Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Our Christmas Wishes

What is it that a beer snob would want for Christmas?  Really a no brainer question, right?  Beer, duh.  But our Christmas wish is for something a bit different, something beerish, but not really just beer.

We hope you saw our post that this December 31st is the 5th year of existence for Peticolas Brewing.  They are going to have a major announcement on their anniversary that they are going to change direction, and we have no earthly idea what that will be.  We do have a strong idea of what we want the direction to be.

Rahr and Sons Brewing opened in Fort Worth 2004 and was the first out of the craft brewing chute, creating fine, traditionally crafted beers.  Nice, drinkable beers, but safe.  The first on the Dallas side of the metroplex was the venerable Franconia Brewing in McKinney.  While their beers are pretty darn good, they are decidedly main stream and take few risks. Then along comes Peticolas Brewing, and with their release of Velvet Hammer the excitement for craft brewing coming to Dallas was palpable. This beer was intense and powerful giving us the feeling that this was the beginning of the revolution.

Many new breweries have opened since 2011 with over 20 breweries to be visited in north Texas.  The problem is that even with all of these breweries, none have ever taken a risk, none have created a signature beer line creative enough to be able to attract the attention of anyone outside our region.  Now we are not saying that the beer in north Texas are not good, quite the contrary there are many fine, fine beers being created here.  We are just a bit disappointed that no one has stepped forward to create something outside the safe zone.  For instance Jester King from Austin creates sours that are desired by beer geeks nationwide.  Houston's Buffalo Bayou creates massive beers that get us good trades nationwide.  Dallas has ..... ?  Exactly.

Our Christmas wish is that Michael Peticolas sees this as a challenge and has in mind a mad plan to create a beer line that puts us on the beer tourism map.  Something that makes us giddy to try the next creation, like Velvet Hammer did 5 years ago,

Cheers, Michael, and good luck.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Travelling in the Philippines

Do you have a hobby? Perhaps one that involves enjoying beer?  Obviously you are part of the beer culture, else you wouldn't be wasting your time reading this drivel.  We actually have 2 hobbies, that we manage to combine into one.  Obviously beer is the first, but we also have a love for travel, so as often as we can, we tie them together into a rolling drink-a-thon. This time we decided to try somewhere quite unique, a bit risky, a bit .... raw.
This is not the first time that we have visited a third world country, in fact there have been several, but none quite so third worldish as this.  As with many countries once ruled by the Spanish, there is a huge gap between the haves and the have nots.  Manila is a huge city of 13 million people with hordes of desperately poor people living in the shadows of shiny glass high-rises.  Even as poor as they are, they are always quite respectful, which actually is a bit disconcerting.  There is a reverse racism that we noticed after several days which took aback a bit.  "Hello, sir", "good morning, sir", will come at you from almost everyone that you meet, but they don't speak that way to each other, only to people who are obviously westerners.  Should you be one of those deluded souls who believe in white race superiority, this is the place for you as that they fall all over each other to serve you.  There are beggars, to be sure, any city with this much poverty has many, but just smile and wave while saying nothing, and walk on you way, they will leave you alone.  The child beggars are a bit more aggressive and will follow you for a few blocks with their hands out, but just keep your eyes straight ahead and keep walking.  In a country as desperately poor as this, you are a target, so leave your bright and shiny things at home (i.e. jewelry, expensive watches, etc), dress modestly and do not wave cash around.  Most people speak at least some English, and should that fail, try a bit of Spanish, after all, the Spanish ruled here for several centuries.  Money is all counted in Spanish as well.

Your first contact with hustlers will come as you leave the airport.  There will be an army of hawkers trying to convince you that the $1,800.00 Peso (about $36.00) flat rate cab is the way to go with traffic as bad as it is in Manila, and man, it is bad, stunningly bad.  However, a Taxi is also stunningly cheap, and you a typical cab ride, even in really slow traffic, will cost you less than $500.00 Pesos.  Don't bother trying to find a bus or the subway, there aren't any, just take a cab and be happy. Other than a cab, the only public transportation is the ubiquitous Jeepney.  These diesel exhaust spewing monsters are all privately owned, all competing for the same riders, all on the same routes which are printed on the sides of the vehicle. In theory the amount charged for the ride is figured by distance. You get in and pass the money forward, but for the life of me I never mastered the pricing and am quite sure that I was royally screwed.  To be completely honest, with an exchange rate of about 50:1, a royal screwing amounts to only a couple of bucks.
If you get tired of dealing with the crush of humanity or choking on the filthy air, there are options for you to get away and into a world more familiar to the average boring American.  The shopping malls in Manila are awe inspiring. These are massive temples dedicated to the gods of commerce are staffed with security guards stationed at the entrances to keep out the poor and smelly people.  One of the examples of reverse racism that you may come across is that all Filipinos will be searched as they enter, but as a westerner you will most likely get a pass.  Now I pride myself in my ability to finding my way around almost anywhere without getting lost, but the malls in Manila are maddeningly convoluted and HUGE.  The Robinson's Place Mall has everything that a homesick tourist needs to make them feel safe, secure and boring.  It is also where those without an adventurous palate can find solace with the 30+ restaurants, most with familiar choices (TGIFridays, anyone?). The Mall of Asia is one of the largest malls in the world should you need exercise in a place with slightly cleaner air.

