Let me preface this blog post by saying this: I attended OSU at a time when you couldn’t wait for the misery of football season to be complete — so basketball could start. When the words “tent,” “camping out” and “Gallagher-Iba Arena” were used in the same sentence. When I was glad I was sports editor at the school paper because I could get into all the games for free, even if I wasn’t allowed to cheer while I sat on press row.
So when I say that a few years ago I stopped caring about college basketball, I almost can’t believe it myself.
It went something like this:
-At OSU: Go to all the games. Go to Big 12 tourney. Go to NCAA tourney.
-First few years after graduation: Go to one or two games a year — when I could scare up tickets, which was rare — but put the fiancee on notice that I would be locked in front of the TV whenever they played.
-Next few years: Don’t go to any games. Put the wife on notice that I would be locked in front of the TV whenever they played, but if we had something big planned, I may miss a game or two here or there.
-Next few years: Make a note of days OSU is playing. If I’ve got nothing else going on, try to watch on TV.
-Next few years: Have no real concept of which days/times OSU is playing. Get all fired up because OSU knocks off Kansas somehow, but only watch the second half from a restaurant because someone texted me about the upset alert while I was out.
-Last couple years: Let’s see…
The easiest way to sum up the past couple years is to say that I haven’t cared about college basketball. Not just OSU, or Big 12, but college basketball as a whole. I used to dominate my NCAA tourney brackets back in the day. I knew which teams were good, who would match up well against who, who would pull the upset, etc. Then I started getting killed in the brackets. Beaten by game-picking dogs and stay-at-home moms and all manner of other bracket-picking trivialities. I was losing touch with the game.
The easiest explanation? I think it’s because OSU wasn’t good anymore. They weren’t a hot ticket. They weren’t making the NCAA tourney. They were losing in the first round of the NIT. And then last year, the shame: They finished below .500 and there was no postseason to speak of. I was burned out on college basketball, and quite frankly, tired of the losing. And to make it worse for OSU hoops, OSU’s football team was good. Now you cared about OSU football news in January and February, further distracting from college hoops. But in the end, it came down to the fact the basketball team wasn’t any good. Lose interest in your local/favorite team, and you lose interest in the league, and by extension, the sport.
So that brings us to this year. OSU basketball is winning games again, and therefore is relevant again. They’re playing well. And so, I care again. And not just about OSU. The Big 12 title race this year is awesome! Any of five or six teams still has a chance to win it. All that being said, I can understand the obvious question: If you only care about OSU basketball win they win, doesn’t that make you a bandwagon fan? To that, I would say this: I’m an OSU and Toronto sports fan. The majority of my life — not counting 1992 and 1993 (Blue Jays), 2004 (OSU hoops) 2012 (OSU football) – I have been mired in Loserland. My sports life has been one of fleeting hope and crushing, heart-wrenching defeat. Or just plain, old ineptitude.
So cut me some slack. It’s hard to really invest when year after year all you get are frustrating losses. It pushes you to the fringes. Now, I’m happy to see OSU basketball win a few games again, and I’m enjoying the ride. And in the process, college basketball matters again.
-Yet another new offering from Prairie Artisan Ales in the offing: Check out the label for Prairie Funky Galaxy, a galaxy-hopped black farmhouse ale.
-Looking for something to do on Valentine’s Day? TapWerks will feature not one, but two firkins of COOP DNR infused with cacao nibs on Thursday night.
-Speaking of TapWerks, in honor of Mardi Gras, they’re offering $2.50 cans of Abita IPA all week.
-Another free Kindle beer book available here.
-Here’s a list of chocolate-themed beers right in time for Valentine’s Day.
-Has the IOC never seen an old, Grecian clay pot with pictures of dudes wrestling painted on it? Dropping wrestling from the Olympics? Let’s just get rid of running and jumping, too. To put it bluntly, this just seems really dumb.
Had the chance to get an advance sample of Boulevard’s newest Smokestack Series offering: Grainstorm Black Rye IPA.
Overall, I thought this was an excellent beer. Up front you get a great hop aroma (provided by Citra dry-hopping) and a pronounced bitterness/flavor (Amarillo, Simcoe) that interacts evenly with the malt backbone. Boulevard said they wanted to avoid roast/chocolate notes, and they did well to give this beer a smooth, easy-drinking grain profile that lets the rye show through. It’s 7.7% ABV with 65 IBUs. I really enjoyed this — especially the citrusy character of the hops — and would recommend to anyone. You should expect to see this in stores around the middle of February.
