Texas Brews News
By: Scooter Hendon | 03/08/2013
There are several bills currently in the running to modernize beer laws in Texas to ease the ability for craft brewers to sell beer to consumers. However, there is a more nefarious side of beer legislation that is the big news in the last couple of days.
Sometimes the language of a bill can be hard to understand. A state capitol insider who preferred not to be named provided us with a good recap of what State Senator John Carona’s Senate bill and State Representative Charlie Geren are proposing. These bills are the opposite direction that our state needs to go in legislation and here is a breakdown of what these two bills would do:
SB 639/HB 1538 have three primary components:
1. Adds severability language to the code which could take self-distribution rights away from small brewers.
• Currently, there exists a potential commerce clause issue with the allowance of self-distribution for the state’s brewers, because it specifically excludes out-of-state brewers. Our bills (specifically SB 516 and 517), corrects this issue. The Wholesale Distributors of Texas opposes fixing the issue by eliminating the discrimination, rather they prefer to leave the discrimination in place and then add language to the code that would take self-distribution away from in-state brewers should a court find that the discrimination was unconstitutional.
2. Mandates Uniform Freight on Board Pricing from the Manufacturer to the Distributor.
• If this bill passed, it would make illegal any kind of price differentials between different markets, including any price differential reflecting actual transportation costs. Note that this bill does not mandate a uniform price for which the beer must be sold from the distributor to the retailer. So it will require a fixed sales price from manufacturer to distributor, but will allow the distributor to set their own price when selling to the retailer.
3. Makes illegal for a Brewer/Manufacturer to receive compensation for a distribution agreement.
• Basically, the law would mandate that distribution rights are worth nothing when signing up with a distributor. The proposed law doesn’t restrict a distributor from selling a brewer’s distribution rights to another distributor, but only from the brewer from receiving any value. This piece of the bill will cripple the craft brew industry. Many breweries have their credit lines maxed out, but there is more demand for their beer for which they can’t meet. These breweries commonly sell their distribution rights and use the money as a cash infusion back into their small business, which helps their expansion.
Click the links below to see the bill’s sponsors and adamantly inform them via phone, e-mail, Facebook or Twitter that you DO NOT want this legislation and that you support the loosening of restrictions rather than tightening.
By: Scooter Hendon | 02/20/2013
We revisit a Shiner beer for the first time in quite some time. Shiner holds a special place in Texas craft beer so we give them their due as we discuss FM 966 Farmhouse Ale. It’s a light, refreshing, drinkable Saison-esque beer that is a good entry-level beer for those who may not be familiar with the style.
By: Scooter Hendon | 02/03/2013
After a long layoff, we’re back with a Texas New Brewcast about Real Ale’s Brewers Cut series. We discuss their Imperial Red and the other beers in the series so far as well as other Texas breweries with limited series and how the influx of out-of-state breweries has possibly inspired Texas breweries to start offering more beers.
By: Scooter Hendon | 12/24/2012
Brandon East and Tony Drewry also contributed to this article.
As 2012 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on everything new that was released this year. Brewery announcements and launches continue to rise and established breweries continue to step their games up by offering new beers to compete in the ever-growing market. So, this year we decided to expand our “Best Of” list to twelve and spread the love. We hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as us. Cheers to another great year for Texas beer!
Southern Star Pro-Am 2012 Double IPA
The first of Southern Star’s Pro-Am series winners to be canned, this double IPA is everything a double IPA should be: Balanced, aggressively bitter up front but smooth on the finish. Along with Endeavour, this one of the best double IPAs our state has produced. We can’t get enough of this one.
Real Ale Brewers’ Cut Beer Series No. 002 Black Quadrupel
The brewers at Real Ale have a lot of recipes running through their brains. They finally decided to share those zany ideas with the public in their Brewer’s Cut series. The first offering (a single-hop pale ale) was delicious, but No. 002 was something else entirely. A rich, complex twist on the Belgian quad, this beer is great for now, or for saving.
Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel No. 1
Saint Arnold has been barrel aging stouts for years now, but the only way you could get some is at a bar on a night where they happen to be serving it. They decided to spread the wealth a bit this year by bottling some of it and distributing it only through on-premise establishments (bars and restaurants). What ensued in many Houston beer spots were long lines and a frenzied Divine Reserve-esque demand. The beer itself is an imperial stout that isn’t too aggressive or thick. The bourbon characteristics were reserved and the result was nothing less than divine.
