Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jester King Issues Bottle Recall

Jester King Craft Brewery has issued a recall on bottles of their Commercial Suicide and urges anyone who purchased a bottle to return it to the retailer or directly to the brewery. From their press release:

A few weeks ago, we posted about an issue with Commercial Suicide bottles continuing to ferment beyond the projected finishing point, and becoming overcarbonated as a result. At the time, we did not feel that the issue warranted a full recall, but with extended cold storage, the bottle fermentation would cease and the excess CO2 that resulted from it would most likely get reabsorbed into the beer. Unfortunately, the fermentation has continued to a point where bottles may now be showing significant signs of leakage and may gush extensively upon opening. For this reason, we must ask that any retailer that still has Commercial Suicide on its shelves pull the product immediately. We would also advise any consumers who may be in possession of Commercial Suicide bottles to return them, either to the retailer from which they were purchased, or directly to the brewery. While we do not currently have any more Commercial Suicide to replace the overcarbonated batch, we are currently working on a Farmhouse version, which we hope to have ready sometime this spring. In the meantime, we will gladly replace any unopened bottles of Commercial Suicide that are returned to the brewery during our Saturday open hours with fresh bottles of one of our other beers of equal or higher retail value. Please accept our apology for this issue and for the inconvenience it has caused.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wishing everyone a

Merry Christmas!

All Good Beer

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Texas: Where beer is now beer!

Christmas came early for those attempting change of the local beer laws when Judge Sam Sparks of the United States District Court For the Western District Of Texas handed down his summary judgement regarding the lawsuit filed by Authentic Beverages (with co-plaintiffs Jester King Craft Brewery and Zax, LLC) against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 

The biggest win for local breweries is that they can now advertise where their products are available for purchase.  Instead of attempting to work around the law by vaguely indicate locations without using the actual name of the store or bar, they will be able to directly list where their products are sold.  Both local and out of state breweries will certainly appreciate the ruling that labels no longer have to contain the word "Beer" if its under 4% ABW or "Ale" if over 4% ABW (regardless of the actual style of the product).  This often prevented out of state breweries from shipping their product into the state as they didn't want the extra burden of designing new labels just for the Texas market.  It also occasionally caused existing beers to be pulled from the shelves or blocked from distribution when it was found their labels violated this ridiculous law.  Unfortunately, the Judge stopped short of overturning the ban on breweries from being able to sell directly from the public, a freedom the wine industry has enjoyed for many years. 

Although they didn't get everything they were trying for, its great to see any change that helps the beer industry and brings further attention to the issues.

Further information regarind the case and judgement is available at the Jester King Blog and Free Tail Brewing Blog.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Beers of Christmas at Back Yard Grill

The Backyard Grill on Jones Road in Northwest Houston is celebrating the holidays with a 12 Beers of Christmas beer and food pairing.  Starting today, they will be featuring a daily food and beer special starting with Ranger Creek's Mesquite Smoked Porter with a Chili Pie and ending with Independence Bootlegger Brown and Brown Sugar Sirloin on December 23rd.  The daily special is available starting when they open at 11:00am until its gone.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cigar and Beer Pairing with Open The Taps

Open The Taps (a grassroots organization dedicated to changing Texas beer laws and regulations) is hosting a Cigar and Beer Pairing at Hubcap Grill on Friday, December 9th from 6pm ~ 9pm.

For the price of $35 you get a goodie bag and a pint glass with a pint of Moylan's Ryan Sullivan's Imperial Stout and a Hight Cigar Primitivo cigar. The Hubcap Grill will also be offering burger and slider specials during the event. Teresa Merchant, The Smoking Hot Cigar Chick, and Jenny from the Heights Cigar Lounge will also be on hand to talk about the cigars.  100% of the ticket sales will go to help the Open The Taps organization. Only 20 tickets are available and you can RSVP to leslie@openthetaps.org.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Glass Nights at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man has released their list of Glass Nights for the month of December:

7th - Anchor
14th - Spaten (Santa)
21st - Brooklyn (Chocolate)
28th - Ayinger (Celebrator)

The glasses are available starting at 5:30pm and only one glass per person with purchase of the beer of the day. As always, the glasses are subject to change and only available while supplies last.

The Ginger Man is also hosting their annual Christmas Beer Tasting on Saturday, December 17th at 5pm. Various holiday beers will be paired with dishes prepared by Chef Angela Gaspard. Guest speakers will also be on hand to discuss the beers being served. If you're planning to attend, you must RSVP by calling (713-526-2770) or emailing (gm-houston@gingermanpub.com) the Ginger Man.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Camp Beer IX: Yule Smile

Tickets for the ninth edition of Camp Beer from Live it Big go on sale at 9:00am on Tuesday, November 29th. The actual event will take place on Saturday, December 10th at 1:00pm at an undisclosed location (participants will receive an email notifying them of the location).

