Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

December was a thin month for brewery news, with most devoted to reviews of seasonal holiday beer selections. Only a short piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was found that comments on the Rahr & Sons brewery and their planned growth in light of the current financial times. It appeared in a business column entitled "It might end up a Rahr-ing success."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Spoetzl Brings Back Kosmos Reserve

According to sources at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), Spoetzl Brewery has just acquired label approval for a beer named Kosmos Reserve.

Assuming this is the same beer discontinued several years ago, Kosmos Reserve was a once-popular all-malt lager first introduced in 1994. It was named after and brewed as a tribute to Kosmos Spoetzl, one of the original brewers and later owner of the Spoetzl Brewery.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two New Beers from Southern Star

Southern Star announced the launch of two new beers to be included as year-round products. One is a blonde lager called the Bombshell Blonde, and the other is the Buried Hatchet Stout, a big American stout.

The Bombshell Blonde has already been available on draft in limited supply. Both products are to be canned and are currently awaiting label design/approval.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Winemaker Shop Changes Hands

Fort Worth's long-time homebrew supply store The Winemaker Shop will be closing its doors for good on December 27th. It will reopen under new ownership as Fort Worth Homebrew at an new and expanded nearby location.

The Winemaker Shop is Fort Worth's oldest home winemaking and brewing supply store. Originally opened in 1971, it was purchased by Emery and Janet Baca in 2005, who expanded its inventory and became involved in many local homebrewing events and competitions.

Fort Worth Homebrew is scheduled to open January 2nd, 2009. The new location will be the same business park as the current location (Suite 2826, SE Loop 820).

Friday, December 05, 2008

Austin Meet Your Local Brewers

Edible Austin is hosting a Meet Your Local Brewers Happy Hour at Austin's Whip-In on Friday, December 12th, from 3pm to 7pm. This event is part of their Edible Austin Eat Local Week 2008 to celebrate local Central Texas restaurants and foods.

Brewers expected to attend this event include representatives from Live Oak, (512), Independence, Uncle Billy's, Real Ale, Saint Arnold and Spoetzl. Discounts on beers and dishes from the Whip-In's Indian menu will be available.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

Once again, the media ran another story about the rising costs of hops and grain. Not exactly breaking news any more, but at least Dallas-Fort Worth's NBC affiliate Channel 5 gave some brief prime air time to Rahr & Sons with the video, "Beer Prices Rise Over Hops Shortage."

A number of sources have published news or reviews of the new Spoetzl history, Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer by Mike Renfro. These include the Bryan/College Station Eagle with "Book tells story of Shiner Beer's first century."

Not specific to any particular Texas brewer, the National Beer Wholesalers Organization released a story across the news wire celebrating "Texas Beer Distributors Recognize 75th Anniversary of Repeal of Prohibition." Texas became the 32nd state to ratify the 21st Amendment on November 24th, 1933.

Travis Poling's own story about the upcoming Commemorator doppelbock from Spoetzl was picked up by the Dallas Morning News as "Shiner brewery reveals new beer for 100th anniversary." The same story was also echoed on Draft Magazine's website as "Spoetzl Brewery's 100th anniversary beer."

Poling also covered Freetail Brewing's opening the day after Thanksgiving with his piece in the San Antonio Express-News, "Freetail brewing up taste of Texas."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Freetail Opens in San Antonio

Freetail Brewing Company opened yesterday as San Antonio's second local brewpub. Named after the Mexican free-tailed bat indigenous to the area, Freetail Brewing is owned and operated by local businessman Scott Metzger.

The menu includes brick-oven gourmet pizzas and fresh salads and sandwiches. The brewer is Jason Davis, who has experience with Austin's Waterloo Brewing and Celis Brewing, and most recently as assistant brewer at Blue Star Brewing.

Freetail opened having only other Texas commercial craft beers on tap but with plans for 13 different beers rotating throughout the year. House beers should be available by mid-December.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TABC Names New Commissioner

Governor Rick Perry has named Melinda Fredricks of Conroe to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) three-member board. Fredricks is recently of the Texas Medical Board and has worked as a political organizer, political research analyst and chair for various legislative committees.

Fredricks has a Masters of Science degree from the University of North Texas as well as experience as a math teacher in the Lake Dallas area. She will serve a five-year unrepresentative term that expires in 2013.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Live Oak Plans New Facilities

Live Oak announced that it has acquired 20 acres on the Colorado River north of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport with an intent to construct new brewing facilities. Current plans to install a bottling operation were stalled due to lack of space in their current facilities east of I-35. The new location will provide ample room for expanded production and a long-awaited bottling line.

According to owner and brewer Chip McElroy,"Don’t start holding your breath for bottles yet. Keep looking for our beers on tap. It will take us a couple of years to get the new brewery completed.”