When Lakewood founder Wim Bens first started publicly sharing his beers, Temptress was his shining star. She’s an imperial sweet stout of which nobody seemed to be able to get enough. Now she’ll be in bottles and her reach will tempt many a drinker across the state with her dark, sweet, feminine wiles.
Revolver Blood and Honey
The buzz around Revolver has been in large part due to the brewing chops of co-founder and brewmaster Grant Wood. With a lengthy stint at Sam Adams, Wood brought his knowledge back to his home state, and so far, his most buzzworthy beer has been Blood and Honey. And we can confirm, it is absolutely worth the buzz. Crisp, semi-sweet with bright orange notes, this is one of the best wheat ales we’ve had. Expect great things from Revolver going forward.
Deep Ellum Wealth & Taste
These guys have been making some great American-style beers (their IPA is one of our state’s best), so it’s funny that a Belgian-style golden strong ale is the best they made this year. It’s their first barrel-aged beer and is brewed with Muscat grape juice and a host of other aromatics. It’s a seasonal release, and we can only hope that next year’s “season” for it is a little longer.
Hops and Grain Alt-eration
In its first year of production, Alt-eration took home gold at the World Beer Cup in the German-style alt category (that’s just a little bit of a big deal). We can confirm, this canned delight is full of delicate nuance and exhibits the classic alt style to a T. Somewhat toasty with a great malty backbone, this is one that Texans can truly hang their hats on and be proud of.
Peticolas Velvet Hammer
Not only is Velvet Hammer getting married Sunday (we appreciate the absurdity), but he’s had a song written and recorded about him and everyone seems to want a piece of him. And it’s understandable, Velvet Hammer is about damn fine as an imperial red gets. Lots of hop flavor is balanced by a somewhat sweet malt backbone and an unmatched smoothness brings it all together. Enjoy with caution or find yourself getting married to a beer. It happens.
Jester King Whiskey Barrel Rodeo
It seems the Jester King guys are making a habit of collaborating with Mikkeller. OK by us. Last year their collaboration Drink’n the Sunbelt made this list, and this year, they came out with three coffee stouts. First, Beer Geek Rodeo, then Weasel Rodeo, and finally, Whiskey Barrel Rodeo, it’s obvious this collaboration is one we can continue to look forward to. Whisky Barrel Rodeo is made with Kopi Luwak (yes, the weasel poop coffee), flaked oats and chipotle peppers. The result is a complex wonderland of stouty goodness.
Ranger Creek Small Batch No. 2
Ranger Creek has also been scratching the itch to make small, limited release beers (a trend we’re totally OK with) and thus far have released four beers in the series. Our favorite is No. 2, a smoked saison. It sounds a little strange, but it really works. It’s smoky without tasting like you licked a barbecue grill and is brewed with malts they smoke themselves (a rarity in Texas). Keep an eye out for future releases in this series, they won’t last long.
Freetail Year of the Bat
We love Freetail, and we make no bones about it, so it makes perfect sense that one of their beers make our list for the second year in a row. Since 2012 was officially the Year of the Bat (true story, just ask the United Nations), Freetail obviously had to jump in to celebrate their winged friends. The beer features oranges, beets and rosewater: Things that wouldn’t be around without the help of bats. The beer is light, drinkable, crisp and subtly complex.
Real Ale Scots Gone Wild
Real Ale’s Mysterum Verum series always gets us excited, and their best of the year is their first sour offering. It’s Real Heavy that’s been aged in oak barrels for six months and the results are stunning. With a balanced sourness that sits alongside the scotch ale base, this one was a real eyebrow-raiser and has us very excited for future sour, barrel-aged offerings from Real Ale.
- Karbach Barrel-Aged Hellfighter
- Cedar Creek Scruffy’s Smoked Alt
- Revolver Bock
- Lakewood Hop Trapp
- Peticolas Wintervention
- Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 12
- Jester King Boxer’s Revenge
- Jester King Le Petit Prince
By: Scooter Hendon | 12/05/2012
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
- 1/4 cup (or more) diced jalapenos
- 12 ounces of beer (We used brown ale, feel free to experiment.)
