Saturday, April 30, 2011

Uncle Billy’s Keep Austin Beered Pro-Am

I just spotted this on Facebook. Homebrewers, clean out your equipment and get to it:

This year's competition style will be...drum roll please...

Pale American Belgo-Style Ale!!!

What it is:

  • The Austin ZEALOTS and Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que present the Uncle Billy’s Keep Austin Beered Pro-Am.
  • Brew a beer in BJCP category 23 (special category selected: Pale American Belgo-Style Ale) and if you win, Brian Peters and Amos Lowe at Uncle Billy’s will brew your recipe and enter it into the 6th Annual GABF Pro-Am.

The Rules:

  • All homebrewing entrants must be members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) at the time the original homebrew entry is submitted for competition as well as when the Pro-Am entry is judged (mid September, 2011).
  • You cannot be a professional brewer. Only homebrewers are allowed to enter.

What you need to do:

  • Brew a beer in Category 23 of the BJCP guidelines
  • Pale American Belgo-Style Ale; see GABF Style Guideline in category 17A for more details.
  • Bring your 2 bottles (11 to 16 ounce bottles) to the Austin ZEALOTS meeting on June 11, or take/mail them to Austin Homebrew Supply between June 10 & 19. (9129 Metric, Austin, TX, 78758).
  • Entry fee $5. Pay cash or make checks payable to “Austin Homebrew Supply”
  • Print and fill out the recipe form and include with your entries. Uncle Billy’s will make all efforts to convert the recipe to a production level. Uncle Billy’s reserves the right to make reasonable substitutions.


  • The judges will select the best representation and the winner will be informed by email or phone. Note: Uncle Billy’s will use either Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity Yeast) or White Labs 530. The beer will be brewed at Uncle Billy’s and will be entered in the GABF Pro-Am competition.
  • The 2011 GABF will be held in Denver, Sept. 29-Oct. 1. More details at the Brewers’ Association.
  • The winner of this contest must sign a licensing agreement, which limits and protects the way the GABF trademark is used, prior to the submission of entries to the GABF.
  • GABF Pro-Am entries submitted by breweries will compete in a best-of-show style judging, during the regular GABF judging. The GABF Style Guidelines and GABF judge panel will be used for the judging.
  • Judges will determine the top three entries in the GABF Pro-Am Competition, which will be awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze GABF Pro-Am Competition medals during the GABF awards ceremony. Medals will be issued to both the winning brewery and the winning homebrewer.
  • You can be disqualified at any point for not following all of the rules. Questions? Contact Dan at

So Homebrewers ... Let's start brewing some beer!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Latest Beer News Column

Hey all, the latest version of my "Beer Flights" column is in today's Austin Chronicle.

This month's topics:
  • A remembrance of Pierre Celis
  • A brief update on beer bills in the Texas Legislature
  • The launch of the Austin Beer Guide.
Please check it out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Belgium Takes Over Draught House Today

Message from Josh over at the Draught House:
The phrase of the moment is "tap takeover" and who are we to resist. This wednesday (the 27th) we will be taken over by New Belgium and be pouring eight of their beers. We are happy to have both Love, the unblended base for La Folie and other sour beers, and Super Cru, their 20th anniversary ale, to serve. In addition, we will be pouring Le Terroir, La Folie, Fat Tire, Mothership Wit, Ranger IPA and Somersault, their new spring seasonal. PLUS, with any beer purchase, a globe glass is FREE.

But that's not all. We will also have cheese samples gratis with some (perhaps all) of the beers. And to top it all off Miss Lauren Salazar, sensory analyst extraordinaire, will grace us with her presence. BE THERE!

In other news, later in the week we will have Ranger Creek port barrel La Bestia Aimable, which should prove to be quite good from what I've heard. And, this Firkin Friday we will tap a cask of Great Divide Expresso Oak Aged Yeti.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Random Photo

Back during the winter holidays, we had our customary family trip to Kansas City to see my in-laws, and attended a great party thrown by a beer club called the Gents at a great bar called The Foundry, at the invitation of fellow beer blogger Bull E. Vard. Some entertainment website called Nightlife KC decided we were photo-worthy. I have no idea why. (That's me on the left, my lovely wife, and then Bull on the right). Much to my shame, I think that's water that I'm drinking.

Yes, this is a totally lame post. Sorry, I'll try to do better next time. (But it was a great party.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Reason to Abolish the Monarchy

No beer will be served at the royal wedding because it "isn't really an appropriate drink to be serving in the Queen's presence." Well hey, to hell with her!

