Moving!

Things have been going really well lately, so I decided to step up my game a little bit. I now have my own site over at bottlecapbombshell.com! Please change your bookmarks (or subscribe over there) because I won’t be updating here anymore; however, I will redirect this site to the new one very soon just in case you forget. I just wanted to give everyone warning first. I also have a new twitter account at twitter.com\bcbshell if you want to follow me. 🙂

Cheers!
– Danielle

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National Beer Day!

Happy National Beer Day, also known as Brew Year’s Eve!

For me, a lot of days are beer days, but today’s holiday actually has some historical background. It isn’t just one of those made up holidays like “Put a Necktie on Your Cat Day”. On March 22, 1933 the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed, and it went into effect on April 7, 1933. This act basically allowed low alcohol beers to be sold in the US for the first time since Prohibition began in 1920. The signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act was the beginning of the end of Prohibition, which didn’t officially end until December 1933. If that isn’t worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.

There’s an interesting write up about it here on the Craft Beer blog. Since the days of Prohibition, the landscape for beer in America has changed drastically. Recently craft beer and microbreweries have boomed, and the variety of beers available has been increasing rapidly.

While on the topic of history and laws related to beer, there is something interesting going on in the Texas Legislature right now. Currently in Texas, breweries cannot sell their beer on site; they must go through a distributor to sell their beer. There are plenty of brewery tours, but they can only give samples and can’t actually sell the beer to you. Also, brewpubs are allowed to brew beer on site and sell it by the pint, but they can’t sell that same beer through a distributor or in stores.

This system currently in place is very backwards, and SB 515, 516, 517 and 518 are working to fix that. These bills recently passed in the Senate and are moving on to the House. If these pass, then brewpubs will be able to distribute their beer if they want to, and it would also allow breweries to sell a limited amount of beer at their own facilities directly to consumers. The Jester King Craft Brewery blog has a great article about it here. There is also another bill in place that seems a bit more controversial and isn’t favored by many Texas breweries, but at least the other four bills that passed seem to have everyone agreeing it’s a step in the right direction and could really make a difference for brewers in Texas.

So if you get a chance today, send a quick email to your state rep if you’re in Texas, then be festive, support your local breweries, and go grab a pint and celebrate!

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I didn’t throw it on the ground!

Black Sheep Lodge was the chosen location for this pint night. It was oddly the first time I had been there despite living relatively close to it. It had a really laid back, friendly pub atmosphere. They also have really great drink specials throughout the week. As far as venues go, it’s worth checking out.

The first beer I tried was called Irish Red.

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It really wasn’t that bad! It actually had a slight reddish color, which I wasn’t entirely expecting (despite it being called Irish Red). It has a pretty high IBU rating (coming in at 51), so I was a little surprised that I still liked it.  It was really refreshing, but not super light. 

Rating: 3.9/5.0 stars
Name: Irish Red
Brewery: Circle Brewing Company
Location: Austin, TX

The second beer I tried was a bit riskier. I ordered it on recommendation only, with no description or details of any kind. I agreed to it simply because I couldn’t pronounce the name, so it seemed like an interesting challenge. It was called Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.

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It was super light, very bubbly, and very, very lemony. It was really refreshing and would be perfect on a hot summer (or spring) day. It’s a German (obviously) Hefeweizen. I didn’t like it as much as the Irish Red, but it was still pretty good. I was quite proud of myself. I didn’t throw anything on the ground!!

Rating: 3.6/5.0 stars
Name: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
Brewery: Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan
Location: Freising, Germany

And since I was being all wild and crazy and trying things that weren’t dark, I tasted this thing called Stone Enjoy By IPA. And I made The Beer Face (but I didn’t throw it on the ground because it wasn’t mine). I’m clearly still not ready for IPAs – particularly that one. I’m not even going to rate it, because that just seems unfair. But at least I know there are other beers out there besides stouts that I can enjoy.

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Hops and IBU

I discovered something recently. I never knew exactly what the IBU rating meant. I just saw numbers and thought of math and moved on quickly. I REALLY SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO THAT.

If you’ve read more than one post on my blog, you’ve noticed that I keep saying, “I don’t like real hoppy beer.” IBU is the bitterness scale and basically goes hand in hand with hops. The higher the number, the more bitter/hoppier it is. I’ve discovered the lower the IBU, the better chance I have of not wanting to throw it on the floor. I should have definitely paid attention to this before now, but it’s better late than never, I suppose.

I started looking into what the IBU rating meant after reading this article about porters. One day I thought, “Why are porters so hit or miss with me? Stouts are almost always good, so what’s the deal with porters?” One of the reasons is because porters technically have a higher range for IBU than regular stouts. That article I linked is rather lengthy but pretty interesting. Most brewery websites have the IBU listed under each individual beer, though not always, so that’s been a pretty decent guide for me to go past my comfort zone in beers.

Anyway, so that’s that. Lesson of the day: pay attention to the IBU rating if you care about hops and bitterness.

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Pinthouse Pizza Part II

March was insanely busy with SXSW and a few other events, so I’m a bit behind on posts. BUT I’m getting a new tablet soon, so hopefully that’ll make blogging much easier on me. Anyway, back to the Pinthouse Pizza adventure… There were four other beers that I tried in addition to the others I recently posted about.

Pinthouse Pizza - pint night!