Camp Beer IX: Yule Smile will focus on holiday beers, but a variety of styles are represented. The list of beers being served includes (in no particular order):

Mikkeller - Santa's Little Helper (2010)
Mikkeller - Red White Christmas (2010)
Nogne O - Peculiar Yule (2010)
Nogne O - Saison
The Bruery - Rugbrod
The Bruery - Mischief
HaandBryggeriet - Odin's Tipple
HaandBryggeriet - Nissefar
Funkwerks - Saison
Funkwerks - Maori King
Short's - Bludgeon Yer Eye
Short's - Huma Lupa Licious
Cigar City - 110 K+OT
Hoppin' Frog - Mean Manalishi Double IPA
Crocked Line - Cockeyed Cooper
Odell - Woodcut #5
SKA - Hoperation Ivy #20
Fantome - Fantome De Noel
Fox Barrel - Blackberry Pear Cid

As always, the Beer Master of Anvil Bar & Refuge and soon to be open Hay Merchant, Kevin Floyd, will lead the crowd through the tasting with information and anecdotes about the beer and breweries.

Only 60 tickets are available for purchase through the website for $55 each (plus $4.50 processing fee). However, you've got to be quick as past events have typically sold out within hours (if not sooner).

Monday, November 7, 2011

2nd Annual Monsters of Beer Festival

The 2nd annual Houston Beer Week kicks off this Saturday, November 12th, with the Monsters of Beer Festival at Guadalupe Plaza Park.

Over 60 beers will be available from at least 30 craft breweries and half of those are breweries from Texas. Tickets are available online for $35 and for $45 the day of at the festival. There will be various food trucks onsite for when you get hungary and an expanded silent auction of beer and beer related items to bid on. You can can also enjoy your beer knowing that 100% of the Monsters of Beer Charity Festival net proceeds go to Live It Big, a non-profit organization that supports startup and small charities, so you're actually helping others by drinking craft beer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Glass Nights at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man has released their list of Glass Nights for the month of November:

2nd - Karbach
9th - Texas Pint Night (Rahr, Shiner, St. Arnold)
16th - Duff Night (Mixed glassware from Duff Distributors)
23rd - Sapporo
30th - Deschutes

The glasses are available starting at 6:00pm and only one glass per person with purchase of the beer of the day. As always, the glasses are subject to change and only available while supplies last.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

International Stout Day

Three months after the first International #IPADay, the first ever International Stout Day is on Thursday, November 3rd. The official website doesn't contain a whole lot of information about it, but the intent appears to be to raise awareness about craft beer and the Stout style in general. Not sure you necessarily need all these named days to do that, but any excuse to drink I guess.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flying Saucer Sugar Land on Track to Open Saturday

The new Sugar Land location of the Flying Saucer Draft Emporium is currently on track to open this Saturday.  The new location will feature 200 beers with 80 on tap and two built-in cask engines.  They have also included a cellaring area for aging beers and additional storage will allow them to offer a greater variety of appropriate glassware (not just the ubiquitous shaker pint glass for all beers).  As with the other locations, customers will be able to participate in the UFO club and work towards their plate in the Ring of Honor.  There is also a large outdoor patio (great now that the weather has cooled off) and a private room that will be used for beer dinners and special events, like the beer dinner scheduled for Nov 15th with Garrett Oliver, Brew Master of Brooklyn Brewery.  If you're interested in working at the new location, I believe they are still hiring.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Independence Brewing 7th Anniversary Party

Independence Brewing Co. is 7 years old and is celebrating with a party out at the brewery on Saturday, Oct 22nd from 4pm ~ 8pm. Admission is free and includes three beer samples, but a commemorative anniversary glass will be available for purchase for $12 (cash only). The regular lineup of beers will be available as well as special and rare beers, including a beer tapping every 30 minutes as follows:

4:15 Brewluminati All Seeing Eye(PA) (Cask)
4:45 Brewluminati Braggot
5:15 Brewluminati Epanoui
5:45 Jasperilla Old Ale (2010)
6:15 Brewluminati Thinker’s Ale
6:45 Brewluminati Gold Deluxe

Entertainment will be provide by a band featuring the Head Brewer, Michael Waters as well as local Austin rockabilly band Deuce Coupe. And if you get hungry, Boomerang’s will be onsite selling their delicious meet pies,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October Glass Nights at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man has released their list of Glass Nights for the month of October:

5th - Chimay
12th - Unibroue
19th - Dos XX
26th - TBD

The glasses are available starting at 6:00pm (new start time) and only one glass per person with purchase of the beer of the day. As always, the glasses are subject to change and only available while supplies last.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No Label Beer Dinner at Alamo Drafthouse

The latest installment of the "Independent movie, Independent beer" series at the Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park location takes place on Thursday, October 6th at 7pm and features the movie Lost in Translation along with a feast paired with beers from No Label Brewing.

For the price of $50, you get Scarlett Johansson (and Bill Murray too) and the following four course dinner:

1st Course
Ridgeback (Amber Ale) with Shiitake miso with "Suntori Time" smoked chicken.

2nd Course
Pale Horse (Pale Ale) with Chili-Ponzu Yellowtail.

