Inspiration before Perspiration

Sitting on the patio enjoying an almost perfect Houston evening. It is about 74 degrees F or 23 degrees C for the rest of the world, a cold home brew in my hand and chicken on the grill.


A small glass of my Honey Blonde Ale. My wife confronted me and asked if I was drinking “her beer”. I  had to admit, “Yes dear, I am”. Chill out Hun – it was only 8 ounces! Insert smiley happy face here! I was using a brewery sample glass from Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco, Texas. Sure was good!

The chicken is smelling very good. @ $ 1.27 per pound!!!!   whole roasting chicken cut in half. Season with Lowry’s and garlic. Yum!


That describes the inspiration for my next brew, a Session IPA! Target ABV will be 4.6% or so. Hops, this is where I will get my thrills, 7 ounces of Mosaic Hops. Three of the seven will be used to dry hop the beer as it sits in the secondary fermenter. Six and half pounds of domestic two row malt, one pound of Munich malt, one pound of domestic wheat malt and a half pound of 40L crystal malt.

Mashing and hopping schedule will be run through Beersmith and reported out on brew day, possibly tomorrow or the next day. (Wednesday doesn’t look good so it will be Thursday February 18th.)

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly


Beer, What Doesn’t Go Well With a Homebrew?

NFL Football is on and our Houston Texans are rolling! Grab a frying pan, add a healthy portion of coconut oil, about a third of a large onion chopped, a bell pepper chopped up and 4 tamales chopped into bite sized pieces. Oh yeah, some chopped garlic and various seasonings. Most importantly was the Honey Blonde Ale brewed right here.

In keeping with the local theme – the tamales come from a little yellow shack called Granny’s Tamales in Humble Texas, adjacent to the Backyard Homebrewers store. A coincidence? I don’t think so.


Off to a good start!



Starting to simmer, tamales chopped up and my Honey Blonde in the background.


4 eggs for a little protein! Washed down with a good homebrew.


Add cheese, hot sauce of your choice, salt & pepper and whatever your little heart desires.


Add  salsa and a dollop of sour crème.  Small Christmas plate for portion control… is OK…..I can still go back for seconds.

Recipe measurements…..come on man……give me a break!

4 eggs….more if you  want

4 tamales …. Ditto

Healthy portion of coconut oil…..bacon grease  would be a  good sub.

Enough Onion

1 or more bell peppers

A mittful of cheese….my mitts are pretty big.

Some chopped garlic and whatever else your palate would like. Tabasco, Cholula, Srirachi sauces…..12, 24 or 36 ounces of your favorite beer.

Resource guide.

Looking good….Texans are up 34-0 8:45 left…..Just for Miami to step up and whack the Colts!

Drink Local and Drink Resopnsibly


Christmas Advent Calendar-Craft Beer Style

I am blessed with an amazing woman that consented to become my wife over 33 years ago. Among the many things we have in common is a fondness for beer, good beer! My fondness may cross over to an obsession for very good beers. As any good Catholic girl knows, Christmas is a time for Advent Calendars. FYI, Advent Calendars originate with the German Lutherans and has become common among most Christian faiths.

How does an Advent Calendar fit in a beer blog you might ask? It was discovered in my wife’s Pintrest account. I have one but I am not quite that Pintrest savvy – yet! Ok, how is it done? She built a massive book case thing out of oak with little doors for each of the 24 Advent days. Each little door was large enough and deep enough for a 12 ounce bottle of beer lying on it’s side. All hardware was polished brass and finished natural with high gloss Tung Oil. Each little door was built like paneled doors and the edges rounded with a router. SMACK!  Sorry I was dreaming!

Maybe next year! This year she used a shoe holder, 24 pockets that hangs on a door. Each pocket was numbered in Christmas colors. Each mystery bottle was wrapped in tissue and festooned with a ribbon. Isn’t she clever? See below;

Isn't that the coolest idea?

Isn’t that the coolest idea?

Today’s offering was from Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, CA. Hmmmm 1967 also comes to mind. Why? It is a story for another time, involves lifeguarding, beer, swimming, old friends and rock concerts!

Great beer! Great aroma, near perfect bitterness. Love it!

Great beer! Great aroma, near perfect bitterness. Love it!

What a gal and what a gift!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly!




