Go ahead and file this post under “Shameless Self-Promotion,” but seeing as this is a pretty unique beer event, we couldn’t resist.
(Like we ever actually resist)
Long before modern day Austinites started spending their evenings in the beer gardens of The Draught House, Easy Tiger and Banger’s, Austin’s earliest residents had just about the same idea. Around 100-150 years ago, places like Pressler’s Garden, Jacoby’s Garden, and the still surviving Scholz’ Garden were the social centers of the city, especially for Austin’s large German population. And even though the beers were constantly flowing (until Prohibition that is), these establishments were known for their relaxed, family friendly vibe.
The event is called Beer Garden Social: A 19th Century Family Experience, and will include everything you would expect from a night out at a beer garden during that era, including traditional 19th century menu options, Texas fiddle music and of course, beer.
The evening will also include a traveling exhibit from the Austin History Center, featuring some historical artifacts, advertisements and photographs from the time period. Mike Miller, the history center’s manager will give a presentation on Austin’s historical beer gardens, and, here’s where the self-promotion kicks in, I’ll be doing a presentation on the breweries that operated in Austin during the second half of the nineteenth century.
We’re very excited about the opportunity to be involved with this event, because it will be an opportunity for attendees to hear a little bit about some of the fascinating brewers and breweries that will be covered in the first chapter of our upcoming book “Austin Beer Capital City History on Tap,” which is slated for release this October through publisher History Press. This includes folks like Johann “Jean” Schneider, one of Austin’s first commercial brewers who built a series of subterranean vaults in the early 1860’s to keep his lagers cool during fermentation. Sadly, it seems that Schneider died before ever getting to use the vaults for brewing, but they have survived to present day and are now used as a private dining room below La Condesa.
While our book will cover the history of Austin beer all the way from the 1860’s, to modern day breweries, to breweries that are actually still in planning, it was particularly fascinating to dig deep into Austin’s past to uncover information about the breweries that will be mentioned in this talk. (Which, I should mention, would have been nearly impossible without the help of the amazing archival resources available in this city, especially those housed at the Austin History Center.)
Beer Garden Social: A 19th Century Family Experience will be held Wednesday, July 31 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and meals and beer can be purchased à la carte. And, in the spirit of celebrating Austin, Scholz’ has many local beers on tap, including offerings from Live Oak, Thirsty Planet, Austin Beerworks and more.
This event is part of a series of events related to the Austin History Center’s current exhibit, How to Prepare a Possum: 19th Century Cuisine in Austin which runs until January of 2014.
Hope to see you there!