3rd Course
No Label El-Hefe (Hefeweizen) with soy and ginger marinated pork belly with cheddar grits and a "rising sun" fried egg.

4th Course
Black Wit (Dark wheat ale) with Green-tea and chocolate cheesecake.

Reserve your ticket online and ensure your spot for this great dinner and a movie.

2011 GABF Texas Winners

There was an impressive 3,930 beers entered in the beer judging competition at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, a 11% increase over last year. A total of 248 medals were awarded, included 4 for the following Texas breweries:

Uberbrau - Humperdink's Restaurant and Brewery, Dallas
Gold - American Style Amber Lager

Peacemaker - Austin Beerworks, Austin
Silver - English Style Summer Ale

Bottle Rocket Lager - Uncle Billy's Brew & Que, Lake Travis
Silver - Kellerbier or Zwickelbier

Barton Kriek - North by Northwest, Austin
Bronze - Belgian Style Lambic or Sour Ale

The full list of all medals is available here.

Its great to see Texas breweries continue to take medals from the GABF, particularly the brand new startup Austin Beerworks. Hopefully we'll also continue to see increased participation as more new breweries open their doors and begin producing.

This was also the first year that the Texas Brewers Guild had a booth at the GABF, bringing even more attention to the great craft beer scene "brewing" down in the Lone Star State.

Beer Festival at Brenner's on the Bayou

Brenner's Steakhouse on the Bayou is hosting a Beer Festival this Saturday, October 8th from 2pm ~ 6pm. There are two levels of tickets, General Admission ($50 presale or $65 on day of the event) and VIP admission ($100). Both include unlimited tasting of about 50 beers from the breweries listed, but the VIP access includes additional specialty beers in a VIP area. Food stations serving up some great food prepared by the Chefs at Brenner's to compliment the beers will be setup around the restaurant with additional food items also made available in the VIP area. Tickets can be purchased online. Casual attire is suggested.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2011 GABF Medal Ceremony Streaming Live

Winners of the 2011 Great American Beer Festival will be announced today at the convention center during the Members-only session. For those who are unable to be there, the medal ceremony is being broadcast live on The Brewing Network starting at 1:00pm MST. Tune in from home or your local pub and see if your favourite brewery takes home a medal.

Complete list of winners from previous years is available here.

The medals winners from Texas last year were:

Gold (German-Style Kölsch): Fancy Lawnmower - Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Gold (Ordinary or Special Bitter): Rio Blanco Pale Ale - Real Ale Brewing Co.
Silver (Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter): Elissa IPA - Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Silver (Scottish-Style Ale): Oktoberfest - Saint Arnold Brewing Co.,
Bronze (Munich-Style Helles): Cowboy Lager - The Covey Restaurant & Brewery (closed)

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Beer Things to do in Denver during 2011 GABF

You're in Denver for the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, but what do you do when you're not wandering from booth to booth on the convention floor during one of the tasting sessions? Seek out more beer to drink, of course. Denver is one of the best beer cities and there are a plenty of breweries, brewpubs and beer bars in the area to visit.

The Denver Beer Fest runs from Sept 23rd ~ Oct 1st and their website is great resource for finding beer events by date, type and location. If you want an easy way to find everything and see it on a map, check out the City Beer Map for Denver and surrounding area on The Beer Mapping Project website.

Here's a few beer places that I recommend if you're staying downtown (in no particular order):

Falling Rock Tap House (Beer Bar) - Probably the best beer bar in Denver. Located in the trendy LoDo area, its got a huge selection of draft and bottled beer.  However, don't plan on finding a place to sit down and be prepared for very long wait times to get a beer.
Rock Bottom Brewery (Brewpub) - Only a couple blocks from the convention center and on the 16th Street Mall, it makes a great place to meet up and grab a bite before and/or after the GABF tasting sessions.
Wynkoop Brewery (Brewpub) - Colorado's oldest brewpub. Great place to grab a fresh pint and some good food.
Great Divide Brewing Co (Brewery) - Stop by their Tap Room for a sample of their beers and take a tour.
The Cheeky Monk (Belgian Beer Cafe) - Great selection of Belgian beers on tap and in the bottle as well as good food.

There are also various beer bars and brewpubs scattered around the greater Denver area. The Bull & Bush Pub & Brewery is long time favourite of mine, particularly for the Sunday brunch.

If you have a car and a designated driver, you can also take a short road trip to visit some of the breweries in and around Fort Collins (New Belgium, Odell Brewing Company, Fort Collins Brewing) or Longmont (Oskar Blues Brewery, Left Hand Brewing Company) or Boulder (Avery Brewing Company, Boulder Beer Company, Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery).

Anyone have any specific events or parties they want to mention??

Friday, September 23, 2011

TxBF Happy Hour to Benefit Houston Food Bank at Ginger Man

The Texas Beer Fest has helped to organize a special Happy Hour to benefit the Houston Food Bank at the Ginger Man this Friday, Sept 23rd starting at 7:00pm. Barrel-aged versions of Real Ale's Lost Gold IPA and Anniversary Ale as well as Black Wit-O from No Label will be available and for only $10, you'll get a Texas Beer Fest pint glass filled (once) with one of those beers.

