Tag Archives: beer

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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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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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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Some Beer Resources

This post is a bit out of the ordinary for me, but I thought his might be helpful to some folks. I recently found a few beer related websites that have been extremely helpful and interesting. I’m a little late to jump on the bandwagon, but I thought I’d share them anyway.

1. Taplister
2. Untapped

SXSW is going on in Austin right now, so the whole town is a bit crazy. However, if you want to get away from the insanity downtown and are looking for a decent beer, Taplister might be your best friend. The website is set up to help you find beer and bars. If there’s a certain beer you want, just type it in, along with your zip code, and it will find the nearest place that has it on tap. The same thing applies with bars — do you have the urge to throw all your work on the floor at the office at 2pm and crawl over to a dive bar? Me too. And this site will find that bar for you. There’s an iPhone app available, but apparently not one for Android yet.

Also, a lot of bars will have all their beer on tap listed on Taplister, so you can check it out before you get there. That is particularly helpful at two popular venues — The Draught House and Hopfields. The Draught House often has really long lines, and it’s impossible to see all their beers from the end of the line on a busy night. Hopfields has a menu that’s impossible to read, however cool it may look, so having it all listed on this website is very helpful. The site is also handy when you’re looking for a new beer by a local brewery.

As for Untapped, I’m not as familiar with it, and I just signed up. It’s more of a social networking site linked to beer. However, it’s a great place to keep track of the beers you’re drinking and how much you liked (or disliked) them. Basically, if I didn’t want to write this blog, I’d use Untapped instead. 🙂 It seems to be extremely helpful in sorting through beer and finding your favorites. They also have an app for both Android and iPhone.

I’m sure there are other resources out there, and if anyone has any recommendations, let me know!

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Nefarious, Indeed.

A few weeks ago we had our weekly Pint Night at a place called Hopfields.  The name reminds me of New Braunfels, in that I never know where the ‘s’ goes (Braunfels, Braunsfel… Hopsfield, Hopsfields, you get the point).  I stopped calling it by its real name, and I’ve been secretly calling it “Hipsterfield.” It’s actually a pretty swanky, slightly romantic and quirky bar and restaurant, and it would be a great date night place. It was a not so great Pint Night place.  It just wasn’t what we expected at all.  We’re a bunch of folks who usually go to a pub and get a little loud by the end of the evening.  This night was no exception, unfortunately.  But that’s a completely different story and blog.

Regardless, the beer selection was great!  Unfortunately their beer menu was nearly impossible to read, especially under candlelight:

Hopfields beer menu

Luckily they use this nifty app called Taplister.  I’ll post about this site/app soon in more detail, but basically it lists all the beers they have on tap with short descriptions.  I ended up not using it, however, because when I arrived, one of the guys had just ordered something and he said to try it.  So I did, and I immediately decided I should drink that.  I discovered that it was appropriately named Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter.  It’s quite a bit different than the milk stouts I’ve been drinking lately, and with a name like “nefarious,” how could I resist?  This beer was very, very dark, extremely strong, and it hits you surprisingly fast.  I had one beer, and that was more than enough for me. It was pretty smooth, though not quite as thick and creamy as a milk stout. It definitely had a kick. Oh, and when I mentioned it being strong, the ABV is 8%.  So, it had a big kick.

Their website says that it has a “strong bitter chocolate with a hint of coffee” flavor.  I could definitely taste the coffee more so than the chocolate, and it was a bit bitter. But overall, it was a really good beer, and I’ll probably order it again, though probably not at Hipsterfield.

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Name: Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter
Brewery: Ska Brewing
Location: Durango, Colorado

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New Amazing Thing!

Just a quick post for this afternoon… A friend found this and sent it to me. IT’S AWESOME. You should check it out. I’m going to get one.

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I’m going to have more updates later this week, so check back soon!

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