30 April 2012

Grain Delivery


posted by Jeff Holt at 15:40 0 comments links to this post

End of My Weekend

I stopped into Fredericksburg Brewing Company this afternoon for a Maibock. The busy tourist season is winding down.

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Automatic Fridge Only Opens When All the Week's Work is Done

No one likes filling out time sheets. Sometimes people off as long as they can.

Brazilian marketing agency Casa came up with an elegant solution to the problem. They bought a fridge and filled it with beer. They linked the fridge to the company's time sheet system and dubbed the contraption Drink Time Sheet. As people turn in their time sheets on Friday, an electronic bottle begins to fill. When all time sheets are in, an alarm sounds, signalling beer thirty when the fridge unlocks.

I wonder if they ever hear the alarm before noon. . .

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28 April 2012

Tragedy in Portsmouth, NH

Ben Harris, 26, had worked at Redhook Brewery for seven years (since graduating from high school). His wife, Alysha, works in the brewery's restaurant. On Tuesday, he was putting air into a plastic keg to remove the beer when it exploded, sending debris into his face and chest.  He was air lifted to the hospital, but later died from his injuries.

Redhook immediately closed the restaurant and cancelled all future tours while OSHA investigates.

Alysha is expecting Ben's baby in a few months. Memorial contributions can be made to The Alysha Miller Harris Baby Fund c/o TD Bank, 20 International Drive, Portsmouth, NH, 03801, (603) 430-3812.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:33 0 comments links to this post

26 April 2012

Saint Arnold Endeavour - Review

I am changing my beer review criteria. In the "Overall Impression" section, I will grade the beer on it's availability here in Paradise. You can't be bothered to come here or you can't get your distributor to make the trip, then I can't be bothered to score your beer on "overall Impression". You show me the finger, I show you mine.

Jester King rocks!

Anyway, since folks here in Paradise can't get any Imperial IPAs from any of the Texas breweries, I had to go to Dallas to get some Saint Arnold Endeavour. (Don't even get me started on Pumpkinator!)

Appearance (0-3): Pours up clear with a dense white head. 3 Points


Aroma/Bouquet (0-4): I could smell the hops when i opened the bottle. Full of Citrus aroma. Delicious! 4 points


Taste (0-10):  Nice balance between the hops and malt. Reminds me of Pliny the Elder. Excellent mouthfeel! 9 points


Overall Impression (0-3): Since Endeavour is Ben E. Keith's big "F U" to anywhere off the Interstate, I don't feel bad about giving 'em a big "F U" back. 0 points


Total: 16 Points

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24 April 2012

Last Friday in Dallas

I was picking up my brother at his house en route to Dallas. I ran into a couple of sprinkles on the way, and my old windshield wipers managed to spread the dust and pollen on the windshield into a thin layer right in front of my eyes. So I had to stop and get new wiper blades.

When I got to my brother's house, I had him put them on. No matter how hard I tried , I couldn't figure out how to put them on! He just snapped them on while I looked on in puzzlement.

We got to the Metroplex and watch with no amusement as all the time that had clicked off on the drive up began to click back on, pushing our 1:15 pm arrival time back to 1:45. When we got to Uncle Buck's Brewery and Steakhouse, we met Satan's friend, who complained about our arrival time: "I coulda slept another hour!"

The bar at Uncle Buck's is upstairs and was nicely appointed. The restaurant was dark, but there was plenty of light at the bar. Between Satan's friend and I, we sampled pretty much oneall the brewery had to offer. The saison tasted of butterscotch and I could only get one sip down. I ordered a pint of the IPA, and it was good. Until it warmed up and I could taste the butterscotch. So much for that pint.

I tried to get my brother to try some of the Belgian beers, but I noticed he had the same expression on his face that I had when he put on my wiper blades.

We drove to Plano to stock up at Kegs and Barrels. You can either be proud of me or ashamed of me for only spending $45, including ice.  But I didn't bring a large enough ice chest!

For the record, I am Facebook friends with Stephen, who works there. But I didn't announce my presence to the world, much less to him, though I did check-in to the store on FourSquare. So I guess I did announce my presence to the world, just not to Stephen. I'm just way to shy for shit like that.

We iced the purchases down, and decided we would head down to The Common Table, recommended by Paul Hightower, co-author of Beer Across Texas and owner of Texas Beer Blog. He keeps me up to date on new Texas breweries.

The crowd at The Common Table was young and affluent. Apparently they all live in the area, because many of them walked there.

The three of us had a few beers on the patio and chatted. The weather was glorious--perfect for drinking and eating. There was just enough wind to keep the flies away. We sampled some of the food, and it was very good. The tap list was long, but the bottle beer menu was even longer. I almost had a (512) Pecan Porter, but Gary's friend reminded me that I could get that in Austin and San Antonio. I should be drinking things I never had before. She was right, of course. How could I get my "Legendary" badge on Untappd if I don't try new things?

