After the release of Bitter Belgian I became much too busy to do much through the end of February. I still haven’t made it to Hay Merchant or picked of Saint Arnold Endevour but March should be better.
I did try a few new beers, two I picked up locally and one I picked up in California last summer.
Ale of the Hermit – I picked up this Belgian Strong Pale in California last summer without any previous knowledge or experience with Hermitage Brewing. It kept pretty well and had a sweet, raisiny aroma. However, the mouthfeel was very thin and I did not think that the body matched the aroma.
Rahr and Sons Angry Goat: I have been loving this series of bombers from Rahr and Angry Goat was no exception. Poured beautifully could easily match up with Paulener Salvator; my standard doppelbock.
Abita S.O.S. – I wanted to try this one last year and missed it. Abita is not my favorite brewery but this was a solid effort, if a little sweet.
Well, better luck next time I guess.
We made it to the finals in Petrol’s homebrew contest with Karbach but alas, we didn’t place. That’s ok, we were still more encouraged and determined to homebrew and enter more contests. The festival itself was a lot of fun and packed - I have never seen Petrol so full of people.
Now onto the beer I tried, I had never had any of these before and went with half-pints. Also, while I didn’t order a pint, I did try Chris’ Real Ale Kraken and it was sublime.
Avery Mephistopheles – This jet black stout was the first I’ve tried of Avery’s Demon series and it was very impressive. I was glad I only ordered the half pint as it was a sipping beer that weighs in at 15.1% alcohol.
Next was the Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. I tried this beer on the recommendation of a random beer nerd in line and did not regret it.
Finally, I had some of Saint Arnold’s Bourbon Barrel Winter Stout. Winter Stout is one of my favorite Saint Arnold seasonal beers and spending some time in a bourbon barrel only increased that love.
There was a bottle share/swap before the main festival and we found the carnage of it when we went behind the bar to hear the announcement of the winner of the contest. All in all, we had a great time on a beautiful Houston day with delicious beer and good friends.
You may have heard that Petrol Station is having a dark beer festival this Saturday. The taplist is looking great with rare beers from Saint Arnold, Real Ale, Independence, Clown Shoes and Buffalo Bayou Brewing.
What you may not have heard is that there will also be a dark beer home brewing contest being judged by the guys from Karbach. Petrol announced the contest late last year and received 40+ submissions. They have narrowed it down to 7 finalists and the beer that me and Chris (@BrewMeOnIt) and Kyle (@superKWP) submitted is one of them. Sarina (@SarinaKeller) took this photo of us bottling at the Keller’s namesake bungalow in the Heights.
The Grand Prize for the contest is a limited release of the winning beer by the team at Karbach.
Here’s hoping for the win!
Ok, so, I had big plans after the Oktoberfest at Southern Star to get this blog up and running and didn’t. It was mostly due to a series of personal issues; namely that I was part of a layoff at my former employer. Then the holidays hit and here we are. I am going to try and do my best to write to this blog regularly this year and have fun at the same time. That said – let’s move on. January has been a great beer month so far as I got to share a bunch of fantastic beer with the crew and also got out to Saint Arnold three times.
A quick overview of some of the best of the beer:
Ommegang Rare Vos – Ommegang is a Belgian style brewer out of New York and I had laid this particular bottle of Rare Vos down for about 6 months. This was a delicious beer that I shared with Chris (@BrewMeOnIt), it had notes of pear and also a peppery finish. Sorry, no picture.
Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad (2010) – This was bottle from January 2011 that I gave Chris for his birthday and we finally opened it. It had a rich cherry flavor with the bourbon notes opening up as it warmed. Just as good as we hoped.
Lucky Buddha – Jim (@HowdyThisIsJim) picked a six pack of this Asian style lager mostly for the bottles. Still, it tasted alright with burgers off the grill and we can use the bottles for home brewing.
Karbach Rodeo Clown Double IPA – I haven’t had all of Karbach’s offerings yet but I really enjoyed this DIPA. I am not sure what hops were used but I like it when they give the beer a grapefruit flavor. Sorry, no picture.
Marin Brewing Mt.Tam Pale Ale – Picked this up last summer while visiting Jim and Kirby. Marin is a sister brewry to Moylan’s and this pale ale had mellowed with 8 months of cellaring. Nice finish and insane head; i think this was an unexpected result from cellaring.
Mikkeler Big Worse – I seem to have more barleywines than any other style in the cellar and this is a nice example. A big beer, it picked up a lot of body and mouthfeel from the bottle sediment (you can see it floating in my glass).
Also, I made it out to Saint Arnold’s tasting room three times this month. It was to my almost never ending shame that as a Houston beer nerd I had not made it out to the brewery. That has now been taken care of. We had some friends in from California and figured this was great opportunity to make our first visit.
Right now, Saint Arnold is brewing their Winter Stout seasonal as well as all their year-round brews. The beer hall is beautiful and was packed. Being out of work I have taken time with friends to go out there a few more times.
Two Saturdays ago, me and my good buddy Jesse Outlaw were the guests of Ash Rowell of Duff Beer Distribution at the 2011 Southern Star Oktoberfest at the brewery in Conroe.
It was my second time to the brewery and the first since they expanded the brewhouse with the new tanks and canning line. We got there right as the Fest began and I hopped in line to try the only Southern Star beer I hadn’t had yet; the 2011 Pro-Am. Every year, Southern Star hosts a home brew competition with the winner getting their beer made professionally at the brewery. I really enjoyed the beer, it is a high ABV black IPA. The black IPA is a style that causes a lot of consternation (read about it here and here) but I like it and I especially liked this one.
The Outlaw Cookers were present and providing food while live music played in the loading dock.
I had a few more of the Southern Star regulars (Buried Hatchet Stout and Walloon) and I tried the Dirty Blonde (half Bombshell Blonde/half Pine Belt Ale). I finished the night with a guest on the tap wall; Live Oak Oktoberfest. I like every Live Oak beer I have tried and I was not disappointed with this offering. Big malt character with a clean finish. Very fulfilling.
My highlight of the night was meeting some Houston beer peeps that I only previously knew from their internet presences. Ronnie Crocker writes the Beer, TX blog for the Houston Chronicle and is the first source of Houston beer info for me and my friends. Ronnie was very gracious with his time and was happy to discuss the constantly changing Houston beer scene with everyone at the Fest. Also, I met James Simpson. James is a producer at 950 AM here in Houston and is doing his part to get the word out via radio about craft beer in Houston. Both guys were great and I hope to see them again at future beer events.