fix the beer taxJust a short post on this rainy Thursday, but it’s great to be able to say that Tennessee’s 1950s beer tax has been fixed! The final votes for the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 took place on Monday in the Senate (30-1) and on Wednesday in the House (87-2). Now all it awaits is signature from Governor Haslam! Co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Sexton (R-Crossville) and Rep. Kelsey (R-Germantown), and the folks behind Fix the Beer Tax have worked tirelessly the past couple of months and it’s great to see all that hard work and campaigning pay off on the first go around. So, cheers to that!

If you don’t have plans for the night of April 23rd, Bosco’s announced its annual Brewmasters Dinner the other day and the menu looks delicious! Nick and I went last year and we’ll be going again this year. I’m especially excited about the Wasabi shrimp entrée, and what do you know, it’s served with my favorite type of beer! Seats will fill up fast if they haven’t already, so call and reserve your spot now!

And lastly, in house news, Nick and I will start moving boxes in the last week of April and we’ll move our furniture in May 1st! I’ve got big plans for decorating our new place and Nick has already made a big purchase which will be put to good use when we have a housewarming party —  so stay tuned! Cheers!

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Tulips at University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Memphis, Tennessee

Bring May flowers… flowers I hope to plant, at some point or another, after Nick and I move into our house at the end of the month! After searching daily for a house that fit all of our requirements, we finally found a nice one to rent and we’re very excited to start this next stage of our relationship. I won’t get all sappy on here, but with the direction our relationship is going, we decided this is the next logical step :) It’s going to be a great house for entertaining family and friends and it’s plenty spacious for all of our needs, especially storing (and expanding) Nick’s homebrewing equipment. He’s already planning on getting a 14 cubic foot chest freezer to make a new keezer, and then using the current seven cubic foot keezer solely for fermenting. And I’ve already been on Pinterest planning DIY projects and taking note of quick and simple organization tips that I never would have thought of before. What did we ever do before that website existed?

And now for the beer news update:

  • The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 passed the Senate and House Finance Committees today and it will come to a full floor vote within the week — great news!
  • It’s good to see there are some legislators in Alabama with some sense! A new bill to legalize homebrewing in Alabama passed through the House today on a 58-33 vote. Mississippi homebrewers got good news last month, so let’s hope the same for their neighbors. However, after reading some of the comments from AL representatives today (and judging from a previous debate on this same topic), Alabama may still be a good while away from legalizing homebrewing…

Well, off to start sorting, organizing, packing, etc. — cheers!

MemphisGPO Avatar_BWI cannot express how happy I am with last night’s turnout! About 20 wonderful ladies made their way to Young Avenue Deli to kick off our chapter, and we enjoyed some delicious beer and discussed the goals for our chapter for the coming year. I had been promoting MemphisGPO a lot via Twitter and it was very nice to finally meet some of my Twitter friends! Even though these social media sites have been around since I was in college, I still find it amazing the connections that can be made through them. There are so many fantastic Memphis women who enjoy quality beer and want to expand their knowledge and palate and I’m just so so excited that they’re all as excited as I am about this endeavor!

It’s looking to be a busy year for MemphisGPO, as we discussed lots of great event ideas and I’m hoping to bring them all to fruition. Some of the events we discussed: beer pairing dinner at Bosco’s, tour of Ghost River Brewing, participating in 5ks as a team (gotta get our fitness on to counteract the beer drinkin’!), chapter yard sale, clothing swap, a road trip to Nashville to meet up with NashvilleGPO, and the list goes on! We also discussed tapping into our philanthropic side by helping with causes like Pints for Prostates and Beer for Boobs, and local NPOs, among other things. And with homebrewing being such a big part of my life now, I’m going to try to incorporate some educational homebrewing events into the mix — especially after meeting a fellow Bluff City Brewer girlfriend!

Ideally, I’d like to have at least one MemphisGPO-specific event each month, and depending on the beer happenings going on around town, we can always plan a chapter outing to some of those, too. And since we’re all working women, i also want to have various happy hour meetups throughout the month to just catch up with one another and forget the working woes of the day/week ;)

And in other beer news:

foothills brewing flight

Foothills Brewing flight
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Let me preface this by saying that this is in no way a diatribe against the big beer companies and/or those who drink their products. After all, those who are craft beer enthusiasts usually start out drinking the Miller Lites, Bud Lights, Natty Lights, etc. of the beer world — myself included.

The reason I felt compelled to write this post is because a couple days ago, Nick and I were at the Flying Saucer for some pre-Beard wedding festivities and while our entire party of 11 was enjoying various Sierra Nevada beers (it was Sierra Nevada glass night), two of the tables next to us were enjoying bottles of Budweiser and/or Miller Lite.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, it is a restaurant that boasts 200+ beers and loyal patrons can join The UFO Club to track the beers they have consumed. When a person has drank 200 unique beers, his/her accomplishment will forever be remembered with a golden plate (or “saucer”) that will hang on the wall or ceiling of that particular location for years to come. Each plate has a color on it which signifies how many times someone has reached that 200 mark, as well as the person’s name and the name of the 200th beer.