The weather is perfect today for enjoying a pint out on their patio and you'll be helping a worthy cause as 100% of the proceeds will be going to benefit the Houston Food Bank.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Learning to Taste Beer

This last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in an off flavour training seminar organized by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. Sponsored by Real Ale and hosted at Independence Brewing, the class was designed to help identify common flavours and aromas in beer that are typically undesirable (although, depending on the style, some are not only desired but even required).

The goal is to help train your palate to identify these often subtle flavours and aromas, so they were presented to us in an exaggerated and sometimes overwhelming state. Tim Shwartz of Real Ale lead the seminar and walked us through each sample and discussed what causes the different flavour or aroma, where it might be appropriate and steps to take for avoidance. Samples of a common and cheap macro lager were spiked in order to experience the various off-flavour profiles and small vials containing various noxious potions were handed around to sniff to experience some of the aromas.

A word of caution though, once you take a class like this, it may change your opinion on beers that you've enjoyed in the past as you'll begin to notice these off flavours a lot more. There were a few "a-ha" moments during the class as people identified flavours in beers that they consumed recently but now recognized as one or more of these off-flavours. Not everyone can detect all off flavours and aromas however, so don't be surprised if someone raves about a beer that you clearly detect butterscotch (Diacetyl) or they notice a corn or vegetable aroma (Dimethyl Sulfide) and you don't. If you're going to the GABF, check around the middle of the convention floor near the Brewers Guilds as they often have a booth setup to try your hand at identifying off flavours. 

If you want more information regarding off flavours and aromas, check out this PDF file available on the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) website. If you're interested in attending a similar class, check with a local homebrew club or homebrew supply store and see if they offer any or if they'd be interested in organizing one.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Map of 2011 GABF Convention Floor Now Available

The map of the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) convention floor is now available on the website. The brewery tasting booths are arranged by region of the country and the attending breweries from Texas are in the Southwest section. If you have any specific breweries and beers that are a "must try", I strongly suggest you download the .pdf file and print the the map and mark the location of those booths. It can be overwhelming and chaotic in the convention center (particularly if this is your first time) and you will definitely miss out on some great beers if you just wander up and down the rows (save that for after you've got to the ones you wanted).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Glass Nights at the Ginger Man + Bonus Nights

The Ginger Man has released their list of Glass Nights for the month of September:

7th - Castello
14th - Paulaner
21st - Stella
28th - St. Arnolds Oktoberfest

The glasses are available starting at 6:00pm (new start time) and only one glass per person with purchase of the beer of the day. As always, the glasses are subject to change and only available while supplies last.

In celebration of their annual Oktoberfest party, there are also bonus glass nights during the week of 26th (available starting at 2pm):

26th - Sam Adams (Stein)
27th - Shiner
29th - Hofbrau (Stein)
30th - Warsteiner

The Oktoberfest party is Saturday, October 1st with brats, beer and games starting at noon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oktoberfest 2011 at Southern Star Brewing

Southern Star Brewing has announced their annual Oktoberfest party at the brewery will be held on October 22nd from 6pm ~ 10pm. The price is $30 per person which includes a 17oz commemorative ceramic beer stein and 5 tokens for beer. They'll be pouring their regular lineup of Blond, Pine Belt and Hatchet and other beers such as the 2011 Pro-Am may or may not be available as well. Food will be available for purchase (cash only) from The Outlaw Kookers and the Folk Family Revival band will be providing the entertainment. Tickets can purchased online and only 300 will be sold, so I wouldn't wait too long if you're thinking about going.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

List of Texas Breweries Attending 2011 GABF

There are currently over 470 breweries listed as attending the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Texas has its largest showing ever with 22 breweries listed, up from the previous year of 19. I'm sure this number will continue to grow for the next few years as more of the startup breweries begin operations.

The breweries representing Texas this year are:

(512) Brewing ~ Austin
Austin Beerworks ~ Austin
Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery ~ Austin
Circle Brewing ~ Austin
Darkside Fermentation ~ San Marcos
Flix Brewhouse ~ Round Rock
Fredericksburg Brewing ~ Fredericksburg
Freetail Brewing ~ San Antonio
Humperdink's Restaurant and Brewery ~ Dallas
Independence Brewing ~ Austin
Jester King Craft Brewery ~ Austin
Live Oak Brewing ~ Austin
No Label ~ Katy
North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery ~ Austin
Rahr & Sons Brewery ~ Fort Worth
Real Ale Brewing ~ Blanco
Saint Arnold Brewing ~ Houston
Southern Star Brewing ~ Conroe
Spoetzl Brewery ~ Shiner
Twisted X Brewing ~ Cedar Park
Uncle Billy's Brew & Que ~ Austin
Uncle Billy's Brew & Que (Lake Travis) ~ Austin

A few breweries that attended last year but are not currently listed this year include:

