Craft Beer 101: A History of Craft Beer

A Brief History on Beer

Beer is at least 7,000 years old, which totally makes sense if you think about what it actually is. Beer is really just a grain stew that's fermented with yeast... which when you put it that way makes it way more appetizing. Beer wasn't "invented" so much as it was an inevitability. Like Ross and Rachel ending up together in Friends. At some point however people started making it on purpose and playing around with what's in it. We know that beer was being made commercially by at least 2050 BC because of, what might be the coolest piece of history ever, the "Alulu Beer Reciept". Eventually regions adopted their own styles, developed new ones, and beer evolved into an industrial mainstay all over the world. Even in the US beer was a huge part of the local economy. in the late 19th century there were something like 4,000 breweries in the United States. Then prohibition happened and when the dust settles, the only ones left were the giants who had consolidated and could weather the storm. From there everything stayed pretty much the same for about 40 years. 

The Birth of the Craft Beer... Thing

If you went back in time to 1977 the beer aisle would look vastly different. Gone would be the hundreds of brewery options and the huge amounts of imports. There would be no ultra boozy stouts, no Farmhouse Ales, and, I shudder to think about it, no IPA's. You would see some imports, the ones that have been around forever, and you would see miles of huge brewery made light pilsners. Bud, Miller, Coors, Schlitz, Pabst... so hipster beer basically. If you were really lucky, and lived close to one of them, you might have gotten lucky enough to get some Anchor or one of the old guard in craft beer. 

That all changed in 1978 when President Gerald Ford passed a law allowing home brewing. Up until then it had been illegal to brew anything over something like 1% alcohol. From that point, things began to change. Breweries like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada came up and started making things that just weren't seen from commercial breweries. Pale Ales, stouts, honest to God German style Pilsners, and more started popping up in markets across the country. Sierra Nevada created their Pale Ale, a beer which is the Grandfather of any IPA or American Pale ale you've ever had. In Texas Celis started making Belgian Style beers. And in Louisiana, Abita got to work trying to figure out which beer goes best with Crawfish. 

As more and more people learned to brew, the more people drank, the more people drank, the more breweries opened up. in just 40 short years the United States went from fewer than 50 breweries in 1978 to over 6,000 now.

So What is Craft Beer?

 According to the Craft Brewers Association, craft breweries are small, independent, and traditional breweries. Each of those words means something specific though. Small means they must brew a maximum of six million barrels of beer a year, though in the last few years it would be more accurate to say that you can't make more beer than Samuel Adams, who just happens to make around 6 million barrels a year. Independent means that less than 25% of the brewery is owned or controlled by another Alcoholic Beverage company that is itself not craft. And Traditional means that the beer they make is brewed with traditional styles or means. 

Want to get into craft beer but don't know what you'll like? No problem, go to a brewery! Here in the Conroe area we have several and they'd love to have you by for a taste. 

Next week we'll get into what the difference between Ales and Lagers is. Spoilers: It's Yeast.

Live Music is Finally Here

90%  of our phone calls are made up of only three questions:

  1. Do we allow dogs? (Yes)
  2. Is there Crawfish there today (Only on the Weekends) and
  3. Do we have live music? 

The answer for the last one has been a combination of "Unfortunately No" and some form of "We're working on it" for quite some time. Well the answer to that question is now "Hell Yes".

Start looking for live performances by talented local areal musician on the weekends here at Deacon Baldy's in Magnolia and North Houston. Have someone you just have to see? Let us know and we'll try to bring them out. 

This Saturday we're welcoming our guest, Sammy Hundley from 8-11PM. See you then!

New Landscaping and Upcoming Plans for Deacon Baldy's

Bye, bye mud pit! We are almost complete with our new landscaping which features a paver walkway and beautiful (never browning) field turf. The guys at CLI Services (832-928-0558) are doing an amazing job. They are running overnight crews so they do not interrupt our normal service. It is currently pouring rain here (despite what the pictures look like) and there is no longer any mud you have to step though.