To be sure, we have not really visited a country that doesn't have a thriving underground beer scene ... until now.  Craft beer is a luxury that a country full of desperately poor can ill afford.  San Miguel is by far the largest brewer and has little competition.  Why?  Because it is frigging cheap, that's why.  A bottle of San Miguel will set you back about a buck.  The San Miguel Cerveza Negra (5% ABV) is a quite serviceable dark lager that will do in a crunch, but the craft breweries were really scarce, in fact, we only found one simply because we were lost and took the wrong exit from the Robinson's Place Mall (like I said, confusing), and there it was. It is true that you can find a few craft brews around town in the bottle, but our goal was to find a brewery where we could sit and chat about beer with locals.  

The Tap Station on Adriatico Street was honestly the only place that we could find within several miles of our hotel serving craft beers, and luckily, it was quite fine for our needs.  Their own beers, CraftRevolt Brewing, are color coded on the board on the board by price along with a few guest beers.  You will find most of their beers are session-able brews with modest alcohol content, but with familiar flavors and at reasonable prices.

The bottled craft beers that we tried were quite sporadic in quality.  The Tarsier Wheat Beer (4.6% ABV) made by Crazy Carabao Brewing had the funky armpit foulness that you get from unclean brewing equipment, or perhaps unwashed kegs.   Brew Kettle Belgian style Wit Bier (5.3% ABV) by the Asian Brewery, Makati, Philippines, is as good as any American knockoff of a Belgian classic.  In our not so humble opinion, the best craft brewer that we found was Joe's Brew out of Manilla. The Fish Rider Pale Ale (5% ABV) has a super drinkable balance between hops and malts.

We did get to spend a bit of time on the island of Boracay, about an hour's flight south of Manila.  Here you will not find the masses of desperately poor .... poor to be sure, just not desperately poor.  You will still find the hawkers trying to sell you anything that your drunken ass will buy, but the beggars are not so prevalent.  You will see gross, fat westerners with their tiny Filipino lovers .... male or female, but try not to judge, they need money and gross, fat westerners have it to give.  You will also see gloriously blue, clear water and swaying palm trees.  Hotels range from cheap dives to shiny new resorts
with the north end of the strip more of the latter .... a bit to sanitized for our tastes.  There is no sea wall and no concrete sidewalk here, hotels and restaurants are located directly on the beach where you can stroll along underneath the shade of the coconut palms.  Our recommendation to find a good selection of craft beers in the Red Coconut hotel bar and decently priced fruity drinks with umbrellas.  For dining you must try to find the Hobbit House restaurant where all of the staff are little people, and the food is actually quite good.  Little people, I just loves me some little people.

We will give you one last piece of advice that should satisfy all of your cravings for finding good beer in the Philippines, consider, if you will, that the exchange rate is about 50 Pesos to the Dollar .... do the math.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” - Mark Twain

Cheers, Bon

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 Thanksgiving Beer Recommendations

Do you ever get stuck in a rut that you just can't (or won't) escape from? For instance, normally, our 'go to' beer for Thanksgiving is the venerable, magnificent, Saison DuPont. We drink this every year, and have for years on end. Why? Because it pairs so very well with almost every dish in the Thanksgiving feast.
This year, though, we have decided to change things up .... a bit. For this year's debauchery, we are going to recommended a few similar beers for the snobs to try, along with us, they are:
1. Straffe Hendrik Wild Belgian Tripel Ale - Brewed by Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan, Brugges, Belgium, it is funky, earthy and ... wild. This should be the perfect accompaniment to the bird
2. Dogfish Head Biere de Provence Saison - Brewed with lavender, marjoram and bay leaves it should pair well with dressing.
3. Dogfish Head Saison du Buff - Brewed with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme making it a perfect pairing for almost everything on your plate. Now try getting that song out of your head.

Monday, November 21, 2016

FREE HOG! FREE NOG! At the Rustic

Celebrate the Season at The Rustic’s 
Holiday Hog & Nog Happy Hours

FREE Roasted Pig and Adult Eggnog usher in the season beginning Nov. 28

DALLAS (Nov. 21, 2016) – The Rustic is preparing to spread holiday cheer in truly distinctive fashion: With roasted pigs on the patio and enough adult eggnog to make Mrs. Claus blush!

On Nov. 28, The Rustic will kickoff a month-long series of Holiday Hog & Nog Happy Hours, every Monday through Friday after 5:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy roasted pig, smoked up on the patio and served FREE with a side of spiked eggnog, with the purchase of any menu item. 

The hog’s on the house until it’s gone, so no squealing if you miss out! Just arrive earlier the next day – The Rustic will be pigging out on the patio every weekday through Dec. 23!

Did we mention the hog and the nog are free? Just choose from over 40 beers on tap, a variety of handcrafted cocktails and margaritas or any other menu item, and happy hour’s on us!

“We think The Rustic is the best place in Dallas to toast the holiday season, and this year we’re going hog wild with our Hog & Nog Happy Hours,” said Kyle Noonan, co-owner of FreeRange Concepts. “Our climate-controlled patio is perfect for roasting a pig while sipping on adult eggnog, and I can already picture our guests taking selfies by the spit with our grill masters.”

With its casual atmosphere, live musical acts and unique, full-service dining experience featuring farm-fresh, homestyle dishes and a Texas-sized selection of wines, spirits and 40 beers on tap, The Rustic has carved a distinctive niche among Dallas restaurants. The concept is the brainchild of Noonan, Josh Sepkowitz and Texas country artist Pat Green, whose love of the outdoors and live music helped bring The Rustic to life. The result is a fun and relaxing dining and concert experience from a phenomenal patio, all under the big Texas sky.

The Rustic is located at 3656 Howell Street in Dallas.

Identifying Contaminated or Infected Beer

You have almost certainly heard us bitching about infected or contaminated beers.  There are many ways to contaminate a batch of beer, each of which produces it's own distinct flavor or smell.  This article from the November issue of Draft Magazine gives you a great insight on what is funking up your beer. Cheers, Bon
beer off flavors
As beloved as beer may be, the beverage also has many enemies. Outside forces like oxygen, sunlight and time do their best to ruin beer, but even compounds found in and on malt, hops, water and yeast—the very ingredients that make beer delicious—can act as spoilers. With all the things that can go awry when making a beer, it’s a small miracle that most of them make it to the shelf free of flaws. Every now and then, however, you do run into a stinker, and it’s important to know exactly what caused the offending flavor. Here’s a baker’s dozen of those we encounter most often.
Tastes like: green apples, fresh cut grass, cucumbers
Caused by: yeast. Acetaldehyde is naturally produced in the early stages of fermentation, but is usually converted into ethanol (AKA sweet, sweet booze) later on. Too much of the green apple flavor in a beer usually means the brewer used unhealthy or inactive yeast, fermented at too-low temperatures, or packaged the beer before the yeast was finished fermenting. (Fun fact: acetaldehyde is also one of the compounds produced by our bodies when we digest alcohol. Certain groups of people have a hard time breaking the compound down further, so it accumulates—this is why some people will become flushed in the face after drinking.)
Tastes like: Not a taste so much as a sensation of dryness on the tongue
Caused by: polyphenols in malt, hops or spices. Most commonly it’s the result of poorly managed sparging—the brewing stage during which a brewer rinses malt with water to extract any residual sugar. Sparge too long or at too high a temperature and polyphenols from the grain husks will end up in the finished beer, making it astringent. An overzealous addition of spices—such as those commonly used in pumpkin ales and winter warmers—can also contribute some astringency.
Autolysed Yeast
Tastes like: meat, sulfur, vegemite, barbecue potato chips
Caused by: dead yeast. Yeast are hardy little critters, but they’re not immortal; they do eventually die, and when they do, they basically burst open (the word autolysis literally means “self-destruction”) and release their innards into the beer. This has a number of effects: It reduces the head on a beer, accelerates the creation of haze, and can even restart fermentation, resulting in overcarbonation. But the largest effect is in the flavor and aroma: The meaty bouquet of autolyzed yeast is so intense that it’s often used to add flavor to soups and barbecue potato chips. Yeast autolysis usually only occurs in very old bottles or cans, so make sure the beer you’re buying is fresh.
Tastes like: ink, an old TV, an electric fire
Caused by: contamination of brewing ingredients via packaging materials. Malt or hops packaged in recycled paper or cardboard or inside material treated with fire retardant will sometimes impart this off-flavor to a finished beer.
Butyric Acid
Tastes like: parmesan cheese, rancid butter, vomit
Caused by: bacterial infection, usually by a bug called Clostridium. The offending microorganism is sometimes found in glucose and cane sugar syrups used in brewing, but can also contaminate a beer during the long, warm stand of a sour mash, which is why butyric acid is commonly encountered in poorly made Berliner weisses.
Tastes like: duct tape, antiseptic, Band Aids, plastic
Caused by: chlorinated water or chlorine-based santizers. Brewers and homebrewers who use untreated tap water commonly run into this off-flavor, which is formed through reactions between alcohol and chlorine.
Tastes like: butter, butterscotch, buttermilk
Caused by: yeast. Dactyl is a natural byproduct of fermentation, usually created by yeast in the early stages but later reabsorbed. It can also be a sign of bacterial contamination in draft beer lines. The flavor of diacetyl is so buttery it’s also used to flavor popcorn, and though unpleasant in most beers, it is appropriate in some English-style ales.
Dimethyl Sulfide (DMS)
Tastes like: cooked corn, overcooked broccoli, dirty vegetable oil
Caused by: a compound in malted barley that’s transformed by heat. DMS usually develops during the boiling stage of the brewing process; it’s formed when temperatures reach 140 degrees but is driven off with a vigorous boil. This is part of why brewers strive to cool wort as quickly as possible after boiling: The longer the wort stays warm, the more chance there is for DMS to develop.
Tastes like: dirty sponges, halitosis, diapers
Caused by: coliform bacteria. These bugs, a family to which the dreaded E. coli belongs, are usually an indication of unsanitary food or water, but they can also thrive on improperly cleaned brewing surfaces and equipment. Brewers who make beer or store ingredients near farm pens or litter boxes have to be especially careful to avoid it.
Isovaleric Acid
Tastes like: American cheese, sweaty socks
Caused by: old or improperly stored hops. Isovaleric acid is a fatty acid found naturally in many plants, cheeses and, yes, foot sweat; it becomes a problem in hops that have been stored warm or for too long. Brettanomyces can also sometimes produce this compound.
Tastes like: iron, blood, pennies, 9-volt batteries
Caused by: metal ions in brewing water. Municipal water left untreated by the brewer may contain some metallic elements, but non-passivated brewing and serving equipment such as kegs, keg couplers or draft faucets may also leach ions into the beer.
Tastes like: wet paper, cardboard
Caused by: Oxygen. Exposure of beer to air causes the creation of a compound called trans-2-nonenal, which has a distinct papery flavor and aroma. It often occurs over time in very old packaged beers, but can also be found in fresher beers aged warm or exposed to oxygen at some point during the brewing process.
Tastes like: skunk, really bad weed
Caused by: ultraviolet light. Hops, when exposed to sunlight or some fluorescent lighting, react with other elements in beer to form an incredibly pungent compound with the telltale aroma of skunk must. If you’ve ever tasted beer packaged in a clear or green bottle, you’ve probably encountered this off-flavor. Brown bottles offer decent protection from the ultraviolet light that gets the reaction started; cans are even better. But even beer poured into a glass from an un-skunked bottle, can or keg isn’t safe—a glass exposed to sunlight can skunk in as little as 10 seconds.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Malai Kitchen NTBW Event

