Friday, October 30, 2009

A Sad Sight

Look and weep, northwest Austinites. This is all that remains of the once-mighty beer selection at Grape Vine Market's Austin location, which is closing soon. There's still some good Belgian stuff available, if you get down there, including a whole bunch of Grotten Brown from the Pierre Celis Collection. (The liquor pickings are pretty much gone, though. All that's left in the whiskey section is either undrinkable swill or stuff too expensive for me, even on sale.) All beer is 15% off, liquor 25%, wine 30%. I'm gonna miss this place.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hmm … Not What I'd Stock in My Bar

A nice bit of photography sent to me from the Pub Knight. Ignore those inferior beers to the right and bottom — I'm sure the goblets are filled with something Belgian.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Big Beer Weekend

Truly, the fall beer season is upon us. Lots of stuff to do this weekend in Austin. Everything listed is Saturday, except the NXNW event, which is Saturday and Sunday.
And that's all just a warm-up for Wurstfest in New Braunfels, beginning next weekend!

Oktoberfest/fall seasonals I've tried so far:
  • Live Oak Oaktoberfest: Delicious. Had it at Hyde Park Bar & Grill.
  • North by Northwest Oktoberfest: Delicious.
  • Boulevard's Bob's 47 Oktoberfest: Delicious, and seems to get better every year.
  • Real Ale Oktoberfest: Shockingly disappointing. Very mediocre, a rare let-down from one of my favorite breweries. Had it at Draught House. [UPDATE, October 2010: I'm not sure what was wrong with this beer last year, but my opinion is 180 degrees different this year. One of my favorites now.]
  • Spaten Oktoberfest: Awful. What was I thinking? As soon as I saw it was in green bottles I should have walked away. Probably good on draft, but don't buy it in the store.
  • Saint Arnold Oktoberfest: Best of the bunch. Oh damn, I love this stuff. As good as those others are, this has a richness that puts them a bit above the rest. Unsurprisingly, they were out last night at Draught House.
  • New Belgium Hoptober: A really hoppy golden ale, but still has that same kind of richness as the Oktoberfest stuff. Imagine a fall IPA, if you will. This is the best of the fall seasonals in my opinion and really raises the bar for a brewery that already was a standard-setter.
  • Abita Satsuma Harvest Wit: I never thought of wit as a fall beer, but this is harvest time for Louisiana satsuma oranges, so I guess "harvest" depends on what your local crop is. This very citrusy wit has been a wonderful find for me this year, as I've finally started developing a taste for wits. This is part of Abita's Harvest trio, the others being a Pecan Harvest and Strawberry Harvest. That Pecan Harvest intrigues me; I'll have to go grab some.
  • Real Ale Coffee Porter: I've been drinking gallons of this lately, as this previously draft-only seasonal is now available in bottles. And a scoop I just got last night: This will be the cask offering at today's Firkin Friday at the Draught House (begins 3pm). Oh man, as much as I love this out of the bottle, I suspect the cask will blow my mind. I'm there.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Bad Do You Want a Beer?

Message from Flying Saucer Austin:
Hey Beer Knurds!


WHEN? Saturday, October 24

SHIFT: 4:00 pm to 10 pm

WHERE? The Triangle park, 46th and Lamar

WHY? We are in need of volunteers to pour beer, man the dunking booth and serve snow cones

WHAT YOU WILL GET: Saucer tee shirt, voucher for a free brat and beer of your choice from the pint tent at the end of your shift

To SIGN UP as a volunteer please call 214-969-9321 x228 or email:, with your name, daytime phone number and address.

Once you sign up, you will receive an email with more detailed instructions.
Deadline to register is this Friday, Oct. 23. Please sign up today!

Flying Saucer

47th at Lamar, Austin, TX


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baking and Beer With Miso Hungry

I met Jennie Chen at Uncle Billy's recently. She does a really fun blog about cooking with alcohol, including lots of stuff with beer (including some great cupcakes made with 512 Pecan Porter). Check this event out if you have time:

Hi Brewers and Beer Connoisseurs,

I would like to invite you to the October's Addie's Eat-up event. It will be a Cooking and Baking with beer event. It is set for Oct. 22nd, 6-8 pm at the Draught House. I'll be giving a short talk and discussion about baking and cooking with beer as well as beer pairings. The Eat-up is casual and open to the public.

Tentative menu items include: Live Oak Hefeweizen Lemon Curd, Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale Bread, (512) Brewing Pecan Porter Chocolate Bread, (512) Brewing Pecan Porter Brownies, and possibly Brooklyn Brewery Pumpkin Chocolate Cake. Links to some recipes below.
Here's the link to the event. Hope to see ya there!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Grape Vine Market's Austin location closing

I am despondent. I was just told by staff there that the Grape Vine Market location in Austin is closing. This makes me really sad; ever since I moved into the Crestview neighborhood, it has been one of my favorite places to buy alcohol. Great whiskey selection, tons of wine, amazing beer offerings, and very good customer service. I also have a Spec's equal distance from my house, which has really cheap prices (which I suspect is why Grape Vine is closing), but the selection just isn't quite as good as GVM, and the staff doesn't seem quite as knowledgeable.

The silver lining: The Austin location is having a liquidation sale beginning Monday, so this would be the time to go grab that really expensive Belgian ale or fancy bottle of scotch you've been wanting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Could Definitely Sway My Vote

Yes, that's Houston Mayor (and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate) Bill White holding a T-shirt from his hometown brewery. Okay, John Sharp, how are you gonna counter to get the beer snob demographic back on your side? (picture from Saint Arnold's Facebook page)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Oktoberfest at Zax

I can't make it to this, which pains me greatly. I bet that cask of Oaktoberfest will be awesome. Maybe you should go and tell me how it was. Zax Pints & Plates is at 312 Barton Springs Road here in Austin.
Oktoberfest Party
Thursday October 8 from 7-10

Break out the Lederhosen and join us here at Zax for the 5th Annual Oktoberfest Party. The party kicks off at 7:00 with a traditional tapping of a cask of Live Oak Oaktoberfest. Get here early and enjoy some of this specially prepared brew while it lasts.

In addition we will feature music from the New Austin Polka Band, Live Oak Beer Brats from Austin's own Smokey Denmark, as well as some other great local and German Oktoberfest beers

A new record!

People who find statistics boring should out-click now:

I set a new all-time record for visitors in a month in September: 5,208, driven mainly by people searching for the "In the Can" Bud Light Lime ad, which currently accounts for about 75% of my visitors. My previous high was October 2008, which had 5,022.

However, people aren't necessarily sticking around to read my brilliant prose: For the first time, the number of visitors ranking doesn't match the page views ranking. The 6,754 page views only ranks fourth all time. The current record is still that same October 2008, with 7,279 views.

Eh. I guess I can't expect people doing searches for Bud Light Lime to hang around this blog for long.

I'm a bad Texas beer blogger

Yes, last week was "Drink Texas Beer Week" or something like that. And no, I did not make a single mention of it. Sorry, I was just too busy with other parts of my life. But hey, you Texans don't need to be told that some great beer is being brewed in our state. Especially this one.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Latest Austin Beer News

My new beer news column in The Austin Chronicle now has a name: "Lee's Beer Flight."