30 September 2009

Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg this weekend

Join us in celebrating the fun and flavor of Fredericksburg's German heritage! Two stages of entertainment including oompah, waltzes, polkas, contests, and dancers; a variety of authentic German food and multiple varieties of cold drinks; 40 artisans; Kinderpark for the kids; souvenirs galore, and much more!

Friday: 6PM – Midnight,
Saturday: 10AM – Midnight,
Sunday: 10AM - 6PM

Adults $6, Kids 6-12 $1, under 6 - free. 2-day passes are $10 per person and are available for Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday. 3-day passes are $15 per person. Tickets can be ordered through the mail with check or money order -- please indicate which days (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun) if you are ordering two-day passes. Make checks payable to Oktoberfest and mail to PO Box 222, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624.

Tickets can also be purchased online.

This year, we've added a Texas Beer section. Blanco's Real Ale Brewing Company will be pouring Fireman's #4, and their Oktoberfest. Austin's Independence Brewing Company will be pouring their Pale ale and the Brown Ale. We contacted (512) Brewing Company, Live Oak Brewing Company, and Franconia Brewing Company but due to the way Oktoberfest is operated, it was logistically impossible for them to participate. Maybe next year. Rahr and Sons Brewing Company never returned our call and apparently does not have a distributor in this area. Also on tap will be Saint Arnold Oktoberfest, Shiner Bock and Shiner 100, and Lone Star and Lone Star Light.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:03 1 comments links to this post

28 September 2009

Well, it's taken long enough!

On my last trip to my LHBS, I picked up a March pump and some fittings. The kettle keeps getting heavier to lift. So I am 2/10th of the way to having a completed brewing system. All I need now is two kegs, three burners, a frame, another pump, and an electronic controller.

C'mon, Lotto!


posted by Jeff Holt at 09:01 0 comments links to this post

26 September 2009

Texas GABF Winners!

The Great American Beer Festival Awards Ceremony just ended and three Texas breweries took home medals: Uncle Billy's Brew & Que in Austin won Gold for Hell in Keller Kellerbier; Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston won a Gold for their Summer Pils; and The Covey Restaurant and Brewery took home two medals, a silver for their Wiezenbock, and a silver for "100," their anniversary brew.

Congratulations to everyone!


posted by Jeff Holt at 14:17 0 comments links to this post

24 September 2009

Don's Famous Horse Cram It In Brown Ale 3

I have revamped the Brown Ale recipe a bit, just to see what would happen. Version one used one pound of Vienna and one pound of Victory Malt and 1.25 pounds of Crystal 40. I have simplified the recipe a bit.

Donn's Famous Horse Cram It In 3
10# 2-row
2# Vienna
2# Munich
.5# Chocolate malt
.75 oz Chinook/60 min
.25 oz Cascade/10 min
WLP 005 English Ale yeast.
Mash at 154 for 60 minutes, and a 60 minute boil.

If I remember correctly, version 2 did well in competitions. I don't know why I changed the grain bill. Maybe a judge suggested it.

I was shooting for an OG of 1.055, and I got 1.048.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:49 0 comments links to this post

23 September 2009

I waited too long!

Patrick Beach at Austin American-Statesman is reporting that Wimberley Brewing Company has closed. But don't panic. Owners Bruce and Holly Collie plan to move the brewery and open a brew pub/pizzeria.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:29 0 comments links to this post

22 September 2009

Black Orchard Wit

So brew day for the Black Jasmine With came, and I wimped out. I decided to brew the recipe in Zymurgy, instead. So I replaced the jasmine tea with chamomile tea and started to brew.

Now that I brew on the back porch and can watch TV, and the temps have fallen a bit, I can brew in the afternoon. Brewing and drinking! Yeah, baby!

Well THAT was a clusterfuck! I may have hit my mash target, but Ninkasi shat all over this brew session. Somehow, ProMash has stopped calculating how much water grain absorbs, and a lower flame caused a much bigger boil off than normal. ANNDD, despite collecting a gallon less of wort, my gravity was .015 low! Oh! And I forgot to add the orange peel until I started chilling. No more afternoon brewdays for me! Going to start at 7 am, next time, when I can think clearly!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:35 3 comments links to this post

20 September 2009

Another Food and Beer pairing Article

Denise Hoepfner, with the Lufkin Daily News, has written a good, basic food pairing guide. Check it out. My only complaint is that I don't believe Jimmy Buffett actually brews Land Shark himself.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:30 0 comments links to this post

18 September 2009

Food and Beer Pairing Chart

For the last few weeks, I have been working on a food pairing chart. I put four different resources together on one chart. You can find it here. I maintain the website for the Basin Brewers, so I gave them the chart so they could host it.

