Sunday's bracing heat and thick humidity didn't stop the hundreds of beer lovers who turned out to help local microbrewery Saint Arnold celebrate its 15th anniversary while feasting on barbecue and watching the spectacle that was the first annual Beer Olympics.
Temperatures inside the brewery itself were near-stifling, all the better to increase anticipation and excitement about the upcoming move to a restored building in the Warehouse District just outside of downtown, which was built in 1914 and most recently served as a warehouse for HISD Food Services. Luckily, plenty of ice-cold Lawnmower and Summer Pils was on hand to beat the heat, as well as a brown lager brewed especially for the occasion using St. Arnold's Brown Ale recipe with lager yeast thrown in for a surprisingly crisp, refreshing malt taste.
Between hitting the picnic tables with plates loaded down with brisket, sausage, potato salad and jalapeño bread from Goode Company Barbeque, guests at the anniversary party gathered in the sizzling parking lot to watch the Beer Olympics take place as Lennie Ambrose, events and marketing manager for the brewery, emceed events.
The first round saw six two-person teams compete in a deceptively difficult keg roll down the main ramp and around an obstacle course. While the good money was on the Wicked Wenches and the Brewery Bombshells, neither team made it into round two.
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Round two was a two-story beer pour, Double Dare-style, from a scissor lift. Teams tried to fill a large bucket that was strapped precariously to the heads of their teammates below, with the end effect being that most of the parking lot was soaked with suds. No one warned the teams that the "beer" was actually beer sludge from the vats, as one unwitting contestant found out when he tried to drink some from the bucket.
Round three was the last of the events: a lightning round of beer pong between the two remaining teams. High winds and the pressures of getting the gold meant that neither team was particularly successful in getting the balls into the cups, but in the end one team reigned supreme: the grotesquely named Two Guys, One Cup.
Afterwards, owner and founder Brock Wagner toasted the crowd with a few pithy words, as is his typical short-and-sweet style, and implored them to celebrate the day as Saint Arnold himself would have: with a pint.
Click here for a slideshow of the day's events.