30 May 2006

Free Beer at Red Barn BBQ in Fort Worth!

Pitmaster Von Husbands offers up to two complimentary beers with any dinner at this new, comfy little barbecue cafe in a half-century-old shop on Colleyville Boulevard. The drawback to the side beers is that they're either Coors Light or Bud Light. If you want a better beer, or more than two, you're welcome to bring your own. (Yes, that's legal. In Texas, you don't need a liquor license to give it away.) Red Barn Bar-B-Que 4913 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville, TX 76034 (817) 788-4553

posted by hiikeeba at 09:20 2 comments

28 May 2006

The School of Beer Drinking

Four hundred years ago, brewer Richard Platt founded a public school. Like most Europeans at the time, the boys at Aldenham School in Elstree were encouraged to drink beer by their teachers because water was too dangerous to drink. While we might scratch our heads at a brewery starting a school, in the 15th century it was a common practice. When Platt died, he requested that his company continue to support the students by giving them beer money. This year, girls were given money for the first time.

Each year, the 13 and 14-year-olds in Year 9 are taken to a ceremony at Brewers' Hall in the City of London to receive commemorative £5 coins. This year they have been minted to celebrate the queen's 80th birthday.

I love Europe!

posted by hiikeeba at 09:13 1 comments

26 May 2006

Budweiser buys Rolling Rock brand

Anheuser-Busch has purchased the Rolling Rock brand from Belgium's, InBev.

"We have an ideal opportunity to grow this historic brand," Anheuser-Busch president August A. Busch IV said. "This beer is not like others, and its consumer following is equally distinctive.

"We live in a diverse world where consumers are hungry for variety," Busch said. "Acquiring Rolling Rock enables us to reach a new audience and to continue building our broad portfolio of products that meet the wide-ranging needs of consumers."

Hmmm. This seems to go abainst AB's longstanding strategy of garnering even more market share for their flagship brands.

I'm going to make a prediction: AB will promote Rolling Rock for a few months, then quietly kill the brand, and then put Budweiser and Bud Light on the shelves in Rolling Rock's place. That's what happened to Celis.

posted by hiikeeba at 09:00 1 comments

24 May 2006

Kentucky Common Batch #1 - 1st tasting notes

Monday afternoon, I racked the Kentucky Common beer to secondary. The color was dark brown, and it smelled licorice-y kinda mediciney. It tasted fruity and a bit like licorice. I may have worried needlessly about how much anise I used. The fruity flavor may have been the result of the Belgian Ale yeast, I was hoping for a soured flavor; but, it may also be the result of the rather warm fermentation temperatures. Overall, it was okay, with not much trace of hop flavor.

More when I keg.

posted by hiikeeba at 17:36 0 comments

22 May 2006

The Beginning of the End at Boston Beer Company?

MSNBC recently reported that shares of Boston Beer Company dropped five percent, despite strong sales and growth in every brand. The problem is that the advertising budget has increased 28%, and productions costs are expected to rise 10%.

Even more worrying, their production contract with Miller Brewing Company ends in 2008, and they are considering building another brewery and making all the beer themselves.

This reminds me of the last days of the Celis brewery back in 2000 in some ways. Has Boston Beer Company over extended itself? Will we, in a couple of years, look back fondly at one of the best beers produced in America and say, "Yeah, but back when you could get Sam Adams. . ."

posted by hiikeeba at 07:56 3 comments

20 May 2006

Beer sommelier?

Top Michelin starred restaurants Le Gavroche, in Vancouver, The Fat Duck, in Bray England, Cafe D'Alsace, in New York city have joined the trend of celebrating beers' variety of flavors, and its ability to go with food. These restaurants offer beer lists in the hundreds. The Aubergine, in London, even has a beer sommelier. One of the beers on his list is a 750-milliliter bottle of beer from Beggenhout, Belgium, called Deus, which sells for about $66.

Recently, Jacob Richler of the Calgary Herald, wrote about a beer and food dinner. While Richler is a confessed wine afficianado concluded by writing, "All things considered, the beer was proven to stand up at a top table. The trouble was that serving it along such fine wines was not so much bold as foolhardy. If the wine had been kept out of sight and off the table everyone would have been happy. Make it a showdown, though, and there has to be a winner and loser, and what on earth is better than fine wine?"

posted by hiikeeba at 07:42 1 comments

18 May 2006

Revising Beer's Image

Garret Oliver is the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery, and the author of The Brewmaster's Table, a book that sets out to prove that beer is just as highbrow as wine. He believes that ever since the Norman Conquest of 1066, everything French became exalted and everything Anglo-Saxon became lowbrow. He has become beer's ambassador of good taste.

