Come out for casual dining and networking on Wednesday, November 16, when Ladies of Craft Beer teams up with James Beard Award Nominee Monica Pope at her restaurant t’afia to pair small plates with 5 locally available beers. We’ve selected the beers and Monica has created dishes to pair with each. You can test your palette to try to figure out which beer has been selected and then confirm your guesses when we reveal at the end of the night. The fun starts at 7pm, but you can arrive at 630 to begin networking. Tickets are available here.
I’ve long awaited this day. The day that I could write this very post. The one that tells you that my wonderful idea has come to fruition. The one that means it is really going to happen! I can’t believe it’s actually happening. Ok, ok, the details…
On November 7th, The Tasting Room Uptown will be hosting a Grapes Vs. Grains Dinner Pairing! The Tasting Room Chef has prepared an amazing menu, and their Sommelier has selected wines to pair with each course. In addition to the excitement that this brings, Will Sandifer, Manager at the Houston and Sugar Land Flying Saucers and Houston’s only Certified Cicerone®, has selected beers to pair with each course as well. During each course, diners will get to try both the wine and the beer and decide which they feel compliments the dish best. I’m hoping that we will all be surprised by the diversity of the flavors we will enjoy!
Please come out and join us if you can, regardless of which camp you reside in. It’ll definitely be a good time for all. Tickets can be purchased at the link below.
Huge thanks to Jamie Glover at the Tasting Room and Will Sandifer for making this happen!
So, as you know from my first blog and my t-shirts, people often comment about my “baby-bump.” I’ve decided I will collect those colorful comments here accompanied by photos and dates when they were recorded.
I will update as I remember or as they occur. I know there are many I’ve forgotten (aka *blocked out*)
- 10/18/2008 at friends wedding her aunt asked “Can I feel your belly?”
- Spring 2009: kickboxing class at work gym. I’m admittedly out of shape so I wear a heart rate monitor while working out so that I know when I really might die and when I just feel like it. I’m also admittedly extremely uncoordinated. After being unable to keep up in my first class after 10 mins, the instructor came to tell me that I shouldn’t expect to do the full class since I’m pregnant. Thank you fold over yoga pants for giving me a target for my kick boxing.
- Summer 2009: coworker from said yoga class seen in hallway, “What did you have?” It was about 1pm so I gave a puzzled look and thought ‘for lunch?’ She noticed my expression and said, “you had a baby right?” I said, “No, I got a puppy.” In order to make this exchange less awkward, she followed up with “Oh is it a boy or a girl?” Still awkward.
- Sept 2009 Flight returning from Sandals St Lucia, Gate Agent asked “when are you due?” I said, “back in the states?”
- Spring 2010: Phoenicia Market, Gentleman says he will bring my lunch tray to me since, I am “in the motherly way”
- Spring 2010: at the dog park, guy asks if I have kids, I say no, just my puppy. He says, “oh, so how will you prepare the puppy for the baby?”
- 6/17/2011 At Saint Arnolds Brewery Tour after receiving my second pour, older gentleman says “I hope that baby don’t come out asking for the wrong bottle.”
- 7/9/2011 Checking out of a hotel to go to my cousins wedding, “So when is the baby due?”
- 9/30/2011 At GABF wearing one of my t-shirts, a girl was raving about it. I gave her a card, and she said, “That’s so funny, but you are, right!?” … Really people? Really?
Tuesday, Spreadshirt is offering free shipping… use the code T-day2011 when you get your shirt explaining that bump in your belly is not one that needs a college fund.
Aaron and I spent last weekend in Chicago so that we could attend Dark Lord Day at 3 Floyds. While that was the main event, the rest of the weekend was very noteworthy as well.
Upon arrival on Thursday, I contacted a few of the people I knew who lived there to see if there was anything going on that night and was told of Fountainhead’s 1 year anniversary party. I checked it out on Facebook and saw the unbelievable list of tappings for the evening and we quickly dropped off our luggage and hailed a cab.
