30 May 2012

Don't Buy Freetail Beers on eBay

Scott Metzger posted on his blog that someone was selling Ananke on eBay.

I've asked you guys before to stop buying beer on eBay. Would you really want to drink a beer that sat in your trunk for a week? Then why would you do it with beer shipped via UPS?
[T]his is flat out f’ed up and I’m fully in support of TABC going after this person for the unlicensed sale of alcohol. If I find out who you are, I will make sure you are banned from ever buying our bottles again.
Maybe it is time to get TABC involved in this. . .

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

26 May 2012

Nate's The Dankness Brewday


I brewed Nate's The Dankness, but had some hop substitution issues so confusing that I will call this beer Jeff's The Dankness With All Due Apologies To Nate, or JTDWADATN, pronounced "Cluster phuk".

First, I couldn't get Apollo and Simcoe. Then I lost my hand written notes explaining what hops were substituting for what. So I blindly plunged in to the boil, hoping my on the fly substitutions would actually come together in the end.

My predicted OG was 1.071 and I got 1.065. I'll call that ballpark.  Four days before kegging, I have to add the massive hop load, 6 ounces. Then four days later, I have to keg it.

This is the last beer I brew until after NHC.  It depends on the temperatures around here in July as to when I brew again.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:30 0 comments links to this post

24 May 2012

More on Whiteclay

Indignant outrage continues to spread across the Web about the tiny town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. The latest to take offense at AB-Inbev is Jim Hightower, former Ag Commisioner and syndicated columnist. I've been reading Hightower for years. Some times I agree with him, sometimes I don't. I don't know how to come down on his slant on The Whiteclay Situation™.

Hightower reported that a bill before the Nebraska legislature would have limited store hours in Whiteclay, which sells (by my math) 456.62 cases of beer an hour. He also said that AB-InBev gave the chair of the committee considering the bill $4000, and he never let the bill come up for a vote.

While I understand his anger at the ease of which AB-InBev buys legislators, I have to wonder: Wasn't Hightower paying attention when MillerCoors got bills passed in Wisconsin to curtail the local breweries ability to distribute? Was he thinking about something else when a vice-president of AB-InBev went to the Texas Senate to kill a bill that would allow breweries to sell beer after a tour? Does he even know about the lawsuit in Illinois where AB-InBev is trying to self-distribute when they (at that time) did not own a brewery in the state?

Having said that, I know that the proposed law wouldn't have done much besides making white people feel good. If they restrict store hours, the Indians will drive to the next town where there isn't a restriction, with the attendant rise in DUIs and accidents. If they ban high alcohol beers, they'll buy more low alcohol beer.

I don't know what the solution is, but limiting store hours isn't it.

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

22 May 2012

Virginia Allows Breweries To Sell On Premise

House Bill 359 (McClellan) allows manufacturers to lease space in their brewhouses to smaller-scale brewers and Senate Bill 604 (McWaters) allows retail sales of beer and sampling on the premises of Virginia breweries. The governor was joined by legislators, brewers from around the state, distributors, representatives from the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, representatives from the Virginia Manufacturers Association, commissioner of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Neal Insley, and representatives from the Virginia Tourism Commission. After the bill signing the governor helped unveil a new logo for craft beer from the Virginia Tourism Commission “Virginia is for craft beer Lovers.” Virginia currently has 44 licensed breweries.
From BeerNews.org. It sure would be nice if Texas was as supportive to Texas breweries and they are of Belgian Breweries.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:42 0 comments links to this post

20 May 2012

Beer: The Democratic Drink

I was prepared to disagree quite strongly with Brian Palmer's Slate article "Pliny the Younger: Can there really be a “best” beer?". Turns out, I don't.

I've mentioned before that rating rare, hard to find beers so highly on BeerAdvocate and Rate Beer does a disservice to the beers and to people looking for beer to try. If you don't like hoppy beers, then would you be more likely to order a Pliney the Younger, even assuming you could get close to a bar that had it, because it is the best beer in the world according to BeerAdvocate? Probably not. You'd probably stick to something you like.

Palmer's article finishes the best beer in the world thought early in the piece, and then goes on the talk about how democratic beer is. And he gets off a few good lines.

If you don’t agree with their decisions, you can just email the seven ordinary beer-swillers currently in charge. Good luck airing your grievances to the folks who make the AOC rules that govern winemaking in Bordeaux.
and
Professional brewers show up at home brew competitions to learn new ideas and techniques, and they read Internet reviews to learn what people are saying about their latest release. (I assure you the good folks at Château Latour do not care what some guy in Kansas thinks about the 2010 vintage.) 

