Monday, February 28, 2011

I Love Beer Likes I Like Beer

I'd forgotten about this song. Caught it on Willie's Place on Sirius radio while driving around the other day. I love Tom T. Hall, and have since I was a kid.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ommegang Beer Dinner at 24 Diner

Hey Austinites, just an FYI that is coming up next week at 24 Diner. Sounds yummy. Never been to 24, but Ommegang is a great brewery:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Lamb Meatball

Tabouli, Cucumber Yogurt

Ommegang Witte


Rice-Flaked Halibut

Sweet Onion Curry

Ommegang Hennepin


Coffee-Crusted Pastrami

Local Green Cabbage, Pumpernickel Croutons

2004 Cave-Aged Ommegang Abbey Ale


Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Pomegranate, Cardamom

Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence


Cheese Plate

Marieke 1-Year Aged Gouda (Cow’s Milk/Wisconsin)

Chaubier (Cow’s & Goat’s Milk/France)

Ommegang Three Philosophers

Cherry & Fennel Mustard

$55 per person

Saturday, February 26, 2011

KENS-TV Coverage of "Rally for Beer Freedom"

A good crowd turned out for Friday night's Rally for Beer Freedom, in support of HB 660, in San Antonio. Check out the coverage from KENS-TV:

Beer Chili Contest at Flying Saucer

Friday, February 25, 2011

No.3 Pub Crawl on Facebook!

This is hilarious: I had heard that other people were inspired by my creation, the No.3 Bus Pub Crawl, and had taken it upon themselves to duplicate my feat. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read here and here. To see the video with sound, click here.)

But now my baby has really grown up — it has its own Facebook page! (If you're not registered with Facebook, that link probably won't work.) I have no idea who created it. And I suspect it's no one I know, because none of the 125 "friends" of the page are people I know.

Sigh. I guess every parent has to face the fact that eventually, your child grows up and gets a life of her own. I'm glad other people are inspired by my madness. Get on the bus and drink!

(Photo by Ed Kuhn.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

San Antonio Rally for "Beer Freedom"

Okay, maybe it's not the same thing as overthrowing a tyrannical dictator, and maybe the state does have bigger things to worry about than beer, but come on: There's just no reason that HB 660 (as well as HB 602) should not pass. Texas brewers should be free to sell their products and grow their businesses. Some San Antonionians will try to make that point tomorrow. This press release just came out from the office of San Antonio state Rep. Mike Villarreal, author of HB 660:

State Representative Mike Villarreal

Texas House of Representatives

Change is Brewing in Texas

Hundreds to Rally in San Antonio for HB 660 & "Texas Beer Freedom"

State Representative Mike Villarreal, and local brew pub owners Scott Metzger, Freetail Brewing Co., and Joey Villarreal, Blue Star Brewing Co. will speak about House Bill 660 and the impact that the proposed legislation would have on the state's economy.

Press Conference

Friday, Feb. 25, 2011

Main Plaza

San Antonio, TX


House Bill 660 would allow Texans to buy beer brewed by brewpubs such as San Antonio's Blue Star Brewing Co. and Freetail Brewing Co. at a neighborhood restaurant, bar or grocery story. Current state law prohibits Texas brew pubs from selling their brews outside of their premises. Texas Beer Freedom, an organization formed to support the passage of HB 660, is sponsoring a rally for supporters this Friday from 5:30- 11 in Main Plaza. Samples of brew pub beer from Austin and San Antonio will be available for rally-goers to taste from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Michael Martin & the Infidels will play from 7 - 11 p.m. Admission is free. Proceeds benefit Texas Beer Freedom.

Austin Chronicle Beer Articles Today

Hello loyal readers, please note that today's issue of The Austin Chronicle has a pair of beer related articles by me:
  • In the Food section is my monthly-or-so "Beer Flights" column with quick hits of Austin and Texas beer news.
  • In the News section is my look at House Bills 602 and 660 in the Texas Legislature, both of which would greatly benefit Texas craft brewers if passed.
Also, strictly on the Chronicle website:
  • Late last night, I made a post to our news blog with updates, particularly regarding 660, that broke too late for me to get into the print edition. Brewers think they may have struck a compromise with at least some distributors that might help 660 get passed. (Of course, even if it does pass, good luck getting past the veto pen of Gov. Rick Perry, the former employer of Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas president Mike McKinney.)

Could HB 602 and HB 660 Really Pass?

