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.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

National Homebrew Day and Big Brew 2014

May 7th is National Homebrew Day which was created by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) in 1988 as a way to raise awareness about homebrewing. Homebrewers are encouraged to bring together non-homebrewing friends and family on the first Saturday in May as part of the AHA Big Brew event to teach and demonstrate this fun and rewarding hobby. A number of suggested homebrew recipes are selected for AHA Big Brew participants to follow. This year’s recipes, which consist of a pale ale, stout and dark lager, are all gold medal winners from last year’s National Homebrew Competition. And then, at noon CDT, all homebrewers and beer lovers are encouraged to raise a glass of homebrew in a simultaneous toast that celebrates those who craft homemade beer, mead and wine for their friends and loved ones. Although I haven't brewed at home in awhile, I'll certainly try and remember to toast those who are at noon this Saturday. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

American Craft Beer Week 2014

Nine years ago, the Brewers Association created American Craft Beer Week to help celebrate and honour the small and independent craft breweries across the country. With more than 2,700 craft breweries currently operating (and plenty more planning to open), America continues to celebrate its love and support for Craft Beer.

This year's American Craft Beer Week starts on May 12th and runs to the 18th.  Although the ACBW website has a list of events, I'd check with your local beer bars and breweries as many local events probably don't get added.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Oskar Blues Brew Nite and Wing Throwdown at Flying Saucer Sugar Land

Flying Saucer Sugar Land is hosting an Oskar Blues Brew Nite and Wing Throwdown at 7:00pm Wednesday, April 9th.

Special beer tappings include a tequila barrel-aged GUBNA Imperial IPA, barrel-aged Ten FIDY Russian Stout and more.

They will also offering wings in four Oskar Blues sauces including:
• Dale’s Pale Ale: Original Wing Sauce
• Deviant Dale’s: Mega Hot Melaguta Sauce
• Mama’s Little Yella Pills: Saaz Hoppin’ Honey Siracha Sauce
• Old Chub: 3 Chili Chipotle Sauce

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pig Dinner at BRC Featuring New Belgium Brewing

The next Pig Dinner at BRC Gastropub will take place on Wednesday, April 9th and features four courses paired with beers from New Belgium Brewing.

Reservations are welcome, but the special Pig Dinner menu is available starting at 6:00pm until it's all gone.  The cost is $50 per person (plus tax & tip).

The next dinner will be May 14 with Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Friday, April 4, 2014

April Glass Nights at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man has released their list of glass nights for the month of April:

2nd - Bridgeport - Trilogy 1
9th - Ballast Point - Sculpin IPA
16th - Duvel - Artist Glass
23rd - Breckenridge - 471 IPA
30th - Firestone Walker - IPA

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.

There is also a couple of Brewers Nights this month:

Karbach Brewing - Thursday, April 3rd @ 6:00pm
Gulden Draak Brewery - Thursday, April 18th @ 6:00pm with Jef Versele, third generation brewer of Van Steenberge Brewery

Ommegang Game of Thrones Event
Sunday, April 6th (All Day)
Pre-party featuring Ommegang's limited edition, Game of Thrones, Fire and Blood Red Ale with special glassware!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Southern Star 6th Anniversary Party

Southern Star has been brewing beer for 6 years and invite you to help celebrate their anniversary with a party at the brewery on Saturday, March 29th from 6:00pm ~ 10:00pm.

Tickets are $30 and include 5 beer tokens, a 2 brat dinner and a commemorative glass.  Designated drivers tickets are also available for only $12. The regular lineup of beers will be available and possibly a cask of their latest test batch. The event is rain or shine and the tickets are nonrefundable.

See the 6th Anniversary Party web page for more information and to purchase tickets online.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pig Dinner at BRC Featuring Alaskan Brewing

BRC Gastropub is beginning monthly pig dinners which will take place on the 2nd Wednesday of the month for the remainder of the year. The first dinner is on Wednesday, March 12th and features four courses paired with beers from Alaskan Brewing. Reservations are welcome, but the special Pig Dinner menu is available starting at 6:00pm until it's all gone. The cost is $50 per person (plus tax & tip).

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Glass Night at the Ginger Man

The Ginger Man has released their list of glass nights for the month of March:

5th - Saint Arnold Spring Bock
12th - Mc Choufe
19th - St. Martin Tripel
26th - Ommegang Abbey Ale

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.

