30 July 2014

Another Indiegogo Project

Beer Geeks isn't the only organization trying to raise some money on Indiegogo. Scott Metzger, founder of Freetail Brewing, and one of the funniest brewery owners around, is raising money for a delivery Lambo.

I shit you not.

Kickstarter rejected the fundraiser three times. Metzger turned to Indiegogo and they accepted it!

The rewards are fairly simple. High fives mostly.

But the higher the donation, the more time you can spend in the car. For $10,000, you can get the Ultimate Hero package:

1) You get to pick the license plate for the Lambo (subject to availability in the state of Texas) 2) You get to take a road trip with me [Metzger] from San Antonio to New York City where we will take a picture together in front of the HQ of a different crowdfunding website, flipping them the bird. I'll likely let you drive a good deal of the way (insurance requirements apply)
This probably won't sit well with Will Gordon...

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:39 0 comments links to this post

28 July 2014

Bieree: A Smart Phone RIMS Kickstarter

Leonardo Estevez has been brewing for 20 years, creating brewing machines for himself during that time. Recently, in response to friends who want more control of the system, he launched a Kickstarter project to bring his latest version, called Bieree, to market. With a target price of $99, they hope to sell you a kit that lets you use your own pots.

I am not an engineer, and I have never seen anyone use a system to make beer, so their description of the process seems a lot like magic to me. I would like to make beer automatically, so this might be something to look at.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 12:13 0 comments links to this post

26 July 2014

Beer Geeks Season Two Indiegogo Fundraiser

The folks at Beer Geeks tried to raise money on Kickstarter for a second season, but didn't meet their goal. They've launched a new campaign on Indiegogo.

C'mon, people. If a guy can get thousands of dollars for making potato salad, surely we can get a second season of Beer Geeks!

posted by Jeff Holt at 15:03 0 comments links to this post

Genetically Modified Yeast on the Way

Kevin Verstrepen, a leading yeast geneticist at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology and the University of Leuven, Belgium, was interviewed recently in Popular Mechanics about genetically engineered yeast. Apparently, the university has several modified yeast strains in their freezers that eliminate undesirable yeast produced factors. However, public sentiment against GMOs is keeping those yeasts out of breweries.

Verstrepen said that since yeast aren't normally consumed by humans, the argument that the modification could be dangerous is a non-issue. However, some beers, hefeweizen springs to mind, does have yeast in it. And many beers are bottle conditioned, so I think the risk is higher than Verstrepen lets on.

It's the effect of the yeast on the wild population should it get out of the brewery that is the biggest concern. Verstrepen said that was the modified yeast out competing wild yeast in that even is unlikely, but something to watch out for.

I have visions of rabbits and cane toads in Australia in my head right now.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:50 0 comments links to this post

24 July 2014

Where to Get Free Beer in Austin

Thrillist put out a list of where you can get free beer in Austin.  I'm not going to tell you where. You get to play the clicking game!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:02 0 comments links to this post

22 July 2014

Chillpod Wine Bottle Quickchiller

Over at ThinkGeek.com, they have a Chillpod Wine Bottle Quickchiller. While they lament that beer geeks get all the cool toys and this one is for wine, I can see a bomber of Pliney the Elder slipping into one of these.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 13:02 0 comments links to this post

20 July 2014

Another Cease and Desist in the Brewing Industry

It's common for breweries to get cease and desist letters for logos and beer names. Freetail Brewing received one a few years ago for using Velocohopter, or something like that. Namaste Brewing company had to change their name because Dog Fish Head thought people would confuse a line of Indian inspired beers for their Belgian Wit Beer. Namaste is now called Kamala Brewing. Most of the time, the conflicts are honest mistakes that could be soothed over if brewers would talk to each other. Then there are the blatant copyright infringements.

Sessions Law Firm specializes in DUI cases, and they thought it would super cool to put their logo on brown beer can bags. Unfortunately, they used this logo:
Yeah, that's not good, and even to me (I am not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV) this is a fairly blatant rip off that also suggests people who drink Session Lager are people with DUIs. So Session Brewing Company has filed a Cease and Desist and Sessions Law has removed the logo from their website.

All this bring up a question: Who thought the logo was a good idea and think that Session Brewing would be flattered?

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:16 0 comments links to this post

18 July 2014

Good News For My Massachusetts Friends!

Shiner Beer will start selling in Massachusetts this month. Gary Dzen wrote a story about it that includes a review of Shiner Bock. He was not impressed.

Dzen wrote: "One of the drawbacks of pouring this beer into a glass is having to look at it five minutes later. After a while it begins to look like flat Coke."

