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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Open The Taps at Alamo Drafthouse

On Wednesday, May 21st from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Open the Taps are hosting a fundraising event at the Mason Park location to raise awareness about changing the legislation that prohibits businesses with liquor licenses from selling beer growlers.

Beer loyalists can sample fresh brews from Houston’s favorite craft breweries and learn about how to bring growlers back to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Tickets are $10 each which includes a pint glass and 3 beer samples.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review: The Craft Beer Revolution

As both a brewery owner and active member of two brewing associations, Steve Hindy (co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery) has over twenty-fives years of first hand experience with the industry's inner workings and relationships. His book, The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink, is an insiders story about the rise of craft brewing, the struggles within the industry and it's associations and the relationships with "Big Beer".

Everyone is familiar with the story that Fritz Maytag is basically credited with sparking the craft beer revolution when he bought Anchor Steam Brewing just as it was about to close, but you'll learn about a lot of other people who also deserve some credit. And as an active Director of both the Brewers Association and the Beer Institute, Steve has being working hard to improve and steer the industry as well. There's definitely a lot of historical facts and tidbits that I was completely unaware of, but it may be a little too in-depth for readers who are not directly involved in the craft brewing industry. However, it's those stories that I found the most interesting. The ones that involve Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co. and the apparent running feud with some of the brewers (including Steve) were particularly entertaining (and explain Koch's quote about the book).  It's definitely a great read and I recommend it to anyone who's interests in craft beer go beyond just drinking it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Houston Press BrewFest 2014

The 3rd annual Houston Press BrewFest takes place on Saturday, May 17th from 2pm ~ 7pm at Silver Street Station (the same location as previous ones).  Over 35 local, national and foreign breweries will be serving up a variety of different beers on tap and from the bottle. 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. There will also be bands playing and local food trucks on-site.

General Admission and VIP ticket options are available and both include eight 3oz sample cards. The VIP ticket includes access to a special area with additional beers and appetizers. Enter Promo Code AllGoodBeer (before noon on Friday, May 16th) and you'll get a discount off the original price.