30 November 2011

Social Media Users Love Beer

You know how beer snobs, excuse me, Craft Beer Entushiasts get when Budweiser or Coors is mentioned?  Exactly! They say things like "If you like crappy beer, I guess it's okay."  Then they look down their noses like someone just stepped in dog poo.

Turns out, on social media, Budweiser, Miller and Coors are much more popular, and the users who support the brands have more followers than Craft Beer Entushiasts.

Social media users were generally very positive about all the major beer brands, with only Budweiser receiving any significant amount of negative comment. Budweiser was the least loved popular beer brand over the 12 months, with 31% of opinions expressing a negative sentiment about the American beer giant. 
Guinness (DGE), on the other hand, was the most loved beer on social media. 82% of opinions expressed enthusiasm for the Irish favorite. Social media users made a positive association between Ireland, pubs and Guinness that led to a flood of positive comment for the world's most famous stout.  



posted by hiikeeba at 08:30 1 comments

28 November 2011

A New Beer Style

I have an idea for a new beer style.

Take a blonde ale, and add Carafa II.  That will add color without roast flavor.

I will call it Black Blonde Ale. Or Niki Minaj. Or Texas Black Ale.

Whaddaya think?


posted by hiikeeba at 07:12 0 comments

26 November 2011

Spoetzl Brewing Wins Three Medals in Europe

Shiner Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest (a seasonal that began after its first release as Shiner 96) won a silver medal in the German Märzen-style category. Both Shiner’s Bohemian Black Lager and Old Time brought home bronze medals in their respective categories at the 8th annual European Beer Star Awards. There were 1,100 beers in 49 categories, a 20% increase over last year.

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posted by hiikeeba at 13:30 0 comments

25 November 2011

Black Friday Post: An Exclusive Beer

posted by hiikeeba at 18:32 0 comments

24 November 2011

Bottle Aged Beers and the Yuck Factor

I think it was Gallagher who said that the phrase "picky eater" meant the same as "big pain in the ass." i could be wrong.  I went through a comedy phase in my early 20s and listened to hundreds of comedy tapes.

At any rate, I am a picky eater.  I don't like raw onions (will eat them cooked), raw tomatoes (again, cooked are okay), corn (Isn't it funny how most holiday salads and pot luck dishes are 50% corn?), broccoli, cauliflower, avocado or sweet potatoes (depending on how they are cooked.  I also dislike most boiled vegetables.

A few years ago, I made Dirk's Elixir Wheat Porter and forgot to order Carafa malt. It was a light tan and had the opacity of milk.  It was good, but I had to fight to choke it down.  I finally added some cinnamar to the keg, and finally got it black.  My JZ's BYO IPA turned out cloudy and milky too.  I can drink a couple or three pints before I have to move on.

A few days ago, I drank a Ranger Creek La Bestia Amiable (It wasn't an OPA, but what am I supposed to do?  They won't brew the OPA!) La Bestia is a damn fine beer. It's everything a Belgian dark ale should be, and then aged in oak barrels.

I have a 10 ounce Belgian tulip glass that I prefer to use with these darker, stronger beers. Since La Bestia comes in a 750ml bottle, I had to pour about three times. The first couple of glasses were hazy brown and went down really well.  The third pour, I tried to keep an eye on the dregs at the bottom of the bottle. A couple of thick brown chunkies fell into the glass.  The beer clouded up, and I decided to soldier on. After all, that yeast is full of B vitamins and it won't kill me.

Until the last few sips, I was ok.  But as I tilted the glass to my lips, I spotted a thick chunk of yeast at the bottom of the glass. I got the sip down, but my mind decided that the beer had become nasty.  A couple of dry heaves later, the last half glass of La Bestia went into the sink, and I went off in search of something filtered.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:30 0 comments

23 November 2011

Thanksgiving Beer Pairing Articles

You still have time to fill up your beer fridge for Thanksgiving.  Here are a couple of articles to help you stock up.

When Beer Meets Bird

"As far as pairings are concerned, turkey is a relatively neutral protein," said Ted Miller, brewer at Brugge Brasserie in Broad Ripple. "A wide variety of beers work -- from a clean and crisp pilsner, to a dark and malty dopplebock, to a sweet and complex Belgian strong ale."

