Comments Off on Big Beers latest attempt to stifle the wildfire of grown in Texas Craft Beer

Alrighty, here is my take on what is going on right now in our Texas legislature.

Representative Thompson has authored / filed a bill into the Texas legislature that would cripple self distributing craft breweries in Texas. Mandating a maximum production of 5000 barrels a year (down from the currently allowed 40,000, which is down from 75,000 that we had two sessions ago).

This bill has been pinned H.B. 3389, and rep. Thompson has received tens of thousands of dollars from corporate distributors (Anheuser Busch money)

Here are her campaign donations. See anything fishy?…/…/00020791-senfronia-thompson/

Here is the link for Texas Beer Alliance, and who they are.

Open the Taps press release

(Link to proposed atrocity)…/8…/billtext/pdf/HB03389I.pdf…
Here is my letter to Rep. Thompson.

Representative Thompson,

I understand that you have filed a bill that would cripple small businesses in the craft beer industry in Texas. I am appalled that you would consider such an action that is such a blatant attack on business, especially in the State of Texas.

Texas has become well known throughout the world as a state that values businesses, both large and small.

Your authorship of H.B. 3389 is a slap in the face to tens of thousands of individuals that work in the thriving craft beer industry in Texas. This industry contributes over 2.3 BILLION dollars to the Texas economy and is projected to contribute over 5 BILLION dollars by 2020.

Your support of this crippling legislation would take a growing industry and halt its progress. You are taking money from hard working, tax paying, vocal and VOTING craft beer individuals and redistributing it to corporations owned by foreign corporate conglomerates.

I, a voting and vocal citizen implore you to reconsider your actions and remove this atrocity of a bill from the consideration of the Texas legislature.
Jeffrey Blake Murrah


I encourage each and every one of you to write your representatives and representative Thompson and respectfully show your disdain.

Comments Off on Budweiser’s counter-intuitive marketing.

Maybe Budweiser should adapt a NASCAR strategy?–spongebob-squarepants-400-205621538.html

But before you scoff, listen. Who is Budweisers target audience? blue collar, low to middle income, industrial sector Americans. Who watches NASCAR? Exactly.

Surely there is some typecasting, but it only makes sense for InBev to sponsor outlandish events. Remember, they are tripling their marketing efforts for Bud.

Now, let me just blow all the above out of the water.

Budweiser is signing their own death warrant in the beer industry and they don’t even know it.

One of the first things they teach you in marketing 101 is to differentiate yourself. ESPECIALLY if you sell a commodity that everyone else also sells. Budweiser has for years engaged in a “This Bud is for you” campaign. Bud is becoming synonymous with beer / brew.

But with the shifts that we have been seeing in the last two decades, consumers are moving AWAY from commodities and into differentiated products (enter: craft beer offerings, differentiated along their flavor profiles and brewing styles).

InBev is proverbially throwing their marketing dollars down the drain CHASING the consumers dollar instead of providing marketing and advertising that DRAWS IN the consumers dollar.

Thoughts? Comments?


Whilst I understand the marketing behind trying to capture market share with your pumpkin beer being the first available… PUMPKINS SHOULD NOT BE SOLD IN JULY! This is a ridiculous trend, absolutely absurd.

As consumers we need to take a step back and think about what is going on with these “spiced” beers.

I encourage you to do just a couple of things,

Firstly, think about the brewing process. Brewday, fermentation, possible bottle conditioning, etc. Now, if you’re drinking a pumpkin beer… when were those squash’ harvested and put into the boil? Hmm? Yay for extracts! Yay for flavoring additions.

Let it sit. Let these breweries who push their seasonal offerings a full season before appropriately sit their beer on the shelf for months and go out of date.

I’m looking at you Southern Tier. Whilst I enjoyed your offering last year, July in Texas is NOT a good time for pumpkin beers. In fact, We still have plenty of last years still on the shelf.

These shenanigans make my grateful for breweries like Saint Arnolds who at least wait until October / November to release their pumpkin offerings.