I just got back from a meet-and-greet event at historic Saengerrunde Hall hosted by the Texas Brewers’ Institute intended to promote beermakers’ interests to state legislators and their staffs – in particular, House Bills 602 and 660 – and came away with two major news items:

• One, HB 660 will most likely be amended to take away the self-distribution clause, and

• Two, the lobbyist for the brewers is still hoping to get a true on-site sales bill, and is currently shopping for a legislator to sponsor it.

To read more, please go to my full report at The Austin Chronicle's Newsdesk blog.

(pictured: Freetail Brewing's Scott Metzger chats with legislative staffers Wednesday night. Photo by Lee Nichols)

UPDATE: I also have a story on 602 and 660 in today's issue of the Chronicle. It gives more explanation on what the bills are, but is not as up-to-date as that blog post because it went to press before the Saengerrunde event.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Beers From Shiner

Spoetzl has a couple of new beers out right now: Shiner 102 Double Wheat, the latest edition in their annual anniversary series, and Shiner Spring Dortmunder.

Well, okay, the Spring isn't really new – it's just a repackaging of Fröst. Remember that, the winter seasonal from last year? As I noted then, I thought it was strange to market Fröst as a winter beer, as it just wasn't heavy enough, so they smartly decided to re-market it as a spring seasonal.

My great weakness in trying to write about beer is describing the flavors. I just don't have the descriptive facility that some reviewers have, and I really have no idea how to describe these beers, except to say that they both taste similar to one another, which makes it puzzling why they'd be released at the same time.

Okay, they're not exactly alike — I think 102 is definitely the better beer, although I really have no idea what a "double wheat" is. The label talks about the “bright beer" style, and yes, bright does seem to describe this flavor, if that makes sense. It is maltier, sweeter, and a bit more flavorful than the Dortmunder. The Dortmunder just doesn’t have as much going on. My tongue gets more excited with the 102. I suppose in hot weather the dortumunder might go down a little easier, like a light beer. Dortmunder has a nice balance of hops and malt, slightly on the maltier side.

You know what the 102 really reminds me of? Shiner 99, the Helles lager from three years ago. I really wish I could have one of those right now to compare.

They're both pretty good beers, although I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to get either of them. But offer one to me, and I'll take it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mini Beer Bloggers Summit

I had a pleasant surprise last week when I got word that the KC Worthog would be visiting Austin. The Worthog (see photo, right, taken at Whip-In) is a native of Portland, Oregon, aka Beervana, although in more recent years she's found herself in Kansas City. That's how I got to know her — as I've noted many times before, Mrs. I Love Beer is a KC native, so I'm up there about twice a year and have gotten to know several of that city's beer bloggers.

This was her first visit to Austin, and she asked me to show her around. Of course I was happy to oblige — I've been in Austin since 1986, and really, in my heart, I was an Austinite long before I moved here, so I love playing tour guide.

We were joined on our endeavor by Debbie Cerda, aka Snax, who does her own beer blogging for the Austin Examiner. That was perfect: I think those two really hit it off, as they are both brewers, while I am not, so they were able to converse on a level that I just could not.

Our night out, summarized:
  • Uncle Billy's Brew & Que: Worthog had the sampler, I had the Hop Zombie, and we split brisket, jalapeño cheese sausage, and pulled pork. Amy said the pulled pork was inferior to KC, but the brisket was better than KC. I'd generally agree — I like KC bbq, but I'll always maintain that Texas style is better, and we're a beef state. She liked Uncle Billy's beer, and I thought the Hop Zombie was great. Darn it, I can't remember what Snax had.
  • Whip-In: Believe it or not, until a few days before Worthog hit town, I was a Whip-In virgin. A later post will detail my first time, but as soon as she said she was visiting Austin, I knew we had to go there. That place is ridiculous. The tap selection is insane. Snax had the 2005 Sisyphus, I think Worthog had the Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No.6, and I had a Live Oak Primus. And then Worthog bought me my first taste of mead. Yum. I also had a Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout and helped Snax finish off her Boulevard Chocolate Ale and Worthog finish off her (512) Pecan Porter. She said she was impressed by the 512. I had to grab a 4-pack of Green Flash Double Stout before I left, and am glad I did.
  • Then I had to show her my 'hood, so we went to Black Star Co-0p. Snax got a Recalcitrant Dockhand, Worthog got another sampler, and I had a magnificent Moontower, Black Star's rich, malty winter seasonal. (They refuse to label their beers by style, but I'll go out on a limb and call it an imperial stout. If you get one, let it sit for a good 15 minutes, if you can stand it, because Black Star serves it a little too cold.) And then Snax bought us a plate of Black Star's bacon toffee, which sounds weird but tastes insanely good. I have a friend who has a T-shirt that reads, "Bacon is like a little hug from God." Well, bacon toffee is like a wet, sloppy kiss from God. Then I took Worthog back to her hotel, but I made sure to show her a real moontower on the way back.
I think she had fun. She gave our town good marks in a Facebook post. Now if I could just get Bull E. Vard, Beergirl, Muddy Mo, Bad Ben and other Kansas Citians to come to town for the same treatment.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saint Arnold Farmhouse Brown Debuts Today