 Beer Pairings For a Thanksgiving Day Feast

A rule of thumb for a successful pairing is that the drink should complement the food with either a contrasting or similar flavor profile.
The challenge is that pairings work best with a singular soul mate like an artisan cheese or a lush dessert. The Thanksgiving experience is hardly a monogamous encounter, making it a challenge for any beer connoisseur. Fortunately, with the right lineup, beer can win over the ardent wine lover when the most important meal of the year is on the line. 
Beers for the Thanksgiving Table

Craft beer has graduated to the point where it should be just as acceptable to serve a bottle of fine ale to well-dressed dinner guests as a bottle of wine. You have to be choosy, though. Plopping a six of Heineken next to the bowl of cranberries isn’t going to cut it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


posted by hiikeeba at 13:38 0 comments

22 November 2011

Pre-thanksgiving Pub Visit

As Thanksgiving approaches, thing here in Paradise get a mite busy. I took a couple of vacation days this week, and decided on one last visit to Fredericksburg Brewing Company before the hordes descend upon the town.

While I appreciate what the GDTs (Gosh Darn Tourists (a designation I first heard from my legendary Uncle Donn who worked in DC)) contribute to the economy, I can also dislike mixing in with them. Too long in the retail/service industries, I guess.

I can tell you that Fritztown Brown is wonderful, even if a day old. And Hoppy Holidays is coming soon!

All too soon, I will be headed back to the bunker until Monday.

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posted by hiikeeba at 16:03 0 comments

AB-InBev Pushes Distributors to Focus on Their Brands

The three tier system is supposed to put a buffer between the manufacturer and the consumer and prevent monopolies. That isn't to say that the manufacturers can't dictate what is sold on our store shelves, however.

On November 15, in Dallas at ABI National Distributors meeting, representatives from Anheuser Busch-InBev told their distributors that they need to focus on the AB-InBev products.  It won't have much impact on the market as it stands, but AB-InBev wholesalers will be picking up fewer new craft beers, while MillerCoors will pick them up all day long and laugh their way to the bank as AB-InBev share of market continues to fall.

Imagine a Big Bud Distributor with a 45% share of market, where the MillerCoors distributor has 45% and independents have 10%.  BBD sells his 20% of non AB-InBev product so he can polish a few apples at corporate headquarters.  His SOM falls instantly to 25%. And if MillerCoors and the independents which buy half of BBD's brands, their SOM goes to 55% and 20%, respectively. And with only 25% of the market, your really have to focus on Bud and Bud Light.

Now imagine a small craft brewer who want's a distributor. He can't go with BBD, so he chooses to go with one of the others. As more and more new breweries enter the market, BBD's share continues to fall.

Conlin Beverage Consulting, source of this little thought experiment, is encouraging MillerCoors distributors to step up and take advantage of the blunder on AB-InBev's part.


posted by hiikeeba at 10:06 0 comments

20 November 2011

Thank you, HEB

If you mosey over to HEB.com you will find a page asking us to buy Texas Beer at HEB. And their list of Texas beer? Shiner, Saint Arnold, Real Ale, Independence, and Southern Star. No mention of Jester King, Rahr & Sons. Ranger Creek, or Austin Beerworks. (I don't think any of the other new breweries are bottling yet.)

It's good to see HEB starting to advertize Texas Craft Beer.  They've been running ads telling us their produce, meat, seafood and other goods are from Texas.  I have been shouting back at the screen, "What about Texas beer?"

I suspect that HEB would not be allowed to say they have Texas made beers on TV.  AB-InBev (with a Houston brewery) and SABMillerCoors (with a Fort Worth brewery) would demand they show all the brands they make in Texas.

To be fair, though, my HEB does carry Jester King and Rahr & Sons. And they have just remodeled their beer section and increased the amount of craft beer they carry.  (Most of it from brewpubs in other states. Sigh.)

It's very difficult to get your product into an HEB store. You have to go to San Antonio and meet with the corporate bigwigs who will be interested in your product, but what some assurances you will be able to keep enough product on hand for them to be profitable. They make no money when your shelf space is empty. In a former life, I worked in a grocery store, and the manager's first rule was: You can sell a hole in a whorehouse, but you can't sell a hole in a grocery store.

