Saturday, January 31, 2009

Great Album Cover, Fictional Album

I'm re-reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic series, and one of the cooler concepts he came up with is the Library of Dreams, containing all the books that were dreamed of but never written. Along that theme, this is an awesome album cover for an album that doesn't exist, by my friends The Dentones. (I'd link you to their website, but some asshole has apparently hacked it and messed it up.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poll: Which was your favorite Shiner anniversary beer?

Please take my poll (see right-hand column) on which Shiner anniversary beer you liked best. And leave comments below if you want to elaborate. (Illustration from Wikipedia.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

TWO Allagash Tastings Next Monday

IMPORTANT UPDATE (Sent in by the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek; not sure what this means for the Flying Saucer tasting):

the alamo lake creek event tonight has been postponed due to the injury of Owner/Head Brewer (and host of the event) Rob Tod. While delivering a keg in Boston Rob took a nasty spill and broke his hand. It's important to know that this accident was only alcohol related in the sense that Rob was delivering a keg. Fortunately, we are still lucky enough to have Mr. Tod out for a tasting, we just need to wait roughly 6 weeks for him to recuperate. I apologize for the inconvenience. We will be refunding tickets within the next few days and everyone who purchased tickets in advance will be the first to know when this is rescheduled. We wish Rob a quick recovery.

Allagash is a mighty fine brewery in Portland, Maine ("the other Portland") specializing in Belgian-style ales. I guess they're trying to raise their profile here in Texas, because on Feb. 2, they're having not one but two tastings here — accompanied by some fine-sounding food, to boot.

Tasting Numero Uno:

The Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek is proud to present our latest beer tasting event. Join us on Monday February 2nd, 5pm, as we take a stroll through Allagash’s righteous catalogue of beer. The event will feature a selection of Allagash brews paired with assorted appetizers and set against a backdrop of amusing old-school beer commercials. In addition to this, we will have a secret special guest speaker from Portland, Maine who knows “everything there is to know about Allagash beer and their brewery.” Tickets are now available via The cost is $40 and includes admission, beer and appetizer pairings. The Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek is located at 13729 Research Blvd in Austin Texas.

Beers and food featured will include:
White- served w/ Green chili crab corn fritter

Dubbel- served w/ Mushroom cap stuffed with mozzarella, pepperoni, and bread crumbs

Tripel- served w/ Stilton and tripel pate a choux stuffed with beef tenderloin and balsamic reduction

Curieux- served w/ Jim Beam post oak smoked pork ribs

Odyssey- served w/ Almond milk ice cream

Musette- served w/ Bitter chocolate banana bread pudding

Tasting Numero Dos:

The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium will present a beer tasting featuring Portland, Maine-based Allagash Brewing Company on Monday, Feb. 2 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at its location at 815 W. 47th St.

The event will be hosted by brewery president and founder Rob Tod and will pair five of Allagash’s beers with small plates. Featured beers will include classic Allagash brews the White and the Tripel, as well as the barrel-aged Curieux, Odyssey and Musette.

Tickets are available at The Flying Saucer and are $40 for the general public and $35 for U.F.O. Club members. Space is limited, so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Black Star Co-op Event This Afternoon

Aw, too bad I have to work this afternoon — Black Star Co-op's monthly beer social is at 3pm today. I hope they have some not-too-cold winter stouts available for those of you who do go, because it's outdoors and the high isn't expected to get above 50 today. Their announcement:
Black Star Co-op
January Beer Social
Saturday, January 24th
3-6 PM at 1106 E 11th St
Please join us on Saturday, January 24th from 3-6 PM for the first Beer Social of 2009.

Although we're moving it up a few hours into the afternoon, the core of the event remains the same: good people, good times, good music by Joanna Barbera, and great beer. And, once again, we’ll be co-producing the event with DiverseArts in their venue, Kenny Dorham’s Backyard.

As usual we’ll have pint glasses available for $5 and t-shirts and baseball caps for $15.

Of course, we continue to hold these events to grow our membership, now more than 900 strong! Please become a member-owner at the Beer Social, and if you cannot make it out on Saturday afternoon, you can always join on our website.

See you on Saturday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

'Chronicle' Party at Drungo's

Hey kids, you might remember a while back I mentioned that new bar in the West Campus area named Drungo's. I still haven't been there yet, even though it sounds mighty enticing. Well, I might make Jan. 30 my shot: My employer, The Austin Chronicle, is hosting a happy hour there – and your first drink is courtesy of the Chron. (Facebook invitation here.) Sounds good to me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Review of Hyde Park Market

Dig it: My review of Hyde Park Market got published in the Chronicle today. Read and enjoy.

(Photo is by John Anderson; do not republish without his permission)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Beer on Tap in Kenya

Apparently I'm not the only one who will be drinking today.

(Picture is from the Associated Press/Wall Street Journal)

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I'll Be Drinking on Inauguration Day

Despite being a professional political reporter, I try to keep politics off of this blog and welcome beer lovers of all persuasions. But I'll be blunt about my leanings in this post: I think the past eight years have been a nightmare.

On Tuesday, I'll be celebrating, and I'll be doing it with the brew pictured to the right: Avery's Ale to the Chief.

