Beer Birthday: Grant Wood

Today is the 53rd birthday of Grant Wood, co-founder and brewmaster at Revolver Brewing in Granbury, Texas. For many years, Grant worked at the Boston Beer Co., making Samuel Adams beer, and many of their more experimental offerings, which is where I first got to know him. I knew he’d left to open his own place back home, and he sent me a text at the end of the GABF awards a couple of years ago inviting me to stop by his booth to see what he’d been up to. Not surprisingly, what that was is making great beer. All of the beers I tried were terrific and it looks like his new brewery is off to a good start. Join me in wishing Grant a very happy birthday.

Grant with Revolver’s first keg sold.

In case anybody was confused as to what they were doing; that’s Grant on the far left.

Grant back in his Sam Adams’s days two-fisting a pair of Sam Adams Light Beer, before he traded them in for a pair of revolvers. [Note: photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Eric Warner

Today is the 51st birthday of Eric Warner. Eric founded Tabernash Brewing in Colorado, and later ran Flying Dog Brewing, until they moved their operations to Maryland. He’s also the author of two brewing books, German Wheat Beer and Kolsch: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes. More recently, he moved to Houston to be the brewmaster (although his official title is “Yeast Rancher”) at Karbach Brewing. I first met Eric at Tabernash a million years ago, and several times since then, though for some odd reason I can’t locate any photos. Join me in wishing Eric a very happy birthday.

Eric sitting for a local Texas magazine, 022Houston, about Menspiration.

Beer Birthday: Jack McAuliffe

Today is the 70th birthday of Jack McAuliffe, the father of the modern microbrewery. Jack incorporated his New Albion Brewery in October of 1976, and began producing beer the following year from his tiny brewery in Sonoma, California. His 1-barrel system suggests he may also have been the first nanobrewery, as well. I finally got a chance to meet Jack when he was San Francisco for CBC a few years ago, and was privileged to spend some time with him the week after CBC when Jack visited Russian River Brewery and then the next day he graciously showed us the original site of his New Albion Brewery. I’ve since been fortunate to spend time with Jack on several more occasions, and it’s always a treat. Join me in wishing Jack a very happy birthday.

Me and Jack at Russian River Brewery earlier this year when they launched the new New Albion beer in bottles.

Maureen Ogle, Jack and Julie Johnson, from All About Beer magazine, during the Craft Brewers Conference in San Francisco last year.

Vinnie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, with Jack, showing us around the original site of the New Albion Brewery.

Jack and Boston Beer’s Jim Koch at their annual media brunch during GABF week two years ago.

Jack and me at Russian River Brewery.

Beer Birthday: Jaime Jurado

Today is the birthday of Jaime Jurado, who for many years was the Director of Brewing Operations for the Gambrinus Company, which included several beer brands and breweries, such as Shiner, BridgePort, Pete’s Wicked and Trumer. A couple of years ago, he moved to Pennsylvania, where he was the brewmaster at Susquehanna Brewing Co. in Pittston, but early last year he moved once again, this time to Louisiana, to become Director of Brewing Operations at Abita Brewing. He’s an incredibly talented brewer. More importantly, Jaime is one of the nicest people I know in the business. Join me wishing Jaime a very happy birthday.

A blushing Jamie at OBF in 2006.

Jamie with Lars Larson, brewmaster of Trumer Brauerei, at the Celebrator 18th anniversary party.

Jamie (far left) with some NBWA luminaries at the 2008 NBWA welcome reception. From left, Jamie, Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim Jordan (from New Belgium Brewing) and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

Jamie with Todd and Jason Alström, founder of Beer Advocate, at the 2008 GABF.

Beer Birthday: Harry Schuhmacher

Today is Harry Schuhmacher’s 46th birthday. Harry covers the business side of beer news at his wonderful Beer Business Daily. Our paths cross only occasionally, but I had the pleasure of getting to know Harry better during a press junket to Bavaria several years ago, and he’s one of the warmest, thoughtful and funniest people I’ve met. And he’s a beertard, too. You can also read his occasional personal ramblings at Thanks For Drinking Beer, essays from which is also available as a book, too. Join me in wishing Harry a very happy birthday.