It’s been awhile out here. I tend to add articles to the Facebook, but as for longer posts I have just been lacking on writing some solid blogs. So what has been going on? Well, in short… A lot. Even when I am not updating this or Facebook, I am combing the world over to look for new brews to experience. Just last month I was in Cape Town, South Africa drinking their local fare. A month before that? I was in Guatemala drinking Gallo and other Central American lagers. It does not matter where I travel though, Texas brewed beers will always have a special place in my heart. In my last beer of the month delivery ( I received some beer from France (Grimbergen). It reminded me a lot of last summer when I spent three weeks in France drinking their local beers and developing an appreciation for European style lagers. The crux of that trip is that sometimes (a lot of times) less is actually more. Since that trip last summer I have been delving into simple, clean, fresh beers from around the country. I still appreciate complex stouts and porters, but there is something wonderful about a simple hefeweizen or American Blonde Ale. Simple is good. For all of the complexities in this life that we deal with day to day, it is nice to have some beer in the fridge that isn’t.

I’ll leave you with this parting thought for the day, when was the last time that you had a simple, refreshing beer for the sake of having a refreshing beer. Leave me a comment with your thoughts.


Also, I will get better about keeping this current. If I don’t…. well, remind me.

I just bought all the makings for my first “own” brew. I should be brewing it sometime next week, with an estimated “Ready” time of Christmas day. I will doubtlessly have pictures, possibly video and all sorts of other good stuff about the beer forthwith. I am starting with just a basic extract kit (not real brewing I know, but it is a start) and modifying it with some additional malts. I will also be adjusting the fermentation and adding some goodies for the yeast to feast on that should increase my ABV around .5-.7% over the base kit.

In addition to this, I have three small (1-2 gallon) batches that I will be doing on a stovetop over the next month as “practice” batches. They are all older kits so I am not expecting a lot of fermentable sugars, or a high quality product to come out of these experiments.


Here goes it.



Well, last week I accomplished something that I have been wanting to do for years. I finally made it to Milton, DE to visit Dogfish Head. I have been tentatively planning my pilgrimage out there for about three years now. After reading Sam Calagiones “Brewing Up a Business” it only made me want to see this place even more. So, when my girlfriend mentioned that she wanted to go home for a few days over the summer, and her “home” was a mere 35 minutes from the Brewery, I was instantly intrigued. She said that she’d take me out there in exchange for meeting her family (Which I have needed / wanted to do anyways) so all in all everyone was about to win in this excursion. We set out from Maryland last Tuesday and made the drive through countless farm roads and cornfields and then I finally saw it. The silos in the distance, and it was glorious. I knew we were getting close and I had some choice words for Siri as she tried to navigate me away from the shining Mecca. I pointed the truck towards the silos and soon found a large cutout of the fish.


Said fish.


After parking the truck we went towards the tap room. On the way we found a tree house, so naturally I had to stop and get another picture.

Steam Punk!


Now inside the tap room I saw a glorious sight, a pallet stack of freshly bottled 120 minute IPA. They bottled this on July 15th, and released it the next day on July 16th… Naturally, this was the afternoon of the 16th so, GLORIOUSNESS!



After seeing this I decided to walk around in amazement for a little bit and stumbled across this original brew system used by Sam when he opened in Rehoboth Beach, DE.


We then went to the bar and found out that the last tour was at 4pm. I looked at my watch to see 3:30 and had a glimmer of excitement… however, being in Delaware, they are of course on Eastern time, where my watch was still on Texas time. 4:30. Drats,

Well, that just doesn’t make good press so we’re going to have to work around that. So, let me tell you what ended up happening.

I had a plan in motion, A good friend of mine just so happened to go to school with one of the actual brewers at Dogfish. Liz came walking into the tap room about 5:15 with special rubber shoes and safety glasses. My tour was going to happen. Not only did she proceed to give me a behind the scenes tour, but since I am no ordinary joe, and since I do know a thing or two about the brewing process… we skipped over the parts of the tour where you learn about the mash tun, and sparging, and the boil, and we were able to go straight to the cool stuff (The barrel room, Palo Santo vessel, control room, bottling line, the cage where Sam Calagione keeps his own personal stash of beer, etc).