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:32 0 comments links to this post

18 May 2012

Rain Delay

Heavy, but much-needed rains have forced me to postpone Brewing Nate's The Dankness until next Sunday. Please be on the look out for home brew pr0n in this space soon.

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

16 May 2012

Rescue One Kölsch - Damn Good Idea

Just to show what a local brewery is capable of, Watch City Brewing Company in Waltham, Mass., brewed Rescue One Kölsch to raise money for fallen fire fighter Jon Davies, who died in the line of duty.

So far they've raised $3000 for the Davies family.

This is why you should support local breweries.  They support their communities.

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

14 May 2012

A Sadly Misplaced Boycott

Ever since the white man interacted with the Native Americans, one of the first things we did was give them alcohol. And smallpox contaminated blankets, but mostly alcohol.

Recently, the Oglala Sioux have sued AB-InBev, and other brewers and distributors because the small town of Whiteclay, Nebraska (Pop. 10, and sells more than four million cans of beer and malt liquor annually) is the closest place to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to buy alcohol. Out of 45,000 people, there have been 20,000 alcohol related arrests. Note: The story does not give a time frame for this statistic. It could be in a month, or in ten years. Whiteclay is not on the reservation, where alcohol is illegal, so it is out of the Indian Police jurisdiction. There Sheridan County Sherriff's office only has nine officers, and cannot adequately patrol the town.

On May 5, Nicholas D. Kristof wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times urging a Boycott of AB-InBev. His reasoning: "While some Miller, Coors and Pabst beer is sold in the stores, the great majority is Anheuser-Busch products, including Hurricane malt liquor and Budweiser beer."

Sigh.

Even if the citizens of Sheridan county razed the town to the ground, the Indians would drive the nineteen miles to the next town and buy their beer there. (Mr. Kristof even admits that there is something to that. So boycotting AB-InBev would really do nothing. Trust me. I've been boycotting AB-InBev for years and they are still in business! (I don't know if I'm really boycotting or just staying away from flavorless beer, but my point's the same.)) Obviously, then, he would boycott AB-InBev until they got out of the next nearest town, the next nearest town, the next nearest town, and the next. . .  Well, you catch my drift. Eventually that can only lead to Prohibition. And we all know how that turned out.

Another flaw in the boycott is that even if Mr. Kristof's and my boycott works, and AB-InBev pulls out of Whiteclay, then MillerCoors becomes the biggest seller of beer. So we boycott them (because now they're more evil). When they pull out of the market, we'll boycott Sam Adams, say. I have worked fifteen Oktoberfests here in Paradise, and when we run out of Sam Adams Oktoberfest, the customers switch to Saint Arnold Oktoberfest, and when we run out that, they switch to Real Ale Oktoberfest. And when we run out of that, they switch to Bud Light.

This is a pointless, and ultimately doomed, boycott.

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12 May 2012

San Antonio Beer Week News


Blue Star Brewery, The Faust, Freetail Brewing Company, and Ranger Creek got together with brewers from the upcoming brew pubs The Granary and Old Boxcar Brewing Co. to produce a collaborative beer for San Antonio Beer Week: San Antonio IPA.

San Antonio IPA is an American IPA which uses corn as part of the grain bill. Each restaurant will serve their own version of the beer. (I wonder if I have enough growlers to do a side by side?)

The second San Antonio Beer Week runs May 12 to 20, and the official beer of the event, San Antonio IPA will only be available during that week. Visit their website for a schedule of events.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 12:29 0 comments links to this post

10 May 2012

Can Beer Save America?

David Sirota wrote an interesting article at Salon about how buying craft beer is saving America from America's "low price fetish". He argues that buying things like craft beer, hybrid cars and high end light bulbs will end the corporate low price over everything else mentality, and lead to an America creating "high-quality, high-performance, innovative products for which the world will pay extra."

One interesting idea presented in the article is that AB-InBev and MillerCoors don't really market their beers, they market the can or bottle: Coors Light has mountains that turn blue so you know when the beer is cold; Miller has a punch top can, ". . .the first specifically engineered to shotgun beer — that is, specifically designed to drink beer in a way that makes sure you don’t actually taste the beer" ; even now-popular-again Pabst and Budweiser aren't going to sell high end product, but will instead focus on linking their products to the military by producing red, white and blue cans and bottles, and donate a portion of the profit to charity.

