Something Old, Something New
ACL and foodies consciously couple
Last year, the new craft beer tent was a much-needed oasis in the sweltering sun. Although constantly crowded, the ample space provided an excellent shaded spot to meet up with friends between sets. The expected array of American mass-produced beers was gone, replaced by grassy IPAs and rich stouts – a welcome respite, despite the slightly higher prices. Yes, you can buy a six-pack for the price of one beer in the tent, but hey, it's a festival.
This year, the tent features 16 different brews to choose from, including three local offerings from Real Ale Brewing as well as 16-ounce Firemans 4 cans. While some of the most popular brews from last year's list are back, organizers have mixed it up a bit by adding Alaskan's Freeride APA and White, Odell's 90 Shilling and IPA, Stone IPA, Harpoon UFO White, Victory Prima Pils, Breckenridge Agave Wheat, and Left Hand Milk Stout. For those who prefer a gluten-free buzz, the tent also offers Original Sin hard cider and Woodchuck Hopsation cider. Like last year, there will be plenty of screens showing the biggest NCAA and NFL games.
As for something new, ACL is becoming populist. ACL has partnered with the Austin Food and Wine Festival (the two share the same producer, C3 Presents) for the last few years in serving snacks to the holders of the coveted VIP passes. Thankfully, that partnership has evolved into the first-ever Chef Showcase.
The AFWF Chef Showcase will feature a different chef each day of ACL at Austin Eats, smack in the middle of the food court, from 11am to 10pm. "The Austin Food and Wine Chef Showcase has been a perk reserved for ACL's VIPs," says Lindsay Hoffman, festival marketing manager at C3 Presents. "This year, we wanted to bring these top chefs to Austin Eats, so that fans could experience how our region's top chefs continue to transform festival fare into a rich culinary experience. Delicious food has always been a component of the ACL Fest experience, and partnering with Austin Food and Wine Festival just brings it to the next level."
Highlights from last weekend include delicious grilled quail in a savory Asian glaze from Bryce and Jack Gilmore (of Odd Duck/Barley Swine & Jack Allen's Kitchen fame), San Antonio superchef Jason Dady's unique take on Frito pies (yes, he did put Nutella on it!), and chorizo stuffed dates with applewood-smoked bacon, charred pepper sauce, and arugula salad from chef Blaine Staniford of Grace Restaurant in Fort Worth. Second weekend festivalgoers can look forward to eclectic dishes from Andrew Wiseheart & Ben Edgerton (Contigo/Gardner) on Friday, the return of David Bull's (Second Bar + Kitchen/Congress) excellent bánh mì on Saturday, and Thai specialties from Alexis Chong (Sway) on Sunday.
C3 will also be offering you a chance to win a pair of free weekend passes to the Austin Food and Wine Festival in April. Tag your favorite local food shots in Austin with #afwfest #aclfest on Instagram and Twitter throughout the weekend — whether it is at Zilker Park during the festival or anywhere else in Austin. The winner will be picked on October 13. Bon appétit and good luck!