The bottle label says:
"Ale to the Chief! We the Brewers of Avery Brewing Company, in order to form a more perfect ale, require new leadership that can liberate us from our quagmires in foreign lands; embrace environmentally sound energy alternatives to imported oil; heal our ailing healthcare system; free us from tyrannical debt and resurrect the collapsing dollar. We hereby pledge to provide him with an ample amount of our Presidential Pale Ale to support in the struggle for the aforementioned goals! Hail to the New Chief!"
And thanks to the Flying Saucer, I'll be drinking it from this:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good news for Saint Arnold

Business was up for Saint Arnold last year. Let's hope this trend continues despite the economic downturn. Press release from Saint Arnold:

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Production Jumped by 5,000 Barrels in 2008

HOUSTON, Jan. 13, 2009 – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today reported production of nearly 23,000 barrels of beer in 2008. The increase of nearly 5,000 barrels over 2007’s record production tally represents a 28 percent boost for the year. Production has increased 225 percent during the past five years.

Saint Arnold Brewing is now operating 24 hours a day in its Northwest Houston facility to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, restoration and construction is underway on an historic building north of downtown Houston that is being turned into Saint Arnold’s new brewing facility. When opened in June, it will accommodate future growth.

“We are benefitting from the continued shift in tastes toward full-flavored beers and a preference for local brewers,” said Brock Wagner, founder of Saint Arnold Brewing. “The fact that we have been a part of the community for nearly 15 years also helps.”

This was the third consecutive year of production increases of 25 percent or more and the fifth straight annual increase of 20 percent or more.

Year Production % Growth

2008 22,749 barrels 28 percent

2007 17,811 barrels 30 percent

2006 13,638 barrels 25 percent

2005 10,946 barrels 20 percent

2004 9,100 barrels 27 percent

Saint Arnold Amber Ale remains the top selling Saint Arnold beer, following by Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower and Saint Arnold Christmas Ale, which is only available part of the year.

So far, the craft brewing industry in Texas has been able to shrug off signs of softening in the industry. Eight craft breweries are now operating in Texas – a 60 percent increase from a year ago. Nationwide, craft brewers are faced with significant financial challenges, including rising costs for ingredients, the potential for costly changes to federal labeling requirements and uncertainty about consumer spending patterns in the midst of a prolonged recession.

“Good full-flavored beer is an affordable luxury,” said Wagner. “But we have our eyes wide open and we are being careful operationally because beer may be recession resistant, but it is not recession proof.”

Expect less of me the next few months

The 81st Texas Legislature convenes today at noon, and I am now a beat reporter at the Capitol, so expect fewer postings from me through May. I suspect I'll be mighty busy.

On the upside, maybe this means I'll get to spend a little more time at Scholz Garten. Perhaps even the occasional live post from there.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Maybe I should just splash Milwaukee's Best under my arms?

I just looked at the label for the hippie-dippy natural deodorant that I use, and was surprised to see that one of the ingredients is humulus lupulus.

That's right —

The label says "The antimicrobial action of hops inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria while reducing the possibility of skin irritation."

Funny … the hops don't seem to do a damn thing for my breath after a night of drinking.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Flying Saucer's First Anniversary

I just got this from the Flying Saucer. Sounds like a great time; maybe I can hit it after watching UT basketball on Saturday:

THIS SAT. , JAN. 10 @ 4pm TAPPING A NEW SPECIAL KEG EVERY HOUR.... including....

Live Oak Cask IPA
Dogfish 120 IPA
Barbar Christmas Bok
Dogfish Midas Touch
Piraat Belgian IPA
Sierra Nevada 2007 Bigfoot
Brassier de Roc Imperial Triple


Flying Saucer
The Triangle, 47th at Lamar 454-PINT
I bet that Bigfoot tastes extra yummy after aging for two years. (Unless that's a misprint and they meant 2009.)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It's Raining Weizenbock

Man, what's the deal with all the good dark wheat beers this year? About a year ago, I had pretty limited experience with dunkelweizens and weizenbocks – Shiner's now-defunct version of the former and Aventinus' take on the latter. But in 2008, Saint Arnold issued the limited-edition Divine Reserve No. 7, Shiner put out the peach-and-pecan flavored Holiday Cheer, and just in the past three weeks or so, I've been knocked out by three tap-only winners. First I raved about North by Northwest's dunkelweizen, and now the cyber-ink was barely dry on my applause for Live Oak's Primus Weizenbock when I found myself marveling over yet another of these banana-tinged beauties: Last night, while screaming like a crazy person over Texas' Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State, my taste buds were doing the same over Uncle Billy's Brew & Que's "Yule Be Bock." It easily keeps pace with the NXNW and Live Oak brews. Get down there and treat yourself to a few while it's still available (not to mention some excellent barbecue).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Live Oak Primus Weizenbock

Remember that new winter seasonal from Live Oak I mentioned back in November?I finally tried their Primus Weizenbock last night at Scholz Garten, and it was outstanding. A rich, earthy flavor with addictive banana notes that were very similar to North by Northwest's Dunkelweizen. In fact, you can pretty much take my review of that beer and apply it to this one — their flavors are very similar. The only thing wrong was this beer was that I couldn't have a second – I was killing time at Scholz before heading off to watch the Longhorns' men's basketball team kill Appalachian State at the Erwin Center. Given how lame the game turned out to be (not unexpected, of course), I kind of wish I'd just stayed at Scholz and drank a couple more of these. Well done, Chip!