Crackin’ Up: ‘Cause Kids Are Weird

Crackin’ Up is a Pecan Porter by 903 Brewers, a relatively new brewery out of Sherman, TX. This beer is everything you’d want in a pecan porter – it’s nutty, a little sweet, dark, roasty, and hearty. It’s also available in bombers, which you can use to bomb your insides with all 22 ounces of Crackin’ Up and not share a single drop with anybody else because you’re a greedy jerk just like me. *Simultaneous high five and frown*

As an Austinite, it’s pretty much impossible for me to discuss this style of beer without bringing up a favorite flagship: 512’s Pecan Porter. For those of you who are fans of this classic 512 creation, I think you’ll enjoy 903’s bottled version. There are several similarities between the two, and I don’t consider that a bad thing in the least. There’s plenty of room in the marketplace for more pecan porters, because I call my mouth “the marketplace.”

903 PairingsAs for pairing Crackin’ Up, 903 has taken most of the guesswork out. On the side of their bottle, they list three pairing options. However, two of them are food pairings, and as I’ve explained before, I don’t recommend food pairings due to the inevitability of diarrhea. Regardless, the three suggested pairings are as follows:

1) Smoked Meats 2) Peanut Butter Cups 3) A Good Laugh.

Or as I read them:

1) Doo Doo 2) The Sick Poops 3) A Good Laugh.

Ok, it looks like I’m going with option three, taking 903’s Crackin’ Up to parrot with “A Good Laugh.” Now, I’m sure this simple pairing is something you could accomplish fairly easily on your own, since watching a cat trying to squeeze into a tiny box is usually enough to lube your laughbox. But just in case that doesn’t do it for you, I’m going to provide you with some material to use.

I’ve been known to be somewhat of a curmudgeon since I’ve reached adulthood, however, the one thing that inevitably cracks me up is my sister when she posts stories about her kids. My older sister, Sarah, and her husband, Aaron, have three young boys. There’s Bruce (5 years old), Isaac (2 years old), and Donovan (almost 1 year old). These kids are constantly…what is the phrase…”doing the most,” and my sister has been good enough to document their antics since Bruce was a wee laddie.

Below are 15 snippets about my nephews. As you can see, most of them are Bruce originals since he’s the oldest and he started talking at a very early age. You’ll also notice the recurring theme of food and private parts, because what are boys if not minuscule men?

Before reading these, I just want you to know that Sarah and Aaron are wonderful parents, and nobody knows where their kids came up with this shit. Anyway, enjoy – drink up and crack up!

sandsquotes2

Don’t Drink That. Drink This!

Close your eyes and imagine the following scenario. You’re at a bar in Austin, TX with more than 50 taps on its wall. You’re looking at the menu and it’s divided into two categories: “Local Craft Beer” and “The Regular Shizzle.” You don’t know much about craft beer, and you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. You’re tempted to stick with a commercial beer you recognize, a beer you’ve seen on the shelves of almost every grocery store and gas station, a beer that has a taste you’re familiar with, but at the same time you don’t want to diss your local bar brethren who are all about dem craftitties. You think you should give a local beer a chance, but you have no idea where to start. Your waiter, who is a pink llama with the voice of Don Knotts continues to implore you, “WeeeeEEEeell, what’ll it be, stranger?”

Now open your eyes and wipe the tears away. Breath deeply and stop sobbing. I know what you’re thinking. Aside from MAYBE the llama part, this is a very real and very scary situation that people find themselves in every day. We all know there are plenty of folks out there who understand absolutely nothing about the craft beer world. Worse, there are those who think they understand, but they’ve got it all wrong, and they’ll recommend Blue Moon at the drop of a dirty beanie. I call those people, “assholes.” Don’t worry, though. Assholes aside, I believe that if a person is open to drinking any beer at all, somewhere deep inside of them, there’s a genuine craft beer nerd.

Finding this inner craft beer enthusiast is just a matter of choosing the appropriate gateway beer. A beer that opens the door to all of the craft beers around you and gives you a reason to appreciate your local selection of ales and lagers. A beer that lets you look Don Knotts llama square in his hideous, pink face and select, with confidence and certainty, a very delicious drink. I’m sure many of you remember which beer was your gateway into the land of malt and honey that is the craft beer scene. If you do remember, leave me a comment about the beer that started it all for you.

What? You haven’t found your gateway beer yet?! Then you’re welcome in advance that I’ve done the legwork in figuring out the perfect beer to help you spread your clumsy, drunken wings. Below is an outline of commercial beers you think you want vs. the Texas beers you actually want. These beers should all be relatively easy to find in the Austin area, so no excuses and no turning back now…

allbeers

To those who have never tried a microbrew before, best of luck losing your craft beer virginity! Unlike when you maybe actually lost your virginity, this will be fun. To those of you who are already familiar with the above suds, pick a favorite and show it how appreciative you are by placing it gently into your belly prison.

Auf Beer-dersehen!

