31 August 2007

Micheal Jackson, The Beer Hunter - March 1942-August 2007

Micheal Jackson, (not the one glove wearing singer and alleged pedophile) the British Beer critic known as The Beer Hunter passed away on August 30. Jackson had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for the last 10 years.

Cheers, Micheal. You will be missed.



FYI, my uncle has Parkinson's Disease. You can use the spare processor power of your computer to help find a cure for Parkinson's disease by running Folding@Home. There's even a client for your PS3. When you're not gaming, work for the cure.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:13 0 comments links to this post

30 August 2007

Coconut Chocolate stout and Kentucky Common notes

In anticipation of visiting Satan to discuss our brewing plans for Nationals next year, I used my beer gun to bottle a few dopplebocks in 12 oz bottles, and a 32 oz Coconut Chocolate Stout, and a 32 oz Kentucky Common. I thought I would let you know what I thought of my brews.

Coconut Chocolate Stout—Last time I made this, I added the chocolate powder to the priming sugar and water solution. The beer was gritty, so I thought I would add the chocolate to secondary. Well, the experiment did add some chocolate flavor. But the first thing I tasted was roasted malts. There was a hint of chocolate, and then a wisp of coconut. No. I'm not happy. I wanted more coconut.

Kentucky Common—Sour. I should have added anise to the boil. It would have cut some of the sour. I ordered the ingredients for the next batch. Believe me, anise will be in the boil. I also madae sure to get Williams Brewing Company's American Lager extract, made with corn, so I don't have to futz around with a cereal mash.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:08 0 comments links to this post

28 August 2007

Too late for this Legislative session, but. . .

Texas has some restrictive laws that penalize microbreweries and brewpubs alike. For example, a microbrewery may not have state wide distribution, and if you visit their brewery, are prohibited from selling you a single bottle of their beer. They are even prohibited from telling you where to purchase their product. The beer distributors lobby opposes any change in that law. Wineries, on the other hand, can sell you a truckload of wine, tell you where you can buy, and can probably even ship it to you. Distributors probably oppose that as well, but too late, it's law.

Brewpubs may sell you a growler, but may not bottle their beers to sell to distributors for sale in other stores. Wineries with restaurants are not bound by that law either.

It's time to bring some sense to the laws regarding beer and wine in the State of Texas. Let's make wineries and microbreweries operate by the same law regarding distribution.

Step One: Write your state representative. Don't know who that is? Look here. I'm not going to tell you what to write, but be polite and sincere. Don't be abusive and snide. If you don't like their reply, write them again. And again. Hold their feet to the fire, and let them know you want them to be responsive to the citizens of Texas, not some lobbyist for beer distributors.

Step Two: If you take a wine tour, ask the proprietor where they stand on the issue. If they think it would be a great idea, then buy a case of their wine. If they don't ask them what stores sell their wine. You want to be fair to microbreweries, after all.

Step Three: Talk to your friends. Encourage them to write their representatives.

Step Four: Support your local microbrewery. Ask for that beer at every restaurant and store you shop at. Let the retailer know you want it. Ask them how you can help them change the law.

Texas could have a vibrant beer culture, like Colorado has. But you and I are going to have to work to get it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:59 2 comments links to this post

26 August 2007

Getting Ready for Oktoberfest

I'm sure that this is wrong on so many levels. But I needed the breather.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:46 0 comments links to this post

24 August 2007

Kirin Brewing introduces new premium beer

Riding the popularity of craft beers, Kirin Brewing Company has released its first premium beer in 14 years. Kirin Nippon Premium debuted after rivals Sapporo and Asahi had released their premium brands, made with more malt then their regular beers and with malt and hops raised in Japan, and is expected to sell for ¥249 ($2.05 US).

Anyone in Japan want to tell us about this?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:35 0 comments links to this post

22 August 2007

Southern Star Brewing Company - Conroe, TX

A new microbrewery is opening in Conroe, TX: Southern Star Brewing Company. They received their fermenters at the end of July. No word on when they expect to start brewing. But when they do, remember to ask for their beer at every place you dine or shop!

Thanks to Drinking Beer in Texas for the news.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:33 0 comments links to this post

20 August 2007

Freetail Brewing Company

Travis Poling, business writer for the San Antonio Express-News, has reported that San Antonio's second brewpub will open on the Northeast corner of Loop 1604 and Military Drive. Called Freetail Brewing Company (which sounds like it should be in Austin), it hopes to open in 2008.

Texas' long brewpub drought may soon be ending!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 20:29 0 comments links to this post

18 August 2007

Kentucky Common quick sample notes

Yesterday, I sampled the Kentucky Common beer. Talk about tart! It's a pretty dry beer, not much residual sweetness, and the sour taste almost overwhelms the flavor. I didn't notice any hop flavors, but they may have been masked by the sour taste.

I'm going to let it age two more weeks. I will use my new Beer Gun to bottle a six pack to take to Satan for his evaluation.

I know I'm on the right track, though. Once I get my mashing under control, I should be making a pretty nice beer.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:09 2 comments links to this post

16 August 2007

Foster's - Texan for Beer!