Live Oak Primus Weizenbock

Live Oak announced the release of a new winter seasonal named Primus Weizenbock. Celebrating their one-thousandth batch brewed, this new weizenbock will join their other current products in seasonal rotation. It is named after Jan Primus, the thirteenth-century Duke of Brabant, known today as the legendary royal patron of brewing, Gambrinus.

Primus is brewed using a decoction mash and will have a final strength of 8% ABV. It will be available on tap in December.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

(512) Brewing Fall Open House

(512) Brewing will hold their Fall Open House on Sunday, November 23rd, from 2pm to 4pm at their brewery facilities in Austin. This open house will include the release of their newest beer, the (512) Pecan Porter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shiner 100: Commemorator

According to sources at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the Spoetzl Brewery has just filed legal label information for the final beer in their series leading to their centennial in 2009. Named Commemorator, or Shiner 100, the beer will be a traditional doppelbock style with an ABV of 6.7%.

Text included on the label reads in part,
Commemorator, our centennial offering, is brewed in the robust classic German "stark" style...
a reference to the stronger stark beer style and related beerfests of Münich. The name is also traditional, maintaining the -ator suffix for the doppelbock style as homage to its originator, Paulaner Salvator.

No release date has been indicated but annual beers in this series generally appear in the February-March timeframe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shiner Book Published

A new book has been published about the history of the Spoetzl Brewery. Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer, written by Mike Renfro, details the history of the brewery in Shiner, Texas, as they enter their centennial year of operation. The book includes historic photographs as well as Shiner's discovery, reception and place in the Texas subculture.

A brief review of this book recently appeared in the Austin Chronicle. Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer is published this month by the Houston-based publisher Bright Sky Press.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Texas Brewers in the News

Rounding out October's media coverage are a few more articles about Texas brewers. Patrick Beach covered Austin's Draught House anniversary in the Austin American-Stateman with "Draught House looking forward to another 40 years of pouring good beer." This month marked the Draught House's 40th year in operation as a beer bar at their current location, with brewing operations since 1995.

The Houston Press also ran a piece composed of responses to Robb Walsh's recent articles there, entitled simply "Texas Beer." Many readers came forward with informed comments, additional information and corrections to his original article, "Texas Wants Beer."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

October is proving to be a rich month for media coverage of Texas brewers. Brad Buchholz provided a very insightful profile of Texas brewing legend Pierre Celis in his Austin American-Statesman piece, "Full circle: At 83, Belgian master brewer Pierre Celis shares his expertise with a new generation." The article follows Celis on a recent visit back to the Austin brewing scene, including his friendship with Kevin Brand and the start-up (512) Brewing.

Rob Walsh also provided a very good piece in the Houston Press entitled "Texas Wants Beer: Change This Law!" This article details the struggle Texas breweries have had with the TABC restrictions of simply selling beer on premises directly to the public. This was followed up with an opinion piece, "Texas Wants Beer: My Ten Top Texas Beers." Walsh also published a similar article in the Dallas Observer regarding the TABC restrictions on beer festivals with "Beer is good: Texas law stifles state's craft brewers."

Several stories were published about the recent Great American Beer Festival that included nods to Texas brewers. Saint Arnold received a mention in the Associated Press piece, "Finding God at a beer festival," due to their titular patron and inspiration (which also appeared in several local Texas newspapers). Uncle Billy's and Fredericksberg Brewing's gold medals even drew mention from as far away as the Philadelphia Daily News with "Texas comes up big at Great American Beer Festival."

The recent Flying Saucer Fall Beer Festival in Austin received some coverage in the Austin American-Statesman with "Less music, better beer -- that's my kind of festival." Oddly, the similar Flying Saucer festival in downtown Fort Worth received no media mention.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Texas Brewers at 2008 GABF

Several Texas brewers won medals at the 2008 Brewers Association Great American Beer Festival. The winners were announced October 11th at the conclusion of the annual event in Denver, Colorado.

Recognized Texas brewers include:
The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is the largest professional competition sponsored by the Brewers Association, the craft beer industry's professional organization. This year's competition included more than 2900 beers from 472 brewers with an overall attendance of 46,000.

Awards are given in 75 different style categories of beer plus pro-am categories, with the top three beers recognized with gold, silver and bronze medals.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Flying Saucer Fall Beer Festival

The third annual Fall Beer Festival was held on Saturday at Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth. Sponsored by the adjacent Flying Saucer, the event featured a variety of popular craft beers including Texas brewers, national brewers and imports.

Several cask-conditioned versions of local and other Texas beers were included, as well as Saint Arnold's latest Divine Reserve No. 7. Flying Saucer management estimates attendance at this event to be at least a third larger than the same event last year.