-In case you missed it, here’s a link to my story in today’s Oklahoman about the growing trend of Oklahoma’s beer-makers seeking out-of-state sales. Kudos to all the local brewers who took some time to answer my many questions.
-Here’s some federal beer legislation news involving tax rates for small brewers.
-The latest CraftBeer.com online newsletter is out. Always a few interesting tidbits in here.
-Free Kindle homebrewing book right here.
For starters, you may not have realized that Marshall will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year. As part of the celebration, which will coincide with American Craft Beer Week in May, Marshall is planning to unveil a fifth-anniversary limited-bottle release.
Early word is that this will be a barrel-aged variation — Marshall’s first barrel-aged release — of their Revival Red Ale.
And speaking of Revival Red, the spring seasonal will return this year, along with this lineup of seasonals (release dates and descriptions provided by Marshall):
-Revival Red (Feb. 27): Revival Red is an American red ale which pays homage to our great state of Oklahoma (the 46th state to join the Union). This sessionable ruby-hued ale is perfectly suited to be enjoyed with the renewal that spring brings to the Red Dirt State each year. A balanced blend of six malts gives this ale a medium body and a savory malt base. Chinook and Cascade hops shape a wonderful citrusy hop profile and the addition of Centennial dry-hops enhances the fruity aroma. The result is a revival for your taste buds. (Blogger’s note: I LOVE CENTENNIAL!!!)
-Arrowhead Pale Ale (May 29): Arrowhead Pale Ale aims to quench the thirst of hot summer afternoons and warm evenings. Arrowhead is an American pale ale crafted to provide refreshment as a lighter, highly quaffable ale complimented by unique aromatic citrus notes that both tickle the nose and enliven the palate. Complexity, balance, and softness make Arrowhead Pale Ale a ridiculously easy-drinking summer seasonal.
-Oktoberfest Lager (Aug. 28): Break out the lederhosen and get ready for some good old Bavarian Gemütlichkeit … Oklahoma style. Marshall Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest is a beautiful deep copper-colored lager highlighted by a complex malt flavor, elegantly balanced by the bittering of noble German hops. This beer is extremely smooth and highly drinkable. Checking in at 6.0% ABV, Oktoberfest is truly a fest bier worth celebrating!
-Big Jamoke Porter (Oct. 30): Big Jamoke is an American robust porter named for the B-25 that Brewmaster Eric Marshall’s grandfather flew in WWII. 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.
In addition, Marshall has revealed a special line-up of limited-release, draft-only offerings for 2013. They are:
-Munich-style Dunkel (scheduled to be released shortly after Revival Red Ale), Klaus Hefeweizen (scheduled for a summer release), and other yet-to-be announced offerings.
And finally, expect the return of what I consider to be one of the state’s best beers — El Cucuy will be released in 22 oz. bottles ahead of Halloween, Marshall reports.
-TapWerks’ Thursday pint night today will feature a firkin of the raspberry-infused Mustang Imperial Court Stout. They’ll also have Winter Lager and Washita Wheat.
-McNellie’s OKC is seeking volunteers for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Email email@example.com if you are interested.
-Here’s another news update for the AB-InBev anti-trust case.
-I blogged earlier about Prairie Artisan Ale’s collaboration sour-citrus saison. Here’s the label art. Awesome.
-Freddy at the Biergarten reports that Goose Island will start to arrive this month — Honkers English Bitter, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Goose Island IPA, and whatever the current seasonal offering is — in kegs, with bottles to follow in March.
The bill was approved by the House Public Safety Committee by a vote of 11-1.
You can read more about the specifics of the bill by clicking right here.
So where does it go from here? The bill will now be advanced to a calendar committee to be scheduled for a vote on the House Floor.
If you would like to receive email updates about the bill as it works its way through the state Capitol, there’s a handy notification system you can sign up for right here.
On a separate note, I’m putting the finishing touches on an in-depth beer story for the Business section of Friday’s Oklahoman, so I’ll have to dispense with the Daily Pints for today. Cheers!