So, my hat's off to HEB for attempting to promote local beer.

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posted by hiikeeba at 08:13 0 comments

18 November 2011

Bud Light Platinum

In another move to capture some of the Craft Beer market, Anheuser-Busch InBev will be replacing Bud Light Platinum!

Bud Light Platinum will clock in at 6% alcohol and taste sweeter than regular Bud Light and have only 137 calories.  For comparison, Bud Light (4.2%) has 110 calories and Budweiser (5%) has 145 calories.

It will be brewed in Baldwinsville, New York, Cartersville, Georgia and Los Angeles, and will hit store shelves at the end of January 2012.

Conspicuously absent from the list above is the Houston Brewery.  Since Bud Light Platinum is 6% alcohol, and would have to be labeled as an Ale in Texas, instead of beer (everything over 4% alcohol1 is either ale or malt liquor. In Texas, beer is anything less that 4% alcohol), I wonder if it will even be distributed here?

Or are AB-InBev's employees in our Legislature already revamping the definition of beer to be anything below 6.2%?


posted by hiikeeba at 15:55 0 comments

16 November 2011

I Heart Barley Wine

I love barley wine.

I miss Old Ruffian barley wine.  It disappeared from my local bottle shop a year ago, and I've not seen it anywhere else.

I've been able survive with Real Ale Sisyphus at my local, but it comes in 12 ounce bottles, not bombers like Old Ruffian. (Real Ale self distributes to our town, and keeps us pretty well supplied with barley wine. Naturally, Austin and San Antonio get the first annual release of Sisyphus. Normally, The Great Texas Beer Desert™ lags about a year behind. For example, up until about May or June, I was buying 2009 Sisyphus here in Paradise, up until about may. In Austin, they were only selling 2010 Sisyphus.

I'm not complaining!  I know I will get aged Sisyphus in a few months after all the Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston beer geeks get it.  And I will be able to buy it longer than they will.  I can live with that.

Bu-uutt, last week, I visited Kerrville and San Antonio (both on I-10), and discovered Bigfoot 2011.  Still not here in Paradise.  In fact my local bottle shop tells me Bigfoot doesn't get released until February.

At least, that's what the distributors tell her. And distributors wouldn't lie. . .

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posted by hiikeeba at 07:35 2 comments

14 November 2011

How Is This Different than eBay Sales?

Every year, Surly Brewing Company in Minnesota releases Darkness Imperial Stout.  They brewed almost 20,000 bottles this year. Except for one liquor store, the beer retails for less than $20.  Surdyk's, a giant liquor chain in Minneapolis, sold out if it's allocation for $39.99 a bottle, prompting cries of a boycott. I want to know why people are outraged. Go on eBay! I'm sure you can find a bottle for $150!

Seriously, why are people upset about this?  We buy beer from people on eBay at hugely inflated prices without a second thought. Where's the outrage about that?

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posted by hiikeeba at 08:15 0 comments

12 November 2011

Houston Beer Week and Dalla Beer Week Kick Off Today

Houston Beer Week kicks off with a Monsters of Beer Charity Festival in Guadalupe Plaza Park, and with over 100 microbrew choices. The proceeds go to local start-up charities, and 3,000 tickets are available.

Dallas Beer Week will include dinners, rare keg tappings, and special tastings all next week, culminating in a Saturday afternoon Beer Festival at Fair Park's Food & Fiber Pavilion building, featuring a dozen craft beer companies from Texas and more than two dozen craft breweries from around the U.S., including prestige labels such as Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, and Lagunitas.

Dallas Beer Week is organized by Cathy Clark and Jay Rascoe, the same people who organize Houston Beer Week.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:45 0 comments

11 November 2011


Guess who works till 8 pm on the 16th!

From The Jester King Press Release:

On Wednesday, 11/16, Jester King and Mikkeller will join forces for our second official collaboration and our first ever joint brewing day. We will be making the Texas edition of Beer Geek Brunch, which we’ve decided to call “Ale”/“Malt Liquor” in TX Geek Brunch. This will also be Jester King’s first official Open Brew Day.

