30 August 2011

Another Government Official In Favor of Local Jobs - Too Bad He's in Minnesota

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak just signed legislation that would allow city breweries to sell beer at their taprooms.  This somes on the heels of a a state law that leaves the decision in the hands of each city.  Earlier, St. Paul had enacted similar legislation.
“We’re making it easier for Minnesota beer drinkers to drink Minnesota beer and create jobs here,” Rybak said. “Sales of pints on site will also grow the local beer economy by lowering the barriers for entry for new breweries, which will allow them to hit the ground running. And it complements Minneapolis’ burgeoning local food economy that is creating new businesses and even more jobs.”
I wonder if we'll ever get such a forward thinking politician in Texas.
Join Open the Taps and let's see if we can make it happen.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:57 0 comments links to this post

28 August 2011

The Great Texas Beer Desert™ Has Shifted A Bit Further West!


posted by Jeff Holt at 11:15 1 comments links to this post

26 August 2011

Someone Actually Got A Patent For This?

Party Goggles, application No. 12/927,974, by Bruce Riggs of Helendale, Calif.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:24 2 comments links to this post

24 August 2011

Too Lazy to Work Out?

Well, then! You need yourself a pair of Manx! Known as the Boxer Shorts Diet, these undergarments will tame your beer belly, smooth your love handles, and firm up the old derriere. Women have been wearing Spanx for years, and now men can too! Warning: They may be considered a passion-killer!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:06 0 comments links to this post

22 August 2011

Bugeaters Winter Warmerized Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Amber - Tasting notes

So, Bugeaters Winter Warmerized Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Amber is almost a year old. While it's still spicy, it doesn't taste like an oatmeal cookie anymore. I get some cinnamon and a hint of brown sugar and vanilla in the aroma. The spices hit the back of my tongue like orange flavor, with some cinnamon and sugar at the back of my tongue. Interesting, but no longer a cookie.

I wonder what i could do with a Belgian ale yeast?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:11 0 comments links to this post

20 August 2011

A Quote From the Recent Texas Sommelier Conference

"I didn't know that Texas was a Muslim country." Drew Hendricks

The Texas Sommelier Conference kicked off on August 14 at 9 am. Since Texas law does not allow wine sales on Sunday before 9 am, the first session went without wine. The second session did have wine. But it was required, again by state law, to be served with food. The buffet full of breakfast food went untouched as wine sommeliers from around the world met to discuss their trade.

Read the article here.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 06:00 0 comments links to this post

18 August 2011

What's This? A Homebrewing Post?

Since it's been so hot here in Paradise, I've been putting off brewing.  While I have figured out how to chill my wort in this heat, I also need to do it on our Stage Four Water Restriction watering day, Monday.

Since watering has to be finished by 10 am, that means I need to start cooling by, say 8:30 am in case of problems.  So I should start brewing by 5 am.

I need to brew Shadow Warrior again (I'm almost out!), and I need to do a Christmas beer or two, as well.  And I will be running low on drinkables.  So first, Old MILFwaukee Blonde Ale, then Randy Mosher's Christmas Ale, then Dirktastic, then Shadow Warrior.

The recipe for the first brew:


Old MILFwaukee
Blonde Ale

Type: All Grain Date: 9/24/2011
Batch Size: 6.00 gal Brewer: Jeff Holt
Boil Size: 7.97 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Jeff's Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 58.00
Taste Notes:
Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
13.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 86.67 %
1.00 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.67 %
0.75 lb Rice, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 5.00 %
0.25 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 1.67 %
2.25 oz Cascade [3.60 %] (60 min) Hops 24.1 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [3.60 %] (10 min) Hops 3.9 IBU
1 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [Starter 1500 ml] Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.25 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.65 %
Bitterness: 28.0 IBU Calories: 43 cal/pint
Est Color: 4.4 SRM Color:
Color
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 15.00 lb
Sparge Water: 5.88 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 18.75 qt of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Kegged (Forced CO2) Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 21.6 PSI Carbonation Used: -
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 60.0 F Age for: 28.0 days
Storage Temperature: 52.0 F
Notes
Created with BeerSmith

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:38 0 comments links to this post

16 August 2011

Beer Runs v. Beer Stings - Which Better Keeps Beer Out of the Hands of Minors?

I used to work in retail outlets that sold beer and wine.  I can tell you the minors have always tried to get beer.  whether it's the fake ID from "Texas Department of Identification", or getting strangers to buy their beer, or just hoping that the clerk will be too busy to ID them, or staging a beer run (a quick "Grand and Go" theft where a minor runs in grabs beer and runs out), minors try just about anything to get the forbidden fruit.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commissionroutinely uses stings to catch retailers who sell beer to minors.
We can debate the ethics of these stings all day long (I believe it is entrapment, others believe it's a way to make sure retailers (the clerk loses their jobs when ticketed) won't sell to minors.)

The goal, of course, is to keep alcohol out of the hands of people deemed too young to purchase it.  (And we can debate that subject all day long, as well.)

So who does the state (in a generic sense) target for enthusiastic prosecution?  The retailer.

Most of the time, police won't even do much investigating of a beer run beyond looking at surveillance videos, according to Reno convenience store operators. (The article suffers from a bit of bad editing.  It identifies one business owner (Jim Linscott), but quotes someone named Miller.)  Miller, who has identified the thieves responsible for the beer runs in his store, cannot get the police to arrest them, but they frequently set up stings to see if he sells beer to minors.  "What's the bottom line? Is the bottom line catching us selling alcohol to minors or is it keeping kids from getting alcohol. We think it should be keeping kids from getting alcohol."