As we sat there enjoying the evening, we kept seeing foursome after foursome walk in and go inside. I didn't think the building was that big! It was like a clown car being loaded.

It was a beautiful evening, but the long drive and the quantity of beer were combining to make me sleepy. We returned to the hotel. And rather quickly. I don't go to Dallas often enough to know my way around (thank goodness for GPS). While I knew both the restaurant and the hotel were downtown, I didn't know just how close they were.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:03 0 comments links to this post

22 April 2012

Big Texas Beer Fest


I spent last weekend in Dallas, and thought I would share it with you. I am sort of sharing out of order. Next time, I'll tell you what I did Friday.

If you saw my pictures on the 14th, you noticed that I attended the Big Texas Beer Festival. Overall, I had a great time.  There was a exceptional selection of craft beer. I noticed the shortest lines at Blue Moon and Shock Top, which I would have expected. It was gratifying to see that the lines at the Texas Beer booths seemed to be the longest.

I do have some complaints, though.

First, as the line for VIP admission snaked around the building, it was obvious that a large number of folks bought VIP tickets. One guy making the hike to the end of the line elicited a laugh from all of us when he said, "I guess I'm not as important as I thought I was." By 12:10, the line finally started moving, and by 12:40, I was inside the building, leaving me only 20 minutes for the exclusive tastings. I don't know if paying $20 a minute was a wise move, but I tried to squeeze an hour of drinking into twenty minutes.

Second, the venue was huge, but the booths weren't arranged well. By 4 pm, when all the riff raff were in the building, and lines for the Texas beers reached fifty or sixty people, it was difficult to navigate. The place looked to me to be big enough to arrangle the booths in a single line back to back. That might have made the navigation a bit easier.

Third, did I mention the venue was huge? To steal a quote from The Blues Brothers, it was "a fucking barn." Now that's great for the large number of attendees, the acoustics sucked, and the live bands (Fish Fry Bingo and The O's) sounded like shit. Perhaps they shouldn't have had their amps turned to 11 (that's a discussion for the sound guy), but it was hard to hear the words to the songs. That's not to say the bands were bad.  They were really good. I even bought their albums on iTunes. (I just wish I could have found "When the Sh*t Goes Down". You just don't hear jug bass anymore.)

Fourth, and this is nothing the organizers could control, but only three food trucks showed up. Apparently several more who had said they would be there decided they didn't need the money from people who needed food to soak up beer.

Will I be back next year? More than likely. I had a very good time!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:29 0 comments links to this post

20 April 2012

Navajo Grill Beer Menu Needs Reform

A few days ago, I went to a retirement party thrown for a co-worker at Navajo Grill, here in Paradise. The food menu, as usual, was outstanding. Navajo Grill is one of my favorite restaurants in town and the one I recommend the most, after Fredericksburg Brewing Company. They other night they poured wine from Becker Vineyards, but I don't drink wine. So I asked for a beer. There menu was short: Bud, Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light, Real Ale Rye IPA and Fireman's #4, Shiner Bock and Black (they also listed 102, which sold out last year).

They served their wine in nice crystal glasses.  Even the water was served in crystal. The beer? It came in the bottle with a napkin wrapped around it.

This from one of the nicest restaurants in town.

It reminded me of Scott Metzger's challenge to San Antonio restaurants. He offered to help any restaurant revamp their beer list to include Texas craft beer. I am challenging the restaurants here in Fredericksburg to add more Texas brewed choices. I'd be happy to help.  Just check my profile and shoot me an email.

Currently, you can get not only Real Ale and Shiner, but also Rahr & Sons, Independence Brewing, and Jester King. Why aren't they in more restaurants around here?

(Here are the Texas breweries that don't distribute to Fredericksburg: Deep Ellum Brewing, Fanconia, Peticolas, (512) Brewing, Austin Beerworks, Circle Brewing, Hops & Grain, Live Oak Brewing, Middleton Brewing, South Austin Brewing, Thirsty Planet Brewing, Twisted X Brewing, Buffalo Bayou Brewing, Karbach Brewing, No Label Brewing, Southern Star Brewing, Wicked Beaver Brewing, and Ranger Creek.)

If you have similar problems in your city, you need to contact the restaurant managers and ask for Texas beer.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:00 0 comments links to this post

18 April 2012

Houston Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Bayou City

When Beer Across Texas: A Guide to the Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State came out, I eagerly searched the book for a mention of my Beer History site, Historic Texas Breweries, and found it! I was excited.

So when I got my copy of Houston Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Bayou City, I ripped the padded envelope to shreds to quickly get to the book. As the envelope debris rained down around me, I thumbed through the bibliography and discovered that Ronnie Crocker didn't use my website. This realization made sweeping up the remains of the envelope seem to last forever!

