Thursday, December 28, 2006

'Beerfest' tonight

One last reminder: The Beerfest Sausage Feast is 7pm tonight at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown. I'll be there, as will my pals John F, Lance, Nosregref, Jud, and Bobnoxious. If you want to join us, click on that link to buy tickets. If you're a regular reader but not someone I actually know, feel free to come up and introduce yourself, I'd love to meet you. I'll be wearing a dark green Austin Chronicle shirt, possibly covered up by a dark blue sweatshirt that says "London" on it. We'll probably hit the Gingerman afterwards.

Oh, and the menu sounds awesome. For $18, you get movie tickets and this (from the Alamo's website):

First we will serve Wurzburger Hefeweissen paired with Smitty's Sausage: Peppery sausage served with rye bread, sweet and hot mustard, and apple crisps.
Second course will be Hacker-Pschorr Edenhall Lager paired with Meyer's Sausage: Smoked Elgin sausage served with cheese and onion perogies.
The last course will be Spaten Optimator served with New Braunfel's Bratwurst: beer-braised New Braunfel's Smokehouse sausage with juniper scented saurkraut and sour cherry preserves.


Stop reading this right now.

Get up from your computer, and get yourself over to the Draught House. As I write this, they will be open for another hour and 45 minutes. Get over there immediately and order their house brew, a winter saison. OMFG. Really awesome Belgian-style brown ale. I just had a couple of them, utterly magnificent, shared with Bill C who is visiting from Portland (a place where they know what a good brewpub is about). If you love Belgian beers, this will blow your mind, and they said they might be out of it by tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Let it age

Karla sent me a fascinating article on how certain beers — your higher-alcohol, full-bodied ones, such as Belgians — can be a tasty treat if you let them age for a few months or years. I'd love to try this, except I don't have a wine cellar where I could keep them at 68 degrees or less. I have a beer fridge, but that would be too cold to let the aging happen. And during the Texas summers, I just can't afford to keep my house at 68, although the wife would very much like that.

***EDIT: So after saying I can't do it, the guy at Grape Vine Market just talked me into trying it. He told me to buy the special 60th anniversary edition of St. Bernardus Abt 12, and said I don't necessarily need to have my house at 68; I can probably pull it off even if I keep my house at 75 degrees. So I stuck the bottle in my closet. The key here is that, instead of aging for one or two years, he said at 75 I should age it for about five years. Which means I can't touch this bottle until 2011. You know, with a bottle of good beer in my closet, I don't know if I can hold out that long. Eh, I suppose I can. I know what Abt 12 tastes like fresh, and I can always get another bottle in the interim.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

She wouldn't like England

Least justifiable reason to kill somebody: because they offered you warm beer.

Sorghum beer?

If you're one of those folks who needs a gluten-free diet, Anhueser-Busch is riding to your beer-drinking rescue with beer made from sorghum rather than barley. And apparently it's not as strange a concept as it sounds, as it's rather common in Africa.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Friends of Texas Microbreweries blog

A few posts ago I wrote about attempts by Texas microbrewers to pass a bill this legislative session that will allow them to sell their product directly to the public on the premises of their breweries. If you want to track their efforts, follow this link to a blog maintained by Houston's St. Arnold brewery. (Note: I've also permanently put the link in the "Other Beer Blogs" section to the right, listed as "Friends of Texas Microbreweries."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Antique beer for sale!

So a nice fellow from Britain sends me an e-mail today asking me if I'd be interested in buying some vintage bottles of beer from him. I'm assuming they're not still drinkable — I think the idea is to set them on the shelves and have your friends ooh and aah over them. Check out the pictures. I'd gladly do it if I had more disposable income, but given the financial wrestling I've had to do lately, I think I'd be better off spending my cash on beer I can actually drink. However, maybe I can tempt one of you with his offer.

His name is Rob Earnshaw, and his e-mail address is (posted long style so spammers can't scoop it up): robertearnshaw at btinternet dot com.

Here's what he e-mailed me:

Hi lee

I was reading your blog and thought you may be interested in this

I recently acquired 17 (full) bottles of antique beers from a relative. I thought that they may be appealing to you and your members.

Please email me back to find out more information, below I have listed the beers I acquired
17 bottles of antique beers, ales and lagers, spanning from 1953 to 1981,

mainly celebration beers.

1x Harvey's Elizabethan Ale, brewed in 1953,

1x Barclay's Russian Stout, brewed in 1966,

1x Banks imperial old ale, brewed in 1960's,

2x Gold Label, Barley Wine, brewed in 1960's

1x corked bottle of George Gale Prize old Ale, brewed in 1960's

2x St George Strong Ale, brewed specially for St Georges Taverns, 1960's.

3x George Gale Silver Jubilee Ale, brewed in 1977.

1x King & Barnes Jubilee Ale, brewed in 1977,

1x Courage Silver Jubilee Ale, brewed in 1977,

4x Ind Coope Strong Lager, brewed to celebrate the marriage of The Prince of Wales & Lady Diana Spencer, brewed in Wales in 1981

Also I have obtained a full working beautifully crafted beer pump, complete with ceramic fox hunting style handle, in a hardwood frame, roughly 50 years old, made by Gakell and Chambers Ltd.

Drop me an email if you are interested.


Rob Earnshaw

E-bay listing:

Or call him at 07707083674

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Finally – the Bobnoxious Christmas beer party

Man, I should have written this up back when my memories were only partially fuzzy; now it's a week and a half later, and those brain cells are completely dead. So this will be much lamer than it deserves. However, with a bit of downtime at work ("downtime" meaning I really ought to be doing something work-related right now, but fuck it) and, a Spaten Optimator in hand, I'd rather do this.

