Thursday, September 23, 2010

Houston Beer Week Press Release

I've talked about it many times but I have recieved the press release for the first ever Houston Beer Week. The Press release details all the events currently planned. While the press release is below, please note that there will continue to be additions so remember to check out, and I will also be updating the Events calendar on the right hand side of the page as much as I can.
One last note before getting to the press release. I've learned that Anvil Bar and Refuge will be hosting "A taste of Houston Beer Week" on Thursday October 8th by tapping some very special beers. I have an idea of what will be tapped and it will be awesome, and as soon as I get confirmation of that I'll post additional details on here. Without further ado the press release:

Local bars, chefs and breweries collaborate to create an amazing week of Events, Dinners and Tappings to be held all over the City of Houston in celebration of the Craft Beer Movement.
Co-Chairs Cathy Clark and Kevin Floyd “Monsters of Beer Charity” Grand Finale Event to benefit local charities
Houston TX -- Beer Lovers, start your engines, purchase your tickets, and get ready for the first Houston Beer Week. Organized by a network of local beer-savvy operators, beer aficionados and craft breweries, HBF features a week-long calendar of spectacular beer events and general beer magic that will take place at bars, restaurants and retail establishments all over the city and into the suburbs. The week will conclude with the Monsters of Beer Charity Festival on Sunday, October 17, 2010, organized by Co-Chairs Cathy Clark, founder of the popular Houston Beer Camp and the Live it Big charity, and Kevin Floyd, co-owner of Anvil Bar & Refuge. Proceeds from Sunday’s event will benefit local charities.
Events, Beer Dinners and Hard-to-Find Beers
Every event will be its own adventure. Costs will vary by event. Expect to taste cask-conditioned newcomers, hard-to-score beers, and learn from the best beer nerds in the city at a featured beer dinner each night of the week. While a complete calendar for each day of the week can be found at [updates are ongoing], below is a selection of noteworthy events, including the beer dinners to be featured each night:

Sunday, Oct.10
Kick-off party at The Usual Pub, beginning 4pm; plus A Home brewer’s Tutorial with DeFalco’s Home Wine and Beer Supplies and Southern Star Brewery, also at The Usual.
The Usual Pub, 5519 Allen St.

Monday, Oct. 11
Featured Beer Dinner:
Chef Jonathan Jones of Beaver’s Ice House & Ben Fullelove of Petrol Station
Details: 6pm beer & cocktail reception followed by a 5-course dinner paired with beers hand-selected by Ben. $70 per person.
To reserve, call Beaver’s, 713-864-2328; a credit card is required to confirm your reservation.
Beaver’s Ice House, 2310 Decatur St.

Connoisseur tasting at The Ginger Man Pub with Artisanal Imports
Join Chris Campana of Artisanal Imports of Austin for a tour through his incredible portfolio of international brews including Urthel (Belgium), Malheur (Belgium), Sunner (Germany), Triple Karmeliet (Belgium), Koningshoeven (Belgium) and Tilburg (Netherlands).
Details: $11.25/p; the event starts at 7:30pm.
The Ginger Man, 5607 Morningside Dr.

Tuesday, Oct. 12
Featured Beer Dinner:
Chef Elizabeth Brooks of Canopy and Brock Wagner of St. Arnold Brewery
Details: 5-courses, $65 per person at 7pm
This dinner is limited to 20 people; to reserve, please call 713-528-6848.
Canopy, 3939 Montrose Ave.

Moylan’s Tasting at Petrol Station
Sample the entire line of Moylan’s Brewery (at least those available in Texas).
Movies & a Beer at Alamo Drafthouse
Matinee prices for movies (excluding special events), $3 craft beer pints, and Growler specials. Available at both locations, 1000 West Oaks Mall and 531 South Mason Rd in Katy

Wed, Oct. 13
Featured Beer Dinner:
Chef Chris Shepherd of Catalan & Kevin Floyd of Anvil Bar & Refuge
Details: Hors d’oeuvres at 7pm, followed by a 6-course dinner paired with beers hand selected by Kevin. $100 per person; to reserve, call Catalan 713-426-4260; a credit card is required to confirm your reservation.
Catalan Food & Wine is located at 5555 Washington Ave.,

Stone Brewing at the Flying Saucer
Come visit with Jason Armstrong of Stone Brewing and enjoy specials on pints of 4-5 Stone selections.
Flying Saucer, 705 Main St.