Fountainhead is located in Ravenswood Gardens area, north of downtown on the corner of Montrose and Damen. It’s got a very homey feel with wooden booths and a large bar with many taps and one of my favorite logos ever! The chalkboard on the column in the center of the bar displayed the list of beers that they had tapped for the anniversary. We began with the Cask Douze from Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, a Gose. This is an interesting style, and this beer had a lot going on. It was sour and there was another bitter flavor from the salt. It started off rather bready, but had a sweet honey-like flavor also. I usually prefer salty to sweet but we had to move on to the Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Gueuze, also on cask. We are pretty into sours so this was a nice find for us. The sweet vinegar scent made me smile when I received my glass. The fruit flavors tingled on the tongue and then the sour gripped my jaws and twisted just the way a sour should. It was heavenly. Next I ordered the 3 Floyds Zombie Dust and they had just sold out, so I asked them to bring me what ever was likely to sell out next since I could not order the majority of these offerings in Texas. I received a Highway 78 Scotch Ale, a collaboration of Green Flash, Pizza Port, and Stone Brewing Companies. While there we also tasted a Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek on tap that our friend had ordered. It was a very young brew and you could truly taste the cherries. We then decided to check out Hopleaf Bar since it was in the same area. Another amazing taplist! Here, I had an E.S. Bam from Jolly Pumpkin and the Old Richland from (my current favorite) The Bruery. At this point we called it a night, and headed back to the hotel.
On Friday, we got up and headed out to Revolution Brewing Company‘s Brewpub. Still feeling the remnants of the night before, I ordered a Pork Belly and Fried Egg Sandwich. This was not only one of the most amazing sandwiches I’ve ever had, it was exactly what I needed to move forward with my day. Since we were at a brewpub, we really weren’t there for the food, so I ordered the Coup D’etat Saison. Saison is my favorite style of beer right now, and this is one of the best I’ve had. It had a perfect dryness and just the right amount of spice and savory sweetness. I judged it “fantasically awesome!” and we got a growler to share at Dark Lord Day. I’d be happy if our homebrew that is fermenting is half this good, but enough about that. Revolution brewing has incorporated their logo into their decor as columns around the bar and as tap handles. It reminded me of Novare Res, my favorite beer bar located in Portland,ME. Novare Res means the Uprising in Latin, similar to Revolution. The brewpub also had a just released a special tapping of Sodom, a collaboration Russian Imperial Stout they did with 3 Floyds six months ago and then aged in a Heaven Hill Bourbon barrel. After that, we ordered a Madame Rose from Goose Island, another wonderful sour beer, which reminded us that Goose Island’s Clybourn Bewpub wasn’t far away so we finished up and went to check that out.
We bellied up to the bar at Goose Island and I promptly ordered a Sofie. I had been dreaming of this moment since I attended a TX Girl’s Pint Out Midwest Beer Tasting last October, but unfortunately they weren’t serving Sofie draught so I settle for my next choice, Fleur. It was just as wonderful as I had remembered, lovely berry and hibiscus flavors danced on my tongue. We began talking to a couple of guys next to us who were also in Chicago for Dark Lord Day about the different beers we’d tried so far. The brewer then walked up and handed us all a sample of a beer they were tapping later that evening. It was a great ruby colored beer with a wonderful sour nose. The beer was aged in Bordeaux barrels and the flavor was dark fruit with a sour that wasn’t vinegary. The brewer then returned with another sample of a beer named Ginju, an oatmeal stout aged with kumquats. It tasted like a deliciously perfect chocolate creamsicle! A great dessert beer. We also got to meet fellow twitter beer nerd @beerinator while we were there. It was great! He’s just as entertaining in person. There’s his thumb to prove it —> Aaron and I finished up by splitting a bottle of Sofie and headed to Binny’s for a few bottles. I don’t know if you’ve read about our trip to Arizona last Thanksgiving, but it seems that we can’t seem to manage to go to a beer store for just a few bottles. We ended up with a case (all of beers we can’t buy in TX, of course) and found a cab back to the hotel to drop off the beer and change for dinner with friends.
