Home's a Brewin'

A Newcomer Discovers Austin's Beer Culture

Introducing: Ivy Le
Introducing: Ivy Le

I am no beer snob, just as I am no water snob. I just need it to live – and lots of it to thrive.

Since I moved here three weeks ago from Athens, Ga. – a pint-size version of ATX – with my husband, an oft-homesick German national, I have been busy making this city our home. I don't mean homemaking like in the magazines. I mean finding our place, like my parents did when they came to America.

Here's how a drinker immigrates to Austin.

First: Get your bearings. I studied the mural of area breweries gracing Workhorse Bar's back patio (100 E. North Loop), but I needed details like "What part of Austin do I live in?" and "Where do I buy beer for the fridge, for lunch, or for breakfast?" Like a 1-up mushroom in Super Mario Bros., the new, free magazine Austin Beer Guide, chock full of maps, appeared in a housemate's car, and I jumped on it (www.austinbeerguide.com).

Second: Find people who speak your language. "That bald and bearded fellow at HOPE Farmers Market with a beer pull in his hand probably speaks beer," I thought – and he did. When Billy Murff, who was pouring free Adelbert's Philosophizer Saison, heard I was new to town, he intoned, "Watch out for Flying Monk." Is Flying Monk dangerous like a chupacabra or good-magical like a leprechaun? That's another article.

Third: Accept every invitation. We could have made the rain an excuse to stay in instead of meeting friends at Easy Tiger (709 E. Sixth), but we went, and re-emerged with a buzz and loaves of German bread under our arms. Bread and beer, beer and bread – and friends to share it with: Austin began to feel right that night.

Fourth: Preserve your culture. Oktoberfest's stein-shaped shadow hung urgently over my scavenger hunt. If the comfort of food is crucial to the idea of home, so is the joy of holidays. The range of options included Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden (79 & 81 Rainey), featuring live music; the German Free School Oktoberfest (507 E. 10th), featuring live Germans; and the Texas Craft Brewer's Festival at Fiesta Gardens (2102 Jesse E. Segovia), featuring live brewers.

I can't know what my Austin chapter holds, but I reckon I'll find plenty of people who speak my language.


Ivy Le, a new and thirsty Austinite, lived and wrote for the last 11 years in Georgia, but originally hails from Dallas. Follow her on Twitter @UrbanHaiku.

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