Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Beer Dork Night' at the Aviary

Haven't had a chance to check out this place yet, but sounds like they want to be serious about beer:
Increase Your Alcohol Awareness with “Beer Dork Night: Belgium”

Aviary Lounge to Host an Evening with Beer & Food Pairings

Austin, Texas (August 23, 2011) – Austin boutique shop, Aviary Lounge & Decor, presents another creative occasion with their latest event “Beer Dork Night: Belgium” on Thursday, Sept 1 at 8 pm.

The lounge features a flight of six different Belgium-style beers from the U.S. as well as great food to match. Limited seating will be available.

To reserve a spot, please email, and the event is be $40 per person.

Aviary is located at 2110 S. Lamar, Austin and is open Tuesday to Saturday 12am to 12am, Sunday 3pm to 10pm. For more information call 916-4445 or go online to

Aviary is Austin’s coolest new place to shop and sip on wine. Come in and peruse house wares while tasting an international selection of wines and charcuterie. Locally owned and operated by Marco Fiorilo and Shanna Eldridge, Aviary came from the owners’ mutual passion for travel and shopping. It boasts many unique and contemporary finds from countries all over the world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Details on Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Press release from TCBF:

Fiesta Gardens, Saturday, Sept. 24

Photo by John M.P. Knox

Texas Craft Brewers Festival Unites Craft Brewers in Austin

An Outdoor Beer Sampling Festival Dedicated to the Fine Art of Craft Brewing

AUSTIN, TX, [August 29, 2011]—On September 24, 2011, craft brewers from across the state will convene on Austin’s Fiesta Gardens to celebrate Texas’ new, innovative, and delicious craft beers. This non-profit outdoor festival, produced by the Young Men’s Business League of Austin and benefiting Austin Sunshine Camps, will feature Texas-brewed beer and ale (as well as non-alcoholic beverages), a commemorative tasting glass, live music, local food vendors, food and beer pairings, and a good time to be had by all at this beautiful venue on the banks of the Colorado River.

"The Texas beer scene is on fire!” says Tim Schwartz, Director of Brewery Operations for Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas, and President of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. “New breweries are opening all over the state and established craft breweries are expanding. This is a perfect time for the resurgence of the Texas Craft Brewers Festival. The festival brings all of this variety together in one venue. Come on out and see what Texas brewing has to offer."

In addition to the many established craft brewers that will be in attendance, several breweries who haven’t released beer yet are using the festival as their target date to publicly introduce their first beers. Rare and special beers will be highlighted throughout the festival.

Facebook Fan page-
Facebook Event Page -
Twitter: @TXCraftBeer
Purchase Tickets:

This event is a must attend for Texas craft beer enthusiasts. Not only will there be a wide variety of delicious craft beers, rare beers, and tasty food, but there will also be a really awesome beer community.

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild exists for the purpose of promoting craft beer in the State of Texas, educating the public about the qualities and attributes of craft beer and advancing the common interest of Texas craft brewers.

Festival Information

Date/Time: September 24, 2011, 2 - 8pm

Location: Fiesta Gardens, 2100 Jesse E. Segovia St., Austin, TX

Ticket Information:

21+ Event | ID required at entry | Rain or Shine
Due to space concerns -NO chairs or coolers allowed.
Due to safety concerns - NO glass or dogs allowed.

The event will be fully insured by the permit holder.
All beer servers will be TABC certified.
EMS and security will be on-site.
Designated driver program - free non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers.
Free drinking water available.
Taxis available as attendees leave the gate from our taxi sponsor

For more information on the festival, brewers and other exciting developments, visit

Photo Credit: John M.P. Knox

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Support the Home Team

The last time I was at a major league baseball game was in Kansas City, and I was happy to see that the stadium did have Boulevard, the local KC brewery (although not at all the concessions stands). That got me to wondering if the Texas Rangers gave similar love to Rahr & Sons. A quick Google search led me to DFW beer blogger Cavalier Beer, and I'm pleased to read that the answer is yes. Good for them! That further motivates me to get up to Arlington and catch a Rangers game sometime.

New Belgium Filming at Draught House

Message from Josh at the Draught House:

Hello beer fans,

next Tuesday, 8/30, New Belgium Brewing Company is filming a small piece to promote 1554 Enlightened Belgian Black Ale at our place and ya'll are invited! They will be serving BBQ, have cheese paired from Antonelli's Cheese Shop and an ice cream pairing from Austin Scoops, all free, while they last. Steel Head String Band will be playing until 8pm and we will be giving away New Belgium Globe glasses with each 1554 bought (only $2.75 because it's Pint Night!)
Come on by!



