We Have an Issue: Welcome to the Drinks Issue
Beer rankings, women with spirit, and guys with great wives
By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Oct. 15, 2021
Chronicle kids, pets, and partners make frequent cameo appearances in our daily meetings over Zoom. On rarer occasions they chime in with ideas, too, which is exactly what happened with this week's cover concept. Melissa Plunkett – wife of Culture Editor Richard Whittaker, who y'all already know is mad about Halloween – suggested the creative possibilities in a pumpkin standing in for a drinks cooler, and Art Director Zeke Barbaro expanded on the idea for this rather festive Drinks Issue cover. I think it turned out beautifully, though I suspect gourds are not going to be Zeke's preferred canvas going forward. Zeke reports the pumpkin – procured from the Optimist Club of Austin's pumpkin patch off Lamar – weighed 29 pounds, lino-cutting tools were clutch, and his wife Camille Clements Gilbert helped with the hours-long project to "lobotomize" and design the pumpkin. Oh, and – rather fitting for the Drinks Issue – "the whole thing was fueled by Pinthouse Electric Jellyfish."
Speaking of, Pinthouse made some power moves on beer columnist Eric Puga's annual rankings of Central Texas breweries, the centerpiece feature of the Drinks Issue. Eric's 1-10 rankings appear in print in full, but look for his story online to read write-ups for his entire Top 25 favorite brews. Other highlights of this special section: profiles of two women – a biologist and a musician – making forays into the spirits industry, a "drink your way around the world" feature that will send you all over town, and this teetotaler's roundup of newish nonalcoholic beverages to check out.
Whatever you're drinking, cheers to you, friends.
Online This Week
That's a Wrap for ACL Fest: Jon Batiste revives our spirits, Brené Brown sits down with Roy Fucking Kent, RuPaul's Drag Race star Trixie Mattel reveals layers, and more highlights from the Chronicle's ACL Festival coverage, all at austinchronicle.com/acl.
Breaking Up the Band: Music Editor Kevin Curtin has the story of how Hans Gruber & the Die Hards kicked out two band members over a refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
A World of Food-Based Weirdness: Wayne Alan Brenner previews food & travel tome Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide.
Phenom Pepi Electrifies Q2: Read Eric Goodman's report from last week's World Cup qualifier against Jamaica.
So, Vending Machine Pizza Is a Thing Now: Basil Street's Automated Pizza Kitchen flourishes in ATX.
Sound Unseen Returns: The festival celebration of film, music, and films about music expands this year to include not just virtual programming but also IRL screenings at AFS Cinema.
The Austin Chronicle Show on KOOP 91.7FM
This week, Mike Clark-Madison, Lina Fisher, and Austin Sanders join host Kimberley Jones to discuss what's on the Nov. 2 ballot and how it got there.
Tune in Fridays, 6pm, to KOOP Community Radio. Past episodes at austinchronicle.com/av.