Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Current Addiction

So my wife got on this kick for British-style cream ales a while back, so I grabbed a four-pack of Wexford's Irish Cream Ale (yes, I know British and Irish aren't the same thing, please don't letter-bomb me), and we've both gotten to love it. It's in the tall-boy cans with the nitrogen widget in it, and that nitro makes for some serious creamy goodness. It just glides down the throat, pleasing my tastebuds mightily along the way. Drinking a nitro pour, with its smoother mouthfeel that carbonated beers, always brings back good memories of my lone trip to London which I desperately want to repeat. (2012 Olympics or bust!)

I first heard of this fine brew from Beergirl (recognize that picture, Sara?) and I really owe her big thanks for it.

If you dig Boddington's, shell out the extra two bucks for this instead. Your return on investment will be huge.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Drinkers of the World Unite

So tonight I went downtown to the annual AFL-CIO Labor Day Fish Fry to cover it in my duties as a political reporter, always a fun event provided you like Democratic politicians and fried fish. Fortunately, I'm pretty partial to both.

But damn, my ability to connect with the common working man has its limits. I know those union guys are all about keepin' it real and blue-collar, but does the beer selection always have to be a choice between Miller Lite and Miller High Life? C'mon, throw us beer snobs a bone – I don't expect a Belgian tripel or anything, but could we at least get a keg of Shiner Bock?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Benefit at Austin Homebrew Supply

Message I received about what sounds like a worthy cause (and not far from my house, so maybe I'll go):
Austin Homebrew Supply at 7951 Burnet Rd. will be holding a fundraising event on Saturday August 23rd from Noon-6pm for a young man named Orion Fierro who's family is facing mounting medical bills after Orion had brain surgery to repair malformed arteries. The event will include 3 bands, beverages, and food. There will be a donation jar set up for Orion's fund, along with 10% of the stores sales on that day will go toward Orion's recovery fund. We hope to see you there!

UPDATE: I just came back from this. It's a nice little time. Some good beer (Live Oak's IPA, NXNW's Hefeweizen, and (512)'s Wit, and even a small keg of Lovejoy's Pale Ale), burgers, sausages, and desserts. Hurry on down there and give them a donation.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Bar in West Campus

I just got an e-mail from Chip Tait, the founder of Lovejoy's, letting me know he's opened a new bar in the West Campus area. Sez Chip:

"The Drungo Ice House recently opened at the corner of 29th and Rio Grande (next to Junior's).

"We have 14 draught beers and 40+ in the bottle. We're open daily from 11am - midnight. We have outdoor seating, free parking and free pool."

And guess what, kids? It's on the No. 3 bus route!!!

Go to the Flying Saucer and VOTE

I could have added this to my "combining my passions" series as well — politics and beer. Beginning Sept. 3 at 7pm, you can go to the Flying Saucer and "vote" for your favorite candidate by purchasing the pint glasses ($5) you see above until election night. Votes will be tallied and updated each day, and customers can vote as many times as they like (presumably, you have to continue shelling out the five bucks each time, but hey, vote-buying is nothing new, right?).

The pint glasses will be available at all Flying Saucer locations.

(Erm, why do they depict Obama wearing lipstick on his glass?)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another great canned beer — this time from Texas

I should have written up Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale weeks ago. And actually, I did, so I'll just reprint here what I first wrote about them in The Austin Chronicle back on July 4:

[W]ow, for their first time at the plate, these guys hit it out of the park. Ignore the fact that it comes in cans (a rarity in the world of craft brewing): From the moment it poured into my glass and the smell of the hops hit my nose, I knew I'd love it. A slightly strawberryish flavor preceding a bracing, aggressive hop punch tasted wonderful going down, and heck, even my burps tasted good afterward. Rookie of the year!

I'm especially excited about Southern Star because it's yet another great Texas brewery, based out of Conroe (near Houston). I suspect this canned beer thing is a trend in the making.

