Friday, September 30, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Oktoberfest!

           Most people say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but not me.  No, give me a pint of that wonderful concoction developed by Josef Sedlmayr of Franziskaner called Marzen or better known as Oktoberfest beer!  This type of beer is only available during the months of August through October due to the way it is brewed and fermented.  Because of that reason, I buy several different six packs of my favorite breweries Oktoberfest beer and ration them throughout the year.  A little extreme, maybe, but it’s well worth it!

Marzen is a lager which means that the yeast that helps it to ferment does so from the bottom of the vessel and at much colder temperatures than your ale style beers.  According to beer history, the beer was stored in caves until time for it to be drank later in the year.  The caves around Munich held the perfect cooler temperatures that gave the beer its crispness.  The beer itself is characterized by a medium to full body, a malty flavor, and a clean dry finish.  The bright copper color comes from the use of toasted Vienna and Munich varieties of malted barley. Vienna and Munich varieties give the beer it’s amber color to the wort, and add a toasty flavor and aroma, soft malt sweetness, palpable mouthfeel and slight spiciness.  The hop rates are just enough to give it a slight bitterness and really accentuates the noble German aroma and flavor.  ABV is usually around 5.5 to 6%. 

The original Oktoberfest celebrated the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. 

All of the residents of Munich were invited to the countryside to join the gala. The festivities last for five days, and ended with a horse race.  The beer served at Oktoberfest was mainly dunkel beer which was the most popular in the area.  However, in 1872 Mr. Sedlmayr made the first batch of Marzen in March of 1872 and it just so happened that the beer supply ran low during that year’s Oktoberfest, so he made it available to the thirsty festers.  From that time on, Marzen was adopted as the official beer of the festival and many Munich breweries started brewing their own. 
          Today, the festival lasts about three weeks and usually ends on the first Sunday in October.  2016 marks the 183rd anniversy of the first Oktoberfest, missing only 24 years when it was canceled due to wars or epidemics.  In recent years, many of the breweries in Germany have started serving lower alcohol Fiestbiers, a lighter beer that they can probably sell more of (in my opinion).  

If you do go to Munich for Oktoberfest, here are some things you should know:

You are allowed to stand on the benches and sing all you want, but dancing on the tables is not allowed!

There are 14 big beer tents or Wooden halls and you can reserve tables through, but they usually sell out months in advance. 

Fackl (n.): A young pig, used to describe a jerk

Fetznrausch (n.): Totally drunk

Bierleichen (n.): Beer Corpse – beyond Fetznrausch

Fingahackln (n.): a Bavarian sport where two people hook their middle fingers and try to pull the opponent over the table.  Very popular at Oktoberfest.

Gamsbart (n.): Traditional Bavarian hat adornment

Gneedl (n.): Dumpling

If you’re not heading to Germany anytime soon, try these local Oktoberfest’s:

De Kalb Texas Oktoberfest - De Kalb, TX - Oct 1 to Oct 1, 2016
Held annually on the first Saturday in October. Kickoff the event with the Firemen’s pancake breakfast. There’s a parade, talent show, beauty pageant, street dance, classic car exhibit, gymnastics demonstration, carnival, Kids Korner, Lollie Moser Memorial Art Show, Quilts Expo and face painting.

Avalon Faire – Kilgore, TX – Oct 1 to Oct 2, 2016
1st Annual Oktoberfest. German and domestic beer, German food, games, contests, entertainment plus a whole lot more! Festivies begin at Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, and resume Sunday at 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Oktoberfest in Downtown Kilgore – October 15, 2016 – World’s Richest Acre

Finally, I have not been to Oktoberfest in Germany yet, but it’s on my bucket list for sure.  Until then, I’ll keep stocking up the Marzen for year round enjoyment.  Prost! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Longview's First Craft Beer Rewards Club

The day has finally come. 