We arrived at The Publican just in time for our reservation and were quickly seated at one of their LONG family style tables. The menu (both food and beer) were amazing! We started with a dozen of Chef’s Selection of Oysters, 2 of 6 varieties, and Baudelaire iO Saison from Jolly Pumpkin. The menu is all served family style and as we all reviewed the entrees, we began talking to the family next to us, who gave us a few recommendations. The ambiance there is wonderful! Very friendly and welcoming, and a real family style environment, even with other families. We ordered beet salad, half of a roasted chicken, fish served with brussel sprouts (I’m obsessed with brussel sprouts), and veal along with The Bruery’s Saison de Lente. It had a citrus zest with a hoppy, floral nose. For dessert, we had a peanut butter cheesecake and chocolate mousse paired with a Goose Island BCS Rare. That was an amazing beer! Molasses, chocolate, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak, and roasted flavors, but it was smooth and full bodied. Overall a very great dinner.
After dinner, we checked out the Map Room. I would tell you what I drank there, but I’m afraid that I’d stopped tracking at that point. My apologies.
On Saturday we were up early to head to Munster,IN, for Dark Lord Day. You can read about that in my post for Ladies of Craft Beer. When we returned to Chicago we took a much needed nap and then decided we needed to take a second trip to Fountainhead. This time we chose to sit in the back window of he backside of the bar. Aaron was still salivating over the cask Gueuze we had on Thursday night. (Side note, he told me last night, two weeks later, that he can still taste it on his palette!) Fortunately for him, they still had it available. I ordered the Cerveza Mysterioso by Three Floyds. While standing in line at Dark Lord Day discussing the Coup D’Etat, someone had recommended that we try Fantome Saison by Brasserie Fantome, and we saw that Fountainhead had a bottle of it. We had been chatting with another beer geek couple who had been sitting in the window with us, and shared it with them as well. This saison was, indeed, very good. We then headed back to the hotel and made it an early night.
Sunday morning we woke up early and took a walk through the city. It was brisk, but not cold, the tulips were blooming in all of the flower beds and the sun was shining brightly. It was a beautiful day. As we were near Michigan and Huron, Aaron looked up and noticed something floating down from the sky. As it got closer, he realized it looked like a person, but it was floating not falling. I had been looking the other direction and only noticed when I heard cars slam on their brakes and a loud noise. He exclaimed, “It’s a sex doll! A sex doll just fell from the sky and got run over!” I looked over and, sure enough, there it was laying in the street, flattened. And then… a gentleman, in his sunday best, grabbed it by the foot as he was crossing the street and dragged it to the curb and just continued walking as if nothing odd had happened. There are no words.
We spent the day exploring downtown chicago and then met some Twitter friends at Goose Island for dinner. It was great to finally meet @SarahHuska and @PJOChicago in person. It was also great meeting new friend @ChadLynd! High Five!! I started with Citrine Bombshell and followed it by sharing a Demolition with Aaron. Our friends from Houston joined us near the end of dinner, and then we went to Small Bar on Division. That’s a great little place, and I feel like if I lived in Chicago, I’d spend a lot of time there. It was late on Sunday night, so there weren’t many people in the bar, and we all shared drinks and laughter and had an all around great time. Beer people are good people. We shared Cantillon Classic Gueuze, Fantome Hiver, and St Ffeullien Biere de l’aimable, aptly named Beer of Friends. It was a wonderful end to a great beercation weekend.
Chicago was an amazing city that I hope to visit again soon. Worst case, I will be there again next year for Dark Lord Day. Join us.
Congratulations to HB602 for passing the House vote!! We still need to support HB660 in the House and support SB1863 (Senate Version of HB602). Below is the letter I sent to each of the Texas House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee members. I encourage to continue to contact our legislators to make the right decision and allow Texas beer commerce to expand.
