Happy Hour at Anthem
Location: 91 Rainey Street Ste 120 Austin, TX 78701
Anthem is located at the head of Rainey street. You can’t miss it. It’s the spot with a dozen tiki torches beckoning you to enter. Follow their carved wooded faces inside and you’ll be greeted by a wall of taps, surfer style art of beautiful women, and a mural tucked away (go find it, it’s awesome!).
Anthem totally has a Hawaiian thing going on, and with this in mind we placed our drink orders. I ordered a beer! Later I ordered more, here they all are!
Liliko’i Kepalo by Avery Brewing Company: a wildly zesty beer. Its like a champagne mixed with a Belgian sour. Obviously the good folks at Avery know a thing or two about yeast, because those microscopic ferments were at the forefront of this beverage. Its billed as a wheat beer, but honestly, I didn’t get much by way of the wheat, the zesty sourness rules the palette on this one. It might not be your thing (not really mine), but if you like Belgians, sours, or enough carbonation to get you dancing, give this a try.
Double Dry Hopped IPA #6 by Tupps: This was a great one. Nice and tasty malty body balanced with a strong bitterness. I thought to myself, this is a man’s beer, but when my wife kept stealing sips I realized its smooth enough for a lady.
Hopslam by Bells Brewing: The winner of the night! A strong, aggressively floral beer. Its got a wonderful bitterness and enough alcohol to make you woozy. Try this one when you can! I would be remiss not to mention that Anthem also has some amazing drinks. When I started ordering beers, the bartender was more than happy to oblige, but later confided that with Banger’s down the road (with over 200 taps) most people don’t go to Anthem for the beer. They go for the EXSW. I stole sips from the Mrs.
EXSW: This is basically a margarita made with sake. There’s some yuzu and blood orange in the mix too, but for me it was all about the balance of tequila and sake. A fantastic drink. I can’ wait to have on a hot Austin night (so you know… with central Texas weather that will be some time next week).
Not ones to stick to liquid libations this evening, we also ordered some tasty treats of the Happy Hour Menu.
MacDaddy Bites: These are macaroni and cheese balls, breaded in panko and deep fried, then covered in dashi flakes, strips of dried seaweed, pickled ginger, and an awesome miso sauce. There is nothing wrong with these things! A rich mouthful of umami deliciousness.
Yummy Fries: These are sweet potato fries covered in basically the same stuff as the MacDaddy bites. I preferred them, because the sweet potato blends better with all the wild toppings than the mac and cheese did, though my wife totally disagreed. However, with the toppings being so similar, we both recommend pairing the yummy fries with something different than the MacDaddy bites, if only to experience different flavors.
The Thai Hippy Tofu delivers a totally different mix of tastes, and was one of the winners of the night. Tender tofu in a peanut butter sauce, topped with cilantro, mint, purple onions and chopped peanuts, this dish is a great way to eat some tofu. They are not afraid of herbs in the kitchen, and the Thai Hippy Tofu shines because of it (disclaimer: I am a hippy).
Char-gaff Cauliflower completed the savory portion of the menu. This stuff straight up tastes like chicken breaded in a siracha buffalo sauce and smothered with a thai green dressing. This dish was spicy and probably the most unique thing we tried, plus it makes great use of cauliflower, which in my kitchen is often bland. Not so here. Not at all.
For desert we had a Hong Kong Waffle. This is chocolate anti-waffle for those Belgians out there. So instead of little inset squares it had puffed out circles. It was crammed full of ice-cream (we went with vanilla), crushed up Oreos, and is freaky good.
Quotes from the table as we passed the thing back and forth like the desert taco is so wanted to be.
“Its like cocoa crispies with ice cream… but better!”
“A waffle chaco-taco from the next world!”
“This crispiness of this waffle is almost too crispy.” This sparked heated argument.
“Angels are crying, for we are eating their breakfast.” I
I can see this as an awesome post-drinking treat on the way home from Rainey. Get one and share. We hardly finished the one!
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J. Darris Mitchell is a sci-fi writer from Austin, Texas. He’s drunk beers in 10 countries and on 4 continents and has been drinking fine beers in Austin longer than most of local craft breweries have existed. When not writing, he often spends his weekends brewing beer in his backyard with his darling wife, his two year old son, a fat cat, and six chickens. You can follow him on Twitter @joedarris.