We have dreamed of the day we could stay right here in East Texas and be rewarded for our love of craft beer and Rotolo's has stepped up to the plate in a big way. Each time we walk through the doors the owners and staff makes us feel like we are family. The taps rotate to new great brews nearly every time we are there and they keep bringing in beers that nowhere else in town would dream of putting on tap.

Head over to Rotolo's, sign up for the Brew Krewe, and start earning rewards for drinking what you love!!! I don't know about everyone else but I'm already planning what free keg I'll have at my party once I hit 500 points!

Also make sure you check out Rotolo's on Untappd. Longview's first Verified Venue let's you know as soon as a new beer is added to their tap wall. If you aren't visiting Rotolo's on a regular basis you are missing out on some great craft beer as well as some amazing food!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Beer Adventures for the Vagabonds: How to Make a Map

Traveling has been a hobby and a passion of mine for many years. Much of my free time and cash have gone to exploring 49 States and 9 Countries. I have made quite the habit of documenting my travels from Xanga, Myspace, Blogger, and now Facebook. I make an effort to stop at every brewery in my path when I am traveling. As I made stops, I wrote them down and pinned them on my “Brewery map” on my wall. Recently this year I discovered a new way to remember, and share, my brewery adventures. I ran across a blog post by the “Roaming Pint” explaining how to create a map digitally using google maps. To my surprise, after creating the map I realized I have been to over 100 breweries. This is a link to my map; you can also go to our webpage, “Beer Adventures” and see a few of our brewery maps.

How to Make a Map

  • Go to
  • Log in to your account
  • Click on “Menu” in the top left corner of the screen
  • Click on “Your Places”

-Click on “Maps” then at the bottom of the screen click on “Create Map”

-Click on “Untitled Map” to changed the name 0f your brewery 
  • Left
  • Center
  • Right

Now you’re ready to Add Breweries! In the search bar enter a brewery’s name and click on it! Have Fun!

  • Left
  • Center
  • Right
  • A smaller screen with the brewery profile will come up.
  • Click “Add to Map” to add it to the list and you will see them on the left hand side of your screen.
  • A few other features are fun to play with: You can change the icon from a pin, to a pint, or even a number.

Now you have officially started your own Brewery Map to share with your friends! You can easily repost it to Facebook, or send it to your friends and they can share the fun with you!
Create your own beer map and repost below in the comment section of the link. Let the fun begin! Cheers friends.

The Happy Chappy (Jeff)

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" - Socrates

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Blessing of a Brewery

“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”

Saint Arnold of Metz, Patron Saint of Brewers

     Craft beer means something different to everyone, and we all enjoy for it various reasons. For some it's the excitement to try a new beer they have never had before, and for others it's the joy of discussing craft beer with other craft beer enthusiasts.

     I was recently able to be part of the blessing of The Athens Brewing company in Athens, Texas. I have a good friend, Matthew Frick, who is the Vicar at St. Matthias Episcopal Church. While visiting him in Athens we attended the grand opening of the brewery. I was excited to try their beers and to see the one and only brewery in this small East Texas town. The brewery is inside of an old bank building on the town square and is ran by wonderful people who not only care about making craft beer but bringing it to the town they live in as well. While attending the grand opening and touring the facilities we starting talking to the owners about it all. Half joking I told them that my friend Matt was a local Priest and that they should have him bless the place. To my surprise they said “that would be great!” and spoke further with Matt over the next few weeks. Once the date was set Matt asked me and another mutual friend, Grant Massy, if we would like to assist him in the blessing. We happily accepted and it went from there.

 The day finally came for the brewery blessing to take place after church on Sunday. Many members of Father Matt’s church were there to take part and several members of my family were able to attend as well. As we are getting into our robes and making final preparations I noticed a small bus pulling up out front from a local assisted living facility. I couldn't help but smile as I watched several elderly men and women come through the front door of the small town brewery to see it blessed. Once the brewery was full of family, friends, church members, and complete strangers we began.

