This Labor Day weekend "get crafty" and head to Galveston Island for the 6th annual BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival. Held at the beautiful Moody Gardens Hotel, this three-day celebration will feature over 400 brews, two concerts, and fireworks. There will be Pub Crawls, Brewery Tours, a BrewHaHa Grand Tasting, and a BrewLicious Brew and Foods Pairing. Both evenings end with a live concert and fireworks on Palm Beach. You definitely do not want to miss out on Texas Largest Craft Beer Festival.
The festivities will kick off Friday night, September 4th, with a free Brew Bash in the Moody Garden's lobby. Guests will then have the option to purchase a ticket for Friday night's BrewMasters Pub Crawl. Party buses will take revelers around Galveston Island to visit some of the coolest bars in town. Saturday's events start with a Texas Brewery Tasting Tour followed by the BrewHaHa Grand Tasting in the Moody Gardens Convention Center. This is a great opportunity to mix and mingle with brewmasters and increase your knowledge of craft beer while tasting some of the best brews in Texas.
The weekend merriment keeps on going with a special "Sunday Funday" event. The BrewLicious Brews & Food Pairing is for serious beer and culinary enthusiasts! Unique high-end beers will be thoughtful paired with the perfect accompaniment that is sure to please even the most discriminating palate. There will be about 30 Taste It First beers at the event, including 8th Wonder Pharmhouse, Goliad Brewing's Oktoberfest, and Texas Beer Refinery's Gulf Coast Pose. Craft beer and food industry expert, Chris Spradley (host of "Destination Beer"), will be the guest speaker of a seminar focused on the perfect pairing. Don't miss out on this fan favorite, get your tickets today!
BrewMaster Pub Crawl - $25
Texas Brewery Tasting Tour - $25
BrewHaHa Grand Tasting - $35 in advance/$40 at the door/$85 VIP Ticket
BrewLicious Brews & Food - $75
Beach, Brews, and Bands - $6 add on to any ticket/$12 at gate
Tickets to all the events may be purchased online at www.brewmasterbeerfest.com. Many events sell out fast so get your tickets today! All events have the option to include a designated driver ticket, so be safe and drink responsibly.
For guests wanting to take participate in the entire three day event, the Moody Gardens Hotel is offering a 20% savings on its Labor Day room rates and a $50 resort credit for a weekend stay. To book your stay, visit www.moodygardenshotel.com or call 1-888-388-8484.
The Macaron trend does not appear to be fading. In fact, macarons are hotter than ever. Bakers are even making macaron cakes and macaron topped cupcakes. What exactly are these colorful creations? Well, first of all they are not to be confused with macaroons, which are dense coconut confections. Macarons are French sweet meringue based cookies. Ganache, buttercream, or jam in a variety of flavors and colors is placed between two cookies for a sinfully sweet little sandwich. I decided to take a tasty tour and visit some of Houston's hottest spots for Macs.
Common Bond Cafe & Bakery $2..25 each
Common Bond Cafe and Bakery has mouth watering delictable desserts and seasonal savory dishes. The bright and open space is perfect for sipping a latte while noshing on pastries. They rotate their macaron flavors and usually only carry six flavors at a time. I found their macs to have a great texture and just the right amount of sweetness. My favorite flavors were the Mexican Chocolate and the Matcha Lychee.
Macaron by Patisse $2.25 each
Macaron by Patisse is an elegant little cafe with a charming decor that will transport you to France. They serve tea, coffee, french desserts and lots of French macarons. I found the macs here to be smaller with a crumbly texture. The delicate cookie cracked as soon as I bit into it. The flavor selection here offers some unique combinations as well as traditional flavors. Rose is apparently one of the original mac flavors, but I was definitely not a fan. I did like the fig and goat cheese combination.
Petite Sweets $2 each
This cute shop has it all - macarons, cake balls, cake pops, cupcakes, whoopie pies, and gelato. Everyone here was super friendly and happy to answer questions about their many products. They have tons of macs here in just about every flavor imaginable, even a Margarita flavor, which immediately caught my eye! The macs were larger and slightly
sweeter than ones I had from other bakers. However, the cookies had a nice shape and texture and the flavors were tasty. My favorites were the red velvet and mocha.