There are several pictures of the tour here. Most of them have captions as well.

Being that the brewery is currently under construction, a vast majority of the public tours miss a lot of the cool stuff right now. Which is really a shame, if you are an off centered beer fanatic, you really have to check out the original Randall and the Sofa King Hoppy dispenser (who is about to be retired). The new construction will allow for DFH to brew 500,000 barrels a year, which is an exponential increase over their current 200,000 bbl year production. This increased production “should” mean that we get more Dogfish beer, more often which again, is a win for everyone.

All in all it was an amazing experience. I was a kid in a candy store for the hour and a half that I was there. My next trip in that direction will be to Rehoboth Beach to visit the Brewpub and enjoy some of their on premise only brews. If you EVER get the chance to make it out the brewery I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend going early and enjoying it. When I arrived at the tap room a majority of the beers offered were out for the day. I was still able to sample the 60 Minute (Fresh, tasty, amazing), My Antonia (The only Lager that DFH makes, continuously hopped as well of course), Theobroma (An excellent old world style Ale with ancho chilis.) and last, but certainly not least… the infamous… Palo Santo. A gorgeous brown ale fermented in Paraguayan wood vats (largest wooden vats of their kind since prohibition).


A HUGE thank you to Liz the brewer for an amazing afternoon touring an awesome facility. Also a HUGE thanks to my girlfriend who let me use up a majority of our anniversary traveling to see a brewery and putting up with my giddiness and acting like a child for the rest of the afternoon.





This afternoon I bring to you a Raspberry Wheat from Alaskan Brewing. This refreshing wheat ale is fermented with raspberries during fermentation. This is something that I have been wanting to do for awhile (Except, I want to use Cherries). The beer is pretty much as advertised and exactly what you would think it would look like. A red tinge in the glass, a touch of raspberry on the nose, and a nice raspberry flavor. It is not overpowering like I feared it might be, nor is it comparable to a lambic (which I thought it would be). Instead you have a nice tartness that is nigh on perfect.  If I was to buy this again, I would probably split it, the whole bomber is a bit sweet after awhile. Still worth giving a try if you can find it though. This would go VERY well with cheesecake. I however would ensure that I had a cup of coffee for afterwards to balance all that sweet.


You know when you need a beer during yard work. Or maybe while you prepare yourself to brave the heat in this Texas climate? Maybe you need a cold brew to cool off after mowing your yard. Well ladies and gentlemen, good news! Cedar Creek has just the brew for you. Their Lawn Ranger fits the bill. I have drank a lot of sessionable ales in my day, but there aren’t too many that 1. come in cans, and 2. Can be a proper lawn mowing or porch sitting beer. I hear a lot of people talking about how refreshing IPAs are, and I do love them. However, sometimes you want to drink more than a couple of brews, and after two or three IPAs, the hops just bombard your palate. Cedar Creek does a great job with their Cream Ale of being a nice mild flavor that doesn’t destroy your palate. Next time you’re in the store search these guys out, it’s well worth the purchase.


Alright, that may be a little crude. Last week I went to my first brew day. Now, I have enjoyed good beer for a long time, and I’ve had a rough idea on the processes. I had just never actually had a hand in making the deliciousness that I enjoy so much. My buddy Scott over at Burton Brewhouse ( has been trying to get me over there for awhile now and due to conflicting schedules it just hadn’t happened. I digress. The plan was to make a pair of beers if we had sufficient time, first up was an Amber brewed with Amarillo hops.

Heating the water for the boil.

Checking the mash temperature.

The first runnings of the brew
At this stage the beer is beginning to look a lot more like beer. Very sweet taste though, and not a lot of body.We would fix that though.

Sparging the beer. It is almost time to boil the mash.

Boiling the mash. This part was the easy part. Just sitting back, drinking some brews while making new. You know, because you have to replenish what you consume.

