Holiday weekends typically mean events are slim, but not this week. The jam-packed schedule includes wine tastings, bubbly on the patio, a big brewery anniversary, barbecue, beer and blues, and one early brunch, thanks to a Saturday morning visit from ESPN College GameDay. Cheers to the unofficial end of summer.
Wednesday, August 28
Football Kick-Off Happy Hour at Whiskey Ranch
The distillery’s cocktail bar will be open to the public to celebrate the start of college football season, and that means football-themed drinks. There’ll also be a limited number of whiskey bottles with caps made from pigskin football leather for sale in the distillery store, along with ball caps in college colors. Grab a tailgate-themed bite from Austin’s Underdawgs food truck while there. The event will run from 4-7 pm, and tickets aren’t required.
La Rambla – An Evening of Tapas in Barcelona at Ellerbe Fine Foods
Take a jaunt to Spain via the West Magnolia Avenue farm-to-table restaurant at this small-plate soiree. There’ll be tapas galore, from marinated olives and tomato toasts to cheese and sausage-stuffed peppers, ham and manchego sandwiches, Gulf shrimp in garlic oil, and anise-scented fry bread with vanilla bean custard. The price is $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and there’ll be an optional flight of Spanish wine and sangria. Reservations run from 5:30-9 pm.
It’s all Greek to me! Wine Tasting at Cadillac Wines
Visit the Frank Kent Cadillac dealership wine room for a tasting of Greek wines paired with small plates from chef Denise Shavandy of Café Modern. Reservations are $55 per person, and the event will run from 6-8 pm.
Japanese Smokehouse & Hitachino Beer Dinner at Tokyo Café
Hitachino beers are from Tokyo, Japan, and four of them will be paired with this family-style Japanese barbecue dinner. The menu will start with a wedge salad, braised short rib gyoza, and deviled eggs. Guests will share platters of smoked beef tenderloin, Peking chicken, ham hock adzuki beans, koji salt chicken wings, and corn with smoked miso butter. In an interesting twist, dessert will feature Swiss Pastry Shop’s famous Black Forest cake. Tickets are $75 per person, and dinner begins at 6:30 pm.
Thursday, August 29
Z. Alexander Brown Wine Tasting at 3 Vino
The “Z” stands for Zac, as in Zac Brown. Try the famous musician’s very own wines at the Roanoke wine bar. The Grammy Award-winner blends his own Napa wines, and there’ll be five tasted for the $30-per-person price. Cheeses for pairing will be included, and the tasting will run from 6-8 pm.
Friday, August 30
Bedford Blues & BBQ Festival
The three-day event (which is expected to draw about 17,000 people) combines both music performers and pitmasters for a weekend of barbecue and blues. Multiple competitions means more opportunities to taste plenty of samples, from sausage and steaks and to beef and pork. Ticket prices vary based on day and event but range from free general admission (Friday only) to $225 for a shaded table for nine under the party tent with close views of the stage. Beer and wine are available for purchase to wash it all down.
Cliquot in the Sun at Clay Pigeon Food & Drink
Champagne lovers know Veuve Cliquot sets the bar for bubbly. This patio party will feature specials on the good stuff as a toast to the end of summer. The event will run from 6-9 pm, and dinner reservations are recommended.
Saturday, August 31
College GameDay Brunch at Del Frisco’s Grille
The Sundance Square restaurant will open early at 8 am to give ESPN College GameDay fans a birds-eye view of the broadcast, which will kick off its season live from the plaza from 8-11 am. A brunch buffet will be served until 10:30 am for $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Featured dishes include French toast, chilaquiles, steak and potato hash, and fresh fruit. Carafes of brunch drinks will also be available. Note that a la carte brunch items won’t be served until normal brunch hours starting at 11 am.
Shannon Brewing Co. 5th Anniversary
The Keller brewery is celebrating its birthday with a big party. Visit noon to 5 pm for live music, craft sausages, burgers, and cheesecake from local food trucks, and more than a dozen special release brews. Tickets are $25 and include 10 6-ounce pours and a logo glass. A $40 ticket allows for early admission at 11 am.