Friday, September 28, 2012

The Future of This Blog

(Warning: This is being written while consuming a 1 pint 6 oz bottle of Divine Reserve #12 all by myself, a severe miscalculation. I thought #12 was just a double IPA, and not a 10% ABV old ale. Yeesh. Sorry for any typos or rambling.)

As you may have noticed, this blog has become a bit derelict over the past couple of years. While I once strove for some interesting writing, I Love Beer has devolved mostly into cut-and-paste press release reprints.

There's a reason for that, and no, I don't think it's laziness on my part. The real culprit is just life.

First off, I got pretty crazy busy as a staff writer for The Austin Chronicle, majoring in political journalism and minoring in beer writing. Then I got laid off from the Chronicle in late August 2011, a victim of the imploding print journalism industry. Which was actually pretty good for the beer writing/blogging: I notice, looking back in my archives, that I suddenly became a very prolific blogger in September and October of last year, and I had some good beer features in the Chron (I continued as their beer writer on a freelance basis).

But then I became employed again, landing a good job as communications director for Leticia Van de Putte, a great (and beer-friendly) state senator from San Antonio, back in December. I love the job, but it keeps me pretty busy. And when I get home from the Capitol, I really don't feel like writing about beer, just drinking it. I'm getting up at 5:30am to get my kids to school and squeeze in a workout (gotta work off that beer gut), and after work I'm often coaching my kids in soccer or doing something else with my family.

And it's only going to get worse. The Texas Legislature meets for regular sessions only on odd-numbered years, for 140 days beginning in mid-January. For a big giant state like Texas with a lot of needs, that's not very much. So the regular sessions are really, really hectic. I know from covering them as a reporter that they are intense, and I realize that as an actual Lege staffer, I will have pretty much zero time for extracurricular activities.

So, there are two things I'm getting at here:

1) Don't expect much in the way of interesting blogging, if any blogging at all.

2) I am no longer the beer writer for the Chronicle. I told them that, unless they were willing to go all the way from winter to summer of 2013 with no beer articles, they would need to find another beer writer. Of course, that's not something that a great publication like the Chron would be willing to do, so I've relinquished those duties.

Now, that doesn't mean I'm giving up the blog. Because really, there's no reason to. This was started in 2006 on a lark, not as a business enterprise, and I'll continue to run it as such. I don't really owe anyone anything, this is just my hobby, so I'll post when I can and I won't when I can't. I still appreciate any freebies thrown my way, but I can't guarantee I'll follow up with reviews or posts. Send me a press release and I may post it, or I may not, depending on how busy my life is.

My passion for craft beer has not diminished, just my ability to write about it.

One thing that will definitely disappear: Posts about craft-beer legislation here in Texas. While I took great pride in becoming a go-to source of reporting on the beer bills in the 2009 and 2011 Lege sessions, obviously my current job as a legislative insider compromises my ability to objectively cover such bills going forward.

So, what is the future of this blog? I don't really know. For now, I guess it will drift along, sometimes good, sometimes lame. In any case, I hope you'll keep me in your feed reader and enjoy it during the good periods. And when it is good, please raise your glass in a toast to it.

Oktoberfest Dinner at League Kitchen with Live Oak.

Never heard of this place. Apparently it's out at Avery Ranch (correction: Lakeway). But glad to see them working with a local brewer:
On Tuesday, October 2nd at 7pm, The League Kitchen & Tavern is hosting a four-course chef-inspired beer dinner featuring pairings with Austin's Live Oak Brewing. In true Oktoberfest fashion, The League is bringing beer maids and a polka band as part of the festivities. It's $65 per person. Reservations are required. Tickets are also sold at:

Chip McElroy, Founder of Live Oak, and Executive Chef Devan Gernert, will be walking dinner guests through each course and the beer pairing. 

Menu and pairings below:

1st Course
Soft Pretzels and Bacon Wrapped Bratwurst Bites
Guinness Beer Cheese . Stone Ground Mustard . Sauerkraut
Live Oak Pilz

2nd Course
Creamy Roasted Parsnip Soup
Jumbo Lump Crab . Crispy Parsnips . Vanilla Bean Crema
Live Oak's Hefeweizen

3rd Course
Beer Braised and Grilled Rabbit Sausage
Brown Butter Spatzel . Currant Jelly . Red Wine Gravy . Apple Slaw
Live Oak's Ale

4th Course
Crispy Slow Orange-Beer Braised Pork Shoulder
Potato Apple Cakes . Braised Red Cabbage . Blood Orange Sweet and Sour
Live Oak's Oaktoberfest

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Texas Craft Brewers Festival Oct. 6

Breaking News: There's a big craft brewers festival coming to Austin on Saturday, October 6.

Yes, I'm being facetious - every beer lover in Austin knows this thing is coming, and I'm way late in reporting it, because I've let this blog turn into an abandoned amusement park (I'll be making a post soon on the future of this blog and my place in the Austin beer media universe).

But, just in case you've been living under a rock, and because I need to justify my place in that universe (brewniverse?), here's a link to the festival website. Last year's event was great, and I bet this one will be even better. (And no, this festival is in no way affiliated with the one this past spring that became an infamous debacle.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Austin Beer Guide New Issue Party Thursday

Press release from our city's leading beer publication. Actually, I think they're our city's only beer publication, unless you count blogs. :-)
Austin Beer Guide Fall Issue Release and Party at Hopfields on September 27th

AUSTIN, TX SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 - Austin Beer Guide- swarthy, uncouth, obnoxiously arrogant yet always lovable, are proud to announce the release of the 2012 fall issue- the "political issue."

Just when you thought the mudslinging and lazy fact checking couldn't get any worse, Austin Beer Guide return with even juicer #brewmors, more half-assed news bites, out of context quotes, un-substantiated overtly subjective content and general malarky enough to drive you running back to the cable news talking heads.

Inside the Fall issue the ABG crack reporting team set out to find Austin's perfect "Gateway Beer," introduce readers to the men and women behind our city's rich homebrew culture, compose a tidy list of the plethora of area fall beer events, chase the perfect TGIF Beer and Loathing adventure, poll area brewers for opinions on porters, get inside the noodle of Pint House Pizza's brewer, and stop and chat with the brewing team behind Whip In's Namaste Brewing.

The Fall issue will be released on Thursday, September 27th, 6PM at Hopfields' patio with several new and rare beers to celebrate. 
Tickets for beer sales will go on sale Thursday at 11AM with additional parking available at the parking garage on 31st and Guadalupe. 

Established in spring of 2011, Austin Beer Guide is a quarterly publication focused on the exciting growth and community of Austin's craft beer scene. Fall 2012 fill have a circulation of 7,500 copies and will be distributed at breweries, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and grocers in Austin and the surrounding area throughout the fall season.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

World of Beer Coming to San Antonio

Sounds like a Flying Saucer kind of chain. I'm sure Ryan and Sarah Loyd will be happy to have another mega beer emporium in their neck of the woods: