Southwest Brewing News June/July 2013 : Page 1
By Bev Blackwood II Brewer Ray Mitteldorf haunts the cozy, glass-enclosed brewhouse at the Faust Hotel and Brewery. PHOTO BY BEV BLACKWOOD II . By Chris L. Whitehead Walter Byers (l) pours a wet one at the Hoppy Monk in El Paso, Texas. PHOTO Ashly serves a suds with a smile at one of the many Yard House locations. PHOTO COURTESY OF YARD HOUSE. COURTESY OF THE HOPPY MONK. I t’s understandable if you’re getting a little excited now that summer is here. Your favorite good beer bar is dusting off the patio furniture and opening up the umbrellas. The session beers are going on tap. And this may mean many happy hours and evenings being spent with friends, family and your favorite craft beer. You can’t ask for anything bet-ter than that. Try these Taps One place to find good beer is the Yard House. Now with locations in 16 states, it’s easy to see why it grew from one that opened in Southern California in 1996. The concept is named after the three-foot-tall ale glass originally designed in 17th century Great Britain, which according to legend was the same size of glass handed to stagecoach drivers after a long journey. This establishment is no stranger to serving a large variety of handcrafted beers. The possibility of not finding a beer you’d like is probably impossible See Crafty page 3 he Faust Hotel isn't haunted, at least not in the sense you'd expect. “I usually say, “Do you want it to be or not?”” laughs owner Vance Hinton. “I’ve never had any experiences that would lead me to believe that [it is].” Indeed, the “haunting” claim is primarily based on some rather amateurish YouTube videos rather than any past tragedies or crimes that took place on the premises. “If you’re going to post stuff online, at least post stuff that’s semi-believable,” states manager Dana Cummins. “I sat by myself in this bar a lot. I have nothing to confirm or deny, so it’s really just up to you,” she says. Having a lot of spare time to contemplate the paranormal wasn’t so unusual before the Faust’s brewpub was brought back to life. Indeed, the entire hotel was haunted by the mistakes of past management. Exorcising See Faust page 5 From the Editor .................................. 2 Event Calendar ....................................4 Best of Show ......................................6 Directories & Maps .........................12-15 Neveda ..........................7 Arkansas .......................8 Oklahaoma ....................9 New Mexico ................. 10 So. Cal ........................ 16 San Diego .................... 17 S/C/E Texas ................. 18 Austin ......................... 19 N/W Texas ................... 21 C Arizona ....................22 S Arizona .....................22 N Arizona ....................23 ILLUSTRATION BY: HANS GRANHEIM
Some Crafty Bars In The Southwest
Chris L. Whitehead
It’s understandable if you’re getting a little excited now that summer is here. Your favorite good beer bar is dusting off the patio furniture and opening up the umbrellas. The session beers are going on tap. And this may mean many happy hours and evenings being spent with friends, family and your favorite craft beer. You can’t ask for anything better than that.
Try these Taps
One place to find good beer is the Yard House. Now with locations in 16 states, it’s easy to see why it grew from one that opened in Southern California in 1996. The concept is named after the three-foot-tall ale glass originally designed in 17th century Great Britain, which according to legend was the same size of glass handed to stagecoach drivers after a long journey. This establishment is no stranger to serving a large variety of handcrafted beers. The possibility of not finding a beer you’d like is probably impossible With a minimum of 130 taps (at each location) and up to 250 taps in their flagship Long Beach, California location. The draft beer selection is based on customer popularity. Working closely with local brewers in all their markets allows them to continually offer an endless selection of local handcrafted beers. Greg Howard and Dan O’Donnell are the masterminds behind the Yard House’s new Chalkboard Series.This is a rotating selection of five draft beers and five bottle offerings. The five draft beers are selected monthly and offer some of the most unique and complex local, domestic and imported brews. The bottle program features limited, seasonal or hard-to-find rarities that rotate with the seasons. Director of Beverage Kip Snider informs, "Our Chalkboard Series is a true living and breathing thing. Depending on the popularity, the beer may only run two days or the full month." So when you find a beer that you love, get it while you can. The Yard House’s welcoming environment is built around its award-winning food, beer taps as far as the eye can see, colorful abstract artwork, classic rock music and flat screens in every direction.
