Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another beer-themed movie at the Alamo Drafthouse

And this one is not a documentary, it's a comedy titled Beerfest. I haven't seen it, so I can't offer any personal insights, but my newspaper wasn't too kind to it.

Black Star Co-op Wants Brewers

Message from our favorite, not-quite-existent co-op brewpub:

Home Brewing on the BSC Brew House

Home brewers Unite! If you're interested in brewing a batch of beer up to 35 gallons, contact Black Star Co-op brewer Jeff Young. We are now set up for home brewers to guest brew on our unique 55 gallon system. Learn more about brewing as Jeff describes theory and practical brewing skills while you help him brew a batch. This gives a home brewer a chance to brew on a larger scale, deal with all-grain recipes, and learn the ropes around advanced home brewing equipment.

The majority of the batch produced will be donated to future Black Star events and you will get credit for helping create the beer. If you have a great recipe that you made yourself, it's possible we could use that recipe for the batch you help with!

Some conditions that apply are that we'll need 2 - 3 brewers for each session that will split the cost of ingredients and supplies (the average cost per person will be around $40) and you must dress appropriately and accept any risks that come with the job. We try to brew every 2 - 3 weeks and, when possible, we'll brew enough to let the brewers take a few gallons home for themselves.

So, for the price of brewing your own 5 gallon batch at home you can help brew 35 gallons of beer for future beer socials, learn more than you ever wanted to know about brewing theory and technique, and spend the day around people who are as passionate about beer and brewing as you are! Contact Jeff at for more information and to set up a brew day.

Mick and Adam kick ass

Because they got me this book. Except it was really evil of Mick to give it to me right in the middle of poker night, because I got distracted off of my game.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Combining my passions, part 3

Okay, for all of you who have been forced to suffer my babbling about track & field over the years, I have a good reason for you to watch the sport this weekend. There is a very important meet in Brussels today, and the guy picture here is going for the world record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. If he gets it, everyone in the stadium gets A FREE BEER. And I assume it will be BELGIAN BEER. Let's see the NFL or MLB top that! If you want to see if he made it, turn on OLN tomorrow at 4pm and watch the tape-delay broadcast. (Karla, you can probably watch it live. I think it starts at 8pm Norway time.**EDIT: Oh, I just remembered Karla is in London today and won't give a flying flip about anything on TV, much less sports. Drink some killer beer for me, KKP!) Yeah, yeah, I know – you won't be getting the free Belgian beer – but it's the principle of the thing. If anyone, anywhere can get free Belgian beer, we should be pulling for them. So cheer mightily and keep your fingers crossed for them. It's just good karma. His name is Saif Saaeed Shaheen, he is from Qatar, and the time he is shooting for is 7 minutes, 53.63 seconds.

I'll actually be watching the meet live over the Internet today. I think I'll go buy a Belgian brew so I can join the celebrations if he makes it. (In the highly unlikely event that any of you give enough of a shit to watch it live, you can go to and pay them five bucks to see it. The meet netcast starts at 1pm Central Time; the steeplechase starts at 1:30.)

UPDATE: Alas … failure.

Rank Athlete Nat Result
1 SHAHEEN, Saïf Saaeed

2 MATELONG, Richard

3 TAHRI, Bouabdallah
EL 8:09.53
4 KEMBOI, Ezekiel

5 OBAID, Musa Amer
SB 8:14.70
6 KIPRUTO, Brimin

SB 8:15.39
8 TALEB, Brahim

9 SALEM, Jamal Bilal
SB 8:17.26
10 MARTÍN, Luís Miguel

11 POPLAWSKI, Radoslaw

12 MISOI, Kipkirui

13 CHERONO, Abraham

14 KIPROTICH, Wesley

15 DESMET, Pieter

16 TAHER, Tareq Mubarak

17 KOSGEI, Reuben

18 ABDI, Youcef

PEREZ, Cesar


DE SOUZA, Hudson


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Awesome beyond words

The Alamo Drafthouse showed Snakes on a Plane the other night, and were serving this. Damn I love those guys.

Wednesday Night Drinking at Work: Erdinger Pikantus

Tonight's beer review: Erdinger Pikantus, a weizen-bock.

Very malty. Nice, but not really right for summer. Then again, I'm inside in my frosty office. Reminds me very much of Spaten Optimator, although the wheat creates a noticeable difference from that favorite of mine.

Drool-worthy photography by Karla

And it doesn't even have any nude women in it. This is from her recent trip to Germany, although the beer is Czech. And beautiful.

Have a spare 3K?

Then you can take Grape Vine Market's Oktoberfest Tour (yes, the original Oktoberfest, in Germany). Um, if you order one, pick up an extra for me, willya?

