May 18th, 2010

Of Mead and Men: American Craft Beer Week

Happy American Craft Beer Week! I hope everyone takes this opportunity to get out there and enjoy their favorite American craft beer! Remember, now that Anheuser Busch is owned by Belgian company inBev, Miller by South African Brewing and Coors by Canadian based Molson, craft beer is officially the only real “American” beer. Think about that when you’re buying beer for your Fourth of July BBQ!

For your edification, “this isn’t one of those fake holidays. No, this is officially sanctioned by congress, as of 2006. Which in my book makes it the equal to the separation of church and state” (Stephen Colbert). That’s right… Craft Beer Week is government approved! House Resolution 1297 officially recognizes this as American Craft Beer Week. It’s a move that shows that our government appreciates a good brew and acknowledges the contributions that craft beer has made to our great nation. From creating jobs and supporting local farmers to just flat out producing flavorful honest-to-goodness beer that you can hang the American dream’s hat on, craft brewers play an integral part in both our national and regional identity.

I’m a self-affirming beer geek, so this week gets me giddier than a school girl at a Justin Bieber concert (I know, I’ve been to all of his shows.) The best part of Craft Beer Week is that it gives me a reason to drink everyday and not feel bad about it because I’m just partaking in the merriment. It’s also a time when breweries and craft beer bars go out of their way to feature some great beers and put on unique events to celebrate the week. We’re going to highlight a few of the events around town so you don’t miss out on some great opportunities to sample some craft brews. So, how can you join in the fun?

The simplest way is to hit up your local Specs and grab a six pack of something you’ve never had. The craft beer scene at liquor stores is the forefront of our beer scene here in Houston. This time of year, you are lucky enough to find some of the summer seasonals. These beers are usually light bodied and easy to drink, which is a great introduction for the craft beer newbie. My favorite beer of the summer has to be Saint Arnold Summer Pils. Brewed right here in Houston, as we all know, it’s a clean, easy drinking pilsner that fulfills all the requirements of a perfect summer brew. If you are looking for a soft entry into craft beer, start there.

If you don’t like to sit at home and drink your beer alone, we’ve got good news. Houston’s beer scene has been growing pretty rapidly over the last few years and there are several great places to go have a great American craft brew. There are the old faithful joints like the Flying Saucer, Gingerman or Hans’ Bierhaus that have already earned a reputation for pouring top notch suds in Houston. Recently, there’s been a few newcomers to the scene like the Petrol Station, Anvil or Taps that are offering their own twist on providing quality craft and micro brews. If you’re looking for dinner with your drink? Head on over to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse or to Two Rows and try out some food and beer pairing. At the very least, ask the server if they have any craft beers when you are out at your favorite bar or restaurant this week.

Many of the bars that we mentioned are offering unique events to commemorate this spectacular week. The Flying Saucer is spending the week offering some great beer specials and tapping some unique casks and kegs each night. Tonight, they’re hosting the brewers of Real Ale Brewing (out of Blanco, TX) who will be doing a presentation, Q&A and tapping some of their special occasion barrel aged beers. The little beer bar that could, Petrol Station, is hosting talks from local area brewers and tapping some great Texas brews all week. Also, today they’ll have The Loop Scoop’s own Brian Royo hosting a little meet and greet and giving out free samples of No Label Brewing beer! (Yes, you read that right. Free. Beer.) Wednesday, Austin native, Independence Brewing Co., will be in the house, Thursday brings (512) Brewing, and Friday rounds off the week locally with Conroe brewer Southern Star and some of their Pine Belt Pale with a little extra kick!

American Craft Beer Week is a great excuse to try a beer you’ve never had or head to a bar with a great selection of craft beers on tap. Whatever the case, find yourself some way to get out and celebrate and see what this American beer movement is all about! Remember, it’s the patriotic thing to do. We don’t want to have to call you a commie!

Always support your local brewery!

Cheers!

- Jeff

— Jeff

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