With fellow beer writer Horst Dornbusch in Bamberg.

Harry and me enjoying a meal in the Hallertau region of Bavaria.

Harry with a server at his favorite sushi restaurant, presumably in his native San Antonio, Texas, who apparently bought and enjoyed his collection of essays.

Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

This is just priceless. Eric Warner’s new brewery in Texas, Karbach Brewing, has named their new seasonal beer for one of the greatest holiday movies ever made, A Christmas Story. The 8% a.b.v. seasonal was made with ginger, cocoa nibs, orange peel, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon, and has one of the best beer names I’ve heard in quite some time: Yule Shoot Your Eye Out.


There’s also a promotional video for the beer.

But wait, there’s more. There’s also a second Christmas beer that was inspired by A Christmas Story, this one slightly more subtle. It’s calle Fra Gee Lay — must be Italian! — an ale brewed with spices and aged in Bourbon barrels. It’s essentially the Yule Shoot Your Eye Out barrel-aged, and there’s another video.

Hilarious. Now if I can only figure out how to get the beer. Maybe if I hold up the brewery with my Red Ryder BB Gun.

Beer In Art #162: Gil Elvgren’s Shiner Texas Special

Today’s work of art is by the American pin-up artist Gil Elvgren known for his glamour illustrations and cheesecake paintings, though he also worked in advertising throughout his forty-year career. In 1953, he did this painting for the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. It was originally founded in 1909, today it’s owned by the Gambrinus Company in San Antonio.


The finished ad included the addition of the Shiner logo and was known as “Shiner Texas Special. You can see the final ad in tomorrow’s Beer in Ads series.

To learn more about Gil Elvgren, check out his biography on Wikipedia or on The American Art Archives has more of his advertising illustrations and you can see more of his pin-up work at Elvgren Pinup,, the Great American Pin-Up and the Elvgren Concordance, which has over 500 of his pin-up works.

Texas Beer

Today in 1845, Texas became the 28th state.


Texas Breweries

Texas Brewery Guides

Guild: Texas Craft Brewers Guild

State Agency: Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission


  • Capital: Austin
  • Largest Cities: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth
  • Population: 20,851,820; 2nd
  • Area: 268601 sq.mi., 2nd
  • Nickname: Lone Star State
  • Statehood: 28th, December 29, 1845


  • Alcohol Legalized: September 15, 1933
  • Number of Breweries: 37
  • Rank: 18th
  • Beer Production: 19,850,556
  • Production Rank: 2nd
  • Beer Per Capita: 25.3 Gallons


Package Mix:

  • Bottles: 39.4%
  • Cans: 54.6%
  • Kegs: 5.3%

Beer Taxes (4% or Less):

  • Per Gallon: $0.19
  • Per Case: $0.44
  • Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $6.00
  • Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $6.00

Beer Taxes (Over 4%):

  • Per Gallon: $0.20
  • Per Case: $0.45
  • Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $6.14
  • Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $6.14

Economic Impact (2010):

  • From Brewing: $2,297,903,903
  • Direct Impact: $7,164,583,859
  • Supplier Impact: $5,622,775,974
  • Induced Economic Impact: $6,873,411,601
  • Total Impact: $19,660,771,434

Legal Restrictions:

  • Control State: No
  • Sale Hours: On Premises: Monday-Friday: 7am-midnight
    Saturday: 7am-1am
    Sunday: 12pm-midnight.
    Some cities/counties permit sale until 2am (with license).
    Off Premises: Beer/Non-hard liquor —
    7 a.m. to midnight (Mon.-Fri.)
    7 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. (Sat.)
    12:00 p.m. to midnight (Sun.)
    Hard Liquor —
    10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Mon.-Sat.)
  • Grocery Store Sales: Yes
  • Notes: No alcohol cap but ABV > 15.5% requires additional license, so many places are beer/wine only.
    Wet/dry issues determined by city/county election.
    Liquor stores statewide closed all day Sunday.
    An alcoholic beverage served (on-premise) to a customer between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday must be provided during the service of food to the customer. 29 Texas counties are completely dry. In many counties, public intoxication laws are vigorously upheld.


Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.

For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.

David vs. Goliath: Jester King Wins Partial Victory

You may recall that in late October Jester King Sued Texas Over Antiquated Beer Regulations. I just got a press release from Jester King Craft Brewery that the judge in the case has ruled in their favor on their first amendment claims, though he did reject their claims under the Equal Protection Clause and the Commerce Clause. Here’s the news:

Yesterday afternoon, Judge Sam Sparks of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas issued his final judgment on the case that Jester King Brewery and our two co-plaintiffs, Authentic Beverage Company and Zax Restaurant & Bar, filed against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. With respect to all of the First Amendment challenges to the current state law, he ruled in our favor, declaring the statutes and TABC rules in question unconstitutional and therefore invalid. Congratulations and many thanks to our attorneys, Jim Houchins of Houchins Law and Pete Kennedy of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody for taking on this case and for all of the hard work that they put in. Thanks also to Pete’s firm for supporting his efforts and to Jim’s associate, Rachel Fisher, for all of her hard work and diligent research.

As of result of yesterday’s ruling, beer in Texas may now be labeled as “beer” and ale may now be labeled as “ale”, regardless of alcohol content. Breweries and distributors are also no longer prohibited from independently telling consumers where their products may be purchased, or from communicating truthful and accurate information about their alcohol content. That means Jester King will now be able to add a “Where to Buy” section to our website, as will all other breweries selling beer in Texas.

“In a remarkable (though logically dubious) demonstration of circular reasoning” Judge Sparks writes in his ruling, “TABC attempts to defend the constitutional legitimacy of the Code through an appeal to the statutory authority of the Code itself.” Referring to the required use of the terms “beer”, “ale”, and “malt liquor”, he writes “TABC’s argument, combined with artful legislative drafting, could be used to justify any restrictions on commercial speech. For instance, Texas would likely face no (legal) obstacle if it wished to pass a law defining the word ‘milk’ to mean ‘a nocturnal flying mammal that eats insects and employs echolocation.’ Under TABC’s logic, Texas would then be authorized to prohibit use of the word ‘milk’ by producers of a certain liquid dairy product, but also to require Austin promoters to advertise the famous annual ‘Milk Festival’ on the Congress Avenue Bridge.’”

We were disappointed, but not too surprised, that Judge Sparks ruled against our claims that Texas’s disparate treatment of breweries and brewpubs violated the Equal Protection Clause and that its treatment of foreign breweries violated both the Equal Protection Clause and the Commerce Clause. The TABC never gave any reason why Texas should be able to prohibit craft brewers from selling beer to customers on-site, while allowing wineries to do so, or why Texas should be able to favor foreign wineries over foreign breweries, and Judge Sparks did not speculate on why that might be. But the legal standards are different and more demanding for challenges brought under the Equal Protection Clause than the First Amendment, and we were unable to persuade Judge Sparks to strike down these discriminatory laws. We were encouraged, however, by Judge Sparks’s observation that “The State of Texas is lucky the burden of proof was on [the Plaintiffs] for many of its claims, or else the Alcoholic Beverage Code might have fared even worse than it has.”

We’re pleased to have helped to bring about at least a few long overdue changes in the antiquated and often inconsistent Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, but small brewers still face many unjust and unnecessary obstacles that need to be removed before we can stand on equal footing with Texas winemakers and brewers in other states. Measurable progress was made with yesterday’s decision, but much more is still needed. We don’t yet know what, if anything, will happen next on the legal front. That’s something that we’ll need to discuss with our attorneys. In the meantime, though, it’s not too early to start thinking about the 2013 legislative session, with the hope that this case will help to bring some momentum for further change. For the first time, Texas consumers finally have a well-organized grassroots organization that’s working to modernize the Beverage Code. We, at Jester King Craft Brewery, will continue to do everything we can to support the efforts of Open the Taps and we encourage everyone who is reading this to do the same.

It’s a start. Congratulations to Jester King.