Cooling the wort.
When I construct my first brewing setup, this is one area that I plan to engineer a little differently. There is a lot of room for improvement on the efficiency part. I am already devising how to run a couple of coils with a pump to circulate the water. Or, I might just cheap out and get a plate cooler.

Transferring the brew to primary.
I don’t know how you would brew beer without a truck bed. It just comes in so handy when you are running a budget homebrew setup.

The wit that we brewed went just as smoothly as the amber. Same steps, but more beer consumption and less pictures. After seeing this whole process first hand I have decided that I am going to start off slow and begin with a big pot on the stove, an all grain setup, and probably one gallon batches. I always have to be trying something new so the smaller batches will allow for me to experiment significantly more.

After a week, the fermentation is still going well, the croizen is falling out and we plan to bottle here in a couple more weeks. I am hoping they turn out well enough to share and enjoy more than just a learning experience.

Yet another delicious beer for this afternoon. Another beer that I have been sitting on for awhile, Ovila Saison. The Ovila project is one that is excellent. Without being too verbose, it is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and some monks at the New Clairvaux Abbey. This saison is an excellent representative of the style. Spicy pepper notes, almost a candied ginger flavor in the middle, and an overly yeasty fruit finish. Unfortunately Sierra Nevada doesn’t have as much on the series on their website as they used to. In short, William Randolph Hearst, purchased an Abbey from Spain and had it shipped to California, brick, by lonesome brick. A chunk of proceeds from this beer help to fund the restoration of this landmark. Definitely check this out if you can find one. I however have been aging mine for nigh on two years, if not slightly longer.

So here I am, an afternoon with no immediately looming deadlines for a change. I decided that it was time to sit back, relax, read my Wall Street Journal and have a coffee…. porter. Harpoons El Triunfo to be precise. I’ve been holding on to this for a few weeks now. I heard about it from a customer of mine at work one evening. I was certainly intrigued. I left directly from work to drive to Specs to pick a couple up. So, as I was saying, I’ve been sitting on this for a couple of weeks, just waiting for a chance to try it. I am not quite sure if I am blown away with it, or if it met my expectations. As I am sitting here drinking it, the profile is altering itself as it warms up. It has an excellent aroma (5/5), a well roasted, strong, almost bitter coffee flavor (4/5), but the body on this brew is a little bit light… Then again, I am a diehard Russian Imperial fan. Everything is light in comparison. It does however lace very well for a beer that is only 6%. The beer is excellent, and by now hard to find. I know I have a few more bottles at the store, and one more in my aging closet, but it is certainly worth snagging if you get the chance. I am adding points to this brew with every sip, especially as it comes down to room temperature.



Well, we survived! It is now December 23rd and I hope that whilst y’all were enjoying your stashes of prime beverages that you left some for the new year. I know that I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted to indulge in out of my aging cellar. Sooo many choices, and what seemed to be impending doom. I decided that I would just crack open a DFH Pangaea. It proved to be a solid choice. The crystallized ginger added a very nice complexity to the ale. I’m glad that I had it, but I don’t believe that I’d get another.

Probably one of the best beers that I had in preparation of the Mayan prediction was the Stone Enjoy By. THAT was an excellent IPA. The closest to Pliny the Elder that I have found… since well Pliny the Elder. Pineapple, fresh hops, pungent aromas of sweet citrus. Overall amazing. Unfortunately… I only had one to enjoy. No sense in aging it either as it was best enjoyed fresh (Like Pliny).

What all beers did you have set aside for 12-21-12? What do you have lined up for Christmas?

I am trying to decide what I am going to be taking with me to drink during the bowl games, there are just so many excellent choices. Last night upon the recommendation of a customer of mine I picked up a Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Coffee Porter. I snagged the last pair of bottles that I could find at Specs, I figure one for enjoyment now, and one to be aged / shared with friends later.

Another excellent beer that I had this past week was the Real Ale Brewers Cut #2 Black Quad. Excellent, nice and malty, full bodied, and not overly sweet. I was very impressed, and I love most of Real Ales product line, but this just went above and beyond.