Also present by Flying Saucer invitation was the Arlington homebrew club Knights of the Brown Bottle with literature about homebrewing and live brewing demonstrations right on downtown's Main Street.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Shiner Holiday Cheer

Spoetzl has announced a new winter seasonal beer called Shiner Holiday Cheer. This beer is intended to replace their present seasonal (and award-winning) product Shiner Dunkelweizen, which will be discontinued.

The Shiner Holiday Cheer will also be a dunkelweizen style but with the addition of peach and pecan flavors, reflecting their Texas heritage. It will have an ABV of 5.4% and will be available November through January.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

A few more news items have appeared in various media sources regarding Texas brewers and the Texas beer scene. The online news source featured the success of native Texas craft breweries in their recent piece, "Texas Beer Drinkers Swap Cowboys' Longnecks for Fancy Lawnmower."

Rahr & Sons also received a little out-of-state attention from the Appleton Post-Crescent of Wisconsin with this columnist's profile of "Rahr stands out from other ambers." The Fort Worth-based Rahr family and brewing tradition are originally from Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Although now a few weeks old, Patrick Beach of the Austin-American Statesman profiled Blanco's Real Ale in his piece, "Blanco brewery keeping it Real."

Various other minor news pieces have appeared recently regarding local Oktoberfest celebrations and special beers throughout the state but these all feature already familiar seasonal products and events.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Art of Beer 2008

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont is hosting "The Art of Beer 2008" on Thursday, October 16th, from 6pm to 10pm. The exhibition will include a wide variety of beer brands and styles to show the public "there's more to beer than beer." Also included are food pairings, a German dinner and local music.

The event will be held on the museum grounds with proceeds benefiting the museum and its programs. Tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the door.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Location for Austin Ginger Man

Austin's Ginger Man has found a new location for their landmark downtown beer pub. The new location is at 301 Lavaca, still in the historic Warehouse District and a mere block away from the current location on 4th St.

The Austin Ginger Man has been scheduled for demolition ever since their city block was bought and planned for a high-rise development. Management hopes to have the new location open by New Year's Day 2009.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Independence Anniversary Party

Austin's Independence Brewing Company will celebrate their fourth anniversary on Saturday, October 4th, from 5pm to 9pm.

The event and the beer are free, with brewery items available for purchase and local bands playing live.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike Brewery Report

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike that slammed into Texas last week, two Texas brewers were situated directly in the path of that storm, Saint Arnold of Houston and Southern Star in Conroe.

Both breweries have reported minor to no damage to their facilities, and no loss to brewing capacity or storage. However, like most of the region both Saint Arnold and Southern Star remain without power, and brewing operations and tours are suspended until further notice.

The release of Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve No. 7 will continue as scheduled, as that product is already in the hands of distributors. However, availability in the Houston area may be delayed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Flying Saucer Fall Beer Festival

The Fort Worth Flying Saucer is holding its third annual Fall Beer Festival on Saturday, October 11th, from 2pm to 10:30pm. The event will be located adjacent to the downtown Flying Saucer in the Sundance Square parking lot.

Five beer tents with up to 20 draft beers will be set up outside. Samplings will be sold through a $15 tasting card, including a free tasting glass. As in previous years, some beers are expected to be exclusive to this event and not available elsewhere.

Update: The Austin Flying Saucer will hold a similar event on Saturday, October 4th, from noon to 10pm.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 7

Saint Arnold has announced that the next beer in the Divine Reserve series (No. 7) was bottled yesterday. The official release date for this beer is September 23rd.

Divine Reserve No. 7 is a weizenbock style, a recipe taken from the Big Batch Brew Bash homebrewing contest this past May.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Texas Brewpub Report

Unfortunately, the large number of brewpubs around the state and the frequency with which they make changes makes listing and reporting on brewpubs awkward. To make sure that each brewpub receives its share of reference on this site, this annual Texas Brewpub Report will be posted every year on the anniversary of brewpub legalization in Texas (September 1, 1993).

Total: 17 independent brewpubs

Native Brewpubs:

North Texas

Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse (Grapevine)
The Covey Restaurant & Brewery (Fort Worth)
TwoRows Restaurant & Brewery (Addison)

Central Texas

Blue Star Brewing Company (San Antonio)
Dodging Duck Brewhaus (Boerne)
The Draught House (Austin)
Faust Brewing Company (New Braunfels)
Fredericksburg Brewing Company (Fredericksburg)
Lovejoy's Tap Room & Brewery (Austin)
North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery (Austin)
Uncle Billy's Brew & Que (Austin)

West Texas

Edelweiss Brewery & Restaurant (Alpine)
Eola School, Restaurant & Brewery (Eola)
Jaxon's Restaurant & Brewing Company (El Paso, 4 locations)
Triple J Chophouse & Brew Company (Lubbock)

East Texas

TwoRows Restaurant & Brewery (Houston)

South Texas

Padre Island Brewing Company (Padre Island)
Port Aransas Brewing Company (Port Aransas)

Out-of-State Franchises:

BJ's Restaurant & Brewery (multiple locations statewide)
Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant (Plano)
Humperdink's (Big Horn Brewing) (Dallas area, 5 locations)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

More Texas brewers and retailers have appeared in various media throughout the state, including several video segments. Austin's Fox television affiliate (Channel 7) covered the grand opening of the new (512) Brewing with the piece, "New Austin Brewery Opens its Doors."