Our upcoming plans include: Live Music, Sun Shade Sails, Additional Seating, Games for Grown-ups, Trivia Nights, and upgrades to the kids play area.     

trying new Things - some suggestions

When I'm not serving beer or being attacked by my 18 month old son, I'm usually trying to convince people to try new things. I just don't understand people who always drink the same thing. There's this whole world of beverages out there and still, people limit themselves to one thing. It's totally baffling to me. Maybe you like a bunch of things but you don't know where to start with new things because, let's face it, the liquor store can be a daunting and unhelpful place. Who drinks Artichoke Liqueur? Why is that bottle named after a shade of green? And why in the hell would someone buy Tobacco Flavored Vodka? Here are three things you can find or make easily that you should absolutely take a chance on. 

1. Cocchi Rosa

I once heard this called The "Harbinger of  Summer", aside from definitely being the name of one of our Summer cocktails, it's a perfect description of this drink. It's a fortified Rose bittered with quinine, which technically makes it a Lilet (2 nerd points to me), and has a number of botanicals including dried rose petals.  It tastes like slightly bitter strawberries and it's amazing. Drink it on the rocks with a splash of soda.

2. Aperol

Aperol is the "gateway" amaro. If you've ever spent much time in Italy you have probably seen this before. It's bright, fruity, but bracing enough to stand out in a cocktail. It has rhubarb, bitter orange, and gentian as it's backbone flavors. It's a great way to start exposing yourself to more bitter things like Fernet's or Campari, plus at 11% ABV you can drink it all day. We like ours in prosecco with an orange twist. 

3. Gin cocktails

Roughly half the time I tell someone that a cocktail has gin in it, they balk. Gin can be overwhelming if you aren't used to it, or more specifically, normally drink Vodka, but it might be the single best spirit for making cocktails. There are way, way too many to name but I'd start with something easy like a Tom Collins. Gin, lemon, sugar, club soda. Thank me later. 

New Spring Cocktails

I love Spring. Something about drinking outside when it's warm just makes it worth rolling out of bed in the morning. Few things are more satisfying that a well balanced, refreshing cocktail. We wanted our Spring cocktail lineup to reflect the fresh produce available now and some ingredients that we love for the Spring that you may not be familiar with. We're adding Six new cocktails to the menu and bringing back a favorite.

1. Strawberry Basil Smash

A smash is, loosely defined, any cocktail made with a spirit, sweetener, and an herb. So if you have been to the bar Julep in Houston (and you should), this is probably familiar to you. We muddle fresh strawberry and basil together with some simple syrup and shake it with Ford's Gin (You REALLY want the Gin. Resist the urge to substitute Vodka), Lime Juice, and some Cocchi Americano Rosa.

2. Blackberry Caipirinha

A near constant in Brazil, the Capirinha is just starting to catch on here in the States. Made with Cachaca (Ca-Sha-Sa) instead of Rum, the Brazilian counterpart to the Daiquiri tends to be a little less sweet and a little more tart. We basically take a standard caipirinha and add some of our house made Backberry Syrup for a nice bright boost.

3. Aperol Spritz

Aperol is a slightly bitter, slightly sweet, but enormously delicious beverage. It's an Italian Amaro made with bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and a bunch of other things. We add some crisp prosecco, a twist of lemon, and boom, you have your new favorite drink. Incidentally this is also fantastic with the Cocchi Rosa I mentioned above instead of Aperol. You should probably try both just to make sure.

4. Sazerac

One of America's oldest cocktails, the sazerac is a specialty of New Orleans. We make ours with Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, sugar, water, peychaud and aromatic bitters, and a lemon twist served chilled in a glass with an herbsaint rinse. 

5. Sangria

Sangria is a little bit like crawfish or piecrust in that everyone who makes it is totally convinced that they make the best in the known universe. Ours is, incidentally,  the best in the known universe. We keep it simple, though we won't tell you everything in it for two reasons: 1) Sangria is basically the wine world's trashcan punch . Experiment and use whatever you have lying around. Odd's are it will be delicious.  2) Because I don't want to get yelled at by people who take Sangria way, way too seriously. I'm looking at you Steve. We use a Tempranillo, add things to it, and serve with ice and enough fruit garnishes to justify calling it a fruit salad on your fitness app.

