30 December 2013

Cobra Brewing Company, Lewisville, Texas

Bill Shaw and Neil MacCuish (father and son-in-law) opened Cobra Brewing Company at 146 Whatley Ave last week.

Shaw, a long time brewer, and McCuish use old dairy equipment, so far they've produced and IPA, a winter ale, pumpkin stout, and two blonde ales (one with Cascade and the other with Tettnanger hops) to serve in their tap room. The tap will be open every weekend from noon to 4 pm.


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26 December 2013

Beer and Breakfast Food Pairing Article

Los Aangeles Times writer John Verive recently wrote a short article describing how well beer pairs with food.

In case you were wondering, here are some of his suggestions:

Here are five of my favorite beer styles to pour when I’m shirking responsible adulthood and whipping up my favorite breakfast foods for supper.


A classic breakfast/brunch beer -- especially in its native Germany -- the bready, fruity, and slightly tart flavors of the wheat beer fit right in with breakfast fare. A light hefe also works stunningly well with a rich, spicy plate of huevos rancheros. 


Stouts are another obvious choice for breakfast beers, especially those examples brewed with breakfast-friendly ingredients like oats or coffee. A flagon of Smog City’s Groundwork Coffee Porter is just about a perfect match for waffles, french toast, or a Dutch baby.


Light and lively farmhouse ales with a spicy, peppery flavor from rustic yeasts and warm fermentation temperatures are about my favorite thing to pair with a frittata (especially one with some nutty cheese and lots of mushrooms). There are few better dishes for cleaning out the odds-and-ends in your pantry/fridge than a frittata; it’s a great option to flout dinner’s conventions. Try one with a bottle of The Bruery’s Saison Rue.


I don’t mean the overly sweetened examples most often seen, but rather the acidic and subtly funky versions from Belgium or any of the American producers with a serious barrel program. The fruity tartness will match to the sweeter dishes or anything with berries or chocolate, or cut the richness of a savory hash. Serve the sparking, pink brew in a delicate champagne flute for maximum impact, and you’ll want to have breakfast for dinner every night.


All those previous suggestions work fine when you're enjoying breakfast foods at the natural time of day, but if you’re enjoying typical morning foods at nighttime, why not take advantage with something that packs a little more alcoholic oomph? A dark, sweet, bready doppelbock is best friends to pork, and if you’ve got ham steaks, fatty pork breakfast sausages, or copious piles of bacon on your dinner plate, you can’t ask for a better match than the “liquid bread” that sustained Bavarian monks during their Lenten fasts. I recommend going with a classic import like Ayinger Celebrator, Spaten Optimator, or Salvator from Paulaner.


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24 December 2013

Tomorrow's Christmas Day

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa. However you spell it, enjoy the holiday!

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22 December 2013

Abstainers More Likely to Die Young

Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin recently published a study that spent 20 years looking at people between 55 and 65. They found that alcohol abstainers had a higher mortality rate than heavy drinkers and moderate drinkers (1-3 drinks a day). 69% of the abstainers, 60% of the hard drinkers, and 41% of the moderate drinkers died early.

The study factored in the increased risks for cirrhosis and cancer as well as accidents and poor judgment from heavy drinking.

It's possible that the alcohol is helping drinkers maintain social networks, which maintain mental and physical health. Also, moderate drinking has been shown to improve heart health and circulation. Non-drinkers tend to be more depressed than drinkers.



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20 December 2013

Earning My Beer in Eola

Mark Cannon, owner of Eola School and Bright Brewing, has been asking me to stop by for some beer. I think I've only been twice this year. We changed our schedule at work, so I don't have the long weekends I used to to visit Satan in Midland, consequently, fewer stops in Eola.

Last week, I finally decided that I needed to go to Eola and visit with Mark. There was still a little snow on the ground from the previous week's storm, and even though it would get up to 40°, I knew it would be chilly in the old school. Mark told me about how hard it was to get his beer to sell in other locations. He didn't think the staff was doing enough to sell the beer.

I had a few beers. His Farmhouse Ale is good. It has a little spice to it. He also had a Belgian Quad on tap. It was a bit thin, but had a nice, complex flavor with some fruitiness.  He poured me a cup of stout. That was the best beer of the lot, with lots of roast in the aroma and flavor.

