Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shiner 100 Bottle Salute

Goofy, but whatever. Happy century, Shiner!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Have You Gotten Your DR9 Yet?

If you haven't yet gone out and grabbed your six-pack of Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve No.9 … why the hell not?!? (If you don't know what DR9 is, see the previous post.)

Seriously, if you're in Texas, get off your damn computer/phone/whatever and run to the nearest quality beer store now and ask for it. (It likely won't actually be out on the shelves.) A perusal of Twitter (search for "#DR9") reveals that beer freaks are scurrying around the state like crazy trying to find it. Panic is starting to set in among those who can't.

It's worth the effort. I'm sampling one over lunch right now, and this might be the best pumpkin beer I've ever had. Yes, even better than Dogfish Head's Punkin. It's glorious. What a great idea to mix an imperial stout with pumpkin. The richness of the stout complements the sweetness of the pumpkin to perfection. I'm hoping this beer never ends. I guess I'd better start saying a prayer to the real Saint Arnold if I want that to happen.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Divine Reserve 9 released Tuesday; Saint Arnold asks you to share

I just got the press release below:

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Urges Customers to Limit Purchases of Divine Reserve No. 9

Everyone else has Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but Texas beer lovers have Beer Tuesday

HOUSTON, November 30, 2009 – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, wants to make sure that everyone who wants to try Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 9 will be able to find it. The brewery has asked retailers to limit sales to two six packs per customer and is asking customers to limit their purchase to a six pack or two. Starting Tuesday, December 1st, a very limited supply of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 9 will arrive in stores, restaurants and bars in Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

Divine Reserve No. 9 is an Imperial Stout Pumpkin Ale. It is the latest edition in a highly anticipated and sought after series of high-quality, full-flavored single batch beers, each brewed with a completely different recipe. The batches are identified by the number on the neck label.

“Based on past experience and the fact that Divine Reserve No. 9 will be on lots of gift lists, we expect very high demand,” said Brock Wagner, Founder/Brewer of Saint Arnold Brewing. “We set out to brew the best pumpkin beer in the world and we hope people think we made a creditable effort.”

Black with some ruby highlights, Divine Reserve No. 9 is full of pumpkin pie spices with notes of nutmeg, caraway and vanilla.

“It tastes like a chocolate pumpkin pie. The taste starts with chocolate malt with a hint of spice and rolls into a warm spicy alcohol taste,” said Wagner. “I recommend serving at 50 degrees or warmer because it brings the spices forward in the taste and the chocolate moves to the finish.”

A total of 1,500 cases and 29 kegs of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve were produced. Saint Arnold’s distributors allocate Divine Reserve to stores, restaurants and bars on the basis of how much Saint Arnold beer they have sold over the previous six months.

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 9 is priced at approximately $16 per six pack. More information on the Divine Reserve series is available at

Friday, November 27, 2009

World's Strongest Beer?

A Scottish brewery is producing what may be the world's strongest beer: Jeez, THIRTY-TWO PERCENT ABV? Yeesh. Of course, there are some tightasses whining about it. Never mind the fact that whiskey is even stronger.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mini-Interview With Travis Poling, Beer News

My semi-monthly beer news column is in this week's Austin Chronicle (which is on the stands today, a day early due to the holiday), as is my mini-interview with Travis Poling, who was at the Draught House recently promoting his new book, Beer Across Texas: A Guide to the Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State, which he coauthored with Paul Hightower. That's Poling in the photo, enjoying something hoppy at Draught House. (photo by me)

If you follow beer blogs and like Texas brews, you're probably familiar with both authors: Poling does the Beer Across Texas blog, and Hightower produces Texas Beer. I recommend the book as a holiday present for the Texas craft beer lover in your life.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wanna buy a brewery?

Looks like Mark Cannon at Eola School is looking to sell. For the unfamiliar: He bought an abandoned schoolhouse out in West Texas near San Angelo that once served a wide spot in the road called Eola, and converted it into a restaurant, hotel, and brewery, which he apparently runs as a one-man show. It'll be too bad if it goes under, because I never got out there to visit. Plus West Texans need good beer.

Tip of the hat to Machuca and other Austin beer bloggers for tipping me off to the eBay listing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Anti-Endorsement

On the whole, I try to keep politics out of this blog, even though my day job is political reporter for Austin's alternative weekly newspaper. Here, I want us take a break from the bitterness that occupies so many other places on the net.

So I'm not gonna use this forum to tell you who to vote for. But I just got some news that compels me to at least tell you who NOT to vote for. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, running for re-election in 2010, just got the endorsement of the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas. Therefore, that makes Perry the enemy of craft beer lovers in Texas.

If you read this blog earlier in the year, you know that WBDT and its lobbyist, Mike McKinney, single-handedly killed off a bill during the 81st Legislative Session that would have allowed microbrewers to sell their product on the premises of the brewery — a sales-boosting opportunity afforded to Texas wineries, but not to beermakers. They also killed a similar bill in 2007 during the 80th session. The wholesalers have a stranglehold on how beer gets from the brewing tanks to you. Understandably, they don't want that stranglehold taken away, but the legislators (and Governor) ought to be serving the public, not the lobby.

So if WBDT is getting whole hog behind Perry, then you can guess how things are gonna go in the unlikely event an on-site sales bill ever reaches his desk.

Now, I'm not going to be disingenuous here: For what it's worth, I'm a big flaming Democrat, and wouldn't vote for Perry anyway. However, I'm not gonna single out one of his opponents for the official I Love Beer endorsement. If you love good beer, vote for whoever you damn well please, just so long as it's not him.

In the Republican primary, Perry is being challenged by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Larry Kilgore, and Debra Medina. In the Democratic primary, declared candidates are Kinky Friedman, Tom Schieffer, and Hank Gilbert, and Farouk Shami is expected to declare soon. Among Libertarians, you have Jeff Daiell, Kenneth Griffith, and Steve Nichols (no relation to yours truly, as far as I know). Fran Cavanaugh is an independent candidate.

