Film on Tap

Debbie Cerda's monthly beer-and-booze-and-movies column.

Off-Centered Film Festival: 'Blazing Saddles' and Awards

The Alamo Drafthouse recently hosted the fifth annual Off-Centered Film Festival with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, who once again brought along his filmmaker and actor pals Ken Marino and Joe Lo Truglio (seen above with Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League). Several hundred craft beer and film fans filled Republic Park in downtown Austin to watch the classic Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles on the first night of the festival.

Calagione was extremely vocal about his support for the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and their growth and legislative efforts in Texas, both during the event by rallying folks to donate at the pie booth as well as part of a panel after the film. I accompanied Calagione as he tried various craft beers at the festival, and was impressed by his thoroughness in familiarizing himself with the new brewers and attentiveness to his devoted fans. By far, Calagione received more attention from attendees than Marino and Truglio who seemed quite content to relax with a craft beer and quote along with the film.

See more photos from the Rolling Roadshow event and find out who the winners were of the fifth annual film competition after the jump.

Film on Tap: Burton Baton Meets the Waco Kid


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

The most significant local event that infuses film with beer is the annual Off-Centered Film Fest (OCFF), now in its fifth year in Austin, which runs Thursday, April 19 through Saturday, April 21 this year. A collaboration of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the festival features craft beer-themed films and events.

Tickets go on sale today for the OCFF, which includes a Rolling Roadshow screening of Mel Brooks' comedy, Blazing Saddles, a spaghetti Western feast paired with selections from the Dogfish Head portfolio and a special screening of the short-film fest finalists. As usual, Dogfish Head founder and head brewer Sam Calagione will be on hand for all of the festivities and this year he's bringing along his favorite comedic actors, writers and directors including David Wain (Wanderlust), Ken Marino (Role Models, Wanderlust) and Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad),  to co-host and cavort as they celebrate film and beer. As I learned in my interview with Calagione last year, he was roommates with Marino and Truglio in New York and they served as his "quality analysis" for his homebrew experiments.

Nothing quite says Blazing Saddles like a quote-along with a buttload of cap guns, pies, and baked beans on hand at the Thursday night Rolling Roadshow screening in downtown Austin's Republic Park. Like last year's Strange Brew event, in addition to Dogfish Head selections several local breweries will represented, including Independence Brewing, Real Ale Brewing and Live Oak Brewing (Sam Calagione seen above with Live Oak founder Chip McElroy). Special kegs will be on hand from (512) Brewing, Circle Brewing, Hops & Grain, Jester King, South Austin Beer and Thirsty Planet. Members of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild will be manning a booth where you can not only join the guild as an enthusiast, but also "pie a brewer" for a small donation to benefit this non-profit supporting Texas craft beer-related mission.

Find out more about this special weekend and a report of the offerings at the new Alamo Slaughter after the jump.

Film on Tap: Where to Drink at SXSW


Davis Tucker of NXNW and Brian Peters of Uncle Billy's

Every year we feature a "How to Drink Like an Austinite" guide for Fantastic Fest with recommendations on the favorite watering holes near film venues. SXSW Film Festival attendees looking for a change of pace from the "Miller Lite Taste Nation" will definitely want to venture out to bars offering craft beers beyond American light lager and great spirits. You can find award-winning beers from local breweries and brewpubs that will be sure to please any hophead or malt bomb lovers, as well as margaritas and great Texas wines from local wineries.

What is the best way to find great local beer in Austin? Arm yourself with information from Taplister as well the Austin Beer Guide. This collaborative effort between Beertown Austin and Craft Austin features information on craft breweries in Central Texas and where to find it -- unlike other states, in Texas it has been illegal for the breweries themselves to promote their retail locations although a recent lawsuit has changed that policy. The Austin Beer Guide maps are extremely useful to anyone not familiar with downtown and south Austin. Also follow the SXSW beer-drinking action on beer mobile apps including BrewskiMe, Untappd, and Tap Hunter -- if you are a beer geek with a SXSW Gold or Platinum badge, be sure to check out the SXSW Interactive Panel "Social + Location + Mobile = The Perfect Beer".

