Monday, November 21, 2011

I Can Read Norwegian!

Okay, not really, but I'm pretty sure I know how to translate that middle word on this glass my friend Karla brought me from Oslo.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Saint Arnold Winter Seasonal

Whoa! A blend of my two very favorite Saint Arnold beers, Elissa IPA and Christmas Ale? Okay, I'm listening. Press release from Saint Arnold:

New Holiday Seasonal from Saint Arnold Sails into Stores Thursday

HOUSTON, November 16, 2011 – Saint Arnold Brewing Company (, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, today announced another new seasonal release: Saint Arnold Sailing Santa. A blend of Saint Arnold Elissa IPA and Saint Arnold Christmas Ale, Sailing Santa is scheduled to begin appearing in stores throughout Texas and select Louisiana markets on Thursday, November 17th in 22-ounce bombers.

This is the first time Saint Arnold has released Sailing Santa, which was invented by craft beer lovers a few months after the introduction of Elissa IPA in 2004. In the years that followed, the community adopted the name, “Sailing Santa,” for the concoction when ordering draft pints at bars and restaurants.

“Normally we aren't big fans of blending beers, but this one works,” said Saint Arnold Founder/Brewer Brock Wagner. “The hoppiness of Elissa IPA with the big malt and slightly higher alcohol of Christmas Ale makes a nice winter beer.”

Saint Arnold Sailing Santa will be an annual seasonal release that precedes Thanksgiving. It is the second new seasonal from Saint Arnold in just over a month, following the highly regarded release of Saint Arnold Pumpkinator. As was the case with Pumpkinator, supplies will be limited.

Saint Arnold produced a single 240 barrel batch, which translates to approximately 3,600 cases of twelve 22-ounce bombers. Saint Arnold Sailing Santa will not be shipped in kegs, but can be prepared on-site wherever Saint Arnold Elissa IPA and Saint Arnold Christmas Ale are on tap.

Next up from Saint Arnold will be Saint Arnold Winter Stout, which will begin appearing in stores in early December as supplies of Saint Arnold Christmas Ale are depleted.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shiner Picks Up European Awards

Press release from the little town of Shiner, Texas:


Spoetzl Brewery Brings Home Three Medals in

Traditional German-Style Categories

NUREMBERG, GERMANY and SHINER, TEXAS (NOVEMBER 13, 2011) – The Spoetzl Brewery, brewers of the legendary Shiner family of beers, has once again come home a winner from the European Beer Star Awards, one of the world’s most prestigious tasting competitions.

Shiner’s seasonal Oktoberfest won a silver medal in the GermanMärzen-style category. Bronze medals were awarded to Shiner’s Bohemian Black Lager in the Bohemian-style Schwarzbier category and Old Time Alt in the Düsseldorf-style Altbier section.

The judging panel of beer and brewing experts from around the world had a particularly difficult task this year, faced with evaluating more than 1,100 beers in 49 categories. That’s a nearly 20% increase over the number of entrants in 2010.

Typically, European breweries have dominated the categories representing beer styles native to that continent. Still, Shiner beers have been able to hold their own; in addition to this year’s medals, Shiner won gold and silver last year for Oktoberfest and Shiner 101 Czech-style Pilsner.

“It’s very gratifying to see the German and Czech heritage of our brewery, now 103 years old, reflected in these medals”, said Jimmy Mauric, Shiner’s brewmaster. “It fills us all at the brewery and the town with great pride.”

This is the eighth year for the European Beer Star Awards, which is organized by the Association of Private Breweries in Germany, the Association of Private Breweries in Bavaria and the Association of Small and Independent Breweries in Europe. It is considered one of the world’s foremost beer competitions.

Founded in Shiner, Texas (population 2,070), the 103 year-old Spoetzl Brewery is one of America’s oldest independent breweries. While Spoetzl has grown to be the country’s fourth largest craft brewery, every drop of Shiner is still brewed in Shiner.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cover Story in Today's Austin Chronicle!

While I may no longer be in full-time employ with The Austin Chronicle, at least I do still know how to get myself onto their cover. Click here to read the first feature I've done for them in a freelance capacity since the mid-1990s. (If it's not obvious: that link takes you to the intro; from there, you have to click on the links in the blue box to the right of the intro to got to the two parts of the story.)

To see a larger version of the cover, click on the image.