Friday, September 27, 2013

New Mobile App for 2013 GABF

There's an all new mobile app available for the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) this year and it already appears to be significantly better then the one released last year.

An interactive map of the convention floor displays the locations of the brewery booths and allows you to add breweries to a “My Breweries” list which also marks them on the map, making it easy to remember and find the breweries you want to sample. And as you visit and sample, you can check off the breweries, makes notes and rate the beers you try. The beers being poured will be released on Oct 9th and its strongly suggested you update the app via WiFi before attending the festival (trust me, you definitely want to update before as the cellular reception and mobile data speeds is terrible in the convention center once the festival gets in full swing).

The app is available for download now from Google Play and Apple iTunes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2nd Annual BeerFeast at the Sugar Land Flying Saucer

The Sugar Land Flying Saucer's 2nd annual BeerFeast takes place under the big tent on the Sugar Land City Hall Plaza on Saturday, October 26th from 1pm ~ 7pm. Over 40 breweries will be represented pouring over 60 different beers plus rare and limited edition beers will be tapped throughout the day.

General Admission tickets are $30 and available for purchase online or at the Saucer and will increase to $40 the day of the event.  Tickets include a tasting card good for 12 samples and BeerFeast tasting glass.  Additional tasting cards can be purchased for $5 each.  There is also a designated driver option for $15 which allows your non-drinking friend to tag along with you and get free soft drinks.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beer Hunter - The Movie

I think anyone who's interested in craft beer (at least, for more than just the past couple of years) knows who Michael Jackson is. And if you don't, for shame! An English journalist and author of many books on beer (and whiskey), he is widely credited with being responsible for generating the worldwide interest in craft beer.

"No one did more for craft beer then perhaps Louis Pasteur" -- Fritz Maytag, Anchor Brewing

Michael Jackson's The World Guide To Beer was first published in 1977 and inspired many beer drinkers to reach beyond their domestic macro lagers for more flavorful and interesting brews. The beers featured in his book were categorized into style groups based on local customs and names which later became the basis of the beer styles still used today to categorize and judge beers.  In 1990, Michael hosted a British TV show called The Beer Hunter in which he traveled to different countries to showcase their beer culture.  Unfortunately, despite its popularity, it was not renewed for any additional seasons, but Michael continued to be known around the world as The Beer Hunter.

Beer Hunter - The Movie is comprised mainly of footage shot during 2004 by a film crew following Michael to various countries for tastings, speaking engagements, beer dinners and simply enjoying a few pints at his favourite local. Its then finished with follow-up interviews shot last year with many of the people featured in the original footage. Its not so much a documentary of Michael Jackson's life, but more of a snapshot of what it was like to be the most well known and influential person in craft beer. Unfortunately, Michael passed away in 2007 at the age of 65 after suffering from Parkinson's disease in secret for over a decade, but his impact on craft beer will continue indefinitely.

The DVD is available for order online for $20.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rahr Brewing Beer Dinner at BRC Gastropub

BRC Gastropub is hosting a beer dinner on Wednesday, September 25th featuring four courses paired with beer from Rahr Brewing:

Course 1: Fried manchego and heirloom tomatoes paired with La Grange Farmhouse Ale
Course 2: Smoky shrimp and grits paired with Blonde Helles Lager
Course 3: Caramel lacquered pork belly paired with Oktoberfest Lager
Course 4: Choco coffee whoopie pie paired with Ugly Pug Schwarzbier

The costs $45 (plus tax and tip) with a seating at 6:30pm and 8:30pm.  Contact BRC at 713-861-2233 to make reservations.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Dual Beer Glass

Watching a bartender incorrectly blending the beers together while trying to pour a Half and Half was the inspiration for the Dual Beer Glass from glassblower, and founder of the Pretentious Beer Glass Company, Mathew Cummings.

The individual chambers of this hand blown glass keep two beers separated until the drinker takes a sip. At that point, I'm not sure if the two beers will then get combined in the glass anyway, or if the twisted design of the interior wall keeps them from spilling over into the other chamber. There is also the added bonus of being able to see the colour and smell the aroma of the individual beers which is typically lost when blending beers. Due to the nature of handmade glassware, the dimensions will very slightly but the glasses are approximately 5~6" tall, 3" wide and hold 10~12 oz.

I'll admit, I am curious about them, but at $35 each (or 4 for $125), I'm not sure if I'm curious enough. The Pretentious Beer Glass Company also produces a variety of other pretty cool hand blown glassware that's designed specifically for craft beer. You can order these and see all the other glassware on their order page.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brewuniversity in Session at Central Market

Brewuniversity is now in session at Central Market and their hosting a variety of beer related events over the next few weeks including hands-on cooking classes, demonstrations and beer dinners where you can learn how to incorporate beer into recipes, enjoy meals paired with local craft beers or simply learn more about craft beer in general.

The Sip & Stroll takes place on Thursday, September 12th from 5:00pm ~ 8:00pm ($10 w/ commemorative beer glass) and allows you to casually work your way through stations spread throughout the store.  Stop and sample the unique beer and food pairing at each station and learn more about why they were paired together.

