The first weekend of the Winter Tour was wrapped up back in Austin at Infamous Brewing Company. Infamous is a well established (and well decorated... many years' worth of many brewing awards) brewery tucked away in a modest little location in the beautiful Lake Travis area of Austin. From the somewhat rural road you first spot a small collection of businesses in garage or warehouse type buildings set near the edge of the lake and some of Austin's most luxurious neighborhoods, and then one of them stands out due to the festive tarps, hanging lighting, picnic tables, and the old '47 pickup parked outside. This is the laid back beer garden, and the flatbed '47 truck is the stage where they host their regular live music.
Infamous Brewing Company – Austin, TX (Lake Travis area)
Beers can be found throughout Texas in drinking establishments, restaurants, and retail outlets.
My introduction to CC, who was working the bar when I got there was kinda funny, as I don't think either of were expecting a very good day. I was scheduled for an afternoon show, not knowing at the time that the Houston Texans would make it to the playoffs, and their game would be scheduled to start a half hour before my show. Naturally the brewery had the game on a big screen in the taproom, but I was supposed to play outside in the beer garden (where there are no TVs), so I think we both expected that I'd be playing to empty chairs outside while everyone else gathered inside to watch the game. Days like this happen sometimes, and it's not fun for anyone.... I don't like playing to an empty space, the brewery doesn't like paying me to do so, and the fans don't want to hear music while trying to watch an important game. Setting up my gear was a long torturous process due to the anticipation of a long torturous afternoon. Much to the surprise of both of us, the day was the exact opposite of what we expected. I don't know if it was because the Texans took a big lead early in the game (which they later blew), or because the show had been well promoted on a local music enthusiast user group, but just as it was time to start a bunch of people showed up, grabbed some beers, and planted themselves outside in the beer garden... totally into the music and completely ignoring the game inside. The crowd continued to grow and by my set break the beer garden was full, and nobody was inside watching Kansas City turn the tables on Houston... and nobody cared! It was a bit bizarre, but I'm not complaining! Being set up on an antique flatbed truck playing to a somewhat dusty and rustic beer garden, surrounded by trees, shaded by tarps, and a with a big fire circle as the sun set couldn't have felt any more like Texas, and it inspired a fun night of rootsy music and storytelling. The crowd was very friendly and interactive, and some of my banter or short stories often turned into longer conversations with the audience. It was very friendly and comfortable (and the weather was perfect as well). As I mentioned before, the brewery has isn't that old, but it has an impressive display of brewing awards and medals for excelling at a wide variety of different brews. Similarly, while the brewery and taproom were rather rustic and modest, the clientele filled the parking spaces with classic cars and exotic sports cars, hinting that there may be gold up in them there hills surrounding the lake (truth be told, I think this is an area where a lot of people in well paying tech sector jobs live, which was my old domain in a past life). The first brew I had of the night was the Sex A Peal (6.1%) American Hefeweisen. Being a little sweaty from setting up, and a little dusty from being outdoors in Texas, this one looked on paper to be just the refreshing thirst quencher I was needing, and it did not disappoint! Brewed with coriander, seeds of paradise, sweet orange peel, and Citra hops we had here a pleasantly hazy hefeweisen with delicious fruity citrus overtones. I sipped on this one throughout my first set, and if not for my mission to sample a variety I easily could have stuck with it all night. During my set break I literally crushed a Dye-It Pils (4%) Czech Pilsner. Another crisp and refreshing quencher, this was a tasty but light (as you'd expect) golden Pilsner, well carbonated and crisp on the drink. Light yellow on the pour with a light white head, made with traditional Czech Pilsen malt, Czech Saaz hops, and fermented German yeast. Lower in alcohol, calories, and carbs, this is one you could drink all day and stay maintain that girlish figure. I rarely do this, but I don't recall what my last beer was. I do recall I drank something darker after starting off so light, and enjoyed that through my second set. I normally write down which beers I order, but it was breezy outside and I didn't have a paper with me, so no notes on this night. I can tell you that I greatly enjoyed everything I tried and didn't encounter any beers at Infamous that made me cringe, so I would advice you try them all without fear or hesitation! I had been to Austin and Dallas before on business in my past life, but this was my first time playing music and sampling the local breweries in Austin and San Antonio. After Sunday's show at Infamous I spent a few days at my son's place in Austin and we hit one fantastic eating experience after the next all week. I have to say, if you're into “foodie” type destinations, Austin is a place to visit. I don't usually write about it, but food is the other great pleasure of these tours I do... and I hunt out the finest local eateries for each area I'm in... especially looking forward to the seafood shacks of the coasts, and the creole food of the gulf region... but Austin has a LOT to offer. I didn't even hit any of the higher end restaurants, but just for pub grub and great food for beer drinking you can't beat the quality and variety here... I had amazing beef BBQ at Terry Black's, amazing gourmet bison burger at Hopdoddy Burger bar, and even their fast food taco joints are pretty amazing (Torchey's Tacos is great... and the wealth of food trucks and street taco joins is insane). So from here I leave Austin and travel on to Waco, Houston, and then a 20 hour drive home for a short break before tackling in Florida in February...