Malai Kitchen is bringing back its Bia Hoi Pop Up Shop in celebration of NTX Beer Week.

On Saturday, November 19 Malai will recreate the vibrant street food scene of Hanoi, Vietnam. Each morning, vendors roll out kegs of freshly brewed bia hoi – the light Vietnamese rice lager that inspired Malai’s in-house beer program – to serve alongside lunch. Patrons crowd around plastic tables and stools to indulge in traditional street food and sip on the beer – traditionally served on the cheap – until the kegs run dry.

Braden and Yasmin Wages will open their front patio from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and offer their house-brewed bia hoi for $1 per pint. In addition to favorites from the regular menu, they will offer street food small plates inspired by their annual trips to the region.

The event starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 11 p.m. (or until the bia hoi runs out).

What: Bia Hoi Pop Up Shop
Date: Saturday, November 19
Time: 11a.m. – 11 p.m.
Location: The Patio @ Malai Kitchen Uptown
3699 McKinney Avenue #319
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone: 214.599.7857
Menu: Southeast Asian street food small plates; $1 pints of bia hoi

NTBW Events at Whiskey Cake

Celebrate North Texas Beer Week at Whiskey Cake
Raise a glass to North Texas brewers starting Nov. 14

PLANO, TX (Nov. 7, 2016) – Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar is celebrating North Texas Beer Week – Nov. 14 to 20 – with new beers on tap and a special Beer Week Menu.

The Beer Week Menu features four North Texas craft beers each paired with one of Whiskey Cake’s mouthwatering Bar Bites:

·      Dips & Spreads: Texas Red, Rahr & Sons
·      Short Rib Poutine: Buried Hatchet, Southern Star
·      Thai Pork Belly Slider: All Day IPA, Founders
·      Farm Toast: Firemans 4, Real Ale

Bar Bites are usually only available during happy hour but lucky for you, these special pairings will be offered all day, all week long from Nov. 14-20.

