Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tragedy at New Belgium brewery

Ugh, hate to see this happen anywhere, but certainly not one of my very favorite breweries.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Shiner 98 has arrived!

Yes, the latest edition in Shiner's anniversary beers is already here … and it's delicious!

If you've been following along, Shiner has been marking the run-up to its 100th anniversary by releasing a limited-edition special beer. In their 96th year (2005), they put out "96," a wonderful Marzen-style ale. The next year, 97 was a black lager – well-done, although not quite up to the standard of New Belgium's 1554 or the Brazilian Xingu.

Now, we have 98 — a "Bavarian style amber." I love it. I've already killed half a six-pack tonight, and it is goes down so easily I might accidentally drink the whole thing. It has a gentle toastiness, a well-measured does of malt that gives a strong but not overwhelming flavor. Honestly, if my memory serves, it tastes a lot like 96. And it comes in this really cool retro-looking red and gold bottle, looking like something out of the Forties or Fifties.

Once again, I'll say what I said about 96 two years ago — once all this anniversary stuff is over, I hope they'll pick at least one of these beers and make it a permanent part of their line-up.

I'd link to some info on it, but Shiner has apparently decided to never update its website again — it's still advertising 96, which hasn't been available since Dec. 31, 2005! Come on Shiner, join the information age! Anyhoo, get some of this now, because once it's gone, it's completely gone.

Bill's Unexcellent Topeka Adventure

Nosregref sends back the following report from the wild frontier:

I've been in Topeka all week actually, but was able to get plenty of the Boulevard... drinking the Dry Stout in my hotel right now. As far as beer goes in this town, it sucks... but... I will tell anyone willing to listen that the North Star steak house has some darn good food and is pretty much the only other place in Topeka that has the Blind Tiger beer except the brewery itself.

Random dive bars I managed to get to: The Dugout (hey, only 1 shooting this week!), and Goose One (hey, owner of the Dugout was there and bought me a couple of beers!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Beer in Topeka?

I have a friend who will be in Topeka, Kansas, for a few days on business and he wants to know the best places to get quality beer there. He's already aware of the Blind Tiger; anything else he should know about? Maybe some place in Lawrence? Speak up, Kansans!

Avery beer tasting at Alamo Lakecreek

Check out what ought to be a great beer tasting at Alamo Lakecreek Sunday night. Avery makes some great stuff, although I don't get it often because I think it tends to be a bit overpriced. (So at $30, this is actually a pretty good deal.)

Nonetheless, I don't think I'll be there because (A) I just can't seem to save any money lately, so even $30 is probably out of my price range at the moment, especially given our recent vet bills, but the bigger issue is (B) with beers that strong, how in the hell am I going to get back home from Lakecreek? There's no buses out there (at least not on a Sunday evening), and I don't even like driving Hwy. 183 dead sober. Plus (patting myself on the back) I've lost five pounds in the past week – heck, I got pickled on a single pint of Lagunitas IPA last night.

EDIT: Turns out there IS a bus that would get me out there. Oh well, good info for the future.

Uncle Billy's Brew and Que

Bobnoxious has all the dirt on Texas' newest brewpub.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blackstar Co-op Events

Message from the Blackstar Co-op folks. Darn it, bad timing for me and Bob; we owe some movie-watching time to the womenfolks:

Dear Members and Friends of Black Star Co-op,

We are extremely proud to say that we are now 250+ members strong, and are closer than ever before in reaching our goal of opening Black Star Co-op. Our Craft Beer Celebration on April 20 was very successful and we gained over 50 members that night, plus at least ten more online that weekend. Thank you all for showing up, bringing friends, joining (if you hadn't already), and supporting Black Star Co-op! Check out for more information about us.

Here are some of our upcoming events:

Black Star Co-op’s monthly beer social returns to the backyard of MonkeyWrench Books on Saturday, May 19th. Come out to relax in the backyard, enjoy a pint, and learn more about the Co-op.

What: May Beer Social
Where: 110 E North Loop
When: Saturday, May 19th, 7-10PM
What to bring: Chairs, Friends, and Thirst!

Note: Please do not park on the North Loop strip.

Member Orientation Meeting
Wed. 5/23, 8pm @ 3105 Guadalupe (next to Wheatsville)
Come prepared to learn what it means to be a member-owner of Black Star Co-op, and how you can help in achieving our goal of recruiting new members and opening the brewpub! (For more information, please email Johnny at

Cooperatively yours,

Black Star Co-op

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fireman's #4 now available in bottles!