Abita Wrought Iron IPA

I must be living under a rock! Where did this beer come from? Well, Abita Springs is the answer, but the bigger question – Why didn’t I know about it? I could probably come up with lots of excuses but the bottom line is- I didn’t expect Abita to put out one of these nicely hoppy beers?

Tonight at our local watering hole and restaraunt I asked the serrver for – what IPA’s are on tap? Nice young lady but not real beer savvy. I give her credit, she knew about a new IPA just tapped today. As a discerning beer drinker, PC. For a beer nerd, I had to ask!!!! All she knew was it was  “Iron” something but, without prompting she ran off to find out.

Good first step and on her return I learned it was an Abita brew. Smart phone to the rescue! Side note; smart phone is an Alan McDonald fact checker. Abita makes an IPA called “Wrought Iron”. So, she was pretty close!

I like it! Beer Advocate reviews are mostly positive. I liked it, the aroma and the pleasant bitterness. Danger good IPA!

For my local IPA loving buddies, find the Abita Wrought Iron. I found it on tap at “Three B’s in Kingwood Texas. It was a little more than “Danged Good”. You will like it too!

Drink Responsibly and Drink Local


Busted Plan – No Problem

Last Saturday my daughter and I planned a rural adventure and if time permitted a swing by a local brewery on the return trip. We had intended to check out Blessington Farms hydroponic strawberries. They are also growing them vertically which is something I am trying. After an 80 minute drive we found the farm and a locked gate. “Google search” and sure enough – rain closure that we didn’t consider. Dang it! 

So, when in Wallis, Texas, do what the locals do, eat Mexican Food at Las Flores Mexican Restaraunt.  After Mexican food Ya gotta have a beer. The change in plans added an extra two hours to our planned short window of time at the No Label Brewing Company. 

No Label Brewing Company is located along the tracks in Old Katy, Texas. The brewery grounds are very laid back. Our first observation was – everyone was packing in their own lawn chairs! We forgot to pack ours. Note to self; when visiting No Label, Karbach or Southern Star breweries pack your chairs, your kids and your games. 

Eight bucks for 4 beers and a small souvenir glass. Second note to self; Bring your own glass. We bought a couple of pint glasses at the gift bar to cover that error. You can pack your own lunch in but there was food available from several vendors. The grassy area under the shady oak trees was a sea of families, dogs, picnic tables  and lawn chairs. 

Live music filled the air as we worked our way through our samplings. Wheat beers are ok in my book but I will give high marks to the El Hefe Wiezen Wheat Beer. The Eleven Amp IPA is very pleasant. The Don Jalepeno Ale is a nice surprise. The heat is not apparent immediately. When it does kick in it is pretty mellow. The Pale Horse and the Ridgeback Ale are also very satisfying! 


I wonder? Will this fit in my garage??? Sure would accelerate my home brewing! 


 A shot of the crowd looking back toward the shady oak trees. 


 In the shade and enjoying the day. 


 I am going to assume that Dr. Seuss is a 30 bbl fermenting vessel. There must be a story here.  

 Spicy Crawfish pairs nicely with the Jalepeno Ale. 


 Enjoying a beer with my daughter Lisa. Great Day! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly



Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company

I think this is the last stop for the evening. Good choice in both the company and the beers. We both had samplers and she chose the 101 and I chose the Lizard’s Mouth IPA! 

I also want to thank my sister Denise for sending me down to the funk zone off State Street near the beach. Too much fun! Great beers and a great fun crowd! And- very dog friendly! 

I have to pat Laci, our waitress on the back for being patient and putting up with an old guy asking all kinds of questions! 

We will be back, sorry Hollister Brewing, you are not anywhere near the top of our list. 

My wife and her flight. The 101, a Pilsner a wheat and the Red. Me, I was a little more organized. 

Yes I know the photo is upside down! Get over it! Suffice to say – the Lizard Mouth was my favorite! So, I ordered another pint before asking  my driver to take me to Island Brewing in Carpenteria. 


Good pizza – the Milpas! 


My favorite yummy is yet to materialize. 

My wfe had the Avocado Honey wheat and I was boing and had the Isaland IPA! Sorry – it works for me! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly


A Little Help at Tax Time

i am sorting through my receipts, invoices, travel expenses and miscellaneous stuff. I am raising my hand to vote for a flat tax! I am certain that it would eliminate most of my headaches! The CPAs’ may hate it but oh well- Too durned bad! 

