Movies and Beer! Is there any better pairing?!

6 Bullets to Hell Movie PosterA man yells at workers as they renovate his bar in a desolate and sandy desert town. A man in black strolls from the blinding sun into the bar, eyes blazing with the heat of revenge. After asking the bar owner, “Do you shoot women and children?” the man in black shoots him down. That’s 6 Bullets to Hell, a new spaghetti western-style movie from director, Tanner Beard. Beard is a director, writer and actor that loves westerns, the LA film industry and Austin Beerworks. Just after the premiere of his newest role in Thunder Broke the Heavens at The Dallas Film Fest, Beard sat down with me to chat about the Austin beer scene, California craft beer and movies.

Tanner Beard MicDo you have a favorite drinking haunt in Austin or LA?
Beard has 2 homes; one in LA and the other in Austin. “I live at the SkyHouse Building off Rainey. To walk downstairs to some of the best bars in Austin, is amazing! Javelina Bar’s food is good and they always have great live music. I always go back and forth between there and Craft Pride because of their selection. I probably have to go with Javalina, though,…because of the music.”
In LA, Beard suggests Timmy Nollin’s Tavern and Grill, “I’ve been going there as long as I’ve lived in LA. It’s an Irish Pub in Taluca Lake [just north of LA].”

What was your first “eureka!” craft beer?
“Back when I first turned 21, I got a Shiner in a frozen mug. A good ol’ cold Shiner Bock. It was kinda rare 10 years ago.”

How’s the fridge stocked right now?
“Lately, I’ve been sitting at home getting ready for some acting roles, so I have to hit the gym and mostly avoid beer. But come Friday and Saturday nights, I’ve been drinking Austin Beerworks’ stuff. Royal Blue Grocery has great beer. They’re very hipster friendly and the selection is well thought out.”

Do you have any favorite Texas or California beers?

“Beer you have to try-Austin Beer Works! The top 2 are Peacemaker, it’s a really good summer time drink, and Black Thunder, it’s a little lighter than Guinness, but it’s the lightest dark beer I’ve ever drank. I don’t know what’s in it…crack cocaine?”

“I’m from Snyder, Tx originally, but my parents are in Granbury now. I really enjoyed Blood and Honey from Revolver last time I was visiting.”

In regards to California he said, “When it comes to crafts in California, the big ones being: Sierra Nevada, Firestone, and Stone Brewing Co. I’d say I’d still rather have any beer from Texas pop a Cali Craft.” and he added, “We were shooting a Travel Channel pilot a while ago. We were shooting places off the beaten path and were in The Kern River Valley. I like the stuff that nobody knows about. It makes me feel like I’m doing something interesting and not so main stream. That’s how I found Kern River Brewing. Plenty of old time westerns, like Stagecoach with John Wayne, were shot out there.”

Beard caught the movie bug after high school when he attended The New York Film Academy at Universal Studies. “I didn’t really go to college. I gotta say Snider High School was my alma mater. Instead I attended The New York Film Academy at Universal Studies. Shit, I got to film on the back lots of Universal Studios. It’s a very well-off school.”

What did you do with your education?
Valley Peaks Poster“My friends and I made a TV show on my neighborhood called Valley Peaks making fun of Spanish Soap Operas, in English. During the LA Writers Strike we lived on the street over from Warner Bros. During the strike we were making this TV show across from their fence. Looking back on it, that was one of the most fun times I had in LA. We had a few friends come on like; Kellan Lutz, Brea Grant and Lance Bass. We only planned to make 1 or 2 episodes, but then a German production company picked it up. Then The Writer’s Strike ended and we went back to work.”

Since that first series, Beard went on to act in multiple roles in features like; Thunder Broke the Heavens and From Dusk Till Dawn (the series),  and even created his own production company, Silver Sail Entertainment, “There’s not always acting work and I hate the idea of not being able to control my career. I grew up making movies, so I started my production company to allow me to produce my own stuff. From underneath my feet it became a job.”

Beard and Silver Sail have been busy producing larger budget films with direct Terrence Malick like Knight of Cups with Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett (to name a few) and Weightless with Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gossling. The most recent indy film from Silver Sail is 6 Bullets to Hell, “It’s a spaghetti western in its truest form. It looks like it was dusted off the shelves. We dubbed the dialogue like the old westerns and shot everything on the same sets as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in the deserts outside Almaria Spain. It’s a good revenge western!” says Beard.

Oskar Blues Ten FidyI got a chance to watch 6 Bullets to Hell, sadly not with Austin Beerworks’ Peacmemaker, but with Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy. But it was a great pairing of boozy beer and bloody, bullet-riddled mayhem. So keep an eye out for some of Beard’s upcoming films and grab him a Peacemaker if you see him running around Austin.