Seriously, Kate, are you sure you want that woman to be your grandmother-in-law?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twisted X Party for Cinco de Mayo

One thing you don't see too much of among microbreweries are ones crafting Mexican-style beers. Twisted X, which I wrote about in my round-up of new Austin-area breweries last year, aims to change that. Check them out on Cinco de Mayo at the Dig Pub, the best beer bar in the 'burbs. Announcement of the event from Dig Pub:
Introducing Twisted X on Cinco de Mayo!
Thursday, May 5 @ 7:00 p.m.
We are super excited and proud to host the beer release party of Cedar Park's first, very own microbrewery, Twisted X! The folks at Twisted X are the pioneers of the TEX MEX BEER revolution! The revolutionary masterminds, Jim Sampson and Shane Bordeau, will be available for a meet & greet, and they will obviously be bringing some beer: a Mexican lager, a Vienna lager, and a jalapeno pilsner. There will be a glass giveaway, a naming contest (where your suggestion could end up being the official name of the beer), live music from Drew Womack, and food specials from The Dig Pub.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Texas Beer Festival Coming to Humble in May

Texas beer lovers: What looks to be a major beer festival is coming to Humble, Texas (that suburban Houston) on May 7, and will be supplemented by several events in the week leading up to and the week after the festival itself. Rather than trying to reprint their press releases here, I'll just direct you to the Texas Beer Festival's website.

I will, however, give you this snippet from an e-mail they sent me:
The Texas Beer Fest (May 7th, 2011) was created by Texans, for Texans, to promote the idea that beer is a craft, not a mass-produced tasteless product touted by professional sales men. Our festival will only be serving craft beer, and it has been designed to support and share the beers created by local Texas and national craft breweries.

On Saturday, April 30th, the weekend prior to the festival, the Texas Beer Fest Pub Crawl will kick off at The Ginger Man (5607 Morningside Drive Houston, Texas) showcasing four of Houston’s most popular bars for beer lovers! In the weeks preceding and following the event, the Texas Beer Fest will host multiple beer dinners in Houston and the surrounding areas. Guests will experience a unique pairing of beer alongside a menu designed specially by the Chef.

New 'Irrational' Beer From Black Star Co-op

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saint Arnold Discontinuing Texas Wheat

I was very surprised to hear that Saint Arnold will be discontinuing its Texas Wheat, given the popularity of wheats in our hot-weather state, but apparently it was a victim of StA's other, better-selling light-bodies beers (Lawnmower, Wheedwacker, Summer Pils). The Houston Chronicle's Ronnie Crocker has more details.

(Tip of the hat to my buddy Bill in Houston for pointing me to the Crocker article.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Off-Centered Film Festival With Dogfish Head

I don't think I'll have time for this, but sounds like fun:


THURSDAY – SATURDAY, APRIL 14th, 15th & 16th

WHAT: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery have teamed up for the “Off-Centered Film Fest”, which features 'off-centered films for off-centered people'!



Kick off the OCFF with an outdoor screening of STRANGE BREW and a medley of craft brew. Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and various brewers from the local Austin beer scene will be on hand serving exclusive brews and participating in a discussion about the state of the craft industry and Texas beer trends after the movie. Participating breweries include (512), Live Oak, Thirsty Planet and more! Bring a blanket and/or chair and enjoy a brew and movie under the stars.

Event Ticket Purchase:


422 Guadalupe St. Austin, TX 78704



Join Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for an evening of off-centered ales and incredibly awesome food. Featuring the Three Stooges’ “Beer Barrel Polecats”, “3 Little Beers” & more.

Event Ticket Purchase:


Join Sam Calagione and WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER star Jo Lo Truglio for an evening of off-centered ales and a post movie audience Q&A.

Event Ticket Purchase:


1120 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704



Sam Calagione and crew will be at the Alamo Drafthouse on S. Lamar enjoying some pints and celebrating some off-centered films. The three winners of the Off-Centered Film Festival and several other honorable mentions will be aired and enjoyed by all.

Event Ticket Purchase:


1120 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704


About Off-Centered Film Fest

The OCFF (Off-centered Film Fest) features 'off-centered films for off-centered people'! We heartily believe in the DIY-grassroots-david-beats-goliath approach. And now we want to give independent-minded, aspiring filmmakers the chance to let their own freak-flags fly by making their own films that celebrate the perseverance of the underdog! We want to incorporate as many different, individual, vignettes of the 'little engines that could' into the world of Dogfish Head and we want to celebrate filmmakers whose visions jibe with our own. In addition to the copious booty we will lay on first-through-third place annual winners, we will show many of the competition submissions online and in our pubs and breweries as well. Our goal is to build a short film competition that is as far from the mainstream as our 90 Minute I.P.A. is from mainstream beer. So what are you waiting for? Crack open a cold one, pour it into a nice snifter, and let it come up to cellar temperature while you storyboard. Sip. Brainstorm. Sip again. Write dialogue. Sip again. Cast. Sip. Make that film. Good luck. Cheers.

About Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

When Sam Calagione opened Dogfish Head in 1995 it was the smallest commercial brewery in America making 10 gallons of beer at a time. Today Dogfish Head is among the fastest growing breweries in the country. Dogfish Head has focused on brewing stronger, more exotic beers since the day it opened as the motto “Off-centered ales for off-centered people” attests to. Dogfish Head has grown into a 120 person company with a restaurant/brewery/distillery in Rehoboth Beach and a production brewery in Milton, Delaware, selling beer in 31 states and three countries. Sam authored “Brewing up a Business” and “Extreme Brewing,” co-authored “He Said Beer, She Said Wine,” and is the host of the Discovery Channel series, Brew Masters. He lives in Lewes, Delaware, with his wife Mariah and children, Sammy and Grier.

About Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse is a lifestyle entertainment brand with an acclaimed cinema-eatery, the largest genre film festival in the United Sates and an online collectible art store. Named “the best theater in America” by Entertainment Weekly, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has built a reputation as a movie lover’s oasis not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high profile, star studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse Founder & CEO, Tim League, created Fantastic Fest, a world renowned film festival dubbed “The Geek Telluride” by Variety. Fantastic Fest showcases eight days of offbeat cinema from independents, international filmmakers and major Hollywood Studios. The Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible art boutique, Mondo, offers breathtaking, original products featuring designs from world-famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is expanding its brand in new and exciting ways, including the launch of Drafthouse Films, a new film distribution label and plans to extend its theaters and unique programming philosophy to additional markets across the United States. More information about Alamo Drafthouse franchise opportunities are available on the official website.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

R.I.P. Pierre Celis

It's a sad day for the brewing world, especially in Austin. The legendary Belgian brewer Pierre Celis passed away yesterday.

I was still a newbie to the craft beer world in the 1990s when more knowledgeable Austin beer lovers than I were suddenly abuzz with news that some guy from Belgium was moving here and opening a brewery. The importance was lost on me back then, but now I realize just how big a deal it was. Celis singlehandedly saved the fading beer style known as witbier, or white beer, at the Hoegaarden brewery back in the 1960s.

Three decades later, attracted by the water quality due to the limestone karst geography, he decided to open a brewery in Austin. It quickly became quite popular locally, and Celis endeared himself to the locals. Texas beer fans were suddenly rubbing shoulders with a rock star. He made a pale bock, a grand cru, a raspberry beer, and his signature white. I liked the pale bock, having been a fan of Shiner Bock in college at the University of Texas at Austin.

I quickly realized the Celis Pale Bock was a superior beer to my longtime favorite, and it opened my eyes to the craft beer boom that was taking off nationally. I admit my palate wasn't quite mature enough yet to appreciate the Grand Cru and the White, and before I could learn to like it, he sold the brewery to Miller. The corporate giant didn't really know what to do with a craft brewery, and it quickly went out of business.

Thankfully, Michigan Brewing Company bought the rights to the label and recipes a few years ago, and Celis' brilliant creations are available again, just without "Austin, Texas" on the label. On a whim, I decided to give the Grand Cru and White another try, and now I think they're fantastic. I wish I'd realized just how great they were back then, and wish I'd gotten to know Celis back when he was here. His passing makes me appreciate all the more the really talented brewers we have working in Austin now, some of whom are directly inspired by Celis, such as Kevin Brand at 512, who consulted with Pierre in developing his own delicious Wit recipe.

If you've never tasted Pierre's work, go to the store today, grab a sixer of Celis White or Grand Cru, and raise a toast to the passing of a master.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

HB 602 Makes It Out of Committee

House Bill 602, which would let Texas microbrewers "give away" up to two cases of their product to visitors after a paid-admission brewery tour, was "reported favorably as substituted" from the Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee this afternoon. (True sales to consumers — i.e., just buying some beer, sans tour — would still be prohibited, unfortunately.)

For those of you who unfamiliar with the Texas legislative process: "reported favorably as substituted" means that a somewhat different version of the bill than what is currently shown on the state's website was substituted (a common practice), and that's what was voted out of committee. I don't know what the differences are between the original bill and the committee substitute. I will try to get a hold of that text ASAP.

(UPDATE: Okay, I have obtained the committee substitute language. Differences between the original and the substitute:
  • Limits the bill to breweries producing 75,000 barrels or less annually. That would exclude Spoetzl (Shiner), which has probably grown well past the point that it needs the help this bill would offer anyway.
  • Reduces the amount that may be given away from two cases to a 12-pack. And actually, the language is changed from "48 12-ounce bottles" to "a total of 144 ounces." The removal of "12-ounce bottles" from the language is an attempt to help the several Texas breweries who currently do not bottle, such as Live Oak or 512.)
Now the bill goes to the Calendars Committee, which will then decide whether to schedule it for debate and a vote on the House floor.

This is not a perfect bill for microbrewers — HB 2436 by Austin Rep. Eddie Rodriguez would be much better, as it would allow true sales — but with the powerful Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas standing in the way, this might be the best craft beer lovers can do for now. (More on this topic in a future blog post.)

Neither of these bills should be confused with HB 660, which would allow brewpubs to sell their beers off-site (i.e., distributed to stores and other bars). That bill is still pending in the same committee, and unlike HB 602, still faces opposition from WBDT.