Thursday, April 26, 2007

Parkville (Mo.) Brewfest this weekend

Doggone it, I'm in Parkville, Missouri (a KC suburb) quite a bit because my in-laws live just three miles up the road from there, but not this weekend … when there is a beer festival going on! Darn the luck. It sounds like fun — if you're in KC, you should definitely go. I can personally vouch that at least a couple of those brewers (Boulevard and Granite City) are excellent. Beer Girl has all the details.

A history of Texas breweries

I just discovered, and haven't had a chance to thoroughly explore it, but it looks pretty cool. This guy in Fredericksburg has apparently researched and written a book on the history of brewing in Texas, as well. Hint to my wife: It looks like it might make a good birthday present for somebody who's birthday is coming up in August. Who loves beer. And who does a blog about it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Any Philly readers out there?

If so, pony up some money for The Greatest Beers of the World, a fundraiser for the American Red Cross. A friend of mine up there is a co-chair of the event, and the keynote speaker is from Victory Brewing Co., one of America's best breweries (in fact, I was drinking a bottle of their Hop Wallop just last night). The info promises a sampling of up to 100 brands of beer! (I'm sure "up to" is the key phrase there – I'd be needing some help from the Red Cross if I tried to sample that many in just one night.)

As I've also said about organic beer: Anything that simultaneously lets you drink beer and make the world a better place IS GOOD. So go do it!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Reason why I love working for the 'Chronicle'

Because either the paper or my boss had a party this weekend, and today my office inherited the remains of a keg of Live Oak Big Bark. Mmm. Well, there goes my productivity for the day. I know Bobnoxious can relate to this.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Black Star Co-Op article in today's paper

A nice write-up on them in the Austin American-Statesman by my former Daily Texan colleague Claire Osborn. If you haven't read my previous posts: The Black Star Co-op is a cool bunch of folks here in Austin who are trying to start the first-ever (as far as anyone knows) cooperatively run brewpub.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brewers Conference and Expo

I used my reporter status to swing a media pass to the Brewers Association Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America at the Austin Hilton, which I attended today. It was quite a fascinating spectacle, although there ultimately wasn't much in it for me personally. Now those of you who are brewers, on the other hand, probably would have been fascinated. Just about every aspect of the brewing industry had a booth at the trade show, from hops and grain growers to equipment manufacturers to producers of advertising and T-shirts. I was acutely aware that I really didn't belong there — I'm strictly on the consuming end of beer, not the producing end. But it was an interesting glimpse into the business that gives me so much joy.

Ultimately, I didn't get what I came for — the panel I attended didn't really touch on what I hoped it would — but I did come away with some great stuff: A couple of free samples in the trade show (Ommegang Hennepin, a very nice Belgian farmhouse saison, and Rahr & Sons Stormcloud IPA, which was impressively hoppy), and a cool swag bag that included a tall beer glass, a DVD of the documentary The American Brew (a history of brewing in the U.S. that recently aired on PBS), and two bottles of beer created by a collection of Austin brewers. They're both double wheats, but one (which I'm drinking now) has prickly pear juice in it. I expected it to be awful, but it's actually all right, despite the girly pink color. (M'Lady strongly disagreed and made the same yuck face that she gets whenever I convince her to try whiskey.) Not something I'd drink every day, but tasty.

Big Black Star event Friday night

Their "biggest fundraiser ever." Take it from someone who has attended their past events — you want to go.

[Announcement] Tomorrow - FREE Black Star Co-op Pint Glass and T-shirt! When you become a Charter Member at our Craft Beer Celebration!

Don’t forget that tomorrow night Black Star Co-op will host a Craft Beer Celebration, our biggest fund raiser event ever, 8PM - midnight at Fiesta Gardens (2100 Bergman).

Come out and enjoy live music from local bands PONG, Opposite Day, and Second Line Social. Everyone will have the chance to win door prizes from local businesses such as B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub, Genuine Joe’s Coffee, Austin Homebrew Supply, Wheatsville Food Co-op, and more!

Cover is $10 / $7 for members and Craft Brewer’s Conference attendees (with badge); 21+ only

We’ll have a cash bar with fine craft beers from Live Oak, Real Ale, Dogfish Head, Avery, Lagunitas, and others! Also, free Maine Root root beer available!

