30 August 2012

I Like the Way Michael Peticolas Thinks

While discussing distribution of his beers, Michael Peticolas, owner of Peticolas Brewing Company, was asked about distribution to other cities along the Interstate. He replied,  “I’ve been driving to Houston and Austin to get their beer for years, it’s about time they drive up here to get some of ours.”

In a related note, while en route to Makers Mark distillery to pick up my bottle, I stopped at the Flying Saucer on Lake Ray Hubbard and thoroughly enjoyed a Velvet Hammer.  I'll happily drive up there again. It's a great beer!

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If I Owned a Brewery - Part 5: Tours

Last week, I was given a tour of Pedernales Brewing Company, here in Paradise. As I chatted with the owner, Lee Hereford, I asked about regular tours. He told me there wouldn't be regular tours.  He wanted to focus on growing the brewery, and thought that civilians might distract him from that focus. I hadn't really thought about it that way, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, Micheal Peticolas of Peticolas Brewing Company thinks about it this way:

For me, this is the entertainment industry, and if someone cares enough about my beer and my brewery to come down here, I want them to have a good time, that's all I really care about. When I do these tours, I actually want to connect with people, and talk to people, and let them know about me, about the brewery, talk to them about the beer. As a result, I do my tours on a much smaller scale, between 30 and 50 people, typically. I want everybody that comes down here to have a full mug of beer, get a chance to talk to me, if they want to talk to me, actually hear about the beer-making process, if they want to hear about the beer making process. It allows me to connect with people, I don't advertise, I don't market, I try to make my consumers my marketers. 
Again, that makes a certain amount of sense. If you want people to ask for your beer, you have to get them to sample your beer, and a tour is a way to do that.

Desperate Measures Brewing Logo
So if I were to open, say, Desperate Measures Brewing Company™, I think I would lean towards tours. I want people to have my beer in their hand. I would probably do it up like Rahr & Sons, with a band and local non-profits selling food.

I might even do daily tours. Every day at 6 pm for two hours. Certainly I would do weekly tours. Probably Saturday afternoon. (Although, I did see a sign in Arizona brew pub that read "Free Brewery Tours Every Sunday After Church." I could see a tour on Sundays at 1 or 2 pm.)

I would certainly want them to buy t-shirts, pint glasses, and (someday when the law is changed) a couple of bottles to take home. Maybe then they would ask for my beer at the local pub or store.

And, yes, I do own the domain name for Desperate Measures Brewing Company, just in case Satan and I ever open a brewery.

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28 August 2012

It Should Happen Here

The Texas Hill Country is the second most popular wine destination in the United States. There are 17 wineries in 13 locations within 30 miles of Paradise.

Bend, Oregon has eleven breweries and brew pubs in town. (Satan and I should have left for NHC a day earlier!) Those breweries are bringing tourists to town in droves.  Tony Lawrence owns Boneyard Brewing in Bend. "It's unbelievable how many brewery tour groups are running around," Lawrence said. "Or just the amount of tourism, or the number of people we see coming through our tap room." [From the article.] When the tap room sells out of beer, they close. 

Imagine the tax revenue to the state of all those breweries! Imagine all the jobs created at the breweries and at other retail locations in town! The article goes on to explore how the city works with the breweries to provide them with water.

Now imagine legislators, distributors and foreign-owned companies who don't want increased tax revenue and more jobs in Texas, and don't want to work with breweries. Oh wait! You don't have to imagine them. This is what they look like:
Go join Open the Taps and vote for beer.

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27 August 2012

New Albanian Brewing Company

Just like I remember it from 2008.

posted by Jeff Holt at 12:49 0 comments links to this post

26 August 2012

Maryland Farmers Turn to Beer Production

I've mentioned before that I have always thought it would be a good idea if breweries decided to be less industrial and more agrarian. Maryland farmers are taking my advice, spurred on by an enlightened legislature. Recent law changes have let farmers start growing and malting their barley and making beer with the hops they grow.

Henry Ruhlman took advantage of the new law that took effect on July 1 to start selling beer if they grow the ingredients. Several other farm breweries are in the planning stages.

We could have something like that here, if only a Belgian company didn't own our legislature.