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saint Arnold Santo Release Delayed

Hearing that they dumped out 11,000 gallons of beer makes me want to cry, but Saint Arnold says it's for the best:

Saint Arnold Announces Delay of Santo Release

HOUSTON, August 23, 2011 – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today announced it will delay the release of its newest beer, Santo. The scheduled release date was September 1, 2011. Below is a statement from Brock Wagner, Saint Arnold Founder/Brewer:

We regret to announce that we are delaying the release of our newest beer, Santo. After brewing a 10 gallon test brew several months ago that we were enthusiastic about, we scaled up the recipe and recently brewed our standard 3,700 gallon batch. In fact, we have three such batches in the fermenters right now. After filtering a batch this week and getting it ready for packaging, we tasted it. It was good, but it was missing that spark that separates a good beer from a great beer. So we are dumping the over 11,000 gallons of beer we have in the tanks.

We are brewing another batch tomorrow with a series of recipe tweaks. We will taste this in two to three weeks. If we are excited about the results, we will release it then — or more likely, about three weeks later so we can brew some additional batches. If we again do not believe it is a world class beer, we'll continue tweaking. We apologize for this issue. We would rather experience the embarrassment of delaying the release than release something that isn't the best beer we can brew.

The company has not set a new release date for Santo, but the earliest a full release could occur would be sometime in October 2011.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Austin Homebrew Supply Owners Starting a Brewery

Yes, yet another new brewery in the Austin area. They're coming so fast now I can barely keep up.

This one will be started up in Pflugerville by
Forrest & Diane Rogness, owners of Austin Homebrew Supply — but first they're trying to raise some capital via a fundraising website called Kickstarter. Watch their video pitch below, then click that link to contribute to the project.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Firkins in Round Rock!

HomeField Grill, a restaurant up in Round Rock (next door to and owned by the same people as Flix Brewhouse) is trying to bring some serious beer culture to the suburban hinterlands. Check this out:

Firkin Fridays!

FirkinFridayBeginning next Friday, August 26, HomeField Grill is starting Firkin Fridays. Don't know what a firkin is? Click here to find out! Every Friday at 4 p.m., we will tap a firkin keg of fresh beer. The beer will be cold and the supply will be limited. Come enjoy it with us every Friday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Independence News

More lazy cut-and-paste blogging from me. This e-mail I got from Independence had some interesting stuff:

Pint Glass Nights
We have a string of buy the pint keep the glass nights coming up in the next few weeks. We tried to spread them across town so that everyone can come out and enjoy a brew with us! On Tuesday the 23rd at 7pm we will be at Draft Pick featuring Freestyle Wheat. On September 1st 7pm we will be at Black Sheep Lodge with Austin Amber. And for you folks up North we will be at Mr. Tramps this Friday the 19th at 7pm also with Austin Amber.

More Tanks!
We received a very special delivery this week, 2 new fermenters and 1 new brite tank. These tanks will help us turn even more water into brew for your drinking pleasure! Finding a space to put them..... well that’s another story.

Have you had our Summer seasonal Saison? It is a Belgian influenced Summer ale with Clementine zest, pink peppercorns and star anise. It is a great summer time companion but won’t be here for long! It is draft only so get out to you favorite watering hole and drink some.

All Seeing Eye(PA)
Millineum, Nugget, Cascade. Just three of the 7 hops in our latest Brewluminati brew. Imperial IPA? Double IPA? You be the judge, what we will say is that it was brewed in commemoration of brew number 1,000 and we would have never got here without you all. Sightings have been reported at Whole Foods Bar Lamar, Barley Swine, Draught House, Opal’s Divine and Red’’orch. Open your third eye.

More Brewluminati activity. Do you remember our 6th anniversary brew? The Braggot was brewed with a ton of locally sourced Good Flow Wildflower honey. Well, we have reason to believe that it may return soon...

Gettin Sauced
BBQ sauce competition at a brewery? No it’s not a dream, join us on August 27th for brew, BBQ, live music and more. Admission is free as are the complimentary brew samples. If you would like to sample all of the BBQ sauces, wristbands are $8 in advance and $10 dollars at the door. More info at

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Houston-Area Brewery: Buffalo Bayou

Check out this real estate blog for some preliminary info on a new Houston-area brewery, Buffalo Bayou Brewing. Tip of the hat to my friend Bill for pointing me to it. Picture is from the blog, so presumably it's copyright of Swamplot.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Flowers? Screw That, I Want a Beer Bouquet

Hey, here's a fun (and Austin-based) gift idea: Send someone you love a Beer Bouquet. Sounds good to me. And their inventory includes more than just megabeers: You can get good craft brews from the likes of Spoetzl (Shiner), Sam Adams, Boulevard and Brooklyn and imports like Spaten. They have some non-alcoholic choices too, including root beers from Abita and Saint Arnold.