Everyone in attendance had a program so they could follow along and take part in the readings that were part of the blessing. It was surreal to look around the brewery as I wore a thick ceremonial robe holding the cross atop a staff following Father Matt while he performed the blessing slinging holy water on the brewing equipment and throughout the brewery. I listened to the recited lines from priest and crowd alike with a reverence. I realised that this wasn't some ceremony done to make the brewery feel blessed, but a real blessing being performed through everyone in that building. A community had come together made up of the Brewers, Church, and patrons to share their prayers, excitement, and love to this place and what it was doing. I was a part of something special.

Beer and the crafting of it isn't just about the final product; It's about the people it brings together. The East Texas town of Athens now had a beautiful brewery ran by people who love to make beer for the community they love. It was blessed by a Priest of a church who is a great part of the community who were also gathered there. This was a local town coming together to celebrate good craft beer and each other. I watched people of all ages races and beliefs talking afterward about a common love, craft beer and the new brewery that made it.

     We should all hope to have a local brewery come into our town. Not only so we can have easy access to great local beer but so our communities and families can come together to celebrate it and one another.


Jonathan Heflin

OUR Craft Beer Boom

     Despite popular belief, craft beer isn’t new. OUR craft beer boom is new but people have been brewing for for at least 5,000 years. The dark days of prohibition and the unnecessary restrictions on home brewing put a damper on American craft beer during the 20th century. Long before 1978, when home brewing was legalized in the United States, you had Americans secretly (and not so secretly) brewing in their basements. Once Jimmy Carter signed that glorious bill into law it further opened up the joy of craft beer to millions of Americans. In 1979 there were 89 breweries (micro and macro) in the entire country. We are now close to, or have surpassed, the 1873 all time high of 4,131 breweries in the United States. The effects of craft breweries on the American beer landscape cannot be exaggerated.

     What has been noted time and time again is that the creativity and success of craft brewers are mainly limited by prohibitive laws at the state and municipal levels. We have seen in the past, and are still fighting against, archaic and restrictive beer laws in Texas. In state after state we see when lawmakers get out of the way of innovation craft breweries pop up like wildflowers. Many people ask me why Colorado has more craft breweries than Texas when it is so much smaller. The simple answer is until recently it was much more difficult to run a profitable craft brewery in Texas. Before 2013 Texas breweries could not sell beer for on-site consumption making a taproom illegal. For most craft breweries a vibrant taproom business is essential for financial success especially in the early years. Once Texas lawmakers loosened up these restrictions we began our current craft beer boom and things haven’t slowed down one bit during the past 4 years.
Only around 25 Texas craft breweries existed in 2012. We are currently closing in on 200 craft breweries and brewpubs in Texas. Now that entrepreneurs can open a brewery and make money we are seeing unique microbreweries opening up across the state. At times it seems a new one opens every couple of weeks. What a time to live in Texas!

     One important thing to remember is that as much as we may
love craft beer, and as quickly as new breweries are popping up across the state, the majority of Texans know very little about craft beer and are happy chugging their favorite macro beer. LIGHT BEER IS KING!!! Just look at the beer selection of the average bar or restaurant.


Americans, and Texans, drink light beer and LOVE it. Most bar owners don’t help the situation either. I talk to bar and restaurant owners often and the majority of them do not care about craft beer. They are clueless. They simply put on tap what the distributor tells them will sell. They don’t know what beers to ask for and do not fight to get that keg of rare beer. On top of that most wouldn’t be willing to pay the extra cost to get that premium craft brew. So how do we share the gospel of craft beer with more people if they are happy with the light beer and every bar or restaurant they visit pushes light beer?

One person at a time.