Yes, it's true. I know several of my readers are fans of this product of Real Ale. I just saw it on the shelves at HEB.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: And Real Ale is now making a Belgian trippel, which rivals India pale ale as my favorite beer style. I see nothing about it on their website, but I discovered it last night at the Draught House. It was yummy. And strong, natch.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I Gotta Get Drunk …

You've heard people say it so much that it's a cliche: "I don't drink beer because I want to get drunk, I drink it because I like the taste." Which, when you were saying it as a teenager, was complete bullshit. No teenager drinks because he/she like the taste of beer. For one thing, when you were a teenager, you were almost certain drinking cheap, flavorless beer. But now that I'm older, I truly do love the taste of well-made beer. That's the whole point of this blog. Of the severe drunk (read: vomiting, and also read: few) episodes that I've had over the last few years, it was because the beer was so darn delicious that I couldn't (wouldn't?) stop myself.

Now, that said, I freely admit that I do occasionally crack a few open for the express purpose of getting drunk. I've had a hard day at work, and I really need to unwind. I make no apologies, and no one should, for just wanting to mentally dissolve on such days and let loose. Ironically, it's days like these that, while I'll intentionally get tipsy, I never puke. If I
plan on getting drunk, I know when to cut it off.

I had one of these days recently, and every time I have one, I get my favorite drinking song stuck in my head. It's one of my favorite songs ever, and I want to share the lyrics with you. If you can find an MP3 on the web, download it. Or go buy a Willie album. It's a song that brings me great joy.

"Gotta Get Drunk"
by Willie Nelson

Well I gotta get drunk and I sure do dread it
cause I know just what I'm gonna do
I'll start to spend my money
calling everybody honey and wind up singing the blues
I'll spend my whole paycheck on some old wreck and brother I can name you a few
But I gotta get drunk and I sure do dread it cause I know just what I'm gonna do

I gotta get drunk I just can't stay sober there's a lot of good people in town
Who'd like to hear me holler see me spend my dollars
And I wouldn't think of lettin' 'em down
There's a lot of doctors that tell me that I'd better start slowin' it down
But there's more old drunks than there are old doctors
So I guess we'd better have another round

So what's your favorite drinking song?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

National Homebrewers Conference in Denver

The Brewers Association – the national organization that, well, is exactly what it sounds like – just had their national Craft Brewers Conference here in Austin. I checked it out a bit, but really, it was for the pros – people who are really in the brewing business for a living. Now those people are few and far between; more common are the homebrewers. I even know quite a few. If you're one of them, then head up to Denver for the BA's next big event, the National Homebrewers Conference, June 21-23. I'd love to check it out, even though I don't brew my own. I have friends in Denver, and it's a great city. Click on the link for all the details on how to sign up.

Microbrewery bill probably dead

The bill in the Texas Legislature that would allow microbrewers to sell their product on the premises of their breweries appears to be dead. I don't know why this seemingly sensible idea never got any traction — after all, wineries are allowed to sell their product on-site, so why discriminate against beer?

Actually, there are two bills, although they are word-for-word identical, just with different authors listed. (I'm not sure why they do this; I'm sure it makes some kind of sense in the Bizarro World of lawmaking.) But both House Bill 1926 by Houston's Jessica Farrar and HB 2647 by Dripping Springs' Patrick Rose were referred to the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee on Feb. 28 and March 13, respectively, and have been stuck there ever since. In theoretical fantasy world, it is still technically possible for the bills to move through the process and become law, but the legislative session ends on May 28, and anyone who watches the Lege knows that any bills that haven't emerged from committee at this late date probably never will. Even Friends of Texas Microbreweries seems to have given up – their blog hasn't been updated since January.

It's so sad. I'm sure on-site sales will happen eventually, but now it will be 2008 at the earliest, as the Texas Lege only meets every other year.

UPDATE: In my similarly worded report on this for The Austin Chronicle, Saint Arnold's Brock Wagner agrees with what Karla says about beer distributors in the comments section.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dark Days

So I injured my lower back on Saturday, and now I've been prescribed a big ol' cocktail of muscle relaxants, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatories. I figure with that many pills, it's best to stay away from the alcohol. Which I suppose means no beer for three or four days. I am despondent.

I tried to make the most of my last beer, though: A wonderful Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. Might as well go out with a bang!

UPDATE: Okay, I'm weak and have no self-discipline. Vidodin and Sierra Nevada combine for a nice buzz!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

But I already have a beer belly …

As their website says, "Seriously, this is a real product, you need one now."

I wonder if we could have pulled this off in college? Personally, I was always impressed by the flasks that looked like a pair of binoculars.