Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh dear …

From the journal that my daughter writes for her second-grade class (which means that her teacher has read it):

"This weekend I saw Bee movie. This bee said are we bees? or are we a keychain? bees! Keychain! My dad saw Texas beat Texas Tech! he drank seven beers that day! I also defeated the Underminer. The giant corrupterater fell over. Ahhh! Underminer! Blah!"

Hmm. Perhaps I need to be a bit more subtle in my beer consumption.

Deschutes Cinder Cone Red

Okay, I'm two for two on my journey through the six beers that Deschutes sent me. This Cinder Cone Red is wonderful. It strikes a perfect balance between the malt and the Amarillo and Tettering hops, the latter of which set my tongue to buzzing and linger wonderfully long after the swallow. It has a mild smokiness. I enjoyed this with a mere salami and turkey sandwich, but I suspect it would perfectly complement smoked meats, especially game like duck. Damn, I wish they'd sent me more than one bottle of this. And I don't normally think of myself as a big fan of reds.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Okay, I swear I started this blog as just a hobby and really was not trying to scam some free beer … but it's starting to happen. Well, sort of. I've recently sort of weaseled my way into becoming The Austin Chronicle's official beer writer, and Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon, wanting to advertise their entry into the Texas market, sent us a ridiculously fancy promo six-pack of their brews. Seriously: It came in this huge, fancy wooden crate. I'll include a pic later.

Unfortunately for them, our coverage in the Chronicle is extremely local in orientation, and yet another beer entering Texas just doesn't quite rise to the level that I'd review them in our pages. We focus more on local brewers. However, I have no such parameters for coverage on this blog and will be happy to plug them here. So for the next few days, I'll review one Deschutes beer at a time. Hey, it's the least I can do if they're sending it to me for free.

First up: Mirror Pond Pale Ale. This is fine pale. In fact, it's exactly what I'm looking for in a pale. (Mentally, I'm contrasting it with a couple of Texas pales I've drank in the past few days that disappointed me.)

A very floral hop taste. You know, I haven't quite refined my palate enough to differentiate between hops, but maybe I'm learning. I've always heard that Cascade hops are highly prized, and I'm wondering if this floral character is the defining characteristic. It's wonderful, and it's a taste that just gets stronger the deeper I go into the glass.

As my friend Bobnoxious would say, it's "effcellent." I give this an A, and I can see why Bill said their move into Texas is good news for us.

UPDATE: Erik over at Deschutes wants you to know that Mirror Pond Ale and Black Butte Porter is available on draft at these fine Austin establishments:

Billy's on Burnet

Trudy's on 30th

Crown and Anchor

Opal Divine’s (all 3 locations)

Little Woodrow's on 6th

Draught House

Dog and Duck Pub


Cool River

The Dig Pub

...also available in keg form at Spec’s Liquor Store...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Last Night for Showdown

I was just at Showdown. I knew they were closing soon, but I didn't realize that TONIGHT (Sunday) IS THE LAST NIGHT. If you want one more trip down memory lane, you better get there before midnight.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Take This Survey

This guy is an Austin beer drinker, and he tells me he's working on a new beer-related website and needs people to take his survey to help him get started. Good enough for me. Some of the questions are beer-related. Go there and click on the blog posting titled "website survey."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Every Homebrewer in Austin Envies This Guy

Below is a press release from Saint Arnold Brewing. Let me tell you — as fantastic as the previous Divine Reserves have been, this is a high honor:

Austin Homebrewer Wins World’s Biggest Single-Style Brewing Competition

Will Have Recipe Brewed as Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 7

, May 20, 2008 – Saint Arnold Brewing Co. (, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today announced that Kerry Martin [ed. note: That's him in the picture], a member of the Austin Zealots homebrew club, won the 13th Annual Big Batch Brew Bash over the weekend. The contest is the biggest single-style brewing competition in the world.

Judges evaluated a total of 66 examples of the Weizenbock style and selected Martin’s Weizenbock as the best. The Weizenbock style is a strong Bavarian wheat beer, featuring many of the same characteristics of the Weizen style but with greater intensity of malt flavor, fuller body and a higher alcohol level.

As the winning homebrewer Martin will have his recipe brewed as Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 7. Divine Reserve is a series of single batch beers from Saint Arnold Brewing Company, each brewed with a completely different recipe. These releases typically sell out in 24 hours at most stores. It is also critically acclaimed; Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 4, a Strong Scotch Ale, recently won a Gold Medal at this year’s World Beer Cup.

“It is hard to describe how satisfying it is to go into the grocery store and see a bottle of your beer made with your recipe on the shelf for the first time – it’s something few people ever experience,” said Brock Wagner, founder and CEO of Saint Arnold Brewing who started homebrewing in his Rice University dorm room. “We will also be entering this beer in the Pro/Am category at the Great American Beer Festival this year, which would make Kerry eligible for one of the highest honors in brewing.”