It made me laugh, because it reminded me of a joke.

At the Great American Beer Festival, the head of Budweiser, the head of Coors, and the head of Shiner stopped at a bar. The Budweiser guy ordered a bud Light, "The biggest selling beer in the world!" The Coors guy order a Coors Light, "The Silver Bullet!" The Shiner guy ordered a Coke.  "Why didn't you order a Shiner?" one of the others asked.

"If you aren't going to order beer, I won't either."

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posted by Jeff Holt at 14:25 0 comments links to this post

16 July 2014

903 Brewers to Expand and Add Ten Jobs

Despite the efforts of the Quockerwodgers in the Texas Legislature, Texas craft breweries continue to grow.

In Sherman, 903 Brewers will expand the size of their brewery and add 10 new jobs. This expansion will let them brew in one day what now takes them a week. And as soon as their canning line arrives, they will be able to get their beer, now keg only, out into the market.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:58 0 comments links to this post

14 July 2014

Beer Better than Wine for the American Worker

According to Bloomberg Business Week, a Census study shows that breweries pay their employees more than vineyards. If you think about it a bit, you can understand why: people who pick grapes, at least here in Paradise, tend to have a less certain citizenship status.

Let's be honest here. Agriculture requires a less skilled, therefore cheaper workforce, and illegal aliens fit that role perfectly by stealing the job you wanted: harvesting things in the hot sun for very little money.

And as a result, breweries provide more benefits to their employees than wineries do.

So if you want to support the American economy, buy more beer!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:45 0 comments links to this post

12 July 2014

Big Brew IQ Challenge

IN ADVANCE OF BIG BREW, HAY MERCHANT BREW BRAIN HELPS HONE CRAFT BEER KNOWLEDGE
HOUSTON (July 7, 2014)…The craft beer industry in Houston continues to heat up. In an effort to help expand craft beer knowledge in advance of the new destination craft beer celebration scheduled for this fall at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the producers of Big Brew joined forces with beer nerd Kevin Floyd of Hay Merchant, creating an interactive craft beer challenge. BigBrewIQ.com is a fun way to see how much you know about craft beer.  Are you a novice or a master?  Log on today and find out for yourself.  All players compete for a range of BIG prizes, including a private dinner for 6 at Hay Merchant and 6 all access passes to attend Big Brew in October.  Round two of the BigBrewIQ Challenge will pit players who score 19 out of 19 against each other for additional grand prizes.
               Considered one of Houston’s craft beer experts, Floyd is dedicated to his craft and loves sharing his knowledge of craft beer with others.  In fact, Hay Merchant was named one of the top 100 beer bars in the country by Draft Magazine.  Those attending Big Brew will get a chance to hear more from Floyd during his Craft Beer 101seminars to be held during the Grand Tasting sessions on October 25.
               Big Brew kicks off October 20, 2014 with events around the city, followed by larger events October 23-25at the GRB.  Designed for beer lovers in Houston and across the nation, participants will enjoy more than 1,000 featured beers, meet the best and brightest brewers in the craft beer industry, and quench their thirst on never-before-tasted brews and rare finds. 
               Offerings for the week-long event include VIP experiences, pub crawls, craft beer dinners, food and beer pairings, beer education seminars, intimate meet-and-greet opportunities, a Best in Texas event focused on Texas offerings only and two grand tasting sessions. The festival is sponsored by Spec’s Wine, Spirits and Finer Foods and presented by Silver Eagle Distributing.  Big Brew is produced by Food & Vine Time Productions, Inc. in conjunction with Houston First and the GRB.
               Tickets for Big Brew are now on sale and start at $45.  For events, tickets and all things Big Brew visitwww.bigbrewhouston.comBig Brew benefits the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College, a leader in hospitality education.
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About Houston First Corporation:
Houston First Corporation operates the city’s finest convention and arts facilities to position Houston as a world-class destination.  Houston First manages more than 10 city-owned buildings, plazas and parking facilities, including Hilton Americas-Houston, George R. Brown Convention Center, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Wortham Center and Jones Hall.  For more information, please visit www.HoustonFirst.com.

About the George R. Brown Convention Center:
The George R. Brown Convention Center ranks among the 10 largest facilities in the United States with nearly 1.2 million sq. ft. of exhibition, meeting and registration space.  For more information, please visitwww.HoustonConventionCtr.com.