Merry Christmas y’all!


Last night some buddies of mine all got together and we had a tasting event. Present were thirteen distinct, rare(ish) beers. This is going to be a lengthy post so, you may just want to crack a (55-63 degree) brew and sit down.

1. Le Merle – North Coast Brewing Co.
2. Le Feuillien Triple – Brasserie St-Feuillien #37 Triple Beer Advocate
3. Small Batch #1 – Ranger Creek San Antonio
4. Ranger Creek #2 – Ranger Creek San Antonio
5. Pliny The Elder – Russian River Brewing #19 on Rate Beer #6 Beer Advocate
6. Fullers Vintage Ale 2010 – Fuller, Smith, & Turner
7. 10 Commandments – The Lost Abbey
8. Big Worse – Mikkeller
9. Sucaba (Abacus) – Firestone Walker Brewing Co #49 Beer Advocate
10. Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Porter
11. The Abyss 2011 – Deschutes Brewing #29 Rate Beer #13 Beer Advocate
12. Speedway Stout – Alesmith Brewing Co. #6 on Rate Beer #63 Beer Advocate
13. Whiskey Weasel Rodeo – Jester King Brewery #45 Stout Beer Advocate

I could go on and find the ratings for everything we drank, but rest assured, this was not a commonplace tasting. I’ll start at the top and work from there.

1. Le Merle Solid Saison, true to the style and enjoyable. I’m not a huge saison guy, but this was good.

2. Again, I am not a huge Belgian guy, but this Triple was excellent. It managed a 98 on Rate Beer if that tells you anything about it. A nice strong, aromatic triple, floral notes, and a fruit flavor.

3. Ranger Creek #1. Thankfully they acknowledge their wax issue. This beer was probably spoiled by the wax. It was supposed to be an oatmeal pale ale, an anniversary homage to one of their first releases. However, in practice, this brew was unfortunately disappointing. The odor of the wax (even once removed from the bottle before we pulled the crown) was just too much. It was almost a sour, but not quite. I’d really like to have this brew from a cask and give it an honest shot.

4. Ranger Creek #2. THEY FIXED THE WAX ISSUE! This brew was solid. Very nice smokey flavor resulting from the fruit wood that they used to smoke their malts. Excellent saison, medium body, nice fruit notes. One of the better smokey aspects that I’ve ever sampled.

5. Pliny The Elder. This double IPA is a three peat world champion. This brew is everything I wanted, and more. I had always heard about Pliny, but wowzers. Wonderful aromas (I wanted to bottle it and sell it as cologne) I always wondered why the name Pliny so I set out to do some reseach (Read: Google / Wikipedia). Pliny was the first known individual to write about hops! (Fitting for a double IPA). He died in a volcanic accident while attempting to rescue some individuals. Any man that notes hops, and dies saving mankind… he’s a good fella in my book. My next trip to Cali I will be bringing back some of this brew. It is not meant to be aged so unfortunately, unless I move to California it’s not a daily brew to drink. This is rated the #6th best bottled beer… and you can buy it for $4.99 a bottle. Talk about value. Wonderful pineapple notes, I’ve had a LOT of IPAs, but never one that exhibited pineapple. It was very refreshing with the four types of hops used.

6. Fullers Vintage. I do love some Fullers. Whether it is their London Porter, ESB, or now their vintage ale. This brew house puts out some exceptional beer. This one was the 2010 vintage and was rather delightful. I would have liked to see how the flavor and body develops after another year or two, but I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to drink a beer that comes in its own box.

7. The Lost Abbey. The Ten Commandments.This was the first Lost Abbey brew that I’ve ever had, and boy oh boy do I want some more. This ale had notes of raisins, honey, and….. rosemary. An odd combination if you think about it, but melded together it was very pleasing to the palate. The rosemary hit first, a wonderful aroma as well as tingling in the mouth feel. Then you have the full flavor of the raisins. Wonderfully alcoholic raisins, bold, sweet, and a touch of acidity. Then the honey smooths everything. It feels as though the rosemary chips at the wall of your palate, the raisins come busting through the front door, then it is all encompassed in a flood of honey that flows in like lava. Truly wonderful. I would get this beer again, and again. It is not an every day beer, but certainly one that I’d love to have on hand for this cold winter nights.