     Craft beer culture has to be grown organically. It cannot be forced. Americans, especially Texans, are fiercely independent. In my experience the easiest way to get that Michelob Ultra loving friend to enjoy a craft beer is to share one of yours with them. Who doesn’t love a free beer??? Don’t berate them with how crappy their beer is and how superior your beer is. Hand them a craft beer that is similar in style to what they already enjoy. Just showing them that someone other than AB InBev/SABMiller can make a beer they enjoy is the first step in their craft beer awakening. I still get a tear in my eye when one particular friend who exclusively drank Michelob Ultra shows up to a gathering with a couple of 6 packs of great craft beer. It may take some work to win your friends over but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Being involved in our craft beer boom is fun! What an awesome time to be a craft beer lover in this neck of the (piney) woods! One day you will be able to tell your grandkids about being at True Vine for their first Open Taps or waiting in line to try that first pint of Moon Pool at Oil Horse. Attending beer dinners at BJ's Brewhouse was something I never imagined I'd experience in Longview, Texas. It is exciting to hear about new breweries coming to Tyler and seeing people line up to enjoy a pint at Fredonia Brewery in Nacogdoches. Remember just a few years ago when B Dubs had the best tap selection in town??? Those were dark days my friends! Don’t take for granted the privilege of being able to regularly enjoy fresh local beer around town. I damn near shed a tear when I was able to drink Landman at BJ’s. I was beyond excited to explain to the old guy next to me at On The Border that the beer he asked about was brewed right here in Longview, Texas. Going over to True Vine or hanging out at Oil Horse is always a fun time. You run into other craft beer lovers or those who are just curious about what in the heck this craft beer thing is all about. Spending hours enjoying and talking about craft beer with people from my community is something I couldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago.

     Another fun aspect of our craft beer boom is the economic and community benefits. Especially with the downturn in oil East Texas needs all the revenue streams it can get. Craft breweries do more than bring in a few extra tax dollars. Their impact is exponential. As you have seen many craft breweries inhabit older parts of town and reside in re-purposed buildings. I love seeing these old buildings with so much history being used for something like a brewery. The old dilapidated building that was under threat of being torn down is now a community hangout and the heart of the neighborhood. Suddenly you have people visiting a part of town they normally would not visit. They realize their are neat shops and delicious restaurants in the area as well. Now the presence of a craft brewery is impacting other businesses in the area. Soon you have young people wanting to move into the area because they can walk to their neighborhood deli, brewery and coffee shop. What used to be a dying part of town becomes a vibrant and hip community. People begin to be curious about the history of the area and soon they are appreciating the contributions of those who have lived there before. A growing trend and one of the more popular aspects of some new craft breweries are the local food trucks that serve them. The symbiotic relationship between a craft brewery and a food truck can be a beautiful thing. I cannot tell you the number of times I have chosen to go to one brewery over another simply because I know there will be an awesome food truck on site. I’ve also been to breweries such as Division Brewing in Arlington that have local craft vendors set up outside.
Time and time again I’ve seen a craft brewery breathe new life into a neighborhood or community. In the case of Cedar Creek Brewery I’d argue the brewery has brought many people to their city who would’ve never had any reason to visit Seven Points, Texas. Once more Texas lawmakers realize the economic and communal benefit of craft breweries I believe we will see the restrictive laws relaxed even more. The ability for breweries to sell packaged beer and growlers for off site consumption is a must. This will help breweries to unlock new revenue streams and better serve their communities.

     Our craft beer boom is only beginning and it needs your help to continue. Support your local brewers. Visit their taproom. Drink their beers when you are out on the town. Pick up a six pack from your favorite craft beer retailer. Eat at the restaurant a few shops down from the brewery before or after you stop in for a pint. Request your favorite craft beer at your regular watering hole and grocery store. Without the support of the community a craft brewery cannot survive. With new breweries soon to open here in East Texas it will be important to help bring more and more people into the craft beer family. Buy a six pack of Dankosaurus at Brookshires and share with a friend. Offer to buy a Mermaids and Unicorns for your friend the next time you are at Rotolo’s. Most importantly enjoy being a craft beer lover during the greatest craft beer boom our state has ever seen. Other states may have beat us to the punch but this is OUR craft beer boom and everyone knows everything is bigger in Texas!!!


