fpsf five

Though I missed Wildcat! Wildcat!, First Aid Kit, & Lord Huron due to the rains, Free Press was still a success. We made it down just in time for Chvrches, who went beyond my expectations and were my favorite act of the weekend. That show combined with White Noise, a specialty brew from Saint Arnold, made my Fest complete.

The rest of the weekend was compiled of great acts that I had seen before: Big Gigantic, Washed Out, Poolside, Edward Sharpe & Jack White; some old school music: Welcome to Houston and Wu-Tang; some new music: Anamanaguchi and White Sea. My Line-up and links below.

The stage locations had changed from years past nearly eliminating The Hill that had become such an integral part of my FPSF experience. One main stage still featured The Hill on the side of it but it lacked the stadium or amphitheater feel. The stages that were on the street meant less impact on the grass and parks but unfortunately meant it was harder to get around to other stages. The one thing I would change from this years set-up would be additional restrooms; in the center of the festival and in the fancy pants areas. I am glad to see this festival continue to grow providing more must-see acts and adding to the overall fun-level; I just hope that the organizers and staff can keep up with its growth.

SATURDAY SUNDAY
Chvrches Washed Out
Welcome to Houston White Sea
Anamanaguchi Poolside
Ishi The Kills
Big Gigantic Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Twin Shadow Wu-Tang Clan
Zedd Jack White
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farmhouse brewery

Last Saturday, in spite of Cedar’s my allergies I met up with some friends at the Jester King Brewery just southwest of Austin. Since I lives in Southwest Austin, it was an easy commute for me. The fact that I had such of good time even though my allergies were under attack, says quite a bit about the establishment and certainly the company. Though I kept track of the beer I enjoyed on Untappd, I did not take many pictures. I borrowed the one below from their website, where you can find more information and photos. I have linked each of the beers that I enjoyed so that you can easily read their well-written, highly-edcuational blurbs.

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I do not typically drink sour or fruit fermented brews but tried two on this outing. I preferred the potent Atrial Rubicite to the beer made from its leftovers La Vie en Rose. The beers I enjoyed the most were two brews (pictured below) featured all year long, Wytchmaker Rye IPA and surprisingly a sour RU-55. I finished my visit with two more 4 oz samplers: Commercial Suicide and Mad Meg.

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The breweries ranch-like setting makes for a great weekend outing. There is plenty of space to relax or play, depending on your mood or age. Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza is on the same property offering other local brews, wines for the non-beerdrinkers in your group, apps, salads and unique delicious pizza. We quickly devoured the Willie and the Beatrice plus wild boar sausage

I will definitely make another trip out, sooner than later. If you need further convincing, check out Austin Beer Guide (& podcast) as they recently visited with Jeff Stuffings from Jester King.

never look back, never give up (a year end review)

Today’s title comes from the band Haim’s song, Falling.  Haim is just one of the bands that I fell in love with this past year. Others include Air Review, Lord Huron, Chvrches, Poolside, Phantogram, The Joy Formidable and St. Lucia.  Phosphorescent’s Song for Zula takes my song of the year, at the least.

White Lies, Local Natives, The National and Arcade Fire gave us new albums. I was able to catch a Mumford & Sons‘ show with my brother Joe and two of my cousins, Mary Elizabeth and Annie.

My year began with a snowboarding trip with my brother Joe. He is a skier but gave boarding a go. It was a good, yet cold adventure. At the end of the month and in contrast, I took Lindsey to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for her 30th birthday. We enjoyed the warm weather and beach views from the pool plus its fruity and sugary drinks. The few days we were there reminded us that we could take a vacation and simply relax versus go – go – go.

Three other trips that Lindsey and I took, and I have already blogged about include, Vancouver, Chicago and Charlotte.  Vancouver, in May, to visit the fabulous city and I ran the marathon. The Chicago trip was to visit some old friends and celebrate the 4th of July. Charlotte was to visit her family and explore what the city has to offer; we took a second trip there for Christmas.