Thursday, Oct. 14
Featured Beer Dinner:
Chef Patrick McCray of Divino and Pike Brewing
Details: Reception at 7pm followed by 4-courses paired with Pike beers
$65/pp + 18% gratuity. Seating is limited to 20.
Reservations can be made by calling 713-807-1123 or via email; a credit card is required to confirm your reservation.
Divino, 1830 W. Alabama St.

Connoisseur tasting at The Ginger Man Pub with Nadine Jones of Brooklyn Brewery.
Nadine will discuss the array of award-winning beers from Brooklyn Brewery, plus there will be a cooking demonstration with beer and instructional lecture regarding designing your meals around your beer of choice.
Details: $11.25 per person; event begins at 7:30pm
The Ginger Man, 5607 Morningside Dr.

Southern Star Tasting at Rockwell Tavern
Plus a dinner special of BURIED HATCHET FISH & CHIPS, showcasing a classic way to cook delicious and creative meals with craft beer.
Details: tasting from @ 6pm – 8pm
Rockwell Tavern, 12640 Telge Rd., Cypress

Friday, Oct. 15
Featured Beer Dinner:
Chef Carlos Rodriguez of Vic & Anthony’s and Brew Dog Brewery
Details: Drinks at 7pm followed by a 7-course dinner paired with beers from this maverick Scottish brewery.
$85 + tax/gratuity. To reserve, please call Stacie Chambers at 713-228-1111; a credit card is required to hold your reservation.
Vic & Anthony’s, 1510 Texas St.

Gravity Cask 2010 at Anvil Bar & Refuge
Featuring beers custom-made for Anvil Bar & Refuge -- you will not find these beers any place else. With rare and unique casks from local and continental European breweries, including Southern Star Smoked Porter flavored with cocoa nibs and vanilla and a Cask-conditioned Independence Oatmeal Stout infused with Anvil’s bourbon cherries.
Anvil Bar & Refuge, 1424 Westheimer

Dixie Cup Homebrew Competition: Strange Brew
The Dixie Cup is one of the nation’s oldest home brewing competitions and is noted for its great mix of irreverent fun as well as its seriousness about beer. or more information, contact Scott Weitzenhoffer by email at or call DeFalco’s at 713-668-9440.

Saturday, October 16
Brenner’s Beer Festival
Brenner’s Steakhouse on the Bayou will host its first beer festival featuring more than 50 beers from local and regional craft breweries. Many breweries will showcase their fall seasonal selections. Live entertainment will be provided by Ezra Charles & The Works. Jason Armstrong of Stone Brewing will also be in attendance. .
Details: From 2pm to 6pm; only 400 tickets are available.
Tickets are $45/per person in advance or $55/at the door. Tickets are on sale online at
Brenner’s, 1 Birdsall Place

Connoisseur tasting at The Ginger Man Pub with Prescott Carter of Duvel-Moortgat Brewery.
Prescott will discuss the renowned family of beers including Ommegang (New York), Duvel (Belgium), Maredsous (Belgium), and the Chouffe Brewery (Belgium).
Details: $11.25 per person and the event begins at 3pm
The Ginger Man, 5607 Morningside Dr.