1. Bully! Porter
I did not like this beer very much. It was very bitter/had too much hops for my taste. The IPA guy loved it. It just wasn’t really my thing. The IBU rating (which is a new discovery for me, but I’ll go into that in a different post) is a 49, which is a bit too high for me. I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Rating: 2.9/5.0 stars
Name: Bully! Porter
Brewery: Boulevard Brewing Company
Location: Kansas City, Missori

2. (512) Cascabel Cream Stout
This is such a good beer! (512) Brewing Company is one of my favorite breweries in town. This beer was very smooth and creamy, and also chocolatey and coffee-ish. It was also really sweet. An interesting note about this beer is that it is brewed with Guajillo chiles. I don’t recall noticing any obvious heat when I tried this beer, so it’s a subtle addition. My notes from that night only say, “YESSSSSSSSSSS,” so I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4.7/5.0 stars
Name: Cascabel Cream Stout
Brewery: (512) Brewing Company
Location: Austin, Texas

3. Deep Ellum’s Darkest Hour
This beer is a rye imperial stout, and it is also one of Deep Ellum’s specialty beers that has a limited release. Interestingly, the name is in reference to the shortest day of the year; Deep Ellum says it’s brewed to mark the winter solstice. This beer was actually quite bright and citrusy for being as dark as it is. It’s also really strong. It had hints of dark chocolate and was a bit bitter. Overall, it was a pretty solid beer.

Rating: 3.9/5.0 stars
Name: Darkest Hour
Brewery: Deep Ellum Brewing Company
Location: Dallas, Texas

4. The Admiral
This was one of the beers that Pinthouse Pizza brews. There really isn’t any information on it online anywhere, and you can only get it at Pinthouse Pizza. I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about this one. It was very strong, and a bit bitter. It didn’t really leave much of an impression except it wasn’t smooth at all compared to the other beers that I had. My general response was “meh”.

Rating: 3.5/5.0 stars
Name: The Admiral
Brewery: Pinthouse Pizza Brewpub
Location: Austin, Texas

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Shaking Things Up a Bit

I was handed a Lonestar the other day. And I actually drank it.

Now, that may not mean much to any of you out there, but to me, it was a first. I normally HATE light beer of any kind. In fact, I have been known to be “that girl” at parties who insists on playing beer pong with her own beer.

But it occurred to me the other day that I have reached a point in my beer adventures where I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what beer I know I like.  I like stouts. Cream stouts, milk stouts, oatmeal stouts, coffee stouts, CHOCOLATE STOUTS. I like beer that isn’t too hoppy or bitter. I feel like I might be repeating the same thing over and over (which is usually, “OMG this is great and dark and chocolatey/coffee-y/amazing”). So over the next few weeks I’m going to throw in a few educational posts along with a few posts from Pinthouse Pizza that I still haven’t finished yet, and – dare I say it – start branching out past my comfort zone. We’ll see what happens. 

Are there light beers I can drink without making The Beer Face? Is it possible for me to not be a jerk at parties and drink what some (boring) folks call “normal beer”? Can I down an IPA without wanting to throw it on the floor?  We’ll find out soon enough.

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Pinthouse Pizza – Part 1

I love Pinthouse Pizza.  A friend did a little research and demanded the pint night crew go there ASAP. I love that person. This was the best pint night we’ve had so far. I can’t speak highly enough of this place. Seriously. Go there. Go there now.

Pinthouse Pizza has beer flights – amazing and reasonably priced beer flights. Tell them what you like, and they’ll customize it based on your preferences. Did I also mention they brew their own beer? Yeah. For $8 you can get a flight of their own beer. For about $12-14 you can get a flight of any of the other 20-30 beers on tap (many of which are local as well). Because of this, I’m going to break down this one pint night into a few posts because I ended up trying about 8 different beers before I forgot I was supposed to be writing things down.

This is what my flight looked like:

Pinthouse Pizza - pint night!

They’re even nice enough to write down the names of the beer for you. I did have one beer before I had the flight. It was a New Belgium Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout.

Pinthouse Pizza - pint night!

This is a VERY good beer. It tastes very much like chocolate. It also has a distinct coffee flavor, but it isn’t as strong as the chocolate flavor. It’s really smooth and fairly thick, but not over the top. Did I mention it’s very chocolately? This is a relatively new beer from New Belgium. It’s part of their Lips of Faith Series. I have no idea how long it’s going to be around, so I’d recommend trying it now just in case this is a seasonal or temporary beer.

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
Name: Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout
Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company
Location: Colorado

Next up: Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter. This beer was VERY strong. It had a really dark flavor, and it wasn’t very thick. It actually was rather crisp for a dark beer. I didn’t really like it very much. It seems like the porters I’ve tried lately are a bit crisper, not as smooth and a bit more bitter than the other beers I’ve been trying.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Name: Black Marlin Porter
Brewery: Ballast Point
Location: San Diego, California

This next beer was very odd to me. It was called the Nitro Shark. There isn’t much information about this beer online. Also, if you aren’t in Austin, you aren’t going to find this anywhere. This was one of Pinthouse Pizza’s own brews. They had a Shark and a Nitro Shark. My friend got the Nitro Shark in one of the house flights:

nitro shark

From what I’ve been able to find, it’s an Irish Dry Stout. Untapped.com has it listed as 10% alcohol, and I believe it. It tasted like whiskey, but it was really, really smooth. Someone even compared it to ice cream as they hugged the glass. It reminded me of Jack Daniels. Only darker. It was really smooth and very creamy, though. It was also VERY VERY strong. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I can appreciate what they did. I think it’s still available at Pinthouse Pizza right now.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Name: Nitro Shark
Brewery: Pinthouse Pizza
Location: Austin, Texas

There were four other beers that I tried, but I’ll explain those in a separate post soon. Needless to say, this is a GREAT place to grab some new beer and have fun with friends. Pinthouse Pizza is also having an all day St. Patrick’s Day party on the 17th, so if you’re in Austin and don’t have plans, go check it out!

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