The Dallas/Fort Worth morning program, "Good Morning, Texas," of WFAA (Channel 8) carried a segment interviewing Jamie Fulton of The Covey Restaurant & Brewery with the piece, "Local Brewer wins the 'Super Bowl' of beer brewing."

Houston's CBS affiliate KHOU (Channel 11) broadcast a piece featuring Brock Wagner and Saint Arnold regarding the rise in keg thefts with "Metal thieves tapping beer kegs."

Also noted in the Austin-American Statesman's Food & Drink section is a brief paragraph announcing that Whip In has expanded with a small in-store restaurant (including wine and beer sold by the glass) with "You go there for beer, but Whip In now whips up fresh Indian food."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Southern Star Rauchbier

Southern Star has just announced plans for a true rauchbier to be sold with their other products. This would be the first rauchbier produced commercially by a Texas microbrewery.

The as-yet unnamed rauchbier is planned for brewing to begin this week. A public release date has not been announced.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rahr & Sons Pale Ale: Follow Up

The new Rahr & Sons English pale ale now has a name: Blind Salamander Pale Ale, the first in their new series of beers called Rare Breed. The Rare Breed series will be dedicated to endangered native Texas species and will include donations of a portion of sales to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation.

The Texas blind salamander is an eyeless cave dweller native to the Edwards Aquifer of west-central Texas around San Marcos. Pollution of the aquifer and population growth have threatened its habitat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rahr Website and Tour Changes

Rahr & Sons has launched an updated version of their website. Some portions are yet incomplete still under development.

Rahr & Sons has also announced that beginning August 16th, they will begin charging a $5 per person admission fee to their Saturday tours and tastings. The admission price includes a Rahr pint glass plus the complimentary beer.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

(512) Brewing Grand Opening

Austin's newest brewer, (512) Brewing, is holding their official grand opening next Saturday, August 9th. Free tours and tastings of all three of their current beers will be available at their brewery from 1pm to 4pm.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Rahr & Sons Pale Ale

Rahr & Sons is currently brewing their newest product, an English-style pale ale. The recipe is adapted from a local award-winning homebrew recipe.

The as-yet unnamed beer should be available soon as a draft-only test market at select locations around Fort Worth.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ginger Man Hosts "Texas Breweries" Tasting

The Ginger Man will host a "Texas Breweries" tasting at its Austin location on Monday, August 4th.

The tasting will include selections from five different Texas breweries such as Real Ale, Live Oak and Saint Arnold, as well as a few surprise guests as yet unannounced. Head brewers from the Austin-local breweries will also be present to lead the tasting and field questions.

Update: One of the unannounced breweries will be (512) Brewing, with owner and brewer Kevin Brand attending.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Covey Brewer on Morning Television

Jamie Fulton and Sean Merchant, respectively the brewer and chef at The Covey Restaurant & Brewery, are scheduled to appear this week on the local Dallas/Fort Worth morning show, "Good Morning, Texas," to talk about the brewpub and Fulton's recent win at the World Beer Cup.

The piece is scheduled for this Friday, July 25th, around 9am. "Good Morning, Texas" airs on WFAA (Channel 8), the local ABC affiliate.

Update: The piece has been rescheduled for Friday, August 8th, around 9am.

Update: The piece has again been rescheduled for Friday, August 22nd.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

Just clearing out some minor news items, along with one significant beer article. Lee Nichols of the Austin Chronicle wrote the article entitled, "Microbrew Renaissance," a near-encyclopaedic review of current Texas breweries and brewpubs that appeared over the Fourth of July weekend. Nichols also includes beer recommendations for each of the brewers featured, as well as a small quote from this blog.

Also in the Austin media was a piece from News 8 Austin entitled, "Beer may become the new gas, in price." This article features Austin's Winemaker's and Beermakers Supply and the rising price of brewing ingredients.

And nearly beer-related is this article from the San Antonio Business Journal announcing the "Pearl Brewery site is set to be home to Texas' largest solar energy project," focusing on new commercial development of the old historic downtown Pearl Brewery site.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Live Oak at the Smithsonian

Live Oak Brewing has been invited to the Smithsonian Institute's Beer Gazetteer 2008 series next week. The invitation includes a tasting of Live Oak beers at the famous Brickskeller pub in Washington, DC, as well as a lecture by owner and brewer Chip McElroy.