Joel Patrick Heflin

Friday, September 16, 2016

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat… Otherwise known as the Joy of Home brewing! ~ Sleepy

So you want to brew your own beer, hell everybody does it, why not you?!  The first thing you should know is that there are 3,684,194 ways to brew beer, and you will find that everyone has an opinion and you should do it like they do or you'll make bad beer.  I call BS, do whatever works for you.  As long as the beer tastes good, it doesn't matter how you got there or what they say. 
The best way to get started is to buy a kit.  My girlfriend at the time, now my lovely wife bought me a Mr. Beer kit for Valentine’s Day one year, little did she know the monster she was creating.  It’s not a bad kit, it will help you learn the basics, but it is limited.  It comes with all the ingredients you need and instructions on making home brew.  The recipe that came with my kit was a Canadian lager I called “Hoser Daddy”, named for Mr. Joel Heflin and his love of all things Canada (sarcasm).  It wasn’t terrible, but certainly not award winning.  It wasn’t until I talked with a brewer friend of mine that I discovered you shouldn’t use the yeast that is supplied with the kit, and you need to add hops to it as well.  But that’s enough about my first foray into the world of homebrew.  You can start with a Mr. Beer kit or any homebrew kit at your local homebrew supply shop, getting experience is all that matters. 
Once I had brewed a couple of beers, I began to search for any and all things about home brewing, hence the 3,684,194 ways to brew beer.  I read countless blogs and asked my brewer friends so many questions that I think they began to avoid me so as not to answer more of my stupid brewing questions.  I also found this book “How to Brew” by John J. Palmer (available on Amazon).  It was here that I developed a better understanding of how and why brewing techniques were developed and implemented.  With this newfound knowledge, I tried some more kit recipes and the beers turned out pretty good.  By this time, I’m feeling pretty confident and started looking for greater challenges in homebrew, probably a little too soon, but most of them turned out good.  I brewed a couple of pale ales, an IPA, and Jalapeno blonde called “Silver Tongue Devil” (named for my dad) that everyone wants me to brew again.  Here in lies the problem or the agony of defeat when it comes to home brewing.  It’s easy to brew a great beer, but it’s hard to brew a great beer over and over again. 
Since that time, I’ve had a few hits and a lot of misses.  I’ve had to pour 5 gallons of beer down the drain due to a number of reasons including bad recipes, wrong techniques, and the cardinal sin of dirty equipment.  If you haven’t brewed before, you’d be surprised at just how easy it is for one utensil to not be perfectly clean and screw up and entire batch, but that’s another post for another day.  I hope to cover many topics from cleaning and sanitizing, selecting the right ingredients, to using different techniques to help expand your knowledge of home brewing. 
Bear with me, I am nowhere near an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night!    Through it all, I have developed a love for brewing and a greater respect for beer in general.  I still have plenty of victories and many defeats, but that's what it's all about.  Well, that and drinking beer.  Until next time, Prosit!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A taproom I consistently enjoy #etbrews #beer #craftbeer #dfw #grapevine #brewery #taproom

A taproom I consistently enjoy #etbrews #beer #craftbeer #dfw #grapevine #brewery #taproom #blog via Instagram

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Traditions, Religions, and Craft Beer

    From a young age I was protected from the “evil ways of the world”. I was told the world was destined for failure because of the “sin” it partook in. The tradition of saying "yes ma’am" and "no sir" came along with the understanding not to question the rules of thought that had been established long before I was born. It was expected to go along with the status quo, and to refrain from “causing trouble” or being the bad apple in the family tree. I chose the former and pursued life through “cautious glasses”, staying far away from the “evil ways of the world” .  In spite of southern traditions and religion, I have matured to another level; one that questions the meaning of life, one that demands for reason over trained thought, one that of looks at the “evils of the world” and discovers that all things are not truly bad, but rather simply a different perspective. I discovered the world of Craft Beer by a change of scenery one summer after my job moved me to Colorado. I was warned of that “lifestyle”, to stay away from drunkenness and immorality. In my past life, I was not aware that there was a whole other world of craft brewers that belonged to a “special club” forged from creativity, community, and craftsmanship. That was when I was accustomed to the occasional easy to drink light beer and even was a member of the popular “flying saucer”.