Then he showed me his in-progress expansion.  Mark's brew house is in the old science class room, on the north side of the building. He is building a fermentation chamber across the hall. He bought some 4'x12' insulated panels that are used to make walk in coolers. He had already assembled three panels to make a back wall, and attached one panel perpendicularly at each end, like a large "C". There was a 3 foot space behind the box that he could get into and clean. He asked me to help him move a sixth panel into the budding fermentation chamber, to make two fermentation chamber. It was a little too tall, so Mark decided the grind down the metal couplings at the top.

Then Mark decided to push the chamber against the wall, and we walked the thing back to wall an inch at a time. Finally a couple of guys stopped by to help Mark do exactly what we'd been doing all afternoon. Naturally, being lazy, I watched as the three of them got that middle panel in, turning the "C" into an "E".

Since I only had the one day off, I decided to leave at a quarter to three and head back home. This morning, I discovered a splinter in my thumb. It's in just the perfect spot that hurts when I write with a pen.

Mental note: bring work gloves the next time I go to Eola.


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18 December 2013

Sperm Like Alcohol But Not Cell Phones

The Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Lodz, Poland, released a study finding that men who drank wine in moderation regulary had stronger swimming sperm. (There's not mention of beer, but I would expect a similar result.) Other factors that turn your sperm into tiny Micheal Phelpses are increased leisure time, light coffee drinking and wearing boxer shorts.

However, don't use your smart phone to post your drink to Untappd. Regular use of a mobile for more than a decade will decrease the mobility of sperm.


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16 December 2013

Beer Consumption Might Influence Longevity

This is too complicated for me to explain in my own words, so I shall let Roshni Mahesh of the International Business Times do it:

Telomeres manage the ageing process by playing a major role in the division of cells. The length of telomeres becomes shorter with each stage of cell division. The process continues until the telomeres become too short, leading to cell death and ageing. Telomere shortening has long been known to damage immunity and increase risk of cancer.

A study by Prof. Martin Kupiec and his team from Tel Aviv University showed that coffee can shorten the length of the telomeres. Alcohol improves the length.

So does this mean I should stop having coffee in the morning?


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14 December 2013

And Speaking of Heady Topper. . .

According to Alchemist Brewing website regarding their Heady Topper, a double IPA: " we brew 180 barrels per week in twelve 15 barrel batches. We never hold back inventory, and we move all of our beer weekly in a concerted effort to provide the freshest, hoppiest packaged IPA on the market." Apparently, they aren't brewing enough.

Stephanie Hoffman, 28, from Burlington, VT, was arrested last week for selling five cases of 16-ounce cans Heady Topper on Craigslist for $825.

The beer retails for about $14 for a four pack. She sold the beer for $27.50 a four pack, almost a 100% profit.

The brewery saw the ad and tipped off the authorities. Undercover investigators for the Vermont Department of Liquor Control drove to Georgia, Vermont, to meet with Hoffman, where she was arrested for selling beer without a license.

Heady Topper is a highly prized beer, and the fierce demand for the beer forced Alchemist to close their retail shop because of the traffic.

Jen Kimmich, owner of The Alchemist said, “It's a compliment in an odd way. But at the same time, we don't want to see the consumer being cheated by paying too much and getting a product that hasn't been taken care of properly.”

Most brewers don't mind folks trading beer, but object to people selling their beer at a huge markup. Natalie Chilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa california recently took on eBay sales of Pliney the Elder. "People were running liquor stores on eBay without any accountability," she said.

I've said it before: stop buying beer on eBay and Craigslist! Drink your local brewery's beer. Sure, it may not be as good as Heady Topper, but at least the brewer the gets the money for the beer so they can invest in their business.

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12 December 2013

Finally! Sanity!

Norman Miller, a beer columnist from Framingham, Mass. recently wrote that he will no longer chase rare beers because of the craziness of other people who go from store to store snapping up as much of the rare beer as they can.

"This won’t stop my beer trips – I waited in line for Kate the Great at the Portsmouth Brewery and I traveled to Vermont to buy the Alchemist’s Heady Topper and some Lawson’s Finest Liquids beers. However, I look at those as more a beery adventure rather than a search for a white whale beer. I did it just as much to spend time with friends and fellow beer geeks as I did with the beer," he wrote.