See you tomorrow,

Black Star Co-op

Aw crap … 'Beerfest' sold out tonight

And I didn't even realize it was showing. The last time I went was a blast. This time the Alamo is having a "battle" between classic German beers and American reinterpretations. Sounds like fun, especially because Beerfest stars Jay Chandrasekhar and Steve Lemme will be there in person!

'Beer goggles' quantified!

And no, this study is not from The Onion.

Irish Crowds Panic as Flood Threatens

No, not my joke. It's making the e-mail rounds. I got it from Karla (see post below).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Speaking of chicks who love beer …

This is my friend Karla, whom I've written about many times before. I really like this picture. It's a fairly typical photo of Karla. :-)

I took it from her Big Head Pictures blog.

Beer humor

Unemployed Scientists Prove Dog Likes Beer

The Onion

Unemployed Scientists Prove Dog Likes Beer

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—After carefully scrutinizing the data and witnessing a replication of the experiment, researchers concluded the dog really liked beer.

Jim Hightower to keynote Craft Brewers Conference

The national Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America kicks off today in Austin. As I've mentioned before, most (but not all) of this industry event is closed to regular members of the public, but I still think it's worth posting just because I think it says something about what a quality beer town we live in that they chose to hold the convention here. Tomorrow's keynote speaker is very Austin (reprinted from their website):


Just Announced! Jim Hightower to Speak at Keynote

Lauded as America's #1 populist, Jim Hightower will deliver opening remarks at the Craft Brewers Conference, Thursday, April 19.

Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of Thieves In High Places: They've Stolen Our Country And It's Time to Take It Back. Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folk. He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 100 commercial and public stations, on the web, on Armed Forces Radio, Radio for Peace International, One World Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.

(And back to me again: I don't know what Jim Hightower knows about craft-brewed beer other than drinking it, but I presume the theme of his speech will be to praise the microbrewing Davids vs. the Bud/Coors/Miller Goliaths, as little guys vs. big corporations is the thread that has run through his entire activist career.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

If you could go to only one beer bar in Austin … where?

So I exchanged e-mails with Beer Girl (see previous post) and we said we might try to lift one together up in KC, and she also noted that she might be making a trip to Austin soon. She asked: "Any recommendations in the 'if you only go to one place, go here,' category?" Of course, in a town this full of good beer and nightlife, I couldn't limit it to just one, so I sent her the reply below (slightly edited for web privacy). So, did I leave out anything crucial? If so, please post a comment below.

More than one, really. Maybe you could narrow them down based on what part of town you'll be in. Austin is a great beer town.


Funky Austin at its best. Great selection, including some fine quality house brews.


The Gingerman
In Austin's hip Warehouse District. No house brews, but something like 70 or 80 taps. A beer connoisseur's heaven. Lots of stuff you can't find anywhere else.

University Area:
Dog & Duck Pub
Authentic replica of a British pub. Good selection, great bar food, including a mix of Texas and British cuisine.

North Central:
The Draught House
Same description as Lovejoy's, but more of a neighborhood bar, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. A fave of mine because it's a very near my neighborhood.

Far north:
North by Northwest
Suburbanish brewpub in the same way [North Kansas City's] Granite City is, but good lord the beer is great and the food is, too. Also not far from my house. The last Wednesday of the month is great because they tap a keg of cask-conditioned ale and serve until it's gone, which is just a few minutes. I've been to one of these, and the first sip was so good it made my head spin.

Opal Divine's Penn Field
No house brews, but great selection. They also have Central and Far North locations, but if you're in South Austin, this is probably your best bet.

Also, where ever you go, you must try any of the beers by Live Oak Brewing Co. It's an Austin brewery, but they don't bottle their beers, so the only way you can get one is on draft at an Austin bar. Great stuff. (Beware their beer named "Tree Hugger," though: it's a barleywine, and at 14 percent alcohol, it should probably be called "Toilet Hugger." Great beer, but it should be the only beer you have that night. In general, safer bets are their Pilz, Big Bark, Pale Ale, and wheat beers.)