The Monster of Beer Charity Festival, Sunday, October 17
Houston Beer Week will conclude Sunday, October 17, 2010 with the Monsters of Beer Charity Festival hosted by Live It BIG, Inc, a non-profit who helps provide seed money for local charities in Houston. Proceeds from this event will go to support Live It BIG’s 2010 focal charity Friday Harbour, which provides housing assistance to cancer patients receiving treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Texas Children’s Hospital and their families.
The event will take place adjacent to 13 Celsius on Anita St. Twelve Texas breweries, including 2010 Great American Beer Festival winners Saint Arnold and Real Ale will be in attendance. The festival will focus on Texas craft breweries and the growing Texas craft beer movement. Several breweries will be bringing special cask and firkin beers as well.
There will be live music by Mason Lankford & The Folk Family Revival along with other bands yet to be announced; food can be purchased at Hubcap Burger’s food truck, Melange Crêperie, and from the 13 Celsius menu. A silent auction of aged beers, beer tours, beer paraphernalia, and all things good in beer will raise additional monies for charity.
To learn more, visit or follow on Twitter @monstersofbeer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Death knell for Brewpubs?

Houston has been the recipient of some great beer news lately. Whether it's been amazing beer dinners, or the announcement of Houston Beer Week, good things are happening in this city with respect to beer. However, it still very sad when a beer related business goes under, more so when that business is the last brew pub in town. On Monday, Ronnie Crocker of the Chronicle reported that Rice Village's Two Row's will be closing effective October 2nd due to lease issues with the building owner Weingarten Realties. Whether you liked Two Row's beer or not (I didn't) its a sad day when the 4th largest city in the country no longer has a brewpub (I don't count the numerous BJ's around town since all of their beer is contract brewed by Saint Arnold's). Not too long ago I ranted about the fact that there were too few places in this city that truly cared about beer and food. Well over the course of the last year places like BRC Gastropub and Queen Vic's have opened that serve good solid food with a great list of craft beer. Old stand buys like Hobbit Cafe have expanded their beer list (Sunday I was able to get a 512 Double IPA on Draft there). Petrol Station, with their amazing beer list, hosts Eggs and Keggs brunch events where they pair brunch food with beer. Higher end places like Vic and Anthony's have hosted two beer dinners (Dogfish Head and Stone) with plans to host more. As mentioned earlier, huge beer events are occurring in this area: 1st annual Cask Festival hosted by Anvil, Petrol Station, and Flying Saucer, Flying Saucer's Anniversary Party, Galveston's Brewmasers Festival, and of course the upcoming and highly anticipated Houston Beer Week. This event that features beer education, beer tastings, and multiple beer dinners around town proves as much as any others that Houston is becoming a beer town. Some will say its the same folks at each event, and for things like Flying Saucer's Anniversary Party or the Cask Festival, they might be correct, but I've been to the beer dinners, and the people attending aren't all a part of what many would consider the regular beer folk. In fact, Houston Chronicle's Restaurant Critic Allison Cook recently attended the Vic and Anthony Stone Beer dinner and raved about it.
Back to Houston Beer week for a second. The beer dinners will include places like Beavers, Catalan, Canopy, Divino, Vic and Anthony, and Brenner's. I must emphasize how amazing that list of restaruants is and how wide ranging the food being served will actually be. What does this tell us? It is evident that Houston is primed for a place that makes both great beer and great food. Houston has evolved to the point where they won't put up with mediocre beer being served in a brew pub, and the same goes for food. It doesn't have to be complex upscale food; it just has to be good. Brew pub's have come and gone through this city since the early 1990's, but for the first time since 1993, Houston is without a brewpub. Even with all the great beer events occurring in this city, it's still sad to think of a town this size without a brew pub. The question is: will a chef, a brewer, a restaurateur, or someone else step up and fill that void?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dogfish Head Theobroma

