Battle Michelada at Anvil Bar & Refuge

The prizewinning michelada
The prizewinning michelada
Photos by Groovehouse

If ever an odd trio was to compete in a culinary competition, this would be it: a pastry chef, versus an executive chef, versus a bartender. But last weekend, those three people -- three of the city's best talents, as well -- gathered at Anvil Bar & Refuge to duke it out. The occasion? What had begun on Twitter as a simple comment from a local food blogger on not being able to find a good michelada in Houston evolved, over the course of one short week, into a full-fledged throwdown.

A few days prior, responding to the blogger, Textile pastry chef Plinio Sandalio listed a few of his favorite places to get the classic Mexican cocktail, which is primarily composed of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and Mexican beer. Before long, the discussion had turned from favorite michelada joints to good-natured joking about trying to order a michelada at the notoriously chic Anvil Bar & Refuge. Then, owner and head bartender at Anvil, Bobby Heugel, weighed in and agreed to not only create "the craziest michelada ever," but issued an invitation to anyone else who wanted to try and best him.

Houston's first michelada throwdown was born.

Jonathan Jones, hard at work on his michelada trio
Jonathan Jones, hard at work on his michelada trio

Sandalio and Jonathan Jones, executive chef at Beaver's Ice House, accepted Heugel's challenge and showed up at Anvil on Sunday afternoon, along with half of Houston's food community, to get the battle started. Lip-blisteringly hot Asian-inspired micheladas, smoky, brisket-flavored micheladas, micheladas made with bacon fat, and micheladas topped with tequila-injected tomatoes were just some of the entries. But in the end, one michelada stood above the others as the winner.

See the carnage - and the ultimate michelada king - for yourself in the video below.

Even though the intriguing bacon michelada didn't win, the throwdown was so successful that another event was announced immediately afterward by Jones: a fried chicken throwdown at Beaver's on June 8. But unlike the michelada throwdown, space is limited and is filling up quickly, so RSVP now if you want to take part in a little piece of fried-chicken history.

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