Stone Bistro is a “SITE” to behold

Stone Brewing Co. is lurching forward. We all know Stone's outstanding beers, we all heard about their involvement in charities and sustainability efforts but I was still surprised that their bistro is "SITES" certified. Look at their beer garden http://www.stoneworldbistro.com/gallery/gardens.asp and you will understand why they won several awards.  Here is a link that show what makes them "SITES"  http://www.sustainablesites.org/cert_projects/show.php?id=34 By Gottfried Kibelka

World Beer Festival – St. Petersburg

The World Beer Festival was held at the Coliseum on September 22nd in St. Petersburg Florida. The event was partially sponsored by All About Beer magazine.  If any one remembers the last beer festival at the coliseum with the warm beer and very little airconditioning, this was completely the oppisite. The crowd was spread out and the coliseum was decorated almost like a prom. Soft lighting and plenty of air conditioning. The layout kept the crowd seperated, however it did not seemlike that many people were there. The event could easily handle double the volume. A few friends said they like the fact many local beers were represented. I aggree, any day you can have a Peg's Cantina, Barley Mow, 7th sun, Rapp Brewing, Dunedin Brewing and follow it up with a Florida Ave and some Cigar City is a good day. There were a few talks from the local beer elite, which I am sorry to say I missed a few due to the above mentioned group of tastings. We spoke with the organizers and they are committed to doing this for the next 3 years. I will defiantly put this on my calendar and try to catch one of their other upcoming  events.

St. Arnold’s Brewery

If you have visited the greater Houston area you might have run across St. Arnolds beers, But who is this St. Arnold? Saint Arnulf (Arnold in English) of Metz is the patron saint of brewing.  He is credited with the slogan  "Don't drink the water, drink beer". This is due to the issues of drinking the polluted water in Europe around 600AD.  He understood that the water caused illness and thought that beer was a safe alternative. He was right in his thinking but he did not put the boiling of the wort (mostly water) to make beer together as a way purify water. According to the Wiki Page  he ended a plague when he submerged his crucifix into a brew kettle and persuaded people to drink only beer from that "blessed" kettle. He is reported to have said "From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world".  He has three miracles associated with him, the important one for us in the Legend of the Beer Mug. I have taken this directly from the St. Arnold's website. It was July 642 and very hot when the parishioners of Metz went to Remiremont to recover the remains of their former bishop. They had little to drink and the terrain was inhospitable. At the point when the exhausted procession was about to leave Champigneulles, one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Immediately the small remnant of beer at the bottom of a pot multiplied in such amounts that the pilgrims thirst was quenched and they had enough to enjoy the next evening when they arrived in Metz. Now, St. Arnulf is often confused with St. Arnold of Soissons who  is specifically considered the patron saint of hop pickers and St. Arnou of Oudenaarde. Now each of these guys also had miracles related to beer associated with them. They are all similar to the Beer Mug legend. Ok, that is out of the way. Lets talk about the brewery. Its a beautiful facility and a heck of alot bigger than I expected. The tap room is huge, its more of a beer hall. There are large picnic table in rows inviting  people to actually interact with each other, imagine that. I was there for the Monday afternoon tour and there had to be 150 people in the tap room. The tour costs $7 and it includes a few drafts and a souvenir glass. The Tour guide was short and sweet, mostly because it was 98 degrees that day and 100% humidity. The brewery was founded in 1994 by Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol. They have traditionally sold on in Texas but are starting to branch out into Louisiana since it is actually closer to Houston than most of Texas.  They have a nice variety of beers to satisfy most people. Here is the link to the page. I started with the Lawnmower, a German style Kolsch with Haulertaue hops. Its a nice Kolsch and was perfect after walking in from the heat. I also tried their  Weedwacker. Now the Weedwacker is the exact same beer as the Lawnmower but instead of a Kolsch yeast they use a Bavarian hefeweisen yeast. So its not a tradition Hefe but it has the characteristics and is very light and far too easy to drink. I am a fan of Hefes and I enjoyed this one. I also tried their Santos. Wow, this is a beer I have wanted to brew at home. It is a black Kolsch. (Anyone seeing a trend here )  Its the same as the Lawnmower but they add Munich and black malt. Like I said if you have been in Texas you have seen the beers but If you are in Houston, take the tour.

Beer flavor (sensory training options)

Once in a while I am asked if I (as a chemist) can provide beer off-flavors for training purposes. I decided against it. First the distribution of chemicals for human consumption is heavily regulated and second some of the chemicals are harmful in relative low concentrations. I don't want to burden my conscience with a bunch of beer enthusiasts ending up in the ER.
Having that said check the following options for beer flavor standards:
Aroxa beer (e.g) tasting kit (10 flavors one shot) http://www.aroxa.com/beer/beer-flavour-standard-kit/beer-uno-kit
FlavorActiV announced several new kits for the brewer and beer enthusiast http://www.flavoractiv.com/drinks/beers/ Siebel sensory training kits http://www.siebelinstitute.com/products-a-books/sensory-training-kits You might want to attend the Siebel Institute Sensory Analysis Seminar at the GABF Sigma-Aldrich Flavor and Fragarance is offering food grade chemicals. http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/chemistry/chemistry-products.html?TablePage=12916829 If you are already deep into it and know certified beer judges you should let them know that you would be interested in sensory training. As member of the BJCP you can order heavily discounted off-flavor kits http://www.bjcp.org/index.php By Gottfried Kibelka