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Spoetzl Brewery – Shiner, TX

February 16th, 2011 admin No comments

Spoetzl Brewery

http://www.shiner.com

Spoetzl Brewery is to craft beer in Texas what Psycho is to the modern slasher flick: the granddaddy of them all. Brewed since 1909 in Shiner, which is about half way between Houston and San Antonio, the brewery was known as Shiner Brewing Association. Spoetzl (or Shiner, as most people call it, but the official brewery name is Spoetzl) has become as iconic to Texans as football and barbecue. No list of Texas-brewed beer would be complete without mentioning the “little brewery in Shiner.”

In 1914, Kosmos Spoetzl was recruited to bring Old World-style beer to the brewery, founded in 1909. Being a savvy businessman as well as a brewer, he insisted on leasing the brewery for a year with an option to buy after that period. He exercised that option, and now Spoetzl produces some of the most accessible and tasty beer brewed in Texas. Spoetzl has since greatly expanded both its facilities and its brew line. Today, in fact, it is owned by the huge San Antonio-based beer conglomerate, The Gambrinus Company, which purchased Spoetzl in 1989 when it was on the brink of closing down. No longer constrained to Shiner Premium and Shiner Bock, the brewery now features several seasonals (Holiday Cheer was the seasonal brew through Christmas), one-time specials and a commemorative line that celebrated the countdown to Spoetzl’s 100th anniversary in 2009.Their beers are widely distributed throughout Texas and beyond.

By: Kevin Scott
kevinscott4621@sbcglobal.net

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Half Acre Beer Company – Chicago, IL

April 7th, 2010 admin No comments

Half Acre Beer Company

http://www.halfacrebeer.com

One of Chicago’s newest breweries is Half Acre Beer Company. President, Gabriel Magliaro provided me a personal glimpse into the history of the brewery, starting with incorporation in late 2006 through utilizing a contract brewery in WI to eventually opening up their full production brewery earlier this year.  Gabriel used the brewery itself, all of it custom built with equipment purchased mostly from other breweries, such as Ska Brewing Company in Durango, CO, as a backdrop to describe the brewing process along with his personal take on it – from grain to glass.  Along the way, we taste five of the craft brews Half Acre produces all on-site:

Half Acre Gossamer:
With lighter alcohol and body than most craft beers (under 5%), this style of beer is known as a ‘session’ or ‘table’ beer.  Though lighter than the other beers, it did not skimp on flavor, with a hoppy nose – obtained through ‘dry-hopping’ the beer – and a grainy malt underpinning.

Half Acre Lager:
A ‘Munich-style lager’ with a golden brown yellow color and a clean, light malt/noble hop nose.  Its prickly carbonation leads to a pleasantly bitter finish.

Half Acre Over Ale:
Stylistically somewhere between an American Brown Ale and an English Special Bitter, I would simply call it an Amber Ale.  The reddish copper Amber colored beer exudes malty esters with a nutty, toffee-like profile finishing with solid hop bitterness.  Thought the style can vary (intentionally) batch to batch, the beauty in this beer is the balance between malt flavor and hop bitterness.

Half Acre Daisy Cutter:
Half Acre’s version of American Pale Ale is an eminently pleasing beer with some unique hop characteristics.  The evident haze is testament to the dry-hopping and light, if any, filtration this beer undergoes.  Also indicating some extra hop addition is the persistent head that remains through to the bottom of the glass.  A piney, floral hop nose is reflected in the clean palate with a seamless transition from the nose to the palate and straight through the finish.

Half Acre Big Hugs Imperial Stout:
ChicaGourmets were amongst the first to sample this massive stout.  The lifted nose (thanks to about 10%ABV) and palate were swirling with complex roasty/toasty aromas and flavors of toffee, mocha, chocolate and chestnut with slightly smoky notes.  The (not so) secret ingredient in the brewing process is the late addition of Dark Matter Coffee.  Dark Matter, specialty coffee bean roasters, tasted the fermenting beer and put together a special blend of 7 different beans, using 5 different roasting procedures.  Instead of overwhelming the beer, the coffee helps bring out and integrates with the unique aromas and flavors only found the heavily roasted malts used to produce this style of beer.

