So did you take off work today and block off your schedule to catch the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl? I know I did. Well, not really. But I did sit down to watch the Holiday Bowl last night. Thanks to my pick of Nebraska I am now 1-for-2 in my second-chance Big 12 football picks, which I made here. I’d like to add that I said it would be a miracle if Arizona scored more than 15 points. I nailed that one. If you watched last night, you’ll know it would have been a miracle for Arizona to score any points. Talk about a lousy bowl game effort for the Wildcats and their fans. Anyway, bowl season really kicks into gear today, tomorrow and Saturday. The three-day span will feature 15 games. Good times.
On the beer front, Marshall reports record-breaking sales of its new porter, Big Jamoke. I can attest to this personally. I stopped by my usual liquor store last night and didn’t see any on the shelf. The proprietor told me he ordered some, but Marshall ran out before they could deliver any to him. Fear not, though, Marshall says they are brewing more as we speak and have a bottling planned within the next two weeks.
Also in beer news:
-Mustang says you should expect an announcement soon on a location for their Oklahoma brewery.
-Looks like COOP will break out two new beers. Although I’m getting this from a slightly cryptic Twitter post and I’m waiting on an e-mail to confirm, I can tell you it looks like a 9 percent Black Framboise and something they’re calling F5 IPA. Great name!
Well, that’s all she wrote for The Thirsty Beagle in 2009. Have a great New Year’s celebration tonight. Enjoy some nice beer, but don’t give beer a bad name, if you know what I mean. I’ll see you next year!
This actually was on the racks and online last week, but I forgot to post it here. I initially put up a smallish post about Choc’s upcoming home brewing contest. I went into more detail in my column. Here you go:
So maybe you fancy yourself quite the home-brewing savant.
You probably wonder how anyone can drink half the stuff out there. After all, it certainly doesn’t measure up to the liquid gold you’re hand-crafting in your garage.
If only you had a chance to prove your mastery, right?
Well, now you have the chance.
The fellows at Choc Beer recently announced their first home brewing contest: Brew at Choc. This contest is wide open, and first prize really is something to raise a glass to.
For starters, any beer type is allowed. Choc sales and marketing director Zach Prichard said they considered specifying a certain beer type, but decided to leave it open to allow brewers to be creative. They even encourage non-traditional styles. Prichard said the idea of a home brew contest was a natural for Choc.
“We owe a lot of our success to home brewing,” he said. “Our brewery started out as a very crude homebrew around 90 years ago. So it seems like a great way to honor and recognize this tradition while at the same time exposing ourselves to some new ideas.”
Prichard said the guys at Choc are looking forward to seeing what home brewers have to offer. The experience will even help them get their own creative brewing juices flowing, he said.
So how do you enter? Just make your beer and drop it if off at Choc, or mail it in to the brewery, along with a brief description of the ingredients and brewing process. Simple, right? The deadline is Feb. 26.
And how about that first prize? The winning beer will be brewed by Choc and sold in liquor stores alongside other offering in Choc’s Brewmaster’s Signature Series. On top of that, the brewery will enter the beer in the 2010 Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
I wondered to Prichard what would happen if they didn’t get a really good beer. You know, would that make them hesitate to follow through on brewing it and entering it in competition?
Prichard said their problem likely won’t be getting one good beer, but picking from several good ones.
“A lot of time the smaller home setups allow brewers to take more chances, be more creative, and in turn produce remarkable beers,” he said.
The Choc brewery is located at 120 SW 8th, Krebs, OK 74554. Have questions about the contest? E-mail Prichard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be checking the mail today for my free plane tickets and hotel reservation for Vegas, because with the way I’m picking bowl games this year, I would be a sports book’s best friend. If you read yesterday’s bowl prediction post, you’ll know that I picked Georgia to win the game over A&M. Only problem? I picked them to win a close game. Not by like, you know, 700 points. So, my bowl picking ineptitude continues. I stand at 0-for-1 on my second-chance Big 12 picks. I’m not giving up hope of running the table. Although, the debacle at Texas Tech certainly doesn’t improve my chances of the Red Raiders covering the spread in the Alamo Bowl. Oh well.
In beer news, if you’re still looking for something to do New Year’s Eve, the Prohibition Room is offering an open bar and hors d’oeuvres special for $60. Yes, that’s right, I said open bar. Pretty crazy. If you’ve never been to the Prohibition Room, they have a very nice selection of local beer on tap.
Also, COOP Ale Works has announced an open house at the brewery at 7 p.m. Jan. 9. Tours, music and samples will be on tap. All are invited.