Draught House Pub & Brewery ~ Austin
Lovejoy's ~ Austin
The Covey Restaurant & Brewery (Closed) ~ Fort Worth
Thirsty Planet Brewing ~ Austin
Blue Star Brewing ~ San Antonio

Three breweries from Texas took home medals last year, including one that is now closed:

Gold (German-Style Kölsch):  Fancy Lawnmower - Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Gold (Ordinary or Special Bitter):  Rio Blanco Pale Ale - Real Ale Brewing Co.
Silver (Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter):  Elissa IPA - Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Silver (Scottish-Style Ale):  Oktoberfest - Saint Arnold Brewing Co.,
Bronze (Munich-Style Helles):  Cowboy Lager - The Covey Restaurant & Brewery

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Camp Beer VIII - Stoutapalooza II

Tickets for the eighth edition of Camp Beer from Live it Big go on sale at 9:00am on Thursday, August 18th. The actual event will take place on Friday, September 16th at 7:00pm (the first one held in the evening) and is being called Stoutapalooza II as it will be featuring a variety of Stouts (with a few porters thrown in). The list of beers being served includes (in no particular order):

Lost Abbey - Serpent's Stout
Nogne O - Imperial Stout
Ninkasi - Oatis Oatmeal Stout
Firestone Walker - Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
Port Brewing - Older Viscosity Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout
Goose Island - Night Stalker Imperial Stout 2010
Iron Fist - Velvet Glove Imperial Stout
Pretty Things - East India-Style Porter
Smuttynose - Imperial Stout
Anderson Valley - Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Ballast Point - Sea Monster Imperial Stout
Ballast Point - Victory At Sea Imperial Porter

As always, the Beer Master of Anvil Bar & Refuge and soon to be open Hay Merchant, Kevin Floyd, will lead the crowd through the tasting with information and anecdotes about the beer and breweries.

Tickets are available for purchase through the website only at a cost of $55 each. However, you've got to be quick as past events have typically sold out within hours (if not sooner).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eleventh Anniversary Party at Flying Saucer Houston

The Flying Saucer in downtown Houston is celebrating their 11th Anniversary with a party stretching over two days on Aug 20th and 21st. The festivities start on Saturday with the tapping of a variety of rare beers and continues on to Sunday with the addition of a build-your-own Michelada bar.

Saturday's Tap List (starting at noon):
Deschutes - Hop in the Dark
Boulevard - Collaboration #2 (White IPA)
Ommegange - Abbey
Brooklyn - Monster (2007) & Blast
Breckenridge - 72 Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout
Avery - Fifteen
Independence - All Seeing EyePA & Gold Deluxe
Also a special tapping at 5:00pm of Ranger Creek's So it Gose & Dry Hopped Double IPA (cask) with Ranger Creek Rob.
Rob Cartwright, Brewmaster from Independence Brewing, will also be at the party to answer question and talk about their beer.

Sunday's (partial) Tap List:
(512) - Dry Hopped Double IPA (cask)
Saint Arnold - Farmer Brown Chardonnay Barrel w/Cherries (cask)
Stone - Old Guardian (2008)
Real Ale - Morgul Ale
Lagunitas - Fusion VI
New Belgium - Ooh La La & Clutch
Jester King - Wine Barrel Farmhouse Suicide (cask)
plus at least 3 more surprises

An earlier tweet indicated that Tramp Stamp & Clementine Wheat from Clown Shoes (who just started distributing to Texas) would also be on tap, so those might be a couple of the surprise ones if they've arrived.

Dogfish Head Days of Summer at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man is featuring beers from Dogfish Head all this week for their Dogfish Days of Summer event. Each day a different Dogfish Head beer will be feature:

Aug 15th - Indian Brown
Aug 16th - Aprihop (1 year old)
Aug 17th - Bitches Brew
Aug 18th - Palo Santo
Aug 19th - Namaste
Aug 20th - Raison D'etre
Aug 21st - Burton Baton

The Dogfish Head beer of the day will be available when the bars opens that days.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Breweries Attending Denver Rare Beering III - Now Complete

The list of breweries and beer that will be at the Pints4Prostates Denver Rare Beer Tasting III is now complete.  The following thirty rare and vintage beers will be poured at the event (with the brewers themselves often on hand and pouring the beer):

Alaskan - Baltic Porter w/ Cherries and Vanilla Beans (2009)
Avery - Dihos Dactylion Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Aged Sour Ale
Big Sky - Buckin' Monk Chardonnay Barrel Aged Tripel (2006)
Boston Beer - Utopias (2011)
Boulevard - Love Child #1
Brooklyn - Cuvee de la Crochet Rouge
Cascade - Borbonic Plague
Cigar City - Neilsbohrium Rum Barrel-Aged Imperial Raisin Sweet Stout
Dogfish Head - Olde School (2004)
Duck Rabbit - The End of Reason
Firestone Walker - Agrestic Ale
Foothills - Sexual Chocolate (2009)
Full Sail - Old Boardhead Barleywine (1998)
Great Divide - Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout (2008)
Highland - PSA Pilsner
Jolly Pumpkin - Lúpulo de Hielo
Laughing Dog - St. Benny's Labby Ale Bourbon Barrel Aged
Left Hand - Fade to Black Vol. 1 (2009)
Lost Abbey - Deliverance
Nebraska - Inception Series #1
New Belgium - Eric's Ale
New Holland - Rum-barrel-aged Pilgrim's Dole Wheatwine
Odell - Rare Blend
Rogue - Charlie 1981
Sierra Nevada - 30th Anniversary Rum Barrel-Aged Fritz and Ken’s Stout
Stone - Stone Imperial Russian Stout aged in Stanahan's Colorado Whiskey Barrels (2010)
The Bruery - The Wanderer Dark Sour
Thirsty Dog - 12 Dogs of Christmas Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Weyerbacher - Idiot’s Drool
Wynkoop - Metacool Maltuwanna Imperial Amber Ale