It's been rumored that Houston Mayor Bill White might switch from the U.S. Senate race (to replace Hutchison) and jump into the gubernatorial contest. His campaign firmly denies it, but if he did, I think this photo shows why he would quickly jump to the front for my vote.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Black Star Co-op Unveils Brewpub Location

Exciting news, folks: The Black Star C0-op Brewpub has apparently taken a major step toward transitioning from really neat idea to an actual physical business. On Saturday, they'll host a preview event of what will eventually be their brewpub in the new Crestview Station Midtown Commons development. Sadly, I can't make it, but I'm real fired up about the location, because it's within stumbling distance of my house. Pictured is an aerial rendering of what Crestview Station will look like when it's done; now just imagine a member-owned brewpub in the middle of that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Toast Fail

From my very favorite blog,

see more Epic Fails

Saturday, November 07, 2009

More beers added to Draught House Party

I just got an e-mail saying that these beers have been added to the Draught House 41st anniversary party (see post below):
Bear Republlic Racer 5 (cask)
New Belgium Eric's Ale
New Belgium Transatlantique Kreik
(512) Bruin, which will be randallized with Centennial hops
Avery Duguna IPA
Bear Republic Mach 10

gates open @ 1pm
come out and try a Black and Tan cupcake!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Blowout 41st Anniversary at Draught House

The Draught House will be celebrating its 41st birthday on Saturday with an insane number of fantastic beers, more than any normal human could drink in a day (of course, I suspect I have some superhuman readers).

UPDATE: I was just told that Travis E. Poling, creator of the Beer Across Texas blog, will be at this event to sign copies of his new book of the same name. He coauthored the "guide to the brews and brewmasters of the Lone Star State" with Paul W. Hightower, creator of the Texas Beer blog.
It's time for us to celebrate our longevity again with a big party. We are excited to present a number of special and cask ales to be enjoyed during the festivities. We offer...

Our own House made Double IPA,as fresh as it gets with 3 pounds per barrel of American Hops.
Stone Cali-Belgique- a Belgian IPA hybrid
Stone Self Righteous- a Black IPA
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid- big 'ol Imperial IPA
Dogfish Head 120- the biggest IPA of all time?
Live Oak Treehugger- the 3 year old Barley Wine that we all miss...
New Belgium Tart Lychee-3 year old, aged in oak, blended sour ale with lychee and ceylon cinnamon.

Brooklyn Pennant- classic English Pale Ale
New Belgium Hoptoberfest- hopped up blond ale
Green Flash Hop Head Red- Red IPA?
Green Flash West Coast IPA- the pinnacle of American IPA's
Allagash Curieux- bourbon barrel aged Triple
Saint Arnold Christmas Ale- probably my favorite SA beer. Very rich and great on cask
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye- excellent rye IPA only made better on cask.
Real Ale Firemans #4- this beer rocks out of the firkin.

these beers can be sampled for $2 each in a commemorative glass
this list will probably increase over the next 2 weeks....

Additionally we have

DJ Jubal spinning a classic soul set from his vast collection of vinyl
Beer trivia games with prizes sponsored by Austin Homebrew Supply
Bourbon and Coke Pork chops on a stick
Jerk Chicken on a stick
Veggie Kabob with mint and yogurt

Saturday Nov. 7th from 1pm-10pm
4112 Medical Pkwy
Austin Texas
check us on twitter!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Killing Bats = Bad Karma

The Freetail Brewing Company press release below is a lot more charitable about San Antonio Spurs star Manu Genobli killing a bat that was delaying a game than I am. Learn something about the region in which you live, Genobli. A bat is not a "just a mouse with wings" — bats eat the 5 zillion @#$%ing mosquitoes that can make life a living hell in Texas. We need them, a lot more than we need rich sports stars. I wish the damn thing had bitten him. Or at least, I hope the next time he tries to relax on the back porch of his no doubt lavish house, he gets swarmed by hungry mosquitoes.

UPDATE: Ha ha, I just heard on the news that he has to get a series of rabies shots.


Locally owned and operated brewpub seeks to draw attention to the value of Mexican Free-tailed Bats

(November 2, 2009) San Antonio, TX – Immediately after Spurs superstar and San Antonio hero Manu Ginobili killed a bat that had twice delayed the basketball team’s game versus the Sacramento Kings, Freetail Brewing Co. has announced it is willing to broker a peace accord between the veteran guard and area flying mammals.

“Mexican Free-tailed Bats are an important part of our local eco-system and the Texas State Legislature has in fact recognized this by naming them the Official Flying Mammal of Texas. Many people may not realize that the San Antonio area is home to the largest population of Mexican Free-tailed bats in the world,” said Freetail Brewing Co. Founder and CEO Scott Metzger. “A single bat can eat up to eight times its body weight of pesky insects in a single night, making them a vital asset to area residents who love sitting on the patio, enjoying a beer and taking in Texas’s beautiful vistas.”

“I don’t think it was a big deal,” Ginobili said, later adding, “It’s just a mouse with wings.”

Metzger has a difference of opinion. “While I don’t think Manu has any interest in stomping on bluebonnets, burning pecan trees, or spitting on the Alamo – I think he should recognize how important these creatures are to our area,” adding that he would love to see Ginobili contribute to Bat Conservation International which owns Bracken Cave, home to over 20 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats.

Metzger had a final message for Ginobili, saying “We know Manu is a great citizen of San Antonio, and we look forward to seeing him fly for more dunks while the bats fly through our skies at night.”

Freetail Brewing Co. is founded on the pursuit of creating exciting, innovative and unique world class beers and wood-fired gourmet pizzas. We embrace the laid back and fun-loving South Central Texas culture and set out to create products that mirror the lifestyle of our diverse and rapidly growing community. We believe in promoting an increased appreciation of craft beer and its responsible enjoyment. We believe in going above and beyond customer expectations not only through our products, but also through exceptional customer service. We believe in providing a dining and leisure experience unmatched in the local community. And in case you didn’t get it the first time… we believe in having fun.