Every year The Thirsty Beagle organizes a quaint little bowl picking contest among friends and family. Usually, I’m in the running until the end. This year, not so much. If my life had depended on picking games against the spread this year, I’d be dead. How does 2-for-10 sound? I know. Ouch. But, due to the magic of this thing called “running your own beer and sports blog,” I’m giving myself a second chance. Since Texas A&M and Georgia will kick off the Independence Bowl any minute now, and since that’s the first of eight bowl games involving Big 12 schools, I’m going to wipe the slate clean and pick these eight games like I’ve never picked before. Or at least better than I’ve been doing so far. Hopefully.
1. Independence Bowl: Georgia (-7) vs. Texas A&M
Georgia could be in line to really mail this one in. They went from preseason national favorite to 7-5 and Shreveport in December within the span of about 16 months. Meanwhile, Texas A&M can really score, they played well offensively against Texas in their last game, but defensively they’re certainly no world-beaters.
The pick: I think A&M will lose, but cover the spread. Georgia 29, Texas A&M 28.
2. Holiday Bowl: Arizona (-1.5) vs. Nebraska
There was so much parity in the Pac 10 this year, it’s hard to tell how good Arizona really is. One thing is certain, though: It’ll be a miracle if the Wildcats score more than 15 points against Nebraska’s defense.
The pick: I’m going to take Nebraska to win straight up, 12-9.
3. Sun Bowl: Oklahoma (-8) vs. Stanford
No secret that OU did not fare well in its two non-conference games against non-cupcake opponents. Then throw in the fact that OU surely must feel a let-down when you go from several straight BCS games to the Sun Bowl. And believe me, something like “giving a crap about the game you’re about to play” really does make a difference. But with Stanford’s quarterback situation uncertain and OU’s defense in good shape, this really isn’t that hard of a choice in terms of who’ll win. Who will cover? Of course that’s not as easy.
The pick: I’m going to go with an OU win, but a Stanford cover. Final score: 27-21.
4. Texas Bowl: Missouri (-6.5) vs. Navy
Missouri started to put things together a little bit as the year progressed, and having the quarterback Gabbert healthy will be a big plus. Navy doesn’t really do anything for me.
The pick: Missouri wins and covers, 31-20.
5. Insight Bowl: Minnesota (-2.5) vs. Iowa State
I do not want to pick Iowa State in this game. I repeat: I DO NOT want to pick them. If there was an award for most average team, this might be your winner. This is a team that is only 6-6, and would have been 5-7 and out of the bowl picture pretty easily if Nebraska hadn’t turned the ball over EIGHT(!) times on its home field. So I really don’t want to pick Iowa State. But this is a Big 10 opponent we’re talking about. If I had one rule all year, it was that the Big 10 sucks. So, here goes. I just can’t win this one.
The pick: Minnesota wins a thriller, and covers, 17-14.
6. Cotton Bowl: Mississippi (-3) vs. Oklahoma State
I don’t know what to make of Oklahoma State. Except for the Houston game, the defense really did pretty well all year. The unit wasn’t terrible against Texas, which was gifted a couple touchdowns by Zac Robinson and his band of receivers. They weren’t bad against Oklahoma, which only pulled away after the offense left the D hanging out to dry. So perhaps they won’t be bad against Ole Miss. Problem might be the aforementioned offense, which for the most part went into hiding when it got smacked in the mouth.
The pick: Mississippi takes a relatively low-scoring affair, 23-17.
7. Alamo Bowl: Texas Tech (-8) vs. Michigan State
This will most certainly feel like a home game for Texas Tech. Will they score like they’re at home? Maybe they won’t light up the scoreboard, but there’s no way I’m taking two Big 10 teams.
The pick: Texas Tech wins and covers, 34-24.
8. BCS Championship Game: Alabama (-5) vs. Texas
Texas ran into probably the country’s best defense in the Big 12 title game, and all the sudden everyone jumped off the bandwagon. In my view, they might be a little underrated at this point. Not saying Alabama’s not good, just that the five-point line might be a little high. That being said, I’ve got a certain feeling about Texas. Let’s just hope it’s not the same feeling I had when I made my original bowl picks.
The pick: Texas 24, Alabama 20
The latest offering from Marshall Brewing Co. — Big Jamoke — is expected in liquor stores today. Here’s a news release sent out by the brewery:
Ladies and Gentleman: Big Jamoke has left the building…Look for our newest release to be available in liquor stores in 22 oz. bombers starting December 23rd.
Big Jamoke is an American Robust Porter named for the B-25 that Brewmaster Eric Marshall’s grandfather flew in WW II. A blend of five malts from Munich to Chocolate provide a deep mahogany color and aroma of toffee and roasted coffee. On the palate this beer is full-bodied with hints of bittersweet chocolate and toffee… while finishing smooth and dry from the addition of earthy hops. Suggested pairings: Brie or other earthy cheese, ham, barbeque, smoked meats, and any bittersweet chocolate dessert such as espresso flavored lava cake. ABV – 6.8%. IBU – 55.