*** SOLD OUT - As of noon on Wed, Jul 12th, this event is sold out. Thanks for all your support for a worthy cause. ***

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

International #IPADay

International #IPADay was founded by Ashley Routson (aka The Beer Wench) and Ryan Ross but it was inspired by similar worldwide wine events such as #ChardonnayDay and #CabernetDay. Ashley, more commonly known in the beer world as The Beer Wench (Wenchie or just Wench) witnessed how these events brought people together around the world to drink wine, whether they normally drank wine or not, because they wanted to be part of the event. Feeling that the beer industry has been slower to take advantage of social media, the First International Celebration of Craft Beer was born. The IPA was chosen as it's a style that is most readily available and has a wide range of characteristics, making it easy to find and allowing enough choices that even people who don't normally like the style can find one to drink. And, since the spotlight will be on IPA's, perhaps introduce more people to the style and expand their taste profiles:

International #IPADay is an event geared towards making craft beer more accessible to the masses. Please encourage all of your non-beer drinking friends to take a break from their normal beverage routines to join the worldwide craft beer celebration on August 4th! This is a time for education and advocacy! We should all set out with the goal of converting at least one person, if not the whole world of drinkers, into craft beer lovers!

So wherever you on Thursday, take the time to enjoy an IPA and introduce the style (or craft beer in general) to someone who wouldn't normally drink it. I'll be down at the most appropriate place there is for International #IPADay, the Petrol Station, recently crowned as the "Most Bitter Bar in America" by Stone Brewing. They'll have a plethora of IPA's on draft and will be tapping three casks at 7:00pm. Rumour has it, a couple of those casks will be from the elusive Brewluminati series (including the latest release) brewed by Independence Brewing. Those don't make it down to Houston very often, so its an event not to be missed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Open The Taps

A new advocacy group for craft beer has been formed in Houston by local bloggers and craft beer enthusiasts. Open the Taps, a registered non-profit grassroots organization, hopes to help shape new legislation regarding the craft beer industry by being the voice of the craft beer consumer.

"Open the Taps hopes to reach more Texas residents on a personal level in order to bring change from the ground-up, unifying voters and the consumers into one voice."

If you're interested in joining the fight to Open the Taps, the founders will be hosting a launch party at the Moon Tower Inn on Saturday, July 23rd at 4:00pm.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Hop in the Dark from Deschutes Brewery

I made some new friends from Deschutes Brewery when they came to town for their Base Camp Week a couple of months ago and that friendship resulted in me receiving an early bottle of this year's release of Hop in the Dark. I've left it resting comfortably in my beer fridge, glancing at it occasionally while trying to determine when I should drink it. I finally decided Saturday night was the night.

Hop in the Dark is their version of a Cascadian Dark Ale (or Black IPA or American-Style Black Ale or whatever you prefer to call it), a variant of the IPA made with roasted malts. I have to admit, I didn't really understand this style when I first heard about it. I just couldn't see how the roasted malt flavours and aromas would compliment the strong bitter hop flavours and floral aromas typical of the IPA style. And I was right, for the first few examples of the style that I tried anyway. However, as more breweries began experimenting with it, better and better versions of it were released. The Brewers Association recognized it as a style for the 2010 GABF and Barley Brown's Brew Pub in Baker City, OR took the very first gold handed out in the category. Big Rock Chip House and Brewery in Birmingham, MI won Silver and Stone got the bronze for their Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. Greg Noonan (who passed away a couple of years ago) is widely credited for inventing the style at the Vermont Pub and Brewery in the early 1990's.

As the name of the style and beer would imply, its a dark beer, very dark. Strong aromas of pine with roasted malts. The flavour mimics the aroma with the addition of a citrus hop presence mingling with caramel and dark coffee. Finishes dry with the taste of bitter chocolate. Its a very well executed example of the style and still one of the best I've had to date. I look forward to trying a few more new ones at the GABF this fall. Thanks to Deschutes for sending the bottle and I look forward to buying more of it when its available down here later this year.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Feast of Saint Arnold Week

Monday, July 11th is the start of a week-long series of events organized by Saint Arnold Brewing called Feast of Saint Arnold Week. Events featuring Saint Arnold beers will take place at different locations daily with a portion of the proceeds going to the Texas Children’s Hospital IBD Center / Gastroenterology Clinic. The week then wraps up with a special feast at the brewery on Friday.