For more information visit

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bike Pub Crawl

Now this is right up my alley. I'm trying to save up some cash for my wife's 40th birthday blowout, but I may have to join at least some of this.

Perhaps this is how I'll console myself for missing Wurstfest this year.

New Records!

This post is for statistics geeks only.

The effect of the "In the Can" video continues: A month after boosting me to new records in September, now October has blown those marks away. September's new mark for hits in a month was 5,208, but October more than doubled it: 10,596.

My all-time record for page views was 7,279 last October. This October raised it to 13,009.

Yes, I'm a hit whore. Let's drink a toast to Google.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Sad Sight

Look and weep, northwest Austinites. This is all that remains of the once-mighty beer selection at Grape Vine Market's Austin location, which is closing soon. There's still some good Belgian stuff available, if you get down there, including a whole bunch of Grotten Brown from the Pierre Celis Collection. (The liquor pickings are pretty much gone, though. All that's left in the whiskey section is either undrinkable swill or stuff too expensive for me, even on sale.) All beer is 15% off, liquor 25%, wine 30%. I'm gonna miss this place.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hmm … Not What I'd Stock in My Bar

A nice bit of photography sent to me from the Pub Knight. Ignore those inferior beers to the right and bottom — I'm sure the goblets are filled with something Belgian.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Big Beer Weekend

Truly, the fall beer season is upon us. Lots of stuff to do this weekend in Austin. Everything listed is Saturday, except the NXNW event, which is Saturday and Sunday.
And that's all just a warm-up for Wurstfest in New Braunfels, beginning next weekend!

Oktoberfest/fall seasonals I've tried so far:
  • Live Oak Oaktoberfest: Delicious. Had it at Hyde Park Bar & Grill.
  • North by Northwest Oktoberfest: Delicious.
  • Boulevard's Bob's 47 Oktoberfest: Delicious, and seems to get better every year.
  • Real Ale Oktoberfest: Shockingly disappointing. Very mediocre, a rare let-down from one of my favorite breweries. Had it at Draught House. [UPDATE, October 2010: I'm not sure what was wrong with this beer last year, but my opinion is 180 degrees different this year. One of my favorites now.]
  • Spaten Oktoberfest: Awful. What was I thinking? As soon as I saw it was in green bottles I should have walked away. Probably good on draft, but don't buy it in the store.
  • Saint Arnold Oktoberfest: Best of the bunch. Oh damn, I love this stuff. As good as those others are, this has a richness that puts them a bit above the rest. Unsurprisingly, they were out last night at Draught House.
  • New Belgium Hoptober: A really hoppy golden ale, but still has that same kind of richness as the Oktoberfest stuff. Imagine a fall IPA, if you will. This is the best of the fall seasonals in my opinion and really raises the bar for a brewery that already was a standard-setter.
  • Abita Satsuma Harvest Wit: I never thought of wit as a fall beer, but this is harvest time for Louisiana satsuma oranges, so I guess "harvest" depends on what your local crop is. This very citrusy wit has been a wonderful find for me this year, as I've finally started developing a taste for wits. This is part of Abita's Harvest trio, the others being a Pecan Harvest and Strawberry Harvest. That Pecan Harvest intrigues me; I'll have to go grab some.
  • Real Ale Coffee Porter: I've been drinking gallons of this lately, as this previously draft-only seasonal is now available in bottles. And a scoop I just got last night: This will be the cask offering at today's Firkin Friday at the Draught House (begins 3pm). Oh man, as much as I love this out of the bottle, I suspect the cask will blow my mind. I'm there.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Bad Do You Want a Beer?

Message from Flying Saucer Austin:
Hey Beer Knurds!


WHEN? Saturday, October 24

SHIFT: 4:00 pm to 10 pm

WHERE? The Triangle park, 46th and Lamar

WHY? We are in need of volunteers to pour beer, man the dunking booth and serve snow cones

WHAT YOU WILL GET: Saucer tee shirt, voucher for a free brat and beer of your choice from the pint tent at the end of your shift

To SIGN UP as a volunteer please call 214-969-9321 x228 or email:, with your name, daytime phone number and address.

Once you sign up, you will receive an email with more detailed instructions.
Deadline to register is this Friday, Oct. 23. Please sign up today!

Flying Saucer

47th at Lamar, Austin, TX


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baking and Beer With Miso Hungry

I met Jennie Chen at Uncle Billy's recently. She does a really fun blog about cooking with alcohol, including lots of stuff with beer (including some great cupcakes made with 512 Pecan Porter). Check this event out if you have time:

Hi Brewers and Beer Connoisseurs,

I would like to invite you to the October's Addie's Eat-up event. It will be a Cooking and Baking with beer event. It is set for Oct. 22nd, 6-8 pm at the Draught House. I'll be giving a short talk and discussion about baking and cooking with beer as well as beer pairings. The Eat-up is casual and open to the public.

Tentative menu items include: Live Oak Hefeweizen Lemon Curd, Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale Bread, (512) Brewing Pecan Porter Chocolate Bread, (512) Brewing Pecan Porter Brownies, and possibly Brooklyn Brewery Pumpkin Chocolate Cake. Links to some recipes below.
Here's the link to the event. Hope to see ya there!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Grape Vine Market's Austin location closing

I am despondent. I was just told by staff there that the Grape Vine Market location in Austin is closing. This makes me really sad; ever since I moved into the Crestview neighborhood, it has been one of my favorite places to buy alcohol. Great whiskey selection, tons of wine, amazing beer offerings, and very good customer service. I also have a Spec's equal distance from my house, which has really cheap prices (which I suspect is why Grape Vine is closing), but the selection just isn't quite as good as GVM, and the staff doesn't seem quite as knowledgeable.

The silver lining: The Austin location is having a liquidation sale beginning Monday, so this would be the time to go grab that really expensive Belgian ale or fancy bottle of scotch you've been wanting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Could Definitely Sway My Vote

Yes, that's Houston Mayor (and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate) Bill White holding a T-shirt from his hometown brewery. Okay, John Sharp, how are you gonna counter to get the beer snob demographic back on your side? (picture from Saint Arnold's Facebook page)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Oktoberfest at Zax

I can't make it to this, which pains me greatly. I bet that cask of Oaktoberfest will be awesome. Maybe you should go and tell me how it was. Zax Pints & Plates is at 312 Barton Springs Road here in Austin.
Oktoberfest Party
Thursday October 8 from 7-10

Break out the Lederhosen and join us here at Zax for the 5th Annual Oktoberfest Party. The party kicks off at 7:00 with a traditional tapping of a cask of Live Oak Oaktoberfest. Get here early and enjoy some of this specially prepared brew while it lasts.

In addition we will feature music from the New Austin Polka Band, Live Oak Beer Brats from Austin's own Smokey Denmark, as well as some other great local and German Oktoberfest beers

A new record!

People who find statistics boring should out-click now:

I set a new all-time record for visitors in a month in September: 5,208, driven mainly by people searching for the "In the Can" Bud Light Lime ad, which currently accounts for about 75% of my visitors. My previous high was October 2008, which had 5,022.

However, people aren't necessarily sticking around to read my brilliant prose: For the first time, the number of visitors ranking doesn't match the page views ranking. The 6,754 page views only ranks fourth all time. The current record is still that same October 2008, with 7,279 views.

Eh. I guess I can't expect people doing searches for Bud Light Lime to hang around this blog for long.

I'm a bad Texas beer blogger

Yes, last week was "Drink Texas Beer Week" or something like that. And no, I did not make a single mention of it. Sorry, I was just too busy with other parts of my life. But hey, you Texans don't need to be told that some great beer is being brewed in our state. Especially this one.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Latest Austin Beer News

My new beer news column in The Austin Chronicle now has a name: "Lee's Beer Flight."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Beer Snob Humor

Yet another brilliant bit of prose from Frank Kelly Rich of Modern Drunkard magazine, mocking all of us pretentious beer assholes:

Okay, it's time for me to finally subscribe to his mag.


I just had a huge spike in hits over the past couple of days, and it's clearly due to people searching for that "Bud Light Lime in the can" video ad, which I recently posted. Which of course is hilarious, because I'll likely never allow Bud Light Lime to pass my lips. Or, as Bull E. Vard put it: I think I'd literally rather have it in the can than drink a Bud Light Lime.

Divine Reserve No. 9 Already in the Works

Ronnie Crocker over at the Houston Chronicle has the scoop: Saint Arnold is already working on Divine Reserve No. 9, an Imperial Stout Pumpkin Ale scheduled for November or December release. That sounds crazy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another of my favorite beer drinking songs

No.3 in a series (previous entries here and here). I have a vague memory of hearing this song as a kid. Always thought it was great, even if I didn't know who Bob Wills was back then.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"In the Can" Bud Light Lime Ad

I just gained new respect for Bud Light.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In case you hadn't heard …

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 8 is now on the shelves. But if you take the time to watch this video, it might not be. Quit yer twittering and get to the beer store — it's going fast!

Thanks to Shirl for the vid link.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I should have my 100,000th visitor sometime tomorrow or the next day. Three years ago, I never would have imagined my hits would get this high! I remember when I averaged 25 or so a day.

Hey, there's a good drinking game – every time somebody visits my blog … erm, maybe not.

UPDATE: Ding, ding, ding! Congratulations to my 100,000th visitor! According to Sitemeter, it was someone from Hamburg, New York, who dropped by at 7:32pm on Sept. 10. Not surprisingly, he/she was looking for the creepy picture of the pregnant chick drinking a beer that gave me my first big ginormous boost in hits back in 2007.

Oh, and while I searching for those links, I came across this, which now strikes me as absurdly funny. So it took me more than a year to get to 10K, but less than two to get the next 90,000.

Monday, September 07, 2009

New Beer Fridge

Unfortunately not as voluminous as the old one, but presumably more energy efficient and not located in my roasting hot garage. I'll turn the old one in to the city of Austin for $50 (and hopefully have lower electric bills in the future – wish I'd done this back at the beginning of the hottest summer in Austin history instead of the end).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Biking Under the Influence

A judge in Amsterdam says the Beer Bike can ride on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shiner Smokehaus and BBQ

Upon first trying Shiner Smokehaus, I speculated that "this may be the perfect beer to drink with BBQ." But until now, this had only been speculation on my part – the only barbecue joint I've hit this summer is Uncle Billy's Brew & Que, and I always buy their house brews when I'm there. (And though they stock other Texas beers, I'm not sure if they have Smokehaus.)

So today, before this summer seasonal brew goes away, I decided I better jump on it. I ran over to Mann's Smokehouse for lunch, which despite being only two miles from my house, I'd never patronized. I decided it was about time, considering the glowing reviews I'd heard from the Chronicle, Texas Monthly, and Bobnoxious.

I tried to create the perfect setting. After I grabbed the brisket plate to go (and some blackberry cobbler), I ran home, fired up some Willie on the iPod, and poured myself a Smokehaus into a frosty mug (yeah, I know, I'm normally against frozen mugs, but that rules gets waived when it's 105 outside).

And you know what? I was absolutely right. The mesquite smoke of the Smokehaus perfectly complemented the mesquite-smoked meat. I was in heaven. Best lunch I've had in a while. Mann's does good work — the brisket was only the teeny tiniest bit tough, by which I just mean it took a knife to cut it, not that it was actually chewy. On a 10 scale, I'd give it a 9. Delicious tomatoey sauce, and sides of crunchy fried okra and delicate, buttery, mashed potatoes. And blackberry cobbler for dessert. I'm definitely taking the whole family back there.

Spoetzl, I certainly hope you aggressively marketed Smokehaus to BBQ restaurants; if not, you missed a big opportunity.