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24 August 2012

Better late than never

After this year's trip to NHC, here's what my visited states map looks like:
Sadly, NHC is in Philly, so I won't be adding to the list.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:39 0 comments links to this post

22 August 2012

Portland Growler Company

Portland Growler Company makes handmade, slip cast ceramic growlers. They'll keep your beer cold longer, and protect it from beer damaging light. For only $64, you can get a 62 ounce growler in three styles and three colors.

Yes. I want one.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:36 0 comments links to this post

20 August 2012

Benefits of the Jester King Lawsuit

Last year, Jester King Brewing Company, beer distributor Authentic Beverages and Zax, an Austin restaurant and bar successfully sued the TABC and got the restriction on beer labels changed.  No longer to beer companies have to write a description of their products without using the word "beer".

TABC recently announced that beer label applications are up. In 2011 there were 1,738 beer label applications. They are estimating 2,685 applications will be filed this year. That's a 54% increase. And the changes in the law went into effect halfway through the fiscal year.  I expect that 2013 will see an even bigger increase in applications.

Texas is a big beer market, and one a lot of breweries would love to get into, but they often didn't have the money to make labels just for Texas.

AND it's good for the state.  More money for application fees!

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18 August 2012

From the Interstate

I finally found some Divine Reserve 12 old ale. That's right. On the interstate.

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

If I Owned A Brewery - Part 4 - Employee Appreciation

If you read my review of Black Star Co-op last month, you'll remember that they play their employees a living wage, so there's no tipping.  Nice idea, right?

Well, here's another idea: Employee Appreciation Night.

If I owned a brew pub I would do what the owners of Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently did. They had a Employee Appreciation Bonus Night where 100% of the restaurant profits on food, drink and merchandise sales are being given back to the 35 employees as a bonus. There is some no doubt complicated formula that takes the number of hours worked to determine how much each employee gets.

That should put some smiles on employee faces!

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16 August 2012

Alamo Brewing Company Gets Site Approval

The San Antonio City Council recently approved a measure that allows Alamo Beer Company to build their brewery on the city's east side. Seen as part of the east side revitalization effort, the brewery will also open a restaurant by the Hays Street Bridge. Construction on the brewery will begin sometime after Thanksgiving.

Currently, Alamo Beer is brewed at the Real Ale Brewery in Blanco.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:42 0 comments links to this post

15 August 2012

Holy Griffon Nanobrewery on Kickstarter

I got an email from Kevin Early in Las Vegas. Well, I got a form email from him, at any rate, but that's a whole different topic.

At 22, he wants to open a nano brewery in Las Vegas and is looking for backers on Kickstarter. So if you have a few extra bucks to spend, give some to Kevin.

The world needs more brewers and less politicians.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:36 2 comments links to this post

14 August 2012

No Label Brewing Now Available in Bottles

No Label Brewing Company started distributing Pale Horse, El Hefe, and Ridgeback Amber in bottles last Tuesday. Their current plans are to start their distribution in Katy, then slowly spread into Houston. I like that distribution plan.

Hopefully they will eventually find their way into the Great Texas Craft Beer Desert™.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:27 0 comments links to this post

12 August 2012

An American Toast - Really?

I get email (Sorry, PZ, I had to use the line.) and most of the time it's just people trying to boost my website's rankings on Google, or something equally spammy. The other day, I got this email:

Hi Jeff,
Have you ever noticed that there is no America-specific toast option - a la Proust, Cheers (British), Slainte, Le Chaim, etc.? The VIA Agency (theviaagency.com) decided to do something about this problem just in time for the summer Olympics, where there will undoubtedly be a lot of times for cheering (U-S-A, U-S-A) and cheers-ing.  
VIA has come up with 10 options for the new 'Toast of the Nation' (which you can see below) and created a Facebook app to allow people to vote for their favorite, or make a suggestion for another one.
So far, the choices are kinda lame. My comments are in brackets.

1. To the Dream!
2. Valor! [Wasn't he a 90s DC hero?]
3. Huzzah! [What American says this?]
4. To Us All!
5.  For the Win!
6.  No more pot noodle for us! [WTF?]
7.  To Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness [Presumably, happiness as defined by the Tea Party and Chick-Fil-A.]
8.  Dude! [This one I like.]
9.  To the whites of their eyes! [Probably the most American of the suggestion, but still too wordy.]
10.  Hakuna Matata! [Sounds African to me. ;)]


But really, do we need to have an American toast? If we do, why not "America! Fuck, Yeah!"