Monday, July 11 - Ginger Man - 2 PM till close
Rum barrel aged Winter Stout, Divine Reserve 11 cask, bourbon barrel imperial stout cask, auction, other items
$1 per pint plus portion of auction proceeds going to charity

Tuesday, July 12 - Boondoggle's – 5pm
Cask of Divine Reserve
$1 per pint to charity.

Tuesday, July 12 - Petrol Station – 7pm
Cask of Brown Ale, barrel aged with cherries.
ALL proceeds will be going to the charity.

Wednesday, July 13 - Rudyard’s – 7pm
Saint Arnold Ale dinner, $60/person with $10 per ticket to charity plus $1 per pint
Reservations - 713.521.0521

Wednesday, July 13th - Liberty Station - 7pm
Christmas Ale, Divine Reserve 11 and Barrel Aged Imperial Bourbon Stout (cask).

Thursday, July 14 - Flying Saucer
Cask of Divine Reserve 11, plus more surprises when that runs out.
$1 per pint going to charity.

Friday, July 15 - Saint Arnold Brewery - 7 PM
Feast of Saint Arnold, $85 per person with at least $50 per ticket going to charity.
Click to Purchase Tickets

Tickets for 2011 GABF Sold Out

The Brewers Association is reporting that tickets for the 2011 Great American Beer Festival are now SOLD OUT! Including the pre-sale days to members only, the tickets sold out in just 10 days. Limited quantities remain for Thursday and Friday evening Farm to Table Pavilion ticket packages which includes general admission to the festival and Members Only Entrance access. These ticket packages are available to members of the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association and can only be purchased through the Brewers Association online ticketing system.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Recap: Hubbell & Hudson Beer and Cheese Festival

Over the holiday weekend, Hubbell & Hudson held their 2nd Annual Beer and Cheese Festival in their store. We arrived about an hour after it started and the store was already pretty packed. The beer and cheese sampling stations were spread around throughout the store in what little open areas between the aisles existed. We found it was easier to get cheese samples then beer samples as most people had a tendency to hang around the beer tables, particularly if they were serving more then one beer. Beer reps from the breweries or distributors were also on hand pouring the beer, so most people also wanted to chat and ask questions.  However, I was disappointed that none of the stations seemed to actually pair and serve a beer and cheese together. Beer and cheese were being served separately and even if a cheese table was located next to a beer table, they weren't being served as a pairing. The label cards with the name of the cheese included suggested beer styles to pair with it, but you were left on your own to search out a sample of that style if you wanted to try the pairing.  It also got pretty crowded and difficult to move around in the store, particularly when a few people were attempting to push shopping carts as well.  But, its great to see an event that helps to promote craft beer and demonstrate its versatile flavours.  I also managed to get some family members to try some new beers styles that we ended up buying along with some of the great cheeses that we tried.  Overall, we thought it was a pretty fun event and I hope they continue it as an annual festival.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Belgium Independence Week and Beer Tasting at Ginger Man

The Ginger Man is celebrating Belgium's Independence Day with a series of glass nights and a Belgian beer tasting during the week of July 18th to the 23rd. Each day a different Belgian beer and glassware will be featured and the celebrations culminate on Saturday, July 23rd at 3pm with a special Belgian beer tasting alongside food prepared by Chef (and former bartender at the Ginger Man) Angela Gaspard. The cost is $35 per person for the beer and food tasting and they ask that you please pre-register if you are planning to attend.

The following are the Belgian glass nights for the week:

18th – Duvel
19th – Piraat
20th - Maredsous (ceramic chalices)
21st – Chimay
22nd – Blanche de Bruxelles
24th – Lindemans

The glasses are available starting at 5:30pm and only one glass per person with purchase of the beer of the day. As always, the glasses are subject to change and only available while supplies last.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Celebrate Independence Day with Independence Brewing

Celebrate Independence Day at Independence Brewing in Austin, TX. Today, Saturday, July 2nd is the monthly Tour & Tasting Day at the brewery and what better way to celebrate the holiday then with a beer brewed by Independence Brewing.  This year's Saison summer seasonal will be debuted during the tour day and a very limited run of Saison tulip glasses will be available for purchase for $10.  Regular pint glasses are also available for purchase for $6. 

Entrance to the brewery begins at 1:00pm, but a lot of people begin lining up shortly after noon.  It'll be hot, so bring chairs and some sort of shade tent or umbrella.  More information is available on the website.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July Glass Nights at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man has released their list of Glass Nights for the month of July:

6th - Gulden Draak
13th - Maredsous (stemmed glassware)
20th - Maredsous (ceramic chalices)
27th - St. Arnold’s (Christmas glasses)

In honour of their Belgium Independence celebrations, they are also featuring the following additional glass nights:

18th – Duvel
19th – Piraat
21st – Chimay
22nd – Blanche de Bruxelles
24th – Lindemans

The glasses are available starting at 5:30pm and only one glass per person with purchase of the beer of the day. As always, the glasses are subject to change and only available while supplies last.

