Thursday, May 19, 2011

Saint Arnold Brewing's 17th Anniversary Party

Saint Arnold Brewing is celebrating their 17th anniversary with a party on Sunday, June 12th from 12pm ~ 3pm. The cost is $36 per person which includes a barbecue lunch and a special anniversary glass. Reservations must be made in advance online (click here) and will most certainly sell out.

The Saint Arnold Olympics will also take place that afternoon and they are seeking eight 2 person teams to compete. If you are interested, please send the name of your team along with the names of the two team members (include email address and phone number) to If more then eight teams are submitted, there will be a random draw to choose the participants.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recap: Deschutes Beer Dinner at Plonk!

I was fortunate enough to be hosted by Deschutes Brewery at their Beer Dinner last night at Plonk! Beer and Wine Bistro. The local Deschutes rep for Texas and a few others direct from the brewery in Oregon were on hand pouring samples and talking about their beer.

The beer dinner was three courses, starting with PEI Mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce with freshly baked focaccia bread paired with the Mirror Pond Pale Ale. The fococcia bread is made at the bistro and baked fresh when it's ordered. It was soft and fluffy and perfect for soaking up what was left of the sauce after finishing the mussels. They apparently use the same bread for their muffaletta sandwich, which I'll definitely have to come back and try another day.

The second course was hanger steak served medium rare on a bed of Carolina Plantation Grits with a porcini mushroom and red pepper sauce and paired with the Black Butte Porter. The grits are milled to the exact specifications of the bistro and were slightly more course then other grits I've had, but were still very creamy. The steak was very tender and the sauce had just a bit of a hot kick at the end which paired wonderfully with the porter.

For dessert, we were served a frozen mascarpone custard with toasted almonds and a snifter of 2010 The Abyss. I don't think any further words are necessary other then... awesome!

Thanks again to the Deschutes Brewery, I had a great time talking with their Reps and thoroughly enjoyed the beer dinner. I also highly recommend trying Plonk!. The owner informed us that the bistro is still a work in progress and the beer taps are not installed behind the bar yet, but they do have draft beer available (in addition to bottled beer), its just currently in the walk-in cooler.

Open House at No Label Brewing

If you didn't get a chance to try their beer last night at the Petrol Station, No Label Brewing is hosting a FREE open house today from 3pm ~ 7pm. Go check out the brewery located in the old rice silos in Katy, TX and sample their El Hefe and Pale Horse.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Freetail Brewing Co. to Open Brewpub in Houston

Well, its finally official, Freetail Brewing Co. has announced that their second location will be in downtown Houston.

Scott Metzger, Founder and CEO of Freetail, announced it this afternoon on Twitter and followed it with a live chat Q&A session. The exact location is not being announced at this time out of respect to the developer, but rumours are already flying about it. What we do know is that it will be 20,000 sqft spread over three floors in a historic downtown building. The total cost is estimated at $4.2 million and it's projected to open in spring of 2012.

A few intersting comments by Scott Metzger from the Live Chat Q&A Session:

- Freetail Houston will have a ton of its own brews. I don't want a clone of San Antonio - our Houston brewteam will have the freedom to create their own recipes unique to the tastes of Houston

- We don't have the brewteam in place for Houston yet, and will begin our search in the coming months. I know Houston is full of great brewers or maybe we will bring some folks in. .

- An exciting part of the new location is the inclusion of a company store that will be a place to come in, pick up growlers, merch and yes... packaged product. I foresee both cans and 22oz bombers available at the company store on a regular basis.

- We're going to expand our menu considerably. We'll have our signature pizzas, but add a gastropub element to it

You can review the Q&A chat session in its entirety here.  The offiicial full press release is available here.

*** UPDATE 7-27-2011 ***

Freetail annouced it has suspended plans to open location in downtown Houston, cites "increasing level of resistance in capital markets" as reason.  Full press release available here.


No Label Tapping at Petrol Station

No Label Brewing from Katy, TX will be tapping their El Hefe (Hefeweizen)and Pale Horse (American Pale Ale) at 7:00pm tonight out at the Petrol Station. No better way to celebrate American Craft Beer Week then with a locally brewed craft beer.

More ACBW Events at the Ginger Man

Keeping the fun going for American Craft Beer Week, the Ginger Man has a special Glass Night tonight featuring Brooklyn Summer Ale. Buy the beer, keep the glass!