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Cream cheese
- Fruit ams, jellies, preserves
- Jalapeno jelly
By: Brandon East | 09/27/2012
Tailgating is a pretty simple concept: Food and drinks with friends outside around the vicinity of a stadium, prior to a sporting event, typically American football. That’s really it.
Yes, it can get complicated from here, but it really doesn’t have to be. Before we talk beer, let’s talk storage and icing down your beer. There is no better cooler than a Yeti—spend the extra coin and get something that will take a beating and will ultimately keep your contents cold for a longer time. That’s the entire point right? I’ve toted my 35-quart Yeti cooler around for four years, from the beaches of Charleston South Carolina to tailgating at The Grove at Ole Miss, all without a single issue.
Depending on certain school and city regulations of your tailgate location, you may need to pour your drink in a cup like a Solo cup (or other plastic receptacle).
In Texas we have six..yes six craft breweries canning their beer: Austin Beerworks (Austin), Hops & Grain (Austin), Karbach (Houston), Real Ale (Blanco outside of Austin), Southern Star (Conroe), and Spoetzl (Shiner). In other words, this football season, there is no excuse for lame can beers at a tailgate. Here’s a go-to list of a mix-six pack of canned beers that can be stored, iced down, and disposed of easier than glass bottles.
Shiner Bock Cans
You know it, you’ve had it, it’s a good call. Shiner is a staple here in Texas and distributed throughout the US, so it’s very accessible and well known wherever you travel. It’s a nice change of pace from the ordinary yellow macro lagers you might be used to pounding in the parking lot.
Austin Beerworks Black Thunder
This schwarzbier from Austin is a favorite transition beer from hot Texas summers to those nice autumn days and evenings that call for something more hearty and roasty that isn’t heavy. Black Thunder is a black lager, similar to Rahr Ugly Pug or Shiner Black Lager in that it has that caramel, toasty, chocolate and coffee roastiness with an easy drinking profile that goes well with grilled fajitas, sliders, chicken fingers and brats. We recommend you visit your local Mexican grocery store (meat market with taqueria) and buy pre-seasoned fajita meat and grill up some skirt steak or chicken tacos with sliced avocado and onions. It’s a Texan tailgate pairing, tried and true. Smoked brisket or pulled pork would also be great here.
Hops & Grain Pale Dog
You’ve seen the Shotgun Friday with Scooter and Tony taking down a couple cans of Hops & Grain with ease. You’ll be astonished how many of your friends and family actually enjoy bitter and hop-forward beers like IPAs and Pale Ales. Do them a solid and pick up this American classic style that is great for game day, especially with a wide range of fare pairings from jambalaya to carrot cake. For many craft beer geeks, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was their gateway to great craft beer. Let Pale Dog be the craft beer for your next tailgate veteran and beer neophyte. Hops have a short lifespan so when buying, don’t be afraid to ask for the freshest IPAs and pale ales available. Unfortunately Pale Dog is only available around Austin.
Real Ale Fireman’s #4
Real Ale canned their flagship beer Fireman’s #4 in June so we can bring it more places. This easy-drinking blonde ale has quickly become a staple in many fridges around Texas. Next tailgate, put a sixer in your cooler. We think it takes on a bit of a different characteristic when drunk out of a can, so try it this way for a different spin.
Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout
Buried Hatchet is simply a great stout. Celebrate this amazing Conroe brewery and to accompany chilly, tailgating evenings or early mornings and pair it with migas and/or sausage, egg, & cheese breakfast burritos. This hearty stout is most fitting.
Karbach Sympathy for the Lager
Finally, this delicious and refreshing lager from Houston is a must have in the tailgate mix. It drinks well with just about any food and is a great introduction into craft beer to share with anyone.