I think they should re-think that slogan, though. I know plenty of women who would like one of these. More than flowers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Brewing and Flavor Analysis Class at Black Star Co-op

Wow, I really should attend this. Black Star Co-op is offering a couple of classes on brewing and flavor analysis, coming up on Aug. 14 and 21. They say: "The 101 class will be for beginner homebrewers and beer appreciators. The 201 class will be for intermediate and advanced homebrewers and beer aficionados." I have to say, learning from Jeff Young would be a treat considering how good his Black Star beers have been. Click on that link for more details and to register.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Austin Beerworks Firkin Tonight

This sounds interesting: Austin Beerworks, one of the rash of new microbreweries that have popped up in Austin, is presenting a firkin at Billy's on Burnet tonight that combines characteristics of their IPA and their black beer. More info at Beer Town Austin, the event's sponsor.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Birds and Bock: A Party

So there's this barbershop chain in Austin called Birds, and they've had a habit for a while now of providing beer with your haircut. They recently inked a partnership with Shiner Bock, and now they're throwing a party on August 18 at their South Congress location to celebrate. Check out the poster below for details:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

An Ode to Beer

This just got passed on to me by a good beer-drinking buddy. I'm surprised I haven't heard this song yet — it's by one of Austin's best bands, the Asylum Street Spankers. Yeesh, I've really fallen out of touch with the local music scene since I quit being a music critic.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Saint Arnold Santo: A Black Kölsch?

Sounds interesting. Press release from Saint Arnold:

HOUSTON, August 8, 2011 – What do you do if you brew a beer that doesn’t fit an existing category? You make one up. At least that is what Saint Arnold Brewing Company ( is doing with the upcoming release of its latest creation: Santo. The company is describing its new brew as a black Kölsch – light in body and dark in color. Santo will be available on tap and in 12-ounce bottles sold in six-packs and cases throughout Texas starting on September 1, 2011.

The other big development is Santo’s packaging. Instead of the distinctive image of an outreaching St. Arnold, which continues to grace the brewery’s other beers as it has for more than 17 years, Santo features a design created by Houston artist Carlos Hernandez. His attention-grabbing “Day of the Dead” style artwork depicts a big eyed crowned skull on a bright red background.

“This is the first beer we have ever brewed that started with the packaging,” said Saint Arnold Founder/Brewer Brock Wagner. “The process started over four years ago. We originally commissioned Carlos to design new packaging for Saint Arnold Brown Ale. We loved what he came back to us with, but somehow it didn’t fit the Brown Ale. Thus began our work on creating a beer to fit the packaging, an odd process for us. The final result was a recipe we called a black Kölsch. We’ve been waiting to have the capacity available to brew it and are now very excited to begin drinking it.”

To some in the craft beer community, the black Kölsch concept is an oxymoron, since the Kölsch style is expected to have a golden appearance. However, Saint Arnold’s brewers insist that stretching the boundaries is part of the fun. Besides, despite Santo’s dark appearance, the beer maintains other characteristics of a true Kölsch. Saint Arnold uses the same special Kölsch yeast – an ale yeast that ferments at almost lager temperatures – that is used in Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer. This contributes to Santo being light bodied and floral even though it has a distinctive dark malt flavor.

Santo is brewed using pale two-row and pils malted barley, a dash of malted wheat and an addition of dark malt. Saint Arnold uses Hallertau Hersbrucker hops, added to the brew kettle in four separate cycles to create a delicate flavor and aroma. It has an original gravity of 1.045 (11.4° Plato), bitterness of 15 IBU and alcohol content (by volume) of 4.9 percent.

Santo is the sixth year-round beer from Saint Arnold. It joins Saint Arnold Amber Ale, Saint Arnold Brown Ale, Saint Arnold Elissa IPA, Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer and Saint Arnold Weedwacker in the regular lineup.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The #3 Bus Pub Crawl Is Underway!

If you're reading this on Saturday, August 6, and you're in Austin, then get yourself over to Burnet Road or some other location along Capital Metro's #3 bus route, because I'm celebrating my birthday with a renewal of the Number 3 Bus Pub Crawl!

Sorry for giving no advance warning on the blog — while I'd love for many of my regular readers to join me, I can't have everybody along, because that would turn this thing into an even worse clusterfuck than it will already be.