Whiskey Cake will also be tapping additional new beers specifically for North Texas Beer Week. Come in on the following days and sample rare beers with this limited-time offer.

Tuesday, Nov. 15 - Firestone Walker 19th Anniversary, XIX. This chocolaty brew is a rich blend of four different beers, giving it a distinct holiday fruitcake flavor.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 - Deep Ellum, The Fascinating Bellman. It's an imperial brown ale aged in Jameson Whiskey barrels (7.8 % ABV). Whiskey Cake will also be serving this with a side of Jameson Caskmates for the perfect pair.

Friday, Nov. 18 – Karbach, Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter w/Chocolate. It is aged in Old Forester Bourbon Barrels, which gives it the high ABV of 12.5%.

Whiskey Cake is renowned for serving up tasty farm-to-kitchen dishes and cocktails out of its “from scratch only” kitchen and bar. Microwave? Never heard of it. Whiskey Cake uses slow-cooking methods on a live wood grill, smoker and spit because everything tastes better that way. And all that goodness is served while you kick your feet up in a rocking chair, while dining at a fancy table or as you relax out on the porch.

Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar is located at 3601 Dallas Parkway in Plano

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beer Review - Grimm Double Negative Imperial Stout

Grimm Artisinal Ales Double Negative Imperial Stout (10% ABV)

Today's kick in the nnnnnnose is this beast from Grimm Artisanal Ales from Brooklyn, N.Y. (not to be confused with Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, Colorado OR Grimm Brewery from Utrech, Netherlands .... actually, that is confusing as hell). To make it even more confusing, the Double Negative Imperial Stout (10% ABV) is brewed under contract in Virginia. As a matter of fact, all of their beers are brewed under contract in various breweries around the region.

Grimm Artisanal Ales is a Brooklyn-based nomadic brewery founded in 2013 by Joe and Lauren Grimm after nearly a decade of tinkering with fermentation. The couple develops each recipe in the kitchen of their Gowanus apartment and travels to existing breweries near and far to craft their beers.  Grimm specializes in concise, elegant ales epitomizing the creative, experimental spirit of the American artisanal beer revolution. Each one is a single-batch, limited-edition release that may never come around again.

The beer is creamy and dense with a long lasting head.  The flavor of roasted malts, dark fruits, caramel and dark chocolate completely hides the high alcohol content. Even though it is a superb beer that you can easily enjoy right now, it is a bit raw and we recommend that you buy this one and let it age for a couple of years, it should turn into a diamond. They make a maple, barrel aged version of this that may be worth seeking out. Cheers, Bon.

Grimm Artisinal Ales

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Martin House Turtle Power Blackberry Altbier Release

Bring on the Turtles

October is here and that means the release of our blackberry altbier, Turtle Power! This beer is a collaboration with the fine folks at TSA (Turtle Survival Alliance). To celebrate, we'd like to invite you out to the Turtle Tour.

There will be 3 stops this year:
Central Market FW - Thursday 10/13 at 5:30pm
Martin House Brewing Co - Saturday 10/15 at 2:00pm
Ginger Man FW Thursday 10/20 at 7:30pm

Drink the beer (Turtle Power), keep the glass, and meet and greet with the turtles! If you haven't been out before, it is a blast.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tips for Aging Beers in Difficult Conditions

If you are a true beer snob, you are most likely aging several beers in a cool, quite, tucked away space.  But what if you don't have a cool place to age your liquid gold?  Here are some hints from DRAFT magazine to help you along.

The general rules of aging beer are, by this point, pretty well-known. Focus on high-alcohol beers and intensely flavored styles like imperial stouts and barleywines; store them out of the reach of sunlight; try to keep them at a constant temperature between 55 and 65 degrees. But for many would-be cellarmen, warm climates and the lack of a beer fridge make following that last decree particularly tough. What’s a beer nerd without a basement to do? For the answer, we turned to Patrick Dawson, an expert on aging beers well. He’s the author of “Vintage Beer: A Taster’s Guide to Brews That Improve over Time” and a regular drinker of ales that are older than you—he once tasted a Bass Ratcliffe Ale bottled in 1869, which had to be poured through a cheesecloth to catch all the chunks of coagulated yeast muck and crumbled cork, but still held up well. Dawson offers several tips for laying down bottles when your environment is far from ideal.
Invest in insulation.
Because so many beers are fermented in a brewery’s tanks at temperatures lower than 70 degrees, Dawson says that’s about as warm as you ever want your cellar to get. “There are certain flavors that could come out at that temperature that the brewer never even realized would come out,” he says. But for the sweltering late-summer months when even “room temperature” nudges near 80, getting above that magic number is unavoidable; you’re going to have to take extra steps to minimize the damage. Dawson suggests using styrofoam shipping boxes (the kind you can pick up at most large liquor stores) or an insulated cooler, which will at least mitigate the temperature swings and allow the beer to age more gracefully. “The whole logic with temperature swings is that there’s an activation temperature for certain chemical processes,” says Dawson. “They’ll slow down or maybe even stop at certain temperatures, so if you’re constantly stopping and starting these processes, the beer’s not going to mature as well. You want to just have that nice, steady temperature so the processes can finish out smoothly.”

