Tuesday, March 17, 2015

4th Annual Houston Press BrewFest

The 4th Annual Houston Press BrewFest takes place on Saturday, May 16th from 3pm ~ 7pm at Silver Street Station (the same location as previous ones).  Over 100 beers will be available (beer list available soon) as well as food trucks and live music. It's a great festival for trying a variety of beer styles in one place as well as an opportunity to try some of the new craft breweries that are not widely available. If you want to see what it's all about, check out the video from last year's BrewFest.

General Admission and VIP ticket options are available and both include eight 3oz sample cards (additional cards will be available for purchase). VIP tickets include early admission at 2pm to begin your sampling one hour before the General Admission ticket holders as well as in-and-out access to a VIP area with additional specialty beers and complimentary appetizers. Tickets officially go on sale to the public at noon on March 21st with early bird pricing (GA $30, VIP $55) before increasing to regular prices (GA $35, VIP $60) on April 28th. If you're a procrastinator, there may be some remaining tickets at the door (no guarantee), but for a much higher prices (GA $45, VIP $70), so you may as well go ahead and grab a couple tickets now for cheap. And if you're really excited about it, you can get in on a special pre-sale starting today by going to this link and entering promo code ALLGOOD15 to unlock the purchasing options.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Craft Brewing Industry Reaches New Levels in 2014

The Brewers Association has released the 2014 data on craft brewing growth and for the first-time ever, craft brewers reached double-digit (11%) volume share of the marketplace.

In 2014, craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels, and saw an 18 percent rise in volume and a 22 percent increase in retail dollar value. Additionally, the number of operating breweries in the U.S. in 2014 grew 19 percent, totaling 3,464 breweries, with 3,418 considered craft broken down as follows: 1,871 microbreweries, 1,412 brewpubs and 135 regional craft breweries. Throughout the year, there were 615 new brewery openings and only 46 closings.

Note: Numbers are preliminary and the Brewers Association will release the list of Top 50 craft brewing companies and overall brewing companies by volume sales on March 31. Additionally, a more extensive analysis will be released during the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America® in Portland, Oregon from April 14-17.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Texas Debut of Alpine Beer Company

Another week, another out of state brewery makes its debut in Texas. This time it's Alpine Beer Company from Alpine, California (sort of).

Alpine was founded in 1999, but initially had their beers contract brewed at AleSmith Brewing Co until they opened their own brewery in 2002. Alpine's beers have been highly regarded, particularly their IPA's, but were difficult to find as they had a maximum production of around 1500 bbls a year and distribution didn't reach far from home. But that started to change in November 2013 when Green Flash Brewing Co. began brewing some of Alpine's beers (Nelson, Hoppy Birthday and Duet) at their facility in San Diego.  The increase in production and sales of Alpine beers would help raise capital that Alpine desperately needed in order to expand. Apparently that relationship worked out pretty well because in November 2014, Green Flash bought the Alpine Beer Company. And with the production capabilities and resources of Green Flash, beers from Alpine are now finding their way to Texas.  The Flying Saucer in Downtown Houston is tapping a different Alpine beer every night from March 9th to the 13th, including the highly sought after Nelson (apparently the Flying Saucer is the only location in Houston to receive a keg). The following is the tapping schedule:

Mon, March 9: Duet
Tues, March 10: Hoppy Birthday
Wed, March 11: Alpine Ale
Thur, March 12: Nelson
Fri, March 13: Irish Red

I'm happy to see that Alpine was able to find help from within the craft brewing industry.  I'm sure we'll be seeing more mergers and takeovers in the future as the older craft breweries continue to expand and seek new markets and revenue streams.  And this is definitely preferred over a takeover by ABImBev.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Beers From Sweetwater Begin Flowing in Houston

Sweetwater Brewing, named for a tributary of the Chattahoochee River, was founded in Atlanta, GA in 1997 by two former college roommates. It has since grown to be the 19th largest craft brewery thanks to their most popular beer, 420 Extra Pale Ale, and the rest of their regular lineup which includes the Sweetwater IPA, Georgia Brown Ale and Take Two Pils along with Blue (a light bodied ale with a hint of blueberry) and Hop Hash Double IPA (made with the hop resin scraped out of the hop pelletizer).