6. The Tidy Harry

My friend Harry made this drink. The ingredients aren't... things I would have chosen to put together, but dammit is it delicious. Huckleberry Vodka, Campari, Cranberry Juice, Sprite. Don't think to hard about what's in this drink. Just order it when it's hot outside. Thanks me later. I'll be the one in the corner trying to figure out how all these things ended up in the same glass in the first place.

7. Pimm's Cup

Making it's second appearance on our menu, this is just one of those drinks you have to drink when it's warm, which luckily for us, is 10 months out of the year. Pimm's No. 1 is a Gin based... Liquer(?) with fruit juices, herbs, and spices. The British put it in sparkling lemonade; we do our a little differently. We fortify it with some more Gin (just a touch) and shake it with lemon juice, simple syrup, cucumbers, and top it with soda. It's also great with ginger beer, but that's another drink.

Cheers!

 

 

The Charity Beer

Charity Beer

Deacon Baldy passed away over two years ago now but every week I still meet someone at the bar whose life he touched in some way. Every once in a while, if I'm really lucky, I'll learn something new about Mike. Mike was a pilot and flew planes for as long as I knew him, but last week I met someone from a local airfield who said he remembered Mike and all the Angel Flights he did. Not only did I not know that Mike had been doing Angel Flights, I didn't know what they were. An angel flight, as it turns out, is when a pilot provides free travel for someone in need, usually for medical treatment. Incredible right? As it turns out, Mike had done a great number of them, usually for treatment at MD Anderson, according to the gentleman. 

There are many attributes one could attach to my friend but one that no one could argue with was "unfailingly generous". One of the fruits of that generosity is the MGM foundation. The MGM (Mike Gene Mims) foundation is a 501(c)(3) that exists to give money to organizations that reflect the value of the foundation and their Catholic Faith. 99% of all money in the fund goes directly to charities. Some of the things that they have supported in the past include, but are now limited to Houston Marine Moms, St. Jude's Cancer Research Hospital, Cystic Fribrosis, Tough Mudder (Wounded Warrior Project), Pope Paul VI Institute, Texas Legacy Volleyball Club, and immunizeUSA.

Beginning this week, we will have one beer on our wall marked as our "Charity Beer". One Dollar of every beer sold from that tap will go directly to charity. We will begin by giving to the MGM foundation, in honor of Deacon Baldy, and in the future will take up the mantle for other causes for which we can support. 

So the next time you see a little Deacon Baldy's Head under a tap, know that your beer is going to a good cause. We want to be like Mike. This is as good a start as any.

Stoutfest

As winter fades into Spring I think it's important to have one last hurrah for the king of winter beers, the Stout. Like many of you, my home beer fridge is filled to the brim with bottles of limited release beers that I'm just waiting for an excuse to open. Our fridge at Deacon Baldy's is not different. We bought up as much stock as we could for the winter and now as we find the thermometer rising we decided we need to celebrate the end of Winter and the arrival of Spring in the only way that is appropriate, tapping a bunch of huge, sticky stouts. We're tapping 10 big ass stouts next Saturday the 25th and since we've been told it's "not responsible" to try and hoard them all for ourselves, we've decided to invite you to help, andfor the record, yes, we know it will probably be warm. Here is what we'll have on tap in no particular order:

  • Prairie: Pirate Bomb - A Rum Barrel aged Imperial Stout on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers.
  • Saint Arnold: Bishop's Barrel 8 - A Russian Imperial Stout aged in Woodford Reserve Barrels.
  • Goose Island: Bourbon County Stout - The 2016 Vintage of their seminal work; a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
  • Brash: Vulgar Display of Power - A Monster of a Russian Imperial Stout
  • The Bruery: So Happens It's Tuesday - The more affable, if you can call 14.7% affable, version of their brewery only beer "Black Tuesday". An American Imperial Stout
  • Prairie: Paradise - An Imperial Stout aged on Coconut and Vanilla
  • Karbach: Good Golly Miss Molly Their "Three Legged Lab" Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniels Barrels
  • Oskar Blues: Ten Fidy - Imperial Stout. The "lightest" of our 10 Stouts at a "meager" 10.5%.
  • Avery: Vanilla Bean Stout - An Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels with 3 varietals of Vanilla
  • Epic: Big Bad Baptist - An Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels with cocoa nibs and coffee.