Austin Beer Week is a nine-day celebration of independent craft brewers that begins this Saturday, October 20th and continues through a jam-packed schedule of tappings, meet-the-brewer events, pairing dinners, parties and crawls across the city. Some start as early as 10:30 a.m., for the very serious craft beer aficionados among us. But it's not just about beer these days, says event co-organizer Joanne Marino, who says this third iteration of Austin Beer Week is more food-focused than ever.
"In general, the craft beer movement is definitely dovetailing with the locavore movement and with the foodie movement," she says. "There's this beautiful perfect storm. No, it's not a storm—it's like a perfect Eden that's forming around these three things."
This year's food-and-beer pairings include events with Independence Brewing at Haddingtons, Jester King at the Driskill and full-fledged beer dinners with Southern Star at Foreign & Domestic and Ommegang at Easy Tiger.
With so many events, how do Marino and partner Tom Roli maintain a high level of quality at Austin Beer Week? Marino says she simply relies on venues, bars, breweries and restaurants to create events that work best for them.
"We try not to impose agendas on anything," says Marino. "It really is a matter of the breweries and the venues determing what's best." The main requirement? "We're pretty hands off, but if there's something that doesn't really fit, it's not focused on independent craft beer."
Austin Beer Week comes at the end of a whirlwind month for craft brewers, who set up shop at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival in early October before heading off to the Great American Beer Festival and wooing ACL Festival drinkers on the same weekend. Then, it's Austin Beer Week, which Marino says is "both a marathon and a sprint."
"It would be great if everybody appreciates that this has been an intense month," says Marino. She encourages craft beer fans to show their appreciation mainly by, well, drinking the beer at the "something for everyone" selection of ABW events. That shouldn't require much arm-twisting at all.
Black Star Co-Op will host a multitude of ABW events. [Photo: Raymond Thompson/EATX]