So to get caught up... let's see here...
- Our annual homebrew competition was a lot of work, but definitely fun. We had a lot of great judges & stewards this year and hope to do the same in 2012. If you're a homebrewer and looking for blind feedback on your beers (and meads & ciders), this is a great way to do it. Plus, we were treated to presentations/discussions by Paul Kavulak from Nebraska Brewing Co & Stephen Hale from Schlafly Taproom. Both very personable, interesting, and entertaining guys. It's every year in February, with different speakers each time; if you missed it this year, pay attention this fall when we start planning and posting information to the comp website.
- Speaking of home brewing, Nationals is coming up quick. If you want to give it a shot at making it past the first round & into the finals, the deadline is late March. Get to brewing!
- I spent a few days in Austin last week and was able to get out to a handful of places. I checked out Lovejoy's and Ginger Man on my own, but spent my third evening getting a tour of Austin from I Love Beer's Lee with the great company of his fellow beer writer (also a homebrewer), Debbie. He wrote a fun summary of our evening out in his blog (check it out!). Though I had a great time visiting several places, for me there were two specific highlights of the trip:
- Discovering a new brewery down there called Jester King. I only had two beers from them (a Rye IPA and a barrel-aged Dark Mild - appropriately named "Commercial Suicide"), but both were outstanding. If you get a chance to try anything from them, don't pass it up.
- Hanging out at the Whip-In. The place was like nothing else - convenience store meets craft beer bar meets Indian cafe ... and they're adding a brewery in the future. What I particularly liked about this place was that they had two sections of taps: one with craft brews (many of them local), and another smaller one with 'vintage' brews. Among others, they had a St Arnold Divine Reserve #6 on tap, a barleywine nearly 3 years old. Divine indeed.
There are more things of course, but I'll save those for later. Let the blogging resume!