Two of my favorite places to eat in Houston grew this past year. Good Dog, formally a food truck, opened its brick and mortar in the heart of the Heights; walking distance from Lindsey’s. Liberty Kitchen, still a favorite in the Heights, opened a second location that has a gorgeous interior and a Japanese influenced menu. My final word regarding food and drink in 2013 would be the introduction of the Untappd app. It allows me to find, track and rate the many craft beers I get to experience.

Finally, some life experiences of note. Two of my brothers graduated from college. One of which, Robert, has been living in Houston for all of 2013, meaning I was able to see him more. Some of my most memorable dining and concert experiences included that young lad. Running is a major part of my life. This year I ran fewer marathons and less mileage overall but found joy in coaching running. I helped a few friends run their best races, whether it was a 10k, half marathon or marathon. Coaching two soccer teams, I was reminded the happiness that can be found in coaching soccer, the fun to be had while learning. To top them all, last Saturday my niece, Mary Elizabeth, said “Wuv you!” for the first time, it was to me, her uncle John.

I look forward to the adventures, meaning and moments that 2014 will bring!

a “banner” post, excited about Austin

Though Halloween, its costumes and candy are on most of our minds this time of year, here are some non-halloween, costume optional (really you can’t go wrong wearing a costume) events:

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Seriously doubt any explanation is needed.

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Whisler’s is my favorite east-side bar!

Image Oyster Festival isn’t until Nov. 3 but the tickets are only available for the next couple of days!!

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Beer, Sausage & Lederhosen, Oh My!

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If Orange is the new Black, then FunFunFun Fest is the new ACL!

The name really doesn’t serve the fest justice, more funs needed.

Be Safe – Have Fun – See You Out There!

finally fall, in Austin at least

When I moved to Austin eight years ago, I knew I was giving up the opportunity to have four full seasons and particular more of the warmer ones. My time in Nebraska taught me that I didn’t want to live in a place with that much cold and that little sunshine. So I am experiencing more and more things about seasons, different ways to value them per say.

Fall does means cooler weather but it also mean so many other things. It means MLB Playoffs, teams playing – especially when facing elimination – their hardest in order to play again tomorrow. It means pumpkin flavored anything: bread, beer, lattes, pancakes and pies. And I can’t NOT MENTION beards and whisky. Fall means football, on every day of the week except for Tuesday and Wednesday; you have to work sometime right? The cooler temps mean jeans and long sleeves and closed-toe shoes. Running times decrease with the temperature and the will to run increases.

Though the month began 17 days ago, it finally feels like it today in Austin. October in particular, nostalgically grows hold of ones soul, proven again and again through music, movies and literature. Here is something I wrote years ago, while reflecting on a falling leaf in Nebraska in October.

October

Collage of individuality,

Sixty-three degrees,

Colourful confetti,

Suicide of a beautiful thing.

A list of October titled band and songs: Blue October’s band name, U2’s album & song October, James Taylor’s album & song October Road, The Helio Sequence’s October, Green Day’s When September Ends, Pivot’s October, Amy Whinehouse’s October Song, Broken Bells’ October.

Even a couple movie titles: The Hunt for Red October (book first of course, RIP Tom Clancy), October Sky, October Baby,

And how can one talk about October without Octoberfest?! The German festival that has inspired brewers everywhere to make a fall appropriate beer. Though you can’t go wrong with the German beers labeled Octoberfest, some of my local favorites (all named Octoberfest, of course) include: Real Ale, Saint Arnold, Shiner, and Karbach – which is actually called Karbachtoberfest.

Since I am so glad for this time a year, it is time to stop writing about it, get out there, and enjoy it – whether it be a sport, drink, food, or fun – but now before it’s gone. ((Incidentally, when it is, we can all go down to New Braunfels for Wurstfest.))