There are various events around town this week to celebrate their launch and it shouldn't be too difficult to find it on tap, but here's a few that I know about:


In addition to those, I also found events at Hay Merchant today and Ladybirds on Thursday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

8th Wonder Celebrating 2nd Anniversary

8th Wonder is celebrating two years of brewing beer in the shadow of the Houston skyline with a party on Saturday, March 21st at 3:00pm. Tickets are available online and priced at $100 for VIP or $25 for General Admission. Only 200 of the VIP tickets are available and prices will increase after March 1st. Further details about what the VIP level gets you hasn't been released yet, but a post on their Facebook page indicated "rare tappings, private bathroom, merch, light bites, pint glasses and more". The event also includes musical performances by: The Suffers, Earphunk, Stooges Brass Band, Wild Moccasins, DJ Sun and Fox & Cats.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hay Merchant's 3rd Anniversary

The Hay Merchant is celebrating their 3rd anniversary on Thursday, February 12th. The doors open at 3:00pm, but there undoubtedly be a line forming way before then. Their Facebook page indicates Kevin has dug deep in their cellar and come up with a bunch of special beers to mark the occasion. The same post also includes a great parody of the recent Budweiser commercial:







Friday, October 31, 2014

Adelbert's Set to Release a Bière Brut

Adelbert’s Brewery has announced that it's latest release, Sundowner, is a Bière Brut, a style not commonly produced in this country.

A Bière Brut (also known as Bière de Champagne), is a style where the brewing and fermentation process is similar to how a champagne is produced, including using a champagne yeast and aging in the bottle for many months. Some of the more traditional Bière Brut brewed in Belgium and France are even put through the same process as champagne to remove the yeast (the bottles are stored inverted so the yeast collects in the neck of the bottle and that yeast is then frozen and driven out by pressure). The result is a beer that is typically light and very bubbly and tastes and looks more like a champagne or sparkling wine. DeuS (Brut Des Flandres) is probably the most well known of the style, but some may remember Infinium that Boston Beer Company released a few years ago. Adelbert's is excited to be the first brewery in Texas to produce one:

“Since our founding, we have sought to create traditional Belgian-inspired ales,” said Scott Hovey, Adelbert’s Founder and Brewmaster. “We are excited to not only be introducing a style that is rarely produced internationally, but to be the first Texas brewery to produce it. We look forward to introducing Texans to this style and eventually the other markets we distribute to as well.”

Sundowner is a blend of the spicy, fruity notes of a Belgian ale balanced with the mouthfeel and body of a sparkling wine. Brewed with champagne yeast, this effervescent ale possesses hints of white grape and green apple with a crisp, bone dry finish.

Sundowner begins distribution across Texas in early November and would make a great alternative to popping a bottle of champagne on New Years Eve.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Record Number of Texas Breweries at 2014 GABF

The brewery registration process was tweaked a little for this year's Great American Beer Festival to try and avoid the "race to register" process that initially locked some breweries out of attendance last year (most were eventually accommodated). Instead, of the first come, first served process, all breweries wanting to enter beer for judging were able to register and indicate if they also wanted a booth on the convention floor. After the registration period closed, the total number of competition beers each brewery was allowed to enter was determined by dividing the number of competition entries that can be judged by the number of breweries that applied. And if demand for booth space exceeded supply, booth selection would be determined by lottery for each region. 

These changes should have made sure that all breweries who wanted to enter beers in the competition were able to enter, but there may be booths from a few of your favourite breweries missing if the number of requests exceeded the maximum and they didn't win the lottery. But, these are the issues that have to be dealt with then there are now over 3,000 operating craft breweries (and almost 2,000 more in planning stages) in the country.