Speaking as someone who can never get the rare beers anyway, because I live in too small a town, I applaud Miller's stand. It's time to stop this chase card mentality. And the best way to do it is to stop buying them like mad.


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10 December 2013

There Is A Road Trip in My Future

Here's a list of great bars in Austin.  I really need to get to some of these.


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08 December 2013

Dirk's Elixir Wheat Porter

I haven't brewed this in a while, and winter is a good time for a porter.  I ordered the ingredients from Austin Homebrew Supply. Except for the hops. They apparently don't have a single hop in stock. They will all arrive on December 12.  So I ordered the hops from NikoBrew. Hopefully everything will arrive in time for a brew day next Sunday.

Dirk's Elixir Wheat Porter
Baltic Porter


Type: All Grain Date: 12/15/2013
Batch Size: 6.00 gal Brewer: Jeff Holt
Boil Size: 8.38 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00
Taste Notes:
Amount Item Type % or IBU
7.00 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 33.33 %
7.00 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 33.33 %
4.50 lb Pale Malt (6 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 21.43 %
1.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 7.14 %
0.50 lb Carafa I (337.0 SRM) Grain 2.38 %
0.50 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 2.38 %
0.50 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (90 min) Hops 11.5 IBU
0.50 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (10 min) Hops 3.9 IBU
0.50 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (10 min) Hops 2.1 IBU
1 Pkgs Bedford British Ale (White Labs #WLP006) [Starter 1500 ml] Yeast-Ale
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.077 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.065 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.80 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.84 %
Bitterness: 17.4 IBU Calories: 287 cal/pint
Est Color: 24.0 SRM Color:
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 21.00 lb
Sparge Water: 5.14 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 26.25 qt of water at 169.4 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: 56.0 days
Storage Temperature: 52.0 F  

Created with BeerSmith


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06 December 2013

Happy Repeal of Prohibition! Belated

When I first started this blog I decided to publish posts on even numbered days, mainly because I was afraid I would run out of content. That means that I occasionally miss important days in beer history. Like yesterday.

On December 5, 1933, Prohibition officially ended in the United States.

Prohibition had a couple of results that no one expected. First, many people decided not to obey the law. No government likes to govern when they know the people won't obey the laws.  Second, to fulfill the demand of all the scofflaws who wanted alcohol, organized crime began to accumulate a lot of money, giving them more influence than ever before.

The main reason to bring this up is to remind you that there are still Prohibitionists out there. They want to stop you from drinking. And smoking. And doing anything fun.


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04 December 2013

Tasty's Session Pale Ale Update

I am a fair weather brewer. By that, I mean that if it rains, I don't brew.

So after a couple of rainy weekends, I FINALLY got around to brewing Tasty's Session Pale Ale on Monday. I got of to a slightly late start. Then I had to switch over to the spare propane tank (I planned ahead this time!). After cleaning everything and pitching the yeast, I noticed it was only 1 pm.

What the. . .?

What did I for get?

The original gravity was supposed to be 1.044 and I got 1.048, so I'll take it as hitting my numbers.


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02 December 2013

DrainDead Brew Pub Coming to Deep Ellum in Dallas

According to CultureMap Dallas, a new brew pub is coming to Deep Ellum: BrainDead Brewpub.

Jeff Fryman (formerly of Common Table), Sam Wynne (owner of Fort Worth's Rodeo Goat and related to the family that owns Flying Saucer and Meddlesome Moth), and Drew Huerter (former brewmaster for  Schlafly and Deep Ellum Brewing Co.) have joined forces to create a new brew pub that will better "respond to the pulse of the community."

They plan to brew 12 beers of their own, and have 30 guest taps. The menu will be small so the restaurant can focus on beer. They will also sell growlers to go.

The brewing room will be behind glass (Because that's how the terrorists will attack us.  Don't get me started.) Huerter commented (and this is my favorite quote ever), "Sometimes I call it the fish-tank arrangement. Most of the patrons won't bother. But you can tell when you get a homebrewer — his nose is right up on the glass."

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