If I'd been thinking more clearly, I would have snapped a picture of the BBQ plate before I ate it. But I was lusting so badly for meat and beer by the time I got my food home that I just wolfed it down. I'm afraid all you get is this snapshot of the aftermath:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Divine Reserve No. 8 Is Coming

Saint Arnold sends the following message:
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, Release of Divine Reserve #8-a big ol' "Wee Heavy", aka, Scottish Ale.
I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is Austin Doing Cask Beer Wrong?

In response to my story in last week's Austin Chronicle about cask-conditioned beer, somebody replied that the picture of Draught House brewer Josh Wilson shows him tapping the keg all wrong. But I thought that's they way everyone did it if you plan to use gravity to dispense the brew.

What do you think: Are we befouling our "real ale," or is this guy just too picky? (Bottom line for me: Just about every cask beer I've ever drank in Austin has tasted anywhere from damn good to magnificent, including the one being tapped in that picture.)

I encourage you to not only leave replies here, but to respond in the comment section at the end of the Chronicle story.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The 2nd Annual No.3 Bus Pub Crawl

Finally, by overwhelming popular demand, my recounting of the Second Annual No.3 Bus Pub Crawl is available. Read it here in The Austin Chronicle. (But if you live in Austin, I highly recommend you read it in Thursday's paper version of the Chronicle instead, so that you can see the fantastic layout by our art director.)

Also in tomorrow's issue: My round-up of where to find cask-conditioned ales in Austin.

(Picture of me reading the bus schedule by Jack Anderson; do not reproduce without his permission.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm Tweeting Now

Or at least, I'm trying to. I loaded my Twitter feed into the sidebar to the right, but my tweets aren't showing up here for some reason. I'll try to figure it out, but in the meantime, you can go directly to my Twitter page at

Update: Okay, there was a lag. It's working now.

Update 2: HUGE thanks to The Austin Chronicle's Jack Anderson for allowing me to use his Texas beer photo for my Twitter background. It looks so cool. If I ever make a dime off of this blog, I'm going to pay him for it. (That photo is his copyright, so don't you dare use it without his permission.)

Austin Area Beer News

Various bits of Austin-area beer news, cut and pasted directly from brewery newsletters:

Real Ale:
Going to the movies is always a great way to spend quality time in some cold a/c. We love the Alamo Drafthouse because they have made catching a film even more pleasurable by adding beer, wine and high quality food to the experience. Last month we started brewing the house beer for all of the Alamo Drafthouse locations. Drafthouse ESB is a British style ale with a healthy dose of hops - pairs brilliantly with that bucket of buttery popcorn!

  • Lost Gold IPA - This year's edition of our Lost Gold is out now and should be available at a fine draft establishment near you. We think it is our best IPA yet and we encourage you to give it a try while it is still available. It's going fast!
  • Anniversary Ale 13 - To celebrate our 13th year of brewing, our brewers concocted this intriguing and special recipe. It's a unique hybrid of Belgian and American styles with a few surprise ingredients added to the mix. Those of you who missed out on its debut at our anniversary party will now be able to imbibe this wonder in the comfort of your local tavern - but there's only one batch so don't sleep!
  • Oktoberfest - It might seem a little out of character for the RABC to brew a lager - but to honor the largest celebration of beer drinking in the world we decided it would be appropriate! A traditional Bavarian - style Oktoberfest - the beer is in the tanks now coming along nicely. Look for it in September/October and get ready for "O'zapft is!"
North by Northwest:
This month in honor of our ten year anniversary we are featuring a great ten night music series. This series highlights some of our favorite musicians who have shared the stage of the North by Northwest pavilion. We will kick things off on Thursday August 27th at 6:30pm with Phil Wiseman. Betty Soo and Charlie Faye will keep things moving on the 28th. Check out our website for the rest of our music listings. We will cap off our music series with Malford Milligan and John Garr on September 6th.

There will be no cover charge for the music series but we will have volunteers collecting donations to benefit the Breast Cancer Resource Center.

To end our Birthday Celebration with a bang, Executive Chef George Powell and Head Brewer Ty Phelps are teaming up to prepare a special Birthday Brewers Dinner on September 9th at 7pm.

Ty and George are creating a five course feast for our guests. Each course will be perfectly paired with a North by Northwest brew best suited to highlight the flavors and nuances of each dish.

The dinner also includes a tour of the three story brew house.

$49 per person. Reservations are required.
Call 512-467-6969 to speak with a manager to make your reservations today! Visit our website for more details!


CORRECTION [This text is different from what I originally posted]: On Monday, August 31st, NXNW will be tapping a cask of our Double IPA Anniversary Ale. (A previous Brewsletter mentioned the wrong date for the tapping of one of the casks.) To celebrate our 10 year anniversary on Sunday, September 6th, we will be tapping a second cask of our Anniversary Ale. In addition to the great beer we will also have live music by John Garr and Malford Milligan. And dont' forget to stop in for cake.

Beer Crawl for Cancer

I just got word about this, and the deadline to enter is rapidly approaching: August 17.

The Crawl for Cancer will be held on Sept. 12 on Fifth and Sixth Streets in Austin. You can only enter in teams of 10, so start rounding up friends quickly. Entry fee is $450 per team. For more info, go to the website.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I survived.

The 2nd annual No.3 bus pub crawl is over. I have just survived 14 straight hours of drinking and bus riding. I'll update later.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It's Coming …

A certain Very Big Event is happening Saturday. An event that marks my birthday. If you're a regular reader of this blog you may know what this means, and you're welcome to join me along the route. I'll start at 10am.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Is Your Congressman In the Small Brewers Caucus?

Mine (Michael McCaul, TX-10) is not. And he really ought to be, because his district stretches from Austin to Houston. The former has the highest concentration of microbrewers and brewpubs in the state, and Houston has Saint Arnold's.

What is the Small Brewers Caucus? Here's info from the Brewers Association (sorry that some of the formatting is a little screwy):
Support the Community of Beer Enthusiasts and Small Brewers:
Contact Your Congressional Representative

Dear Beer Enthusiasts and Homebrewers,

We’re asking you to contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to join the House Small Brewers Caucus. What is the House Small Brewers Caucus?