Dear Members of the Committee,
I write to you today in support of HB602 and HB660. While both of these bills are surrounding the laws in place concerning craft beer, the proposals included in these bills are not about beer, they are truly about business.
I’m sure you are aware that statistics are showing the decline of overall beer sales in the last few years, but that the craft beer segment is still showing growth. As well, you have been presented with the statistics around Texas beer consumption and the lack of it originating in and supporting our own state. This would seem the perfect conditions for an entrepreneur who is passionate about the art of creating ales to share with the masses, but due to the current restrictions of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code this results in a very risky business venture.
As a recent University of Houston MBA Graduate, I have spent a great deal of time learning about what makes businesses succeed, and the types of businesses that can be expected to thrive:
- There must be a demand for the product you wish to sell.
- The recent analysis shows that craft beer sales have continued to strengthen while overall beer sales have declined.
- Your product quality should be high and differentiated from others in the market.
- There are a multitude of homebrew competitions nationally each year to use as a test market for product development
- Businesses should be able to grow at a natural rate to balance supply and demand needs.
- Growth of brewpubs in Texas is limited to 5000 bbls per year to be sold onsite only and Texas breweries are limited to the product placement of a third party (sometimes competitors) to the consumers.
While 2 out of 3 will sometimes win a competition, for a business all three components are required for success.
Brewpubs have proven to be viable businesses in other states. Many have even become nationally renowned businesses, limited only by their desire to stay true to their art. I, and many of my friends, have been known to take vacations to other states simply to visit the place where a favorite beer is brewed and to delve into the culture that helped to create that particular community. Some brewpubs have become so sought after that they must sell tickets to special releases, and people are willing to travel across the country to partake in that experience. In the state of Texas, we are unable to share our Brewpub creations nationally to garner this type of tourism or profitability. In addition, even if a Texas Brewpub becomes particularly successful due to awards or public following, they are limited to producing a maximum of 5000 bbls per year. This makes it impossible to support the demand that accompanies success.
If the volume limitations are the concern, why wouldn’t one just open a brewery instead, you may ask. First and foremost, opening a business is risky and difficult. Many new businesses do not survive the first couple years. A brewpub is initially a small business, not only defined by the ales it brews, but also the community it creates. The pub allows the business owner to diversify their product offerings as well as interaction with patrons. By enabling the diversification of the business, owners are able to rely on income from different sources as it develops. Additionally, interaction with the patrons can be critical for feedback and development of a product baseline. A brewery, while permitted to hold tours, will rarely develop the community fostered by a brewpub. While breweries have become successful under the current codes, the time to success is often a long and tumultuous process. Tours which allow for interaction with consumers are usually scheduled events and often limited to a specific volume of people, and while they can allow free tastings to those patrons who meet the legal requirements, they cannot permit those patrons to leave with anything they may have enjoyed. This restriction could make it difficult for some to remember exactly what it was that they enjoyed the next time they are shopping for beer at their retail store, and they will likely select something they are familiar with instead.
In conclusion, I ask you to think of yourself as an entrepreneur. You are passionate about the art of crafting beer, and you have been awarded for your ability to do so. You are wishing to develop a business that will make your hobby your occupation. You live in Texas and you are proud to be a Texan. You know that a successful business is not only good for you, but for employment and economic growth as defined by the study performed by Mr. Metzger, and you now have to decide between opening one of two risky businesses. One business that may not have the pathways to enable your success by limiting the feedback and interaction with consumers, and another that has a limit to success no matter how well received it is. Then again, you could just move to another state and have it all.
Thank you for your time.
Hello and welcome to my blog. I have been posting at http://www.ladiesocb.com since last November and I wanted to create my own site to post on as well as contributing there. If you haven’t checked out their site, you should! A lot of great ladies from across the US and beyond share stories of their journey through craft beer. Join me, as I continue down this path into the world of craft beer.