There is also a couple of Brewers Nights this month:

Kona Brewing - Tuesday, March 4th @ 6:00pm
Sierra Nevada Brewing - Tuesday, March 4th @ 6:00pm

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TX Tap Takeover at BRC on TX Independence Day

BRC Gastropub is hosting a Texas Tap Takeover featuring five Texas craft breweries on Sunday, March 2nd. Celebrate Texas Independence Day with Texas brewed beers from a different brewery every hour starting with Saint Arnold at 2:30pm, Cyclers Brewing at 3:30pm, Fort Bend at 4:30pm, Rahr at 5:30pm and finish up the night with Karbach at 6:30pm. Raffle prizes, brewery glassware and special VIP growler specials will also be available.

Monday, February 24, 2014

TX Independence Day Celebration at League of Extraordinary Brewers

Celebrate Texas Independence Day a day early on Saturday, March 1st at the League of Extraordinary Brewers with a takeover of all seven house taps by Texas National Brewery:

Texas National Brewery will have their award winning Red Roggenhood Imperial Red Rye IPA AND the debut of SIX NEW beers never before available to the public! The new brews tap list includes:

- VladParticle Imperial Espresso Chocolate Oatmeal Milk Stout
- Wee Kevy
- Root Down Ale brewed with herbs and roots 
- Beer Brown on the Bayou Imperial Texas Brown 
- Hoppy Hoppy Hippo IPA
- Lola’s Panty-dropper Oatmeal Poire

Also available will be new beers brewed on site by The League and Warlocks as well as one brewed by the guys from Brews Brothers in Galveston. Additional special releases and brewery representatives will also be on hand.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

TX Independence Day at Flying Saucer Sugar Land

Sunday, March 2nd is Texas Independence Day and the Flying Saucer Sugar Land will be celebrating with rare tappings of Texas beers, releases of special Texas bottles from the cellar and a selection of Texas pints for only $3. Commemorative Flying Saucer Texas Independence Day glassware will also be available.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Odell Brewing Arrives in Texas

Odell Brewing has quite the list of events planned for their inaugural week in Texas, including a tapping of a special collaboration brew:

The brewery has a full week of launch events planned all over the state, including a special tapping at Pinthouse Pizza in Austin, which was started by friend and former Odell Brewing brewer Joe Mohrfeld. Joe teamed up with Odell’s head of production, Brendan McGivney, to brew a collaboration beer that they once brewed together at Odell Brewing. “T.A.P. TX” honors that original recipe, but brings it into the culturally relevant Session Ale realm with just as many hops but a slightly lower ABV.

Their regular lineup of beers are quite solid and some of the their seasonals and other series can be highly sought after for enjoying and trading.

Odell is just another of some of the high profile breweries such as Founders, Southern Tier and Upland who have entered the Texas market recently.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Draft Beer Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

I don't typically eat candy of any kind, but when I stumbled across the Draft Beer Jelly Belly Jelly Beans on Amazon, I couldn't resist (thank you Amazon Prime).

They arrived double sealed in plastic bags and there was still a strong aroma of beer when I took it out of the Amazon shipping box. However, it's more of a stale beer smell. That smell that washes over you from all the empty bottles, cans and glassware left laying around when you wander into the kitchen the morning after a late night beer tasting. As far as the flavour goes, it's there, it's just pretty mild. Despite the strong aroma, you have to strain your taste buds a little to pick it up. According to their press release "...the company opted to pay homage to its German ancestry with a Hefeweizen-inspired ale flavor...". I would definitely say that the aroma does remind me of a hefeweizen. Perhaps they should have picked a beer with a strong flavour profile like a porter or double IPA. Although, this is apparently the result of three years of hard work, so it's obviously been a difficult journey.  If they're looking for a new project, I would perhaps suggest a line of hops flavoured Jelly Bellys. They could even shape them to look like hop cones.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An unValentine's Day Beer Pairing Dinner from the League Of Extraordinary Brewers

Still scrambling for something cool to do on Valentine's Day? Dislike the forced show of commitment and overspending required every year on February 14th? Then perhaps you'd be interested in the "Feast of Indifference and Non-Commitment" by the League Of Extraordinary Brewers:

"You will spend 30 minutes at each station drinking great beer and enjoying a delicious beer pairing. After 30 minutes, you must move on to the next beer style and another group of new friends. Don't like the people at your table? Who cares. You are indifferent and do not have to commit to them. Don't like sours or Thai food? Who cares! You are indifferent and in 30 minutes you might be enjoying Belgian food and brews.