In these years of posting my thoughts on beer I've said it many times, and it bears saying again: I'm a huge fan of Dogfish Head Ales out of Deleware. Not only do they make great hoppy beers, they also make great unusual styles, sometimes historic, and owner Sam Caglione is a great ambassador for craft beer. The latest beer new to the Houston market is a historic ale, an ale based on a historic recipe. If you are familiar with DFH think a beer like Midas Touch as being a historic ale. This recipe is based on an ancient Aztec alcoholic chocolate drink called Food of the God's (which is what Theobroma loosely translates too). You already know its not going to be your traditional beer and a peak at the recipe list confirms it: Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds). Well we know some background for this one, let's see how it tastes.
The Beer: It weighs in at 9% and pours a pale golden orange with a thin white head. Just from the color you know its not a typical chocolate ale. The nose is a complex, an assault of different scents. Honey, coco powder, flowers, melon, spice. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, not a lot of carbonation. Like the nose there is a whole lot going on here, almost too much to keep up with. Flavors of honey, coco, honey suckle, green peppers, notes of boozy alcohol. Chocolatey without being sweet which is interesting. There are strange notes that I can only compare to tasting like tea. The individual flavors are incredibly interesting, and together its complex, but it just doesn't all meld well together. I respect what DFH did here, but this is not my favorite offering from them. It's just too discombobulated for me. This one gets a C+ from me. The folks at BA like it more than I do.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Abita SOS

There are many reasons to love craft beer. The complex flavors, the unusual styles, the "localness" of the beer, etc. Another reason is that for the most part, local breweries, care about their hometown. Few breweries show that love and passion of their community like Abita Brewing out of Louisiana. When Katrina happened and wrecked New Orleans Abita released Restoration Ale with a certain amount of the profits going to help rebuild New Orleans. With the recent oil disaster in the Gulf, Abita has once again brewed a beer to help: Save Our Shores. For every 750 ml bottle sold Abita will donate $0.75 to the rescue and restoration of the environment. Not that we needed one, but Abita has provided one more reason to drink beer. SOS is an unusual beer in and of itself its a Weizen Pils dry hopped with Sterling and German Perle hops.
The Beer: This brew weighs in at 7.0% and pours a golden honey color with a good sized frothy white head. The nose is herbal hops, spices, some banana flavor, toasted grains. The mouthfeel has a creaminess to it, sweet malts, grassy, spicey, earthy....almost herbal. It drinks pretty smooth, slightly sweet from the pale toasted malts. Some banana wheat flavors are there, subtle but there with just a bit of bitterness to the brew to create a very nice balance. Its a solid brew that gets a B from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack and Ken's Barleywine

Today's post bring's us the 3rd installment of Sierra Nevada's amazing 30th Anniversary Beers. For those keeping score at home, so far, we've had the Fritz and Ken Stout, and the Charlie, Fred, and Ken Helles. Each of the anniversary brew's are collaborations between Sierra Nevada owner Ken Grossman and a pioneer in the craft beer industry. The newest beer is not brewed with just anyone, but with someone many call the father of Microbrewery Jack McAuliffe. Mr McAuliffe founded a tiny little brewery in California called New Albion Brewery in 1977. The brewery operated until 1982. Mr. McAuliffe wasn't brewing any extreme beers by today's standards, instead it was full flavored beers, mostly English style ales. Back then that was extreme, it was such a change from the American Adjunct lagers that were pretty much the only thing available. Unfortunately the demand on Mr. McAuliffe was too much, the money wasn't coming in and New Albion was closed. Neat fact: The brewery equipment made it's way to Mendocino Brewery. Since the closure of New Albion, Mr. McAuliffe has stayed out of the public eye, however he did help Mr. Grossman in the brewing of this beer, a Black Barleywine.
The Beer: This Black Barleywine weighs in at a hefty 10.2% and pours a very dark brown with a thick taupe colored head. Hoppy on the nose, citrus peel, grapefruit, roasted malts, sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Massive hop flavor, a grapefruit-y punch if you will. It follows with a tartness, milk chocolate, then slams you back to earth with tongue saturating hoppiness. There is a sweetness in this beer, caramel-y, almost notes of creme brulee, some fruity notes, but yes it is the hops that leave the lasting impression on this beer. This is a great beer, so far my favorite of the three. This one gets a strong A from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.