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 6, an American Barleywine, is currently aging in one of the brewery’s fermenters. This recipe was developed by a Saint Arnold brewer and is expected to hit stores in June.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dreaming of Beer; Dreamy Beer

So this morning I was sleeping in while Margaret was planning our day with Todd and Aimee (who have been in town for the weekend staying with us). I was in that weird state where you're sleeping, but you can still hear conversations and so they become part of your dream. I heard Todd ask Margaret, "So what kind of beer is Lee going to want?" Which he really said. But then I dreamed Margaret's reply: "He really likes that new Shiner Vicodin."

Man, I have no idea where that came from. Aimee just got her PhD in psychology, maybe she can analyze it for me.

(Spoetzl Brewery, if you actually do come out with that flavor, I expect 15% royalties).

Thankfully, the Real Ale Devil's Backbone that Todd and I sampled later that day at the Flying Saucer was no dream. It was a delicious and real tripel that had us both very satisfied, especially Todd, who I think is becoming an even bigger fan of Belgian styles than me (which is saying a lot). It had a hazy, golden color with a very sweet floral aroma — overall, a very elegant beer that makes me think those guys out in Blanco must have some Belgian blood in them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

National Beer Radio

The severity of the hops shortage is finally starting to sink in. It's even getting attention from National Public Radio. (Thanks to the Texpatriate for the link.)

UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this, I stumbled across another NPR program, yesterday's episode of Talk of the Nation, on the subject of "The Science of Making Great Beer."

Black Star Co-op Event Tonight

Sadly, I can't be there. Go drink one for me:

Dear Black Star Co-op Community,

The storm has passed and the forecast is cool and clear for our May Beer Social this Saturday, 5/17 from 7-10PM. Once again we'll be co-producing the event with Diverse Arts in their space, Kenny Dorham's Backyard, at 1106 E 11th St. There are quite a few new developments going on in the Co-op right now, so come to the Beer Social and talk to one of our volunteers to get in on the action!


The next general meeting of the Co-op is coming up on May 31st, and it's going to be a big one. We'll be making a decision about the location of our future brewpub, and this Beer Social will be our last event before the meeting where you can join the Co-op. If you can't make it to the event, you can always become a member-owner on our website:


We've received a new order of pint glasses, with a new shape and the artwork from the booklet for our Member-Investor Share Offering. Just like the previous designs, they will be available at the Beer Social for $5. You can find more information and a picture here:


As mentioned in our last email, starting this month our member-owners will have their very own beer line. This should dramatically speed things up, and is offered as a new membership benefit. Of course any non- member can join the Co-op at the Beer Social, and the new line for member-owners is also an added incentive.


With the continued growth of these events it's important that our guests and member-owners continue to have a great time. We've created a page on our website explaining how our Beer Socials work, and we hope it helps you know what to expect. You can find it at:

The rest of the Beer Social should be largely as you've come to know it. We'll have live music by Corinne Rose and The Skeletons, and of course there will be raffle prizes for new Charter Members.

Finally, please help spread the word about the Beer Social with one of our fliers. This month we had three which were created by artists in our community. Many thanks to Victor, Nick, and Jonathan. Check them out and print one off at:

What: May Beer Social
When: Saturday, May 17th, 7-10PM
Where: Kenny Dorham's Backyard, 1106 E 11th St
What to bring: Chairs, Friends, and Thirst
More information:


Black Star Co-op
(512) 326-1750

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Texas' First Brewery

Po recently made a visit to the Kreische Brewery State Historic Site, the ruins of the first brewery established in Texas, and sent me these cool photos (sorry it took me so long to post them, Po!). I really need to get down there and visit. (Click on the pics for much higher-quality versions.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

And on that previous topic …

More minors and beer: (once again stealing from KC Beer Blog):

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Even I'm appalled

I was doing some dusting here in the office, and this long-forgotten trophy from my running days caught my eye, and I realized it needed to go on the blog immediately. It's from a 5K race that was held in Bastrop State Park, and as you can probably guess, Miller Lite was the major sponsor.

The trophy might strike you as merely amusing, but here is what's appalling about it: I was only FOURTEEN YEARS OLD when they awarded it to me! They gave this trophy to a TEENAGER.

I mean seriously – don't you think it's just wrong to promote beer this lame to a minor?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Masterful photography

My daughter is in love with the camera. I sense a career in photojournalism in her future. She took these mouthwatering photographs of my beer fridge.

Friday, May 02, 2008

People with too much time on their hands

Somehow, this just screams "entertainment for Nosregref." I can hear him now, doing his Homer Simpson giggle as he watches it.

Need to save money on beer?

I confess I'm totally stealing this from my friends at KC Beer Blog, because it's cool:

If you've ever been curious how far your beer dollar will go in various places around the world, check out

UPDATE: Holy crap, I sure hope the price listed for Eugene, Oregon (
$13.86!) is an error, because I'm spending a week and a half there this summer. Surely that's a mistake. I was in Portland just last summer, and while not cheap, they certainly weren't charging that.

UPDATE 2: Okay, I see there are multiple entries for Eugene, so the $13.86 has to be some sort of weird error. The other listings show more reasonable prices in the $3 range.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A new brewery is coming to Austin!

And as far as I'm concerned, there's always room for one more. Get ready for the (512) Brewing Company, Austin. Looking at the blog on their website, it looks like they're almost ready to start business.