Let me know what you think!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 04:33 0 comments links to this post

16 September 2009

Fort Worth's Grace Restaurant adds Craft Beer to Menu

Fort Worth's Grace has added craft beers to it's wine list.

"American microbrewers are leading the world in experimentation" said [sommolier Ryan] Tedder, who has assembled what many serious beer lovers would agree is a masterful selection of 21 varieties.

They include such excellent U.S. brews as Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout and Brother Thelonious Belgian-style abbey ale (from California’s North Coast Brewing), Brooklyn Local No. 1 ale (Brooklyn Brewery in New York), Dead Guy Ale (Rogue Brewery in Newport, Ore.), 90-Minute India Pale Ale (Dogfish Head from Delaware), Golden Monkey ale (Victory Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania) and several standout Texas brands from Rahr (Fort Worth), Franconia (McKinney), Saint Arnold’s (Houston) and Real Ale (Blanco).

If only Cabernet Grill here in Paradise would do the same.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:40 1 comments links to this post

14 September 2009

"Billy Mays" For Divine Reserve 8


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:32 0 comments links to this post

12 September 2009

Fried Pickles and Peacepipe Pale Ale

A Monday afternoon snack at Fredericksburg Brewing Company.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:41 0 comments links to this post

11 September 2009

I Remember

-From My 2001 Vacation

Tuesday September 11, 2001

At about 10 am, the flight attendants began picking up our drinks only a few minutes after giving them to us. The flight had been routine until the co-pilot came on and announced that because of something bad happening "back east," our flight would be diverted to Birmingham, Alabama.

Birmingham?

I pulled out a set of jet flight maps and started looking at where Birmingham was in relationship to home. (In retrospect, that may not have been the smartest move I could have made. The gentleman sitting next to me probably reported a fat man with a beard checking maps in-flight.)

The passengers spent the next half hour or so sitting straight up, wondering what the hell had happened back east. Until we got to the gate, we were pretty much in the dark. One of the flight attendants boarded the plane and told us what happened. She told us to deplane, that we would not be leaving today.

On the way to baggage claim, a security guard was waving people off the concourse and into the terminal like a traffic cop. A guy walking beside me veered into a bar that had a TV on. I started to follow, but she waved me on, "Let's go! Everyone into the terminal!" As I passed the bar, I could see several dozen people crowded around a TV mounted on the wall, transfixed by the flickering images.

It was like a campfire. This one glowing box, transfixed everyone in the bar, shining light onto their faces, and the shadows on their backs blending into one wide, dark mass.

I turned on my cell phone, and was surprised to find a voice mail from the office wondering where I was and if I was okay. I tried to call and see what the heck was going on, but all I could get was a message that said the Sprint network is busy and that I should try again later.

I got both my bags off the carousel, sat down and tried to figure out what I needed to do. I managed to call Donn and got his answering machine and told him where I was. (Until Friday, I was never able to get through to Donn again.) I called home and talked to Dad. I tried calling Steve's cell phone, but the line was busy. I called Rodney and Jeanne. I called the office. I called Mom at work. I called everyone I could think of. Everyone said, "Just hang tight." So I went off to see the folks at Southwest Airlines.

The gal behind the Southwest counter looked frazzled. All she could say is, "I don't know," when I asked what the odds were I would be leaving the next day. She gave me a voucher for a Best Western Suites, and told me that the pick-up point was across from the baggage claim.

Great!

Baggage claim was at the far end of the terminal from the Southwest counter. I had navigated through a throng of addled and confused passengers, and a very visible, and very nervous, police presence to get to here. That included toting the photon torpedo case full of golf clubs up the escalator.

So, back down the escalator to wait for the van to the motel. Meanwhile I passed the rental car folks. They looked like a grocery store at 5 pm on the day before Thanksgiving, and, as a sure sign of the coming Apocalypse, everyone had a cell phone in their ear.