Friday, August 15, 2008

On semi-hiatus for a while

Not only am I not drinking beer for a few days, but I probably won't be beer-blogging much either for about the next week or so. As you may have noticed, the Olympics have started. And as you also may have noticed if you're a regular reader, I am a rabid track & field fan. The track events in Beijing started today and continue through Aug. 24, so I will be obsessively glued to the television instead of the computer until then. I might post if I'm really inspired or blessed with a load of free time (hah!), but otherwise, don't expect much from me.

(Oh yeah: Beijing is 13 hours ahead of Texas, and all the track is being shown on tape delay. If you happen to spot the results of a particular event on the Internet, please, please, please don't talk to me about it until after it has been broadcast on NBC.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whoo-hoo! Recognition!

Just this morning, I noticed the food column of the Austin American-Statesman's Addie Broyles (that's her in the picture) for the first time, but a few minutes ago I discovered that she has already noticed me: On her blog, she has me listed in her blogroll, and in this round-up of her favorite local food/drink blogs, she described I Love Beer as "A must for beer connoisseurs."

Thanks, Addie!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Life Is Not Worth Living

Dark days have descended upon my life.

I have been bothered by a mysterious intestinal bug for the entire summer, an illness of which I'll spare you the details except to say that it makes my body do disgusting things. I finally saw a gastroenterologist, though, and got a diagnosis identifying the ugly little parasite that has been tormenting me.

So what does this have to do with beer? And why am I so glum? Because the medicine I've been prescribed requires abstinence from alcohol. I can't drink for the next eight days! And this weekend I'm entered in a day-long poker tournament. I can't play poker sober!
This is going to be a rough week.

I can't help but think of one of my favorite quotes, which I've seen credited to either Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin: "
I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's the best they're going to feel all day."

(UPDATE: Well, apparently I can play poker sober. Out of a 27-player field, I finished fifth and managed to come out $20 ahead. But I still want a beer, dammit.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

(512) Brewery's Grand Opening Saturday

Thanks to Machuca for reminding me of this, because I'd forgotten it. Unfortunately, I also can't make it. But I'm looking forward to trying their beers soon.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The No. 3 Bus Route Drinking Tour

By god, we did it. I wasn’t sure we could. I almost chickened out and cancelled. Somehow, I had this foreboding sense of doom. I told several people that this would be “either a tremendous success or a total disaster, but no in between.” Well, I’m judging it a success, that went off with only minor hitches.

What am I talking about? My 40th birthday celebration: The First Ever (Annual?) Number 3 Bus Route Drinking Tour. That’s right, me and around 15 or so of my most depraved buddies (and my wonderful, brave, and tolerant wife) spent an entire day bar-hopping down Burnet Road and into Downtown via public transportation.

Below is my play-by-play of the day. You could possibly skip it and just watch the awesome and hilarious video above, shot by the supremely cool Ed. But if you do, you’ll miss some crucial backstory. (My thoughts on the video: Wow, I was an even bigger idiot than I thought. It’s mighty humbling to see one’s obnoxious ass on video for the whole world to see. And Bobnoxious attempting to do math after a zillion beers is priceless. Dear god, I hope none of the parents of my kid’s elementary school classmates see it. Oh, wait — one of them was on the tour!)

First, the concept: Some time ago, I discovered that damn near all my favorite drinking establishments were on Capital Metro's No. 3 bus route, allowing me to get pickled while also being a morally upstanding citizen and not driving drunk. So I decided to make an all-day party out of it — a drinking session beginning at North by Northwest’s Brewer’s Brunch at 10am, and going until the buses stopped running, I puked, or we got arrested.

Now, on top of that, there was another backstory that even I didn’t know about: My wife, who I previously believed loved me, and the other people on the tour, who I previously believed to be my friends, all placed bets on exactly when I would puke. (Margaret showed me the e-mails y’all were exchanging, you evil bastards!)

NXNW’s brunch is mighty tasty and I highly recommend it. I started out with their Okanagan Black because it seemed like a hearty brew with some substance — just what I needed to start the day. I’m pretty sure I’ve drank at 10am before in my life, but never without any food in my stomach. Whew! I then had their Kodiak IPA and a wonderful variation on eggs benedict made with crab and shrimp. (Oh, and lots of water — if you're thinking of replicating this bad idea, it's crucial to pace yourself with lots of water.)

