Beer Co-Op

The Black Star in Texas has taken the owned by thing seriously.


Owned by and for themselves, not some conglomerate of breweries they are close to being up and running and I applaud them.

I also thought this tidbit from their website was interesting…”Drinkability is a term that comes up frequently when we’re talking about our future Black Star beers, and with the majority of our recipes, I’ve tried to tweak them to be more “drinkable.”

From a recipe standpoint, this usually means lower finishing gravities, slightly higher carbonation levels (although this is debatably more drinkable), use of wheat, and a balance of maltiness, hoppiness, and alcohol. I would say drinkability is made up of mouthfeel, refreshinicity (yeah, you heard me), and inebriatability.”

more Alabama brew info

Today’s first post concerned a new beer column in Alabama and the first column written was about Good People Brewing.

Snake Handler Double IPA is one of their offerings and lagers are proposed for the future. But what I like most is that they have the typical story of how they brewed for the passion of it and fell into brewing as a business (or as they put it, “the business found us”).

Alamo Brewing Company

from Draft magazine…
Alamo Beer Company, a microbrewery near San Antonio, Texas, began selling its Alamo Golden Ale out of founder Eugene Simor’s minivan in 2003. Now, the brewery is upping the ante by calling on Dallas-based Ben E. Keith Beverages to distribute the brew throughout San Antonio.

The brewery describes Alamo Golden Ale, which is brewed with a self proclaimed “fiercely independent spirit,” as “a full-bodied, refreshingly lighter style ale with a smooth, velvety finish.”

“Our little beer now has a big distributor,” Simor says. Look for the beer on shelves in San Antonio now, and possibly all over Texas in the next few months — if it’s following the rags-to-riches musician example.


Six Points Brewery

Laboring under the shadow of the Brooklyn Brewery is the SixPoint Craft Ales.
They do a wide variety of styles. Belgian IPA to saison to Hop Obama (since retired).
Their beers are available mostly in New York but they are worth looking for when you need to try something new.

Christmas in July at Port / Lost Abbey

As I have mentioned previously, this is not a snarky, mean-spirited blog. I wish to be more at the Huell Howser end of the spectrum as opposed to Bill Maher but, at times, I will have to detour into criticism. This is one of those instances.

Now, I am a fan of Pizza Port beers (and the pizza). I enjoy the hop bombs they make and recently I really liked the Hot Rocks lager. Lost Abbey is hit and miss. Their wit is sub-par but Inferno ale is pretty good. I do appreciate the experimentation though which is why I wanted to check out this party in the first place.

So I was expecting a lot at their Christmas party. Maybe too much. My first problem was that they did not appear to be fully expecting a crowd. There was no signage as to where to line up for what so there was one medium, barely-moving line due to the second noticeable problem, only one person checking ID and only one person taking bottle orders and taking entrance money.

The third miscue was that you placed a bottle order for Duck, Duck, Gooze then you had to go stand in a new line to purchase it. A line with 1. Yes, only 1 credit card machine. Now that would be ok if the beers were $8.00 or $10.00 but if you are charging (and rightfully so) $30.00 you have to have at least two credit card machines because not everyone will have that much cash on hand. And forth, they ran out of some beers after three hours. Amigo lager? Sorry, all out. Shark Bite red? Nope. This is why, myself and others were at Stone enjoying a leisurely beer.

Here are my recommendations for fixing the situation. Separate the bottle sales from the party. This way people can come in, donate to charity, have some beer, get a photo with Santa and not have to navigate a humid room with a big line of cranky bottle buyers in the middle.

To speed the bottle sales, at least two credit card machines. Then hand people order slips as they wait in line. Also have two people as stock pickers to speed up the process. This way, the order is ready quicker from both the buyer and the seller’s sides. And it is only one line which may move faster. There is nothing worse than a line that inches forward then finding out you have to be in another line that inches forward.

The mantra should be to prepare for a big crowd and then scale down if needed. Because it is just too hard to scale up.

Vertigo Brewing

Another addition to the crowded but thriving Oregon beer scene is this Hillsboro based brewery.

Here is their current list of beers…
Cyclone Cream ale, Apricot Cream ale, Schwindel Alt, High-Altitude Amber, Razz Wheat & Friar Mike’s IPA.

These two guys started out home brewing then they just kept making more. The only logical thing to do was open a brewery.

Harpoon Brewing

Thank goodness that people traveled to Europe after college! That is when Harpoon Founders Dan Kenary & Rich Doyle caught the beer bug and we are the better for it.

They are probably best known for their UFO Hefeweizen and their IPA but they also have a tremendous set of beers under the Leviathan banner. A big Bohemian Pilsner, an Imperial IPA, a Quad and a Baltic Porter.

And if the beer isn’t enough for you, how about this…
Harpoon Helps Missions: Each mission is different. There may be missions in Boston, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Past missions have included sorting food at the Greater Boston Food Bank, serving meals at a soup kitchen in Portland, an American Red Cross blood drive, and volunteering at a Harpoon road race to raise money for ALS research.


Hopfenstark is a micro-brasserie in Montreal. They have three different styles of saison, an oak aged framboise, baltic porter, holiday ale and that is just the seasonal selection!
They also have a really cool and offbeat website that celebrates Ostalgia.

Breweries far from the maddening crowd

It is easy to neglect parts of the U.S. because we fly over them or they are too far from what we call civilization so I would like to highlight two breweries doing their thing away from the major metropolitan areas.

First is Salmon River Brewing. Started by two couples who wanted to brew beer in McCall, Idaho for locals and visitors. Their regular beers include Udaho Gold, Sweep Boat Stout, PFD Pale Ale and Salmon River Quiver IPA. Their bar is awesomely rustic. When you want to get away but not from beer.

mt. emily
The Mt. Emily Alehouse is the only brewery in LaGrande, Oregon! They produce an Oregon Blonde Ale, Heifer-Weizen, Paleface Ale, Northwest Porter and Mr. Big and olde English Ale / IPA. They have a mug club if you want to join and get a little extra in your glass when you visit.

Kloster Andechs

Andechs Monastery is one of the most beautiful spots on earth to be brewing. And they have been there since 1455!! On the top of a hill, west of the big city of Munich, out in the countryside (almost).

They have a great cavernous beer hall. Plenty of outdoor seating. A great giftshop with incredible prices. Fish and pork aplenty and many excellent beer choices depending upon the season. Their darker beers go excellent with the pretzels and pork.

Spezial Hell and Dunkle Weissbeer being my favorites.