Beer dinner featuring beers from Karbach Brewing on Saturday, September 14th at 6:30pm ($65).  This six course meal features the following dishes and beer pairings:

•Mussels steamed in Sympathy Lager
•Karbachtoberfest Beer Battered Fish with fresh Cole Slaw
•Roasted Salmon, Roshambo Belgium IPA Butter Sauce and Sautéed Spinach
•Hopidillo Marinated Shrimp Tacos
•Spicy Seared Tuna over Scallion Sticky Rice with a Three Chile Vinaigrette and Rodeo Clown
•Cherries of Fire Ice Cream Sandwiches.

If you'd like to learn how to cook with beer as well as tips on pairing beer with different dishes, then you might enjoy their Beer - It's What's For Dinner class on Wednesday, Sept 18th at 6:30pm ($65).  You'll actually get your hands dirty making and then enjoying:

•Cheese-stuffed Jumbo Shrimp with Bacon served with a Farmhouse Ale
•Jicama, Apple, Fennel, Sweet Pepper & Orange Salad with Hard Cider & Mint Vinaigrette served with an Apple Ale
•Lamb Chops with Roasted Fennel & Portobello Mushroom Risotto served with American Porter
•Winter Warmer of Spiced Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins served with Winter Strong Ale.

Most people have heard about pairing cheese with wine, but how about with beer?  The Artisanal Cheeses Paired with Craft Beers class will teach you exactly that. Janet Fletch, author of Cheese & Beer, will lead you through an evening of sampling American craft cheeses paired with local American craft beers on Thursday, Sept 19th at 6:30pm ($50).  I actually already have a copy of her book and I think it's excellent.  Cheese and beer pairings include:

•Saint Arnold’s Lawnmower with Mozzarella Company Mozzarella
•North Coast Brewing Le Merle with Vermont Butter & Cheese Cremont
•Green Flash Hop Head Red with Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Toma
•Ommegang Abbey Ale with Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise
•Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
•Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout with Point Reyes Bay Blue

Representatives from a variety of local and national craft breweries will also be in store to pour samples and talk about their beer at various day and times.  Check the events calendar for a complete listing of breweries and days, but a few local Texas breweries includes:

Karbach - Sept 11th, 13th & 18th @ 4pm ~ 7pm
No Label - Sept 13th @ Noon ~ 3pm
Independence - Sept 14th @ 11am ~ 2pm
Rahr - Sept 19th @ 4pm ~ 7pm
Real Ale - Sept 19th @ 4pm ~ 7pm

For more information about these and other classes and to make reservations, please see the Central Market Houston Cooking School website.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Texas Breweries at 2013 Great American Beer Festival

The brewery registration for the 2013 Great American Beer Festival filled up in under 2 hours, leaving many well known and past winning breweries locked out from being able to register. A wait list quickly grew and although a lot of those breweries were eventually offered spots on the convention floor to pour their beer, they weren't necessarily able to enter any beer for the competition, leaving them to decide if it was still worth it for them to attend. For people who have attended past GABF tasting sessions, booths for some big name breweries may be noticeably missing this year. It will be interesting to see what changes will be made for the registration process next year since the number of craft breweries is only continuing to increase.

There are currently 652 attending breweries listed on the GABF website (as of August 1st), but it does not specifically indicate if all of them will be in the convention hall.

UPDATED: As of Oct 1st, the GABF website now indicate 624 breweries will be pouring beer on the convention floor with the following 36 breweries from Texas:

(512) Brewing Co.
903 Brewers
Adelbert's Brewery
Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
Austin Beerworks
Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.
Cedar Creek Brewery
Circle Brewing Co.
Community Brewing Co.
Cornel's Brewing Co.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
Flix Brewhouse
Freetail Brewing Co.
Hops & Grain Brewery
Humperdink's Restaurant & Brewery
Independence Brewing Co.
Karbach Brewing Co.
Lakewood Brewing Co.
Live Oak Brewing Co.
Namaste Brewing (Whip In)
No Label Brewing Co.
North By Northwest Restaurant and Brewery
Pendernales Brewing Co.
Peticolas Brewing Co.
Pint House Pizza
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
Real Ale Brewing Co.
Revolver Brewing Co.
Rogness Brewing Co.
Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner)
Texas Big Beer Brewery
Texian Brewing Co.
Uncle Billy's Brew & Que
Zio Carlo Magnolia Brewpub

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

Gold Bottle Rocket Uncle Billy's Brew & Que - Lake Travis Kellerbier or Zwickelbier
Gold Shiner Oktoberfest Spoetzl Brewery German-Style Märzen
Gold Shiner Bock Spoetzl Brewery American-Style Dark Lager
Gold Shiner Bohemian Spoetzl Brewery German-Style Schwarzbier
Gold Royal Scandal Peticolas Brewing Co. Classic English-Style Pale Ale
Silver Hans' Pils Real Ale Brewing Co. German-Style Pilsener
Silver Firemans #4 Real Ale Brewing Co. Golden or Blonde Ale
Silver Iron Thistle Rahr & Sons Brewing Scotch Ale
Bronze Uberbrau Humperdinks Restaurant and Brewery American-Style Amber Lager

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