Note that this event "is not about dating, for singles, or in any way geared towards finding a hook-up... We encourage couples to come and celebrate this day in a different way!"  In other words, its just a cool and unique way to experience new food and beer pairings regardless of your relationship status.  The menus will not be released in advance so that each theme will be a secret until you move to that station. Some of the beers featured will be from the League Of Extraordinary Brewers as well as other rare beers.  In total, there will be six different pairing stations and you will be required to move through each one (no hogging a station because it includes your favourite beer).

More information is available on the event Facebook page.  Tickets are $65 each and available online, but they will stop selling them promptly at 11:00am on Friday, February 14th.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AHA Rally At Saint Arnold on Feb 23rd

Saint Arnold Brewing is hosting an American Homebrewers Association rally on Sunday, February 23rd from 1pm ~ 3pm.

Entrance to the event includes beer samples, VIP brewery tour and a chance to win prices from the AHA and Saint Arnold.

The rally is free for current AHA members and non-members can gain entrance by joining for a discounted rate at the door. Space is limited and you are asked to RSVP online if you plan to attend.

To learn more about the American Homebrewers Association and what a membership can do for you, see the Membership Benefits on their website.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hay Merchant's 2nd Anniversary Celebration

The Hay Merchant is celebrating their 2nd anniversary on Thursday, February 13th. And in honour of their special day, they will be tapping over 30 different rare and vintage beers:
  • 2013 Southern Tier Backburner
  • 2013 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
  • 2011 Real Ale 15th
  • 2011 Ranger Creek La Bestia
  • 2011 Live Oak Old Treehugger
  • 2009 Brooklyn Black Chocolate
  • 2013 Prairie Bomb!
  • 2011 Real Ale Real Heavy
  • 2012 Real Ale Scots Gone Wild
  • 2013 Karbach Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter 007
  • 2012 Harpoon Leviathan Quad
  • 2011 Squatters Outer Darkness
  • 2011 Unibroue Trois Pistoles
  • 2012 Dogfish Head Theobroma
  • 2013 Greenflash/Cigar City Candela
  • 2013 Goose Island Lolita
  • 2012 BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien
  • 2012 Great Divide 18th
  • 2013 New Belgium La Folie
  • Jester King RU-55 (cask)
  • Jester King La Vie en Rose (cask)
  • Karbach Fra-Gee-Lay with cocoa nibs (cask)
  • Karbach Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter 007 (cask)
  • Karbach Buffalo Trace Hellfighter (last keg ever)
  • BrewDog Paradox Isle of Arran (cask)

I'll sure there'll be a few other surprise tappings of beer that Kevin has squirrelled away in the cooler.

Friday, February 7, 2014

BRC Gastropub Crafts Valentine's Day Beer Dinner

Still haven't made dinner reservations for Valentine's Day?  Well don't despair as BRC Gastropub is crafting a romantic Valentine's Day beer dinner featuring beers from Fort Bend Brewing.  Executive Chef Steve Marques has put together a unique four-course beer dinner for $45 (plus tax and tip) with each course paired with a different beer:

Course 1: Texas Backyard Blonde Ale
Winter Salad - Shaved celeriac, shaved fennel, celery hearts, green olives, goat cheese, olive brine vin

Course 2: Over Backwards
Mudbug Boil Bisque - Crawfish, potato, sausage, corn, crayfish boil spice bisque

Course 3: Texas Farmhouse Ale
Choice of: 44 Farms petite filet, mushroom risotto, sautéed spinach or Crispy skin wild salmon, truffled lentils, roasted golden beets

Course 4: Texas Thunder Stout
Chocolate Trifle - Vanilla pound cake, Texas Thunder Stout chocolate budino, sorghum caramel

Reservations are encouraged with seatings on Friday, February 14th at 6:30pm and 9:30pm. Call BRC at 713-861-2233 to make reservations.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mayor Parker to Announce Big Brew DestiNATION

I received a media alert this morning indicating that Mayor Parker will be holding a press conference on Tuesday, January 14th to officially announce the Big Brew DestiNATION, a week's worth of craft beer events from Oct 20th to the 26th. I guess we'll learn more on Tuesday, but the website indicates:

One full week packed with fun and engaging events all over Houston culminating at the George R. Brown for three Big Brew Days.

The Events section on the website already lists a few events including a beer and food pairing, pub crawl and tasting sessions.  I assume more information will be announced and released at the event on Tuesday an in the months to come.

We've certainly come a long way from years of having no beer festivals in Houston.