Is there a better drink on a hot summer day than a cold Coors Light? Well, water, of course, but as the joke about sex in a canoe goes, Coors Light is fucking close to water (or it is, if you’re a hater). And, boy, are there a lot of haters. At various times in my life, I’ve counted myself in their midst, knitting my brow in outright hostility toward the legions of frat guys and rednecks who refuse to bro down with anything but Silver Bullets. Well, and Jäger shots, but that’s a different discussion.
I guess I’d unscrewed the top of my third Coors Light tallboy when I thought about how ridiculous brand loyalty can be, at least when it comes to macrobrews. It was Saturday at Dia De Los Toadies, and I was wandering in a buzzy, weedy haze across Panther City Pavilion’s acreage of dead grass, wondering if, on such an achingly sun-baked day, the Coors Light die-hards would swallow their preferences and opt for the similarly bread-flavored brew that comes in a can that says, “High Life” or “Budweiser” on it. You know, for the sake of thirst.
I bring this up because there was recently a beer and music festival in Dallas touting craft brews and indie rock, perhaps two of the most preciously curated cultural consumables in North Texas at the moment. Dia, with a lineup full of bands that were big a long time ago, didn’t necessarily have the same hip cachet as that Dallas festival (Untapped, or Index, or, I dunno, Hello Gigglesquatch). But, damned, if there weren’t a lot of people on the island to watch Baboon, a band that formed more than 20 years ago, when the people who are supposed to go to a fest like Index were drinking milk, rather than milk stouts, out of a bottle. And, damned, if there weren’t 10 times that many to watch The Toadies, themselves elder statesmen of Fort Worth’s music scene. That the annual festival finally found its way to The Toadies’ homebase was kind of a nice way of seeing Cowtown come into its own. Like the bend of the Trinity overlooked by the main stage, Dia De Los Toadies wasn’t totally fancy, but it was a lot of fun, no matter what band or beer you pledged allegiance to. –– Steve Steward
Zio Carlo Brew Launch
Almost exactly one year ago, Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub manager Adam Gonzales told me that his Near Southside establishment would finally begin brewing beer within the optimistically nebulous timeframe of “soon.” I guess it’s all relative. In the case of ZC’s IPA and what-not, “soon” unintentionally became “eventually,” but, finally, after a year of fixing equipment and tweaking formulas, “eventually” has become “now,” or, more specifically, “tonight.”
If you’re reading this on Wednesday, Zio Carlo is launching all five of its beers at 7 p.m. tonight. While a couple have made their way to the taps before, three of them are brand-new. All told, beer nerds and beer know-it-alls will be able to sample Zio Carlo’s Batch Limit (a German wheat beer served with house-made syrups); Roman Empire ESB (an herbaceous extra-special bitters made with myrtle); Bianca Pesca Wit, a citrusy, Belgian-style ale accented by 60 pounds of Parker County peaches; the curiously named Second-Best IPA; and a near-extinct style of light wheat beer called Smoke Wheat Everyday.
Zio Carlo has certainly experienced its share of ups, downs, and open-mouth-insert-foot moments, getting by on the merits of a nice selection of regional craft beers, knowledgeable staff, and stellar pizzas and pasta dishes, not to mention an atmosphere that encourages informal hangouts for everyone from cyclists to church-goers. Now that’s its beer is finally here, the Magnolia brewpub can begin its next chapter, the one it started writing before it even opened its doors. Do a solid for Gonzales and company and check out what they’ve been up to for the past year. With five different in-house beers, you’re bound to find something to write home about. –– S.S.
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