I wasn't a fan of light beer growing up which may have had to do with my first drunken hangover experience at the age of 21. Keystone Light. Never, ever, again. If I had done my research back then, I would have known that Keystone isn't made by a brewer name “Keith Stone”. It is made by a corporate enterprise that only had interests in making money and keeping their profit shares enticing for the next big sell. They don't care about ingredients, quality, or flavor. In the past, if I was with friends that were drinking, I would pour the beer out when nobody was looking or pretend to be drinking. I despised the god awful flavor of light beer.  Once I was pressured into drinking all of it. I couldn't weasel my way out of this situation. Ever since then I have been plagued from the horrible taste of filtered rice mash.

Fast forward many years later, I refrained from drinking because of agreements I had signed for many different Christian organizations I had worked for from 2005 to 2008.  Drinking and singing 4 chord songs about Jesus was very very frowned upon. Fast forward again years later to Fall 2008 when I finally got my first real job and moved back home to East Texas.  My first pay check went to the Xbox, a bed, kitchenware, and sweet tea. Not craft beer, or any kind of beer for that matter.  I had a few friends along the way that introduced me to craft beer places such as “Flying Saucer”. Not having a clue what I was getting into, I started to realize maybe beer wasn't terrible after all, nor the advocate for the “evil ways of the world”.  Maybe it truly was proof that God loves us, as  Benjamin Franklin claimed.  Fast forward a few years later to 2009, my life was about to change. My job sent me on a new assignment, a short trip to Grand Junction, Colorado.

Colorado, to me, was full of beautiful mountains, winter slopes, Aspen, nature and rock climbing. It didn’t mean “craft beer” to me at the time. One night I stumbled into a restaurant downtown to spend money on my company's dime. “Rockslide Brewery and Restaurant” it said.
When I sat down, I wanted to order a beer. I asked the server for a menu and she told me  there wasn't a beer menu but they made their own beer. I had no clue to what she was  talking about. I walked into the bar area to see what she was referring to and immediately noticed the shiny vessels in the corner. It was the first time in my sheltered cookie-cutter life that I had ever seen anything like it. I’ll never forget my first taste of heavenly micro brewed craft beer that was made by one person a few days before. The “Kokopelli Cream Ale” was refreshingly clean and brisk, with a hint of vanilla for the finish. I was hooked. Although I was skeptical of what my church would think— that I was drinking a “heathen beer”, that was reserved for the “evil ways of the world”. So, to atone for my sins and repent I went to the local church that Sunday in Colorado.  Not being able to find a Southern Baptist Church, I had to settle for the crazy, fanatical “Vineyard” church denomination. Following a casual service, I was invited to eat with some new friends I had made. To my surprise, the Pastor and worship leader were sitting at a restaurant IN PUBLIC DRINKING BEER!!!  Are you kidding me!!!! I couldn't believe it. This little act would get you banned for life in East Texas. I thought to myself: “How could these people love Jesus, but also love craft beer?” This is when the questions began. This is the point where I decided to think for myself rather that be told how I should live my life. Maybe It was possible after all, to love God, love people, and love craft beer. I didn't know what exactly that statement meant, but I started to pursue it, even back to East Texas where my world was overturned.  I was asked to move to Colorado for work, and I took it as a “leap of faith”.  It was more than just a leap of faith, it was a fresh breath of air for me.  A new way of thinking, a whole new culture. For the 2 years I was there, I finally matured in my faith and humanity to be a more loving and accepting person, I was no longer hypocritical of things I didn't understand, I was much more open to different opinions, and finally, I was receptive to the culture of craft beer.