The Smithsonian Resident Associate Program presents their Beer Gazetteer series each summer. For six weeks, various microbrewers from around the United States and Canada are invited to present their beers and short lectures for the public. Invited breweries this year include Live Oak, Capital Brewing of Wisconsin, Southampton Publick House of New York, Full Sail Brewing of Oregon and the Canadian brewery Unibroue.

McElroy and Live Oak will be featured on Monday, July 14, from 7pm to 10pm. Availability of event tickets is questionable, as the series has already started.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Port Aransas Brewing Now Open

The newest native Texas brewpub, Port Aransas Brewing Company, opened in Port Aransas during the last week of June in time for the Fourth of July holiday.

However, early response to this latest independent brewpub has been less than favorable. Comments by local customers range from "never try a new restaurant on opening day" to "the local brewpub just opened... and they suck." There is also speculation that the brewing operations are not actual beers brewed on-site but instead some sort of pre-packaged mixed products.

No opening announcement or review has been located, nor has any official response been found from the owner, Bob Pettit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

(512) Brewing Now Open

The latest operational Texas brewery is now (512) Brewing in Austin. Built and owned by Kevin Brand, (512) Brewing has brewed its first commercial beers in the past few weeks.

The first beers that will be available from (512) Brewing are their IPA, an American pale ale and a Belgian-style witbier. These beers should be available in keg only in the Austin area for now; there are no plans to bottle or can in the immediate future.

(512) Brewing is still awaiting final TABC approval before selling to the public.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Texas Brewers in the News

June is proving to be a busy month for media coverage of Texas breweries. Saint Arnold has all but dominated local press this week with two additional stories, one in the Houston Chronicle entitled "More than just brew: Saint Arnold knows beer, but it also knows community." The Houston Business Journal also covered Saint Arnold's purchase of their new facilities in "St. Arnold drafts former HISD building for brewery."

Saint Arnold also takes a prominent spot in the June issue of Texas Highways magazine. A partial of their print feature "On Tap: Texas' Top 5 Microbreweries" is available online.

Franconia Brewing also received some notice this week with a piece in the Dallas Morning News entitled "Franconia owner banks on beer budgets."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yard House Coming to Houston

The California-based beer bar chain Yard House is planning their first Texas location in Houston. The bar and restaurant is scheduled to open in March 2009 at the new CityCentre district under construction in west Houston.

The Yard House joins the native Texas establishments Flying Saucer, Ginger Man and Draught House with the same theme of "World's Largest Selection of Draft Beer" plus several hundred more available on a bottle list. The Yard House will offer full bar service and a lunch/dinner menu.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

More news items have appeared recently featuring native Texas breweries. Saint Arnold and Austin homebrewer Kerry Martin appeared in an Austin American-Statesman piece last week entitled "Houston's Saint Arnold pronounces local homebrewer's Wiezenbock recipe Divine." Martin's winning recipe at the recent Big Batch Brew Bash competition in Houston is scheduled to become the next beer in Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve series.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Barry Schlacter brought the world's most expensive beer for a review by professional brewers in "How good is a $400 beer?" Carlsberg's Jacobsen Vintage No. 1 was sampled and reviewed over the weekend by Fort Worth brewers Jamie Fulton of The Covey and J.B. Flowers of Rahr & Sons.

And just today, a Houston ABC affiliate featured a profile of Southern Star Brewing in a news segment entitled "What's brewing in Conroe?" The video includes brief interviews with Southern Star brewers Brian Hutchins and Dave Fougeron.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saint Arnold Begins Work on New Brewery

Saint Arnold has finalized the purchase of the building that will house their new brewing facility. With the purchase, work can begin this week to restore and build their new brewery.

The new location is at 2000 Lyons Ave, just north of downtown Houston, in a building that dates from 1914. Saint Arnold will include additional brewing equipment purchased from a German brewer, enabling them to quadruple their current brewing capacity.

Development is expected to take a year and cost $6 million.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Divine Reserve No. 6 Released

The latest in Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve series, No. 6, was released for sale this week. The official release date is Thursday but bottles of this limited-edition beer should be appearing at selected retail locations throughout the state all week long.

Divine Reserve No. 6 is a hoppy American barleywine that measures 10% ABV. A total of only 1172 cases were produced, and previous releases have sold out state-wide within days.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Studs & Suds Microbrew Festival

The inaugural Studs & Suds Microbrew Festival was held on Monday at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. Sponsored by Ben E. Keith, the event featured their portfolio of craft beers as well as a few from Andrews Distributing.

While the number of beers available was close to 100, no local brewers were invited. The event was held within the race track, so attendance was variable as people walked between the festival and the race activities.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 7

The 13th Annual Big Batch Brew Bash was held this past weekend. The style category this year was weizenbock, and the winner was Kerry Martin of the Austin Zealots homebrew club. As in years past, Saint Arnold will brew Martin's weizenbock recipe for their next edition in their Divine Reserve series (No. 7).