On Thursday night the Ginger Man will be releasing an array of beers from New Belgium Brewing as well as hosting a Connoisseur Tasting. Bottles of the 2010 and 2011 La Folie will be available and two different releases from the Lips of Faith series, Dunkelweiss and Le Terroir, will also be tapped. The beers will be available from when they open at 2:00pm, but the Connoisseur tasting begins at 6:00pm (reservations suggested).

And Friday will see them serving gravity casks at 5:00pm of BrewDog Dogma and Southern Star Jasmine Blonde in the back beer garden.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Big Beer Tasting at Ginger Man

The Ginger Man is hosting their first annual Big Beer Tasting on Saturday, May 21st. Ten different barley wines and other strong ales will sampled, including the following:

Anchor - Old Foghorn (2010)
Avery - Hog Heaven (2009)
Harpoon - Leviathan (2010)
Lagunitas - Hairy Eyeball (2009 & 2010)
Live Oak - Treehugger (2010)

More beers will be announced closer to the event. The cost is $35 per person and advanced reservations are strongly recommended.

This is also the same day that the Ginger Man is hosting the wrap-up of the Deschutes BASE CAMP WEEK series of events and their Jubel 2010 will also be on tap. That's a lot of big beer available at the same time, I highly recommend pacing yourself if you plan to participate.

Friday, May 13, 2011

American Craft Beer Week 2011

Six years ago, the Brewers Association created American Craft Beer Week to help celebrate and honour the small and independent craft breweries across the country. The number of craft breweries has now swelled to over 1,700 and for the first time ever, there are official ACBW events scheduled in all 50 states. For the Houston area, only Kreuz Creek Brewing has an official event on the calendar, but new events are being added daily.

Interest in craft beer continues to increase, particularly in Texas where there are at least 10 breweries under contruction with another 21 that have announced their intentions (and there's probably a few more that I haven't heard about yet). You can show your support for the new and existing breweries and help celebrate ACBW by simply going out to a local beer bar and enjoying a few beers from any local craft brewery.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saint Arnold Cask Night at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man is hosting a cask night on Monday, May 16th which will be featuring beers from Saint Arnold Brewing. The Ellisa IPA will be on the beer engine inside the bar and gravity casks of Divine Reserve #11 and Farmer Brown's will be served out on the back deck.  The festivities start at 5pm and Saint Arnold glassware will also be included with the purchase of the beers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recap of the Texas Best Fest

According to one of the organizers, about 1,500 people attended the inaugural TX Beer Fest last Saturday at the Humble Civic Center Area. The venue was about as good as I've seen for holding such an event as there was plenty of room to move around, covered to protect from the elements but with open sides to let a breeze blow through. There was also plenty of free parking. And for those that figured it was too far out to bother going to, the arena is right next to the Bush Intercontinental Airport. If you've ever driven to the airport, then you've basically already been there.

As the name of the festival implies, emphasis was on Texas breweries which were setup in the middle of the arena, their booths adorned with Texas flags. The rest of the participating breweries from the USA and the globe were setup around the outside perimeter. Some of the newest Texas breweries were also there (Cirle, New Republic, No Label and Thirsty Planet) providing a lot of people the first opportunity to try their beers. It will be interesting to see how many more there will be next year. Although most of the booths for Texas breweries also had brewery signs and banners hanging on them, a lot of the other booths had very little indication of what brewery it was for. I assume this was probably because they didn't have any brewery representatives onsite and their distributor didn't take the time to hang up any signs (or didn't have any).

The festival lasted from 1pm ~ 10pm, which provided plenty of time for sampling of beer. Each ticket was good for one 2oz sample or if you preferred, six tickets could be traded in for a full 12oz pour. The ongoing tapping of rare and speciality kegs and casks throughout the event also provided a reason for festival goers to hang around. Rarely were there any lines at a booth (except for various times at the speciality beer booth) so it was easy to grab a sample and move on.

I spent a great deal of time throughout the day pouring beer at the Independence Brewing booth and I talked with a lot of people who were new to craft beer. Its festivals like this, ones that have their focus on craft beer, that help increase awareness and promote the craft brewing industry. Congratulations to Cliff and Jake and their team who organized and put on a great festival as well as all the other events leading up to it.