While the big breweries are trying to produce volume to drive their profits, which means using cheaper ingredients to churn out flavorless beer to be sold cheaply in 24 packs. Craft beer, on the other hand, Sirota asserts, is trying to sell more expensive beer of better quality in smaller packages.

Sirota does err when he suggests that the macrobrewers use inexpensive and low quality ingredients to make low quality beer. This isn't true. Maltsters and hop growers sell the same product to AB-InBev and MillerCoors that they sell to craft brewers. The macrobrewers produce quality beer that is, essentially, flavorless. He also suggests that ABV is necessary for flavor. It can be a component of flavor in a barleywine, but it won't be in a Belgian Witbier.

Ray Daniels tweeted that there was an additional factor in the fight for America's soul: "AB/Miller/Coors come from 20thC consumer marketing: simple inoffensive goods sold to all consumers by mass media. That paradigm is dying."

Another example of this phenomenon is Pace Picante sauce. I remember reading somewhere that their mild salsa is their best seller. (I think their "hot" salsa is medium, their "medium" is mild and their "mild" is thick tomato soup. But that's just me.)

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posted by Jeff Holt at 10:11 0 comments links to this post

08 May 2012

Texas Winners at World beer Cup


Category 5: Field Beer or Pumpkin Beer
Silver: Saint Arnold Pumpkinator, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX

Category 46: American-Style Dark Lager
Silver: Shiner Bock, The Spoetzl Brewery, San Antonio, TX
Bronze: Santo, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX

Category 49: German-Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf-Style Altbier
Gold: Alt-eration, Hops & Grain Brewing, Austin, TX

Category 54: South German-Style Weizenbock/Weissbock
Silver: Live Oak Primus, Live Oak Brewing Co., Austin, TX

Category 89: Imperial India Pale Ale
Silver: Saint Arnold Endeavour, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Houston, TX

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posted by Jeff Holt at 07:00 0 comments links to this post

06 May 2012

Mad Meg Farmhouse Provision Ale

Appearance (0-3):  Pours up a hazy gold/orange with a thick head that fades quickly.  2 points

Aroma/Bouquet (0-4):  Some pear notes, a hint of spice and faint hop aroma. Smells good! 4 points

Taste (0-10): Nice hop/malt balance. Fruity esters: Pears, apples and banana. A hint of some spice in the finish. Strong carbonation and full bodied mouthfeel. 9 points

Overall Impression (0-3): I can buy it here! I really like this beer. I keep a few bottles on hand all the time. 3 points

Total: 18 points.

Endeavour could have had this score. Have I mentioned that Jester King rocks?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:37 0 comments links to this post

04 May 2012

Sugar and Smoke Doesn't Need Reform

I know you can't read this very well. Sugar and Smoke here in Paradise has a small beer menu, but it is craft heavy: Four Real Ale Brewing Company Beers and four Spoetzl Brewing Company beers, along with the obligatory Lone Star (because we're in Texas) and Spaten (because of the German heritage here).

I had lunch at Sugar and Smoke the other day, and I have to recommend the place highly.  Excellent food!

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

02 May 2012

Nate's The Dankness

Here's what I'm doing Sunday. Except I'm replacing the Apollo hops with Summit, and the Simcoe with Cascade. Nate is Nathan Smith, guitarist for Brainoil, and Brewcaster on the Brewing Network. I'm behind in listening to the shows, and this recipe was on "Can You Brew It?".


Nate's The Dankness
American IPA

Type: All Grain Date: 5/5/2012
Batch Size: 6.00 gal Brewer: Jeff Holt
Boil Size: 7.97 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Jeff's Equipment
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00
Taste Notes:
Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
15.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 81.11 %
1.90 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 9.94 %
0.95 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 4.97 %
0.38 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 1.99 %
1.00 oz Apollo [18.00 %] (Dry Hop 4 days) Hops -
2.50 oz Summit [17.00 %] (Dry Hop 4 days) Hops -
0.40 oz Apollo [18.00 %] (60 min) Hops 18.5 IBU
2.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops -
0.55 oz Summit [17.00 %] (30 min) Hops 18.5 IBU
2.00 oz Apollo [18.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
2.50 oz Summit [17.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
2.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
0.38 lb Turbinado (10.0 SRM) Sugar 1.99 %
1 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [Starter 1000 ml] Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.071 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.016 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.17 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.65 %
Bitterness: 37.1 IBU Calories: 43 cal/pint
Est Color: 6.3 SRM Color:
Color
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 18.73 lb
Sparge Water: 4.36 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, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 23.41 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 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: Corn Sugar Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 4.5 oz 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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