Battle of the Butterbeers
Updated: Sep 5, 2018
Now that we’ve all had time to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and cry over Dobby and ponder how improbably lucky the producers were in casting their three main leads, let’s talk about what’s really important to all Muggles who wish they could take up residence in Hogsmeade (well, after all this Voldemort stuff ends)—butterbeer!
For the past decade, the Alamo Drafthouse has whetted the appetites and thirsts of patrons with food and beverage tie-ins to big movies, and the Harry Potter franchise is, of course, no exception. Whenever a new HP movie comes out, they offer butterbeer, so you can drink along with everyone in the Three Broomsticks. I’d heard major proclamations of love dedicated toward the Alamo’s butterbeer, so I was hell bent on finally trying it this year. But I was thwarted when I arrived at the midnight screening of HP7 only to find out that they’d sold out of it before the theater I was in had even seated. Bloody hell.
I only had to hold off until the next night, when I was back at the Alamo again, and it was…well, to be perfectly honest, not at all worth the wait. If you’ve read Chickster before, you probably know that we are all enamored with the Alamo Drafthouse and find it to be one of the best reasons to live in Austin, so it kind of pains me to say that I didn’t like the butterbeer. According to the menu, it was a mixture of alcoholic apple cider and butterscotch, topped with whipped cream, but mine just tasted like not-very-cold apple juice with whipped cream on top. The butterscotch was the flavor I thought would really make it butterbeer-like, but I couldn’t taste it at all. Maybe I just got a bad pint of it and need to try it again. Maybe The Highball, with its full bar and creative cocktails, serves a better one. (I did hear they served Fire Whiskey at the Yule Ball, which sounds all kinds of delicious.)
Or maybe it’s that just four days before, I’d had the real thing. Or as close to the real thing as us muggles are ever going to get. At the Three Broomsticks in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventuretheme park, you can get butterbeer and pumpkin juice along with your fish and chips, as you can see above (top right: butterbeer is on the left with pumpkin juice on the right).
And by goblin, it was delicious. The pumpkin juice may have also been a bit too apple-y for my taste, but the butterbeer, and in particular, the frozen butterbeer, was the best drink to ever cross my lips. Although it was (very, very sadly) nonalcoholic, the butterbeer tasted like cream soda (but better) mixed with a ton of butterscotch (but better) and topped with a creamy, buttery, thick head that was AMAZING. Whatever they topped off the butterbeer with, I want to have a huge vat of and put on everything. Especially chocolate.
So the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s butterbeer wins hands down (especially the frozen variety, although both were good) in the taste competition, but if you want to get tipsy, head to the Alamo (or try the Hog’s Head Brew at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter). I’ll be back with a review of the theme park soon, because as all those crazy English teens would say on Skins, it was wizard.