Oliver hosted a "Thanksgiving in April" at the Craft Brewers Conference in Seattle, where he paired various beers with turkey and the traditional trimmings.

Oliver writes that beer is a better match for cheese than wine could ever be. Beer is made from grasses, cows eat grasses and produce cheese. "Have you ever seen a cow in a vineyard?" He argues that cheese coats the palate, blunting the taste of wine. But beer's carbonation refreshes and resets the palate, and its nutty and carmelized flavors meld well with cheese.

Oliver has matched Belgian pale ale with roasted chicken. "A good Belgian pale ale can turn a simple roasted chicken from an ordinary meal into a culinary event," he writes. "Herbs are the key. Some sage, thyme, or rosemary on the skin, under the skin, or in the stuffing will link up with the herbal flavors in the beer and really light up the meal."

For au gratin potatoes he recommends Doppelbock, dunkel, or Oktoberfest marzen; for tiramisu he suggests sweet fruit beer, cream stout, or Baltic porter; and for wild boar Oliver suggests strong Scotch ale.

Oliver hopes to make people realize that beer is more than just something to drink while watching a ball game, but is, in fact haute cuisine.

posted by hiikeeba at 07:12 2 comments

16 May 2006

AHS Hop Ball

While brewing the Kentucky Common, I was also conducting 2 experiments. The first experiment was the anise. I once used spruce essence in a beer. It was nasty! Ever since, I've been leery of strong spices in beers. Yeah, I've done cinnamon, cardemom and coriander, but the smell of the anise was so strong, I am afraid the beer will be undrinkable.

The second experiment was using what Austin Homebrew Shop called hop balls. These little jewels did reduce the amount of trub that went into my fermenter. I put one ounce of pellet hops into each ball, and thought to myself, "Why they'll hold two ounces." At the end of the boil, however, I noticed that the hops had expanded to fill the entire ball. I opened each hop ball and looked at a huge, green golfball. I plopped the hops into the trash and wondered how much of the alpha acids were extracted. The outside of the hop sphere was a brownish green, the inside, bright green.

I sampled the beer, and it tasted like an slightly sweetened tea. There was a tiny hint of anise, but very little hop flavor. We'll see what it's like next week when I transfer the beer to secondary.

posted by hiikeeba at 20:22 0 comments

14 May 2006

Kentucky Common Bath #1 - Session Notes

I brewed the Kentucky Common Beer yesterday, and everything went pretty much as planned. I steeped the specialty grains (2 lbs 2 oz) in 2.5 quarts of water, and mashed at 150° F for 45 minutes. Then I strained the mash liquor into my kettle, and added a gallon and a half of water and boiled as outlined.

I used wire mesh balls to add the hops, and I am curious to see how the beer turns out. I don't know if there was enough hop flavor added to the beer.

I would offer the OG readings, but, I didn't get one. SIGH!

posted by hiikeeba at 14:04 0 comments

12 May 2006

John Guepel - Pioneer Brewer

John Geupel was born in 1829 at Wunsiedel, Germany. His parents died in separate tragedies and he learned tinsmithing. In 1844, he came to the United States. He arrived in New York and traveled to Alabama. Eventually, he wound up in Marlin, Texas, where he joined the Texas 20th Regiment of the Confederate Infantry, and fought in the Civil War.

In 1868, he was in Cleburne, where he founded the Cleburne Brewery. The brewery faced Main Street on Buffalo Bayou, the water source. Geupel brought German lager recipes to Texas. Originally, he sold his Old German Lager for ten cents a bottle. Then he had an ingenious marketing idea: Package twelve bottles together for a one-time sale for $1.29. The idea was so popular that, even though he still sold his bottles for ten cents, no one bought them.

He brought in Fritz Wulfert as a partner, apparently in 1875, when only Wulfert is listed in the tax records. That same year, they sold the brewery to Fritz and Elijah Guffee.

This information came from Randall Scott, who has written a novel featuring his great-great-grandfather, John Geupel, called The Tinner. He also added some followup information on the final fate of the Cleburne Brewery.

"The Guffee brothers knew nothing about brewing beer so they partnered with Mike Dixon, a self-proclaimed Brewmaster whose only expertise was mass consumption of the brew. A couple of years later, deep in debt, Dixon killed John Guffee on Cleburne's downtown boardwalk in an argument over the proceeds from the brewery, one buffalo nickel. Elijah saw the murder of his brother from across the town square where he immediately leveled his rifle and dropped Dixon on the spot.