I've been following Ronnie Crocker's blog for a couple of years, and I follow him on Twitter. He has been a good source for news for this blog. When I learned he was publishing this book, I quickly pre-ordered it, and I was not disappointed!

Although this a slim book, it's packed with pictures and brewing history. The main focus of the book is the burgeoning beer scene, chronicling not only the history of the Anheuser Busch brewery, but Saint Arnolds, Buffalo Bayou, Karbach Brewing, No Label Brewing, and Southern Star Brewing. He also covers Houston's vibrant home brewing culture.

As I update my book over the coming year, I will be referring to this book quite a bit. Now go buy yourself a copy!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 12:05 0 comments links to this post

16 April 2012

Two Beers A Day! That's All!

More health news!

Men who have a heart attack and drink two beers a day afterwards, have a lower risk of a second heart attack than nondrinkers. But heavier drinkers have the same risk as nondrinkers of a second heart attack.

Prost!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:00 3 comments links to this post

14 April 2012

Real Ale Line


posted by Jeff Holt at 15:45 0 comments links to this post

Uh Oh

Fighting with Satan.

posted by Jeff Holt at 15:26 0 comments links to this post

The Jester King Line


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Beer Doesn't Cause Beer Bellies

I know what you're thinking. "If it isn't caused by beer why is it called a 'beer belly'?"

Look, I don't know. But some German scientists released a study that says other factors contribute to a beer belly. Beer does contribute to general fatness, and is not going to stop on the stomach. (A 2003 Czech study said there wasn't a relationship, but the Germans are poo pooing that study.)

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13 April 2012

Dallas Beer Trip


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12 April 2012

Beer Goggles Work Both Ways - And You May Not Even Need Beer

I ran across a couple of related articles, and, if I were concerned about my post count and how high Google ranks me, should have posted separately.  But, I am incredibly lazy and only wanted to write one post. Besides, the headline I wrote just popped into my head, and would be a waste of perfectly good inspiration not to use it.

Researchers in France have determined that holding a drink in your hand makes you feel sexier. There approach was two pronged. First they gave some bar patrons a breathalyzer test, and asked them to rate their looks. People who were more intoxicated rated themselves higher than the non-inebriated. A second group of drinkers were given a fruit cocktail, and were told that half of the drinks were alcoholic and the other half were not alcoholic, and no one would know which was which. They were then filmed giving a testimonial for the drink, and those who believed that they had alcohol thought they did better than those who thought they did not drink alcohol.

Researchers in England have determined that woman are more affected by the "beer goggles" phenomonon than men (which means my chances in a bar just went up). One hundred men and women looked a photographs and asked if the faces were symmetrical or non-symmetrical. This is important because scientists have linked facial symmetry to attractiveness. The more the women drank the less well they were able to judge facial symmetry.

Here's an interesting quote from the last article:
A Bristol University study found people do appear more attractive to both sexes after they’ve had a drink – and it takes as little as a pint and a half of beer.
In some cases, the mere anticipation of alcohol may be enough to alter judgement.
A US study showed that men rated pictures of women more highly after looking at alcohol-related words than phrases about coffee and soft drinks. 
Remember that in the first study, if someone thought they had alcohol but hadn't, they still rated themselves higher.

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

10 April 2012

Joe's Brewhouse - Beer Day Trip


I had heard rumors of a brew pub in San Angelo, so after visiting Mark I drove over to Joe's Brewhouse at 113 E. Concho Street.

As I drove east on Concho Street, the downtown area was packed with shoppers. This part of San Angelo still retains much of its Old West charm. Old, red brick buildings line the street, and you wouldn't be surprised to see a buckboard rumble past. I could almost pick out Hubert Wolters' old saloon, but, since I left my copy of my book at home, I couldn't be sure.

Joe's Brewhouse is in a small strip center with The Office Bar, a wine bar, a restaurant and an antique shop.  Look for the small grain silo on the porch.

Joe's is a small place, and very narrow. The illuminated bar runs along the east wall and ends at the small, one barrel brewing area. I took a picture for Satan, so I could get him to buy one for his house and we could brew thirty gallons at a time.

I'd like one of these at my house.
I started off with the house brewed Oatmeal Stout served on nitrogen. A little roasty for my taste, it was an easy drinker.

The most impressive thing about Joe's Brewhouse isn't the house brewed beer. It's their tap list! Belgian tripels, double IPAs, CDAs, stouts, porters, and doppelbocks were on tap. The usual suspects were there: Breckenridge, Weihenstephan, Sam Adams, Marsedous, New Belgium, Franziskaner, Rogue and Deschutes. The service was fast and friendly, as you'ld expect in West Texas. I could see this place packed to the rafters on Friday and Saturday nights.