Sympathy for the Beer-ita: For a quick beer cocktail, think a beer-rita. Prepare this a few hours or the evening before. Cut several limes into wheels to garnish drinks, store in a sealable bag and keep cool. Buy one or several non-reactive 32oz canteen(s) like a BPA-Free plastic Nalgene (find at Academy, Dick’s, REI, Gander Mountain, etc). In a glass mixing bowl, juice three oranges about six limes, pour 8 ounces of 100-percent Agave reposado tequila and four ounces of agave nectar. Pour mix into plastic canteen, top well with ice and shake for about 30 seconds to incorporate juice and alcohol. Strain, taste, make adjustments, then multiply recipe if needed. The mix should be a bit citrusy, but not bitter, slightly oaky, quite sweet, and somewhat acidic. This lager is a bit hoppier than most than mexican lagers, so try to counter with more Grand Marnier and agave nectar if need be to amp up sweetness. Set in tailgate cooler near cold Karbach cans. In your drinking cup, pour in a few ounces of margarita mix from Nalgene and finish with Sympathy for the Lager, garnish with a lime wheel. Adding ice is your call. Similar to the Austin Beerworks pairing, these beer cocktails and some tacos could be quite the lethal match for your next tailgate and a few could cups before the game could really make those uncomfortable stadium seats much more bearable.
By: Scooter Hendon | 09/05/2012
For Corey Pond of The Common Table, a beer festival was always part of the plan. Founded in mid-2010, the premier Dallas bar/restaurant has been pleasing DFW beer drinkers with weekly events, tastings and one of the best tap selections around for some time. It was only natural that Pond would extend The Common Table’s love into a bigger event with a wider reach.
On the heels of the Big Texas Beer Fest in April that was run by Chad and Nellie Montgomery, Pond finally jumped in to start Saturday’s Untapped Festival after seeing BTBF’s successful first run. “BTBF definitely helped get me off the fence. Chad and Nellie have actually been tremendously helpful with Untapped and they were the ones that helped create a market, or at least prove one existed, for things like this. I’m fortunate to know those guys and consider them friends.”
This event looks to be shaping up as another great festival for Texas and will have a phenomenal list of beers for newbies and nerds alike (see below). New Texas brewery Cedar Creek will have three of their beers to try and many breweries (not just the Texas ones) will be bringing some exciting rare brews to the fest.
VIP tickets are $60 and going fast. They include all kinds of goodies, most of important of which is entry to the festival at 11 a.m. that will allow VIPs to sample the rarest beers before the rest of us commoners and see our buddies from Fish Fry Bingo play at noon. But never fear, the commoners can get in at 1 p.m. for a $30 advanced ticket and we’ll all be treated to a solid lineup of music that includes The Antlers, Givers, and Fort Worth band Burning Hotels among others.
Entry will be available the day of the festival but entry will be capped, so it’s wise to buy your tickets ahead of time. The fest will be held at Trinity Groves just west of downtown Dallas at 334 Singleton Blvd.
Texas Beers: Easy to Find
Not everyone is a huge nerd. If you’re heading out to Untapped and haven’t tried any of these beers, make sure you get a taste. They’re “must try” beers that are made in Texas and are available with steady regularity so you should be able to find them after the festival without much hunting.
Lakewood Temptress: This imperial sweet stout is best described as an adult milkshake.
Peticolas Golden Opportunity: This refreshing kolsch is perfect for summer.
Real Ale Full Moon Rye: It’s a rye pale ale that’s one of our favorites.
Deep Ellum Rye Pils: Spice from the rye dances perfect with the pilsner qualities.
Rahr Oktoberfest: It’s an imperial Oktoberfest and is great for the fall season.
Texas Beers: New and Rare
Just in case the previous list looks a little too familiar, here are the Texas five that we’re most looking forward to that aren’t nearly as easy to find.
(512) Whiskey Barrel-Aged Double Pecan Porter: Despite its plethora of adjectives, this is a beer never to be missed.
Deep Ellum Sorachi Ace/Green Tea IPA: Deep Ellum does IPA right, and we’re sure this will be no exception.
Franconia Sarah’s Dark Side: They only made one batch of this pilsner/dark lager mix; we’re curious about this one.
Jester King Beer Geek Rodeo: This is their second collaboration with Mikkeller and is a coffee stout brewed with chipotle peppers.
Peticolas Vanilla Bean Velvet Hammer: An imperial red ale with vanilla beans added sounds intriguing and delicious.
Out-of-State: Five to Grab Early
Although we talk almost exclusively about Texas beer, we love the non-Texas crafters also and these are five beers that you won’t see very often (if at all) within our state borders. Snag them early.
