Underdogs is one of the most interesting new craft beer bars in Houston, a welcoming space with a dog-friendly policy that's one of the new crop of bars bringing the once-bedazzled Washington Strip back down to earth. And Witherspoon -- formerly a cook and bartender at Petrol Station -- is drawing rave reviews for the brew-infused dishes he serves on board his bright red food truck.
"As soon as I read the [10 best beer bars] post last week, I came over here and said, 'We've got to do something together, guys,'" said Witherspoon.
Underdogs was already planning to host a weekly trivia night on Tuesdays, so Witherspoon signed up to bring his food truck out that night as well. Last Tuesday marked the first time the bar and the truck teamed up. If the inaugural evening is anything to judge by, this weekly pairing should prove to be a big success for both parties.
The four-round Beer Brain Trivia -- with half-time and overtime questions -- is the perfect excuse to while away a few hours at the comfortable bar over dinner and beers with friends. You may even learn a thing or two, considering that the questions range from astronomy to acronyms.
I also like the point-wagering system of Beer Brain Trivia, which gives you a spread of points to wager within each round. Absolutely sure about a question? Wager your highest point value. Not sure about an answer? Wager the lowest point value, so you don't waste your score.
Even better: At the end of the night, the winning team gets $50 knocked off its tab. Second place gets a $25 discount and third place $10. Even a third-place finish isn't bad, though, considering that Underdogs is known for offering the cheapest craft beer pints in town.
Last week, my team -- Drunk Babies -- came in dead last, as we showed up late, spent too much time deliberating on which of the Craft Infusion dishes to order and missed the first round. Don't do this. I was, however, quite happy with the food that showed up near the end of our second round: oxtail empanadas cooked down in Buffalo Bayou Gingerbread Stout, a whole-fried red snapper in Karbach Weisse Versa tempura batter and Witherspoon's famous "beer-a-misu," a sweet favorite at Petrol Station for many years, made with Southern Tier's fanaticism-inducing Crème Brûlée Stout.
But one dessert wasn't enough that night, at least as far as Underdogs owners Steve Warren and Dustin Evans were concerned. In a well-timed parallel to their new Tuesday night partnership with Craft Infusion, they're also experimenting with some infusions of their own.
"Do you like apple pie?" Evans asked with a grin. "We made some apple pie [Bacardi] 151." He poured me a sip to taste, and I was shocked to find no alcohol burn at all, but instead only the warm fruit notes of apple cider.
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"We cook it down," Evans explained, a process that concentrates the apple flavors and diminishes that hard liquor burn. The apple pie 151 was then slipped into a pint of dark brown Breckenridge Vanilla Porter to make the only boilermaker I've ever enjoyed. Sips of the apple pie porter between bites of creamy beer-a-misu soothed the sting of losing trivia that night. But I'll be back to defend team Drunk Babies tomorrow, and this time I won't be late.
Tuesday night trivia at Underdogs starts at 7 p.m. and is free to enter. Craft Infusion starts serving around the same time, so come hungry.