Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Bar Coming To Houston

And the folks behind this bar isn't just anyone but its the bar team from Beaver's. Bobby Huegal and Kevin Floyd are leaving Beaver's and will be opening up their own place on Westheimer. The name will be Anvil and the concept is pretty simple: Great wine, Great Cocktails (of course) and a great beer list. Of course its this last bit that has me interested. On Drink Dogma, Bobby gives a few details:
Our beer list will include the best microbrews in the country, and we will offer alternative taps at all times that will change every week.

This gets me a bit excited....What type of beers will they have that will set them apart from Gingerman and the Saucer? Will they have Casks? Will they work with the local brewery's and offer special one of a kind beers? I don't know the answer to any of these questions yet, but I can't wait to find out. Anvil is hoping to open in Mid-November. I'll update their progress as I can.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Boulevard Bob's 47

Just recently I had my first Octoberfest of the year and I'm seeing more and more of them and other Fall seasonals on the shelves. What's excited me this year is that with all the new breweries that have come in to Texas this past year I'm getting to try versions that I've never had before and this is one of the first. Bob's 47 is Boulevard's fall seasonal Munich Style Lager.
The Beer: This one weighs in at 5.5 % and pours a nice amber with a thick taupe head. The nose is malty and spice with a caramel sugary sweetness. The mouth has a rich flavor up front with maltiness, caramel, and honey with just a bit of toastyness and bready rye notes. For all the flavor that's up front it weakens at the finish leaving me wanting something a little more, little more robust. A good beer, not a great one. This one gets a B- from me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Blog in the family

Just a quick post and a little bit of in family advertising. My amazing wife, the one that has not only endured, but encouraged my love of craft beer has her own blog. This one not on beer, but our other love, eating local, growing local. This will be a blog about how we are attempting to grow some of our own vegetables out here in the Houston Suburbs as well as working with local folks, getting food from CSA's, cooking and eating the food. Seeing what we can do to not only support our local brewers, but to support our local growers. So if your of the mindset, go check it out.

Beer News

A couple of good Beer related articles in the main stream news today.

- First is this article from the New York Times on lower alcohol beers. As I've stated numerous times, one can not live on extreme beer alone. I love session, or lower alcohol beers, and they are absolutely perfect for the hot Texas summer. Great article with some really good insight. Low alcohol definitely doesn't mean low flavor.

- Secondly an article from MSNBC on canned beers. Now if you've been reading this blog you know I love the method of packaging beer. It eliminates any chance of light getting to the beer, plus let's face it...its cool. Unfortunately there are quite a few beers I wish they had mentioned, not the least of which is the home grown Southern Start Pine Belt Pale ale.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Southern Star Follow Up

After my post yesterday about Southern Star's newest brew, I wanted to find out the answer on how they plan on packaging the beer. I sent an email to the brewer David who was kind enough to reply today:
The Rauchbier will be only available on draft. I will post the list of locations on the website as they become available. It is going under the moniker "Southern Star Rachbier".
Ahhh sad that it won't be called 'Pork Soda' but I'm pretty sure that's do to legal issues. Can't have someone mistake a beer for soda......Now I can't wait to find where this beer is going to be on tap.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Southern Star Brew

Its Monday, and I've got some pretty exciting news. According to their website Conroe's own Southern Star Brewery is getting ready to start brewing their fall beer. A Rauchbier! While certainly not for everyone a Rauchbier is a smoked beer, or a beer made with smoked malts. This beer that they call Pork Soda (because it tastes like ham in a glass!) is made with 100% Wyermann Malt from Hamburg Germany, the home of Rauchbier. Why am I so excited about this? For a couple of reasons. One, I think its a very under utilized style of beer that very few microbreweries in the country attempt to make. Second, this is Texas the home of BBQ and smoked brisket. What goes better with smoked brisket than smoked beer? Nothing I tell you. Third, Southern Star will be the first microbrewery in Texas to brew this style of beer (although a brewpub Covey has brewed a solid version). This is the type of stuff I was really hoping that Southern Star would do. Step out from the typical beers and make something unique, and more important something that could be unique for Texas. No word on whether this will be tap only or bottled (or canned).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Amethyst Initiative

No its not some top secret cloak and dagger mission. Instead its a group of 100 college presidents that are concerned about the abundance of underage binge drinking that occurs when a student gets to University. Their goal simply is to start a debate on whether legal drinking age should be lowered from age 21 to 18. I've stated my opinion before and it hasn't changed. I think we should seriously consider lowering the age of drinking. I truly believe that it will help decrease the binge drinking in this country that occurs when a kid leaves their parents home and for the first time is introduced to alcohol. However the goal here is to start a debate to get people to open up to new ideas. So with that I'll give you some information so that you the reader can make up your own mind.
- A good post by Rick Lyke which also lists the colleges involved.
- Choose Responsibly, and organization that's purpose is to start the debate we are having now.
- Amethyst Initiative.