From there, we tried to catch the 11:58am bus, and were only about 50 yards from the stop — hell, less than that — and I know the bus driver saw us sprinting and waving, and he/she refused to stop! Jeez, what an a-hole! That driver racked up a lot of bad karma for that one. Rather than suffer in the 100-degree heat, we instead consoled ourselves with cool drinks at the Iron Cactus as we waited 30 minutes for the next one. (You know, the Iron Cactus isn't such a bad place at noon when it's completely empty of yuppies.)

Moving on, we hit Bagpipes, Trudy’s, and the Poodle Dog Lounge (the PDL has shuffleboard! And it’s right near my house! Why have I not been here every night for the past 11 years?). Then it was on to Ginny’s Little Longhorn, which was already the coolest dive in the universe, but became even cooler when the bartender opened her doors just for us! She wasn’t supposed to open for another four hours! (Hey, bus driver who stiffed us — all those karma points you lost went directly to her.) Man, Schlitz has never tasted so fine.

Then it was a quick walk down to Billy’s On Burnet, and here is where the wheels started to come off a bit. I know — I’ve even said it on this blog — that strong ales are not to be consumed during lengthy drinking sessions. I know it, but … well, you know, alcohol impairs one's judgment. I went for the Real Ale Devil’s Backbone (8% alcohol). Not smart, especially since we were still a good four hours from our goal. (Well, four hours from my goal, but edging closer to the goal of the pro-puke faction.) But at least I can probably claim to be the first person in history to have consumed a Belgian-style tripel while eating a Frito pie. (I put that link there for you non-Texans who may have never heard of one of our finest delicacies.)

I probably could have rebounded okay, but I ran into one of the guys from Black Star Co-op at the Draught House, and he was sipping something called Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA. I guess at around 7% it’s not that high, but it is when you’re on your eighth hour of drinking. It did indeed torpedo me. And then we got to the Dog & Duck, and somebody just handed me something. And I drank it. No idea what it was, but I suspect the bettors were now looking at their watches, getting nervous, and plotting against me.

Then things started to fall apart for all of us. We waited at what we thought was the correct stop, the one where we had been let off earlier, but apparently that was only a detour stop and the No. 3 sped right by us. We then violated the only rule I had for this very bad idea of a day (strictly staying on the No. 3) and took another bus down to the Ginger Man. Somehow, though, at this point I wasn’t feeling too guilty about fudging things.

Finally, we arrived at what was pretty obviously going to be the last stop on the tour. (Sorry, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que — we tried to reach you!) And indeed, the Ginger Man staff made that decision for us. I got to enjoy one delicious cask-conditioned Saint Arnold Elissa IPA before we were summarily informed that our table had been cut off. Cut off! I have never in my life been cut off! Yeah, I’m embarrassed about it, but hey, I guess that’s one of things everyone has to experience at least once in their life. I just decided to wait until I was 40.

But you know what — I wasn’t out drinking and driving. Nope, god bless Capital Metro, they did it for me. My wife — who I suppose I must forgive for her evil-ness — led me by the hand to the bus stop (the No.5 — breaking the rules again) and got me home safe and sound.

And you know what else? I didn’t puke. Which means I won all the money! Ha, ha, thanks for paying for my hangover breakfast, bitches! I win!

(Seriously, all my friends are so cool. You all turned this really stupid idea into the funnest birthday party ever. You rock.)

Jesus Christ, if I ever do this again I'm drinking nothing but "near beer."

Monday, August 04, 2008

It's coming, I promise

Yes, dear readers, I know you want a recap of my 40th birthday madness. I promise, I'll get to it, and I won't do my usual write-it-up-six-weeks-later laziness. I was out fairly late with friends (and recuperating) last night, and tonight I have to work late, but I may have something late tonight, or maybe tomorrow night.

EDIT: You can get a Twitter version of what happened at