The next entry in Saint Arnold's "Moveable Yeast" series debuts today. Still haven't had one of these, need to hunt this one down, especially since I love saisons. (And by the way, as I post this, I'm enjoying a Divine Reserve No.9, the pumpkin imperial stout, aged about a year and a half. Yum.) Press release from StA:

Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Releases Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale

Moveable Yeast series offers alternate version of Saint Arnold Brown with saison yeast

HOUSTON, Feb. 21, 2011 – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today announced plans to release the third brew of its “Movable Yeast” series: Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale. It is an alternate version of Saint Arnold Brown Ale made with Saison Yeast. A limited supply of 60 barrels (approximately 20,000 12-ounce servings) of Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale is being released today and will be available on tap at the brewery (for weekday tours only) and at select bars and restaurants throughout Texas.

The concept behind the Movable Yeast series is to focus on the flavor contribution of yeast. This release was created by brewing a regular batch of Saint Arnold Brown Ale, which was originally released in 1995, and splitting the wort (unfermented beer) into two 60 barrel fermenters. One fermenter was pitched with the usual Saint Arnold yeast to make Saint Arnold Brown Ale and the second fermenter was pitched with saison yeast to create Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale.

“I encourage craft beer lovers to try Farmer Brown’s Ale side-by-side with Saint Arnold Brown Ale to get the full impact of the saison yeast,” said Saint Arnold founder/brewer Brock Wagner. “Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale has pleasantly spicy and earthy notes, nice fruitiness, a dry finish but with a nice malt flavor to stand up to all of the yeast notes. We were so pleased with how it turned out that we moved it up from its planned release this spring.”

The previous brews in the Moveable Yeast series have been greeted with rave reviews and strong demand. Both Saint Arnold Weedwacker and Saint Arnold Altared Amber showcased the significant role yeast plays in influencing the aroma and flavor of craft beer. Supplies tend to last just a few weeks.

Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale will be available at Saint Arnold’s downtown Houston brewery for weekday tours starting today at 3 p.m. Saint Arnold Farmer Brown’s Ale will start showing up on draft in select bars and restaurants throughout Texas this week, although some accounts may choose to hold off on tapping their kegs.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bayou Teche Releases Third Beer

A good friend who originally hails from New Orleans turned me on to the Lousiana brewery Bayou Teche, and I was particularly impressed by their LA-31 Bière Pâle, so I'll be interested to get my hands on this (press release from BT follows):


Arnaudville, January 6, 2011 – Arnaudville’s Bayou Teche Brewing is releasing the third in their LA-31 series of beers. The beer, LA-31 Grenade is brewed with wheat and passion fruit. The beer is named for the Cajun French word for the fruit which grows wild around Acadiana.

Said Bayou Teche’s brew master Karlos Knott, “Passion fruit vines grew wild on the fences of our grandfather’s farm. It still grows abundantly around our family’s crawfish pond and behind the brewery along the banks of the Bayou Teche. As boys, my brothers and I ate a lot of them growing up. Now when they are in season, after a hot day’s work we look forward to sitting in the shade of a large oak tree on that bayou, enjoying the pulpy, tropical fruit till we nearly make ourselves sick.”

When they arrived in Acadiana, the French-speaking settlers encountered the passion fruit vines growing here and named the fruit grenade (pronounced gruh-nod). Grenade is the standard French word for the pomegranate (which the passion fruit resembles), though Cajuns still use that word for the passion fruit to this day. Its juice has a refreshingly tropical, guava-like, sweet/tart flavor.

Said Knott, “Grenade is our wheat beer, which we brew to quench Acadiana’s warm weather thirsts. The ale is the color of a South Louisiana sun, and pours with the bright citrus flavor of passion fruit.”