To aid in the process I am sipping on a new beer, at least for me it’s new.  It is a Sierra Nevada “Beer Camp” Hoppy Lager. Mighty fine! Nicely hoppy at 55 IBU! It is 7% ABV so it is a sipping beer. A six pack would probably result in significant errors! I now have another  favorite for my list. Seems as though my favorites list is getting pretty full!’

Read more about Sierra Nevada’s Beer camp here;

I took a bottle for a trip to the beach today- I think we both enjoyed the afternoon.

Santa Barbara Channel in the background.

Nearby is Island Brewing in Carpenteria. I have a growler ready to be filled. My wife likes the Island Blonde! Don’t tell her but I’m also kind of partial to blondes! I like their Island Pale Ale and the Paradise Pale Ale and the Blackbird Porter and the Starry Night Stout. Oh – the Avocado Honey Wheat is very tasty too! On our recent visit we were treated to some live music! It was a nice laid back Friday night in the off season. Just locals and a few semi locals, like me and my bride.

I think we will also check out Anacapa Brewey in Ventura on Thursday. I am looking forward to their Pierpoint IPA.

So many beers and maybe only another 20 + years to work my way through the world’s remaining beers! 

Note: I had my phone battery die down on the beach as I was typing the post.  Apparently the draft was posted! Hopefully I pulled it before it was out there too long! At 64 years young, I am still working my way through new technology challenges! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly


The Beefy Boys set to come to Cardiff

Oh My Goodness…..I just ran across this post among the many I follow. I wonder if I can find and excuse to spend the day after my 64th birthday in Cardiff……And then stay and catch the Wales vs. Ireland match in the Six Nations Rugby Tournament? Now, let me think about the appropriate beer pairings. My mouth is watering!

Imagine the best burger that’s ever passed your lips. Chances are it’s not a Big Mac and I’ll bet you my bottom dollar it’s not a BK Whopper. My favourite burger may not be the best in the whole wide world, but it came damn close and next month it’s coming to Cardiff.

We are not deprived of burgers in Cardiff, far from it. You can’t look at a menu these days without seeing some sort of brioche bun, hand formed pattie served on some sort of chopping board or slate, but on Friday 13 March, a burger to blow all others out of the water will be gracing our city steps; the Butty Bach from The Beefy Boys.

The Herefordshire based burger pop-up are in a league of their own. With the title of the UK’s best burger to their name after smashing the competition at Grillstock’s BBQ festival…

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Barrel Aging At Home

It is not really barrel aging but results are pretty much the same. I brewed a 5 gallon batch of Russian Imperial Stout in May. As a home brewer seeking that wonderfully complex flavors achieved by the craft brewers, you have the technology. You can buy oak spirals, made that way to increase surface area. They can be bought in various levels of toastedness…..not sure that word has made  its way into your Funk & Wagnall yet, but it is an apt description. I have made mine in the past using a white oak dowel and cutting deep grooves on my lathe. PS, get permission from your SO before toasting the oak in your home oven or better yet, do it outside. I soak mine in bourbon…..I select a lesser grade as I believe in not using my Pappy Van Winkle 20 year old for the effort.

Drop the toasted and soaked oak into your secondary and wait….last batch was three months. I has worked well! Oak source;

Below is a link to a good article form a recent post in the Weekly Pint. My latest offering is a perfect example of the vanilla flavor imparted by the oak…..wonderful. I am considering a barrel aged pale ale of some sort in the near future. Just don’t have enough free time to brew all that I want and or crave. That damn thing called work gets in the way!

Happy Thanlsgiving

Thankful for family, great friends and enough abundance to share with others.

Then there is beer. Thankful that Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing. Unfortunately, his time in office was rather unremarkable in his response to world events, i.e., Iran hostage situation and the 1979 Energy Crisis. I voted for him on his promise of truth and transparency and I will give him high marks on that front.

Back to beer, I am thankful for the amazing explosion of craft brewing and so “friggin” many choices! I bottled my Golden Wheat Red III IPA this morning. It tasted pretty darned good. I think version II may still be the best of the three. Once conditioned in 7-10 days I will update y’all. Bottling results, 6 liters in my Tap-a-Draft keg and the remainder in 27 – 12 ounce bottles.


Drink Local and Drink Responsibly