Rather than just share my own recommendations, this year I've asked local experts, i.e., beer bloggers as well as a couple seasoned SXSW volunteers to share their favorite bars and tips on drinking during SXSW. Find out after the jump where they think you should be enjoying fine craft beer and libations.

Slackery Booze Tidbits, January 23


Blood Sweat Beer posterA few more film-and-alcoholic-beverage news items and upcoming events came to my attention after this month's Film on Tap feature, so I thought I'd share them:

  • The Alamo Drafthouse announced last week that the grand opening date for "Alamo Slaughter," their newest theater located at Mopac and Slaughter Lane, will be Thursday, March 22. The eight-screen theater will feature an adjacent stand-alone cocktail lounge named 400 Rabbits, which along with their full selection of fine spirits will offer a plethora of tequila-centric drinks and Latin American-inspired food creations. Alamo Drafthouse is offering an advance taste of the menu with a special tequila-paired five-course dinner Saturday, February 4, at The Highball, that has already sold out. Stay tuned for other preview events.
  • Alamo Drafthouse also announced last week that the fifth annual Off-Centered Film Fest will take place April 19-21, 2012. Co-hosted by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, this annual event is a three-day festival for beer and film lovers. Submissions are being accepted for the short film competition, and the theme this year is "Western, Off-Centered." Rules and submissions instructions are available here, and the deadline is Monday, March 5. New to the fest this year is an audience award, with film submissions available for viewing and voting prior to the awards ceremony.
  • The Paramount Theatre is hosting a Shaun of the Dead Pub Run + Screening on Tuesday, January 31, with a pub run at 6 pm and screening at 7:30 pm. The 1.1 mile jog from the Paramount to the Texas State Cemetery and back shouldn't be too tiring, but if you're dying of thirst Hops & Grain will be available at the pit and final stop. Proceeds benefit Team Spiridon and the Paramount Theatre. A $15 ticket will get you film admission, complimentary Hops & Grain beer, a limited edition Austin Marathon messenger bag, small popcorn -- plus a BLOOD SWEAT BEERS specialty t-shirt for the first 50 people to arrive. Register online here.

Film on Tap: Beer Docs Shooting in Austin


Adelberts Beer

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

Film and beer have not intersected as much in the Austin community as they have in the past month. Two film crews recently made the rounds to brewpubs and breweries in Central Texas to document the history, culture and challenges of our local brewing industry.

Chris Erlon, founder of local post-production audio studio Digital Domain of Austin, is sharing his love of craft beer by documenting Austin's growing microbrewery movement in his film project Brewed in Austin. You can see him in the above photo interviewing two of Adelbert's Brewery founders, brewer Scott Hover and general manager Greg Smith. The local production will cover the Austin craft beer movement from the history of craft brewing in Austin to a new brewery on the block, South Austin Brewing Co.

The student filmmakers behind Beer Culture, a documentary about the Denver craft brewing industry, are broadening their scope in their latest project, Crafting a Nation. This feature-length documentary is being shot around the country to tell "the story of how American craft brewers are re-building the economy ... one beer at a time," including regions in Oregon, California, Texas, Colorado, Missouri and North Carolina.

Film on Tap: 3, 2, 1 Lift-off!



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

One of the newest local breweries is Austin Beerworks, located in North Austin. This microbrewery blasted out this summer with a firm grasp on the sparsely populated canned craft beer market, winning a silver medal in the English-style summer ale category at the Great American Beer Festival for their Peacemaker Extra Pale Ale. Austin Beerworks has redefined the term "river beer" --  beer that will quench the thirst while floating down the Guadalupe and adhering to the no-glass restrictions. No more "sex in a canoe" beer of American light lager selections, but instead a more diverse selection of beer styles is available for packing in on camping and float trips.