Sweets by Jewel $20/dozen
Sweets by Jewel is a cottage baker business in Spring, Texas owned by Jewel Reyes. She is a self-taught macaron maker and has been in the business for just two years. Not only are Jewel's macs the most economical, but of all the places I visited I found hers to be the best. She has some creative flavors which include combinations like fruity pebbles, almond joy, blueberry pancake, and cookie butter. My personal favorites are Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Blueberry Cheesecake, Mango Sorbet, and Pina Colada. Her macarons sell for $20 a dozen for up to two different flavors. She also sells mixed flavor dozens once all her orders have been filled and will post that on her Facebook page. Orders can be made by messaging her through Facebook or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jewel's newest creation is a macaron cake. A moist and delicious cake that is sandwiched between two large macaron cookies in your choice of flavors. Get one today!
Yellow Rose Distilling recently held a sweet event featuring two of my favorite things - whiskey and dessert! Houston area chefs came together to compete in the Spiked by the Scoop competition benefiting Small Steps Nurturing Center.
The bar area was busy serving up Yellow Rose Whiskey to thirsty patrons. On hand were plenty of bottles of their bourbon, rye whiskey, and vodka. In addition to straight spirits, the staff was serving up a choice of three seasonal cocktails. Many of the competitors chose to use Yellow Rose in their frosty creations, however some added their own favorite liquors to the mix.
Inside the warehouse, a DJ kept guests pumped up while they perused aisle after aisle of sweet temptations. It was quite easy to go into sugar overload, but I paced myself and got through it like a boss! Some of my favorites included Fat Cat Creamery's Whiskey by the Campfire (Texas Pecan Bar topped with brown butter bourbon sugar, rye whiskey ice cream, smoked fig preserves, and blended whiskey whipped cream), B & B Butcher's Chocolate Covered Bacon Lardons Ice Cream, and Peska Seafood Culture's Mango Mezcal shake with Cardamom Yogurt Ice Cream featuring Mezcal Sacrificio.
The Judge's pick for best dessert went to Peska Seafood Culture. Chef Omar Pereney is on fire right now! It's so refreshing to see a talented young chef not only producing elegant dishes with such flair, but having fun doing it. The People's Choice went to Sweet and Mellow for their Frozen Mint Julep S'more Shots. Their fun spirit and creme brulee torch skills definitely made them a fan favorite. It was a fabulous evening of frosty treats and liquid libations.
Wine drinkers make the best friends. Great conversations always arise over a glass (more likely a bottle) of wine. One day The Drunken Diva ran into The Unsophisticated Woman. She is a lover of wine, cheese, and is full of fun, educational stories. She happened to be teaching a cheese pairing class at The Woodlands Cheese Course and I decided to check it out. I love wine and cheese, but when it comes to pairing, I usually stick with red wine and bleu cheese. So I was excited to find out more about my two favorite things.
The Cheese Course is a lovely little place that serves soups, salads, sandwiches, and of lots and lots of wonderful cheese. I expected to sit down and be told which cheeses to pair with sparkling wines, whites, and reds. Instead it was more of a flavor journey. I was given a chart that listed five cheeses and five wines along with a grading key to score each pairing. The five cheeses were Fol Epi, Ossauriaty, Truffle Tremor, Robiola, and Bleu d'Auvergn. The wines were La Crema Pinot Gris, Cambria Chardonnay, Decero Malbec, Freemark Merlot, and Chianti Classico. I was instructed to first try each cheese on its own and describe the flavors. Was it creamy, nutty, or tangy? Next, each cheese was to be tasted with each wine and rated based on whether the combination was fantastic, horrible, or meh.
It was interesting to see how certain combinations appealed to some, but not to others. Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods always says, "If eat looks good, eat it!" I believe the same is true for wine and cheese. There is no set rule. Find a wine you like, find a cheese you like, throw in a dollop of honey or fig jam, some nuts, crackers, and enjoy!
To see The Unsophisticated Woman in action, check out her next class at The Cheese Course on August 12th at 6:30pm. To reserve a spot call (832) 246-8884. She is also available for at home wine and cheese parties, seminars, and consulting. Cheers!
About the Author
I like eating, traveling, and enjoying liquid libations. I'm all about great wines, signature cocktails, and local brews.