The bottom line, unfortunately, is money.  The police know the stores will fire the employee (who has to pay a fine) and pay the store fines just to keep their license, which is more cost effective than chasing down teenagers.  In every legislative session, the State of Texas makes it more illegal to sell beer to minors.  But there are few bills making it more illegal for minors to steal or possess beer.  It's like they think retailers are heartless, evil beings whose only purpose in life is to put beer in your kids' hands.

I know law enforcement does ticket minors for possession of alcohol.  But the penalties for them seem to be a lot lighter.

(To show the effects of a misdemeanor on a person's life, here's the story of Cleo Hill. He'd like to be a nurse, but a misdemeanor from his youth prevents it.  I have a friend who lost his commercial truck license because he sold beer to a minor during a sting at his part-time job.)

I'm not sure what the solution is.  We do need to stop retailers from selling to minors.  But shouldn't we also hold the minors accountable as well?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:40 0 comments links to this post

14 August 2011

Mad Tavern opens In Dallas

Craft beer has hit Dallas with two Gastro Pubs. The newest is Mad Tavern at 18101 Preston Road and Frankford. Owners Sanjeeva Balachandra and Chance Harper promise more than 120 bottled beers and more than 30 on tap, a Through the Looking Glass theme, and plan to open at the end of the month.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:37 1 comments links to this post

13 August 2011

Having a Rahr & Sons Pecker Wrecker at the southern edge of the Great Texas Craft Beer Desert (I-10 in Kerrville). It taste kinda like an amber.

posted by Jeff Holt at 15:41 0 comments links to this post

12 August 2011

Wil Wheaton Gets His Beer Geek On

It's always fun to hear someone who has just picked up the hobby of home brewing talk about it. Wil Wheaton has started brewing. Welcome to the club, Wil.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:34 0 comments links to this post

10 August 2011

If I Owned a Brewery Part 2 - Marketing

Here in Paradise, Wineries are a big tourist draw.  There are10 wineries in the area, and two winery associations: Wine Road 290 for the local wineries; and Texas Wine Trail that lists all of the wineries in the Texas Hill Country, including the 10 along US Highway 290.  On any given Saturday, hundreds, if not thousands, of people "winery crawl" from place to place.

A few years ago, Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia, appeared on the Brewing Network.  Owner/Brewer Taylor Smack talked about he was trying to make his winery less industrial and more agrarian, and try to capitalize on the wine tourists.  He talked about growing hops and barley to use in his beers.  I thought that was a damn fine idea, and began thinking about a brewery like that in Texas.

Wouldn't it be great, I thought, to open a brewery along Wine Road 290 that grew the barley and hops that is used in the beer? Or at least some of it.  Sierra Nevada is making estate beer, so why not me?  (Besides the fact I'm not a farmer and don't want to be one.)  The place I envisioned looked a lot like the Stone Brewery in Escondido, California, complete with a restaurant out front, mixed with Oskar Blues' farm outside of Longmont, CO.

Now I read about some breweries in Upstate New York have joined together to create a Beer Trail, Finger Lakes Beer Trail Marketing & Tourism Association.

Maybe great minds do think alike.

Oh, and my State Representatives would get all the free beer they want.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:05 0 comments links to this post

08 August 2011

How the Alcohol Lobby Works

If you want to get really angry, read this story.  If you only want to get irritated, read this excerpt:

Elected officials could drive up to Tigani warehouses for free cases of beer and liquor. Tigani supplied free beer for their campaign events. He invited them to NASCAR races and parties that featured free food and liquor, and sometimes women dressed in skimpy outfits. He sent legislators gifts of wine and fruit baskets. He chartered big buses and took them to Jimmy Buffett concerts. Smaller buses were ordered up for trips to Philadelphia Eagles games. He flew the governor on a private jet.

Tigani helped them politically, too, at times directing his employees to work on campaigns while being paid by his family's company, N.K.S. Distributors Inc. of New Castle.

Tigani also poured money into political campaigns. One of the biggest individual contributors to state campaigns from 2004 through last year, Tigani, his family and employees bundled some $108,000 in campaign contributions just to state campaigns and an additional $111,000 to federal campaigns, according to state and federal documents.
Naturally, the company says Tigani hasn't been affiliated with them in years, and politicians pshaw the notion that free beer and trips influence their votes.

Remember, it's the number of hundred dollar bills that count, not the number of votes.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:54 0 comments links to this post

06 August 2011

O! Happy Day!

I just heard the Independence Brewing Co. has a distributor that will be expanding into Paradise! Hopefully soon I won't have to drive an hour each way to get some Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout, and we can prove that Texas made craft beer can sell in the Great Texas Craft Beer Desert™!  The same distributor, Brown Distributing, also carries Rahr & Sons.  Do I dare dream of sipping Ugly Pug in the Hill Country?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:58 0 comments links to this post

04 August 2011

A Beer Standard of Exchange

Frank A. Weil proposed a beer standard of exchange on the Huffington Post. In the 1950s, a beer cost about a quarter in Pounds Sterling, French Francs, German Marks, Japanese Yen, while it cost about ten cents in the US. Today a beer in Switzerland costs four Swiss francs, which is $6 USD. Good for the Swiss, not so good for the US tourist.
Still, it may help average Americans plan their short-term daily lives if they can see a schedule in their local news giving the price of a beer in many different places priced in dollars at that moment. The currently published exchange rate schedules may be useful to some, but a beer standard would be helpful to everyone.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:17 0 comments links to this post

02 August 2011

312 to become 315

In the ultimate of ironies, 312 Urban Wheat beer will soon be brewed in the 315 area code, an AB InBev plant in Baldwinsville, New York.


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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:11 0 comments links to this post