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A couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to tell you all about Austin’s Jester King craft brewery and their insanely delicious Black Metal Russian Imperial Stout. Knowing how great that big ol’ bottle of finely crafted brew had tasted, it was an easy decision to head back to the Plano Mister G’s and grab another of the 750 ml Jester King selections they might have.

It would’ve been quite the dissappointment had another one not been available. Wait, I take that back: I would’ve just grabbed another wine bottle-sized Black Metal, now that I think about it.

As fate had it, another Jester King beer was indeed available and – get ready for this – it was an amazing beer experience, well worth the $10 or $11 it takes to acquire the bottle.

Which one did I purchase and then devour, you ask? Drink’in the Sunbelt.

Aside from this being a fantastic summer beer, thanks to it’s hop-intensive, bright bite, it’s made more special by it’s concept. This hoppy, wheat beer is the result of a collaboration between Jester King and Mikkeller, a so-called “gypsy brewer” out of Denmark. According to Jester King, this is the first of two planned collaborations between the brewers. Needless to say, I can not wait for the second partnering.

Look, I’m not a beer expert, nor a beer snob. Yes, I love quality beer that isn’t uncontrollably mass-produced and isn’t usually capable of sponsoring entire major sports leagues. Having stated that, however, I’m just a dude that knows what he likes and enjoys being a tad adventurous with his beer selections from time to time.

The fact is: this beer is worth a shot. I know that’s not very professional sounding, and not something you would hear from my friend The Hophead, but hey, what more do I need to say than: it’s some really delicious alcohol, man.

 

Aside from the incredible line-up that typically occupies the grounds of The Austin City Limits Festival, I’ve got a short list of things that certainly qualify as non-musical highlights each year when I visit the weekend long musical love fest.

The Austin Eats pavilion is almost reason to hit the festival all by itself. The sloppy nachos from the Salt Lick BBQ booth makes this dude bust out a massive BBQ-sauce covered smile. To wash it down? Sure, there’s beer and that’s always a nice way to enjoy a sunny afternoon, but in Austin, there’s something else that seems to call out to me more so than even an icy brew does. Sweet Leaf Iced Tea.

I know, I know. the Austin-based bottled tea is readily available on a relatively wide-scale outside of Austin, but when in Rome, you know?

Whether your heading to the Festival this year or not, head over to Sweet Leaf’s new Granny’s Almanac site, where you can get involved and possibly win all sorts of sweet items from the Austin institution. Feel really passionate towards Sweet Leaf? Put your passion into words and see if that can make you a big winner, also.

Prizes range from tickets to festivals such as ACL, Lollapoalooza and Langerado to a year’s supply of Sweet Leaf Tea! Hey, there are also great offers and deals to be had, even if you’re not some grand-prize winner, so get to it!

In fact, WANT SOME SWEET LEAF TEA MERCH FOR YOURSELF? Leave a comment telling us what your faovrite flavor of Sweet Leaf Tea is (or perhaps tell us what your favorite cocktail recipe involving Sweet Leaf Tea is?), and we’ll pick a random winner from a drawing for some great stuff!

While KRLD Restaurant Week runs predominantly throughout the proper Dallas geographical realm of the restaurant universe, many fine establishments that lie just beyond the city limits take part in the beloved tradition that helps not only diners enjoy great deals throughout the Metroplex on their favorite (or new favorite) restaurants, but also assists the North Texas Food Bank take care of those less fortunate.

A new partner of ours at Best of Texas and Best Buzz is Kirby’s Steakhouse in Southlake. While they are new to us here, they are by no means new to the Metroplex dining scene or to KRLD Restaurant Week.

In fact, for each of the years since 1999 that this specific Kirby’s has been welcoming folks from all over D/FW, it has offered great deal as a part of Restaurant Week, says Rick Shew.

“We will get very creative,” says Shew when describing what diners have to look forward to from their Restaurant Week offerings. As for his own favorites from their regular menu, Shew gets more specific, even.

“Our Peppered Filet with Cognac Pepper Sauce is the best pepper steak in the world, and I stand behind that,” he says. “Our Sea Bass with Lobster Rosotto is incredible, as well.”