Aim for the middle.
Don’t store your beer in closets with exterior facing walls, Dawson explains: They tend to get warmer and go through larger temperature fluctuations throughout the day. Try to find a space for your insulated boxes near the center of your home or apartment, where the AC will have maximum effect and what’s going on outside will matter least.

Buy tougher beer.
“If you have a 55-degree cellar, yeah, age an 8% or 9% beer, but if you’re only able to keep it around 70 degrees, I’d say nothing below 11%,” suggests Dawson. Big, viscous beers with lots of residual sweetness and loads of alcohol flavor are your best bet in staving off the thinning of a beer’s body and reduction in its malty sweetness that naturally occur over time and will be more pronounced at higher temps. He says, “For me, a dream barleywine bound for the cellar is basically screaming hot—like, it just tastes like rubbing alcohol—and it’s thick and syrupy sweet. Over time, that’s going to develop so much more complexity and have enough body that by the time I drink it, it doesn’t feel like a Diet Coke.”

Shorten their slumber.
Higher temperatures make beers age more quickly, so if you’re on the fence about how long you want to age it, err on the shorter side. “It’s always better to have a beer a little bit too young than too old, because once those stale flavors come about, they’re always there,” Dawson says. “If you open it too young, maybe it’s still a little too boozy and all that complexity hasn’t developed yet, but it’s still drinkable and enjoyable.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bowling? Sure, why the hell not?

                Bowl & Barrel Spins Out Vinyl Nights
Half-price beer, upscale bowling and live vinyl DJ featured Sundays beginning Oct. 2

DALLAS (Sept. 29, 2016) – Strike out your Sunday plans because Bowl & Barrel - Dallas is taking “SundayFunday” to a whole new level.

On Oct. 2, Dallas’ premier bowling venue is launching weekly Vinyl Nights. From 8 p.m. to midnight everySunday, guests can enjoy half-price bowling while grooving to the beats of vinyl DJ Wanz Dover.

Of course, drinks must be served for it to count as a true Sunday Funday, which is why Bowl & Barrel is offering half-price beer all night. Partiers may also enjoy one of their popular handcrafted cocktails, including –

·      Velvet Mule – Tito’s Vodka, Velvet Falernum, ginger beer, lime juice
·      French Kiss – Prosecco, St. Germain, lemon juice, house-made grenadine
·      Dr. Funk – Flor de Cana, lemon, absinthe, house-made grenadine
·      Four Thieves – Six-Year Bourbon, blackberry, sage, lemon
·      Astoria – London dry, lime, mint, violette, ginger ale
·      Manhattan – Red River Rye Whiskey, Cocchi di Torino, Temperance Cacao Sagrada bitters

Live vinyl music, boutique bowling, gourmet food, great drinks and beer specials…Bowl and Barrel has it all! So grab the crew and roll on over this Sunday to celebrate the launch of Vinyl Night, and start your newSunday Funday tradition!

            What:  Vinyl Nights
            Where: Bowl & Barrel, 8086 Park Ln, Ste 145, Dallas
            When:  Sunday nights, 8 p.m. - Midnight
            Why:    Half-price beer, half-price bowling and DJ Wanz Dover spinning vinyl tunes

Bowl & Barrel is located in the Shops at Park Lane in the heart of midtown Dallas. For more information, visit

Beer Serving Temperatures

How often have you seen ads from bars bragging that they have "the coldest beer in town"?  And what is your thought when we hear this ad?  Is it "mmmmmmm, cold beer" or is it "dumbasses"?  We suppose that we could tell you that either is correct, and that temperature is a matter of personal preference, right?  Nah, we don't call ourselves beer snobs for nothing.  So rather than simply state that we believe the statement is incorrect, we will give you guidelines set for restauranteurs from - Cheers, Bon

