The Austin Chronicle

Lager or Leave It

By Anna Toon, July 25, 2014, 3:45pm, On the Range

Occasionally snarky, sometimes drunk, and always amusing, the guys behind Austin Beer Guide want you to drink good beer. In fact, they’ll gladly help you do it.

Founded by Aaron Chamberlain, Chris Troutman, Shawn Phillips, and Josh Spradling, Austin Beer Guide serves as a quintessential tool for beer lovers – a mixture of beer news, interviews, musings, listicles, and antics. The guide, published twice per year (down from four), showcases the culture and community of craft beer in Austin. It’s also an excellent excuse to party.

This Saturday’s Lager Jam hosted by Austin Beer Guide promises the first and largest collection of locally brewed lagers – amassing 15 lagers from Austin’s best breweries including specially brewed lagers from Austin Beerworks, Hops & Grain, Independence, Live Oak, Oasis, and Real Ale. “Texas has some great lagers. We wanted an event to showcase these fantastic beers,” explains Chamberlain.

A ticket for the event includes an event logo pilsner glass, three Lager Jam beers, and a screen-printed event t-shirt. Not bad for $27, but then again, it isn’t about the money. Adds Chamberlain, “At one point we had hoped we could retire as beer magazine millionaires. Quickly we discovered that we would have to keep our day jobs. We continue to publish the guide because being D-list beer celebrities in Austin can be fun, sometimes.”

True to form, the men of Austin Beer Guide eschewed the typical interview process, and below is their Q&A … with each other.

Austin Beer Guide: We all know ABG is the best beer publication in all of the US, why is Austin so lucky you chose to limit your scope to one city?

Austin Beer Guide: Aside from Austin being our home and in convenient proximity of our day jobs, we discovered early on that Austin has a very special beer community. From the brewers, industry folks, the service side, media, homebrewers, and especially down to the consumers- Austin hosts an exceptionally pleasant and amazing culture. We've kicked around the idea of expanding to other budding beer cities, and even took a brief foray with a mini-guide for the North TX scene, but eventually decided that our brand of journalism is mostly appreciated and embraced by our fine community, and it wasn't worth changing our model or bending over backwards to make it work. Also, we're just motivated enough to publish as often as we do, and think Austin the only city deserving of the effort.

ABG: Most bloggers suck, which ones are the worst and why? Feel free to curse and link to examples.

ABG: We often poke fun at bloggers because that is where we came from. Both Chris (me) and Aaron have volumes of web history behind us, and we don't take consistent, honest, original blogging for granted. Most bloggers are doing so on their own, with their own resources and free time, and we respect it when they do it right. Our "jesting" comes from a semi-recent surge of bandwagon bloggers. Folks who fancy themselves a journalist and after getting tipsy on a brewery tour decide that the Internet is finally worthy their prose and pondering on beer. We're suspect of all new bloggers, and have seen from experience the good ones rise to the top based on merit, hard work, integrity, and longevity. I'm always encouraging folks to blog, but they should do it right. Find a niche that's not being filled, work hard, become part of the community, and don't assume you deserve anything. Oh yeah, and darnit, dang, shoot, and butt.

ABG: What's the best mailing address for brewers to send you guys beers?

ABG: Speaking of assuming you deserve anything, please send all beers for samples and appreciation of hard work to the abandoned dentist office above the Draught House care of Austin Beer Guide.

ABG: Is it true that people who buy multiple Lager Jam tickets have better sex, earn more than their coworkers, and receive fewer speeding tickets?

ABG: Absolutely. But don't take my word for it, you better test the theory yourself.

Lager Jam. Sat. July 26.1pm. Billy’s on Burnet, 2105 Hancock Dr. 512/407-9305. Tickets.

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