Now, normally I wouldn’t pay attention to what those around me are drinking; however, nothing irks me more than going to the Saucer – a restaurant whose name and philosophy are based on the notion of trying different beers – and ordering the likes of a Miller Lite or Bud Light, over and over again. I’ve seen it countless times and it’s quite comical to see some people complain about how large the beer menu is or that some beer sounds “weird.” Why even bother going to the restaurant if all you’re going to do is complain about the primary thing being sold? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

The same goes for the people who go to a brewpub/microbrewery and never order their beer. Not sure about how one will taste? Ask for a sample or order a flight. My  mum is not the beer drinkin’ type, but even she was able to find something she liked when we ordered a flight from Foothills Brewing.

I guarantee if you stepped outside the beer box, you would find something new and different to enjoy. And no, it doesn’t make you a “hipster” if you like craft beer. And if people want to make fun of you for drinking craft beer, who cares?

Anyway, I needed to rant and if I’m the type of person that people refer to as a “beer snob,” that’s fine. Whatever. But at least i’m enjoying good beer — cheers!

raise your pintsIt was a HUGE day for Mississippi homebrewers! This morning, Governor Bryant signed Senate Bill #2183 and in doing so, made Mississippi the 49th state to legalize homebrewing (effective July1)! woohoo! I know the folks over at Raise Your Pints will be celebrating tonight! Things are always done a little slower here in the South, but it’s refreshing to see Mississippi get with the times. Now if only that pesky state to its East could get its act together, then every homebrewer in the country could legally enjoy his/her pastime.

And in Tennessee beer news, Senate Bill #0422 continues to make its way up the totem pole as the Senate State and Local/House Local Committees approved the Beer Tax Reform Act. Representative Cameron Sexton said of today’s events,

Today was an important step towards reforming a tax that is working against Tennessee. The subject may be beer, but this is about ultimately creating jobs and growing business.

Next up, the Finance, Ways & Means Committees.

That’s all I’ve got for today — cheers!

fix the beer taxTennessee’s Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 passed the House Subcommittee last week! This is great news for craft beer communities across the state, and this week, it will make its way to the House and Senate Committees. We’re one step closer to getting rid of our old school policy!

Also last week, it was announced that “The Beacon” – a collaborative ale by Yazoo Brewing Company and Calfkiller Brewing Company – would be released in bottles to bring further attention to the tax that “ales Tennessee.” I was curious to know if this beer would be coming to Memphis since we still tend to get the shorter end of the beer stick, and after tweeting @yazoobrew, I was told it would hit the Bluff City some time this week! Cheers!

It’s a been a beer-related week and there’s more to come this weekend!

irish

Flying Saucer St. Patrick’s Day Glass 2013
Cordova, Tennessee

Nick and I went to the Flying Saucer on Wednesday for the St. Patrick’s Day-themed glass night, and if you’re a fan of spicy and/or chocolatey beers, you need to try the Green Flash Serrano Double Stout. If you’ve ever had New Belgium’s Cocoa Molé, this is the next best thing. When you first try the Serrano Double Stout, it tastes like a traditional double stout — a very roasted, full bodied beer. You don’t taste any peppery flavor upon initial tasting, but as you continue to drink it, the spiciness of the Serrano peppers kicks in while still maintaining the sweet and bitter flavors. By the end of the glass, my tastebuds were in a frenzy and my mouth was left with a heated, tingling feeling (nothing too overpowering though). I definitely recommend it for stout-lovers and those wanting to branch out on the craft beer tree.

Thursday night we went to the Brew Movement Against Multiple Sclerosis with a few of our friends and a good time was had by all. What’s better than drinking good beer with your fellow beer lovers, all while supporting a great cause? Both Memphis homebrew clubs had tables set up, as well the guys over at FuzzyBrew, and I think I spent most of my time at these three tables. What can I say, I like supporting the homebrewers :) Nick and I also made our way to the Bosco’s table a number of times for their American Stout and Red Ale — two of our favorites!

Today, Nick will be bottling his beers for the National Homebrew Competition and for his beer trade with his good friend, Kenneth. I got Nick the Blichmann Beer Gun for Christmas and this will be his first time using it since he had to get the appropriate connections for his set up. This trade has been planned for a while and it’s finally coming to fruition! Nick is sending: an oatmeal stout, a mint chocolate stout, a breakfast stout, two 90 minute IPAs, and two saisons. And Kenneth is sending: two coffee ambers, two habanero honey IPAs, a 120 minute IPA, a wild ale, and a “baby” oatmeal stout. These two started brewing years ago while down at Mississippi State, and I’m excited to try more of Kenneth’s delicious brews!

And later tonight, we’ll be going to a St. Patrick’s Day party at a fellow homebrewer’s house and tomorrow, we’ll head to Bosco’s for some Irish Stout! Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Be safe out there — cheers!

Exhibit A:ribs

Exhibit B:steak

Note: I have nothing against vegetarians. I like veggies. But I also like meat. 