Perhaps due in some part to the changes in the registration process, Texas has it's largest showing of craft breweries again this year:

(512) Brewing Company Austin
903 Brewers Sherman
Adelbert's Brewery Austin
Armadillo Ale Works Denton
Austin Beerworks Austin
Big Bend Brewing Co. Alpine
Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery Austin
Branchline Brewing Co.  San Antonio
Brazos Valley Brewing Company Brenham
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. Houston
Circle Brewing Co. Austin
Community Beer Co. Dallas
Cornel's Brewing Company Beaumont
Deep Ellum Brewing Company Dallas
Flix Brewhouse Round Rock
Four Corners Brewing Co Dallas
Hops & Grain Brewing Austin
Independence Brewing Co.  Austin
Kamala Brewing at the Whip In Austin
Karbach Brewing Co Houston
Lakewood Brewing Company Garland
Live Oak Brewing Company Austin
Martin House Brewing Company Fort Worth
Middleton Brewing Driftwood
No Label Brewing Co Katy
North by Northwest Austin
Oasis, Texas Brewing Company Austin
Pappy Slokum Brewing Co. Abilene
Pedernales Brewing Co. Fredericksburg
Peticolas Brewing Company Dallas
Pinthouse Pizza Craft Brewpub Austin
Rahr&Sons Brewing Co. Fort Worth
Real Ale Brewing Company Blanco
Revolver Brewing Granbury
Saint Arnold Brewing Company Houston
South Austin Brewery Austin
Spoetzl Brewery Shiner
Texas Beer Refinery League City
Texian Brewing Co Richmond
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company Austin
Twin Peaks Brewing Company  Dallas
Twisted X Brewing Company Dripping Springs
Uncle Billy's Brewery & Smokehouse Austin
Zio Carlo Magnolia Brewpub Fort Worth

Assuming this list is correct, there will be 47 Texas breweries this year, up from 36 in 2013, 30 in 2012 and 22 in 2011.  As a recap, the following Texas breweries won medals in the 2013 GABF competition:

Medal Beer Name Brewery Style
Gold Black Thunder Austin Beerworks German-Style Schwarzbier
Bronze Elba Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery Herb and Spice Beer
Gold Cedar Creek Belgian Style Dubbel Cedar Creek Brewery Belgian-Style Abbey Ale
Gold Public Ale Community Beer Co. Extra Special Bitter
Bronze Atrial Rubicite Jester King Brewery Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale
Gold Bitterama Namaste Brewing at the Whip In Herb and Spice Beer
Bronze Blind Jake Pinthouse Pizza Brown Porter
Silver Brewers Cut Altbier Real Ale Brewing Co. German-Style Altbier
Bronze Saint Arnold Weedwacker Saint Arnold Brewing Co. German-Style Wheat Ale
Silver Saint Arnold Summer Pils Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Munich-Style Helles

Good luck to all breweries who have beer entered in the competition this year and I look forward to sampling your beers on the convention floor.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July Beer Dinner at Rudyard's Pub Featuring Independence Brewing

This month's beer dinner at Rudyard's Pub will be featuring beer from Independence Brewing of Austin, TX. Joe Apa, formerly of T’afia and Plum Easy Kitchens, will be carefully crafting 5 courses paired with 5 different Independence beers, including White Rabbit, Stash IPA, Austin Amber, Convict Hill Stout and the recently released Hell or High Lager (brewed to commemorate their 3,000 batch of beer). This month's dinner is also a pet food drive for a local homeless pet shelter, so please bring along a bag or a few cans of pet food so the animals can eat too.

The dinner takes place on Thursday, July 24th at 7:00pm and tickets are available online for $50 each or you can contact Rudyard's at (713) 521-0521 for more info.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Central Market Beer Fest

Central Market's annual beer celebration begins today and runs through June 24th.  Scheduled events include in-store tastings and beer dinners, some featuring the owner and/or brewmaster from the brewery.  There is also a Sip & Stroll on June 19th with eight food and beer pairing stations setup around the store.  Check the online events calendar for an up-to-date listing of events (tickets required for some events and can also be purchased online).  And if the calendar of events doesn't get you excited, then perhaps 20% off all beer purchases of $25 or more will help.