Avery Kaiser 2008

Yes I know its Mid-August and the last thing it feels like here in Houston is Fall, but that doesn't stop brewers from getting an early start and releasing their Octoberfest beers. This fall style beer is one of my favorites, and this Imperial version from Avery brewing has been a solid one in the past. I've tried their previous versions and posted them here and here.
The Beer: This one weighs in at 10.03% which is higher than the previous two years. The beer pours a reddish orange color with a thick white head. The nose is rich and malty with notes of caramel. The mouth is very malty up front with a bit of alcohol burn mellowing into a nice rich sweetness, notes of caramel and earthy hop notes finish it off. For a big beer this is rather drinkable, mellowing out the richness of last years. Even with a bit of alcohol burn this one gets rated higher by me, give it a B+.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Steamworks Colorado Kolsch

Leading up to this month's Session and its theme of German Beer, I'm trying to drink more German styles, instead of my overly hoppy beers that I love so much. Nothing wrong with drinking German styles as there are a lot of very solid ones being made by American Craft Brewers. One of my favorite styles of beer, but one that is rarely made over here is Kolsch. Anytime I make it to Spec's or Central Market I'm on the lookout for a beer that calls itself Kolsch to see how it pairs up to those from Cologne. You can imagine then how happy I was to see a Colorado Kolsch from Durango, Co brewery Steamworks on the shelf.
The Beer: This one weighs in at a 4.5% abv and pouring into a traditional Kolsch glass is a straw yellow colored beer with a nice white head. The nose is yeasty, low on malts and hops. Even in the mouth the yeast and bready character seem to be the focal point over the hops and malt. There isn't a malty sweetness but you do get some pale malt characteristics in the flavor profile. But over all this beer misses some body to it. There is some flavor but its light, nothing substantial to this brew. Good but nothing spectacular and it gets a C+ from me. The folks at BA are a little kinder than I am.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quick Hits: Texas Brewery Edition

Just a couple of quick notes on this Thursday evening.
The first two from Saint Arnold's.

- Houston Press's Robb Walsh had a sit down interview with Saint Arnold's Brock Wagner. Main topic revolving around SA's new downtown digs.
- In Saint Arnold's latest newsletter they mention their fund raiser for the Houston's Orange Show. The Orange show is a Houston institution and needs as much help as possible. They also run the amazing Houston Art Car Parade the largest of its kind in the nation. These are the type of things that makes Houston a great (if under appreciated) city.

- Lastly news from Ft. Worth's Rahr and Sons brewery. They've got a shiny new website. A marked improvement over their old one. Go check it out and see what their doing to reduce their carbon foot print.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This Won't be the last time this happens

It was announced this week that A-B will start working towards reducing its workforce by 10 to 15 % by the end of this year. While this may not all be a direct cause of the recent InBev buyout I'm sure that didn't help matters.
As stated don't put all the blame on InBev for this maneuver as A-B was already working to reduce costs, but as I stated in my earlier posts let's not kid ourselves either. As I've said many times, the biggest loss in this InBev situation isnot A-B, it'sthe workers that are going to lose their job's, and in today's economy thats a shame. I'm sure that InBev will be instituting their own cost cutting manuevers, but let's hope its not too extreme.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quick Note on a new Texas Brewery

I haven't posted anything on them for a quite a while, but Austin's newest brewery (512) is open for business and they are brewing a Pale Ale, Wit and an IPA. So far all the beers are available only on tap and only in the Austin area. The brewery is owned and operated by Kevin Brand who has a wealth of home brewing experience and like so many wanted to open his own brewery. Well it looks like he's done a good job so far. I sent him an email a bit ago inquiring as to whether or not they would make it to Houston. He responded that he is extremely busy just filling orders for the taps that he has in Austin but hopefully if they grow like he wants in the next few months (or years, hopefully not!!!) they'll make their way outside of Austin.

I know I've written about it before, but as nice as it is to have so many breweries coming into Texas its 10 times better seeing the number of new breweries that are starting up in our great state.

