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.