Anyone who spends time looking at how oil is drilled for and refined around the world comes to notice something strange. The names people give to different types of crude oil can sound surprisingly delicious.

In reporting on the role that benchmark oil prices play in moving the price of gasoline,  I was introduced to one person who had made a game out of it. Rice University student Aruni Ranaweera created the quiz "Beer, Coffee, Crude" to test her classmates' ability to distinguish between types of crude, types of beer, and blends of coffee.  It's harder than is sounds. Go ahead, crack open a can of Tia Juana Light and give it a shot.

There was once a time when it was easy to throw around the term "craft beer" and know exactly what you were talking about. For decades, craft was the way to differentiate small, independently owned breweries – and the beer they make – from the brewing giants like Coors, Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

An Austin beer emporium may be forced to change the name of its line of brews.

First opened in 1986, South Austin’s Whip In has evolved from a convenience store into a “Dhabapub” offering Indian cuisine and 72 beers on tap. It’s also launched an in-house line of beers: Namaste Brewery.  But this week, Whip In announced it was being asked to surrender the Namaste name.

Austin Public Library

Family meals, lectures and musical entertainment. These are a few of the experiences you might get at a beer garden in the 19th century.

Tonight, the Austin History Center is hosting an event celebrating the old-timey beer garden experience at Scholz Garten, which was established in 1866. It claims to be the oldest continuously operated business in Texas.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Small breweries and brew pubs would have more opportunities to sell their beer under several measures approved Monday by the Texas Senate.

The compromise between small brewers and distributors would require a $250 license for microbreweries and brewpubs to sell their product on-site. Brewpubs would be limited to distributing 1,000 barrels a year.


Following a week of tense negotiations, a divided beer industry reached a compromise Monday on legislation to amend the state's alcoholic beverage code, beating a deadline set by state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, the Senate Business and Commerce Committee chairman. But the parties aren't disclosing any details until the official language is hammered out this week. 

“When I started working on this four years ago, no one would listen to me,” Scott Metzger, the legislative chairman of the Craft Brewers Guild, which is pushing to loosen restrictions on small brewpubs in the state. “Today, we have a deal.”

Jacob Villanueva, Texas Tribune

The Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Tuesday acted as legislative referee over bills that would allow craft breweries to sell on their premises and self-distribute in Texas, but critics said the legislation would hurt the state's system of alcohol production and distribution. 

“It’s two different visions of where the beer industry in Texas needs to go,” said Rick Donley, president of the Texas Beer Alliance.

Kelly Connelly, KUT News

Today is the annual Texas Craft Brewers Festival. It's billed as the largest celebration of microbreweries in Texas.

Many of the 27 breweries participating in the festival are new Austin businesses, part of a recent surge in local microbreweries.

Austin Beerworks was busy canning Black Thunder, a German-style schwartz beer, on Friday. There’s plenty of technology involved, though not the same as other high tech industries in Austin.

“It is absolutely our version of Austin’s tech industry,” said Adam DeBower, co-founder of Austin Beerworks. “We have a lot of controls, but most of them are analog.”

DeBower and three friends started Beerworks in 2011. Mike McGovern said the idea for a microbrewery grew out of a shared love of the drink.

TABC Changes What it Means to Be a Beer

Aug 9, 2012
Thomas Hawk, Texas Tribune

Until recently, beer drinkers who took their time to read the labels on their bottles or cans may have encountered some head-scratching fine print concerning Texas.

Underneath the name of Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Lager, for instance, was the note “In Texas, malt liquor.” Even closer inspection would reveal that the word “beer” did not appear on the label.

The labeling quirks were the result of a law that required all malt beverages (read: beer) containing more than 4 percent alcohol by weight to be labeled as either “ale” or “malt liquor” to be sold in Texas. The same law also prevented any drink with an alcohol content of more than 4 percent from being advertised in Texas as a “beer.” 

“It made for a very awkward label,” said Eric Ottaway, the general manager of Brooklyn Brewery. “Try writing a description without using the word ‘beer.’”

Photo by tommyh

Small breweries are celebrating a federal court ruling issued yesterday that strikes down state regulations limiting what beer makers can say about their products. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks’ makes three changes to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) rules:

  • Brewers can now advertise the alcohol content of their beers on their websites and promotional materials.
  • Brewers can now also advertise where you can buy their products.
  • Brewers are no longer required to label any beer that is 0.5 to 4 percent alcohol as “beer” and they are no longer required to label anything above 4 percent as “ale” or “malt liquor.”

“Ale and beer are not mutually exclusive categories. Ale is one type of beer,” said Ron Extract with Austin-based brewer Jester King Craft Brewery, one of the plaintiffs in the suit. “It really has nothing to do with alcohol content.”