Boulevard Zon

After many recent posts on Green Flash I'm going back to another brewery thats new to the Texas scene, Boulevard Brewing. This one is their seasonal wit beer (Zon is Flemish for sun).
The Beer: Weighs in at 4.45% and pours a cloudy hazy straw color with a decent sized stark white head. The nose is citrusy and vibrant, bready, oranges, and grapefruit. The mouth was all of these things with a bit of the corriander spice coming through. Crisp and clean, a great hot Texas summer time beer. I'm a huge fan of wit beers for summer, not only for their drinkability but for their ability to pair with summer foods, whether grilled chicken, or a salad of summer greens with a light vinaigrette, a wit can hang with them all. Boulevard's version is right up there with one of the better wit's I've had. This one gets a strong B from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Green Flash Barleywine

This post marks a bittersweet moment for me. Over the past week I've been plowing through Green Flash beers, left and right. This post will be the last of them for now as its the final beer from the San Diego brewery that I've been able to find at my local Spec's down in Clear Lake. Maybe there is more up in downtown, or maybe, just maybe Green Flash will be sending more of their beers to the Lone Star State. I can say that I'm happy to end it on a high note as barleywines are one of my favorite styles.
The Beer: This one weighs in at 10% and pours a cloudy brown with a thick white head. Sweet caramel malts on the nose with the slightest hints of citrusy malts. This nose is awesome, I could bury my face in this snifter glass all night. The mouth feel is thick, with notes of toffee, caramel, and a good smack of hoppy bitterness. Creamy, sooth, this a great sipping beer, and while it seems out of place for the Texas heat was quite tasty. Its got notes of cherry and whiskey that correlate to a tad bit of alcohol burn, but in a beer like this I don't mind it. I really enjoyed this one, and it gets a strong A- from me. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale

What better way to celebrate this months Session Theme of German Beer than partaking in a German style beverage. I've had almost everything Flying Dog has to offer, and posted on most of them. This one is a beer I've had before but its the first time I've had the opportunity to do a write up of my thoughts. The Tire Bite is Flying Dog's version of a Kolsch Beer, a beer that I am rather fond of. For this beer instead of using a chalice or pint glass I used the traditional Kolsch style glass.
The Beer: Weighs in at 5.0% just right for a Kolsch and pours a golden straw color with a rather thin stark white head. Lots of tiny bubbles evident, like a fine champagne. The nose is yeasty and bready. There is a lot of carbonation in the mouth, a good yeasty taste with a bit of hoppy bitterness. A solid if not spectacular example of the Kolsch Style. I still say Saint Arnold's Lawnmower is the best American example I've had. This one still gets a B- from me. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Export of American Beer

After a long time of Americans importing other countries beer whether it be German Lagers or British Stouts and Porters it seems tides are turning. The countries that love good beer are now looking to America for inspiration. While this has happened in the past this year's Great British Beer Festival will feature more American Beers than ever before. A total of 17 American Craft Beers will be represented at the Festival which starts this week. While the article doesn't state which breweries will be among the 17 this its exciting to see other countries appreciating our craft beer movement.

A Quick Note on Saint Arnold's

With Tropical Storm Edouard coming ashore today I've got the day off work. No worries the storm's not that bad, but hey who's going to argue with a free day off? Not me! Today is as good a day as any to peruse the Internet for interesting beer related notes so I may be posting a few more times today. This first one is just a quick note on Saint Arnold Brewery and their new building they've purchased in downtown. They have got a bunch of pictures up along with a description of what the new place is going to look like. More bathrooms and A/C....heck that's good enough for me, everything else is just lagniappe.

The Session # 19 Announcement

Literally just posted on why I didn't participate in the Session # 18 and now we get the announcement for The Session 19. The host for this months virtual beer tasting session is Lootcorp a brewing blog. The theme this month is Deutches Beer, or German Beer. Here are the rules straight from the blog:
I want you all to focus on the wonderful contributions our German neighbors have made to the beer world. You can write about a particular German style you really enjoy, a facet of German beer culture which tickles your fancy, or any other way in which Germany and beer have become intertwined in your life. Bonus points for Bavarian-themed posts.
As someone who lived there for a short time and loves German Beers and the culture of beer over there I am extremely excited for this one. I'm already forming an idea of what I want to post so it should be a good one this month and one that I am definitely going to set some time aside to participate in. Due date is September 5th.

The Session #18 Roundup and my Participation

Well The Session 18 has passed my by and I didn't get a chance to participate. The Theme for the event this month was Anniversary Beers and frankly I haven't been drinking to many of those, instead delving into the new breweries that have been making their way to Texas. For instance I had a new one from Green Flash on Friday instead of popping open a special anniversary beer. So far I've had their Trippel and their Imperial IPA, both very good beers, Friday I bought the first six pack of beer, their Hop Head Red.
The Beer: This one weighs in at 45 IBU's and 6.0% abv, is dry hopped with Amarillo hops. It pours a reddish brown with a THICK taupe colored head. Hops floral and spicy on the nose with hints of sweet malts. The mouth is much maltier than anticipated and it was a nice surprise. I'd guess Viennese and maybe some crystal malts used in the fermentation both adding a nice flavor profile. Notes of caramel and then hops on the finish. Smooth and easy drinking. Very tasty, this one gets a strong B+ from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.

Now that my non-anniversary beer post is up, head over to the Barley Blog for the Session 18 roundup.