Saturday I “toured” the Independence Brewery with a handful of my fellow professional do-gooders. Top 5 day, no doubt about it.
The reason why it was a top 5 day needs some explanation.
I confess: I started writing this blog while I was unemployed. The day I both signed up for unemployment benefits and started a beer blog—even though I had been planning for both for months—felt like a manifestation of an embarrassing stereotype of millenium middle-class life. But here I am, three weeks into a satisfying gig, and still writing about beer and the people around me who enjoy it. Life is pretty great for me most of the time.
When I moved to Austin, I joined a Meetup of social workers. I freaking love social workers. Social workers do hard, valuable work. You probably guessed that. But we also tend to have messed-up, dark senses of humor. I tell stories and jokes with my colleagues that hinge on suicide threats, depravity, addiction, and other dark matter—as punch lines! It clearly depresses the hell out of everyone else. Life can be terrible, and a social worker will help you figure out how to access your resources and strengths to move in a generally less terrible direction. But a person can’t daily fight abuse, murder, and overwhelming poverty without being able to laugh in its face. Thus our cripplingly twisted jokes.
Anyway. I freaking love social workers. This Meetup has, in addition to introducing me to some fantastic colleagues, introduced me to some really wonderful eating and drinking establishments in Austin. We’ve had happy hour at Abel’s on the Lake, an open air joint that sits right on Lake Travis. We’ve eaten at East Side Kings, a food trailer that originated from Paul Qui, the most recent winner of Top Chef. But Saturday we met at Independence Brewery for their monthly community tour.
Tour is the wrong word for this event. It’s a two-hour beer festival in Independence’s parking lot. Buy a pint glass for $6, get it filled three times with some locally brewed craft beer. Families were their with their babies and dogs. People from my Mississippi hometown were there. A band was there. It was one of the most wonderful afternoons of my life to date.
Beer. Social workers. The combination is unbeatable.
I’m a fan of the Independence Bootlegger Brown. It’s definitely in the running for my drink anytime beer. Browns in general are a lovely creation: not so dark as to scare off the stout-leery, but malty enough to wrap your tongue up in a perfect beer envelope. The the Bootlegger Brown is a fine example. I hope the next time I drink it, its environs are half as satisfying as drinking it in its own backyard.