Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Random Beer News

Hooray, I'm trying to get back to blogging more consistently! Some random news and notes, soon to be followed with some reviews:
  • Beers from Austin's new Thirsty Planet Brewing Company are now available for purchase. A recent Facebook/Twitter post from them reported "Thirsty for a Buckethead IPA? Go grab a pint or two at Houndstooth at 4200 north Lamar or the Black Sheep Lodge at 2108 south Lamar. We will be at The Flying Saucer and The Draught House on Friday." Thirsty Planet is one of 10 new brewers in the Austin area that I recently profiled in The Austin Chronicle.
  • Shiner 96 is coming out of retirement! Originally a limited-edition beer brewed to mark Spoetzl Brewery's 96th year of operation, it's being revived as Shiner Märzen-Style Oktoberfest. This makes me happy – I've enjoyed all their anniversary beers and wanted them to become regular parts of Shiner's lineup. Thanks to Jeffrey out in Fredericksburg for the tip.
  • All beer at Central Market is currently 20% off. All of it. I decided to get some of the pricier stuff that I've shied away from lately: Real Ale Devil's Backbone, Independence Stash IPA, Breckenridge 471 Double IPA, and Unibroue Terrible, as well as an old favorite, Saint Arnold Elissa IPA.
  • So, I hear there was some beer festival in Austin this past weekend. And you might wonder why I made almost no mention of it here or in the Chronicle. Well, because I'm not omniscient. I have to know these things are coming, and no one with the Great Austin Beer Festival reached out to let me know about it. I discovered it totally by accident on the internet in late May, by which time our food coverage schedule for June at the Chronicle had already been set. I might have made it out to the event, but frankly, I couldn't afford the $40 price tag and by then had already made plans with family and friends. Then again, perhaps they didn't need press coverage – I hear their tickets sold out. But anyway, if anyone from the event is wondering why my paper completely ignored it, it's because, as far as I can recall, neither I nor my food editor ever got a single e-mail or phone call to make us aware of it.
  • ADDITION TO ORIGINAL POST: Speaking of festivals, on July 4 there will be something in Buda called the Texas Brew-B-Que. Among many other things, the press release they sent me promises 30 brands of beer. With that many, I presume some good ones will be in there. Also, beer games, including Beer Games including: Beer Pong Tournament, Flip Cup Tournament, Quarters Tournament, Cornhole Tournament, Washers Tournament, Strong Man Keg Toss Contest, and Beer Trivia Contest. And they say 5,000 pounds of free BBQ! Sounds good, although I can't make it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Saint Arnold Pub Crawl in Austin

Hey Austinites, Saint Arnold is having a pub crawl here on Saturday. I can't make it, but y'all should go drink one for me. Details below. And if you're wondering why they can't tell exactly where they'll be, thank those idiots at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (and our state Legislature) and their stupid, arbitrary rules.
Since we overwhelmed some of the bars at the last Crawl, we are utilizing our "open house" schedule for the first 3 stops this time. This means that we will be punching tickets at all three of the first three stops for three hours so people can split up between the establishments. You will get your ticket at whichever stop you decide to visit first. But, VERY IMPORTANT, we will only be handing out the tickets between 6 PM and 7 PM. Thus, you still need to start between 6 and 7. Then, at 9 PM, everybody will gather at one final stop and that is where we will award the glasses. The prize for making all four stops will be our latest St. Arnold pub crawl pint glass. We will have a large but limited supply of glasses. And as always, designated drivers are both eligible for the award and encouraged to attend! We can't tell you exactly where the stops will be, so instead enjoy our vague directions and hints:

The first 3 stops between 6 PM and 9 PM:
On E. 7th St. around Red River. Expect lawyers whispering to judges.
On E. 6th St. between Sabine St. and I-35. Be a good ambassador from our republic.
On E. 6th St. just past Comal. Freedom, keep walkin', keep on your toes and don't stop talkin' 'bout freedom.

The Final Stop at 9 PM:
E. 6th St. just west of Medina. Seek nirvana.

There is plenty parking under I-35, and lots of cool food carts to get a base down!
Hope to see everyone there! (Please leave the vuvuzelas at home!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Brewers in Austin

Hey all, please read my profiles of several aspiring local brewing companies in this week's Austin Chronicle. It hit the newstands just today.

I was floored by how many people in the Austin area are in various stages of entering the business, ranging from those ready to send their products to market down to those with just a mere business plan, so I decided to write a round-up of as many of them as I can find.

If all are successful (a long shot, I admit), Austin's brewing industry would just about double in size. Can the Austin market accomodate that kind of expansion? All the new brewers seem to think so — see this sidebar where I ask that very question.

