Thursday, August 30, 2007

Michael Jackson, RIP

No, not that Michael Jackson. I'm talking instead about the famous beer/whiskey critic/journalist, possibly the most famous unrepentant beer snob in the world. I own one of his books about Scotch; drinkers around the world will mourn his passing. I was sent this press release from the Brewers Association:

To the Beer Writing Community,

It is with deep regret that we must inform you of the passing of Michael Jackson, the Beer Hunter, who died yesterday at his home in London, UK. We learned of his passing from our colleagues - Jay Brooks at Brookston Beer Bulletin and Julie and Daniel Bradford at All About Beer.

Michael's presence in the beer world profoundly impacted us as it did many, many of you. He was revered and honored each and every time he joined us and brewers in Denver and across the U.S.

The Brewers Association, like others, has a web page devoted to Michael's extraordinary life we will update that page as information becomes available. Truly this is a sad day for the beer industry as we have lost a good friend.

Send your tributes to

Other sites honoring Michael Jackson.
All About Beer Magazine Morning
Brookston Beer Bulletin
Seen Through a Glass

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ginger Man Pub to move

Here's some bad news, although it could have been worse. I heard a rumor that the Ginger Man, one of Downtown's coolest bars and an utterly magnificent (effcellent?) beer bar will be shut down and replaced with condos. Turns out it's true. The change is not too immediate – their lease doesn't run out until April 2009 – but ugh. I'm all for densifying Downtown and encouraging people to live there instead of the sprawling suburbs, but isn't part of the deal to also have great ground-floor retail? So why can't some of that ground floor stuff include great brewpubs/beer bars? I'm told that the cool old building is to be demolished; I'm still looking into that, and plan to report on it for the Chronicle.

But here's the good news, or at least the not-quite-so-bad news: The Ginger Man company plans to stay in business in Austin (they also have locations in Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth). The manager told me they are looking for another location, hopefully downtown.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Live, on-location blogging!

At this very moment, I'm making my first visit to Uncle Billy's Brew and Que on Barton Springs Road. Probably not the best idea for me to be drinking while I'm working, but I had to drop the kiddo off downtown at her day camp, Uncle Billy's has wireless, and I needed lunch. (I recently changed jobs at the Chronicle from assistant news editor to staff writer, and now work from home. Or elsewhere, if the circumstances require, and I decided the environmentally responsible thing to do instead of driving all the way downtown, home again, and then back again at 5 to pick her up, would be to just hang down here all day. So for today, my office is a barbecue joint.)

I like it. The brisket sandwich I'm having is great. The Uncle Billy's IPA I'm having is solid, if unspectacular. Definitely good enough for the moment, and a refreshing change from the endless string of coffee shops I've been working at lately. And at 3pm, it's deserted enough in here that I can actually concentrate on my job, and since it's right near Barton Springs, I was able to squeeze in a workout, as well.

Uncle Billy's also serves Back 40 Blonde, Haystack Hefeweizen, Uncle Billy's Amber, Ax Handle Pale Ale, and their current seasonal brew is a coffee stout (I'm not sure that summer is exactly the proper season for a coffee stout, but that's the brewmaster's prerogative, I guess). I think I'll definitely be coming back.

Beer and bears don't mix

Seriously, perhaps having a beer festival in close proximity to a zoo is a bad idea. (Sent to me by the Beer Anti-Snob.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No, seriously.

Really: I swear, swear, swear I will do my full-length write-up of my magnificent trip to Portland very soon, but I haven't had time the past two weeks because I've been adjusting to my new job as a staff writer for the Chronicle. In the meantime, you'll just have to satisfy yourself with this abbreviated synopsis that I did for our food section.

And damn, could I look any goofier in that photo? (Wait, don't answer that.)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

My wonderful mother-in-law sent me some birthday cash, with instructions to treat myself to some nice beer. Hey, twist my arm. So at some point tonight I'll sit down and enjoy either St. Bernardus Tripel or Westmalle Dubbel. Wow, I just noticed that Westmalle's bottle looks almost exactly like the ones New Belgium Brewing uses. I'm guessing that's not an accident on New Belgium's part. (And am I the only one who thinks "Westmalle" sounds like a beer that would be brewed on the University of Texas campus?)

Coming soon: a recap of my fantasting vacation to Portland, which included a visit to the Oregon Brewers Festival and a bicycling tour of the town's brewpubs with Todd M and Bill C.