Links to the aforementioned great Texas breweries: Real Ale, Austin Beerworks, Twisted X, Karbach, Live Oak, (512), Community, Lakewood, Independence, Pinthouse Pizza, Southern Star 

Beer Scouts

Lately, I’ve seen this article circulating the internet that gives various suggestions for pairing Girl Scout cookies with beer:

Beer Pairings for Girl Scout Cookies

The pairings are spot on, and will no doubt make for very delicious combinations. However, while reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder two things. 1) How am I going to afford all the beer I’ll need to go with the sixty-eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies I’m buying tomorrow? 2) What about the Boy Scouts?

When Girl Scout cookie season rolls around, it seems that everyone (especially the fatties [except for the fatties that eat children]) forget that Boy Scouts even exist. To be honest, I forget this no matter what season it is, but it’s about time somebody gave this group a little recognition, because Lord knows those poor Boy Scouts’ popcorn is no match for the guilty goodness of Girl Scout cookies.

That being the case, I hope I don’t burst your bubble when I tell you that I will not be doing popcorn and beer pairings for this post. I don’t make it a habit to pair beer with food when I write, partially because it’s not really my bag, and mostly because I don’t want to be blamed for your impending diarrhea. Instead, I’m going to be showcasing the hard working efforts of America’s Boy Scouts by pairing beers with the various activities I believe they earn badges for. Here goes:

badgefire

  • Helping an Old Lady Cross the Street – Parrot with Delirium Nocturnum because it tastes like prunes and so do old ladies.

badgewalker

  • Being Prepared – Parrot with Real Ale Fireman’s 4, because it’s a crowd pleaser and you should always have it on hand in preparation to satiate any beer drinker’s craving.

badgeprepared

  • Pitching a Tent – Parrot with Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA, because this beer is bonerific (and you’re going to want to hide your boner in the tent you built). Wink!

badgetent

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badgemower

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  • Sending Back Soup at a Restaurant – Parrot with Austin Beerworks’ Sputnik because just like Boy Scouts, this beer is bold and demands respect and it will NOT EAT SUB-PAR SOUP!

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  • Dealing with That Cranky Guy and Weird Bird from “Up” – Parrot with Founder’s Nitro Pale Ale because it’s light, smooth, and creamy like drinking a cloud.

badgeUpjpg

badgeknife

badgeIvy

And those are all the badges you need to be president of the country of your choosing. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and earn your badges, badges, badges, badges, badges, badges, badges, badges, badges, badges, badges, MUSHROOM, MUSHROOM!

Saison Wild Farmhouse Ale

Oddwood Ales

If beers were ducks, and in some countries they are, then Oddwood’s Saison is by all accounts a very odd duck indeed. To start, Oddwood Ales, lead by Taylor Ziebarth, is a contract brewery, so this beer is actually brewed and fermented using Adelbert’s Brewery‘s equipment. In my mind, being a contract brewer is like being a talented yet homeless gourmet chef (I’m sure we can all relate here), who has to hit up one of his not-homeless friends to use their kitchen and cooking utensils every time he wants to throw a dinner party. It’s exactly like that, so don’t even tell me I’m wrong.

Another thing that makes this beer a bit odd is the fact that it’s fermented in oak barrels with Belgian and Brettanomyces yeasts. If you don’t know about Brettanomyces, it’s a yeast strain that could be considered an off-flavor-causing contaminate, but when used with the right style of beer, it can actually enhance flavors and provide a lovely lift of sourness. With Oddwood’s Saison, this effect is described by the brewery as “glorious funk,” which I believe is a response to the age-old lyrics from “Flashlight” that go, “Most of all he needs the funk. Help him find the funk.” He also needs light, citrusy fruit and woody notes, which this Saison can help him find, too. Yes, Oddwood Saison Wild Farmhouse Ale is a fruity and funkadelicly fermented savior that has magically transformed a contaminate into a work of art.

9796_932586296753803_2856044652943698598_nThat being the case, it only makes sense to parrot with another work of art that literally alters trash into visual treasure. Luckily for us, Trash Dance, an amazing documentary by local filmmaker, Andy Garrison, is showing tonight (1/13/15) at 8/7c on PBS. To briefly summarize this film, Trash Dance is a story about a chrazy choreographer (Allison Orr) who barges into the lives of a bunch of garbage men and ladies, bowls them over with kindness and hard work, and then convinces them to take part in a gigantic dance spectacle based on their everyday work lives. It’s a beautiful film to behold, and no lizards were harmed during its making, but there were a couple dead cats involved. In short, it’s fun for the whole family!

Both Trash Dance and Oddwood Saison Ale are locally made gems that are best enjoyed together and as soon as possible. Trash Dance will only have one PBS premiere, and there is a limited supply of Oddwood Saison currently on shelves (I got mine at Sunrise Minimart on Anderson Ln., and there were just a few left). If you so happen to miss Trash Dance tonight, which you shouldn’t because I’ve heard whispers that skipping out on this movie is actually grounds for being banished to Hell, then you can find it on Netflix for now. If you miss out on Oddwood Saison, well, I don’t know what to tell you. You can’t DVR a beer. I’ve tried, and the ensuing disaster is one of many reasons we can’t have nice things.

