Thursday, September 29, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Ranger Creek’s New, Easy Drinking, Limited Edition RE: SESSION Beers Now Available
SAN ANTONIO, TX, July 27, 2011 – As a response to the movement in the craft brewing industry towards session beers, Ranger Creek created a new line of beers they are calling RE: SESSION. The first two beers are on the market now in limited quantities at select bars.
“The RE: SESSION name has a double meaning,” explains head brewer Rob Landerman, brainchild of the new product line. “It’s not only a response to the session beer movement going on with craft beer, but it’s also a play on the economic reality that we’re all living in at the moment. Plus, who doesn’t love a good pun?”
The first two beers in the RE: SESSION series are the RE: SESSION IPA and RE: SESSION Wheat. The RE: SESSION IPA has a floral, fruity hop nose with a pale malt backbone that lightens the color and allows the hops to shine through. The taste is citrusy, tropical, earthy, and slightly herbal. It’s a very hop forward beer with an aggressive hop pallet that is not for the faint of heart. At 5.5% abv and 55 IBU, it’s stronger than traditional session beers but lower in alcohol than traditional American IPAs. The RE: SESSION Wheat is an effervescent offering with strong tropical notes and a sweet, bready body. The traditional German yeast provides some light clove phenols and cloudy appearance. Dry hopped with Citra hops and lemon verbena, it has prominent notes of lemon and pineapple that make it a sweet, light summer offering at 5.1% abv.Both RE: SESSION beers are available in limited quantities at select bars in San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. Ranger Creek is partnering with the Tap Exchange in San Antonio to do the first side-by-side tapping of both RE: SESSION beers, along with a Ranger Creek pint glass, for the Tap Exchange’s glass night on Tuesday, August 2nd at 6:00 pm. Beers will be $6, and you get to keep the glass. It will be one of the only chances for craft beer drinkers to try both beers side-by-side.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I Love Beer chatted with Brian Peters, brewmaster at Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que about the festival. Although his business can’t actually participate, he’s a member of the organizing committee for the festival, which is being produced by the Young Men’s Business League of Austin and benefiting Austin Sunshine Camps. It was an interesting conversation in which he shared his views on Austin’s place in the larger craft brewing universe, how Texas alcohol laws are holding our state back, and what treasures will be found at the fest:
I Love Beer: Do you think Texas is ahead of or behind the curve on the craft beer revolution?
Brian Peters: It’s very geographic, isn’t it? I would say we’re making up some lost ground. I think we were behind and we’re catching up. Probably within a year we’ll be where I believe we should have been years ago.
Are we ahead of certain areas? Yeah. The Midwest, we probably are getting close to about average with them. We’ll never catch up to Seattle or Portland or Northern California. I think Portland has fifty-something breweries in the city?
Do I think we’re behind? Not anymore. So Austin, with what I see being planned, we’ll see if we can absorb this many breweries, to be honest. It’s more than what we might be able to handle. But are we getting recognition finally that we certainly needed? Yes, it’s becoming where people recognize that we do have good beer here.
ILB: Why will we never catch up?
Peters: Well … to catch up — what does that mean? I don’t think we’ll be a Portland ever. I don’t think there will be many Portlands, or San Diegos. But I think for the demographic and the size of our market, we’ll be solidly in that second tier. But there’s only room for a couple of San Diegos or Portlands.
We’re getting there. When you go into almost any bar and you start to see the majority of the taps are local taps, then you’ll know we’re getting there. And we’re not quite there yet. But it’s an exciting time, for sure.
Hard to say, though, what “catching up” means. I don’t know if we can ever be as big as Portland, and I don’t know if we need to be. But say Portland has 50 breweries and we have 20 — well damn, I just went to Chicago and they only have, like, four brewpubs. And Houston has nothing, you know. So in a way, I think we’re doing pretty good. I think we’ll have more than our share of production breweries, it looks like, and I’m hoping we’ll get a few more brewpubs.