Happy Canada Day, eh!

Other then the exceptional beers from Unibroue (now owned by Sapporo), there's not a whole lot of Canadian craft beer available down here in Texas. However, a Blanche de Chambly or an Éphémère Apple would go down really well in this ridiculous heat. Regardless of the beer you choose to celebrate with, cheers and Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians and those who wish they were.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Members-only Tickets for GABF Selling Fast

The Brewers Association is reporting that nearly 70% of tickets for the Members-only session on Saturday afternoon of the GABF have been sold during the Pre-sale for AHA members. In addition, the four-packs for members are sold out as are tickets for the Members-only entrance for Thursday and Friday night (public entrance tickets are still available though). A few hundred tickets till remain for the Farm to Table Pavilion. The remaining tickets go on sale to the general public June 30th.  It looks like the 2011 GABF is on its way to another record sell out.  I wouldn't wait to buy your tickets if you plan on going.

*** Update 6/30/11 ***

Tickets are now on sale to the general public, but tickets to the Saturday Members-only session are now sold out.  Click to here to purchase tickets for the remaining sessions.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Texas Craft Brewers Guild Announces Texas Craft Brewers Festival

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild, who's membership consist of the breweries and brewpubs of Texas, has announced the Texas Craft Brewers Festival will take place on Saturday, September 24th at Fiest Gardens in Austin, TX. This is the first beer festival organized by an actual brewers association in Texas in quite a few years (for those that remember the last one, that logo may look a little familiar). There's not a whole lot of information released about the event yet other then the creation of the official Facebook page, so this is mainly just a Save The Date announcement.

2nd Annual Beer & Cheese Festival at Hubbell & Hudson

I don't get up to The Woodlands very often, but this would be a great reason to. Hubbell & Hudson, a culinary world market and bistro located in The Woodlands Town Center, is hosting their 2nd Annual Beer & Cheese Festival on Saturday, July 2nd from 12pm ~ 6pm. Live music will be on the patio while beer and cheese experts will answer questions and help you pair up artisan cheese with craft beer. There will also be demonstrations by Carmine Chiricio in the cooking school on making and using mozzarella cheese. Its free to attend, but you will need to prove you're over 21 to sample any beer.

If you're not heading out of town for the long weekend, I would definitely check it out. And if you've never eaten at their bistro, then I highly recommend you try it. They have some of the best steaks I've ever had. Its a great place to catch dinner before seeing a concert at the Cynthia Woods Pavillion.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Real Ale Beer Dinner at Benjy's on Washington

The Benjy's on Washington Ave is hosting a Beer Dinner with Real Ale Brewing on Thursday, July 28th. The cost is $65 per person (plus tax and tip) and includes six courses paired with beer from Real Ale (see menu to the left). Brad Farbstein, owner of Real Ale, will also be on hand to talk about the beer and answer any questions.  Call Benjy's at 713-868-1131 to make your reservations.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pre-sale Tickets for 2011 Great American Beer Festival

One of the perks of being a member of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) is the opportunity to buy tickets to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) before they go on sale to the general public. The members-only pre-sale starts at 10:00am MDT on Tuesday, June 28th and includes the opportunity to buy tickets to the Farm to Market Pavillion as well. Members should have received an email message with instructions and a link to purchase tickets. If you're not currently a member, you can still quality for the pre-sales event by joining the AHA before June 26th (click here for membership info and benefits). The remainder of the tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, June 30th.

Considering the GABF has sold out for the past four years (and did it earlier then ever last year), I wouldn't hold off on buying tickets if you're thinking about attending. The session that typically sells out first is the members-only session on Saturday afternoon which is when the winners of the competition are announced. I think the Thursday evening session is the best as all the beer is available and most of the brewers are usually around and still energetic. And if you are going, don't forget to pick up a ticket for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting as well.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Denver Rare Beer Tasting III

In 2008, Rick Lyke, a veteran beer and wine journalist, was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a friend who was recently diagnosed with it urged him to get tested. After undergoing treatment, Rick decided to make more men aware of the risk of developing prostate cancer and the simple blood test that can help detect it by using the universal language of beer and formed Pints 4 Prostates. After organizing several small events at bars around the country, he set his sights on something larger and organized the Denver Rare Beer Tasting to take place during the 2009 Great American Beer Festival in Denver. I attened that first event (recap here) and the second one held last year. Now on its way to becoming an annual event during the GABF, the Rare Beer Tasting III is schedule for Friday, Septh 30th from 1:00pm ~ 4:00pm at the Wynkoop Brewery (the same location as the first two).

If you plan on attending the GABF, then I highly recommend taking in this event. Not only does the money raised go to a very worthy cause (100 percent of the net proceeds from the sales going to Pints for Prostates), but you will also get the opportunity taste some very rare beers (beers not even available at the GABF) and meet the brewers that created them (list of attending breweries and beers is still being finalized). Tickets are $80 each and go on sale Sunday, June 19th at noon.