Anyway, bottoms up to the tastiest trash in Austin!

(Update 1/16/15: PBS has made Trash Dance available to watch online until 1/29/15: Click to watch Trash Dance!)

Porter Culture

Porter Culture

What’s the best thing in 2015 so far? WRONG! My charming wit is the second best thing. The number one best thing is very different from wit. It’s a porter! Porter Culture, to be exact.

Porter Culture is the brooding brew by Hops and Grain that will take the “t” right out of “winter” and put an “n” in its place instead and so then it will be “winner” instead of “winter,” which is a completely different word. That’s called the alphabet, mi amigos. Get used to it because you’re gonna need a lot of letters to say “Oooooooooooooooooooooooh dang, that’s a good beer!”

Porter Culture is everything you would want in a porter. Roasty, smooth, warming, and full of butts. Drinking it will make you feel like you just stepped off the train into foggy London town, jauntied up to the bar with you crisps and your biscuits, set down your derby hat  and your tallywacker, then ordered a spot of tea, but realized that was stupid, and returned it for a delicious, traditional beer instead.

So what to pair Porter Culture with? I’m going to choose one thing to parrot with, but then mid-pairing, I’m going to pass this post off to a couple other people to finish what I started without reading anything I wrote.

I’d pair this beer with my favorite winter hat! Just like Porter Culture, my hat makes me feel warm and cozy when it’s cold out. It’s also a badass hat with a tassel and some llamas and it’s made of wool. Parrot with a beached whale that’s still alive and can speak English. It’s large, in charge, and asking for help. Sometimes it says, “You’re cool.” I would pair Porter Culture with horticulture, because nothing goes better with hard labor in the sun than  a dark, heavy beer. It’s even infused with garden veggies like tomatoes, squash, beets, and yams.

So there you have it. The truth behind Porter Culture. All full of butts and veggies. Enjoy!

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12 Days of Christmas: Pairing Recap!

It’s Christmas Day and nobody wants to work. So, to accommodate your lazy butt, I’ve compiled all the previous 12 Days of Christmas beer pairings into one convenient post. That’s my gift to you. You’re welcome to death.

Day 1: Noel De Calabaza

Pair with: A partridge in a bear tree.

Harvey Jolly Pumpkin partridge

Day 2: Holiday

Pair with: Two Squirtle gloves.

holidaycat  squirtlelove

Day 3: Krampus

Pair with: Three French horns.

KrampusCat questhorns

Day 4: Ebenezer Ale

Pair with: Four Mockingjays.

EbenezerCat QuestloveMockingjay

Day 5: Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

Pair with: Fried onion rings.

yulecat questloveonions

Day 6: Christmas Bomb

Pair with: Six Geezers Gaying…

christmasbombcat Questlove_uhoh

Day 7: Enjoy By 12.26.14 IPA

Pair with: Seven Swansons Swimming.

stonecat questloveswanson

Day 8: Sailing Santa

Pair with: Eight major milkies.

ziggysailingsanta QuestloveMilky

Day 9: Merry Maker

Pair with: Nine Tony Danzas.

merrymakercat tonydanza

Day 10: Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer

Pair with: Ten Lordes a leaping.

bourbonbarrelcat Questlove_Lordes_A_leaping

Day 11: Merry Christmas

Pair with: Eleven Pfeiffers fifing.

MerryChristmasCat questlovefifer

Day 12: Santa’s Little Helper

Pair with: Twelve drummers drumming.

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12 Days of Christmas, Day 12: Santa’s Little Helper

Mikkeller

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! The 12th day of Christmas! Let’s celebrate by getting drunk on beer! Or by drinking at least one, and it’d better be a good one.

giphyMy recommendation is Santa’s Little Helper by Mikkeller. This dark Belgian ale reminds me a little of the fruity candy I would get in my stocking when I was kid. This is probably because it’s brewed with dark candy syrup, orange peel, and coriander, and also because when I was growing up my parents ritualistically stuffed my stocking with Belgian beer and called it “candy”. Don’t worry, it helped me grow up big and strong. I can pick up a whole cat now. Before, I had to chop our cats in half in order to pick them up.

On that merry note, let’s get to pairing this beer. As you’re well aware by now, pairings for these Christmas beers have been provided by Questlove, drummer for The Roots. He’s sending me all of the gifts from the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but his drumming has compromised his hearing, causing him to misunderstand the lyrics, which, consequently, has lead him to send the wrong gift to me…every…damn…time. Let’s see how he screwed it up today.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Questlove gave to me: “Twelve drummers drumming.”

Oh my God, I don’t believe it! It’s a Christmas miracle! Questlove sent me the right present! What a rhythmic blessing.

Of course, it’s only natural that the drummers are none other than Questlove himself. Though, now that I look a little closer, I’m not sure any of them are actually drumming, but let’s not overlook the majesty of this heartfelt gift. It’s perfect. Santa’s Little Helper and twelve Questloves drumming is the perfect Christmas pairing.

From Questlove, to me, to you, then back to me again, with love, and with Questlove: Merry Christmas!

Now leave me alone for a while.


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