8. Big Worse – Mikkeller. I am a big fan of Mikkeller. I like his collaborations, I like what he’s done with the guys over at , etc. This barley wine is no exception. Very well put together, true to style. Enjoyable.

9. Firestone Walker Sucaba. This was one of my favorites, if not my favorite brew from last night. Great barley wine, luscious and full bodied. Very smooth as well, I’ve never had a barley wine as smooth as this one, even my five year aged Sisyphus wasn’t this well rounded. I can certainly see why this beer is rated in the top tier. I am not on a quest to find their reserve series of this brew. I am sold on this brewery after one beer, and that is saying a lot.

10. Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Imperial Porter. This brew is the one I was most excited to try (outside of Pliny). An imperial porter, aged in bourbon barrels (at the suggestion of the head distiller from The Macallen). Fig notes, whisky flavor, and the whiteness of the oak. It was good, don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it didn’t have the robust full body that I was hoping for. In all honesty, I was judging it to be an imperial stout instead of a porter, and that is what inevitably led to my disappointment. However, for a porter it was great. This is another beer that was drank prematurely. Being an imperial style, and only released in February of this year, I should have aged it another two years or so to further allow the alcohol to do its work, but in the end it was still rather enjoyable, and I imagine those of you aging this beer will not be disappointed.

11.The Abyss 2011 Vintage. Rated a perfect 100 on rate beer. I’d concur. This imperial stout, damn. The molasses, licorice, touch of sweetness, full bodied, and it pours black as the night with no moon. If perfection was a beer, this would be it’s right hand. There is an elite category in my mind for imperial stouts and this is right up there with the best of them. If I was able to have any beer, in any quantity, this would be it. It is the embodiment of what makes the perfect beer in my mind…. this is after it has only aged a year. I have a bottle from 2010 that I am still aging, as well as a pair from 2011. I hope to find a 2012 here in the next couple of weeks. Having this beer I feel rockets you into an exclusive club. This is the Ferrari of beers. Rich, luscious, holy moley, I cannot overemphasize this beer enough. If you ever have the chance, this is a MUST INDULGE!

12. Alesmith Speedway Stout. How do you follow The Abyss with anything? You have a Alesmith Speedway Stout. Ranked one of the best Imperial Stouts by Rate Beer. Coffee, lush chocolate, and 12% alc. I however disagree with the #1 moniker. While this stout was excellent, it didn’t excite me like the Abyss or the Bourbon Barrel Weasel Rodeo. The speedway stout was good, but I found it a little dry. Not like a cabernet dry, but something was drying. I suspect that they used a very dark roasted coffee which would pull the moisture out of the caramel malts and cause a drying mouth feel. It was still excellent, and very enjoyable, but I’ve had imperial stouts that appealed more to my palate.

13. Jester King Whiskey Barrel Weasel Rodeo. Alrighty, lets talk about Weasel Rodeo. Jester King has done some fun things with this beer. The original Weasel Rodeo (note batch #2, not the initial) has Kopi Luwak coffee ($200lb), and lots of it. The Weasel Rodeo is the most expensive beer ever released in Texas (by a Texas craft brewer). Dang near $18 a bottle, for a 750ml. Now, if you are sitting on this beer… KEEP SITTING. This beer needs time to develop natural carbonation. I had one that had been aging a couple of months, and it didn’t have enough carbonation yet, and this has been a common note against the brew. Everyone that I have talked to who bought this bottle has complained about the lack of carbonation. I hear that it IS getting better with time though, so just be aware. If you find it on draft, please indulge! It is an excellent stout, Kopi Luwak adds a nice lushness, and the chipotle peppers have a warmth to them that is great. Cool beer with a warming sensation when it hits your throat. I havn’t had a beer that warms the whole mouth like this outside of Theobroma. However, the bourbon barrel of this beer…. the whisky weasel rodeo… May be Mikkellers finest collaboration with Jester King yet. Oaky, and the bourbon shines through the oatmeal stout. The coffee flavor was mild, and unlike the Speedway it didn’t give a dry mouth feel. Solid brew, worth trying, but I wouldn’t drop $20 on it when I could have an Abyss.