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10 August 2012

Excelsior: The Great Experiment - Again

At NHC, one of my Conference friends took the trip to the Yakima valley and came back with a baggie of whole hops labelled "447." He handed it to me and suggested I dry hop with it.

So I am doing that.


Excelsior: The Great Experiment
American Pale Ale

Type: All Grain Date: 8/7/2012
Batch Size: 6.00 gal Brewer: Jeff Holt
Boil Size: 8.38 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: Jeff's Equipment
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00
Taste Notes:
Ingredients
Amount Item Type % or IBU
8.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 53.09 %
3.50 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 21.86 %
1.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 9.37 %
1.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 7.81 %
0.63 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 3.94 %
0.63 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3.94 %
0.40 oz Galena [13.00 %] (90 min) Hops 16.2 IBU
1.00 oz Hop 447 [5.00 %] (Dry Hop 4 days) Hops -
0.70 oz Warrior [15.00 %] (20 min) Hops 18.5 IBU
0.30 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1.00 oz Malto-Dextrine (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.20 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days) Misc
1 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [Starter 1000 ml] Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.058 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.057 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.85 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.65 %
Bitterness: 34.7 IBU Calories: 249 cal/pint
Est Color: 7.9 SRM Color:
Color
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 16.01 lb
Sparge Water: 5.30 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 20.01 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: 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
I got some experimental hops from Angelo Ruiz at NHC and want to dry hop them in this.
Created with BeerSmith

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08 August 2012

Another Big Middle Finger From Ben E. Keith

Ever eager to bring more craft beer from around the country to the Great Texas Craft Beer Desert, Ben E. Keith is only bringing one case--count 'em: one--of Divine Reserve 12 from Saint Arnold Brewing to Gillespie County. Last year, they brought five. Despite Saint Arnold producing more than last year, we're getting less. Apparently, the markets on the Interstate are more important.

In fact, I can drive 24 miles south of Paradise, and find Saint Arnold Endeavor in a couple of stores.  How many stores here carry them? Not a fucking one.

But, we can get beer from Hawaii! Fuck Texas beer!  You want Texas beer? Move to an Interstate! This is why we have distibutors: to keep beer out of markets!

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06 August 2012

Seeley Axe White Ale

You know me, i'm a sucker for anything that sounds odd. And lately, I've been trying to cut the flour from my diet.  In the May/June 2012 issue of  Zymurgy, there was an article about gluten free brewing. One recipe that caught my eye was Seeley Axe White Ale. Seeley Axe White Ale is brewed by Tim O'Leary at Kettlehouse Brewing Company in Missoula, Montana. (Satan and I spent the night in Missoula, but didn't visit their tap house.)

Here's the recipe:

Seeley Axe White Ale5 gallons
3 lbs Briess White Sorghum syrup
2 lbs brown rice syrp
1 oz maltodextrin
1 oz Nugget 13%/85 minutes
1 oz dried bitter orange peel/10 minutes
1 tbs coriander, crushed/10 minutes
1 oz Crystal 4%/0 minutes
Fermentis Safale US-05

Bring 1.5 to 2 gallons of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add the syrups and maltodextrine and stir to dissolve. Commence the boil adding hops and spices at specified intervals. After an 85 minute boil, turn off heat and add Crystal hops. Chill. Top up to 5 gallons and ptch yeast. Ferment at 68-70° F for up to two weeks.

I briefly toyed with the idea of doing a full wort boil, but two things made change my mind. First, a full wort boil would make this an extremely hoppy beer. A concentrated boil decreases hop utilization, and 13% alpha acids would give this beer, according to BeerSmith, almost 50 IBUs. Since this is to be spiced, I thought the spices might be more important than hops.  Second, it was 105° yesterday.  A concentrated boil will let me stay inside in the air conditioning.

The estimated OG was 1.048. I got 1.047.

I'd forgotten just how fast extract brewing was. I only had to clean a few things. A few small things. I even had time to go to Grape Juice in Kerrville.

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04 August 2012

Texas' Big Beer Scene in Draft Magazine

Draft Magazine's July/August 2012 issue published a quick survey of Texas' growing beer scene. There were nice surveys of Austin, Dallas and Houston. I knew about the breweries in each town, and about a couple of the bars, but the addition of beer friendly restaurants was a nice touch. And there's also a Rauchbier Ribs recipe using Ranger Creek's Mesquite Smoked Porter.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:23 0 comments links to this post

02 August 2012

Beer Because. . .


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