In 2010, Gov. Brad Henry signed a bill to legalize homebrewing in the state.
In 2011, there was a bill to allow wine and strong beer sales in grocery stores. The bill fizzled out, but did lead to the creation of a task force to look at the issue. Unfortunately, the task force also fizzled out.
Last year, a group aimed to get a state question on the election ballot that would ask voters to decide if wine sales would be allowed in grocery stores in the state’s 15 largest counties. The measure wouldn’t have involved strong beer, which raised a few eyebrows. Either way, the group put the plan on hold, saying they would circulate a petition in 2013 with hopes of having the question on the 2014 ballot.
And that brings us to 2013 and the latest beer-related bill — House Bill 1341. The bill would allow for licensed breweries in the state to provide on-premise samples to visitors.
The bill is set to come up for a vote at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in front the House Public Safety Committee.
Here are some key issues those who back HB 1341 are pointing out:
-Oklahoma winemakers are already allowed to serve on-premise samples
-The move would be good for local tourism
-The language of the bill is viewed as “very reasonable” by the state ABLE Commission
So how would it work? Licensed brewers would be able to offer up to 12 oz. of beer per day/per visitor. The samples would be free and would only be available from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Brewers would have to pay an Oklahoma excise tax on sampled beer.
You can read more details at the above links.
The bill’s backers are asking that you contact the listed legislators and encourage them to approve the bill and send it up the line.
-I just learned of a really cool-sounding weekly event for all you artistically inclined beer fans out there: Drink and Draw at Tree and Leaf Clothing. Each Thursday night from 8 to 11, Tree and Leaf, 8405 N Rockwell Ave., Suite #11, opens its doors to anyone who wants to tote along pencil and sketchbook for a free-form creative session. You don’t have to drink, but if you do, it’s BYOB. Little-known fact: I dropped out of Saturday morning art school when I was 8.
-Update from yesterday’s post: The Will Ferrell/Old Milwaukee Super Bowl spot actually aired in three markets, not just one. In addition to Sherman, Texas, it ran in Ardmore and Glendive, Mont.
-Here’s a minor Disney World beer update.
-Here’s a push for chocolate beer as the new official drink of Valentine’s Day. Reminder: TapWerks will feature a firkin of COOP DNR aged on cacao nibs on Valentine’s Day.
-Heads up for some new additions to the Oklahoma beer market: Bridgeport Smooth Ryed Ale, North Coast Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin and Sam Adams Double Agent IPL, and also the Sam Adams Spring Thaw variety pack featuring Double Agent, Boston Lager, Alpine Spring, Maple Pecan Porter, White Lantern and Irish Red. (Shout out to the BierGarten and Grand Cru for keeping beer fans up to speed on new arrivals.)
Maybe I’m just becoming more and more cynical. Maybe I’ve already seen it all. Maybe I’m so addicted to my iPhone/iPad that TV isn’t entertaining enough by itself any more. Whatever it was, last night’s Super Bowl commercials just didn’t do anything for me. I remember blogging about Super Bowl commercials a couple years ago, and struggling to narrow the list down to a favorite five. This year? Not so much. I didn’t really care about the baby Clydesdale, I wasn’t shocked or amused by the old people/Taco Bell ad, I’m tired of Doritos commercials, none of the beer commercials were funny, and I almost gagged while watching the super model/computer nerd Go Daddy commercial. Overall? Yawn. The funniest part of the night for me was seeing the censor asleep at the wheel when Joe Flacco shouted out “This is —-ing great!” during the post-game celebration on the field. So much for the seven-second delay.
The game, on the other hand, was great. Except for San Fran’s play calling on the crucial first-and-goal. The sprint-right-option was well-covered by Baltimore all night, and it wasn’t there at the end for sure. Otherwise, big plays galore. Momentum swings. A down-to-the-wire finish with a dash of controversy sprinkled in. Great stuff.
And then there was Will Ferrell. I blogged last Monday about Ferrell’s Old Milwaukee ad that aired only in North Platte, Neb. during last year’s Super Bowl. Ferrell and Old Milwaukee were back at it again last night with this gem, which reportedly aired only in the Sherman, Texas, market:
OK, on review, that does make me a touch uncomfortable. And still not any more likely to buy Old Milwaukee.