All in all it was a grand tasting and as you can now see, we had some excellent brews present. Stay tuned for news of more tastings (We are going to try and have 4-5 a year). If you want to be apart of events like these drop me a line ( If you have recommendations of brews for me to try, or anything that you want my opinion on, feel free to let me know and I will accommodate it.


This evening I have a beer from the holy land. This brewery is pretty dang cool. Their whole story is amazing, and without the help of a good buddy of mine John Emerick I would have never known about them. You see, Shapiro is a brewery founded to be the best craft brewery in Israel. The best that I can make out (Since I can’t yet read Hebrew) is that a pair of brothers came to America, fell in love with craft beer and decided to take it back to Israel. Starting in their own kitchen with the barest of utensils, they now have one of the most advanced breweries in the world. I am currently indulging in their Pale Ale. It is a solid brew. I am cherishing this because it was brought back to me from Jerusalem, with all of the care John could muster. It even arrived with a customized A&M yamaka or kippah if you prefer. The ale itself is good, a hint of citrus, light body, and not overly hopped. It also weighs in at five percent ABV. I really wish I could detail more about this brewerys history, but again, without being able to read Hebrew, it is difficult.

I do have one more of these Shapiro brews, one made with actual Jack Daniels from what I have gathered. I am rather intrigued to try that one.

Bet your last shekel that I will be trying every Shapiro brew that I can get my hands on.

Trois Pistoles

And it sure is rather delicious. A dark ale, malty and sweet, but not to the extremes. It poured an excellent head, has a medium-bold flavor, and weighs in at a modest 9% ABV. I’ll be honest, I havn’t had a lot of Unibrou’s products., but I have always enjoyed them when I did. Their Maudite was phenomenal, their Grande Reserve was tasty and delicious, their Trois Pistoles is no different. This brewery knows what they are doing (and they do charge a premium for it, but it is worth it). We just so happen to have it on sale this week at work so I managed to drop $33 on two beers and a pizza…. (The pizza was $6.99).

I would recommend getting this brew, especially if you can find it at a local HEB this week on sale. It set me back somewhere in the neighborhood of $9, but for the size, complexity and ABV is well worth it. Now, will it go well with my pizza? I’m not sure just yet, but I figure that it can only add to the flavor.

This beer is unique it its own way, whilst it poured a hefty head and dark carmel / mocha color, it has a medium-midweight mouth feel. Impressive for a beer of this size. This is a beer that I would probably share with friends, and I would even venture that your girlfriend would like it too. It doesn’t assault any of your senses, no hoppy kick, no overly malty feel, and most importantly nothing like anything that you ever drank out of a keg at a college party.

Check this one out y’all, I mean it.


Well, Five Stars nonetheless. Maybe not perfect golden rings. In fact.. Maybe not even four gold rings. Sam Adams, Longshot Five Crown Imperial Stout. A brew that they produced on account of Joe Formaneks homebrew recipe. Now Joe has been brewing this Russian Imperial Stout for fifteen years, He has the bugs ironed out. The beer itself is a solid Russian Imperial, but with a hop kick. It is intriguing. It weighs in at a solid 8.9 ABV and has an intriguing flavor. The feel is one of a third quadrant. that is to say between a medium and full body. The flavor is mellow, albeit not crisp. The stout flavor is very complex and the hops only add to that cacophony. The head on this brew laced very well, and it persevered throughout my indulgence . I love Russian Imperials, I really do. , well, I thought I had reviewed more Russian Imperials than I could actually find in my notes. I will have to write up some of the other wonderful brews that I have tried.