But if you're lucky enough to have nothing to do today and you can catch up with us, please do. Check my Twitter feed at for updates on where we are and where we're heading next. We'll start at the beginning of the route at North by Northwest's Brewer's Brunch at 10am and after we fill our bellies with breakfast and beer, we'll head south, literally and probably figuratively as well.

And if you have no idea what the Number 3 Bus Pub Crawl is, read about the first here (my 40th birthday) and the second one here (my 41st). I turn 43 today.

No prayer and fasting! Today is for debauchery and gluttony!

(Note: That Cap Metro illustration is there just for decoration. This event is in no way sanctioned or sponsored by Capital Metro.)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Flavored Beer Salt: Blech

Time for a quick product review. A San Antonio Company called Twang sent a box of flavored salts to The Austin Chronicle (for which I write). There were a variety of flavors and purposes: Several cocktail salts (for margaritas — including mango and lemon-lime flavored — and bloody mary) and several different flavors for putting on snacks.

The ones of interest to me: beer salts. I was immediately wary of these. I remembered my father, before he discovered craft beer, putting salt and lime in his Miller Lite. Looking back on it, I realize that must have been for one reason: Because Miller Lite has no flavor.

And when I was in college, I did like everyone else and squeezed lime into my Corona. I did this for the same reason: Because otherwise, Corona has no flavor. At the risk of offending Latinos everywhere, I'll boldly proclaim that this is a consistent theme in Mexican and other Latin American beers: They tend to always be flavorless water. Ideal, perhaps, for a hot climate — I myself like 'em cold and crisp in our Texas summers — but sadly, it means that I don't turn to those countries when I'm looking for something bolder. (Of course, beers like Fireman's 4 prove that a good summer beer doesn't have to be devoid of taste. And of course, I do not include the "Mexican style" beers of Cedar Park's Twisted X.)

So, to cut to the chase: I dumped some of this stuff
(it came in lime and lemon-lime flavors) into a glassof Modelo Especial , and it just upheld my suspicions: This is for people who don't like the taste of beer. This is for people who drink Corona or Lite or whatever, oblivious to the fact that they are just drinking overpriced water, and need something to make it worthwhile for their tastebuds.

But if you actually like the taste of beer … just leave this stuff on the shelves. It's not for you.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

More News From Freetail

More news from Freetail, sent to me while I was on vacation:
(July 27, 2011) San Antonio, TX – Having previously announced expansion into the Houston market, Freetail Brewing Co. will announce the indefinite suspension of plans for a second location — citing concerns over access to capital.

“As I moved forward with the Freetail Houston project, I began to run into an increasing level of resistance in capital markets. A brewpub is a good project for downtown Houston, but the deal is simply not there for me at this time,” explained Freetail Founder & CEO, Scott Metzger. “When we announced the project on May 17, we also stated there were financial considerations to be addressed. Those considerations are ultimately what put this project on hold indefinitely, and no other reason. To move forward with the project at this time would be irresponsible and an injustice to my company and the City of Houston.

“For now my focus will be to continue growing our successful original location, which has internal expansion needs of its own, and moving forward in the battle for fair reform of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, as it relates to the activities of our state’s brewpubs and breweries,” added Metzger.

Freetail's "RealTail" Festival August 27

Press release from our friends down in San Antonio:


Event with Blanco’s Real Ale Brewing Co. to also Feature Special Collaboration Beer

(August 3, 2011) San Antonio, TX – Freetail Brewing Co. is announcing that it will host RealTail II on Saturday, August 27. The annual festival will feature rare, barrel aged beers from both the local brewpub and Real Ale Brewing Co. from Blanco, TX in addition to a special collaborate beer developed by the two breweries.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Austin-to-Saint Arnold Bus Trip

Hey Austinites, would you like to check out Saint Arnold's new brewery in Houston? And more importantly, would you like someone else to be your designated driver? Here's your chance. This is on the Saint Arnold website:
Austin to the Brewery Bus Trip

Once again it's time for another trip down to Houston to see Texas' oldest craft brewery! If you have not been to the new brewery, now is your chance. Saturday, August 20, at 10:30 am we will meet at The Flying Saucer and depart at 11 am sharp. We will get there at the end of our regular Saturday tour and enjoy some cold Saint Arnold. Then we will open the iPub for lunch and more tasty beverages. We will leave the brewery at 5 pm and return to Austin at 8 pm. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here:

Click here for tickets!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion

Hey, check it out, I'm today's "Featured Local Blogger" on the Spoken City blog. Damn, I wish I'd proofread my replies to their questions a little more carefully before I hit 'send.'