From noon to 8pm, we are inviting a limited number of guests to come meet Mikkel Borg Bjergø and Thomas Schön from Mikkeller, watch us brew, and sample some “Danish-American BBQ” courtesy of chef Jakob Mielcke Hansen from one of Europe’s most highly renowned restaurants, Mielcke & Hurtigkarl in Copenhagen. The cost is $30 per adult, which includes parking, access to and use of brewery grounds, samples of Jakob’s delicious food, a souvenir glass, a personalized tour of the brewery, and time to interact with the brewers in a relaxed, casual setting. Of course, we’ll also have free samples of various Jester King and Mikkeller beers, and maybe even one or two other special guest beers, available throughout the day. Tickets are available online at this link:


Be sure to bring printed copy of your ticket and a photo ID that matches the name on the ticket.

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posted by hiikeeba at 07:23 0 comments

Happy Veterans Day!

This is a picture of my cousin Satan and his unit in Afghanistan in 2002-2003.  Satan retired from the Army shortly after returning home.  A couple of his buddies took a second tour and gave their lives in Afghanistan.  Take a few moments today to thank a veteran.

Thanks, SGTSatan!  We're proud of you! No go brew some beer!

posted by hiikeeba at 06:58 0 comments

10 November 2011

Dia La Muerta 2011

On Saturday, I met my nephew at Freetail Brewing Company for the annual La Muerta bottle release. We got there about 10 am, and were giving stickers, with numbers on it like before, to put on our shirts. Mine was #132, and his was #133

It was a cool crisp morning, and I sorta hoped that would keep the crowd down. No such luck, though. I spotted the usual gang of people and the Nephew and I found us a place to chat at the top of our lungs. We talked about the boys, the plans for Thanksgiving, and Skyrim (which we have both pre-ordered). Finally, folks started lining up. Since were in the 100s, we waited a half hour before joinging the line, which started at the bar on the far right of the building and snaked past the front door to the far wall on the left.

As we slipped into line between 126 and 155 (near the door to the patio on the right), 155 told us "They aren't using numbers this time."

My nephew, who is more outspoken, "If they aren't, I have a big problem with that!"

So we bought our bottles. Unfortunately, by that time, every table in the place was full, so we skipped lunch.

As I drove home with my portion, I wondered why they didn't sell the bottles at the patio window, leaving space for lunch traffic inside. Or run us yahoos out on to the patio, like they did on the Witticus release. Of course, the waitresses have to fight through that line on the way to their guests on the patio.

And no, I will not be going to the next bottle release on November 25 and 26. I plan to stay snug and secure in my secret bunker and avoid Black Friday and Saturday traffic.

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posted by hiikeeba at 11:17 0 comments

09 November 2011


Sorry for skipping yesterday.  I thought I had a post scheduled.

Back tomorow on the regular schedule, I promise!

posted by hiikeeba at 10:59 0 comments

06 November 2011

Czech Brewery Tours

Should I ever win the lottery, or make a million bucks with my own brewery, I think I would enjoy taking the Belgian Beer Me! tour and then one of these Czech Brewery Tours. [It's pretty obvious whoever wrote this page used a translation program, but still . . ]

Day 1 Visit to breweries Klaster in Klaster Hradiste n. Jizerou, Konrad in Liberec & Svijany in Svijany
Start: Prague, 08.00 am from hotel Populus - for participants accommodated in hotel Populus
Prague, 08.30 am from street Na Florenci, Prague 1
End: Prague, abt. 06.00 pm city centre, hotel Populus
Price: 2360,- CZK per person (98,- EUR pp)
Included: Transportation by air-conditioned bus, English speaking guide/translator, excursion to 3 breweries, degustation of 11 kinds of beer including beer to lunch menu (Klaster 5 kinds of beer, Konrad 5 kinds of beer, Svijany 1 beer)

This full day trip includes guided tours at three historic Czech breweries. Starting at the former monastery Klaster which has been brewing beer since the 16th century. We'll take a guided tour, followed by lunch and a degustation deep below the monastery. Next it's a short ride over to Konrad, founded in the recent year of 1872. We'll have another degustation before our final stop in the award winning Svijany brewery.

