of my food. Plus, Ashley has a much more refined palate than I do. Hell let's be honest - my son probably does too.
The menu and pairings were as follows:
Herbed risotto cakes with a white truffle oil vinaigrette paired with Prost German Pilsner
The mousse and Blackjack Ale was by far the pairing of the night. Just made some amazing flavors come out of each. Our little gourmand agreed about the mousse, as you can see. The Prost Pilsner and the risotto cakes was a close second. The Darkside IPA was a standout beer on its own, but the pairing with the veal was just so-so. I suspect this had something to
do with the fact that the Darkside cask was tapped just that evening as part of the festivities. Hard to pair something ahead of time when you don't have the finished product on hand. Nonetheless, an expertly-crafted IPA.
Friday was pretty low-key. I fulfilled my destiny as a truck owner by helping my friend Jay move. Got something fancy in the mail too!
Planning to compete in the heavy games at the Austin Celtic Festival next weekend, and kilts are required. I'm not Scottish by heritage; as my friend Aaron astutely pointed out, being of English heritage, my ancesors are probably responsible for the misery of thousands upon thousands of Scots. Yeah. Sorry. Anyway, the only real familial option I had for the plaid on the kilt was my wife's maiden name: Henderson. Luckily Clan Henderson has a pretty classic and badass plaid, so I'm even more proud to sport it in competition.
Saturday we tailgated with our friends Luke and Summer before the Texas-Kansas game. Luke is a chef and makes everything at his tailgate from scratch. Some of you may know him as the Texas Tattoo Guy. I took a few bottles of my banana-tinged Dortmunder, and to my surprise everyone that tried it reported it was enjoyable and pretty drinkable. Liars, all of them.
After that we headed to the DKR for game time. Our good friend Christian took us to the game with his season tickets, and for that we are very grateful; even moreso since the Horns beat the living hell out of Kansas. Hook 'em!
Sunday was my very first highland games practice. A good-sized group of guys in South Austin practice under the guidance of an awesome guy named Mike Baab. I was pleasantly surprised by how well I picked up the stones and weight for distance, but I was humbled pretty badly by the caber. They had a smaller practice caber (about 11 feet) that I turned and hit 12 o'clock on my first attempt. Of course my ego screams "YEAH, LET'S GET IN THERE WITH THE BIG BOYS!" That's when the humiliation began with the bigger stick. Good stuff though - I am excited to work on getting better.