[Editor’s note: Actually, Beermapping.com says Chicago has eight, but still surprisingly low number for a city that size. There are, however, many brewpubs in Chicago’s suburbs. As for Houston, despite the growing presence of Saint Arnold, the craft beer scene there is shockingly sparse, with no brewpubs.]
ILB: What’s helping or hurting the craft brewing industry in Texas?
Peters: Well certainly, the regulations that [the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission] has to enforce are not helping. [The Legislature] took away the tax break for small brewers, and that hurt. The rules are in place, and they’re unfortunate, [and] not necessarily sympathetic at all to the small craft brewer. They are rules that were either designed before craft brewing existed or they’re specifically geared to where the larger breweries have the upper hand.
But the TABC comes out as the boogeyman. They’re just enforcing the laws that we create. We need to change the laws. And the laws right now as they’re written and being enforced prevent brewpubs for sure from excelling at all. We can’t distribute, and that’s such a limitation. Production-wise, for large-scale breweries, not being able to sell anything on-site is also challenging. [Ed. note: Go here for my coverage of the failed efforts to change Texas laws regarding microbreweries and brewpubs]
But everything else, it seems like the market’s ready. People are dying to get their hands on this stuff, and we have decent, pretty creative, good brewers and breweries. So you take away some of the limitations from the TABC and there’s no limit to what I think we can accomplish both in Texas and nationally.
ILB: Why is Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que not on the list of participants?
Peters: It’s against the law right now, based on interpretation of the TABC that you can’t have two permitees at the event. Josh [Wilson] from Draught House is pulling the permit, and it’s only by extension of his license that he’s allowed to have beer there. That might make other brewpubs upset, but I’m sorry, I based it basically on the fact that he’s good to go because [he has a license for] beer and wine.
That’s another area where [if] you want to talk about limitations of where we are in the big world — a festival where we can’t have brewpubs? That’s kind of cramping our style. We still have 18, possibly 19 breweries [in the festival] now, but you know, we could double that with brewpubs. That would be pretty exciting. But even then, at 18 or 19 breweries, we are what I believe is the largest collection of Texas brewers ever at a festival. Even the Brewmasters one that just happened [Brewmasters International Beer Festival in Galveston] didn’t have everybody from Texas. TCBF will have Twisted X, even people that haven’t released a beers at a festival before. That’s pretty exciting.
ILB: Maybe you just answered this question, but why should Austin beer lovers attend this festival?
Peters: There’s going to be new releases, stuff that’s not even been in the market yet, from both the old and new breweries. We have some breweries’ first time at a festival, and a lot of upstarts from the past year that maybe people haven’t tried yet. The whole goal was to highlight Texas craft beer, and this is a spotlight for some of these newer releases and limited releases. TCBF is asking the brewers to make about a third of what they bring be limited release, seasonal, or new release beers. You should be able to find things that you’ve never had before.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Orf Brewing has collaborated with the Draught House Pub to bring a new beer to Austin. It's a coppery ale with a touch of sweetness and plenty of hop character. We call it Hella Copper. It should go on tap at the Draught House this coming Friday, September 23. It will also be available at the Texas Craft Brewers Festival at Fiesta Gardens on Saturday, September 24. So tell your friends, and drop by the Draught House Pub or the TCBF and taste for yourself the never-before-brewed Hella Copper.
(Photo by Lee Nichols)
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Staff and friends of Waterloo are having a reunion tomorrow (I told you I was late in getting the info up) at Billy's on Burnet. I'm actually not sure if I can make it, but I'm gonna try. And if the 1990s was before your time in Austin, you should still drop by and thank the guys who paved the way for Austin's current craft beer scene. And if you were a Waterloo regular, it's a chance to try some of their brews again. Info I got from Steve Anderson, one of the Waterloo Brewers and still a force in Austin brewing at Live Oak:
The 10th anniversary of Waterloo's closing will be commemorated tomorrow, Saturday the 17th, at Billy's on Burnet. Special appearances by Ed's Best Bitter and O.Henry's Porter will be in the form of two kegs each for sampling. They were brewed by Uncle Billy's and Freetail respectively.The event runs 4-11pm.
