What's a FABTS?

The FABTS is a club of homebrewers, beer aficionados, and anyone with an appreciation for the quality and diversity of great beer! As such, we are dedicated to the responsible enjoyment of beer as a alcohol containing quality food product, made to be shared with other people and other foods. The club was founded in 1996 by Lyle C. Brown, National Beer Judge.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

3rd Annual Shockoe Craft Beer Festival

Angela and I went to the 3rd annual Shockoe Craft Beer Festival on Friday night. After a stressful week for both of us, going and having beers with hundreds of strangers seemed like something that would help our moods. It did!

We decided against driving back from the festival and got a room at the Marriott in Richmond. It’s located about 5 blocks away from the festival location – walking / stumbling distance. The beer fest was held in Kanawha Plaza in downtown Richmond. Admission to the event was $15 for one day/$25 for two. We opted for one day’s worth of fun. Along with the admission you received a 6 ounce plastic pilsner tasting glass as well as 5 tasting tickets. Additional tickets were $1 apiece. The location of the event was great for the size of the crowd on Friday night. It was fairly intimate and not long lines to wait for beer. I kept telling Angela that come Saturday, I assumed the place would be a madhouse.

I’ve been to numerous beer festivals in California when I lived out there and I’ve been to a couple of the Old Dominion festivals. So, I knew what to expect. Angela had never been to beer fest before and was surprised that it was outdoors. The beer selection didn’t disappoint. There were 25 -30 brewery tents each pouring 2 or more of their offerings. A lot of the brewers were also pouring kegs from other breweries as well. The best thing about going to beer fest with someone is that you can taste two separate beers at each tent. That way you get half as hammered as you would be if you tried to taste all of the different beers. Angela and I went through about $40 worth of drink tickets.

We started the day with Troegs Hopback Amber and Dreamweaver Wheat as we perused the park. The Hopback Amber was malty and has a flowery nose. The Dreamweaver Wheat was spicy with clove notes. It’s funny how each tent nearly had the same types of beers. Most had a Pale Ale and either a Wheat or IPA. So, For Pale Ales, by far my favorite was Bluegrass American Pale Ale by Bluegrass Brewing Company in Louisville, Kentucky. There were a ton of wheats and I thought the best one was Richmond’s own Legend Brewing’s Hefeweisen. It had an intense aroma of bananas, cloves, and pepper. The initial flavor is sharp and tart, yielding to a little malty sweetness in the middle. It was very refreshing on a hot afternoon.

For the IPAs it was a tie between my favorite regional brewer out here Delaware’s Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and the Double Simcoe IPA from Weyerbacher Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania. I was disappointed in Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche. This was supposed to be a peach-flavored Berliner-Weisse. To me the peach flavor was totally overcome by the tartness and sourness of the beer. Maybe it’s just not my style. The other notable beers from the day were Clipper City’s Uber Pils. Angela and I went back for this one 3 times.

There were a few food vendors there that had BBQ, brats, and Mediterranean fare. Angela and I had the BBQ from ExtraBilly’s Smokehouse and Brewery. It was very good. Haley Scion of Richmond was one of the sponsors and gave out the most schwag. We got tshirts, sweatshirts and coffee mugs. They also had free pizza. Angel specifically enjoyed one token received from Flying Dog Brewery. She thought she was picking up some matches and it turned out to hide a condom. The other good schwag was from Oskar Blues Brewery. Free coozies, stickers, and mug holder necklaces.

As the night wore on Angela and I settled down to listen to the live music. It was mostly Bluegrass which neither of us like. The first act was the Shockoe Bottom Boys, then Billy Ray Hatley and the Showdogs finishing with Jackass Flatts who were the most talented of the bunch.

We decided to walk back to the Marriott after the festival completed at 10pm. While the walk to the site was no problem, we didn’t realize that the walk back was all up hill. Sweat was pouring off our backs by the time we made it back to the room. We were never so appreciative of air conditioning. We had a great time and are looking forward to next year’s. Let’s plan now for a FABTS trip.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Beer Radio

I am a big Howard Stern fan. So when he moved his show to Sirius satellite radio, I had to make the decision to either pay or not for the show. I've been a subscriber since December 2005 and while I still listen to Howard, what I found is the rest of Sirius is great. No commercial music channels are great!

I heard there's a show on Saturday afternoon dedicated to beer. It's supposed to be on Sirius Channel 147 from 4-6pm. Here's the description of the show from their website. I will try and check it out today and report here with a review of the show.

