30 June 2014

Uncle Billy's To Expand

After recent changes in beer laws, Uncle Billy's Brew and Cue in Austin has been self-distributing, and apparently is doing well. They will be upgrading to a 20 barrel brewery, capable of producing 5000 barrels a year.

They will also do some remodeling of the restaurant and the menu.

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posted by hiikeeba at 09:57 0 comments

28 June 2014

Bridgeport Trilogy 2 Aussie Salute IPA - A Review

Thanks to my friends at Bridgeport Brewing in Oregon, I got to try a couple of bottles of Aussie Salute IPA, which uses antipodean hops Galaxy and Ella. It is available in Austin, but I don't get to go there as often as I used to.

Appearance (0-3): Pours up a hazy gold with a rocky white head that lingers. 3 points

Aroma/Bouquet (0-4): Faint hop aroma with notes of mint. Interesting. 3 points

Taste (0-10): The beer is medium-bodies with good carbonation. Flavor starts with a subtle malt sweetness that transitions into a pine flavor then an almost mint flavor. Finishes with an almost too firm bitterness on the back of my tongue.  7 points

Overall Impression (0-3): I liked it, but it's not my favorite IPA. It's a tad too bitter. But the Australian hops have an interesting flavor. 2 points

Total (0-20): 15 points

posted by hiikeeba at 13:00 0 comments

26 June 2014

Åland Brewery Revives 170 Year Old Beer

Last year, I told you about Stallhagen Brewery in Finland recreating a beer from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea.  It's finally been released under the name Stallhagen Historic Beer 1842.

Using the wild yeast from the beer recovered in the wreck, they produced a fruity beer lacking the hop flavor of modern beer. The brewer compared it to wine.

Packaged in 2000 hand blown bottles, this is a limited release.


posted by hiikeeba at 09:00 0 comments

24 June 2014

Great Ideas Come in The Middle of the Night

I have been halfheartedly working on revising my book, Historic Texas Breweries (click image to the left to purchase the first edition) for a year or so. I'm easily distracted.

At my little speech last month, they organizers emphasized that I was writing a book. So I got back to work and organized the revision to focus on the regions of Texas, rather than on an alphabetical list of towns.

Last week, I woke up at 4 am for a trip to the bathroom. Afterwards, while snuggling back under the covers, it occurred to me that organizing by regions was the wrong approach, and that the book should be divided into three parts: Pre-Prohibition, Post-Prohibition until 1994 (the birth of brew pubs), and 1994 to Present. Further, I should sort the breweries by opening date, so the reader can track the spread of breweries, particularly in Pre-Prohibition days.

This doesn't affect much of the brewery write ups, but it does significantly change the framing structure I had set up.

I don't know that I will ever finish the darned thing!


posted by hiikeeba at 12:59 0 comments

22 June 2014

CYBI Wake and Bake

Terrapin Wake And Bake has been one of those beers that I only have every once in a while. I can't get it here in Paradise. I picked up a couple of four packs last year in Athens. I loved it!

The Brewing Network has had this recipe in their sights a couple of times. The last was on the Brewing Network's Can You Brew It? show. You can find the other version of the recipe on this blog.

Here's how this batch turned out:

Aroma (0-3): Large coffee notes, hints of alcohol. 3 points

Appearance (0-4): Jet black with an off white head that dissipates quickly.  2 points

Taste (0-10):  Starts with a chocolatey sweetness that slowly moves into a chocolate coffee flavor. Full bodied. No hops detected.  9 points

Overall Impression (0-3): I love this beer!  It's definitely a sipper. 3 points

Total: 17 points

posted by hiikeeba at 20:57 0 comments

20 June 2014

Today's My Birthday!

And here's a list of things I want:

A More Beer cooled conical fermenter, with a set of leg extensions.

Or just someone to make great beer for me.


posted by hiikeeba at 15:33 0 comments

18 June 2014

It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidty...Screw That! They Both Suck!

It is now that time of year where I contemplate putting my brewing on hold. The last few weekends have been rather humid. And even though the temps aren't August and September levels, it's still be miserable out on the back porch.

I still need to brew the 1900 American Wheat, but it's looking like that will be next weekend.

I would like to brew a couple more IPAs to help get me through the hot months, but frankly, it's getting to hot to even get the equipment out.

I could, I suppose, go ahead and brew some Belgian-style beers since the fermentation temps will be so high. However, after a while, I get sick of those too!


posted by hiikeeba at 15:00 0 comments

16 June 2014

Shiner Beer Now Legal in New York City.