While Restaurant Week is only, um, a week, the great deals at the Southlake Kirby’s Steakhouse last well beyond that. Best Buzz-ers get to take part in a special that would seem too good to be true, except that it is true.

For a short time, you can Buzz in and receive a $20 gift card for your next visit to Kirby’s Southlake with the purchase of two entrees!

The Best Buzz App is FREE, and the $20 gift card is one of the many great benefits of simply downloading and using the App on your iPhone or Android.

 

While we left May’s North Texas Beer Festival slightly underwhelmed (just slightly), we left with some grand impressions on a couple of brews that we knew we wanted to get to know much better than through the 2-3 oz samples we met them with at the very crowded, long-line-filled festival in Plano.

In fact, the beer that left me longing more than any other that day was one that I had been told once before to give a shot, actually. A few months ago, we stopped for a quick quality beer at Dallas’ Meddlesome Moth before a meeting, and as we were ready to leave, the bartender, realizing I had just downed one of their stout offerings said, “Bro, you gotta give the Jester King Black Metal a shot, now.” Unfortunately, we had to leave, but those words were at top of mind as the all-too small sample made its deep impression on out taste buds and frontal lobes at the festival.

This week, we found ourselves with reason to celebrate, and what better way to do that than with a premium beer that has haunted you for months, yet remained unexperienced fully to this point? After a stop into the wonderland that is Plano’s Mister G’s (for real, whether you’re looking for beer, wine or a great deli sandwich, this place is a practical toy store for adults), we had our eager hands on a 750 ml bottle of the Jester King Black Metal.

Easily one of the better Russian Imperial Stouts we’ve ever tasted, Jester King, located just outside of Austin, has simply done it and done it right. Weighing in at a seemingly weighty 10.4% ABV, the chocolatey, smokey, nutty and robust nectar has smooth and full mouth-feel yet never tastes like the pure alcohol that one might expect from a brew boasting a ABV that’s over twice what the typical Miller Lite limps in with.

As great as the beer itself is, Jester King just seems to know how to have fun and how to market their brews to their fellow Texans. The black bottle contains sweet, glam-metal-riffic artwork that would satisfy any KISS fan and the description of the beer that’s located on the back label boasts that it’s a “cruel and punishing brew fermented by the sheer force of its awesome will.” Can’t we all agree that a brewery that puts as much effort into the packaging and marketing of their product as they do in the quality of it is one that we should all get behind?

I thought so…

Dallas Brew at the Zoo sounds like a whale of a time, no?

I have to provide a tip of the hat to our friends at the Dallas Observer for this one. Combining chimps, elephants and giraffes with soem fine craft brews is kind of a genius idea. Throw in some music both good (Rebirth Brass Band) and meh (The Spazmatics), and it’s hard to see how one could keep from having a barrel of monkey-type good time (sorry, I had to).

Rain or shine, on September 10th, the Dallas Zoo will be – for that evening, at least – the better of the two metroplex area zoos.

The Observer recently posted some more details on admission and even the beer choices that will be available (and rather plentiful). If you’re not in the clicking mood, but want to see what beers will be available at the event, just scroll on down…

