The Austin Chronicle

Beer Flights: Talking Points About Drinking

By Lee Nichols, February 25, 2011, Food

Supporters of Texas craft brewing are pushing a couple of bills in the current legislative session that would make it easier for microbrewers and brewpubs to sell their delicious products. For more details, see "Brew the Looking Glass," News.

• Circle Brewing Co.'s Blur Texas Hefe and Envy Amber are now available at finer beer establishments around town. Circle will have a grand-opening party on March 12. Full details haven't been announced yet, but check for updates at

The folks at Thirsty Planet invite you to their tasting room (11160 Circle Dr.) to critique new brews under consideration for possible commercial release. Currently, they're working on a porter.

Blanco's Real Ale Brewing is releasing some intriguing barrel-aged stuff. Already available: Kraken 2010, a barleywine aged 10 months in oak (half of it in American oak, half in French), and Vol.XIV, a special release of Real Ale's 14th Anniversary Ale, aged six months in American oak. Coming soon: Highlander 2010 (a version of its Real Heavy Scotch ale) and Empire 2010 (an IPA).

Also on the experimental front: Houston's Saint Arnold Brewing on Monday released the next installment in its "Moveable Yeast" series, Farmer Brown's Ale. The idea behind the series is to brew regular Saint Arnold staples with different yeasts than usual. Farmer Brown is an alternate version of Saint Arnold Brown, but with the saison yeasts normally used in French/Belgian farmhouse ales. It's a limited release, and only available at the brewery and in "select bars and restaurants" (sorry, no bottles), so get it while you can.

In a case of good timing, Black Star Co-op released its winter seasonal just as the Feb. 8 cold front blew in. Moontower is "dark, roasty, and 10.5% alcohol," so you might want to take the train or bus home.

More new beers: (512) Brewing is coming out with a Black IPA, and Shiner has released 102, a "double wheat," and I'm told Independence now has something called Kill Shot Scotch Ale.

It's taking a while, but a source tells me the Flix Brewhouse – a microbrewery/movie theatre in Round Rock ( – really is coming. It's currently scheduled to open this summer.

The Lake Travis location of Uncle Billy's Brew & Que (6550 Comanche Trail) is now open.

Lee Nichols blogs about beer at

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