The U.S. House of Representatives Small Brewers Caucus was formed in 2007 by interested Members of Congress. Their mission is to gain a better understanding of all aspects of small, amateur and professional craft brewing, from business and regulatory issues to the brewing process and history of the small brewing community. The members of the Caucus are passionate about small brewers and craft beer. Co-chairs Representative Peter DeFazio (OR) and Representative Denny Rehberg (MT) have themselves been homebrewers and are avid beer enthusiasts.

Currently, only 49 Representatives belong to the Caucus. To put that in some perspective, 344 Congressional districts are home to at least one small brewery and we assume every one of the 435 districts is home to homebrewers and beer enthusiasts.

You can help by asking your U.S. Representative to join the Caucus. Help assure that you have the strongest voice possible speaking on your beer behalf in Congress.

You’ve come to appreciate the flavor, diversity and quality of your homebrew or locally brewed beers from America’s small breweries. In these uncertain economic and legislative times you can imagine how important it is to educate Congress about the community of homebrewers, beer enthusiasts and small brewers.

Ask your Representative to join the Caucus. Following are resource materials to assist you, including a brief message you can use to make your contact, either sending it “as is” or modifying it to add your personal message.

Thanks for all you do in support of America’s small brewing community.

Charlie Papazian
Charlie Signature
President, Brewers Association

Gary Glass

Director, American Homebrewers Association


Below is a list of the 49 U.S. Representatives who are currently Small Brewers Caucus members. If your Representative DOES NOT appear on this list, please take a moment and email your Member of Congress about joining the Caucus.

If your Representative is already a member, please email him/her a brief thank you for their support of both small brewers and you, the craft beer drinker and enthusiast.

Please visit the official U.S. House of Representatives web site to access your Representative’s personal web page and contact information – just enter your zip code in the “Find Your Representative” search box in the upper left-hand corner and then click on your Representative’s name on the page that displays to enter his/her personal web page.

House Small Brewers Caucus Roster (as of July 28, 2009)
District Representative District Representative
AR-02 Vic Snyder MT-AL Denny Rehberg
AZ-05 Harry Mitchell NE-02 Lee Terry
CA-01 Mike Thompson NY-12 Nydia Velazquez
CA-02 Wally Herger NY-17 Eliot Engel
CA-06 Lynn Woolsey NY-22 Maurice Hinchey
CA-49 Darrell Issa NY-24 Mike Arcuri
CA-50 Brian Bilbray OK-03 Frank Lucas
CO-01 Diana DeGette OK-04 Tom Cole
CO-02 Jared Polis OR-01 David Wu
CO-03 John Salazar OR-02 Greg Walden
CO-05 Doug Lamborn OR-03 Earl Blumenauer
CO-07 Ed Perlmutter OR-04 Peter DeFazio
GA-05 John Lewis PA-06 Jim Gerlach
HI-02 Mazie Hirono PA-08 Patrick Murphy
IA-02 Dave Loebsack PA-15 Charles Dent
KS-03 Dennis Moore SC-01 Henry Brown, Jr.
MA-01 John Olver TX-23 Ciro Rodriguez
MA-09 Stephen Lynch TX-25 Lloyd Doggett
MA-10 William Delahunt VA-05 Tom Perriello
MI-01 Bert Stupak VT-AL Peter Welch
MI-02 Peter Hoekstra WA-02 Rick Larsen
MI-04 Dave Camp WA-04 Doc Hastings
MI-06 Fred Upton WA-08 Dave Reichert
MI-11 Thaddeus McCotter WI-02 Tammy Baldwin
MO-03 Russ Carnahan

Suggested letter for your U.S. Representative

Dear Representative _____________,

As your constituent, I am writing to ask you to join the House Small Brewers Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Peter DeFazio and Denny Rehberg.

The purpose of the Small Brewers Caucus is to provide Members of Congress and their staff an opportunity to learn about activities of the American craft brewing community, which includes over 1,500 small and independent American brewery businesses, and beer and homebrewing enthusiasts that participate in and contribute to local community activities and economies. The Small Brewers Caucus also offers opportunities to learn about the science and art of beer and brewing, the dynamics of running a small business as a brewery, the associated regulatory and societal issues and the value of craft beers and small brewing activities.

As a beer enthusiast and ardent supporter of America’s small professional and amateur brewers, I appreciate the many contributions their small, independent businesses make to their local communities. From their flavorful and distinctive locally brewed beers to their community involvement, small breweries are important economic and social hubs in their local communities.

Please contact the Washington office of either Representative DeFazio (202-225-6416) or Representative Rehberg (202-225-3211) to learn more about the Small Brewers Caucus and to join. Thank you for considering my request.


Friday, July 31, 2009

(512) Brewing 1st Anniversary Saturday

Sadly, I doubt I'll make it, but you should go. They'll be featuring a special anniversary beer. Details here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Beer Summit

Yes, I know, I'm way behind in making a comment on the beer story of the week, the sharing of brews between President Obama, Henry Louis Gates, and police Sgt. James Crowley. I'll avoid the political aspects and just say this: Damn, Bud Light, Mr. President? I'm so disappointed.

Actually, I'm not. Picking the everyman's beer was the obvious politically shrewd thing to do, especially when his approval rating has been sagging lately.

Which is why I'll likely never make a good politician. I've often contemplated making a run for office (my actual job is covering politics for an Austin newspaper), but faced with Obama's circumstances, I would have said "hell no" when my advisors suggested Bud Light. Public image be damned, I'm ordering some Saint Arnold or Real Ale or Boulevard, or if I really want to kick it into gear, some Breckenridge 471 Double IPA or Stone Arrogant Bastard! I suppose if I really felt like I needed some "common man" cred, I'd at least insist on some Shiner Bock.