Anheuser Busch: Ziegenbock, Shock Top, Shock Top Raspberry, LandShark, Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Bud Light Lime, Kona Longboard Lager, Widmer Hefeweizen, Redhook Longhammer, Widmer Drifter
Belukus Marketing: Blanche De Bruxelles, Timmermns Strawberry, Wells Banana Bread, Wells Bombardier
Boulevard Brewing Company: TBA
Breckenridge Brewery: Agave Wheat, Vanilla Porter, Avalanche, Lucky U IPA
Brooklyn Brewery: Lager, Brown Ale, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale
California Cider Co.: Ace Perry, Ace Apple, Ace Joker
Choc: 1919 Choc, Signature Belgian Dubbel, Choctoberfest, Summer Ale (if available)
Deschutes Brewery: Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, Green Lakes Organic Amber
Diageo: Guinness Black Lager
Duvel USA: Duvel, Maredsous Blond, Ommegang BPA, Ommegang Hennepin
Franconia Brewing Co.: TBA
Full Sail Brewing Company: Session Premium Lager, Session Black Lager, Amber, Elevation Imperial IPA
Great Divide Brewing: Titan India Pale Ale, Yeti Imperial Stout
Harpoon Brewery: Harpoon IPA, UFO White, Harpoon Octoberfest, Harpoon Cider
Left Hand: Milk Stout, Sawtooth, Pole Star, Stranger
Merchant du Vin: Ayinger Oktoberfest, Smith Organic Lager, Smith Organic Ale, Lindemans Peche
Rahr & Sons Brewing: TBA
Real Ale Brewery: Fireman’s #4, Rio Blanco Pale Ale, Brewhouse Brown, Lost Gold IPA
Saint Arnold Brewing: Lawnmower, Weedwacker, Oktoberfest, Santo (or Elissa IPA if Santo is out of stock)
Sapporo USA: Sapporo Premium, Sapporo Reserve, Sapporo Light
Ska Brewing: Modus Hoperandi, Decadent Imperial IPA, True Blonde Ale, True Blonde Dubbel
Stone Brewing Co.: Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Ruination, Cali-Belgique IPA
Sun Shine Imports: Sir Perry Imported Cider, TBA
Total Beverage Solution: Affligem Blond, Moretti La Rossa, Weihenstephan Hefe
Unibroue: Blanche De Chambly, La Fin Du Monde, Ephemere, Trois Pistoles
United States Beverage: Estrella Damm, Tona, Tiger, Murphy’s Stout
Woodchuck Hard Cider: Woodchuck Amber, Woodchuck Fall Seasonal, Woodchuck Pumpkin, Woodchuck Granny Smith

Along with KRLD Restaurant week, another (almost) culinary tradition that Texas holds dear will be taking place throughout our great state tonight.

The Flying Saucer’s Annual Elvis Glass Night!

It’s been going on for years. The Flying Saucer wants to salute the King and his catalog and what better way to do that than with a toast of a special brew in a specially designed glass that you get to take home with you?

Each Flying Saucer locale will offer the glasses at 7:00 pm and each bar assures that the goods will be gone quick, so be there early or be there empty handed. Even better, The Flying Saucer seems to still be celebrating National IPA Day (which took place last week, unbeknownst to us, sadly), as the special brew in Ft. Worth will be Harpoon IPA, and Maui Big Swell IPA will be served up all special-like in Addison. A New Belgium Brewing offering will be a poured into the Elvis glasses in San Antonio, too.

Raise a glass to the man who taught us all that “we can’t go on together with suspicious minds.” Genius.

It’s become a Dallas dining institution and it’s introduced not only many folks to great restaurants they would’ve never tried typically, but it’s helped the North Texas Food Bank each year to feed those who aren’t fortunate enough to dine at the participating restaurants themselves.

KRLD Restaurant Week takes place next week, August 15 – 21 and it seems like the list of partipants grows each year. As is always the case, the best establishments Dallas has to offer are serving up delicious meals for $35.00 as part of the proceeds head to charity. It really is a win-win scenario for anyone involved.

I’ll never forget my Restaurant Week experience at Abacus in 2004. Unreal, man. Not sure which place I’ll choose this time around, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon enough. If you have any tips or suggestions for a good place, or any good Restaurant Week stories for us, drop ‘em in the comments section, won’t you please?

For further info check out the info I scammed from the official website below:

About KRLD Restaurant Week
Select from any of the over 125 Restaurants and enjoy a fabulous three-course dinner for just $35 per person. For each prix fixe dinner purchased, participating Restaurants will make a $7 donation to the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas or Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth to benefit families in need. Over the years, KRLD’s Restaurant Week raised Millions for local charities. You can help by making your reservation and enjoying a delicious dinner out! Reservations Required. Ask your favorite participating Restaurants for KRLD Restaurant Week Reservations. *Limited seating. Beverages, tax, and gratuity not included.

I know, I know. In the past week or two, many of our posts have been about either music or beer. Got a problem with that? I didn’t think so, actually.