Enjoy Your Craft,
Ben Esely is a co-founder and the Brewer Interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Traveler Beer Company: Wandering Beyond Typical Craft

Traveler Beer Company Curious Traveler ShandyWhen I was told that my next review would be on a couple of Traveler Beer Company’s shandies, I was apprehensive. Shandies are typically low grade beer mixed with lemonade or citrus flavored soda, and to be honest such a concoction isn’t really in my wheelhouse. After being told that The Traveler brand is looking at infusing craft principles into the shandy market by way of using natural fruit and flavorings, I felt much better. After all, why is it that I would have no qualms about reviewing a beer brewed with orange peel or even a drink that’s arguably more fruit than beer such as Kasteel Rouge, but run away when the term shandy is applied? A large part of enjoying craft beer is finding new flavors, and I’m not about to let preconceived ideas get in the way of that.

I did, however, choose to review Traveler’s products in a different manner. You see, the intent of a shandy is not to host a complex array of flavors, but to provide unparalleled refreshment. So, as a precursor to my review, I mowed my back lawn that I had let grow unusually high in an effort to let the bluebonnets reseed. Given the warm Texas sun, I knew I would put the thirst quenching capabilities of the shandies to the test.

Thoroughly drenched in sweat, I immediately went for Traveler’s flagship product, the Curious Traveler, a lemon lime shandy. On first sip, straight from the bottle (I was thirsty, give me a break) it seemed like it fell into the “Jack of all trades, master of none” category, it being neither as good as straight lemonade or my favorite IPA. With each gulp thereafter, I begin to realize that it contains a very nice balance of American wheat ale and lemon lime flavors. By the time I finished the bottle (and keep in mind that the Curios Traveler is unbelievably easy drinking and as such was quickly consumed) I was swayed. The Curious Traveler is a refreshing and very pleasant drink in its own right. However, it did not quench my thirst entirely, but that was due to extreme exertion over all else, and for that I was thankful that I had an Illusive Traveler as well.

Illusive Traveler Grapefruit Shandy Traveler Beer CompanyThe Illusive Traveler is a grapefruit shandy- a unique twist on the shandy concept. Once I had consumed the Curious Traveler and no longer felt the unrelenting need to consume liquid as fast as possible, I took the time to pour the Illusive Traveler into a snifter. The appearance was as you would expect, a hazy pink hue with moderate carbonation. The smell was full on grapefruit, and I expected no less. Not a lot of complexity there, but again that’s not what I was looking for.

The taste was spot on- sweet grapefruit with a pleasant backing from an American wheat ale. To me, this is the star of the Traveler’s offerings, as I found it much more refreshing than the Curious Traveler. My wife Jamie Webster, an accomplished reviewer in her own right, stated with authority that it’s the perfect summer drink, and I would agree. Here in Texas, where summer temperatures can reach 110 with plenty of humidity, the search for refreshment can be quite taxing. Consider the problem solved by the Illusive Traveler.

Traveler Beer Company’s products deliver where they are needed- a crisp, refreshing drink. Don’t look at replacing your favorite beer with their products, instead look at them as a supplement to your craft beer endeavors. I think Alan Newman and Jim Koch have the makings of starting a peripheral market here that is worthy of consideration.

For those looking for something more like their traditional craft beer styles, I would recommend Traveler incorporate another offering. Take their Illusive Traveler, replace the Hallertau hops with Cascade and up the IBUs from 7 to somewhere in the 35 range, and we’ll have a shandy that will have IPA lovers jumping for joy! The sweet grapefruit will provide a compliment to the citrus hop flavors and a balance to the bitterness. Maybe we’ll see something like this, maybe not, but regardless I believe you should give Traveler Beer Company a shot if you are looking for an easy, pleasant, thirst-quenching drink during the warmer Summer days.


Ben Webster is a co-founder and the educational writer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Till and Toil Spring Steak Marinade

When Lakewood Brewing Co releases the spring saison, Till and Toil, you know that warm days, thunderstorms, bright flowers and buzzing bees will quickly follow. For me, this beer has become the harbinger of spring. A good bye to the wondrous, yet short, winter months. This year, I found myself with a time crunch and 5 remaining bottles of this portent of spring, but only hours to marinade and grill steaks before dinner. So I tossed together this recipe and viola!

What you’ll need:Till and Toil Saison
-2 steaks (Medium, or possibly thin, cut steaks. I tried this recipe with rib-eye steaks cut at about half an inch.)
-2 bottles of Till and Toil
-1 teaspoon of salt
-1 Tablespoon of lemon pepper

Shallowly cut, length-wise, repeatedly down one side of each steak, flip them over and perpendicularly cut the other side. These are light cuts that just open the surface area of the steak (don’t cut THROUGH the meat).

Fill a large Ziplock bag with the steaks, 2 bottles of Till and Toil, salt and lemon pepper. Squeeze the air from and seal the Ziplock and you’re done.

I was only able to let the steaks sit in the marinade for about an hour, but they fell apart when they hit the grill like they had been awash in deliciousness for an entire night. I allowed 3 minutes cooking on each side, but you may want to adjust your cook time based on your rarity preference.

When they were finished, the steaks were moist and tasted of flowers, smelled of fresh rain on a newly cut lawn and…Seriously, each bite was salty and a little fruity thanks to the lemon pepper and its spicy citrus flavor intertwining with Till and Toil’s hoppy fruitiness.