First off, an explanation of what it is: My buddy Bobnoxious, with whom I've been drinking beer since ... oh, around the time fermentation was discovered ... annually holds a Christmas-themed beer party. Which doesn't just mean the party is Christmas-themed, but the beer itself is. Any special-release beer that has Santa or elves or snow, etc. on the label that Bob can track down gets included. Bob – or the alter ego that he assumed this year, Scottish Jimmy (I still need that photo, Bob) – is always a magnificent party host, and he treats his guests well. We each got tiny samples of every beer – which, cumulatively and accounting for the higher alcohol content that wintertime brews tend to have, causes you to get schnockered. Don't dare ask Bob for a bigger sample than what he pours – he knows what he's doing. Plus, if you do ask, he'll probably give it to you, and you'll regret it later.

Dangit, now I have to try to remember what all we drank, and I can't, except that they were all yummy things that go down to your belly and feel like a hot coal down there, warming you up and making you feel all fuzzy. Maybe the rest of you could tell me what your favorites were. But I'll try to remember mine: There were the usual suspects: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, St. Arnold Christmas Ale, Young's Winter Warmer, Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome. Plus two pretty good ones from the Samuel Adams holiday mix pack, Old Fezziwig and Holiday Porter (which Bob and I agreed was one of the better porters we've had).

Then Bob whipped out a magnum (or as he was calling it by that point, a "mangum") of the Anchor Christmas Ale, which is annually the only holiday brew that I just flat-out don't like, even though they claim to put out a different version every year. It's spicy. And not in a good way — like, a burning kind of spicy. But everyone else loves it, so clearly I'm an idiot, which I know they'll all be happy to tell me, just like when I said Guinness Stout is overrated.

I was most proud to have contributed to the stock this year: After returning from annual holiday visit to my Kansas City in-laws last year, I brought back a bottle of Boulevard Nut Cracker Ale. As I've raved about before, K.C.'s Boulevard is one of my very favorite breweries, and since they don't distribute to Texas, I and my across-the-street neighbor (who also has family in K.C.) are their two major Austin distributors, importing a good two to four cases annually. As with everything else they make, this is a mighty fine beer that held up just fine sitting in that bottle for a year. My mother-in-law has a case of Nut Cracker waiting for me when we head up later this month (and boy, doesn't that sentence just make its own joke?)

Let's see ... I also remember some Breckenridge somewhere in there, which was pretty good, plus an offering by Louisiana's Abita brewery, which everyone else thought tasted like ass but I thought was okay, so clearly I'm an idiot again.

And at one point Bob opened up some Belgian beers that had nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas, I think he just inserted them because he wanted some Belgian beer to really loosen people up (mission accomplished). I remember some Bernardus Abt. 12 and two different kinds of Chouffe, which Bob said he liked "Just because it sounds like what you'll do if you drink too much of it." (And you really must listen to the "Chouffe Happy Song," which is exactly what the name implies.)

Then we killed off the last bottle of some kind of British superheavy ale that had been aging in Bob and Cristen's fridge ever since they got married 12 or so years ago. (It was supposed to age, kind of like Samuel Adams Triple Bock, but honestly, years didn't help the taste one bit.)

At at some point, I polished off a full glass of North by Northwest's holiday beer, which was probably a mistake, as I didn't realize it was a barleywine. Oof. So by this point I was pretty hammered (thanks to M'Lady for driving home) although not as much as Bob, who was sitting by his fireplace wobbling like a Weeble.

And to crown the evening, Bob's pal and Bubba Coltrane bandmate Ed whipped out some of his home brew, which we've enjoyed on many occasions. Ed's a talented guy — mighty fine stuff, although at this point I can't remember what styles he brought over.

So there it is — the full play-by-play, as best I can reconstruct it. Perhaps next year I should be a good blogger and use Bob's laptop to for live coverage.

No, seriously, I really will post about Bobnoxious' xmas beer party

Possibly tonight. But in the meantime, here's a Christmas-beer-related posting on, a blog run by my college drinking buddy Siva Vaidhyanathan. (But if that name is too hard for you to pronounce, you can just call him "Professor Smallbeard.")

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Support Drinking Liberally by Buying Liberally

If your political leanings are similar to mine, then you should join (or start) your local chapter of Drinking Liberally, a group where lefties meet to drink and bitch about politicians. (As opposed to what lefties do the rest of the time: drink and bitch about politicians.) If you're wondering what to get your favorite feminist, tree-hugger, or union organizer for Christmas, try the Drinking Liberally store. The proceeds will benefit the organization.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Texas microbrewers want to sell direct to consumers

From News 8 Austin:

The Friends of Texas Microbreweries launched a campaign Thursday to change the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code and allow small Texas breweries to sell directly to patrons. They're shopping the Texas Legislature to find someone to introduce a bill for them.

Microbrewers want the chance to sell a drink or a six-pack directly to customers, not just wholesalers. When people take a tour of a Texas brewery, they can't buy any beer to take home.

Read the rest of the story here.

(This is a great idea. Write to your state representative and senator to support such legislation. If you're not sure who represents you, follow this link look them up.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cheap Christmas Gift Possibilities

Buy it here. A good supplement to your collection of "Old Bill & Bret" pint glasses.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Yes, I will blog about Bobnoxious' Christmas Beer Party

As soon as I get a chance, but @#$%! work keeps getting in my way. Plus I need somebody to help me remember what happened. And I can tell you, that person won't be Bob, 'cause he doesn't remember either. :-)

(Hey Bob or another party attendee — could you send me a picture of Bob in the Jimmy Scotsman hat or whatever we were calling that thing? I'm pretty sure I remember someone taking one.)