If you’re looking for something to do tonight, you happen to have a Santa costume at hand, you like to drink beer, and you don’t mind running, then I’ve got just the thing for you: Oklahoma City’s first Santa Pub Run. I’m not sure who is sponsoring this event, but it seems pretty well orchestrated. Here’s a Facebook post/e-mail that is making the rounds:
The inaugural Santa Pub Run will be a new local holiday tradition that you can’t miss. And best of all, it’s FREE to take part!! Everyone must dress as Santa (to some extent at least!) in order to participate. Then, all of us Santas will run from pub to pub spreading lots of Holiday beer, I mean cheer! We will meet at McNellie’s at 4:30pm, and from there we shall run in a southerly direction to pubs in the Bricktown locale, stopping at each for a beverage or two before proceeding to the next pub, finally ending up at the end of the night where it all started, McNellie’s!
This is an open invite, so everyone’s invited! The more, the merrier! Bells are highly encouraged!!! If you can’t make it to McNellie’s at 4:30pm, you can meet us at one of the many stops we’ll be making, or you can just meet us at McNellie’s following the run (although when that will be is uncertain!).
Please run and drink responsibly! If you think you can’t run, walk. Or jump into one of the “sleighs” that will be following us as we run. Safety first, and that goes double for Santas!
Be sure to bring money for any beverages you wish to enjoy!!!
Santa Pub Run 2009 Route:
1. Start at McNellie’s at 4:30pm
2. Stop #1 – Deep Deuce Grill (Mile 1.52)
3. Stop #2 – Tapwerks (Mile 1.85)
4. Stop #3 – Coach’s (Mile 1.90)
5. Stop #4 – Bricktown Brewery (Mile 2.25)
6. Run by Christmas Lights at Myriad Garden (Miles 2.57 – 3.05)
7. Run by Oklahoma City National Memorial (Mile 3.68)
8. Run by Christmas Lights at Automobile Alley (Miles 3.85 – 4.14)
9. Final Stop – McNellie’s (Mile 4.55)
Here’s the latest installment in my Five Questions With… series. Today I bring you an interview with Bryan Simpson, media relations director for New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo.
1. The Thirsty Beagle: First off, not everyone in Oklahoma has the chance to drink New Belgium beers, since the beer is not shipped here. My understanding is that the beers must remain cold, and since full-strength beer in Oklahoma liquor stores cannot be cold, thus the lack of New Belgium in this state. Is that a correct understanding of the situation?
Bryan Simpson: That … is accurate. It’s also not a traditional three-tier system but I can’t comment too much on OK laws for fear of not being 100 percent accurate. Regardless, it would be a tricky negotiation and we have no current plans for that.
2. TTB: Whether they see it at the liquor store or not, most people around here are familiar with Fat Tire. Is that your most popular beer? What other beers are doing well for you guys?
B.S.: Fat Tire is definitely keeping the lights on but we find our seasonal release program does very well in many markets. That consists of four beers rotated throughout the year. Craft drinkers are a curios lot and they crave continued innovation so that’s a great place for us to play around. Beers like Skinny Dip (summer), Hoptober (fall), and Frambozen Raspberry Brown Ale and 2 Below (winter) exemplify the category. Beyond that, Mothership Wit (organic wheat beer) and 1554 Enlightened Black Ale have strong followings.
3. TTB: I’ve written in my blog about New Belgium — the bicycles, the employee-first attitude, the environmentalism; is working there really a dream job for someone in the beer industry?
B.S.: I’d have to say it definitely is a dream job. I’ve been here 12 years and had no intention of staying longer than my first summer throwing boxes. We are an employee-owned company that practices open book management so co-workers are expected to be engaged in the business of running the business on a daily basis. It’s a creative, supportive environment where you are encouraged to take risks and bring your best self every day. Those are big benefits to me. There’s also a 12-pack a week and a shift beer and a free cruiser bike at one year’s employment and an all expenses paid trip to Belgium at five years. So, it’s like no other business culture I’ve ever encountered.
4. TTB: I saw a link on your Web site for 2 Below Winter Ale; nothing goes with Christmastime like beer, I think. What other seasonal beers can you recommend?