Day 2 Visit to breweries Jezek in Jihlava, Poutnik in Pelhrimov & Hubertus in Kacov
Start: Prague, 08.00 am from hotel Populus - for participants accommodated in hotel Populus
Prague, 08.30 am from street Na Florenci, Prague 1
End: Prague, abt. 06.00 pm city centre, hotel Populus
Price: 2360,- CZK per person (98,- EUR pp)
Included: Transportation by air-conditioned bus, English speaking guide/translator, excursion to 3 breweries, degustation of 13 kinds of beer including beer to lunch menu ( Jezek 5 kinds of beer, Poutnik 4 kinds of beer, Hubertus 5 kinds of beer), gift – 3 beers Poutnik

We'll start off in walled city of Jihlava at the Jezek brewery where we'll have a chance to drink from wide variety of beers including the 18° Grand (one of the thousand beers to try before you die). From there we go to brewery Poutnik which still uses some very old fashioned techniques. We'll have a beer and take some for the road. But it's just a quick ride over to Hubertus for their stellar Kvasnicove lager brewed at the foot of another old monastery.

Day 3 Visit to breweries Lipan in Drazic & Budweiser Budvar in Ceske Budejovice
Start: Prague, 08.00 am from hotel Populus - for participants accommodated in hotel Populus
Prague, 08.30 am from street Na Florenci, Prague 1
End: Prague, abt. 05.30 pm city centre, hotel Populus
Price: 2360,- CZK per person (98,- EUR pp)
Included: Transportation by air-conditioned bus, English speaking guide/translator, excursion to 2 breweries, degustation of 8 kinds of beer including beer to lunch ( Lipan 2 kinds of beer, Budweiser Budvar 6 beers), lunch RAUT with QUESTION / ANSWER SESSION with head of laboratory and press spokesman of Budweiser Budvar

This trip is a bit shorter, but packed well worth it. We start with the small but delicious beers of Lipan before going on to Budvar. Here we will take the customary tour which we will follow up with a lunch, degustation and question answer session with the head of the beer laboratory.

Day 4 Visit to breweries Kout na Sumave, Modra Hvezda in Dobrany & Pilsner Urquell in Pilsen
Start: Prague, 08.00 am from hotel Populus - for participants accommodated in hotel Populus
Prague, 08.30 am from street Na Florenci, Prague 1
End: Prague, abt. 07.00 pm city centre, hotel Populus
Price: 2360,- CZK per person (98,- EUR pp)
Included: Transportation by air-conditioned bus, English speaking guide/translator, excursion to 3 breweries, degustation of 7 kinds of beer including beer to lunch menu (Kout 2 kinds of beer, Modra Hvezda 2 kinds of beer as momentary brewing and 2 beers to lunch, Pilsner Urquell 1 beer lager 12), place reservation in pub Na Parkane in Pilsen

This day we're going to the Sumave mountains for the famous Kout Na Sumave. Featured on Anthony Bourdain's show, the brewery grounds could use a coat of paint, but, boy, wait till you try the beer. For lunch nobody should miss the chance to stop at Modra Hvezda, a relatively new brewpub opened on the premises of the towns old brewery. To cap off the tour, we go to Pilsner Urquell, reigning king of Czech beers. After the brewery tour, we'll reserved a place at Na Parkanu, the only pub in the world serving unfiltered Pilsner Urquell.

Total cost: € 392 = $550


posted by hiikeeba at 08:46 0 comments

04 November 2011

The Buttleopener??

Now, I bow before no man in my admiration for the ladies, but somethings are just too weird, even for me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the Buttleopener!

How many of you would actually hang this on your wall?


posted by hiikeeba at 08:33 2 comments

02 November 2011

Changes Coming to Oklahoma Beer Laws?

Money is the driving force behind politics. Currently, convenience or grocery store shoppers in Oklahoma can only by 3.2% beer.  Full strength beer is available at liquor stores and brew pubs. That is likely about to change. There are two bills in the legislature that would let those stores sell full strength beer.  The reason? Low alcohol beer sales have slumped while full strength beer sales have increased.  Since Oklahoma accounts for 55% of 3.2% beer sales in the country, the big brewers are eager to pick up the slack in sales, and convenience store owners want a piece of the liquor store business.


posted by hiikeeba at 07:00 0 comments