"Dixon came from a good family and was well liked by the community of townsfolk who quickly rioted into an angry mob. They chased Elijah to 4th street, north of the square, where he barricaded himself inside the Cleburne Brewery. To coerce him outside, the Sheriff offered him sanctuary from the mob violence and their vigilante punishment (a Texas necktie party.) It got nasty when the mob broke inside and Elijah quickly surrendered to the Sheriff. After a short trial and an unceremonious conviction, Elijah Guffee was hanged for the murder of Mike Dixon."

With both John and Elijah, and well as their "brewmaster," dead, the brewery closed in 1878.

I have written a book Historic Texas Breweries that describes the history of brewing in Texas. You can also visit my web site TexasBreweries.com


posted by hiikeeba at 20:39 2 comments

10 May 2006

Kentucky Common Batch #1 - Part 1

I just purchased the ingredients to brew a Kentucky Common beer. Here's the ingredient list for a 5 gallon batch:

1 lb flaked maize
1/2 lb flaked rye
1/2 lb carapils
2 oz chocolate malt
5 lbs dark liquid extract
1 oz tettang hops (4.5% AA) 60 minutes
1 oz Hallertau hops (4.5% AA) 30 minutes
1 oz (?) anise 30 minutes
White Labs Belgian Ale Yest

I also purchased two hop balls which can hold 1 oz of hop pellets. I'm hoping this will help reduce the amount of trub in my fermenters.

I will also use the Good Eats brewing method: cooling the wort with an 8 lb bag of ice. I am impressed with how quickly the temperature comes down on previous batches, and so far, I haven't had any off flavors.

I hope to brew on Saturday.

You will recall, of course, that Kentucky Common beer is America's only other native beer style, and probably developed alongside the whiskey distilleries in Kentucky.


posted by hiikeeba at 10:45 1 comments

08 May 2006

AHS Belgian Wit - part 4

I put the keg into the cooler today to sit for two more weeks before tasting.

I sampled it when i was kegging and I wasn't too happy with my results. It was a crisp, smooth beer, but no orange peel flavor, no coriander flavor. I want a Celis, dammit! I still curse Miller for buying, then killing the brewery!

I think my next batch will be a Kentucky Common beer.

posted by hiikeeba at 07:37 0 comments

06 May 2006


Coastr is an experiment in social networking for beer snobs (don't worry, they mean it in a good way). Simply create an account, add your list of favorite beers, and your favorite place to drink beer. This will allow you to connect with other beer snobs (in a good way) and discover new beers.

posted by hiikeeba at 07:34 0 comments

04 May 2006

Any takers?

My blog is worth $2,822.70.
How much is your blog worth?

posted by hiikeeba at 09:38 1 comments

02 May 2006

Beer and Food Pairings

The Salem, Oregon Statesman-Journal published a story about the Blooms and Brews festival held over the past weekend. While it was a fairly typical article about a beer festival, I thought the advice on pairing beers and food was pretty interesting. I have reprinted it here:

If you're going to Blooms & Brews and want to know which beer to have with your Apricot Chipotle Pork Ribs (one of the menu options), or if you just want to know which microbrew to serve at your next dinner party, try some of these tips from [Jay] Zink:

Appetizer/first course

Hefeweizen, a beer made with malted wheat and often served with a lemon, is a good choice, Zink said. These beers work as an aperitif before you've tried any food, or with salads and other light appetizers. Another option is to try a fruit-infused wheat beer, especially with a fruity dish (such as a raspberry vinaigrette). Try something like Pyramid Apricot Ale or Widberry (a wheat berry infused with black raspberry).

Main course

Any kind of pale ale or lager will usually work, whether you're eating pizza or steak. Zink said pales or lagers especially compliment spicy foods and help wash away the spices from your mouth.

Fish dishes also are well-matched with lighter beers or wheat beers. Pork is a bit sweeter, so Zink recommends amber beers with pork dishes. For instance, with the barbecued pork ribs, he recommended a Drop Top Amber Ale from Widmer Brothers.


There isn't a dessert option at Blooms & Brews this year, but pairing sweets with beer is an increasingly popular option.

Any kind of rich dessert -- whether it's a chocolate torte or cheesecake -- can be served with a dark beer such as a stout or porter. Many restaurants and brewers now combine beer and sweets to make desserts such as the Terminator Chocolate Milkshake, which the McMenamins restaurant chain serves at some of its locations. Dark Terminator Stout beer is mixed with ice cream and chocolate syrup for a decadent treat.

For lighter, fruity desserts such as cherry pie, an amber beer would be recommended.

posted by hiikeeba at 15:39 1 comments