Stop by at their newly opened tasting room and retail shop to say ‘hi’ to Gabriel and try, as well as purchase, the rotating array of fresh, hand-crafted Half Acre beers – several of which are only available on-site at 4257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 773.248.4038.

By Lee Schlesinger
rls@winesellersltd.com

Eagle Rock Brewery – Los Angeles, CA

February 12th, 2010 nabcomputers No comments

Eagle Rock Brewery – 3056 Roswell Street, Los Angeles, CA 90065

http://www.eaglerockbrewery.com

Father and son team, Steven and Jeremy Raub have been home brewing for 7 years before making the jump into starting a brewery in the Los Angeles area.  A city not known for making it easy on brewing entrepreneurs.  But they persevered (you can read the entire saga on their blog) and now they are open and ready to fulfill their mission statement with “the production of unique artisanal beers using the best ingredients to promote the ongoing development of the beer community in Los Angeles.”

Their microbrewery is attached to a tap-room, which just opened to the public with weekend hours. They want the space to be a venue where “fellow beer lovers can gather to relax, refresh, and enjoy our unique beers.”

They currently brew three craft beers with more in the works (including a bock made for the newly opened beer bar, The Surly Goat and a coffee beer too)

Manifesto – a Belgian-style witbier. A light wheat base spiced with coriander and citrus peel and rose petals.  Locally sourced from the Raub’s garden.

Revolution – an Extra Pale Ale (XPA) a bright and refreshing take on the pale with a substantial hop presence.

Solidarity – a British mild.  Akin to a schwarzbier or a black lager. Roasty yet not heavy.  My personal favorite.

Review submitted by Sean Inman

www.beersearchparty.com

Sweetwater Brewery – Atlanta, GA

February 5th, 2010 admin No comments
Sweetwater Brewery – September 17th, 2009

Sweetwater Brewery

Overall Rating: Excellent
Atmosphere: Excellent
Beer: Excellent

My visit to the Sweetwater Brewery was in a single word, unbeatable!

For an $8 cover, you receive a Sweetwater pint glass and a handful of beer tickets to fill your glass.  The tour itself is free and is simply a short walk through the brewery with an explanation of the history and background of the company.  The tour guide was quirky and had a very dry sense of humor, which made for a great experience.  There were several excellent beers on tap, most of them very cleverly named (see their website above for details).

In addition to the great beer and informational tour, about halfway through our visit a live band began playing on the outside patio.  Live music, beer and great company made for an excellent visit to the Sweetwater Brewery.  I would highly recommend making the trip if you are anywhere near the Atlanta area.

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Abita Brewing Company – Abita Springs, LA

October 12th, 2008 admin No comments
Abita Brewing Company – October 11th, 2008

Overall Rating: Excellent
Atmosphere: Excellent
Beer: Excellent
My visit to the tour of the Abita Brewing Company was simple, straightforward and perfect!

The setup was amazing – from the outside courtyard to the leather sofas and big screen TVs inside.

The agenda:
Outside, they card you, then give you a cup.
You walk in and “taste” all you want for 15 minutes.
They give you a brief history of beer (interesting stuff).
You take a 10 minute tour through the brewing room.
You go back and “taste” again for another 35 minutes!
They do have merchandise available for purchase if you are interested. And while you are tasting, the brewery employees suggest beer combos that their employees have come up with over the years. Some of the more memorable ones include:
Amber + Turbodog = Hound Dog
Purple Haze + Turbodog = Purple Pooch
Purple Haze + Andygator = Barney
I did try the Red Dog during the tour and it was very good. I also discovered how delicious Abita Fall Fest is. I have to rank it in my top 3 Abita varieties after the tour.
My tour of the Abita Brewing Company was amazing, and best of all, it was completely free! I would highly recommend stopping by if you are ever in the area or making a special trip just to visit! You can also grab a bite to eat after the tour right down the road at the Abita Brew Pub.
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