The Big Batch Brew Bash is the largest single-style homebrewing contest in the world, and is sponsored by the Kuykendahl Gran Brewers homebrew club and Saint Arnold. A total of 66 entries were entered for the competition this year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gordon Biersch Opens in Plano

The latest location of the California-based brewpub and restaurant chain Gordon Biersch opened yesterday at The Shops at Legacy in Plano.

Unlike the similar BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse franchise, Gordon Biersch will brew their own beers on-site. Following the German Reinheitsgebot purity law, Gordon Biersch plans six house beers, all German-style lagers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lovejoys Hires New Brewer

Lovejoys Tap Room & Brewery in downtown Austin recently hired a new brewer. Todd Henry, the new brewer, took over the duties from Russ Hall in March after a short apprenticeship.

Friday, May 16, 2008

BrewCrAzY Interviews Brian Hutchins

The online beer and brewing podcast show BrewCrAzY recently interviewed Brian Hutchins, brewer at Southern Star Brewery, as they tour the brewery operations on-site at Texas' newest craft brewery.

Other than an overview of the brewing process, Hutchins talks about Southern Star's next beer, their Dortmunder-style lager, specially designed around the local Conroe water.

The interview is included in BrewCrAzY's BrewCast Show 60, originally airing on May 11th. (The interview with Hutchins begins about 28 minutes into the podcast.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Copper Thieves Hit Saint Arnold

Last week, thieves stripped open refrigeration and A/C systems on the roof of the Saint Arnold brewery in Houston and stole the copper elements inside. The thieves disabled the cooling systems and did about $75,000 worth of damage.

Production at the brewery was down for about five days, but no beer was lost.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Franconia Brewing Launches Website

The new McKinney brewery Franconia Brewing has launched their new website, including full details about the new location and operations.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rahr & Sons Expansion

Rahr & Sons has just received three new 70-barrel fermentation tanks at their Fort Worth brewery. When fully installed, these new tanks will bring Rahr & Sons' annual brewing capacity up to about 6000 barrels.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

More news items have popped up recently about various Texas brewers. Rahr & Sons was featured in a local NBC piece last week entitled "Beer Prices Rise With Grain, Fuel Demand" regarding the rising costs associated with brewing, and thus for many other small businesses.

Bringing home a gold medal at the World Beer Cup has fueled local coverage of The Covey and its brewer, Jamie Fulton, appearing recently in both the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with "Tops in hops: Fort Worth restaurateur's beer is the toast of the 'Olympics of brewing'" and the Fort Worth Business Press in "Aging well: Local brew master perfects his beer."

Also, a profile of recent Conroe start-up brewery Southern Star appeared recently in the local Montgomery County's The Courier entitled "Commence pouring."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 6

Saint Arnold has confirmed that the next beer in their Divine Reserve series (No. 6) will be a hoppy American barleywine. Brewing began yesterday and this beer should be released in June.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Texas Brewers at 2008 World Beer Cup

Several Texas breweries won medals at the 2008 Brewers Association World Beer Cup. The winners were announced April 19th at the conclusion of the annual Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, California.

Recognized Texas brewers include:

The World Beer Cup is a judged competition held every two years and sponsored by the Brewers Association, the craft beer industry's professional organization. This year's competition included more than 2800 beers from 644 brewers in 58 countries.

Awards are given in 91 different style categories of beer, with the top three beers recognized with gold, silver and bronze medals.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Real Ale to Introduce 22-oz Bottles

Real Ale Brewing Company will soon start bottling their beers in 22-oz bottles, a size commonly referred to as "bombers." The first beers to be bottled in this size will be their seasonal offerings.

Real Ale's seasonals are currently not bottled and only available at draft locations.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spoetzl Releases Spezial Leicht

The Spoetzl Brewery is expected to release a new beer for summer, the Shiner Spezial Leicht. This beer follows in the tradition of the calorie-conscious Shiner Light, which was met with some approval by consumers as a light beer that did not have all the flavor washed out. The Spezial Leicht will have only 99 calories per 12-oz bottle.

While the style of the Spezial Leicht has not been formally announced, it has been described as having a "German and Czech accent," making it most likely a light pilsner style similar to other mass-marketed light beers.

Real Ale Tasting, Apr 18

The Mason Alamo Drafthouse in Katy will host a Real Ale tasting on April 18th. The owner/brewer of Real Ale is expected to speak, as well as a show featuring classic beer commercials and other related programming.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Live Oak Anniversary Party

The Live Oak Brewery in Austin is holding its 11th anniversary party today, April 12th. An annual event, the anniversary party is held on-site at the brewery and includes tours, tastings, food and music. The businesses surrounding the brewery also usually join in with food and treats.