Spoetzl Brewery Moving to Austin?
Shiner Beers Brings Their Brewery to Austin and the ACL Festival
It started three years ago when Heineken was named the “official” beer of ACL – The Austin City Limits Music Festival. What? Heineken? At the Austin City Limits Festival? That hurt Shiner’s feelings. Even though the brewery is 90 miles away, Austin and Shiner have a long and strong connection. And Shiner has deep roots in music too.
So Shiner decided to be involved at ACL on its own terms. The first year it was by producing thousands of koozies that looked like Shiner Bock cans, then handing those out to fans on their way in to the festival. Cans of Heineken transformed into cans of Shiner Bock. Or so it seemed.
The second year, Shiner handed out wooden nickels to concert-gers. The same wooden nickels that visitors to the brewery receive and exchange for beer samples. Except these nickels could be exchanged for a free Shiner outside of the Festival, through Shiner’s Foreign Beer Exchange Program. Leave your foreign beer behind, in the trashcan or the port-o-let, and replace it with an ice cold shiner.
Last year we added music to the mix. A billboard across the street was transformed into a 20-foot tall stage where Austin bands – who were also excluded from ACL – entertained the crowd below.
This year we're bringing the brewery to Austin. A façade of the actual Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner will be built in the parking lot of Flipnotics on Barton Springs Road. Inside you’ll find a biergarten serving Shiner beers along with German and Czech food, some of it from restaurants in Shiner. While eating and drinking, you can enjoy the polka stylings of the Shiner Hobo Band on Saturday or Erik Hokkanen on Sunday. Learn more at http://on.fb.me/rf0ZAF
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
This is the beginning of a very busy season for us here at the brewery! We have a TON going on, hope to see you all out and about.
Tweet up @opaldivines
Austin City Limits Music Festival is right around the corner and we want you to come celebrate with us. The Austin Beer Guide and the man behind @ACL_craftbeer present the inaugural ACL Craft Beer tweet-up Wednesday, Sept. 14th from 6pm-9pm at Opal Divine Freehouse and Independence will be there serving up some of our finest brews for only $2.50! Come join us as we drink, tweet, and discuss what we love (or hate) about the 3-day ACL Fest happening Sept. 16th - 18th at Zilker Park.
Flying Saucer Cask Night
When packaging a beer, one must always do so with the utmost respect and caution. The only way we could pay our respects to the All Seeing (Eye) PA was to stick it in a cask for one last go this year. We will be serving up this intimidating beast of a brew at the Austin Flying Saucer on Thursday Sept. 15th at 6pm. This bad boy will go quickly, so don’t miss your chance to drink it up before it’s gone!
FB Event Page
Brewtopia at Central Market San Antonio
Central Market is hosting its second annual Brewtopia event, providing patrons a chance to meet brewers from across the country. Amy Cartwright will be at the San Antonio Central Market on Friday, September 16, 4-7 pm to sample the latest Stash IPA, Bootlegger Brown Ale, and Austin Amber.
Oklahoma Suks Is Almost Here
Texas football is in full swing, so that means it’s almost time to kick some Sooner butt! The way we like to show our “appreciation” to our neighbors to the north is to name a beer after them. Oklahoma Suks will be out on Monday Sept. 19th, just in time for the Red River Shootout. Remember, these cleverly disguised Austin Amber beers are a fan favorite and will sell quickly once they hit shelves. Don’t miss your chance to show your Texas pride and enjoy an ice cold Oklahoma Suks on game day. Stay tuned to the newsletter for more info on where it will be available.
Brewluminati Night at Zax
The ever mysterious Brewluminati will be at Zax in Austin on Wednesday, Sept. 21st serving up its last batch of Thinkers Ale, All Seeing (Eye) PA, and Gold Deluxe from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. Come join us as we uncover the secrets behind these mystic brews once and for all. Get in the know leading up to the event by visiting the Brewluminti blog
Houston Beer Bike Bash
Onion Creek will be putting on an epic bike bash! Bike Raffles, Giveaways and live music! Neil from Independence will be out and will give away a custom Independence Bike!