How often do you hear of a pub being named after a novel? Well, that holds true for a concept in Texas. The Ginger Man was born in 1985 in an old house in Houston, Texas and named after the writings of J.P. Donleavy. With several locations in Texas, they still stay true to their roots and serve well over 100 specialty beers on draught and in bottles. Every location offers an outside beer garden and comfortable seating inside. So grab some friends, pick your favorite pint and enjoy.
The place to be Saturday, June 22 is craft beer pub The Hoppy Monk in El Paso, Texas. Dogfish Head is taking over 20 of their 70 taps. Bitches Brew, Noble Rot and Birra Etrusca are just a few of the handcrafted beers you will be able to enjoy. Along with the great draught choices, there are also 170 more choices in bottles. Two of the bestselling Texas crafted beers are St. Arnold Fancy Lawnmower and Real Ale Brewhouse Brown. Located close to the New Mexico border, The Hoppy Monk also features New Mexico beers, specifically Santa Fe Brewing Company’s Happy Camper IPA and Java Stout.
The Hoppy Monk isn’t just a good beer bar either. Co-Owner Joseph Valenzuela informs, "In addition to the awesome craft beer that we feature, we strive to also have delicious craft food to go along with it and incorporate beer into many of our recipes." The Hoppy Monk opened their doors Christmas Eve of 2010 in El Paso and opened their kitchen November of 2011. San Antonio residents should be excited to learn a Hoppy Monk location will be opening in winter 2013.
Loving the Locals
If and when you are traveling through Oklahoma City, a tasty establishment you need to drop in on is the Republic Gastropub. With 100 unique beers drawn from custom taps and close to 250 handselected bottles from around the world, there is no shortage of thirst-quenching selections. Oklahoma’s COOP Ale Works has built a very strong following and it shows, as their F5 IPA and DNR are consistently the top local handcrafted beers sold. The wheat category is dominated by local offerings from Mustang Brewing, Marshall Brewing and Choc. The newest innovation for Republic is its beer socials that are held on the patio. Once the chef is notified of the “flight” lineup of beers for the evening, he then creates a small plate Of “composed bites” to pair with each beer option. The guest can then chose a favorite beer from the pairing and receive a full pint.
If you’re searching for a pub that gives you that neighborhood cookout feel of sitting around with your friends on the back patio sipping a nice handcrafted beer on warm summer day, then James E. McNellies Public House in Tulsa, Oklahoma is the place to be. Totaling 350 beer choices, this pub has a great selection of hard-to-find draught and bottled beers. In 2004, founder Elliot Nelson opened a second location in Oklahoma City. Both pubs are involved in their communities and work closely with the local microbreweries by always offering a wide selection on craft beers on tap. Due to the welcoming atmosphere, if you are going in to have a beer by yourself or with a large group, you’ll always be treated like family.
Hops on Birch is a premier craft beer destination in Flagstaff, Arizona with 28 craft beers on tap. These taps are rotated with a new and different craft beer on a regular basis. The thought behind this is the guest can always try something new and exciting. By incorporating live local music three nights a week, board games, trivia night, and beer tastings, they have created a comfortable environment that is fun for all ages. Out walking the dog and want a cold beer? HOB is dog friendly, so feel free to go in and relax.
Bottom line, regardless of where you are in the Southwest region, there is always going to be a craft beer bar where you can order your favorite local or regional handcrafted beer. Summer months are here, the patios are waiting and the micros are pouring. Get ready to meet up with family and friends, have a great beer and leave the brewing and cooking to someone else.
The bars listed here are only a few of the many “good beer” bars in the Southwest. We covered those that responded to our outreach. There may be one near you that did not get mentioned here.–Ed.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Some+Crafty+Bars+In+The+Southwest/1421366/162132/article.html.
Drink. Dine. Dream.
Bev Blackwood II
At the Faust Hotel In New Braunfels Texas
THE FAUST HOTEL ISN'T HAUNTED, AT LEAST NOT IN THE SENSE YOU'D EXPECT.