I knew I had a drive ahead of me, so I left at while I still had plenty of sun. I drove east from the parking lot, and crossed the Concho River. I should have turned left once I crossed the bridge, and sought out the site of the old Wolters Brewery, but I was tired, and ready to get home.

Joe's Brewhouse will definitely be a stop for me next time I head to Midland! And the Great Texas Craft Beer Desert just got pushed back a little farther.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:03 0 comments links to this post

08 April 2012

Brewsees Bottle Opening Sunglasses - Want!

Made from a solid piece of 6061 aluminum, Brewsees' 12'Oz'r is the world's first combination sunglasses and bottle opener. They even come in a custom beer bottle coozie to protect the glasses when you aren't wearing them, and to protect a cold beer when you are.

Why are you reading this? Get over there and buy a pair!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:46 0 comments links to this post

07 April 2012

Open The Taps Beer Voting Guide

Earlier, Open The Taps sent all candidates for the Texas Legislature a questionnaire about their positions on beer issues. They have been collecting the responses and have finally released their Beer Voting Guide.

I noticed that my State Representative, Doug Miller (who has never, ever responded to all the emails I have sent him)--Surprise! Surprise!--didn't respond to the questionnaire.  His opponent in the Republican Primary, Robert Smith, did return the questionnaire and said he would support brewery sales, and brewpub distribution. Libertarian candidate Rex Black did not respond either.

So, despite my misgivings about Smith's far right wing stance, I will support Smith for State Legislature.

(I so wish there was a box on the ballot that said "Please, Lord, Someone Else.")

Find out which of your candidates supports Beer Freedom in Texas, and vote for them in the primary on May 29th.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:34 0 comments links to this post

06 April 2012

Eola School - Eola - Beer Day Trip

A couple of weeks ago, late on a Friday night, I decided that I needed to head to Eola and see what was going on at Eola School Brewery. I hadn't seen Mark since February, and was wondering what he had on tap.


He had what he described as an all-malt blonde ale, a black IPA, a light beer with flaked corn and a stout. He started me off with the all-malt blonde.  It was nice and crisp. The black IPA was almost gone, he poured me a pint from a growler, and the familiar flavor he had shared with me a month earlier had mellowed.  Next, Mark poured me his Double IPA, Big Prick.

Mark tends to back off on his flavors when he brews. He's concerned that his customers won't appreciate what he's trying. I can see it, since he'd poured me his black IPA six weeks ago.

Mark showed of the last of his Big Prick DIPA t-shirts, complete with a saguero cactus in the logo. It was a nice looking shirt. Now, I haven't been able to buy a t-shirt from Mark for a couple of years. He normally only buys L and XL and XXL. So I asked if he had the XXL Big Prick shirt.  He said he hadn't bought a XXL in a while.  "Mark! I've been on a diet for six months so I can buy a shirt from you!" (I was XXXL and Mark never, ever bought that size.)

Mark doubled over in laughter, but never said he would buy an XXL shirt.

Crap! Another 50 pounds to go!

Suddenly, I got a text from my friend KC, who is one of Satan's friends. She was upset that I hadn't let her know I would be heading to Eola. I apologized. Frankly, I hadn't thought about anyone by me. Sorry, KC!

Mark was already busy when I arrived, and more people filed in as I ate my pizza. Mark, the sole employee of Eola School restaurant, spent most of the time I was there waiting on thirteen people (besides me). And as another group came in I decided I should head to San Angelo and visit Joe's Brewhouse in downtown San Angelo.

More to come. . .

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:00 0 comments links to this post

04 April 2012

College Students Now Being Screened for Alcoholism

Students at Cornell and 31 other colleges and universities are being screened for alcoholism as a part of a routine visit to the health center.  Men are being asked if they had more than five drinks in a sitting in the last two weeks, and women are being asked if they had more than four.  If they answer yes, they are sent to a health counselor or to AA. (Cornell also does depression screening.) Some students wonder why they are being asked about their drinking habits, when all they need is an antibiotic. The schools say that it is no more invasive than asking if the students smoke, and they are trying to get a handle on underage drinking. They are not reporting underage drinkers to the police.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:30 2 comments links to this post

02 April 2012

Pre-Roman Germans Drank Like Frat Boys

It turns out Europe 2,600 years ago was pretty much exactly like one big college frat, with social elites vying for power and influence by throwing the most kickass parties - complete with lots of free beer.
Archaeologist Bettina Arnold is excavating Iron Age German hill forts, and is learning a lot about their society by the size of the beer mugs people are buried with. And the bigger the mug, the more powerful the person was. While they had wine from the Mediterranean and made mead, they also made an ale that didn't use hops. Remember, hops were originally added to beer as a preservative, not to make a beer taste like a grapefruit. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Since there were no hops, the beer had to be consumed quickly. Hence the large mugs, I guess.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:39 0 comments links to this post