The event is free and runs from noon to 6 p.m.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Dallas TwoRows Closed

The Greenville Avenue location of the TwoRows Restaurant & Brewery brewpub chain in Dallas has closed permanently, effective March 30th. The company cites rising expenses and a changing demographic as reasons for this closure.

Other TwoRows locations in Addison and Houston should remain open.

Iron Mash in Fort Worth, Jul 26

The date for the 2008 Iron Mash has been set as July 26th in Fort Worth, held on location at the Rahr & Sons brewery.

The Iron Mash is a homebrew competition sponsored by the Cap and Hare Homebrew Club. In the spirit of the Food Network's "Iron Chef" program as well as the "Iron Man" endurance triathalon, the Iron Mash features teams required to develop recipes and brew beers based on ingredients revealed only on the day of competition, and do so on one of the hottest days of summer in Texas.

Entry details and deadlines can be found on the Cap and Hare website.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Homebrew Club

A (relatively) new homebrew club has emerged in North Texas, the Horsemen of the Hopocalypse. This is a small group that has been meeting for less than a year and is generally based in Fort Worth, Tarrant County and a few places just west of there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Texas Brewers in the News

A snapshot summary of the 2008 Texas craft brewery scene entitled "Beer mugs runneth over" appeared in Tuesday's edition of the San Antonio Express-News.

Written by Travis Poling, reporter and beer columnist for the Express-News, the article touches on the status of new breweries such as (512) Brewing, Southern Star and Franconia, as well as the upcoming Freetail Brewing brewpub in San Antonio. Also mentioned is the recent Ben E. Keith acquisition as well as a number of out-of-state craft beers likely to appear here soon.

Additionally, a report by Lee Nichols appeared in the Austin Chronicle last Friday entitled "A Disaster Brewing," recounting the origins of the drastic current hop shortages and how local Austin brewers such as Live Oak, Uncle Billy's, North by Northwest and Real Ale have been impacted.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rahr to Brew for Central Market

Rahr & Sons Brewing is currently developing a line of seasonal beers to be branded and sold under a Central Market label and available through their stores state-wide. The current plans are for four rotating beers per year, one per quarter, most likely focusing on popular seasonal styles. The specific styles have not yet been decided.

Central Market is a Texas-based chain of specialty grocery stores similar to Whole Foods that tends to favor local and environmentally friendly suppliers. Both store chains are noted for carrying a wide selection of craft, independent and imported beer.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Celtic Brew-Off in Arlington, May 17

The final date of the 2008 Celtic Brew-Off has been set as May 17th in Arlington. The Celtic Brew-Off generally coincides with the Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games, although this latter event will be held in June.

The Celtic Brew-Off is an AHA-sanctioned competition and is sponsored by the Knights of the Brown Bottle as part of the Lone Star Circuit. Entry details and deadlines can be found on the Celtic Brew-Off website.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Southern Star Grand Opening

The newest Texas brewery Southern Star will be holding its official grand opening at the brewery on April 5th from 3pm to 6pm. The first scheduled brewery tour will be on April 12th at 1pm.

(512) Brewing Lauches Website

New Austin brewery (512) Brewing has launched their new website, including full details about the new location and operations.

Monday, March 10, 2008

BrewCrAzY Interviews Bev Blackwood

The online beer and brewing podcast show BrewCrAzY recently interviewed Bev Blackwood, Brewing Production Manager of Saint Arnold Brewing Company and patron saint look-alike, about his homebrewing background and his role at Texas' oldest operating craft brewery.

Of interest, Blackwood talks about Saint Arnold's planned relocation and expansion to a site just north of downtown Houston. While the contracts are not yet finalized and no timetable has been announced, the new facilities should more than quadruple the current size and capacity of the current brewery.

The interview is included in BrewCrAzY's "It's the Alcohol Talking" Show 52 originally aired on March 10th. (The interview with Blackwood begins about 16 minutes into the podcast.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spoetzl Releases Shiner 99

Spoetzl Brewery released the latest edition of their annual anniversary series this week, the Shiner 99. This limited-edition beer is a Munich helles lager style.

This anniversary series from Spoetzl is to commemorate the brewery's centennial in 2009. A different limited-run style has been featured every year since 1996, leading up to their 100th anniversary next year.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Southern Star Now Open

After many delays, Southern Star Brewing is finally operational and has their first batch underway. They anticipate their first beer, the Pine Belt Pale Ale, to be available around the end of March.

Southern Star has invested in a canning line instead of bottles for their beers, making them the first craft brewers in the state to do so.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ginger Man Hosts "Taste of Texas"

The Ginger Man hosted its first "Taste of Texas" beer tasting at its newest Fort Worth location yesterday, February 16th. A similar event is planned for its Dallas location next Saturday, February 23rd.