We took a hiatus from brewing this past weekend and instead, enjoyed our second favorite weekend activity: cooking out. After waking up early on Saturday and attempting to make a mushroom and bell pepper omelet (which ended up being scrambled eggs), we went to Costco to get some meat. We lucked out and got the last package of spare ribs [Exhibit A], then headed over to Shannon and Allyson’s house. Since Nick bought his smoker last year and Shannon got his as a wedding gift, the boys have become quite the BBQ pitmasters in their own right. Eventually Adam and Sarah came over, and while we waited for the ribs to cook, the six of us sat down for a nice game of Cards Against Humanity. If you’re unfamiliar with this game, all you need to know is that it’s like Apples to Apples, just a lot more “politically incorrect.” I really can’t describe the fun that is CAH… you’ll just have to play for yourself and find out!

On Sunday, we decided to use my Folk’s Folly gift certificate (thanks to the Memphis Flyer Tuesday Trivia question!) and rather than dining at the restaurant, we went to the Prime Cut Shoppe and got two 16 oz New York strip steaks to grill at home. I had been craving some bacon wrapped asparagus, so I consulted Pinterest and found this quick and easy Martha Stewart recipe. Nick also made some garlic and parsley compound butter for the steaks and we had ourselves a five-star dinner [Exhibit B] — so delicious!

But, we’ll be back in the brewing groove this weekend because Nick’s got 10 gallons of IPA to brew for the upcoming Memphis Brewfest — his first beer in a local beerfest! Cheers!

raise your pintsIt was a big day for homebrewers in Mississippi today! For several years now, legislators, homebrewers, and the npo, Raise Your Pints, have been working tirelessly to legalize homebrewing in the state of Mississippi. After numerous bills crashed and burned in committee, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel! Senate Bill #2183 was approved by the House earlier today and now all it needs is Governor Bryant’s signature! This is a huge win for Mississippi and the homebrewing community, in general. According to the American Homebrewers Association, it can be estimated that about 1 million Americans brew beer (or wine) at home once a year. Now, with Mississippi legalizing it, Alabama is the only state where homebrewing is still considered illegal. and although a new Alabama bill legalizing homebrewing has passed the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee, Alabama still has a long way to go in getting some of their representatives to understand that “homebrewing is not about promoting intoxication.”

fix the beer taxIn Tennessee beer news, the bills for the “Fix the Beer Tax” campaign will be put up to a vote next week in committee! If  you’ve ever wondered why the craft beer selection in Tennessee seems a bit lacking, here are the facts surrounding this push for beer tax reform. This change would not only bring more breweries to the state, but more breweries means more jobs… which is always a good thing. Nick and I attended the Memphis rally in February and there’s a lot of support for this, so hopefully that support will continue in the House and Senate. The rest of the country has already embraced the craft beer movement and it’s time Tennessee did, too!

MemphisGPO LogoAnd finally, in Girls’ Pint Out news, I’m happy to announce that I’ve finalized our very first event! The Kickoff/Meet & Greet Event will take place on Wednesday, March 24 at 7pm at Young Avenue Deli. I’m super excited to get things going with this and i’m hoping for lots of great events for our inaugural year! I’m also happy to announce that one of our members has already graciously offered to be our event photographer! And if you know me at all, you know that I love documenting anything and everything with pictures, so this is exciting news — cheers!

The New York Times published an article today that has some in the craft beer community buzzing. The article, Craft Beer’s Trend Toward Larger Bottles Causes A Stir, describes the “wine-ification of beer” and its backlash from consumers and merchants.

The backlash being that a) larger bottles are more expensive, b) it’s too much beer for one person to drink alone, and c) many people are “uncomfortable with the notion of drinking beer like wine, to be split among people and pondered.”

Yes, the cost of ordering a “bomber” at a restaurant is more expensive than ordering the traditional pint. However, you could probably go to your neighborhood liquor store and find it for about $10 less (source: I know from experience). Furthermore, I don’t think these larger bottles are made for one person to drink alone. I think many craft beer enthusiasts will agree that a large part of the craft beer culture is the socialization and discussion about the beer you’re drinking, what you like/don’t like, etc., and what better way to do that than sharing with your friends!

The last line of the article is what really prompted me to write this piece. Ben Granger, owner of the craft beer store, Bierkraft, says:

I don’t think beer and beer culture need to be like wine. I think they need to keep being themselves.

It’s an interesting thought considering beer and wine cultures already mirror each other to an extent. For example, tastings. The whole point of a wine tasting is to introduce people to different kinds of wine and educate them about the aroma, flavors, etc., right? Well, is that not also the point of a beer tasting, and the reason why many brewpubs offer “flights?”

Another example, pairings. The article mentions that, as part of the “wine-ification,” brewers want their product to be considered as a suitable pairing option for specific meals (much like is already done with wine). Well, my friends, this too is already happening in beer culture. Just last summer Nick and I attended Bosco’s Brewmasters Dinner, a four-course meal with each course having its own Bosco’s beer pairing — and that wasn’t the first of its kind! If you google ‘brewmasters dinner,’ you will get pages and pages of restaurants/breweries from around the country that have hosted similar events.

Anyway, I see no problem with beer culture intertwining with wine culture. That’s my two cents and you can take it or leave it — cheers!