B.S.: Our other winter beer, Frambozen, is a raspberry brown ale that goes great with holiday meals like turkey, dark meats, etc. Our La Folieis a very rare beer – aged three years in oak barrels. This one is a sour brown ale so the flavor is far down the road toward a green apple kind of sour. It’s a beautiful beer but challenging if you don’t know much about it. This is part of our Lips of Faith program – a series of beers that really push the envelope using fruit, spices, esoteric yeast strains and a lot of creative juju.
5. TTB: We see more and more where the mega-breweries are introducing craft-style beers nowadays, or even spinning off entire craft-style breweries. Is this really just a reaction to the success of brewers like New Belgium?
B.S.: You look at the numbers and craft beers are growing an audience of curious and highly savvy fans. It’s not a surprise that people want to tap into that. At the end of the day, knowledge begets curiosity and craft drinkers will sample around and generally find a few brands the remain loyal to. Most folks know the difference.
Choc Beer announced this morning that their GABF golf medal-winning Belgian Dubbel will be released on tap in January at select locations in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and McAlester. By coincidence, I had my first taste of the Dubbel last night. Let’s say this: when Choc brewmaster Michael Lalli told me the beer was deceivingly drinkable, he hit the nail right on the head. The Dubbel is quite possibly one of the smoothest 8 percent beers I’ve ever tried. It is a really nice beer. You need to try it. Like, now. And when you’re drinking it, you can make comments about how deceivingly drinkable it is. No need to thank me. Here’s the press release Choc issued today:
Choc Beer Company’s Gold Medal winning Brewmaster’s Signature Series Belgian Dubbel will soon be available on draft. This award winning, world class beer will be offered for the first time ever on draft the weekend of January 8 & 9th in select establishments around Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and McAlester. This special offering by Choc Beer Company will allow Oklahomans to experience a world class, local product at some of their favorite establishments.
The Gold Medal Dubbel will be available in five locations across Oklahoma as part of Choc Beer Dubbel on Draft Weekend. In the Oklahoma City area Choc’s Gold Medal Dubbel will be available at James E. McNellie’s Public House (1100 Classen Drive) and Iron Star Urban Barbeque, Norman (575 S. University Blvd., Ste 110). Tulsa locations include James E. McNellie’s Public House (409 E. 1st St.) and Indigo Joe’s Sport’s Pub and Restaurant (10438 82ndE. Ave. Ste. 102). In McAlester the Gold Medal Dubbel will be available at 1896 (315 E. Choctaw Ave.). Sales/Marketing director Zach Prichard explained, “These bars and restaurants were chosen due to their continued and focused commitment to local, exceptional craft beers.” The Gold Medal Winning Dubbel is currently available in liquor stores and select bars across Oklahoma in bottles.
Brewmaster Michael Lalli is excited to release the beer on draft adding, “We were able to hold back these kegs and let the beer age just a little longer. That extra time really comes through in the taste.” Lalli went on to say the supply is very limited and he does not expect this batch of Gold Medal Dubbel to last longer than Dubbel on Draft Weekend, “Our biggest problem right now is finding time in our production schedule to produce more.”
Choc’s Dubbel took home a Gold Medal in the Belgian Abby Ale category at last September’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. This marked the first Great American Beer Festival Gold for an Oklahoma brewery and Choc Beer Company’s first medal since a bronze for Choc 1919 (then simply Choc) at the 2000 festival. The competition is one of the largest and most prestigious commercial brewery completions in the world. The Great American Beer Festival lists the criteria for Gold Medal winners as, “A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.”
Choc’s Gold Medal Winning Dubbel pours a deep ruby red with a sizeable head. The taste is malty with enough phenols and esters from Belgian yeast to bring the complex flavors into balance, true to the style’s Belgian origins. Due to the beer’s higher alcohol content (8% abv) establishments are encouraged to only pour ten ounce servings.
Got a few newsy items to pass your way today on the local beer scene.
1. Marshall is releasing a new beer in 22 oz. bottles next week: Big Jamoke. Here’s what they have to say about it:
Big Jamoke is an American Robust Porter named for the B-25 that Brewmaster Eric Marshall’s grandfather flew in WW II. A blend of five malts from Munich to Chocolate provide a deep mahogany color and aroma of toffee and roasted coffee. On the palate this beer is full-bodied with hints of bittersweet chocolate and toffee…while finishing smooth and dry from the addition of earthy hops. Suggested pairings: Brie or other earthy cheese, ham, barbeque, smoked meats, and any bittersweet chocolate dessert such as espresso flavored lava cake. ABV – 6.8%. IBU – 55. Available in 22 oz bottles next week.
The beer is expected in liquor stores Dec. 23.
2. Mustang Brewing Co. has added a line of apparel and accessories that you can purchase on their Web site.
3. COOP’s latest offering — Oak Aged Imperial Stout — is available on tap at the Deep Deuce Grill now.