           Fast forward many many years later (2012) I moved back to East TX after work had slowed and eventually the shop in Colorado closed.  Luckily I was able to continue working in Longview, TX. I brought back everything that I had learned; new experiences, a new inspiration and a renewed love for life. Through my short 2 years in Western CO, I started exploring craft beer more and more, although my knowledge and understanding was still very limited.  At this point, I knew what craft beer was, and what it was not.  Due to many archaic laws that were only recently changed craft breweries were few and far between across Texas in 2012 allowing the local giants of Miller and Coors to rule the red dirt lands of East TX.  At this point, the best place for local beer was BWW and a small place downtown called Willy Gs. I fell in love with the beer selection there and one particular beer caught my attention- Lefthand Milk Stout. My friends thought I was insane and the bar tender couldn't understand why I liked drinking what he deemed “motor oil”. I had finally found the one style of beer I could relate to, a dark porter. I was so captivated by the idea of living by a “pub” that I moved across the street into a loft. That was the point that I started being friendly with the “evils of the world”.  It wasn't as terrible as I heard; real people enjoying life and the occasional bad apple walking the streets.

       Fast forward many years later (2013), I was homesick. I didn't realized how much Colorado had an impact on me and I had to find a way back. I quit my job of 5 yrs and took a short trip to Ireland. (I will save that for another post). I lived there for a month and was able to soak in the Irish culture and develop my taste for Guinness.  After awhile, I was ready to move on with my adventure and made my way around Scotland, England, France, and Italy. I was astounded at the beer drinking culture in Europe.  It occurred to me that “Pub” was short for “Public House”. It truly was the central place in a small town where the locals would gather to together in community. It was the center point of fellowship. I was fascinated with both the history of beer and knowing that many of the pubs I visited dated back to before America was even founded. You could literally taste the culture.

Inspired by what I had experienced I was ready to come back to the United States and share with everyone what I had learned. I had a job waiting for me in Ft. Collins, CO and I was eager to start my new life there.  The “Napa Valley” of beer did not disappoint. From outside my front door I could see New Belgium Brewery and smell the fresh hops wafting through the cool crisp morning air. I will take time and write more about my experiences living in Ft. Collins at a later time, but these experiences catapulted me to a whole different level in the pursuit of craft beer. My time in Colorado ended in Nov. 2015 as I was laid off of my job and moved back to East TX to attend school. A lot has changed since I have moved back- the craft beer industry has changed and Texas has overturned laws to allow craft brewing to thrive. It has taken time, but little by little the culture has embraced the community of craft beer and it is no longer looked down upon because of century-old prohibition laws that have plagued the good name of quality beer. There is a much bigger fight than persuading the masses that craft beer is good, the fight is being taking to courts as the big beer companies are fighting for a share in the beer world.  It brings a tear to my eye knowing my hometown of Longview, Texas has a craft beer brewery that is run by church-going family men that care about their city and the development of downtown Longview.  I love seeing a family enjoying a Saturday afternoon in the brewery drinking fresh root beer and craft IPA’s while sitting around a board game of Settlers. Craft beer is about community, people, and creativity. It is a fact, the mark of a thriving community is craft beer and coffee shops.  Ft. Collins, CO has the highest concentration of craft breweries per capita in the United States and is one of the most thriving cities in America. Coincidence? I think not. Even traditions and Religions can bring you out of the darkness and into the light… The light of Craft Beer.

 -  TheHappyChappy (jeff)

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" - Socrates

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Doing a little batch comparison last weekend

Doing a little batch comparison last weekend @parishbrewingco #beer #craftbeer #camping #etbrews #blog via Instagram