I found the van that took me to the Best Western hotel. A harried, blonde haired guy with authentic Southern accent drove the 15 of us dazed travelers to the hotel. Shortly after we got onto the Interstate, my cell phone rang. Gary's voice said, "Oh, man! I am glad your home!"

"No, I'm in Birmingham."

"That sucks."

"Amen, cousin."

After we chatted a moment, we pulled into the hotel. Hotel? This place looked like an apartment complex. I was seventh or so in line, and they checked me in. The clerk pulled out a map, and said, "Walk out the front door, go left, walk to the top of the hill and turn right. You're on the third floor. Next!"

I gestured dramatically to the photon torpedo tube, and my waistline, hoping to convince the guy that the cost of my imminent coronary was worth, at least, a second floor room. No dice. He was already telling a couple of ladies from Houston (we had chatted on the van) they were on the second floor.

"Bar?" I whispered to a frantically rushing hotel employee who was headed for the front desk. Our driver had already waved goodbye and said, "I'm going back to the airport!"

The young lady stopped in midstride. Apparently concerned with my torpedo tup to waistline display earlier, she asked, "Sir?"

"Where's the bar?"

She brightened quickly, stood straight up and pointed. "Over there, sir!"

It was a four foot bar you would find in someone's basement, complete with two beer taps and three bottles of booze on a small cabinet with a sink behind it.

"It opens at 6 pm, sir!" She said, and then turned and went behind the front desk to help check everyone in. It was 11 am. At this point, liquor was not an option. Silently I cursed Southwest Airlines.

By the time I lugged everything to the top of the hill and up three flights of stairs, everything I was wearing was damp with sweat, and I sounded like Darth Vader. ("*huff* Luke. *huff* I am your father. *huff*") I opened the door to my room and found an apartment only slightly smaller than my last apartment in Austin. I left the photon torpedo tube by the door, flopped onto the couch and watched TV, huffing and sweating.

I tried calling Steve again, but his phone was busy. I called Ann Turner and talked to her. I called Mary Jo and talked to her. I called everyone whose number was on my cell phone.

Here I am, fifteen hundred freakin' miles from home. I am calling people I haven't talked to in a while, just to hear a familiar voice. Just to be reassured that I am not alone. Just to know, that if the end of the world were to come, everyone would know where I was.

I kept trying Steve's cell phone, and got no answer. Then I remembered that I had programmed his new home number. So I called. Steve told me that they had evacuated downtown Baltimore near their World Trade Center. Then Steve paused and said, "They're on the fucking ground, man. The towers. They're on the fucking ground."

You want a title for this piece? That sounds like a good one to me.

I paced the hotel/apartment, calling people, using my minutes. (Travel lesson #1: Get a cell phone with free nationwide long distance. Take it with you everywhere you go, and don't forget to take a desktop charger and a car charger.) Then I got thirsty.

I mentioned that I had to walk uphill to my room. I should also mention that the hotel was about two-thirds of the way up a big hill. Just at the bottom was little convenience store.

God blessed me that day, my friends. He did not strand me in a dry county. I walked to the bottom of the hill, and perused the beer selection.

There were a couple of considerations. It was about noon. I had about $40 bucks left. And the hotel's restaurant opened about the same time as the bar. All I had had to eat since I woke up at Steve's apartment was a couple of bags of Southwest Airlines peanuts. I bought a 12-pack of Coors and bag of chips. Then I walked back uphill to the hotel. Across the street was a moderately sized strip mall, with a Wal-Mart.

Now a quote from Bill Bryson:

"With a pack you walk at a tilt, hunched and pressed forward, eyes to the ground. You trudge; it is all you can do. Without, you are liberated. You walk erect. You amble. Or at least you do for four blocks. Then you come to a mad junction at Burger King and discover that the new six-lane road to Kmart is long, straight, very busy, and entirely without facilities for pedestrians-no sidewalks, no pedestrian crossings, no central refuges, no buttons to push for a walk signal at lively intersections."

Sound familiar? Urban sprawl at work. In another book, The Lost Continent, he describes trying to walk across the driveways of several fast food restaurants without the benefit of sidewalks. Think about your local Wal-Mart. How pedestrian friendly is it? See what I mean? I walked uphill, in the roadside grass almost waist high, until I got back to the office of the hotel. If you are familiar with apartment complexes, it was kind of like the complex office.