Grenade beer was crafted to pair with the Acadiana’s lighter fare. The brewery brews the beer to go with a Creole brunch, or dinner salads; Sunday baked chicken, or crabmeat au gratin. One pairing was discovered accidentally by the brewers. On night, one of their favorite restaurants offered them raw oysters and they already had ordered glasses of Grenade. “The citric acidity of the Grenade and the fresh, Gulf-water saltiness of the oysters makes it one of my favorite pairings.” says Knott.

Grenade is available both on tap and in 12 ounce bottles in stores, restaurants and bars around Louisiana. Knott said, “We definitely wanted to offer this beer in bottles. That way, like us ya’ll can find the shade of large moss-drenched oak tree on a bayou nearby and enjoy a cold one.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beer Bill Moves at the Texas Legislature

On Friday, House Bill 602, which would kinda-sorta allow Texas microbreweries to sell their beer on the premises, was referred to the House Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee of the Texas Legislature.

The bill actually wouldn't allow true sales, but it would let consumers take beer home at the end of a paid-admission tour.

Something I hadn't noticed before, perhaps because it was recently added: Austin Rep. Eddie Rodriguez is listed as a coauthor.

The other bill that Texas beer fans are pushing, HB 660, has yet to be assigned to a committee. My guess is it will end up in the same one.

The Lege session ends May 30. Keep checking back: I'll keep you updated on the bills' progress.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Barleywine Week at Flying Saucer

Ooh, this has the potential to be really awesome … or really painful. (And I find it ironic that Tuesday and Wednesday will be "vertical" tastings, given the propensity of barleywines to make me horizontal.) Not sure if this is just the Austin Flying Saucer, or all of them:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Social Media for Beer Drinkers

So if you follow my Twitter feed, you've no doubt noticed this thing called Surely you were curious about it, but probably just too much of a lazy drunk to click on it and see what it's about. Well, you should give a try. It's a social media for beer drinkers, and it's fun.

Every time you drink a beer, pull out your mobile device, go to their site, and log it. It then keeps track of what you've had, and lets you know what your friends are imbibing, what people in your area are chugging, and where they are consuming it. Along the way, you can earn badges: For example, I just earned the "Journeyman" badge for drinking 50 different beers since I first joined back in December, the "
Beer Connoisseur" for having five beers from five different countries, and so on.

And it's interactive with other social media. You can cross-post your beer check-ins to Twitter and Facebook.

And you can see how you stack up against the world. I'm proud to say that, as of this writing, I'm the No.1 consumer of Real Ale Coffee Porter, Saint Arnold Winter Stout, and Summit Winter Ale. Okay, it's probably not scientific, but I can believe it's true with the Coffee Porter and Winter Stout. I've been drinking a lot of those this winter. It will be interesting to see how my top beer rankings change as I move from winter seasonals to spring bocks to summer brews.

I'm currently on a mission to "friend" every beer drinker in Austin, and maybe Texas.

Pull out your phone and check it out. It's fun. And if you enjoy my blog, please friend me. I'd love to know what you're drinking.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I ♥ Beer: Valentine's Stuff

Some Valentine's Day stuff here in Austin that I'm aware of:
  • You can get a special Valentine's glass tonight (Feb. 9) at Flying Saucer.
  • Both the Ginger Man and North by Northwest are holding a beer & chocolate tastings (NXNW calls theirs a "class") on Feb. 12. Both are $35, reservations are encouraged.
  • Opal Divine's is having a three-course Valentine's beer dinner, Feb. 12-14. $65, reservations not required, and if your loved one isn't into beer (in which case, why are with this person?) they can make substitutions.
  • On Feb. 14, NXNW will also be holding a four-course Valentine's Dinner, featuring "a red-tinted Barton Kriek Lambic-style beer, aged in wine barrels, and blended with cherries."
Not really Valentine's, but close:
  • Zax Restaurant is having a meet-the-brewers night with Jester King Brewery Feb. 16 at 6pm. See my previous post for a look at the wonderful beers by this very new Austin brewery. Enjoy the beer, keep the commemorative logo glass.
  • The 19th Annual Great Guinness Toast, in which lovers of the stout try to break the record for the world's largest simultaneous toast, is Feb. 18 at 1opm. I know the Ginger Man is a participating bar.
(Photo stolen from NXNW website)