A few weeks ago, head bartender Phil Vuong and his team launched a brand new beer cocktail menu at Brew Exchange in Austin. Shandies may dot beer menus around Austin, but this is the first complete beer cocktail menu that I've found in the city.
Several years ago the folks at Dogfish Head created a device called Randall the Enamel Animal. It connects a keg faucet to a canister holding fresh hop cones. When the keg was attached to the Randall, the beer was pushed through the cones as it was poured, adding an intensely fresh hop aroma. These days, breweries and craft beer bars employ Randalls to infuse not just hops, but also fruits, spices, and coffee beans into their beers. Want to try it at home? All you needs is a French press.
The rise of beer gardens in America coincided with the opulent economic advances of the Gilded Age, and their style reflected that. The gardens built by brewing giants such as Frederick Pabst and Frederick Miller to promote their brands were the exact opposite of the dive bars where their brews are popular today. Schlitz Garden, built in 1879 by the Schlitz brewery in Milwaukee, featured a concert hall, dance pavilion, bowling alley, and a three-story pagoda that provided stunning views of the city.