About Food & Vine Time Productions, Inc.:
Food & Vine Time Productions, Inc. is a brand leader in finely crafted consumer culinary, wine and craft beer lifestyle events.  Launched in 2002, Food & Vine Time Productions, Inc. focuses on a shared passion for food, wine and craft beer celebrating all the many benefits these pleasures contribute to personal and business relationships.  It currently produces 10 events across the Houston-area, including its signature Wine & Food Week, which celebrates 10 years in 2014; BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival; Haute Wheels Houston, THE Food Truck Festival; Zest in the West; Katy Sip ‘n Stroll; CyFair Wine Fair; FROSTED and the first ever BIG BREW at the GRB fall 2014.

Photo Caption:   Kevin Floyd, owner of Hay Merchant, developed the BigBrewIQ quiz to help test basic knowledge of craft beer.  Floyd is considered one of Houston’s top craft beer experts.   Hay Merchant has racked up many national accolades including being called one of the top 100 beer bars in the country by Draft Magazine.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 11:29 0 comments links to this post

10 July 2014

Williams Brewing Stainless Steel Pint

I love my Brewing Network hydroflask growler! I need to buy another one, and start throwing away all my glass growlers. Now I may have to start getting rid of my pint glasses.

Williams Brewing has just come out with insulated stainless steel pint "glasses".  I want some!  Unfortunately they are out of stock.

But I am not going to call them glasses. They aren't made of glass.  How does Pint Cup sound? Yeah, that's the ticket: Pint Cup.

I want a Pint Cup!

And it, too, helps with the skunking issue discussed previously.

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

08 July 2014

BRU-V Glass

All us beer geeks know that you should never buy beer that comes in a clear bottle. The beer inside can become light struck, or skunky. Always buy your beer in brown bottles. However, when we drink beer, we pour it into a clear pint glass, all be cause the brewer wants us to see how clear the beer is.

Someone has finally come up with the blindingly obvious: Use brown pint glasses!

Still in the Kickstarter phase, Bru-V glasses are still in the future.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 17:22 0 comments links to this post

06 July 2014

From the Departement of the Blindingly Obvious: Indiana Teens Prefer Cold Beer

Sometimes, I am amazed at stupid things that people say, and the way it makes them sound.

In Indiana, you can only by cold beer at a liquor store. Convenience stores and grocery stores, among others, cannot refrigerate beer. Of course, these stores would like to sell cold beer, so they have been fighting to get a law passed that allow them to do it, and recently they lost. Again.

The liquor stores argued that letting these stores sell cold beer would give minors "more chances to buy beer". Statistics show, however, sales to minors at liquor stores account for 20% of the violations in the state. Restaurants lead the list at 60%, and c-stores and grocery stores account for 16% of underage sales. Restaurants and liquor stores sell cold beer, and account for 80% of underage sales. Therefore, minors prefer cold beer over warm beer.

Of course it's in the liquor stores' interest to keep those underage sales in their stores rather than letting a c-store get them. It's called competition!

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posted by Jeff Holt at 08:55 0 comments links to this post

04 July 2014

Hoppy Fourth of July

I hope you have a great holiday.

I have to work until 4 pm, and after that, I'm off to the open house at Pedernales Brewing Company. Tomorrow is Beer and Hymns, so when I leave work at 5 pm, I can go have a couple of pints while others do a hymn sing along.

Beer and Hymns runs from 5 - 6 pm.  There's no cover charge, and pints in plastic cups are $4.

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

02 July 2014

AHA's Best Beer List

The American Homebrewers Association recently released their top 50 beers of 2014. The list is determined by a vote of AHA members like myself, who write down our favorite 50 beers. Let me tell you, sometimes it's hard to come up with 50.

But it's a subjective list. A few years ago, while Rahr & Sons was shut down but the snowmageddon, somehow, they managed to get their entire line on the top 50 list, which put them at the top of the Breweries list.

Naturally, beer geeks were offended. How, they asked, could a small regional brewery get so many beers on the list? When they aren't producing?

The same way Pliny the Elder does.

Lots of people voted for it. (I called it ballot box stuffing on the AHA forum, and got my post deleted. Apparently, you can't refer to actual cases of ballot stuffing on the forum.)

As a result, it's hard to take the top 50 list seriously. (Especially since they didn't quote me for the first time in three years!)

There are a lot of great beers on the list. I have had several of them. I do, however, question the inclusion of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. It is undoubtedly the worst beer every to wear the craft beer label. It is nasty. But, somehow, it shows up on the list.

I noticed that 24 of the fifty beers were IPA variants. I also noticed a couple of beers that can only be purchased a few days a year.

But these aren't the best beers in America.  They are the most popular. Among a certain subset of drinkers. And, with a few exceptions, they are regional breweries without national distribution. Just like Rahr & Sons. And no one on the AHA forums is bitching about it.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 19:24 0 comments links to this post