Thursday, October 4, 2007

The case for alcohol sales in Rockwall

I wrote a few weeks ago on the fact that beer and wine sale is on the ballot in several parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Sadly, it looks like folks on either side are digging their heels in on the matter in often juvenile ways.

Now, Bill O'Brien contributed this intelligent and witty piece to today's Dallas Morning News in favor of legalizing the sale of beer and wine in Rockwall, TX. Hopefully, it will convince some of the neoprohibitionists around here that having beer on the store shelf might not be such a terrible thing after all. Make sure you give it a read.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New Belgium Brewing Co.'s "Tour de Fat" to conclude in Austin, TX.

I just found out about this. On Oct. 20, New Belgium's Tour de Fat makes its final stop in Austin. There will be beer, wackiness, and folks on bikes out in the Fiesta Gardens from about 11 AM, for the benefit of the Yellow Bike Project, the Austin Cycling Association, and the Austin Ridge Riders. There will be live music, too, performed by the Reals, the Asylum Street Spankers, the March Fourth Marching Band, and the Handsome Little Devils. Read about it here!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Abita Pecan Sighting in SC Blog

For a delightful, adorable look at life in Charleston, SC, check out Sri's blog Lowcountry Living. Apparently, you can get Abita Pecan out in South Carolina. She just posted on the beer about a month ago. She describes it in a comment:
It's actually not bad! Very autumny in flavour. There is just a subtle taste of pecan...A pleasant orangey-red colour. And it's Abita. It's no DogFish Head, but refreshing and palatable. Quite palatable.
Nice blog, Miss Sri! And keep drinking good craft beer!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pecan Beer Case Study #1: Abita Pecan Harvest Ale

I wrote a post some time ago to advocate the idea of a pecan beer as something Texan breweries ought to explore. One thing that can encourage people to drink locally is to give them something that reifies their sense of geographical identity; it follows that breweries should find ways to produce beers that have some connection to the land, almost like a beer terroir. One good idea is using pecans, and at least two southeastern U.S. breweries have done so.

Perhaps you may want to try out some examples of such a beer. One such specimen is Abita Pecan Harvest Ale, from Abita Brewing Co. in Louisiana. It is widely distributed in Texas, so pick up a sixer and taste it for yourself. The brewery has this to say about its pecan-flavored offering, according to a press release:

We’re proud to introduce our new Pecan Harvest Ale. “Abita Pecan Harvest Ale is made with real Louisiana pecans,” said David Blossman, President of the Abita Brewing Company. “That makes it something really special, because most beers with a nutty flavor or aroma aren’t made with real nuts,” he continued. “The natural oils from the Louisiana pecans give the ale a light pecan finish and aroma,” stated Blossman. Abita Pecan Harvest Ale is excellent served with both red meat and seafood – and no surprise; it’s great with nuts too.

Pecan Harvest Ale is a new limited edition brew, just like Abita Strawberry Harvest. Earlier this year consumers quickly cleared the shelves of Strawberry Harvest Lager and called the brewery begging for more of the beer made with real Louisiana strawberries. Twenty-seven thousand, five hundred (27,500) cases of beer sold out in only 12 weeks. “We want to remind our customers that supplies of our new Pecan Harvest Ale are limited too. We won’t brew any more until next year and when it’s gone…it’s a gone pecan,” said Blossman. So crack one open for yourself today!

Be sure to send me a note when you've tried this, and share what you think.

The Club enjoys Bucking Bock during the game.

We were glued to the TV that evening. It was still the first quarter, and much to Andrew's dismay, things were already looking poorly for Rice and good for UT. The members of our humble Club were beginning to show up, Doug being the last. This ticked Andrew off, too, on account of Doug being the one who was in charge of bringing beer this time.

"Whatcha got for us?" was how we welcomed a smiling Doug, who had been listening to the game on the radio.

Doug replied, "I run across some of this Rahr Bucking Bock. Any of y'all tried this?"

Keith raised his hand and projected a knowing grin. Since his Texas beer awakening a few months ago, Keith has pretty much tried it all. Andrew and I had not, but we were right anxious to do so. We pulled some bottles out, twisted the caps off, and poured four pint glasses of this Bucking Bock.

"At first I thought it was sort of a take-off on Shiner Bock, but I'm thinking this is a very different sort of beer," said Doug. "Check out the label there. That bad boy has 7.5% alcohol in it!"

I took a sip. Now, it tasted sort of sweet, not unlike Shiner Bock, except that it was an interesting sweetness, like a candy I've never had before. It was delicious and--for such a strong beer--surprisingly smooth. A lot of beers this strong have a kind of bad vodka burn to the flavor, but this Rahr Bucking Bock was good and clean. The aftertaste was a bold, almost salty bitterness that swept the sugar right out of your mouth, leaving you thirsty for more. It's probably sexist of me to think this, but this beer still strikes me as a right manly beer.

