Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blackstar Co-op membership meeting tonight

Message from the Blackstar Brewing Co-op:

Dear Members and Friends of Black Star Co-op,

Tonight our Membership Coordinator, Johnny Livesay, will lead our first new member orientation meeting. We do hope that you will attend to learn more about what it means to be a Co-op member-owner.

Where: Wheatsville Annex, 3105 Guadalupe, 78705
When: Wednesday, March 28, 8-10pm.
Who: All current and prospective members of the Co-op.

Please see the attached agenda for more information about the meeting. If you have questions, please email

Thanks and we hope to see you there!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Brewers Conference Coming to Austin!

Breaking news. Read this full press release, there are going to be some awesome events, including one for you Waco Brothers fans. Much like SXSW, the conference itself is only open to industry professionals, but there are events open to the public.

Brewers Association
736 Pearl St.
Boulder, Colorado 80302 USA
888.822.6273 (U.S./Canada Only) / +1.303.447.0816


Craft Brewers pour into Austin in April
Austin to Host Conference on Craft Beer
In mid-April Austin will be flooded with flavorful craft beer and the brewers who make it. That’s when the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association for America’s small brewers, will hold its annual professional conference. Craft brewers from across the country will pour into Austin to attend the Craft Brewers Conference, the brewing industry’s largest gathering in North America. Attendance is expected to exceed 1,600.

Austinites will benefit from this surge of beer culture with public events at local venues featuring special beers on tap, craft beer-paired dinners and good elbow-rubbing time with the royalty of craft brewers. “Austin is a city rich in craft beer culture and we look forward to bringing the industry together in such a beer-friendly town,” said Cindy Jones, Marketing Director for the Brewers Association.

Today, sales of craft beers — beer made by small, independent and traditional brewers — are at an all-time high. 2006 marked an 11.7% increase for the category totaling a retail sales figure of $4.2 billion and 3.2% share by volume of the beer market with over 6.65 million taxable production in barrels. America’s craft beers are now a world-class brand being emulated and talked about globally.

“Having the Craft Brewers Conference come to Austin is a fantastic opportunity for the local brewers to showcase our beers,” says Chip McElroy of Live Oak Brewing Co. “We Austinites are proud of our town and the local things we have produced — especially music and beer. We just had the SXSW music conference in town, now bring on the brewers!”

Events open to the public include:

Event: American Homebrewers Association Rally
Presented by: Independence Brewing Company
Date/Time: Sunday, April 15, 3-6 pm
Location: 3913 Todd Lane #607, Austin, TX
Contact: 303-447-0816 x 123
Cost: Free for American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members or $33 for non-members– which includes a 1 year membership to the AHA!

To kick off the Craft Brewers Conference and support the American Homebrewers Association, Independence is hosting a rally. There will be special guest speakers, brewery tours, raffle prizes, complimentary beer tasting...and to top it all off, they'll be pouring an experimental beer they’ve been working on. Visit the website for more details.

Event: Zax Pints and Plates Beer Dinner
Presented by: Zax Pints and Plates
Date/Time: Thursday, April 19 @ 7:00 p.m.
Location: 312 Barton Springs, Austin
Contact: 512-481-0100
Join your friends at Zax Pints and Plates for a 4 course beer and food pairing featuring fine ales and lagers from Victory Brewing Company. Space is limited so make reservations early.
Cost: Open to the public. Admission is $45.
Call 512-481-0100 for more information and reservations.

Event: American Beer Feast
Presented by: Alamo Drafthouse Lakecreek
Date/Time: Thursday, April 19 @ 7:30 p.m.
Location: 13729 Research Blvd., Austin
Contact: 512-219-8135
Showing of “American Beer”, the movie, with director Paul Kermizian and many other special guests. Ticket price includes pre-show appetizers and a three-course craft beer meal to accompany the film.
Cost: Admission is $65 and includes entrance, meal and beer. Guaranteed to be a special evening. Visit the website for more details.

Event: John Langford Live and in effect!
Presented by: Opal Divines Austin Grill (Penn Field)
Date/Time: Friday, April 20 @ 7:00 p.m.
Location: 3601 South Congress Avenue, Austin
Contact: 512- 707-0237
A free concert and short film featuring the music of John Langford and featuring Dogfish Head Craft brewed ales.

Be sure and visit craft beer hotspots in the Austin area open year-round: Blue Star Brewing, Draught House Pub and Brewery, Fredericksburg Brewing Co, Independence Brewing, Live Oak Brewing, Lovejoys Taproom and Brewery, North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery, Real Ale Brewing Co. Visit for a complete list of breweries by state and city.

