AboutRuvani de Silva, Author at PorchDrinking.com
Just over half an hour directly to the south of Austin sits Lockhart, Texas — the self-proclaimed “barbecue capital” of the state. The quintessential small-town-Texas vibe is punctuated by the enormous queues snaking out of Lockhart’s four famous barbecue joints on the weekend, which attract visitors from across the state and further afield. Now there is a new reason to visit Lockhart: Hawkins Farmhouse Ales.
When Ravi Patel launched Other Desi Beer Co. in 2019, one of his primary aims was to share the tastes and flavors of the Indian food that he grew up with through the medium of high-quality craft beer. With several Indian-cuisine-inspired brews already under his belt, including the delightfully bright and zingy 3 Ranis Pink Guava Hibiscus Sour and the deep, layered High Chai Stout featuring cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon, Patel has now pulled off the coup of brewing what may be the first beer to feature India’s national sweet, the jalebi.
Craft Women Connect, Blk Brew Babes, Pontoon Brewing & The Atlanta Podcast | Pomona Paradise Smoothie-Style Fruited SourJune 10, 2021 | Ruvani de Silva
Not one, not two, but three of Atlanta’s Black beer-community groups have joined forces with Pontoon Brewing to create the Pomona Paradise Smoothie-Style Sour. The beer came out of Pontoon’s ongoing Brewing Conversations project with The Atlanta Podcast–a community-focused initiative to raise awareness about inclusivity and racial issues in and around the Atlanta beer scene.
In just five years, New Orleans’ Urban South Brewing has made a huge impact in the beer world and is currently one of the fastest-growing breweries in the U.S. With more than 200 beers released to date, multiple awards under their belt and newly expanded distribution across Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, Urban South are riding high and celebrating their fifth anniversary in style with a 15-beer collaboration project that includes some of the biggest names in U.S. craft beer. Drekker, American Solera, Aslin and Pontoon are all involved in this highly ambitious project that includes beer styles ranging from mixed-fermentation Table Beer to Fruited Pastry Sour to TIPA.
Once a phrase linked solely with Oatmeal Stouts, the term ‘breakfast beer’ is now applied to beers ranging from Milkshake and Smoothie Fruited Sours to Oat IPAs. Of course, what you may or may not consider to be a true ‘breakfast beer’ invariably depends on what you choose to have for breakfast, but the link between oat content and breakfastiness in a beer remains undisputed.
Austin Beerworks La Verdad is undoubtedly a champion of Texan Mexican Lagers. Its annual release heralds both Cinco de Mayo and the arrival of our sweaty summer season when lying by the pool or floating lazily down the Guadalupe is as much exertion as the weather allows any time after midday here in Central Texas. Now in its fifth year, the La Verdad was last year’s lockdown savior and kept us from parching even when we weren’t allowed in the water.
Who doesn’t love a bake sale? All manner of excitingly delicious, affectionately prepared offerings to tempt the taste buds, with any guilty feelings of over-indulgence thoroughly negated by the knowledge that one is stuffing one’s face to fundraise for a most-worthy charitable cause. A winning fundraising formula employed by school boards, scout troops and religious institutions across the nation, the bake sale has taken on a new and exciting beery form, courtesy of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.
When we think about women in beer, it’s important to remember that beer is an industry like any other, made up a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Increasing representation of women in beer and creating an equal working environment means encouraging and supporting women in all areas of the industry, including fields that aren’t specific to beer itself, because the very nature of genuine diversity involves ensuring it exists across the board. One area women are making huge strides, both in numbers and in prominence, is the arena of beer writing. Once just as male-dominated as the brewhouse, the field of beer journalism has opened up significantly in recent years, with women putting themselves forward, and supporting and enabling their peers through a network of mentorship, collaboration and education. One of the women leading this particular charge has been PorchDrinking’s own Southwest editor, Pam Catoe.
Texan Fruited Sours tend to fly deeply, almost suspiciously under the radar. Not because we’re not proud of them – on the contrary. The truth is that they are so lip-smacking-tasty that we want to keep them all to ourselves. Choosing just one Fruited Sour from a truly dizzying array of outstanding options was a small challenge in itself, but when we heard about new kids on the block Urban South HTX’s ultra flavor-dynamic collaboration with Pennsylvania’s Imprint Beer Co., we heeded the call. Spilled Schmoojee was the result of their collaboration.
Most people of color living in majority-white countries regularly encounter racism, be it violent, cruel and open prejudice or nasty little microaggressions. Sadly, this is a fact. But what do you do when your job, your hobby or both are imbued with structural racism? When it stops being about individual attitudes and becomes about organizational and institutional frameworks and hierarchies that, in their very nature, are skewed to exclude people of color?
As the rest of the country slides into winter, Central Texas is still very much in fall mode – and a very welcome fall it is after a scorching summer locked down without the reprieve of our pools and swimming holes. Fall in Central Texas is full of fluctuation – you may need three different outfits in one day, with the temperature taking on the desert-like tendency to drop dramatically once the sun goes down. For weather like this, we brew up a fine selection of Dark Lagers – beers versatile enough to warm us when we’re being whipped by the wind but light enough to refresh us on those remaining sun-drenched days.
One takeaway from 2020 is that when it comes to surviving an apocalypse, we all need a reason to keep going. For many of us, beer has been a saving grace in this most trying of years but back in 2009, cult horror-comedy movie “Zombieland”’s Tallahassee (aka Woody Harrelson) got his motivation in the form of a Twinkie – the classic American cream-sponge cake produced by Hostess. These “spongy, yellow, delicious bastards” have, in turn, inspired a Halloween tag-team brewing project from Lakewood Brewing and Intrinsic Smokehouse and Brewery – a salute to the “Zombieland” opening scene in their home town of Garland, TX. In the “Zombieland” franchise, the Twinkie acts as a beacon, a signifier – a sign that survival is indeed possible. And when the world is coming to an end, there are certainly worse things to do than hunt for your favorite snack.
It’s no secret that beer nerds love apps – especially apps with badges, rewards and that all-important score board so you can keep track of what your friends are up to. In response to the devastating effect that the pandemic, lockdown, and some extremely tenuous and controversial decisions by the State Governor and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Texas Craft Brewer’s Association are fighting back with their very own Texas Brewery Explorer app.
With National Voter Registration Day just behind us and a mere seven weeks until the 2020 Presidential Election, there couldn’t be a more appropriate time for a brewery to highlight the need for all U.S. citizens to get out and vote. 903 Brewing, based in Sherman, Texas, is in the process of brewing its second bipartisan call-to-action I Voted beer. The blueberry-raspberry-cherry Berliner-Style Weisse follows the raspberry-blueberry sweet Cream Ale that kick-started the project during the May Primaries.
The I Voted beers sport equally red-white-blue packaging and are designed to encourage voters of all persuasions to make themselves heard on Election Day. With the original batch of I Voted having sold out swiftly, 903 is releasing an expanded run of its new Berliner-Style Weisse. The latest release will hit supermarket shelves in mid-October in time for early voting, and should be available for Election Night consumption.
They say that everything in Texas is bigger, and while true, here in Austin everything is more specialized. Austin is a city where folks aren’t afraid to deep-dive into their passions and drill down to create precisely what they love, be it music, food, art or beer. Professor Black is brewed by Blue Owl Brewing, one of the only breweries in the US to both Kettle Sour and sour-mash all of their beers. That’s right, all of them. The brainchild of Jeff Young, formerly of Austin’s Black Star Co-op Brewing, Blue Owl’s unique philosophy of sour-mashing any and every style of beer has made them local legends, especially because they are just so good at it.