As a kid, I didn’t quite understand people’s obsession with their dogs. Not having grown up with one, my exposure was limited to occasionally petting my friend’s walking carpets and politely nodding at other slobbery creatures I didn’t wish to touch.
That changed when I adopted my puppy, Hazel. Like a new mom, I frequently shove photos of my 53-pound mutt in front of anyone with eyes and ooze about my “main bitch.”
When I happened upon “Sunday Pupday” aimlessly scrolling on Facebook, the decision to go was an easy one. A series hosted by The Collective Brewing Project (112 St Louis Av, 817-708-2914), a local brewery known for its sour ales, the peak brunch-time “pup-crawl” stopped at two other taverns on the Near Southside. A few clicks and $25 later — voilà! — I’d purchased my ticket to three pours and a steel pint glass.
Fortunately, I caught the final crawl before the series’ summer hiatus. Sunday Pupday returns in September, so bark your calendars.
The dog day of pre-summer began at Pouring Glory (1001 Bryan Av, 682-707-5441), a burger and beer joint tucked behind South Main Street. An eclectic group of humans and canines peppered the back patio, and my pup made her excitement loudly known. My cheeks turning rosy, my friend and I quickly checked in, grabbed our pints, and jetted inside to the bar, our mongrels in tow.
There, more friends joined us. While Hazel and her “sister,” Kona, sniffed the other beings trotting by, the adults chowed down on breakfast tacos and indulged in on-tap beers. I swigged an Austin Eastciders Blood Orange as a soundless Star Wars played, dubbed over by cheesy love ballads emerging from the speakers.
Having arrived late, my pawty chugged the last of our drinks and high-tailed it up a few blocks along Bryan Avenue to HopFusion Ale Works (200 E Broadway Av, 682-841-1721), the next stop on our boozy, midday adventure.
As we straggled into the taproom — panting from the sun’s unhindered rays — a lanky woman behind fold-out tables was selling CBD-infused ointments and treats for animals with anxiety. My roommate inquired about her products, and I bit back a quip about whether the salves had undergone human testing.
My group gathered around picnic tables, fawning over our doggos as they licked one another’s snouts. I quenched my thirst with a crisp Honey Pear Locust Cider, kept frosty by my metal mug, while others sipped the Orange Blossom Special, a “coral pour” in a pilsner glass garnished with citrus.
Soon after we’d settled in, the man orchestrating the crawl — whom I later recognized as the bartender at our final destination — announced a sitting contest for the best of man’s best friend. Though Hazel stilled her rump for quite some time, the wiggly pooch was eventually DQ’d — outlasted by a coppery retriever and a twitchy little bug-eyed pup. The two victors’ owners were awarded doggie treats, and, honestly, it’s the leashed they could do for such good boys.
In no time, it seemed, the crew trekked over to Collective Brewing, uncharted territory for me. Its open interior was a welcome change from the previous, slightly more cramped locales, and I gushed over the wood features and exposed light bulbs throughout.
Not usually one for sour anything, unless it’s Sour Patch Kids, I figured, “When in Rome!” Detouring from cider, I tested the waters with Cup o’ Sumpin Sour, a tart raspberry lemonade-flavored brew, and Tropsicle, a hoppy pineapple libation. Both ales artfully balanced tang and hop with a hint of sweet.
My gang ended the afternoon with a late lunch on the patio of nearby Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill – the waiter even let us release the hounds to explore. Sunday Pupday topped off an enjoyable holiday weekend spent quasi-outdoors and with a couple cold ones in hand.