For more information about the conference visit The Craft Brewers Conference is open to brewing industry professionals and media only.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Beery Goodness That I'll Probably Miss

Because it will happen too far away from the South by Southwest excitement. But if you don't feel like braving the crazy crowds downtown, this would be a good bet:

Dear Friends,

Spring, St. Patrick's Day, SXSW and another Black Star Co-op Beer Social are upon us! Next Saturday, March 17th, we will be hosting our monthly Beer Social. We hope you will make time out of what looks to be a very busy day in Austin to come and enjoy some homebrew, good company, and an opportunity to learn more about the world's first cooperatively owned

Our goal is to gain 10 new Co-op member-owners at this next Beer Social, so if you're a member, bring a friend who's interested in joining. And if you haven't joined yet, come prepared with any questions you may have about what it means to be a member-owner of Black Star Co-op.

Here are the details:

What: Black Star Co-op March Beer Social
When: Saturday, March 17th, 7-10 PM
Where: MonkeyWrench Books (in the backyard), 110 E North Loop
Cost: Free as always, donations* appreciated!

Cooperatively yours,

Therese Adams
Event/Volunteer Coordinator
Black Star Co-op

*Donations made to Black Star Co-op are used for general operations, and are not tax-deductible.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

God bless American can-do spirit

Yes folks, not only can we put a man on the moon, we can also make a refrigerator that will throw you a beer. You gotta love that. Who says the American education system is failing? (But it exposes a flaw in my beer snobbery — very few beers I like are sold in cans. Can it be modified to throw bottles? And would you want it to to that? Big problems if you miss the catch.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Anchor Bock: A disappointment

Anchor has such a good reputation that I eagerly bought a sixer of this without a second thought, and in retrospect, I don't know why — this beer only confirmed my belief that, reputation or no, Anchor is really overrated. It's not that they did the bock style wrong, but more that I just don't like any of their beers. Yes, this is another one of those thoughts that makes me an outcast among beer geeks. But there is a certain flavor thread that runs through all their beers, and I can't put my finger on it, but I don't like it. I think their Porter is the best of their portfolio, but there are many other porters I like better, and I find their much-vaunted Christmas beer downright undrinkable. As for bock — in my opinion, you'd be much better off with Saint Arnold Spring Bock. But again, I'm very much in the minority when it comes to Anchor, so maybe you shouldn't take my word for it.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Shout-out to a fan

I did a Google search on web pages that link to me, which was mostly what I expected — friends of mine. But something called the Amsterdam Bar put me on their blogroll, and although I'm not sure what I did to deserve it, I'm honored. Apparently it's a hipster bar in Dallas not far from the Cotton Bowl. Despite having been born in Dallas, I rarely have occasion to visit there anymore, but the next time I'm up there, I promise to drop in for a Maredsous 8.

Hedonist Beer Jive (see link to the right) also links to me, which I assume was a payback for me doing the same to them. I'm glad they did, because I get a fair number of referrals from that site.

thanks guys!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Saint Arnold Wee Heavy

Houston's Saint Arnold Brewery is coming out with a limited-edition Wee Heavy over the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled for it. I sure hope they're bringing some to Austin. The details from their website:

Reserve No. 4: Wee Heavy
Cases Made: 823
Date Brewed: December 20, 2006
Date Bottled: February 20, 2007
Original Gravity: 1.0835
Final Gravity: 1.021
Alcohol: 9.5% ABV

This is a Wee Heavy that one of our brewers has been working on for a couple of years and the final results are well worth the wait.

The color is deep ruby on its way to black with bright clarity (especially considering it is unfiltered) and a thick, tan head. It has a nose of Irish coffee with hints of peat. The body is sweet and creamy — not thin, not heavy. Almost refreshing, if a beer this big can be described as such.

Caramel malt, smoke, coffee and orange come in and out of focus several times as the beer moves across the palate, then it finishes with a light spiciness. We again used our St. Arnold yeast which added a nice layer of complexity to this already multifaceted beer. Enjoy at 45°F or warmer.

EDIT: Got some! As one of the comments says, if you go to Grape Vine you have to ask for it, and they will only sell you two six-packs at a time to avoid hoarding. It's called Divine Reserve No. 4, actually, and oh my it really is divine. Among heavy-alcohol, heavy-flavor beers I'd rank this right up there with Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. And they balance it just right — too often, "big beers" such as this just get overwhelmed by the alcohol and it drowns out the other flavors. Not this one. The flavor notes they mention above are correct, and I also get images of strong, ripe fruit as well. My wife just happened to serve some delicious whole grain bread (which she picked up at GVM while she was getting me the beer) and gouda cheese, which complemented the beer very nicely. Between this and the sixer of Sierra Nevada I grabbed last night, I'll be well-fortified against this cold front that is supposed to come tonight.