So whattya think? Did I steer her right?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hey, chicks can beer-blog too

I just stumbled across this blog today. Nice to see it's not just geeky guys who blog about beer. I may have to hunt her down for a beer — she lives in Kansas City, where my wife comes from. (You've read me proclaim my love of Boulevard Brewing Co. many times on this site.) I've already gotten what sounds like a good KC brewpub recommendation from her blog, always good info to have.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Uncle Billy's now open

You know, I had an Uncle Billy who spent most of his life in jail. But perhaps a new brewpub in town can erase that image from my psyche. I'm looking at this ad in The Austin Chronicle right now that says Uncle Billy's Brew & Que is now open. I've been hearing a lot of anticipatory buzz about this place. Sounds like a winning combination: barbecue and beer brewed in-house. I'll be checking it out soon.

Reminder: Brewer's Conference Coming to Town

Most of the conference is only open to professional brewers who registered, but there are a few events open to the public. See my previous post for details. I think I'll certainly attend at least one of these things.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

When your heroes let you down

The Beer Snob took a kick in the gut last night. As some of you know, I'm not only a fan of beer, I'm also a huge fan of track & field (I still hold the mile and two-mile records at Rockdale High School … I'll pause for just a minute and give you time to absorb the magnificence of that accomplishment and get over your awe … and ran one highly undistinguished season for the Texas Longhorns). And one of my contemporaries on the track scene was one Michael Johnson, who went on to a much more noteworthy career than I, including Olympic gold medals and world records. So last night, I turn on the television, and there is MJ in a commercial … hawking Coors Light.

Oh, the shame. Michael, I expect retired athletes to do beer commercials, but did you have sink that low? Seriously, that is some really nasty swill you're promoting there, man. Please — tell me you secretly keep a stash of Sierra Nevada in your basement fridge, when the TV cameras aren't around to catch you.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Beer documentary showing right now

A fascinating documentary titled American Brew, on the history of the brewing industry, is showing right now on A&E. If you want to see it, set your VCR/DVR/Tivo for A&E for 1-2am when it will show again.

Good timing!

So my mother-in-law comes down for a visit from Kansas City, which always a joyous occasion because — besides the fact that I love her dearly — she always brings me a case of beer from Boulevard, one of the best breweries in the country, whose stuff is available throughout the midwest, but alas, not in Texas. It's pretty much the only thing I drink when I'm in KC. And this time, she not only brought me their bestselling pale ale, but also a sixer of their Christmas beer, Nutcracker Ale, which we didn't have time to finish during our winter visit and left there.

Now at first, my thought on the sunny day that she arrived was to stash this in the fridge until next winter. But the next day, the world turned upside down — a freakish winter mini-storm blew in … in April! Temperatures in the 30s, sleet here in Austin, snow just a few miles north of here. Utterly bizarre. This sort of thing
never happens in Texas, except perhaps in panhandle. My day at the Texas Relays — which are usually all about sandals, shades, and sunscreen — was completely ruined. But now I'm at home and comforting myself with a beer that was perfectly tailored for cold weather. Thanks Fran!

Speaking of Boulevard, it sounds like they're gearing up to do some really interesting Belgian-like stuff. They were a major part of good article on craft beers in
The Kansas City Star. I would love to link to it, but the Star's website apparently has already either gotten rid of the article or hidden it away in a for-pay archive. But to sum it up, in fall of this year they will make available a saison, something called Double-Wide India Pale Ale, a quadrupel, and something called Ol' Clarence — a version of their Bully Porter that spends a year in a Tennessee bourbon barrel. And in the winter they'll release a dubbel.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Buncha drunks at SXSW

I should have posted this some time ago, but it slipped my mind in the drunken haze of South by Southwest. This is on opening night, at our traditional meeting at Lovejoy's, one of the great beer bars in Austin. Taken by "Chicago Camille."

l-r: Bobnoxious (above Donegal Bill, aka Shirl), "Dumbass Don" (hey, I didn't give him that nickname), Brian, Lance, and yours truly. That's one of Lovejoy's fine homebrews I'm enjoying there, although I can't remember what it was now.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

'Yeah, but what kind of BEER do you want?'

So my wonderfully thoughtful wife calls me from Central Market to ask what I wanted from the beer section. For some reason, I'd really had Leffe and Affligem stuck in my head for the past few days, so I said, "I'd really like a Belgian blonde."


:-) I love you, honey.

P.S. It's April Fool's Day. I really should have saved my Heisler post for today.

P.P.S. And now I'm taking great pleasure in putting my lips on that Belgian blonde. Oh, baby.