File this under the insanely advanced notice file of blog posts: Various Texas Beer Weeks will be a plenty this fall. The “Beer Week” has been successful in many large markets over the past few years already, but has really begun to pick up steam, along with the rest of the “Craft Beer” scene and the greater appreciation the public is now showing for beers of distinction.

The concept is as simple as it is ingenious and enticing to a beer lover. A few beer-centric pubs and restaurants team up with a few of the countries great craft/microbrewers to create a series of events;ranging from beer dinners, to unveiling new, seasonal brews. Over the course of the week, not only has great beer been showcased, but so has an all-too rare show of solidarity among local business owners that typically find themselves competing for the consumers disposable beer dollar.

Two of the prime examples of upcoming Beer Weeks that pop to mind at this point are the editions that will take place in both Dallas and Austin. These are two different entities and aren’t related to one another, other than the through the respective desires to get their craft-beer-drink on.

They both take place in the fall, which is a glorious time for brews. It seems the fall season is the prime time for progressive brewers to really spread their creative wings when it comes to working with seasonal ingredients and crafting bold, complex and flavorful brews that typically don’t do so well in the spring and summer months when a different type of refreshment is typically desired by the masses.

Details are still coming forward for both cities Beer Weeks, but we know when both will be: Dallas’ will take place November 12-18, while Austin’s will commence a couple of weeks before that on October 22-30. We’ll be keeping you up to date on both as they develop their schedules, and hopefully discovering other cities producing Beer Weeks in similar fashions as well.

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While Europe has long been considered the home of “Major League Football” and South America has often hosted teams that were nothing short of Futbol dynasties, The Great 48 has been picking up steam when up it comes to not only the quality of play we can display here, but in the enthusiasm of the supporters (aka “fans” for the uninitiated) that loyally follow the clubs they often will to victory.

In recent years, Texas has been the home to two of the MLS’s best teams. The Dynamo of Houstonhave been perennial contenders that took home the MLS Cup as the league’s champion in both 2006 and 2007 (after entering the league in 2005, which makes the back-to-back titles even more impressive). As for the Frisco-based FC Dallas (formerly the Dallas Burn), they were a sad, “own-goal” away from being crowned champions this past season when they lost a heart-breaker to the Colorado Rapids.

Perhaps even more impressive than the on-field credentials that each team has built is the devotion and organization of the folks that support each team for each home-game (not to mention many road-games). Whether it’s the Texian Army in support of The Dynamo, or The Inferno in support of FC Dallas, each group makes clear their intentions to any who may wonder: To fully and vocally encourage their team at all times throughout the 90 minutes of each game.

By organizing pre-game tailgate parties that often end with a coordinated group “march to the match,” these fans are showing all others what it’s like to really be a supporter in far more than name only.

Chants? Check. Group Songs? Check. Coordinated color clothing? Check.

Such details are common-place in Europe and other soccer hotbeds, but here in the states, outside of a few college football-crazy spots, such obvious fanaticism has withered away from our professional sports landscape as many of the prices to attend events have made it so that the average fan is unable to attend regularly. With both Houston and Dallas, strides are made to include fans of all tax-brackets. Cheap to free parking, regular ticket-discounting programs and even drink specials make it easier for people to come equipped and ready to support their favorite squad.

For information on both the teams and the official supporter groups, see below:

Houston Dynamo:

FC Dallas:

 

It’s been a few weeks, but the Appy Hour is so back and ready to help you bring in your weekend in a most celebratory and cost-effective way!

This Friday, July 22 from 5:00 pm to 8:00pm, at Kent Rathburn’s Blue Plate Kitchen is where the buzzworthy madness will ensue. Helping the madness, of course, will be not only great drinks, but great prices on said great drinks.

How does 50% off of all wines by the glass and 50% off of all appetizers sound? We know, you’re right. It sounds really good. Even better, “Buzz In” and not only will you get those sweet deals, but you’ll automatically be entered into a giveaway for a trip for two to the Cayman Islands.

We’ve said it before, but there are tons of great deals to be had through the BestBuzz app. So, there is just no reason you shouldn’t have the BestBuzz App for either iPhone or Andriod at this point. Come on, without it, tasty food and tastier drinks at delicious prices just can’t be yours.

See you there on Friday!