Victory V Twelve: Victory themselves admits that this Belgian-style quad is a bit of a white whale and this is one of the few times you’ll see this on tap in Texas.
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA: Sporadically available and always entertaining, this is one of the biggest IPAs you’ll ever try.
Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Old Chub: Old Chub is one of the best Scotch ales out there, and barrel aging sounds like a recipe for excellence.
Boulevard Rye on Rye: This member of their Smokestack Series is a rye beer aged on rye whiskey casks.
Avery Czar (2010): Czar is an imperial stout and we’re positive a couple of years has done it well.
By: TX Brews | 07/31/2012
Scooter and Brandon salute Saint Arnold on the social media marketing coup surrounding the Divine Reserve releases. Also, Brandon eats chocolate in our ears, we talk about how DR releases are more fun than Dark Lord Day and Scooter gripes about the fishy microeconomics of bombers versus six packs.
By: Scooter Hendon | 06/29/2012
Independence Day is a celebration of all things American. So, before you fall victim to a pandering marketing campaign that simply slaps an American flag on a can and claims to be patriotic (you know who), consider that drinking true American -made, American-owned beer helps celebrate the independent spirit on which this country was founded. Now, before we fire up the Lee Greenwood and BBQ grills, let’s drink some beer.
Saint Arnold Homefront IPA
Few beers can claim to be as genuinely American as Homefront IPA. Proceeds from the beer’s sales go to a local chapter of Operation Homefront. This organization offers support for troops as they transition back into civilian life and Saint Arnold should be commended for becoming involved. Oh, and the beer is solid too. It’s a slightly fruity IPA with some bright citrus notes and some grapefruity, West Coast hops. Refreshing and easy to drink (for an IPA), grab plenty of Homefront and feel good to be an American.
Independence Pale Ale
Independence Brewing’s name is a bit more focused on Texas’ independence than the United States’, but for Independence Day, we’ll pretend it’s generally created in the spirit of general independence (which is really is anyway). This American pale ale is light on hops, but quite flavorful and finishes clean and the cannon on the label might inspire you to blow some things up with fireworks.
The label features a blonde woman riding a bomb adorned with red, white and blue stars and stripes. If that wasn’t enough to sell you on this being quite possibly the perfect July 4th beer, the brew inside matches it perfectly. It’s an American blonde ale (duh) that has a light maltiness, balanced hop presence and unique creamy finish. It’s in a can, which means it can go anywhere. We mean anywhere. Lake, river, swimming pool, park, Home Depot. You name it, you can probably sneak one in.
Karbach Weisse Versa
Many American brewers are forgoing beer style rigidity in favor of making the beers they want to make. To them, it doesn’t matter if it fits in a neat little box; as long as it tastes good and tastes like they intend it to, then who cares? Karbach did just that with this beer. Weisse Versa is a cross between a Belgian wit and a German hefeweizen and has unique characteristics from both. It has the clean, crisp finish of a wit and the clove characteristics of a hefe. The can’s label gleefully states “Both, at the same time” in reference to the style mashup. Sounds good to us.
Austin Beerworks Fire Eagle
Screeeeeeeee!!! Nothing says “AMERICA” (or MERICA) like eagles. The bald eagle is the national bird, and really, if there were such a thing as a fire eagle, it would likely supplant the bald eagle. But there isn’t, and we’re left with this wonderful American IPA. It’s got a bold hop presence, and might we say, it shotguns nicely. Cut loose July 4 and enjoy a few Fire Eagles. For America. For Texas. For eagles.
No Label Don Jalapeno
Sometimes when creating something new, you just have to ask “Why the hell not?” No Label took that innovative American spirit and took their Pale Horse American Pale Ale and spiced things up a bit by adding raw jalapenos into the mash. What they got was a unique brew that isn’t quite as spicy as it might seem. The hops of the base beer help balance some of the potentially overbearing qualities of the jalapenos for a beer that’s uniquely American.
By: Scooter Hendon | 06/14/2012
Hops & Grain recycles their spent grain into dog biscuits, but we’ll leave that to the hounds and take all the Pale Dog for us humans. Special guest Tont Drewry joins us to talk about dog beers, canned beers and drinkin’ beers.