“I usually say, “Do you want it to be or not?”” laughs owner Vance Hinton. “I’ve never had any experiences that would lead me to believe that [it is].” Indeed, the “haunting” claim is primarily based on some rather amateurish YouTube videos rather than any past tragedies or crimes that took place on the premises. “If you’re going to post stuff online, at least post stuff that’s semi-believable,” states manager Dana Cummins. “I sat by myself in this bar a lot. I have nothing to confirm or deny, so it’s really just up to you,” she says. Having a lot of spare time to contemplate the paranormal wasn’t so unusual before the Faust’s brewpub was brought back to life. Indeed, the entire hotel was haunted by the mistakes of past management. Exorcising That “can’t do” spirit has been a multi-year undertaking that has involved renovations to the hotel, the brewery and the restaurant to meet modern expectations. “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” remarks Hinton. “That’s how our attitude is throughout, not just how this place looks when you walk in, the service you receive, the beer you’re going to taste, the food you’re going to eat.”
Out with the Old
Ray Mitteldorf, the brewer for the Faust, knew all too well what a challenge making a good impression with your first beer would be. When the seven-barrel brewhouse was first installed in 1998, Mitteldorf (then working as a consultant) warned the former owner that it wasn’t a workable set-up. “I said, “You’re going to have to do these four things or it’s not going to work,”” Mitteldorf recalls, “and [the previous owner] said, ‘I’m not spending any more money.’” Unfortunately, the beer suffered as a result. “It was painful,” remembers Cummins, who managed the bar. “I mean the reputation of this place was, um…not very good?” she laughs nervously. However, with Hinton’s new management came a new attitude and a willingness to invest in a brighter future. That investment remedied the four things Mitteldorf had recommended - improving cooling capacity, water heating, sanitation and the serving setup. It also included Mitteldorf’s return, this time as the brewer.
Mitteldorf started his brewing career as the assistant brewer at the award-winning Houston Brewery. It was there he learned many of the lessons he still uses at the Faust. “I still rely more on what I learned at [Houston Brewery] than I really do from anywhere else,” he states. Mitteldorf’s résumé includes stints at Yellow Rose, The Dodging Duck and Two Rows’ former Houston location. “Every time you have to learn a different brewing system,” Mitteldorf notes, “you’re just going to learn more. I’m glad I learned enough in the other jobs I had that I knew what needed to be done here to make it work.” Sales figures back up that Mitteldorf clearly knows what he’s doing. “So far this year, we’ve sold more beer each month than we did that month a year before, so we’re getting there,” he announces.
The addition of serving tanks and the purchase of a pilot brewing system enables Mitteldorf to keep a wider range of beers on tap as well, although he does have one guiding principle. “Ray brews craft beers for craft beer drinkers,” Hinton states proudly. “I do,” smiles Mitteldorf. “I don’t want the craft beer drinkers to come in here and go, “What is this? It tastes like water.”” Mitteldorf has an ongoing barrel-aging program, focused primarily on darker and stronger beers using barrels from Ranger Creek distillery in San Antonio. The brewpub also has a range of guest taps as well, which Mitteldorf sees as liberating. “It’s good that we have other, lighter stuff,” he states. “That way whatever I make can be a good, nice, flavorful beer.“
In with the New?
Of course, the success of the brewery is only one part of the whole. The Faust is a hotel first and renovating the 1920sera hotel to more modern standards has taken nearly four years. Rooms feature wireless Internet and flat screen Tvs, while maintaining the 1920s feel through the careful use of antiques throughout. “We’ve tried to strategically put antiques in the right rooms with the right sizeconstraints,” observes Hinton. “It was almost like shopping room to room.” Similarly, updating the restaurant’s offerings was part of the plan. “I wanted to have food that people are going to remember,” Hinton states. “What good would it do for Ray to make great beer if we threw crappy food out for people?” The menu is a blend of New Braunfels’ German heritage with upscale contemporary brewpub fare and often incorporates Mitteldorf’s beer into the recipes.
Having ousted the ghosts of past problems, the Faust has more playfully embraced its “haunted” reputation, even going so far as to name Walter’s Ghostly Pale Ale after one of the hotel’s founders, Walter Faust, who kept the hotel open through the Great Depression and lent his last name to the hotel in 1936. “We always say if something weird happens that it’s Walter,” laughs Cummins as she points to the racks over the bar. “I used to leave him a little cup of beer up on the ledge when I would close up at night.” Whether or not you see a ghost on any visit to the Faust is likely to be a function of how much of Mitteldorf’s beer you drink, but the Faust staff knows the real secret to not being haunted… Keep your ghosts happy!
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Drink.+Dine.+Dream./1421370/162132/article.html.