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Tao of Nosregref

So I'm over at the combo 40th birthday party of Bill F. and Bret on Saturday night (a magnificent party, I might add), and I was faced with a bit of a crisis. I went looking for the awesome 1554 black beer that everyone was drinking. I looked out in Bill's beer fridge, and it wasn't there. Then I looked in his regular fridge. Still no luck, but I did find another of my very favorites, the magnificently hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. But then, just as I was about to open it, I spotted the cooler that did in fact contain the 1554. What do I do? I was pretty much at the point where I could only have one more beer if I wanted to be able to drive home, so I had to choose, one or the other. Bill was standing there, and I sought his wise counsel. Like some mystic guru perched upon a mountaintop, he spoke:

"Lee, sometimes it's best to just open the beer that's already in your hand."

That, my friends, is the pure essence of all that is Nosregref. Contemplate his wisdom and be awed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Combining my passions, part 2

I may yet end up moving to Portland, Oregon, with Bill and Todd. Portlanders love their beer, and love their alternative transportation. Bill sent this to me yesterday:

Subject: BTA mini-Digest: Tour de Fat is this Saturday!
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 19:45:54 -0700
From: Michelle Poyourow
To: Michelle Poyourow

Don't forget - this Saturday is Tour de Fat, the big benefit bike and beer festival put on by New Belgium Brewing (makers of Fat Tire beer), at Waterfront Park just north of the Hawthorne Bridge. Come on down and have fun, or, if you like to earn your fun, we still need volunteers to help with the party.

The festival benefits the BTA and PUMP (the mountain biking group) - every dollar you spend on beer or t-shirts benefits the BTA!

Tour de Fat features:

--a bike parade, departing at 11 am, a costume contest, and bike limbo
--a corral of strangely engineered bikes you can try riding
--great live music
--great beers
--great company!

Taps open at noon and close at 7 pm.

Volunteer shifts that need to be filled are:

10:45-1 pm, at the front door
4:45-7 pm, at the front door
7-9 pm, tear down and a few other spots.

Volunteer and help support good biking in Oregon and SW Washington! Lend a hand if you can - email me to sign up.

See you on Saturday!

Michelle Poyourow
Events and Outreach Director
Bicycle Transportation Alliance
(503) 226-0676 x13

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Beer samples at Grape Vine Market

As if my Saturday weren't already going to be busy enough: Maybe we'll have time to check this out in between Michelle's baby shower and Bret & Bill's birthday party:

Beerman's Pick

Flensburger Beers FLENSBURGER BEERS are decidedly different. Their unusually fresh, full-bodied taste really is something special. Their high quality is achieved by the use of outstanding ingredients, state-of-the- art brewing technology and the expert care of experienced master brewers.

We've got four styles to choose from. Check 'em out!
  • Flens Pilsener
    This brew is unmistakable in character and freshness. Its unusually hoppy-fresh aroma and wholesomeness are the epitome of good taste in beer.

  • Flens Gold
    This is a mild, tasty beer with an elegant hoppy touch. It's brewed with fine aromatic hops in absolute premium quality - naturally to the strict standards of the 1516 German Purity Law. Flens Gold is a pale golden beer brewed like a pils with a good head, a full, soft, fresh taste and a pleasant, lightly yeasty bouquet.

  • Flens Weizen
    This is Flensburger's wheat beer. "Plop-fresh", prickling and naturally unfiltered. Glass or bottle? That's merely a matter of taste.

  • Flens Dunkel
    This is a dark treat with a finely hoppy, fresh and full taste, not least thanks to the malts that give it its dark but very mild character.

12 oz bottle $1.99 each

Be sure to come by THIS SATURDAY, 12-6, for a sampling of these unique beers!

Monday, August 14, 2006

New beer discovery — Aprihop!

My latest beer discovery (actually, M'Lady found it at Central Market) is Dogfish Head Aprihop: An IPA brewed with apricots. No, seriously. It's awesome, and it's not what you're thinking. It's not one of those fruit beers created to attract women who don't like beer (my apologies to you real women who do like beer). The apricot is so subtle that you would likely never guess there is any fruit in there. Instead of overpowering the beer flavor, the effect is an addictive sweetness that just makes you want more. It's not something I'd want every day – for one thing, it's $8 per four-pack, but more importantly, it tastes almost like a rare dessert, something to be saved for special occasions. And I've discovered it tastes better out of a Chimay glass, even though the brewery recommends a pint glass. Highly recommended, and you better get it now – it's a seasonal beer, released every March 1, so I'm betting they can't have too much left.

Black Star Pub event a success

Bobnoxious and I went to the Black Star Co-op's event Saturday night, and I have to judge it quite the success. It was held in the back yard of Monkeywrench Books, a little anarchist bookstore in the hip shopping strip of North Loop, and had quite the crowd. They were serving two beers: Live Oak Pilz, with which all you Austinites are familiar, and one made by one of their members, a weizenbock. Having had lots of the Pilz, I opted for a couple of glasses of the homebrew, and it was quite tasty. They must have high standards, because they were acting like it didn't come out quite right. I thought it was great, and it made me rethink wheat beers. This isn't the first time that I've enjoyed a dark wheat beer, so maybe that's the clincher for me – perhaps it's just the lighter ones that don't agree with me.