-In doing some research for a newspaper piece I’m working on, I learned that COOP Ale Works has plans to begin shipping beer out of state by the end of the year. Does this mean a brewery expansion is in the works, or that more beer will be available in cans? Stay tuned.
-Brewdog and Green Flash are popping up on liquor store shelves all over the state today. A Brewdog launch party is set for tonight at TapWerks, while McNellie’s Tulsa will hold a Green Flash pint night.
-McNellie’s OKC is hosting a Belgian beer dinner Tuesday night. The cost is $45 and includes a four-course meal featuring squid salad, bacon three ways, lamb shanks and clafoutis. Beers will include four of the following: Petrus Dubble Bruin, Piraat, Gulden Draak, Monk’s Cafe and/or Petrus Aged Pale. Reservations are required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Speaking of McNellie’s, the weekly Monday pint night at McNellie’s OKC is Smithwick’s.
-If you’re looking for beer/culinary creations, check out the Ale’s Kitchen blog. That’s where I found a great beer-brined turkey recipe for Thanksgiving.
-Here’s a follow on the AB-InBev anti-trust lawsuit.
Last night was one of those nights that will go down in the books of homebrewing lore as a truly legendary event — I celebrated my one-year anniversary as a homebrewer by bottling my latest batch. Well, that may be a touch dramatic. But I thought it was a great time to reflect back on what becoming a homebrewer has meant to me.
Let’s start with last night. My latest creation is a dry-hopped robust American brown ale that I believe is pretty tasty. I picked American brown because that was the first batch I ever brewed, using an extract kit from Brewer’s Best, and thought it would be neat to re-create and see how far I’ve come in a year.
For this batch, I did all-grain using brew-in-a-bag method with a modified sparge. I followed the recipe from “Brewing Classic Styles,” with a couple slight variations — one intentional, and one not.
The recipe called for horizon and Amarillo hops, so I bought a little extra and dry-hopped for four days with a blend of 1.5 oz. That was the intentional variation.
The non-intentional variation was making a five-gallon batch when the recipe called for six gallons. Oops. The end result? A robust brew checking in at 6.3 percent. I’m not part of the kegging world just yet, so the beer still has several days of carbonation and bottle conditioning ahead, but I feel pretty strongly this will be a good brew based on my preliminary field research — probably better than that first extract kit!
Reflecting back on the past year, I really am glad I got into homebrewing. I used to think I knew some stuff about beer. I mean, I never pretended to be any kind of expert or beer authority, but I felt confident I knew more than the average guy. Then I started making beer, and meeting other homebrewers, and quickly realized I really didn’t know much. A year ago, if someone said to me “I did all-grain using brew-in-a-bag method with a modified sparge,” I’d probably nod with a wide-eyed look while making a mental note to go home and Google what that guy just said. Now, that’s just a normal sentence anyone might utter.
But that’s not to say that I now think of myself as some expert. The truth about beer and beer-making, I’ve found, is that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. I mean, heck, just thinking about the numerous variations you could do in a single batch of beer with just one variety of hop can be too much to wrap your mind around.
But that’s the great thing about homebrewing — you can do it a million different ways, and in the end, you’ll end up with beer. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, of course. So far, I’ve found nothing wrong with getting to hold up a cold glass of tasty beer that I crafted myself. It’s really very rewarding. Plus understanding the process on a micro level helps me understand better on a macro level what some of my favorite craft brewers are doing, and that helps me know what I’ll enjoy and not enjoy.
Throw in how fun joint brew sessions are and the chance to try countless varieties of beer that other homebrewers have made, and it’s been a good year to be a homebrewer. I’m looking forward to an even more rewarding second year.
-Trying to finalize your Super Bowl beer plans? Well, you’ve still got the rest of today and Saturday to secure your (good) beer. You could go with the Baltimore vs. San Francisco angle: Flying Dog vs. Anchor.
-Keep your eyes open for this new offering coming soon from Boulevard: Grainstorm Black Rye IPA.
-Ever wanted a beer bottle opener that can shoot bottle caps?
-The guys over at Roughtail have updated their blog. The lesson? Find a good contractor.
-Tickets for the annual American Craft Beer Festival in Boston went on sale today.
-Also, American Craft Beer Week has been set for May 13-19.