For the last few years, all Fosters and Special Bitter brands sold in the US were brewed here by Molson Coors. Now, Miller Distributing will begin brewing Fosters in Fort Worth and Albany, Georgia.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:52 0 comments links to this post

14 August 2007

I Did a Baaaaad Thing

I've been wanting a stainless steel conical fermenter for a few years. The idea that the same vessel can be used for primary and secondary fermentation appeals to me because I'm lazy. So the other day, I did an eBay search for conical fermenter and found one (actually 60) for $229.

I thought about it. And I thought about it. And I pondered some more. Then I checked my email and discovered that I had bought one. It was one of those "1-800-Drunk" moments, although I was at work and stone, cold sober. It was one of those "Shopping in my underwear" moments, even though I was at work and fully dressed.

So the fermenter is on the way. We'll see how I like it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 18:55 0 comments links to this post

12 August 2007

Thinking About the Holidays

As the "Summer Without Sun" winds down, my thoughts turn to Holiday Beer. I served Charlie's Holiday Cheer at last year's company Christmas party, and the boss offered to buy the ingredients for this year's batch. I also want to brew Hookarms Dark Holiday Ale again. That one, I'll have to pay for.

I don't think I will make any changes to Charlie's Holiday Cheer. But I am going to change Hookarm's Dark Holiday Ale. The last time I made it, I used three vanilla beans added at the end of the boil, then strained out and 1 tsp cardemom. I am going to omit the cardemom. After a little Googling, I ran across a couple other ways to add the vanilla:

Option 1: Add more chopped vanilla in secondary fermentation.

Option 2: Cut the bean lengthwise, scrape the insides with a knife blade, and add both the husks and the interior matter into a glass. Top off with just enough vodka to cover it all, and let it sit for a day. Then add to my secondary fermenter.

Option 3: Soak 4 oz. of American Oak Chips in 8 oz. of Bourbon for a few days with two chopped vanilla beans while the beer is in primary, then adding it to the secondary fermenter.

There are drawbacks to all of these options. I want a smooth, dark beer with just a hint of roasted malts and a lot of vanilla in the finish. Option 3 let's me add bourbon to the flavor, which I like, but I don't know that I want in this.

Ahhh. Decisions. Decisions.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:18 0 comments links to this post

10 August 2007

Eola School and Lodge - Eola, Texas

My cousin, affectionately referred to here as Satan 'cause he's the devil, has longed dreamed of opening a brewpub in San Angelo, somewhere downtown, along the Concho River. I think it's about time that a brewpub opens in West Texas.

But, he too late.

According to BeerAdvocate.com, there's one in Eola, Texas. Eola is a small farming community a few miles east of San Angelo, south of Paint Rock. The school in Eola closed twenty years ago and sat vacant until James "Mark" Cannon purchased it a couple of years ago. He is the only employee. He's brewer, chef, waiter, and janitor.

According to Steve's Soapbox, the beer costs $2 a pint, and $16 for a growler, and $10 for the refill of said growler. And Mark is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

I'm going to Midland in a couple of weeks to visit Satan. Sounds like I have need to stop by.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 19:52 1 comments links to this post

08 August 2007

Interested in turning Pro?

"Brewers currently working in breweries are able to study for an industry-respected brewing qualification, and those looking to switch careers can study and train while keeping their day jobs," The American Brewers Guild offers online courses in the brewing arts.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:00 0 comments links to this post

06 August 2007

Coconut Chocolate Stout Kegged

The stout is in the keg. The FG was 1.015 (OG was 1.059), which gives it 5.5% alcohol.

The sample tasted slightly chocolaty. The recipe called for the coco powder to be mixed with the water and sugar at kegging. Last time I did that, the beer was gritty This time, I added the coco powder and 1 cup of boiling water to the beer in secondary, where I hoped the beer would pick up some of the flavor without the grit. I also noticed some alcoholy/phenoly off flavors that might be a result of too high a fermentation temperature. The alcohol seemed to get high in the nose, if you know what I mean. Otherwise, it tasted darn nice. A couple of weeks in the closet to carbonate, then a few weeks in the cooler to age, and it should be good to drink by, say by Oktoberfest. If I can keep my hands off it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:24 0 comments links to this post

04 August 2007

2007 Shiner Bocktoberfest Cancelled

When Bocktoberfest moved from the grounds of the brewery and onto land leased by the city, it started losing money, despite drawing tens of thousands of music lovers. As a result, Gambrinus chairman Carlos Alvarez has canceled Bocktoberfest after 13 years.

Alvarez said that organizing the event required more and more time from brewery employees, and that the brewery needs to focus on expansion. Shiner is now in 35 states, and recently entered the Chicago market.

The expansion of the Shiner brewery will help offset the lose of the lucrative Corona business Gambrinus once enjoyed, and, thankfully, spares the brewery from sale to SAB-Miller, as was rumored last year.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:35 1 comments links to this post

02 August 2007

Cliff Clavin's Theory of Beer

"A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. When the herd is hunted, the slow and weak at the back are killed first. The speed and health of the herd keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

"In the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as its slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. Naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.

"In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:05 1 comments links to this post