When Shiner Bock rolled into Austin in the 1970s, the counterculture fell in love with it. At the time, it was not a premium beer, and was cheaper than Bud and Miller. It was also not the pale fizzy lager their parents drank. Shiner Bock became a staple around the University of Texas campus. As UT graduates spread out across the country, they found they missed good old Shiner Bock and began asking retailers to carry it, and slowly, Shiner spread across the country.

I confess, I too fell in love with Shiner Bock while at UT. Afterwards, before the days of the craft beer boom, I was guaranteed to get a strange look from co-workers when we went out for drinks. "What the Hell is that?" they would ask. But I digress.

For years, UT grads in New York lived in a tortured Hell where only a couple of bars sold Shiner Bock and they were doing it slightly illegally. They would go to other, near by states that had Shiner distributors, and buy it from them. Rub BBQ, and Rodeo Bar were among the first to sell Shiner in New York City, and found themselves hosting "Texpats" and TexasExes (the UT alumi association) meetings.

Now, Shiner is distributed in New York, and seems to be taking New York City by storm, selling 100,000 cases the first year.

"The beer that originated in the one-stoplight, 2,000-person town of Shiner is now available in countless delis and restaurants across the five boroughs (with its 12,500 stoplights and more than eight million people)," writes Adam Chandler.

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posted by hiikeeba at 11:54 0 comments

14 June 2014

You Might Have Noticed. . .

. . .that for the first time since 2007, I am not on the road to NHC.

Unfortunately, Satan had some issues at home related to the oil industry, and is currently in Oklahoma doing some hazmat training.

He texted me while en route:


posted by hiikeeba at 10:42 0 comments

12 June 2014

My Last Brew Day

I had every intention of brewing 1900 American Wheat on Sunday and Monday. This is what I encountered each morning.

This weekend is Father's Day, and I only have Sunday available to brew. Or I can start the brew when I get home from work at 5 pm. . .


posted by hiikeeba at 10:32 0 comments

10 June 2014

Spin Chill - A Fairly Scientific Review

I was given the opportunity to try out a new beer gadget called SpinChill. However, it took me a few weeks to actually get around to it. I had some time a week or so ago to take for a test drive.

I had a can of Blakker, and a bottle of Hopstrasse IPA that were at room temperature. I had a SpinChill, and my smartphone. What I didn't have was a cooler full of ice. So I dug out a sauce pan, and added equal parts ice and water until the pan was a little more than half full. I got out a piece of paper and a pencil, because in the words of Adam Savage, "...the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down." I took an initial temperature of the containers of the beers with my laser thermometer.

The can was 76° and the bottle was 75°.

The SpinChill is a pistol grip with a large rubber cone on the end. There is an outer ring that fits cans
and an inner ring that fits bottles. I put the ring on the Blakker can. I immersed it into the ice water, and took it for a spin.

Now, this device is intended to be used in an ice chest with a lot more thermal mass than my little sauce pan. So I knew my results would not be as advertised.

After three minutes of spinning, the can dropped 9° to 67°, measured on the outside of the can. Not too shabby.

I put the inner ring around the bottle cap, and put that into the saucepan of ice water and turned on the SpinChill. It was at this point that my experimental rig showed its flaws.

A can is short and about the same size from top to bottom. A bottle is tall and is wider at the bottom than at the top. It really didn't matter where I positioned the can in the pan of ice water, it would spin nicely. The bottle however, had to be positioned in the exact center of the pot or it would fiercely wobble when it hit the vortex of water around it. I managed to keep it in place for three minutes with one hand holding the SpinChill and the other controlling the position of the bottle, which explains the lack of pictures. I couldn't get an accurate reading on the bottle, because more of the liquid was out of the ice water. The exterior temperature of the neck was 72°. The exterior of the bottom of the bottle was 70°. I'm sure there would have been a better cooling if more of the bottle was immersed in the ice water.

The SpinChill works as advertised.  I can imagine a scenario where I have an ice chest with ice water and want to cool a beer down quickly, I know from Mythbusters, that putting a warm bottle in ice takes about 30 minutes to cool. Add salt to the water and that time is cut in half. So if I stop at a bottle shop and pick up a warm beer I've never tried, I can cool it down with SpinChill in a few minutes, and be sipping on a refreshing adult beverage while the rest of that six pack cools. down.

The problem that arises at that point, is which of my friends go next? How many will glare at me while I sip a cold beer, while they SpinChill their way to their own frosty drink?

SpinChill. Good for one person. A friendship destroyer on the beach.

Yes. I will carry this on beercations. My little cooler has a mesh pouch just the right size for this thing. But I might need two of them...


posted by hiikeeba at 17:20 0 comments

08 June 2014

Strange Laws

Ella Moss recently sent me an email with stupid laws in other countries inspired by an old post of mine. There are 3 mists, one for the UK, one for the US, and one for Australia.