"Most Americans are used to drinking their beer at very cold temperatures, but these icy temperatures harm the enjoyment of craft beer. While lighter-styled craft beers should be served cold, it is not necessary or wise to serve them icy cold. Just as too cold a temperature dulls a fine white wine, it has the same effect on a fine craft beer. This is especially important for beer that is served with a meal.
Some of this beer temperature confusion comes from the popular North American light beers and macro-brewed lagers that are designed to taste best at around 38–39° F. Accordingly, U.S. beer refrigeration equipment and draught dispensing systems are designed to hold beer at 34-38° F.  In contrast, even lighter styles of craft beer taste their best a bit warmer than icy cold and are also more tolerant of warmer serving temperature variations.
Richly-flavored, fuller-bodied craft beer styles prefer to be somewhat warmer still. Like elegant red wines that are best served at cool cellar temperature, full-flavored, higher-alcohol beer styles need a chill but not a cold. At the same time, be careful not to serve full-flavored beers (or red wines for that matter) at room temperature. Typical room temperature (72° F) is much too warm for all but a couple of craft beer styles.
Since all beers will warm up once they are poured into a glass, this factor can also be accounted for in your bottle-service refrigerator temperature settings. A room-temperature, rinsed, thin-shell glass will raise the temperature of beer by about two degrees Fahrenheit. A room-temperature heavy glass chalice or mug increases the beer’s temperature by about 4° to 6° F.
Below is a discussion of handling service temperature for craft beers, first bottled, then draught.

Bottled Craft Beer Service Temperature Guidelines
Short-term storage of bottled beer at service temperature will not harm the beer. For proper craft beer service three separate bottle-temperature zones are recommended. Conveniently, these double up nicely with wine categories. The temperature recommendations are designed to assure an optimum serving temperature, accounting for a 2° F glass warming factor. The three categories are:
  1. Cold, no lower than 41° F (5° C) Lighter styles of beer — Sparkling wines/Champagne
  2. Chilled, no lower than 46° F (8° C) Most craft beers — White wines
  3. Cellar, around 53° F (12° C) Higher alcohol, richly flavored beers — Red wines
Cold – This is for your lightest styles of craft beer. These include American Pale Lagers and Pilsners, German-style Helles Lager, lighter American Wheat Beer, lighter summer seasonal beers, sweet fruit-flavored Lambics, Belgian-style Wit (white ale), and Kölsch.
Chilled – This workhorse category works for craft-brewed Pale, Amber, Brown, Blonde, & Golden ales; IPA, Hefeweizen, Stout; Porter; Dunkel, dark Wheat Beer; Tripel; dark sour ales, Gueuze, Amber lagers, and dark lagers. This cooler doubles for your white wines.
Cellar – Cool cellar temperature (like those in a true, unheated in-ground cellar or cave) is where you keep your cask-conditioned English Ales & Bitters, double India Pale Ales, most anything labeled Imperial, dark Abbey beers, Dubbel, Barleywine, Baltic Porter, Bock and Doppelbock. This cellar-temperature cooler doubles for your red wines.
Since the so-called best temperature for drinking a specific beer is also influenced by personal preference, no easy way exists to ensure that everyone will like every beer at the temperatures recommended above. However, these recommended temperature zones are a great place to start, and they are certain to drastically improve beer service versus simply serving all beers at the same cold temperature.
Test your beer service temperatures with customers and see where your customers prefer them to be. With so many styles of craft beer available today, it is difficult to know exactly where each beer will taste its best. It may take a little trial and error to decide which of the three temperature categories is right for a specific beer.
Check the thermometer
Don’t depend solely on the cooler’s thermostat dial markings or digital read out; use an NSF calibrated refrigerator thermometer to monitor the beer cooler temperature. In this energy-waste-conscious environment, keeping your thermostat at optimum temperature, and not a degree colder, is not only good for beer service, it is good for your bank account.

Draught Beer Service Temperature Guidelines
Draught beer is quite a different animal from bottled beer. The American beer industry has standardized draught beer dispensing systems to operate at a constant 38° F for optimum performance. This means that all the beers will dispense at the same very cold temperature, whether they are Bud Light or a big Imperial IPA. This poses a challenge for any restaurant concerned about the proper service temperature requirements of craft beer. Changing the temperature can really mess up draught beer service and is not recommended. Warming draught can cause excessive foaming, waste and loss of product.
One way to deal with this uni-temp reality for your draughts is to emphasize craft beer styles that show better at colder draught system temperatures. You then balance out the draughts with bottled-versions of the more flavorful craft beer styles, which you serve at warmer, more appropriate temperatures.
For draught, emphasizing styles such as craft-made pale lager, Pilsner, (and possibly Dunkel and Schwartz) and lighter ale versions including Wheat, Blonde, Golden, Cream, Kolsch, and Wit will help you maintain some service-temperature integrity. In restaurant use, these lighter tasting styles still provide a good range of food pairing opportunities and situational compatibilities.
Additionally, always be sure to use room-temperature beer glassware for craft draughts. The glassware will warm up the beer by 2 to 6 degrees, depending on whether it is a thin-walled glass or heavy mug.
If you do choose to offer more-fully-flavored craft beers on draught, at least you can rest assured that your competitors are serving them up at the same cold temperatures. American craft beer drinkers have learned to be fairly tolerant of draught beer served a little too cold for the style. 
What about the macro-brews?