Houston Big Bite Nite
Experience an epic journey of food as Houston Museum of Natural Science dishes up cuisine from some of Houston’s most prestigious restaurants, and beer from Independence Brewing Co. on Thursday, September 22nd, 6-9pm.
Texas Craft Brewers Festival
The original Texas Craft Brewer's Festival is back and bigger than ever! This one-of-a-kind outdoor beer festival is going down Saturday, Sept 24th from 2pm - 8pm at the historic Fiesta Gardens in Austin, TX. The best beer and brewers from all across Texas will be on-site for what is anticipated to be the largest annual celebration of craft beer in Texas. This non-profit outdoor festival, produced by the Young Men's Business League and benefiting Austin Sunshine Camps, will feature Texas-brewed beer and ales (as well as non-alcoholic beverages), a commemorative tasting glass, live music, local food vendors, food and beer pairings, and a good time to be had by all at this beautiful venue on the banks of the Colorado River. For more info on purchasing General Admission and VIP tickets click here
Texas Craft Brewers Festival Volunteers
Want to do more than just attend the Texas Craft Brewers Festival? Sign up to volunteer here Remember limited volunteer space is available and these spots will fill up fast.
Great American Beer Festival
The Great American Beer Festival will be in full swing Sept. 29th - Oct. 1st at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO. The three-day event brings visitors from all around the world to sample beers from over 450 American Breweries. Independence will be there representing some of its finest brews including; Saison, Stash IPA, Austin Amber, Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout, and Brewluminati picks: Thinkers Ale, and Braggot. If you will be out in Colorado make sure to stop by our booth
No First Saturday in October
We will NOT be hosting a First Saturday Brewery Tour and Tasting in October. Instead we will be throwing a kick-ass 7 year Anniversary Party at the brewery on Oct. 22nd from 4pm - 8pm.
7 Year Anniversary Party October 22nd
Mark your calendars -- this year’s anniversary party will feature a special brew, limited edition 7 year anniversary glassware, two local food vendors and live music by Deuce Coupe.
Wednesday, September 14, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
Join a representative from Woodchuck Cider for an in-store demonstration and tasting.
Pyramid Breweries and Magic Hat Brewing Company
Join a representative from Pyramid and Magic Hat for an in-store demonstration and
Thursday, September 15, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
Join Todd Usry of Breckenridge for an in-store appearance and demonstration.
Boston Beer Company
Join a representative of Boston Beer, makers of Samuel Adams, for an in-store
demonstration and tasting.
Friday, September 16, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
North Coast Brewing
Join co-founder Tom Allen of North Coast for an in-store appearance and tasting.
Saturday, September 17, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
Join Fritz Rahr Jr. of Rahr & Sons for an in-store appearance and demonstration.
Sunday, September 18, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
Join a representative from Ommegang for an in-store demonstration and tasting.
Mendocino Brewing and Butte Creek Brewing
Join a representative from Mendocino and Butte Creek for an in-store demonstration
Monday, September 19, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
New Belgium Brewing
Join a representative from New Belgium for an in-store demonstration and tasting.
Tuesday, September 20, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Join master brewer Terence Sullivan of Sierra Nevada for an in-store appearance and
Wednesday, September 21, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Join a representative from Lagunitas for an in-store demonstration and tasting.
Thursday, September 22, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
Brooklyn Brewery (only until 6pm)
Join a representative from Brooklyn for an in-store demonstration and tasting.
Original Sin Cider
Join Original Sin Cider founder Gidon Coll for an in-store appearance and tasting.
Friday, September 23, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
Join a representative from Harpoon for an in-store demonstration and tasting.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Join a representative from Sierra Nevada for an in-store demonstration and tasting.