But hey, I could probably spin it. After all, after the InBev sale, Obama was committing the rather unpatriotic act of drinking a Belgian beer. All those beers I just named were brewed by U.S. companies! God bless American beer!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Couple of Beer Stories on NPR

National Public Radio's business report this morning featured a couple of interesting beer stories this morning. The first was frightening, a report on how the traditional British pub is dying out; the second was on how some U.S. brewers (including those lunatics at Dogfish Head, of course) are using ancient yeasts from archeological finds to revive centuries-old recipes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Firkin Friday at the Draught House

Lately, I've been checking out Firkin Fridays at the Draught House, which features a different cask-conditioned beer each week. I've been rewarded well for it. I love cask beer, and they've been getting in some so great stuff. I'd attend more, but it's always at 3pm, so work won't always allow for it. Like they say, "work is the curse of the drinking class."

This Friday's keg sounds pretty great. Message from Josh Wilson, the proprietor and brewer at Draught House:
this weeks offering is Oskar Blues Whiskey Barrel Dale's Pale Ale. Sounds strange, I know, but it has been well received. Check out the comments here.

It is also an exceptionally rare beer, not often seen outside Colorado. Tapping is @ 3pm, 7/24.

Also new and on tap,
Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Sumpin', an awesome IPA made with wheat.
Later this week we will tap Green Flash Hophead Red, dry hopped with Amarillo.
Check out our lineup of house made wheat beers, from traditional (Weizenheimer), to hoppy (Edelweisse) to historic (Gose) to experimental (Black Wheat).
So there you have it. All you unemployed beer geeks get your butts down there. (And don't forget: It's on the No.3 bus route!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm not the biggest pilsner connoisseur …

… but I think Victory Prima Pils is the best I've ever had. This is one seriously awesome beer. I've been drinking a lot of it lately.

But like I said: I don't even usually think about pilsners until summer, and there are numerous other styles that of which I'm a bigger fan. And I've never been to the Czech Republic to taste the milk right from the mother's breast, as it were.

I'm just saying, of the pilsners I have tried, this one is hands-down the best.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Drink Beer, Support Education

Just got this message below. Pass the word:
On Saturday, July 18th, Clementine Coffee (2200 Manor Rd - owned by the same folks as Thunderbird) will be hosting a beer-tasting in support of our local Open Door Preschool. Your ticket will get you generous beer samples from Austin's best local brewers--including Live Oak, (512) Brewery, Independence Brewing, and Real Ale--and snacks from Eastside Cafe, Galaxy Cafe, and Eastside Pies, and the usual wide selection of Clementine Beers.

Open sampling begins at 3:00 and each attending brewery will hold a brief information session starting at 5:00. So if you're a homebrewer, a hophead, or just a plain ol' beer lover, you'll definitely want to be a part of it.

Later that evening, local blues favorites Bankrupt and the Borrowers and alt-country outfit Frank Smith will be playing live at Clementine. This is Bankrupt's welcome-home show after their long tour across the country, so you know they'll be playing WITH VIGOR.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on site.


The Open Door was established in 1975 when a family sought to offer a program which integrates developmentally challenged children into a quality child care setting. Their basic tenets hold that segregation of children with disabilities is as harmful to the child and to the society as a whole as is segregation by race, age, color, religion, or sex; that people benefit from interaction with others who are different from themselves; and that through working and playing in a setting in which each person is valued for his or her strengths, children learn to value different ideas, cultures and people.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Couple of Summer Seasonals

Good god it's frickin' hot down here in Texas this summer. I swear if it weren't for the great, cold swimming holes we have in and around Austin I'd move. (I've discovered through Facebook that I have about a dozen friends in the much balmier Portland, Oregon; maybe I should move up there. Nah, they already have several beer bloggers.)

Seasonal beers also help me deal with the heat, and I've sampled a couple of good'uns lately.

Last night — as the sun was setting, appropriately enough — I grabbed the Twilight Ale that the nice folks from Deschutes (speaking of Oregon) sent to me. Not quite sure why this is a seasonal — it didn't seem particularly light, but it certainly is flavorful. Not particularly original in taste, it struck me as a Sierra Nevada Pale clone, albeit slightly heavier on the malt. But hey, nothing wrong with that — I love Sierra Pale. Deschutes says it blends four kinds of hops, finished with an Amarillo dry-hopping.

Sorry, not sure if this beer is available in Austin — Deschutes doesn't send all their beers to Texas, and I haven't checked the stores for this one.

Deschutes sent me some big-beer stuff to review, too, but I don't really want to tackle a couple of 11% ABV bombers on my own. Let me round up some friends for a tasting and I'll get back to you on those.

When I really like a seasonal is if it delivers something unique, and Shiner Smokehaus certainly delivers in that regard. I was pretty pissed when Spoetzl/Shiner replaced my beloved Kölsch with that pathetic, watery
Spezial Leicht (Special Light) as the summer seasonal last year; they're definitely getting back on my good side by replacing Leicht with this.

I've also opined that Shiner could get on my good side if they'd re-release more of the limited-edition 100th anniversary beers that they've been putting out over the past five years, and they're sort of doing that here. Last year they put out a delightful Munich-style Helles, and Smokehouse revives the Helles, but with a twist: As hinted by the name, the beer is flavored with a pale malt that's been smoked by mesquite wood.

Now, I had some trepidation about that. I've tried "smoke beers" before and have yet to be impressed. And then I smelled it, and I really got worried — it smelled like barbeque! (Texas BBQ, anyway, as mesquite is the wood of choice for how we smoke it down here.) Now I love BBQ, but I'm not sure I want to swish it around in my beer before drinking.