Back in the room, after another hour or so of Darth Vader impressions (well, it was a STEEP hill!), I sat down and started drinking my beer, eating chips and watching the talking heads theorize about Osama Bin Laden. Finally I found HBO.

I watched two movies. I still can't remember which movies I watched. My eyes glazed over as I thought about where I was, what I needed to do. But at least I didn't have to watch the towers fall again.

Finally, I took a shower. Hey! I'd been up and down that freakin' hill six times. I could not stop sweating. I put on my emergency, last ditch, set of clothes. (Travel tip#2: Always take one extra set of clothes. Especially underwear!)

I watched the news a bit more, and decided I was hungry. I had been told that the restaurant opened at 6 pm. It was a bit after 8, so I headed downhill to the restaurant.

Six people sat in chairs in front of the bar watching the news. I went into the restaurant, and found that it was a dining room with a buffet table at one end. I checked out everything and realized I was too late. I went back to my room, swearing.

I decided to go to the strip mall to get some fast food. What strip mall genius only puts one fast food place in a strip mall? All I could find was a Subway. So I bought a big sandwich (from a clerk who told me that in Oklahoma gas was $10 a gallon. True, as it turned out, but I poo-pooed him in my mind.), and headed back to my room. I watched the last bit of "The Xmen" as I ate my sandwich and went to bed.

For those of you keeping score, yes, I did drink all the beer.

To read the complete story of my 2001 vacation, click here.


posted by Jeff Holt at 19:17 0 comments links to this post

10 September 2009

Black Jasmine Wit

I bought a sampler pack of Mighty Leaf green tea, and one of the options was Green Tea with Jasmine. So, I came up with this to make a black wit:

5# Belgian pale malt
5.5# flaked wheat
1# flaked oats
1# Munich
12oz carafa III (cold steeped and added to kettle)
1/4 oz Magnum 12%/60 min
.5 oz coriander/5 min
1 orange zested/5 min
.5 ounce jasmine green tea/0 min

Should get me about 1.055, 14 IBUs, and 34.2 SRM.

How will it taste? Good question!

According to the Brewing Association's Beer & Food Matching Chart, Belgian witbier is great with lighter seafood dishes, and is classically paired with steamed mussels; marscapone or herb cheese spread on crackers; banana orange crepes, blood orange sorbet, and panna cotta with lemon.

In The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, Garrett Oliver said it goes well with salads, as long as the dressing isn't verly sweet, and vinaigrettes; goes well with egg dishes (even grilled cheese and ham sandwiches!), and bacon and sausage goes well with witbier, too. Oliver adds that witbier goes well with sushi, sashimi and smoked salmon, and any fish dish prepared with citrus. He also suggests witbier with Mexican and Thai dishes, which pairs well with the coriander in the witbier. Even Indian food can pair with witbier. But witbier doesn't stand up to anything spicy. "Generally speaking, any chicken or pork dishes with brightly flavored preparations will work nicely, especially if they have lemon, lime, or orange flavors," he writes.

Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink says it pairs with mussels, salmon, and chicken.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:51 0 comments links to this post

09 September 2009

Beer Across Texas Available at a store near you!

Paul Hightower and San Antonio beer writer Travis Poling's first book, Beer Across Texas: A Guide to the Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State, was recently released and is in the best book stores across the state. Check Travis' blog, or follow him on Twitter, and he will let you know where he will be autographing his book. Paul's blog is required reading if you want to keep up with the comings and goings of Texas breweries.


posted by Jeff Holt at 04:56 2 comments links to this post

08 September 2009

ACCF Results - I Still Suck

Well, the results are in, and again I was found wanting. At least I didn't spend $20 shipping the beers to the contest. I delivered them.

At least it's not too late to skip Dixie Cup.

Actually, I didn't do too bad:

Old Archaic 27.5
Fruity esters with smoky phenols (yet not overwhelming) with some alcohol nose. "Dark fruit combination leads to high anticipation." Both judges thought it undercarbonated. That kicked me in the ass. If it had been more carbonated this would have easily scored four or five points higher. They also said it needed more body, carbonation, and alcohol in the mouthfeel. Both said it was Wee Heavy like. Do they serve pot at the judging? Just curious.