The Co-op, in its attempt to evolve into an actual brewpub, is looking for charter members to raise capital. I'm not in a place at the moment where I could shell out $100 ($85 of which I believe is refundable if you withdraw, kind of like how Wheatsville works), but I'd sure like to invest. Instead, I just shelled out $10 for a nifty T-shirt. I encourage the rest of you to go to their website and check 'em out and consider joining, especially if you're the homebrewing type (I'm not – my attitude toward homebrewing is that there are other people who will do the work for me, and probably much better).

Oh yeah – Bob and I headed over to the Draught House afterward, and they were giving away Duvel glasses for every purchase of that beer. So now I have two. I don't know how long that special lasts, so you better get over there. Bob had the Robusto Porter, which lived up to its name.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Yes, I'm a snob

Todd knows me so well. That's why he got me this cool shirt.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Belgian beers and a class at Grapevine

The latest from my favorite store:

Oh, Heavens! Satan's in the Beer Department!

Satan Beer Satan is waiting for you in the Grape Vine Market Beer aisle!

Don't be scared. All he wants you to do is drink his delicious beer.

No soul selling required ... yet

Three beers from the De Block Brewery in Belgium are available in Texas for the first time, and Grape Vine has them.

Check 'em out!
  • Kastaar is a Belgian pale ale. This is a beer that's all about balance. It manages to be both dry and sweet. It's quite unique.

  • 3-pack 11.2 oz bottles $7.79

  • Satan Gold is 8% alcohol and 100% trouble. This beer is full of flavor with hints of apple and coriander.

  • 3-pack 11.2 oz bottles $7.99

  • Satan Red may be the most dangerous of them all. The 8% alcohol is cleverly hidden in the sweet, creamy flavor of this beer. Whatever happens after you drink a few of these is between You and You Know Who.

  • 3-pack 11.2 oz bottles $7.99
Be sure to come by this Saturday, 12-6, for a sampling of these three unique beers.

NEW! Beer 101
August 24th

Grape Vine Market Beer Department
Ever wonder how beer is made or what's the difference between a lager and an ale?

Well, our Beerman has teamed up with the experts at Austin Homebrew Supply to tell you all that and more!

This survey course will give you a general overview of the brewing process and what distinguishes one beer from another.

Of course, no lecture is complete without the lab! Rest assured, there will be plenty of hands-on learning!

At $10 per person, this will be one class you won't want to skip!

Beer 101 is a Grape Vine University Extension course, taught in partnership with Austin Homebrew Supply

Combining my passions

I just spotted an ad for this in the All About Beer magazine that Bobnoxious gave me for my birthday, and I just gotta go find some: Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale. Yes, a beer named after Monk, and brewed in what is currently my favorite style. I would have tried it on the name alone, but when I saw it is brewed by North Coast Brewery, which makes several of my favorite brands, my curiousity went through the roof. Guess I better head over to Grapevine or Central Market, and then go home and dig out some of my favorite albums.

EDIT: The brewmaster at North Coast estimates it will be October before we see this in Texas.

UPDATE: It's here! It's here!

Beer Vacations

I need to plan a good European vacation centered around beer. Karla just sent me this article on beer-touristing around the Czech Republic; and in the July issue of All About Beer magazine, there were reviews of a couple of good travel guides to my new favorite nation (that I've never even visited): Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium and the Good Beer Guide Belgium.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Black Star Co-op Brewpub event

From one of the guys trying to start a co-op brewpub here in Austin (I've written about them before):

Hello everyone,

I want to let you know that we will having our monthly beer social next Saturday, August 12th. We didn't have one in July on account of the construction of the brewhouse, but now we're back, and this one should be better than ever. As usual, we'll be in the backyard of MonkeyWrench Books at 110 E North Loop, and the beer will be tapped around 7PM.

At past events many people have expressed interested in becoming members, but we weren't quite ready. Since we now have a membership drive up and running, this will be a perfect opportunity to join the co-op. I (and the rest of the board members) will also be available to answer any questions you may have.


Steven Yarak
Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Organic beer

Because being an environmentalist is morally righteous, but being a drunk environmentalist is fun. These messages come from Margaret's friend John up in Chicago:

Message No. 1: Here's a beer article for you from Treehugger. The Mountain Goat Beer brewery sounds like they have a unique energy and water efficient operation and they have just put out Australia's first 100% certified organic beer. "The organically grown and malted German pilsener and light Munich malts combine with organic New Zealand Pacific Gem hops in a process certified by the Biological Farmer's Association" per the piece. At the very least they have a nice label...

Message No. 2: Boy, I send you one story and then a couple of entries later Treehugger has another story about Anheuser-Busch putting out two organic beers.

Thanks John! And remember: Hugging trees is better than hugging the toilet.