All-in-all I was amazed that this marinade brought about such tender steaks with such a unique, spring taste. Try it and let us know if you have any suggested changes.

Enjoy Your Craft,
Ben Esely is a co-founder and the Brewer Interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society.

A Review of Founders Brewing’s Porter

Founders Brewing PorterTypically, Porters fly under my radar. Particularly so when they share shelf space with Russian Imperial Stouts. There are, however, a couple of Porters that I am always happy to try, and one of those is the Porter from Founders Brewing.

The beer poured black and developed a light brown head. As that head dissipated, some brown rim variation sprang up along with the clarity that was masked by the color. (It’s really a nice looking Porter.)

From the moment the bottle was opened, I was hit with this glorious bouquet of coffee and chocolate that is a hallmark of beers in the Porter/Stout genre. The nose didn’t stop there. It’s balanced with hoppy goodness, and almost perfectly at that.

The carbonation level is on point for the style- not a lot of it. That lack of carbonation gives way for an amazing silky mouthfeel. Thin and light on the tongue, this Porter offers a juxtaposition of its mouthfeel to its bold flavors.

The taste is perfect- bold coffee and roasted malt, light chocolate balanced by sweet toffee, and caramel. In the background light tastes of wood, earth, and an almost herbal quality set up complexity that works well with the hops that complete the flavor profile.

All and all, Founders Porter is a brilliant example. I’m willing to bet it’s probably one of the best at your local bottle shop. Full flavor and still sessionable, Founders Porter is a go-to beer for me, and I think anyone should keep this beer in steady rotation.

Ben Webster is a co-founder and the educational writer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Top 5 April Fool’s Posts from Texas Breweries

Jester King decided it was time to dump all of their world renowned beer to produce nothing but Black Metal, and in cans!
Jester King dumping

Community Beer Company will begin infringing on buddies’ beers.
Community April Fools
Four Corners Brewing teamed up with Pizza Hut to brew the new Pizza Hut Pepperoni Pilsner!


On Tap: Flavor of NowThey said it couldn’t be done.

Posted by Pizza Hut on Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Peticolas sold out to AB-InBev. (so sad…)
Peticolas Sold to AB-InBev

Deep Ellum Brewing Co has created the most rare, hard-to-find and highest abv session stout ever, Concrete Block. It’s a 35% session stout with a Dallas Blonde base aged in concrete blocks. Per Zack Fickey, if you find a bottle, you’re better than everyone else.

Enjoy Your Craft,
Ben Esely is a co-founder and the Brewer Interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Jester King’s newest release is a true balance of gentle complexity

From Jester King:

Equipoise labelWe’re very excited to introduce Equipoise, a farmhouse ale brewed with ginger salt and tarragon, and refermented with cantaloupe, made in collaboration with Chef Paul Qui. We’ve been great fans of Chef Qui’s cuisine for several years now, having first enjoyed his work at Uchiko and East Side King, and later at his eponymous Austin restaurant Qui. We’re also great fans of food and beer pairings. The right pairing can enhance both the complexity of a beer’s flavor profile and that of the dish with which it’s served. In working with Chef Qui, we sought to create a beer that would complement, and hopefully enhance, his culinary perspective.

The principles behind our collaboration, as the name suggests, are balance and equilibrium. We’ve long been immensely impressed with the subtlety, restraint, balance, and delicateness of Chef Qui’s cuisine. The thoughtfulness with which he creates layers of flavors has led to some of the most complex dishes we’ve ever tasted. Based on Chef Qui’s principles and philosophy, we similarly wanted to create a subtle, balanced beer that wouldn’t overwhelm the palate. We felt comfortable working within this context, as these principles are important to us for all our beers. We also had the goal of creating a low-alcohol table beer that could be shared amongst friends and enjoyed over the course of the entire meal. Thus, we decided to bottle Equipoise in 1.5 liter-magnums. Having had the opportunity to work with Chef Qui was a great honor for which we’re most grateful.

Equipoise was brewed in September of 2014 with Hill Country well water, malted barley, oats, hops, ginger salt, andCantaloupe from Johnson's Backyard Garden dried tarragon. It was then fermented in stainless steel with our unique mixed culture of microorganisms consisting of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery in the Texas Hill Country. Puréed cantaloupe was added to the beer three days into fermentation. Finally, it was 100% naturally conditioned in bottles and kegs. Equipoise is 4.2% alcohol by volume, has a finishing gravity of 1.000 (0 degrees Plato), and was 4.32 pH and 26 IBUs at the time of bottling in October of 2014.

Equipoise will be released on Friday, April 3rd at Jester King Brewery when our tasting room opens at 4pm. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 1.5 liter bottles ($24, limit 1 per customer per day). Approximately 1,350 bottles will be available. A beer dinner featuring Equipoise will take place at Qui later this spring — details to follow.

The label art for Equipoise was done in-house by our own Josh Cockrell, who used the decor and cuisine at Qui as inspiration for the label art.