There are some strange laws in the US, for sure, but none on the list had anything to do with beer. However, the UK started off with an interesting one:

1. You can't get drunk in a pub

A lot of the strangest laws in the UK are linked to alcohol, although they often seem to focus on preventing particular kinds of behaviour while drunk, rather than trying to outlaw drinking altogether. This perhaps says something about the place of drinking in British culture.

If you do want to stay on the right side of the law when you pop down to the pub for a drink, you will need to remember to obey some pretty strange laws that have remained on the books over many years.

Perhaps the most surprising is that it is actually illegal to be drunk on licensed premises!

As well as laws banning driving a car or bike while you're under the influence there are also laws to prevent people from being in charge of a horse, cow or steam engine while drunk.

But my favorite strange law is on the Australia list:

5. You can't crush a beer can between your breasts
Exercising your muscles as you recycle might get you in trouble if you are a woman with the unusual talent of being able to crush beer cans with your breasts.

It is illegal to do this in Western Australia, and it can actually lead to arrest.

A barmaid in Pinjarra was arrested, tried and find a thousand dollars for showing off this trick in public.

If she'd inspired a meme by putting it online, she could have turned a lot of other people into criminals too. [Internet memes are technically illegal in Australia because they don't have a "fair use" clause in their copyright laws. That was #4 on the list.]


posted by hiikeeba at 11:24 0 comments

06 June 2014

Save the World - One Earth Chilled Beer at a Time

Four Danes have developed a no electric beer cooler call eCool.

It is a tube almost 3 and a half feet long and a foot in diameter, It can hold 24 cans.  You would install it with a garden drill, and the constant temperature of the ground would keep your beer cool.

And it can be yours for $349!


posted by hiikeeba at 13:03 2 comments

04 June 2014

Brewing Infographic

Who doesn't love infographics? Sarah Peterson sent me a link to this one. Click here for the full size version.


posted by hiikeeba at 08:00 0 comments

02 June 2014

"Ladies who Lager" German Beer Tour

I received the following press release last week, and thought How cool would it be to go on this tour? Sadly, I will be unable to go, but maybe some of you would be interested.

Part beer tour, part culinary vacation this Bavarian beer tour spotlights women brewers, hidden craft beers, abbey beers and slow food.

Under-the-radar craft beer, pioneering "Ladies who Lager," independent breweries and artisanal eats are on tap for a Beer and Brewery Tour to Germany, rolled out for the fall by Philadelphia-based Treasures of Europe Tours. The trip is a beer vacation, study tour and Slow Food tour rolled into one.

Bavaria's best craft brewers and most inspiring women brewers will be featured on the beer and brewery tour along the beer trail this October.

“Our culinary and beer vacation spotlights hidden beer and food venues that are worth traveling for,” says Tom Conrad, who will guide the tour.

“We’re proud that Treasures of Europe is the only travel company with a tour focusing on craft beer, women brewers, small regional breweries and Slow Food,” he added.

The line-up includes the Meinel sisters, 11th-generation brewers who are rocking the Bavarian beer scene with a new line of un-girly beers for women; Sigi and Barbara Friedmann, who recently landed a European Beer Star prize; and Germany’s iconic brewmaster-nun, Sister Doris, who has been stiirring the brew kettle for over 40 years.

The trip is designed for beer fans, brewers, somms and people in the trade. It’s also for gourmet travelers, www.treasuresofeuropetours.com.
food activists, and Slow Food enthusiasts as well as culinary adventurers and people who are newer to the world of beer and food. The dates are October 3-13, 2014. Space is limited and the group will be small. Info at

The Alpine village Mayrhofen, Bavaria's cosmopolitan capitol Munich, the “Harvard of Beer” Freising, and the artists’ colony Murnau, plus the UNESCO world heritage city Bamberg are on the itinerary.

Beer and breweries in the nooks and crannies of Franconia will be the centerpiece of the trip. This region in northern Bavaria has the highest concentration of breweries in the world – one for every 5,511 citizens.

A fall Alpine cow homecoming festival, private sausage making workshop with a master butcher, an artisanal dairy and cheese-making farm, Zoigl brew house visit and a private farm-to-table meal cooked by a local chapter of the ladies’ auxiliary of the Bavarian Farmers’ Association are also on tap for the group.

"Beer, food and travel are an unbeatable combination," says Conrad. "We're looking forward to celebrating the best craft beer, women-brewed beer and artisanal food Germany has to offer," he added.

Reservations and information for the Beer and Slow Food tour at Treasures of Europe Tours - Beer Tour http://treasuresofeuropetours.com/beer-tour-2/.


posted by hiikeeba at 12:18 0 comments