NOTE: The podcast for the show is available in iTunes, but the last show they have on there is from April 28th. Hopefully, the show is still on. I'll let you know.


Welcome to Beer Radio!

Cheers! Raise your glass high for Beer Radio, the official radio program of the United States Beer Drinking Team! As the only internationally broadcast radio program dedicated to the "sister and brotherhood of beer" we bring a frothy episode of Beer Radio to you live every Saturday in the USA and Canada as well as streaming and podcast around the world over the Internet.

Each week we bring brew to you. As the first "all beer; all the time" show dedicated to your best beer on your best day with your best buddies, we talk about all everything you want to hear including Beer Radio host talk with Ray "Redstar" Hoffman and Tim "Beerman" Gallagher talking about their great beer week, Beer Radio news and lifestyle report with "Chicago Bill" Krejci, Beer and fitness report with former U.S. Navy Seal, Stew Smith, "America's Beer Authority", Gary Monterosso with the Beer Radio Draft Report, "Beer Adventurer" Alex Wolf reporting from the land of sky blue water, "Beer Evangelist" and former "Beer Drinker of the Year", John Marioni reporting from Beer Land in America's great northwest ...... and a lot more.

You can call into Beer Radio live each Saturday from 4-6PM eastern time @ 866-USBDT-Beer (866-872-3823) and let's talk beer!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Drinking Appreciation TV Shows

At the August FABTS meeting we briefly discussed a few TV shows that focus on the appreciation of drinking adult beverages. The shows are Three Sheets, Beer Nutz and Uncorked with Billy Merritt. The shows are on the HDTV MOJO network. MOJO is available on Comcast Spotsylvania/Stafford channel 774 and Cox Communications channel 710.

Three Sheets is an international drinking tour with comedian Zane Lamprey who takes you around the world to master the local drinking customs. The show is funny while being informative. I have seen shows about Tequilas, Rums, Champagne and Irish beer. There was a great show recently about Sake'.

Beer Nutz limits itself to US beer travel. While this show should appeal to our group, it's the most uninteresting of the three. The best thing about this show is that they go to various different places in the US and highlight the brewpubs and microbreweries of the area. The worst part of the show is that they give the various brewers/drinkers/places a rating. The rating system which they use to give people and places from 1 to 5 "kegs". For some reason, MOJO does not have a home page for the show but doing a search on their site brings up an episode list. I've linked to it above.

Uncorked with Billy Merritt is about a beer guy trying to make the leap to wine snob. The good thing about this show is that he's willing to ask the dumb question so you don't have to. Sometimes the hosts acts a little stupid, which gets a little annoying, but you end up learning from his feigned ignorance.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

August FABTS Meeting

August is non-barley month at the FABTS meeting. We will also have the owner of Blacksnake Meadery here as guest speaker, plus may have an additional, surprise guest. Here's the list of the different beverages.

  • 5 different sakes
  • Sparkling Dessert Sake

  • Piore Granit - A Perry made from pears grown on 300 year old legacy trees, in Normandy, France by Eric Bordelet.
  • Sydre Argelette - Another Eric Bordelet Perry made by the same company from 100 year old trees.
  • Cidre Doux - An apple cider from Eric Bordelet from legacy apple trees.
  • Aspall Dry English "draft" cider
  • Normandy Cider

  • 2 different Hilltop Berryfarm Rockfish River Cyser (one sweet, one dry) (VA)
  • Redstone Juniper Mead (CO)
  • Redstone Blackraspberry mead (CO)
  • Redstone Cinnamon Vanilla Mead (CO)
  • Iqhilika South African Bird's Eye Chile Mead (SA)
  • Misty Mtn Wildfower and Ginger mead (VA)
  • Misty Mtn traditional mead (VA)
  • White Winter Cyser (WI)
  • Chouchen Oak Aged mead (Brittany, France)
  • Polish Mead
  • Carrolls Mead (Washingtonville. NY)

Summer = Less Content

I have not been in the mood to update the website since the weather's been nice. I missed the last FABTS meeting and it was one I was looking forward to (Pale Ales). Alas, as summer is also wedding season, Angela and I were at a friends wedding. I couldn't say I hated it, everyone knows I like to get my groove on. Not to mention my two favorite words in the English language - Open Bar!

Look for more updates as the days get shorter and colder.