Andrew broke the silence. "You know, this is good. The color of the beer is pretty light, and yet it's full of all these interesting malty flavors."

"Yeah," said Doug, "I see where you're coming from. For me, I would normally rather a beer not be quite this bitter, but since it's so strong, the bitterness kind of works."

"Now go slow, guys," Keith warned with a hint of mischief, "because this one will sneak up on you."

We enjoyed glass after glass of this beer for the rest of the evening. Of course, the Longhorns killed the Owls. Luckily, Andrew had some good beer to take comfort in.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Austin's favorite autumn seasonal beer released today.

I just saw this press release on Yahoo! Finance - this year, Independence Brewing Company is pumping out four times as much Oklahoma Suks Beer as before. Any of you Longhorn fans tried this? Be sure to get some before the big game, you beer drinkers of UT! Drink local; drink orange.

Edit: I'm not positive about this, but I'm hearing now that this is actually Austin Amber Ale in a different package. Can anyone verify or refute this?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oktoberfest beers from Rahr and Saint Arnold are featured in today's Beer Sphere.

Today in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Barry Shlachter put in a good word for the new Rahr Oktoberfest and our old friend Saint Arnold Oktoberfest.

About these two Texas Oktoberfestbiers, he had this to say:
Rahr & Sons, the just south-of-downtown little brewery that could, has done it again, producing a delicious, burnished-copper Marzen that competes with the best of them.

Think of the aroma of a loaf of rustic artisan bread ripped open when it's still warm. Rahr's Oktoberfest Fall Celebration Lager is light enough not to overwhelm a main course, yet provides enough flavor to satisfy.

Also making a comeback is another Texas-crafted Marzen, Saint Arnold Oktoberfest from Houston. This is a very carbonated, very malty beer that's light-to-medium-bodied, with a slightly different, somewhat sweeter, flavor profile. The secret to the difference: Saint Arnold uses an ale yeast. Purists might object, but there's no denying that this is a tasty and innovative little brew from the Bayou City.

(Rahr's version, by the way, is a true lager, even though it's labeled "ale," because Texas' anachronistic liquor laws require suds over 4 percent alcohol by weight to be labeled either "ale" or "malt liquor.")

Make sure you try this new Rahr beer, and be sure to stock up on the Saint Arnold treats as well.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why Lone Star Beer Infuriates Me, Part 2

Texans are used to being pandered to by national corporations. With its large population, the state is frequently treated like a big fat slice of American consumer pie. The classic example is Dairy Queen, the fast food chain that started in Joliet, Illinois in 1940 and currently has its headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. In the postwar years, Dairy Queens began to pop up all over the United States (including Texas, of course). In Texas, however (again, remember the pie simile), Dairy Queen has cultivated the self-image of a permanent Texan cultural fixture, something that comes to mind when Texans consider their state identity. In Texas, the Dairy Queen road sign is the "Texas Stop Sign." In Texas, when you want to explore Dairy Queen's internet presence, you can go to, which bears the slogan "That's What I Like About Texas." Never mind the actual homegrown restaurants that dot the state. Let's celebrate our Texanness by visiting a national chain. Anyone barfing a little yet?

So now I discover that the marketing wizards of Pabst Brewing Company have discovered another way to fill the coffers of the Woodridge, Illinois company. The new campaign is to have Texans vote on their "national anthem." (I thought we already had one, "Texas, our Texas"....) Don't the people at Pabst think we know who we are? Don't they know how insulting this is? We're like the sexy woman at the bar, getting hit on by people out of her league every night. Get lost, Pabst!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Independence Brewing Co. celebrates three years of brewing Texas beer.

There's going to be a party to celebrate the third anniversary of Independence beers. It's down at the brewery, on Saturday, October 20, from 5 to 10 PM. There will be free beer. Follow this link for more details.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Texas to have two black lagers!

First, if you haven't already, head over to Austinite Lee's blog I Love Beer, where we learned this week that Shiner 97 is going permanent this fall.

Rahr & Sons' Ugly Pug Black Lager and Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager: one for each giant Texan man-paw, to put it in properly hyperbolic terms (everything is bigger in Texas).

Well, sort of.

As fun as it may be to imagine the birth of a viscous Texas Tea style that could show up among the BJCP categories one day, that simply ain't how we brew 'em here. Dark as supercells though they may be, the offerings by Rahr and Shiner couple a great roasty bite with climate-appropriate drinkability. These are very much beers of their place.