This tasting featured a selection of beers from various Texas brewers, including Real Ale, Live Oak, Saint Arnold and Rahr & Sons. Presenting their beers and fielding questions were Kendra Harrell (North Texas Sales, Saint Arnold), Chip McElroy (Brewer and Owner, Live Oak) and various staff members from the local Rahr & Sons brewery. Representatives from Real Ale were scheduled but unable to attend.

Points of note from the tasting include:

  • Real Ale's next planned commercial beer will be called Real Heavy, a Scottish-style wee heavy due out later this year.
  • Due to the recent hop shortage, Live Oak's Liberation IPA will be cut back to a seasonal offering. To compensate for customer demand, their year-round Pale Ale recipe will be modified slightly to near IPA strength and flavor.
  • The next edition of Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve will depend on expected new equipment recieved at the brewery, both for timing and for style. Early delivery will mean added capacity for the next release of an in-house recipe this summer; late delivery will mean the next release will be taken from the winner of the Big Batch Brew Bash in May.
  • Rahr & Sons featured a keg of their End of Winter Warmer, a limited release of their standard Winter Warmer aged in Maker's Mark bourbon barrels.

This "Taste of Texas" beer tasting is an annual event with the North Texas Ginger Man locations.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Franconia Brewery Now Open

Texas' newest operational brewery is now the Franconia Brewery, located in McKinney. Franconia was built and owned by Dennis Wehrmann, former master brewer at the Addison Two Rows location.

Franconia will sell in draft and keg only for now. Originally planned are four beers: a light lager, a wheat ale, a third beer that will either be a kölsch or a schwarzbier, and one as yet unnamed that will be sold exclusively through the Two Rows chain.

The McKinney brewery will be run by Wehrmann and his brewer, Gavin Secchi. A website is still under development.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

BrewCrAzY Interviews Dave Fougeron

The online beer and brewing podcast show BrewCrAzY recently interviewed Dave Fougeron of Southern Star Brewing about his background and impending first batch at the new brewery.

The interview is included in BrewCrAzY's "It's the Alcohol Talking" Show 44, originally aired on January 13th. (The interview with Fogeron begins about 20 minutes into the podcast.)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bluebonnet Brew-Off in Irving, Mar 28-29

Final details of the 2008 Bluebonnet Brew-Off have been released, with the location being the Westin DFW Airport hotel in Irving and event dates of March 28-29.

The keynote speaker for this 22nd annual homebrew competition is the award-winning brewer Phil Markowski of Southampton Brewery and Southampton Publick House of Southampton, New York. Markowski is also the author of Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the European Tradition.

The Bluebonnet Brew-Off is a collaborative event organized by several North Texas homebrew clubs and traditionally one of the largest homebrew competitions in the United States. Registration, entry deadlines and full competition details are available at the event website.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ben E. Keith Acquires C.R. Goodman

The Dallas-based Anheuser-Busch distributor Ben E. Keith has acquired the smaller distributor C.R. Goodman, a state-wide specialty distributor for craft and import beer.

For now, C.R. Goodman will retain all employees and warehouses under Ben E. Keith ownership. The deal does not include C.R. Goodman's Colorado branch nor their import company, Belukus.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gordon Biersch to Open in Plano

A new location of the Gordon Biersch brewpub and restaurant chain is planned for The Shops at Legacy in Plano. Based out of California, this will be the first location in Texas for the multi-state franchise.

Unlike the similar BJ's Brewhouse franchise, beer should be brewed on-site at this location. No date has been given for its opening.

Monday, January 14, 2008

MCAB X in Houston, Feb 8-9

The Master Championship of Amateur Brewing (MCAB) homebrew competition will be held at the Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston on February 8-9.

Originally founded by Houston's homebrew club the Foam Rangers, the MCAB has become an interstate alternative competition, traveling around the country and using local regional competitions like the Bluebonnet Brew-Off and Dixie Cup as "qualifiers."

The first MCAB I was held in Houston in 1999, and the latest MCAB IX was held in St. Paul, MN, in 2007. Falling out of favor the past few years, the MCAB has recently been rejuvenated by members of the St. Paul Homebrewers Club, who have moved the MCAB X event to its original location for this year.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Austin Flying Saucer Opens

The new and long-delayed Flying Saucer Draught Emporium finally opened in Austin this past Thursday. This twelfth location of the beer-centric franchise is located in the north part of town at the new Triangle urban development project at the merge of Lamar Blvd and Guadalupe St.

Like other locations, this new establishment will also feature more than 70 taps plus a large bottle selection.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Whip-In to Microbrew

The Whip-In beer store in Austin is planning to expand their retail operation by installing a small 1.5- to 3-barrel brewing system. General manager Dipak Topiwala says beer will be sold at the store in half-gallon growlers, most likely with an IPA to start.

No date has been given for when the beer will be available.