But I was pleasantly surprised. The actual smoky taste was much more restrained than in other beers I've tried, and it went down great. And I'd forgotten how much I liked that slightly syrupy quality of the Helles. Smokehaus' label bills it as "The Perfect Sommer Bier," and I'm inclined to agree. In fact, rather than tasting like BBQ, I think this may be the perfect beer to drink with BBQ. I'll be consuming a lot more of this throughout the summer.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Allagash Brewer in Austin

Message from the Josh Wilson at the Draught House:
Rob Todd of Allagash will be in [house] on Monday, July 13th from 6-8pm. Please come by and meet the man behind the beers. FYI, we currently have Allagash White, Victoria and Curieux on tap.
Allagash is a Maine brewery that makes some fantastic Belgian-style stuff.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Catching up: Russian River

Okay, time for me to start catching up with this blog. The Texas Legislature kept me too busy to blog, I've been neglecting it, and I've been seeing my Internet mistress (Facebook) on the side. My hits, which were once routinely above 150 per day, have fallen under 100. So let's kick-start this with a photo from my recent trip to California's Sonoma Valley, to celebrate Ms. Knoxious' 40th birthday and the 15 wedding anniversary of she and Bobnoxious.

Yes, Sonoma is wine country, but there are quite a few good breweries in the area, including Lagunitas and Bear Republic. I stopped in at Santa Rosa's Russian River brewpub, the beers of which we can't get here in Texas. So I loaded up some Pliny the Elder IPA in my bag and enjoyed a few at the bar with my personal photographer, Nosregref. It was awesome.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The 3rd KC Beer Bloggers' Summit …

… was again a great success. In fact, this was the best one yet. But unfortunately, I'm a dumbass and didn't bring my camera and get a picture of it. (So I shamelessly stole this picture from the KC Beer Blog with absolutely no consideration for copyrights whatsoever.)

We met up at the Foundry, a great beer bar in the Westport district with a huge selection and very knowledgeable waitstaff (you don't have to worry about those guys bringing your Belgian beer in a frozen mug!).

Present: OregonAmy, her hubby John, Bull E. Vard, Beergirl (my first time actually sitting and having a beer with her after three ill-fated attempts!), Muddy Mo, Bad Ben, my lovely wife, and her old friend Tom.

I had a great time everybody! Let's do it again in December.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Need Beer Advice: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Hey fellow beer lovers, does anyone out there know of a good beer bar in Fayetteville, Arkansas? Sadly, Fayetteville isn't big enough to have a page at I'd love a tip from anyone who knows the area, especially near the U. of Arkansas campus.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Official Beer of the 81st Texas Legislature

(This was originally published on The Austin Chronicle's "Newsdesk" blog. If you're not from Texas and/or you don't follow Texas politics, you're probably not going to get the joke.)

If we were to have an official brew for the 81st session of the Texas Legislature, I'd nominate Old Chub Scottish Ale, for obvious reasons. Somehow, though, I suspect it wouldn't gain passage – aside from the fact that this beer comes from Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery, and not a Texas beermaker, there's the additional problem that it might leave a bitter taste in Republicans' mouths. Too bad, it's a mighty tasty beer.

But be careful with this stuff: It's 8% alcohol, strong enough to knock out an entire session's worth of bills.

You'll need photo ID to buy it. Or two forms of non-photo ID.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Beer bill dead

Sorry, I should have posted this earlier: The on-site sales bill is 99.99% dead. It didn't really have a chance anyway, but this fight over voter ID has definitely killed it. Sorry. Maybe in 2011.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The On-Site "Sales" Bill Explained

Update to the previous post: The substitute bill that passed out of committee yesterday technically doesn't allow on-site sales, contrary to the original intention. What got the bill out was by changing it to allow breweries to let participants in brewery tours to take home two cases of beer, but specifically disallowing the sale of "ale to an ultimate consumer."

The language of the committee substitute, which is markedly different from the original:

AN ACT relating to authorizing certain brewers and manufacturers to conduct tours of their premises after which beer or ale is provided to ultimate consumers for off-premises consumption.

SECTION 1 Chapter 12, Alcoholic Beverage Code, is amended by adding Section 12.07 to read as follows:


(a) The holder of a brewer 's permit may give tours of the brewery premises and may charge an admission fee for the tour.

(b) The holder of a brewer 's permit whose annual production of ale in this state does not exceed, together with the annual production of beer by the holder of a manufacturer 's license under Section 62.15 at the same premises, a total of 250,000 barrels may, at the end of a tour of the brewery premises, give ale to tour participants in unbroken packages for off-premises consumption without an additional charge.

(c) The total amount of ale a tour participant may receive in a single day under this section, together with the amount of beer the tour participant receives under Section 62.15 at the same premises, may not exceed 48 12-ounce bottles.

(d) This section does not authorize the holder of a brewer 's permit to sell ale to an ultimate consumer.

SECTION 2. Chapter 62, Alcoholic Beverage Code, is amended by adding Section 62.15 to read as follows:


(a) The holder of a manufacturer 's license may give tours of the manufacturer 's premises and may charge an admission fee for the tour.

(b)The holder of a manufacturer 's license whose annual
production of beer in this state does not exceed, together with the annual production of ale by the holder of a brewer 's permit under Section 12.07 at the same premises, a total of 250,000 barrels may, at the end of a tour of the manufacturer 's premises, give beer to tour participants in unbroken packages for off-premises
consumption without an additional charge.

(c)The total amount of beer a tour participant may receive in a single day under this section, together with the amount of ale the tour participant receives under Section 12.07 at the same premises, may not exceed 48 12-ounce bottles.

(d) This section does not authorize the holder of a brewer 's permit to sell ale to an ultimate consumer.

SECTION A3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2009.

On-site Sales Bills Alive Again!

Unfortunately I missed the meeting, but I see on the Capitol website that state Rep. Jessica Farrar (pictured) made another, and this time successful, push for her bill allowing on-site sales for Texas microbreweries. Her House Bill 2094 was reported out of the Licensing & Administrative Procedures committee yesterday on a 5-2 vote. The bill was amended, but I haven't learned what the changes are yet.

UPDATE: Even though the bill's out of committee, don't get your hopes up. Now it has to get through the Calendars committee, onto the House floor, and then repeat the process through the Senate, and ultimately get the approval of Gov. Perry. This late in the session (the Legislature adjourns June 1, and doesn't return to regular session until 2011), that's a pretty tall order. I just spoke with Farrar on the House floor, and she said, "It's on life support." As she noted, "Sometimes it takes several sessions to get a law passed."