A growing trend in the craft beer industry is collaboration beers, whether between brewers or local businesses. Austin Beerworks brewer Will Golden is a friend of local filmmaker Mike Woolf of Beef and Pie Productions, and a fan of Woolf's documentary Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission (my review). To commemorate beer for the movie's theatrical release in January, the brewers including Michael Graham (seen above) decided to create a Russian Imperial Stout aptly named Sputnik, after the first artificial satellite launched into orbit by the Russian space program. During my SXSW 2010 Spotlight interview with Woolf, I learned he also homebrews and so was naturally enthusiastic about collaborating with Austin Beerworks.

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.

Film on Tap: 'Beer Wars' and Beer Week


Beer Wars posterWelcome to Film on Tap, a new column about the many ways that beer (or sometimes booze) and cinema intersect in Austin.

October is always one of the biggest months for craft beer in Texas, and this year has been no exception, especially with the revival of the Texas Craft Brewers Festival here in Austin. The second annual Austin Beer Week is in full swing, with over a hundred events taking place from October 22-30 highlighting local breweries and brewpubs. Several movie-related beer events are happening at venues around town, including most of the Alamo Drafthouse locations.

North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery is hosting a free screening of the documentary Beer Wars in the pavilion behind their restaurant at 8 pm tonight. Beer Wars explores the U.S. beer industry from the inside, revealing the truth behind the label of your favorite beer. Told from an insider’s perspective, the film goes behind the scenes of the daily battles and all-out wars that dominate one of America’s favorite industries.

North by Northwest is also paying homage to Spinal Tap's band member Nigel Tufnel on November 11 -- that's 11/11/11 -- with a a screening of This is Spinal Tap preceded by a special performance by a cover band.

Find out after the jump about other Austin Beer Week events, and why the screening of the "David versus Goliath" story in Beer Wars is quite timely for the Texas craft beer industry. I also share how Boston Beer Company -- one of the film's feature subjects -- and Flix Brewhouse are supporting the homebrew community in Central Texas.

Fantastic Fest 2011 Guide: How To Drink Like an Austinite


Taps At Red's Porch

Every year the Alamo Drafthouse serves up Fantastic Fest film programming to satisfy a diverse and eclectic range of tastes amongst festivalgoers, and this year is no exception over eight days and nights. Similarly, visitors to Austin for the festival can experience an equally diverse selection of adult libations to satisfy any palate.

This year's Fantastic Fest beer sponsor is Shiner Beers from the Spoetzl Brewery, which was founded about 100 years ago in Shiner, Texas. Shiner is best known for their flagship brew, Shiner Bock, which makes up over 80 percent of the brewery's sales. In addition, Central Texas has experienced a welcome growth of local craft breweries. Find out what's new on tap at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar as well as nearby watering holes, and what you don't want to miss after the jump.

Fantastic Fest 2010 Guide: How to Drink Like an Austinite


Draft beers at The High Ball

Being a native Texan and a craft beer enthusiast, I feel the need to dispel a misconception about Texas beer -- Lone Star is NOT the national beer of Texas. Former Governor Ann Richards unofficially declared Shiner Bock the "national" beer of Texas during her term, as it was her personal favorite hailing from the Spoetzl brewery in Shiner, Texas. Sure, Lone Star beer will quench your thirst when you're floating down the Guadalupe River on an inner tube, but if you have a palate for real hop flavor or a good malt backbone, Texas offers many more and much better beers.

With an increase in the number of microbreweries in Texas, The Texas Craft Brewers Guild has finally come to realization. Central Texas has three microbreweries that have been producing and distributing for several years -- Live Oak, Real Ale, and Independence Brewing. (512) Brewing just celebrated their second anniversary and Thirsty Planet began hitting local taps in July. As if five microbreweries around Austin isn't enough, another eight new craft breweries are slated for Central Texas within the next two years.

What does beer have to do with the Austin film scene and Fantastic Fest? Plenty, if you want to enjoy the "draft" in Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

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