Anyways, long story shot, I love a good Russian Imperial Stout, whether it is Real Ale’s 15th Anniversary stout (which I can no longer find), or Outer Darkness by Squatters, or Courage, or any other number of excellent Russian Imperials that are out there.

This Sam Adams though let me down, not because it isn’t a solid brew (it is, and I would snag it if you can manage to find it) but because the hops I feel contaminate the style. I thoroughly enjoy a good IPA, I just don’t feel that Russian Imperials should be mixed with IPAs. However, my feelings on the matter aside, it is a good brew.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BeerWithBlake, and Facebook (probably the best way to stay up to date with the beers that I am drinking every day).


That sounds Spanish enough doesn’t it? This evening as I sit here studying for my statistics exam (in other words it’s a beer break) I decided to pop the top on a Spanish lager that I’ve had sitting here for a little while. It is called Alhambra Negra, a little searching shows that it is one of about seven brews from the Alhambra brewery in Spain. The brewery has been around since 1925 so they have had time to get their batches fixed. This beer is pretty decent. Not wholly remarkable or world shattering, but a solid choice. It has a malty flavor, light to medium body, and is easy to drink. It weighs in at a respectable 5.4% ABV and has a clean finish. I wouldn’t go out and buy a six pack, but it is a refreshing change from the slew of IPAs and Hefe’s that I have been drinking lately. I’d say get yourself a bottle and enjoy.



Courage: Imperial Russian Stout. This stout is pretty dang tasty. The brewery only makes it once a year, and I have had this fella aging for quite some time now. It was bottled in May of ’11 so it has had a nice chunk of time to age and mellow. The flavor is smooth, espresso like, with a hint of dark chocolate. You can feel a slight tingle from the 10% ABV. It was originally brewed in 1795 for Catherine the great, the Czaress (is that a word) that she was. If you can find it (I got mine at Specs) I would highly recommend it. Well worth the money.

4012 years. That is a LONG time. I mean, we are talking before the Romans, before the Greeks, this was a LONG time ago. (2000 B.C). What does this have to do with anything? Well, age is a number, and 4012 is the number of years that Fraoch has been in the making. We will quickly revisit one of my favorite breweries . This brewery is amazing, mainly because of what they are still doing today with old world recipes (, ) Any brewery that resurrects old recipes and continues to brew them true to form is a brewery that I can stand behind. Well, the Williams brothers are at it again. This time with heather. This beer has notable floral accents, and a light golden pour. It weighs in at a light 5.0% and does not overpower the palate by any means. I would recommend this beer to say that you have tried it, but to be perfectly candid, there are far too many beers in the world to concern yourself too much with buying this fellow in bulk. Try it for what it is and to garner appreciate for old world recipes, but don’t expect this one to rock your world. I found it mellow and enjoyable, but I can’t say that I would go out and buy another one.

Fall is my favorite season. It means football, cooler temperatures (kind of a big deal here in Texas) and marzens. I do love me a good marzen. But, I am not here today to talk about marzens. I am here to talk about the perfect embodiment of fall into a 12oz bottle. It is no secret that I do love Dogfish Head. However, I am ALWAYS skeptical of a pumpkin beer, even from them. I have had countless pumpkin beers and am continually let down (save for St. Arnolds Pumpkinator, that was heavenly). I heard that Punkin’ Ale (Dogfish Head) was coming to Texas, albeit in a very limited, small batch. (180 cases for the thirty million of us Texans) Well, my current employer managed to acquire 20/180 cases set for distribution to this state.

Lets just say I am not in any way disappointed. This beer is phenomenal. The label says that it is a full bodied brown ale, I say that it is perfection in a bottle. This beer fully embodies Fall. A wonderful aroma, an amazing flavor, it is not overpowering on the pumpkin flavor, nor is it understated. The spices are adequate, albeit not overly done (think wassail compared to cider).

I’ll have to go back and buy some more, this beer will be great for the duration of the Fall and well into December when I can begin drinking eggnog with nutmeg.

I highly recommend you check this baby out.

Punkin Ale
Picture courtesy of Travis Whitlock

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