Camp Beer VII: The Golden Beers

The seventh edition of Camp Beer from Live it Big is taking place on Saturday, June 11th (originally scheduled for Sunday, June 12th) and is being called The Golden Beers. The list of beers so far includes (in no particular order):

Ale Smith - Horny Devil
Alpine Brewing - Duet
Ninkasi - Total Domination
Ninkasi - Spring Reign
Firestone Walker - Double Jack
Firestone Walker - Union Jack
Goose Island - Matilda (2010)
Brewdog/Mikkeller - I Hardcore You
Mikkeller - I Beat You
Mikkeller - Koppi Coffee
Stone/Greenflash/Port - Highway 78
Hair of the Dog - Adam
Hair of the Dog - Fred
Hair of the Dog - Doggie Claws
Left Hand - St. Vrain (2006)
Left Hand - Chainsaw Double Sawtooth (2006)
The Bruery - Saison de Lente
Lost Abbey - Framboise de Amorosa
Nogne O - #100
Saint Arnold - Divine Reserve #11

Tickets will go on sale towards the end of May and will be available from the Camp Beer website. However, you've got to be quick as it typically sells out within hours.  While you're there, you can also have a sneak peak at some of the beers that will be served at Camp Beer VIII: Stoutapalooza II!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Deschutes Base Camp Week in Houston

Deschutes Brewery will be holding a week long series of events called BASE CAMP WEEK in Houston starting on Monday, May 16th:

Deschutes Brewery descends on Houston for its Base Camp Week of specialty beer tastings, beer and food pairings - a week-long celebration of all things Deschutes at some of the city’s best places to have some fun.

The brewed-once-a-decade Jubel 2010 (which was created by accident thanks to a bungled burglary attempt and sub-zero temperatures) will be tapped at various places and even The Abyss is scheduled to make an appearance.

Here's a schedule of events that was provided to me:

Mon, May 16
5pm ~ 9pm - Taps House of Beers - Base Camp Kick Off with a tapping of Jubel 2010 and other Deschutes beers.
9pm ~ 11pm - Liberty Station - Reverse Happy Hour with Inversion IPA and commemorative pint glass.

Tues, May 17
5pm ~ 7pm - Plonk! Beer and Wine Bistro - Happy hour sampling and free pint glass with purchase.
7pm ~ 9pm - Plonk! Beer and Wine Bistro - Beer dinner featuring a three-course meal serving Mirror Pond Pale Ale paired with Cataplana mussels, Black Butte Porter complementing a course of expertly prepared hanger steak and The Abyss matched perfectly with a rich dessert. Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased at the bistro.

Wed, May 18
4pm ~ 6pm - Boneyard Drinkery - Pints for Pups with Deschutes beers on taps for a suggested donation per pint with all procedes going to Flip the Dog.
7pm ~ 9pm - Brian O'Neil's - Mirror Pond featured with a commemorative glass.

Thurs, May 19
3pm ~ 7pm - Whole Foods, Sugar Land - Beer and Cheese Sampling.
4pm ~ 7pm - Spec's, Clear Lake - Beer and Cheese Sampling.
6pm ~ 8pm - Barcadia - Beer and sweet dessert pairing.

Fri, May 20
1pm ~ 3pm - Spec's, Downtown - Beer and cheese sampling, including The Abyss.
5pm ~ 10pm - Flying Saucer - Brewery night and Jubel 2010 tapping.

Sat, May 21
1pm ~ close - Ginger Man - Wrap up of BASE CAMP WEEK with Jubel 2010 tapping and commemorative glass

I've always enjoyed their beers and the photo of me in the column to the right was actually taken a couple of years ago at the Deschutes brewpub in Portland, OR. They've scheduled a pretty full week of events and I'm looking forward to trying the Jubel 2010 on tap. I have a few bottles of it in my beer cellar and I'm often tempted to open one, but haven't been able to bring myself to do it quite yet.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Beer List Released for Texas Beer Fest

The inaugural Texas Beer Festival is only a few days away and their website has been updated to include the beers that will be served from the participating breweries. Its great to see over 17 Texas breweries will be represented, including a few that have just opened. That's got to be the biggest showing of Texas breweries at a beer festival ever. There will also be over 35 domestic breweries and 25 international ones. The specialty keg/cask section of the festival will be serving samples of 16 special and rare beers, including the following locally brewed ones:

No Label - Panamanian Coffee Milk Stout
Southern Star - Jasmine Infused Bombshell Blonde (Cask)
Independence - Brewluminati
(512) - Casabel Cream Stout (Cask)
Saint Arnold's - Divine Reserve No. 11

Discounted tickets are still available for $34 each (increase to $40 the day of the event) which gets you 12 tasting coupons that can be used for 2oz beer tastings or food purchases (additional coupons will be available for purchase).

May Glass Nights at Ginger Man

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

4th - Kulmbacher - Eisbock
11th - Summit
18th - New Belgium - Ranger
25th - Big Sky - Moose Drool

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.