Saturday, September 24, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
Real Ale Brewing
Join Brad Farbstein and Tim Schwartz of Real Ale for an in-store appearance and
Thursday, September 08, 2011
THE BARBER SHOP BREWPUB HOSTS FIREMANS #4 FOR FIREFIGHTERS FUNDRAISER THIS SATURDAY (9/10/11)
DRIPPING SPRINGS, TX – September 7, 2011 – The Barber Shop brewpub, located at 207 Mercer Street in downtown Dripping Springs, Texas, is hosting a Firemans #4 For Firefighters Fundraiser this Saturday, September 10, 2011, from 6:30pm – 11:30pm. All proceeds from the purchase of Real Ale Brewing Company’s Firemans #4 Blonde Ale at The Barber Shop during the event will go to local fire departments. Real Ale has also donated items including t-shirts, glasses, koozies, metal signs and more to help raise money. Award-winning Pure Luck Dairy will be hand with tasty treats and there will be live music by Devin Preitauer, Sam Shepherd & Joe Forlini, and Jerry Kirk. The Barber Shop will also have donation stations for those who want to drop off cash or checks.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Waterloo, our first endeavor into wild, sour beers, was a huge success. We just served up the final batch of Waterloo and it will make a national appearance in Denver at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. I learned a lot through the sour mashing techniques used to give Waterloo its distinctly tart, funky flavor, and these lessons learned were used in our final wild Summer beer — Rebellious Dockhand. For the latest beer in the “Dockhand Series,” we take the base ingredients from Recalcitrant Dockhand, sour the mash, and then add raspberry puree to make one of the most unique beers coming out of the co-op’s brewery. Rebellious Dockhand has strong raspberry flavor and aroma on top of roasty, complex maltiness. The wild sourness is more subtle in this beer compared to Waterloo. The sourness is meant to enhance the raspberries and provide a tart, refreshing Summer beer, but with depth and earthiness that make Rebellious more than just another fruit beer!
Additionally, to provide higher quality in our beers, we are now treating each batch with a “fining product” that helps settle out the yeast quicker and provide a clean, brite beer. A lot of breweries can filter out their yeast as a final step before serving. If too much yeast is left in the beer, it can dominate the flavors and tend to prohibit the subtleties of the malts and hops from coming through as brightly. Therefore, it’s common to either settle out the yeast over a longer period of time, remove the yeast with a coarse filter, or speed the settling of the yeast with a fining product. The most common and effective fining product is isinglass, which is a form of collagen derived from dried fish bladders. The isinglass grabs the yeast and settles down to the bottom of the tank where we then pull the beer off of the top of the yeast bed. Virtually no isinglass makes it into the final product, but instead, you get a beautiful, clean tasting beer! We are investigating other, synthetic fining agents to preserve the vegan-ness of our house beers and hope to quickly find a quality product that is comparable to our current fining agent. (Note: obviously this isn’t done for beers that are supposed to have a yeast presence like hefe-weizens and witbiers).
Friday, September 02, 2011
Thursday, September 01, 2011
NORTH BY NORTHWEST CELEBRATES 12 YEARS
Join NXNW for music, fun and a limited release of their favorite seasonal beers
North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery (NXNW) of Green Menace IPA at 7 p.m.
Celebrate North by Northwest’s 12th anniversary on September 4th with live music from Warren Hood and Jeremy Steding, entertainment by Nate the Great Balloon Artist and of, course, birthday cake!
Brewers Kevin Roark and Don Thompson will be tapping two firkin casks of Green Menace IPA at 7 p.m.
In addition there will be a limited release of North by Northwest’s favorite seasonal beers: Tu Helen Bock, Czech Pilsner, Summer Ale, Belgo Ale, Wit and Blonde Ale.
Sunday, September 4
Jeremy Steding will begin playing at 5 p.m.
Warren Hood will perform from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
$5 suggested donation benefiting SafePlace
North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery
10010 Capital of TX Hwy N
Austin, TX 78759
Locally owned and operated by founder Davis Tucker, North by Northwest (NXNW) has been offering a mix of great craft brewed beer and fabulous food in a fun and interesting atmosphere since 1999. NXNW offers upscale food by Chef George Powell and beer brewed on site by Brewers Don Thompson and Kevin Roark. For more information, visit www.nxnwbrew.com or twitter.com/nxnwbrew.