Film on Tap: From Almodovar to Mr. Creosote



Film on Tap is a column about the many ways that beer (or sometimes booze) and cinema intersect in Austin.

Since 1997, Alamo Drafthouse has set the bar high for Austin in offering moviegoers the option of enjoying libations and food during screenings. For several years this local favorite has also offered themed film-and-food pairings through their feast events, such as the Julie and Julia Feast, and Sommelier Cinema, which offers wine flights to complement classic movies. This month, Alamo Drafthouse executive chef John Bullington has joined forces with Drafthouse beverage director Bill Norris to delight the palate and test the fortitude of film fans who crave an unique and memorable film, food and drink experience.

This partnership is most notably responsible for a Spanish tapas and wine menu available at Alamo on South Lamar for the first two-week run of Pedro Almodovar's new movie, The Skin I Live In. Local media were invited to a sneak preview of the menu items last Sunday -- seen above is the tapas of tomato, leek, almonds and manchego in sherry vinegar with herbs, paired with the '06 Marques de Gelida Cava Brut Reserva Ecologico, a 100 percent organic Methode Traditionelle sparkler. I was so impressed by the wines Norris paired with Bullington's tasty tapas that I not only bought a bottle of the '09 Juan Gil Monastrell on the way home, but I plan on seeing The Skin I Live In for a third time just for the Spanish menu experience.

Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek also has some special events this month -- a beer dinner featuring Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and another "Meet the Brewer" event. Find out more after the jump about both events, as well as events taking place on the auspicious 11/11/11.

On Tuesday, November 15, Alamo Lake Creek is featuring a gastronomical experience with The Meaning of Life Beer Dinner, with special beer pairings from Michael Graham of the award-winning local brewery Austin Beerworks. I'm intrigued by the menu that Chef Bullington has prepared for this feast, which honors the unforgettable Monty Python character, Mr. Creosote. Salmon mousse, pate de fois gras -- double helping -- and frog legs in brown butter with almonds and fried chives are highlights of the five-course menu Graham is pairing with the Austin Beerworks portfolio. The beer selections includes Pearl Snap Pils, Fire Eagle American IPA, Peacemaker Extra Pale Ale and my favorite, a German style schwarzbier, Black Thunder. Here's hoping that buckets won't be needed at this repast.

On the subject of Monty Python, on Friday, November 11, fans of A Fish Called Wanda can pack up a cooler of adult libations or non-alcoholic drinks to take to Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in. This East Austin drive-in is definitely mini, with room for about 20 cars -- so be sure to buy your passes early here. Other movies screening this month include Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Princess Bride, Planes Trains and Automobiles and Blade Runner.

Jim of Twisted X To truly enjoy the significance of November 11, 2011, Spinal Tap fans should check out the rock-and-roll action at NXNW Restaurant and Brewery as they "turn it up to 11." In honor of Spinal Tap's favorite musician, Nigel Tufnel, NXNW will be hosting a special screening of Spinal Tap followed by a performances by a Spinal Tap cover band and an Iron Maiden tribute band, "Iron Menorah." Costumes are encouraged -- think Eighties big hair and tight spandex -- and the $2 donation at the door benefits the Health Alliance of Austin Musicians (HAAM). A special cask tapping will feature "Spinal Hop," a cask conditioned edition of NXNW's PyJingo Pale Ale dry-hopped with eleven different hop varieties. The event starts in the NXNW Pavilion at 7 pm and ends promptly at 11 pm.

On November 18, Alamo Lake Creek hosts the next special guests in their "Meet the Brewers" series with Cedar Park microbrewery Twisted X Brewing Company. When brewers and founders Jim Sampson (pictured right) and Shane Bordeau set out to create a new market of "Tex-Mex" beer to co-mingle traditional craft brew with the hugely popular Mexican and American beer markets, a few skeptics in the Austin beer community were cautiously optimistic. I myself wondered whether the beer would live up to the hype in what seemed at the time to be a saturated local market. However, folks were convinced once they tasted Twisted X's small batch beers including Fuego, a jalapeno infused pilsner; Chupahopra, an Amarillo dry-hopped IPA; Siesta, a Prickly Pear Lager; and Senor Viejo, an Imperial Black Lager aged in Republic Tequila. I highly recommend you don't miss this opportunity to try these unique craft beers.

One place where you can get a favorite Twisted X Brewing's beer, Fuego, is at Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock. Flix features a "Made in Texas Monday" with $3 pints for anything on their tap wall that is made in Texas. Here's hoping Flix offers more themed events soon like the Killer Klowns featuring Clown Shoes beer.

Details for the following Alamo Drafthouse December events aren't out yet, but be sure to mark your calendars for the next Sommelier Cinema on Wednesday, December 7, featuring Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris --  read my review of this delightful film here. And on Monday, December 5, the annual Edible Austin Benefeast takes place, which this year features a screening of Moonstruck. Benefeast raises awareness and funds for two local nonprofits, Urban Roots and the Sustainable Food Center.

[Photo credit: "Spanish Tapas and Wine for 'The Skin I Live In,'" "Jim Sampson of Twisted X Brewing at Great American Beer Festival," by Debbie Cerda. For use with attribution.]

[Full disclosure: Debbie is currently employed part-time by NXNW Restaurant and Brewery.]