If I missed any that you know about, please let me know. (Pictured: Chris Orf, Orf Brewing, picture copyright Lee Nichols.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Black Star Beer Social This Saturday

Assuming you're not too wasted to move after watching the USA upset England in the World Cup Saturday afternoon, that evening you should head over to Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery's under-construction location and socialize with other co-op members and beer drinkers. Press release from Black Star:

Saturday, June 12th 7-10 PM

Dog Days Beer Social Picture

The weather is heating up and we’re hot and heavy into construction. Let’s get together and enjoy a cold one. Join us at the future brewpub on Saturday, June 12 from 7-10 PM for an evening of good beer and good music shared with good people in a co-operative environment.

This a great time for member-owners to connect with one another and for future member-owners to join the Co-op. As an added incentive, we’ve been running a membership drive based on referrals from current member-owners. If you refer three (3) new people to join the Co-op, you’ll receive a free Black Star Co-op t-shirt or hat! Many of you are almost there, so bring a non-member friend and sign them up! Oh, and make sure they list your name on the referral line of the membership application.

If all your friends are already members, you're not out of luck. As usual, we'll have a variety of Black Star Co-op swag available for sale. Bring cash and show off your Black Star threads wherever you go. For those of you that still have not joined the Co-op: you only have a couple months left to become Charter Members! Remember, if you can't make it to the Beer Social, you can become a member-owner on our website at anytime.

See you there and bring your canine friends!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Shiner 101: Well Done!

I am way overdue for saying this — since it was released back in, what, early spring? — but with summer upon us, now is definitely the time: Shiner 101 Czech-Style Pilsner is a truly fine beer.

I have been drinking a TON of this, especially since it started getting hot (which, here in Texas, means April). Of all the limited-edition anniversary beers (the numbered series), I think this may be the best. And that's saying lot, since I've really liked everything in anniversary series. It's crisp, it's refreshing, and it has this really satisfying dose of hops offset by mesquite-smoked pale malts.

Okay, I've never actually traveled to Plzen and had a pilsner fresh out of the brewery in the motherland, but of the pilsners I have had, this just may be the best. So far, the only one of the numbered series that ultimately made it into Shiner's permanent lineup has been 97 (Bohemian Black Lager). Shiner 101 deserves to join it. Please, please Spoetzl brewery, keep making this one past 2010. I absolutely love it.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder

Given my money situation of late, I can almost guarantee I won't be attending this, but perhaps some of my beer-blogging colleagues out there on the Intertubes will find this info useful:
Dear Beer Blogger,

I am pleased to announce the world's first Beer Bloggers Conference will take place this November 5-7 in Boulder, Colorado. 150 bloggers and others involved in the world of online media in the beer industry will gather together to meet each other, learn about blogging and social media, taste a bunch of beer, and have a great time. The conference already has serious support in the beer community, including dinners provided by the Boulder Beer Company and Oskar Blues Brewery and publicity help provided by Draft Magazine and Mutineer Magazine. The price for "citizen bloggers" is only $95 and includes both dinners, beer, and three days of conference content.

My company, Zephyr Adventures, has been operating the Wine Bloggers Conference for three years and it is high time to repeat that conference's success for beer bloggers. If you are serious about being a beer blogger, Boulder will be the place to be in November. Please visit the website at for details. Make sure to sign up for the Beer Blog News alerts on the website to keep updated. You can help spread the word by blogging about the conference and telling your blogger friends.

Please let me know if you have any questions,


Allan Wright

Zephyr Adventures
PO Box 16 / Red Lodge, MT 59068 / 1-888-758-8687

Thursday, June 03, 2010

My Review of the Pour House Pub

There's a pretty decent, new (well, about six months new, I think) bar/restaurant in my neighborhood, the Pour House. My review of it from today's Austin Chronicle is here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Zax Specials

From the good folks at Zax Pints and Plates:
Pint Night

Beers on bar
Every Wednesday is Pint Night at Zax. Each week we will feature one of our premium beers starting at 6. Enjoy a pint and keep the logo glass, while supplies last. Glasses go fast so be there early.
June 2 (512) Brewing Pecan Porter
June 9 Independence Brewing
June 16 Brooklyn Brewing
June 23 Breckenridge Brewing

June 30 Deschutes Brewing

Beer News
Our current seasonal and rotating taps include
St. Feullien Tripel, St. Arnold Summer Pils, Allagash White, Victory Hop Devil and Widmer Brothers Braggot.

We are also excited to welcome back Live Oak Liberation IPA. You may remember this seasonal product from Live Oak that stopped production a few years ago during the hop shortage. It's back and as great as I remember.