North American macro-brewed lagers and lights, such as the familiar Bud-Miller-Coors-Corona contingent, show better at colder serving temperatures than craft beer. Should you decide to continue selling them, both kegs and bottles of these should be kept in icy cold refrigeration set to 35-38° F."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fort Worth Flying Saucer BeerFeast 2016

If you have not ever attended a Flying Saucer BeerFeast then you are missing out on a long tradition of fine beer and dining.  This year's event is a bit different for this year's BeerFeast at Flying Saucer in Fort Worth on Oct. 8. The festival will, for the first time, be a VIP-only event

BeerFeast has been a loved event in DFW for more than 10 years. Many people look forward to it every year, and a number of them expressed interest in a VIP festival. This year, BeerFeast will move to Flying Saucer and take place in the bar and on the patio.

Changes include:

  • A limit of 600 VIP-only tickets
  • More than 120 beers, including an 80-tap takeover inside Flying Saucer and a variety of bottles and cans on the patio
  • A new partnership with Bird Café – Chef Scott Curtis will cater in addition to the traditional BeerFeast fare of bratwurst and pretzels
  • Live music throughout the festival
  • An expanded timeframe (now noon to 6 p.m.)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Del Frisco's Grille and Firestone Walker Dinner

Though the beer dinner thing has gotten kind of stale, this one is well worth considering.  Firestone Walker makes excellent beers, amongst the best in the country.  Del Frisco's Grille, well, you know, it's frigging Del Frisco's and only $49.00?  Yes, count us in.
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Del Frisco’s Grille Dallas Announces Firestone Walker Beer Dinner
WHO: Del Frisco’s Grille has partnering with Firestone Walker Brewing Company to present an evening of decadent foods and brews on September 29 at 7 PM.  The special evening will come with a three course menu plus passed appetizers. Each course will feature a beer perfectly paired for each flavor palette. Tickets are $49 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Firestone Walker was founded in 1996 by David Walker and his brother-in-law Adam Firestone in Paso Robles, California. The once small Brewing Company now makes more than two dozen types of beers and is known for staying committed to the quality and innovation of their product.
WHAT: Firestone Walker Beer Dinner at Del Frisco’s Grille in Dallas

WHERE: Del Frisco’s Grille Dallas, 3232 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204

WHEN: Thursday, September 29, 2016, 6:30 PM Reception, 7 PM Dinner
RESERVATIONS: Please call 972-807-6152

Passed Apps
Scallop Crudo | Watermelon Radish, Fresno Chili
Seared Beef Tenderloin |Tomato Leek Ragout, Ricotta Salada,
Luponic Distortion # 3
Pivo Pils

John Dory “Hot Pot” | Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime
Parabola / Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

DBA Braised Lamb Shank | Stickee Monkee Demi-Glace, Barley Risotto
Stickee Monkee / Central Coast Quad Aged in Spirit Barrels

Olive Oil Cake | Bourbon Caramel Ice Cream
Helldorado / Barrel Aged Blonde Wine Ale

Monday, September 12, 2016

Oktoberfest at the Biergarten on Lamar, September 15

Biergarten on Lamar Brings Germany to
Dallas for Oktoberfest Celebration
Live German music, food specials and more on tap for Sept. 15
DALLAS (Aug. 23, 2016) – It’s time to put on your Lederhosen, don your Alpine hat and head to Biergarten on Lamar to celebrate the world’s greatest beer festival.
The German-themed restaurant and bar will satisfy your cravings for an authentic Oktoberfest experience with live German music and food specials that you’ll want to raise a stein to.
Don’t have a beer stein? No problem.
The first 150 dine-in guests will receive a free Paulaner BeerStein!
“There’s no better place this side of the Rhine to enjoy authentic German beer than Biergarten,” said Executive Chef Angelo Landi of Biergarten, located just outside the entrance to the Omni Dallas Hotel. “We serve up great German food with a twist in a warm and festive and atmosphere that makes Biergarten the perfect place to celebrate Oktoberfest in Dallas.”
To add to the festivities, 105.3 The Fan will be broadcasting live from Biergarten beginning at 10 a.m.
Biergarten on Lamar is a modern take on the classic German-style beer garden, complete with an outdoor patio. The perfect place for conventioneers to relax, roll up their sleeves and do business, Biergarten is also a great destination for downtown Dallas residents and professionals. It features an ivy-covered outside patio and a timeless interior design with white brick, light woods and a warm, casual setting.
Biergarten is a new concept by Joseph Palladino, a former New York City police officer who has become one of Dallas’ most respected and successful restaurateurs. Palladino also owns the iconic Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse in Uptown, Nick & Sam’s Grill in the Park Cities, Coal Vines, Dos Jefes in Uptown and Quill in the Dallas Design District.