February 22nd, 2011
The First Sip: Some Helpful Beer Updates
Greetings beer geeks! I’m back with yet another update from the craft beer world! A few days late, sure… but in the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “I love deadlines. I love the wooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
There’s been a lot of news in the craft beer world lately, so rather than take the time to talk about a single beer or beer topic, I figured I’d give you some quick updates on everything (that I know of).
Texas Beer Laws
One of the biggest beer news stories here in Texas are two pieces of legislation are being proposed in the Texas Legislature. They are:
HB 602: Sponsored by Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston), this bill would allow breweries to distribute a limited amount of beer after brewery tours and charge varying amounts for tours to cover the cost.
As of now, breweries in Texas cannot sell a drop of beer to anyone besides a distributor. This bill is an attempt to compromise with the distributors, whose lobbyists and political pull are perhaps the strongest in Texas politics (here’s an article that talks about that a bit). If this bill were to pass, it would be a small, but very useful, step in the growth of Texas breweries.
HB 660: Sponsored by Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio), this bill would allow brew pubs to increase the amount of beer they produce annually and to sell some of that beer to distributors for resale.
There are a lot of great beers brewed in Texas brewpubs (mostly in Austin), but we don’t get to see them here in Houston. This law might change that. Scott Metzger, owner and CEO of Freetail Brewing Co. of San Antonio (a great brewpub churning out really great beers), is really leading the charge on this one. You can keep up with his efforts on his blog. There is also a great website that outlines HB 660 at TexasBeerFreedom.org.
What can you do? Contact your representative and express your support. Both websites listed have form letters you can copy and paste. Or write your own and plead the case for Texas beer!
Texas Beer Fest – May 7th, Humble Civic Center
I’m really excited about this festival as it is gearing up to be a great event. First off, the event takes place indoors… so neither rain nor Texas heat will mar the event! They are set to have over 150 beers ranging from imports to locally brewed Texas beer. Check their website or Facebook page for all the latest updates and events including awesome pre-parties with rare beer offerings!
Houston Beer Festival – June 11th, Hermann Square Park
Tickets have officially went on sale for the inaugural Houston Beer Festival. This fest is set to have a day full of craft beer, bands, a beer pong & flip cup tournament and a 5K run. Be sure to “Like” their Facebook event page for all the latest updates. To buy tickets, head over to their website, HoustonBeerFestival.com.
Saint Arnold Moveable Yeast Series #3 Released
The third installment of the Moveable Yeast series, the “Farmer’s Brown Ale”, was released this week! For anyone unfamiliar, the Moveable Yeast series is an interesting experiment that helps educate the beer drinking public on the flavor impact of yeast on a beer. In this installment, Saint Arnold is taking their Brown Ale and fermenting it using saison yeast (saison is a French farmhouse ale known for it’s crisp tartness and earthy undertones).
This will be on draft only and only at specific bars (the usual places you can find good beer). Be sure to order the Brown Ale and the Farmer’s Brown Ale and try them side by side to really educate your palate!
New Local Brewery Updates
No Label Brewing Company of Katy recently received some of their shiny new big-boy equipment. They are expecting the rest of the equipment next week and will be brewing much more beer to start distributing to more accounts. Right now you can find their beer on tap at The Public House exclusively.
Kreuz Creek Brewing of Sugarland are brewing up a stockpile of their beer, but are still awaiting licensing from the government. They say they will be serving at the Houston Beer Fest, so be sure to check them out there!
Texas Big Beer Brewery near Beaumont is still in the paperwork stages but is working on fixing up their equipment and refining recipes. Become their Facebook friend to get updates on when they are offering tastings.
Gulf Coast Brewing Company in Beaumont is feverishly brewing their beers with intent to distribute soon (don’t get too excited, as a nano-brewery, it’s probably going to be a local offering).