Tropical Green Tea Abbey Wiezen 26
Both judges said it had a phenolic, plastic aroma, and barnyard type notes. One wrote "Where's the tea?" One guy gave me a 1.5/3 for appearance, the other 3/3 (WTF?). Tart, sour, horse blanket flavors with no tea. They disagreed strongly on the body, and both agreed there was some brett in the beer. They thought it was good, but one guy really wanted tea flavors.

Saison Ete 37.5
Spicy phenols, grapefruit, citrus, faint malt sweetness. One judge noticed pear and honey aromas. Cloudy, head dissipates too quickly. Spicy hop bitterness, malt sweetnes, tropical fruit. Medium full body spice notes a residual sugar in the mouth feel. The certified judge it needed some age in the bottle. He also said "Boost priming sugar and use stronger bottles." (?? Can't enter stronger bottles--Gotta use longnecks)

And this year's shirt is pretty cool, too.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:36 0 comments links to this post

07 September 2009

Fredericksburg Brewing Company's 15th Anniversary - Sept 9

Come celebrate the Fredericksburg Brewing Company's 15th Birthday, Wednesday September 9 from 5 to 8 pm. There will be music by the Raggady Cats and complimentary appetizers. Fredericksburg Brewing Company is at 245 East Main Street. Call (830) 997-1646 for more information.

posted by Jeff Holt at 10:34 0 comments links to this post

06 September 2009

Dixie Cup Entry Deadline 9/25

If you are entering beer in the Dixie Cup, you have until September 25! Check out the details here: dixiecup.crunchyfrog.net/


posted by Jeff Holt at 07:40 0 comments links to this post

04 September 2009

Shiner Commemerator and Gorgonzola Sauce

The Dallas Morning News recently ran a food pairing story featuring Shiner Commemerator. Chef Brian Olenjack created Smoked Beef Tenderloin With Gorgonzola Cream Sauce inspired by Shiner's 100th anniversary beer.

"The sweetness in the blue cheese helps that beer," says Olenjack. "Gorgonzola is not as heavy as a typical blue cheese. I wanted something that was pungent without being overpowering." His sauce recipe proves that just a little gorgonzola goes a long way. But it doesn't take long to prepare; the gorgonzola cream sauce cooks in mere minutes.
If you're on a budget, do a burger riff on Olenjack's beef and blue cheese theme. Pair the beer with bacon burgers topped with blue cheese-spiked mayonnaise and caramelized onions. Chances are you'll enjoy the Shiner Commemorator with any number of beef and blue cheese combos.

Inspired by this story, I will start investigating beer and food pairings and sharing them with you.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:57 0 comments links to this post

02 September 2009

Welton's Wild Cow Wiezenbock - Take Two!

Waay back in January of 2008, Satan and I attempted a wiezenbock. Somehow we fouled things up and wound up with a dunkelwiezen. It wasn't bad beer. We entered in the the 2008 Nationals and advanced to the second round. I have finally worked up the nerve to try it again.

Welton's Wild Cow Wiezenbock
11# red malt
6# Pilsner malt
3# Munich Malt
.5# Special B
.5# Crystal 40
4 oz Pale Chocolate
2 oz Hallertauer 3.9%/60
Wyeast 3068
Mash at 152° for 60 minutes.

According to the Brewing Association's Beer & Food Matching Chart, wiezenbock pairs well with roast pork, beef, smoked ham or game dishes; aged Provalone or Spanish Manchego cheese; pine nut torte with dried fruit, and banana souflée. And in The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, Garrett Oliver said it also goes well with duck and venison. And Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink adds big desserts to the mix.

I wonder if it would go with Banana Pudding?

About the name. My dad's uncle was Welton Holt. He was a rancher in Coleman County, and my dad helped him work cows. One time, they were branding calves on the Colorado River, when a young calf kicked Uncle Welton three times on the shin. Dad said is hit like a machine gun: bam bam bam. Uncle Welton kicked the cow back three times and said, "How do you like that, you son of a bitch?"

Anyway, I was shooting for 1.075 and got 1.068. Just when I think I have this stuff all figured out. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:32 0 comments links to this post