Peticolas brewery in Dallas, or “so…I’m thinking we should have had breakfast”

Free Peticolas Pint glass

A few weeks after we got back in town, we decided to go check out Peticolas Brewing Company in Dallas. They are a pretty new brewery…actually they celebrate their 1 year anniversary on Dec. 30 (Happy early anniversary if you happen to find our little blog!!!). But they have had a HUGE year! They just recently took home a GOLD metal for their Royal Scandal English Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. THAT is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!! I actually had the Royal Scandal when we were there, and I loved it. It’s super balanced, and VERY drinkable. Their Velvet Hammer was named Dallas’ Best Beer by the Dallas Observer…Chuck loves that one, but it’s a little dark for me. I’m kind of a weenie. Anyways, Michael and Melissa Peticolas are the owners, and they have some pretty adorable kids too that run around the brewery. Pretty awesome  if you ask me. I love seeing family work together in a business…and I think one of the greatest things about the craft beer community is the family/friend atmosphere that you get everywhere. I’ve said it before…but people that are into this kind of thing are the NICEST people! Plus, everyone is better at talking to strangers after a beer or two! :)

Chuck in the cooler

Anyways, we had a great time at Peticolas. $15/each got us in the door, a free glass each, and plenty of beer. Only thing is…the tour started at 11 am, and i’m dumb. I didn’t have a SINGLE thing to eat before we went…annnnd 3 beers into it, I was done. DONE. So I strongly suggest having a hearty breakfast before you head out to these things. Here is a picture of Chuck inside the cooler.

a little moose drool

A little Moose Drool! :)

us at Peticolas

I was having a great hair day…you can’t tell so much in this picture, but trust me. It was good. We really enjoyed just hanging out and talking to a bunch of new people that had the same interests we do. The “tour” part was very informal, and since they keep their groups pretty small, essay writing Michael basically just walked us all through the process and answered everyones questions. I love seeing how different brewery’s operate and the size/scales of their equipment. This one is a pretty small operation, but they put out an excellent product. The fact that they are not afraid to keep it small and control the quality, is another thing I love about them

view of the equipment

Here’s a little shot of the equipment…and some fellow beer lovers.

I think i was drinking royal scandal...

And here we are enjoying the product of all their hard work. I THINK I am drinking a Golden Opportunity in this picutre. I enjoyed it, it’s medium bodied and really crisp and fresh. I am pretty sure chuck is drinking a Velvet Hammer here.

The owner and his kid

Here is Michael Peticolas and his son, talking us through the process :)

this is good stuff!

Here is about where I started wishing I had eaten breakfast…haha :)

family businesses are great

And again, answering questions for the crowd. If you are in the Dallas area, I strongly suggest stopping by Peticolas. These guys are passionate about what they do, and they do it right. The beer is great, the people are great, and its right by “Off Site Kitchen” , which has some pretty killer hamburgers (and my favorite…Grape senior newspaper Koolaid on TAP!) to help soak up a little bit of that beer. If you go irs tax debt soon, you can try their Wintervention…which I had the other night at Brewed in FW. It’s spiced, and perfect for this time of year

OH! And Peticolas is pretty active on facebook. So I would definitely check that out to stay up to date on tours, special tappings, events, etc.

https://www.facebook.com/PeticolasBrewing

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“I hope this plane has a phone charger….” (Belgium pt. 3)

This is the last Belgium post…then it’s on to our normal weekend routine! Promise. Of course, I have about 300 pictures from Belgium, and not EVERY day was spent inside a dark bar…but this blog is about beer, not family vacation. So i’m trying REALLY hard to stick to the topic at hand. So, lets talk about Delirium! We went there…after a lot of hesitation. At first we weren’t sure if how to conceive a boy we were going to go, because we didn’t want to be disappointed, or get stuck paying too much for beer because it’s so popular with tourists. But after a few days, we finally wandered in here at about 3pm on a weekday

This bar holds the world record for having the most beers available, and THIS was their menu. It’s printed exactly like a small phone book and the bar tenders have a system that resembles a library look up to help them locate the less “popular” of their 2000+ beers. I just decided to let the bar tender pick my beers for me. In all honesty, I have no idea what I drank…but it was cheap and good.

Here is a little peek at the inside of the menu. It is organized by country, then by brewery. If your familiar at all with Brewdog, you will notice it’s VERY expensive in Belgium! I mean, it isn’t cheap in the states, but when your thinking in Euros, those prices are kinda crazy.

We sat in the basement section. Apparently the upstairs area is huge…but this is the part that I saw Zane Lamprey in on ‘Three Sheets’, therefore…it is where I wanted to be as well. It was dark, musty, and just exactly what we needed in the middle of the day. In fact, we had such a great time chatting up the bar tenders and other tourists & locals that Order Flowers Online we ended up staying there well into the night. We met a really cool guy riot points league of legends the best Hostgator review from Belgium, a girl from Cali (HI Katrina!), a girl from Latvia, and a guy from London. We ate sausage and cheese, drank way too many beers, and decided that we definitely needed to make it back there at some point in our life

Here we are after a few beers. My eyes are crazy puffy because apparently I’m spoiled by all the non  smoking areas in America. Basically, Delirium bar is a win. It may be touristy…but hey, we ARE tourists after all.

Here is Chuck during lunch one day. That hoegaarden was HUGE. 50cL I believe…

 

We managed to meet some friends on the bike tour, and had dinner with them later that night at Chez Leon. KIND of a touristy place, but the moulles were good. Those weird looking wormy things are actually shrimp native to the area…they are good, but they look super gross. I will say that while Chez Leon had good food, the service was awful (even by european standards), and they were constantly trying to up charge us.

We also went to Moeder Lambic, which is a pretty well known bar in Brussels. They have a ton of beer, and pretty cool atmosphere. EXCEPT, the bathroom situation is really confusing and i ended up in the mens “section”….with our tour guide. Awkward. Note to the ladies…Bathrooms are not very clearly marked in these parts.

 

Here is the bar area….notice allll the different kinds of glass wear. That is one thing I miss. Most bars here do not serve in proper glass wear. However, in Belgium, you could go to any restaurant/pub/bar and you would get your drink in the correct glass.

Their menu was much more extensive than this, but here is a little snipet. When we were doing all of our research before we left on vacation, I was disappointed that we couldn’t find more “menu pictures”…so I was determined to take some and put them out into the world. It really helps you plan ahead and budget if you have an idea of pricing.

 

 

This beer was NOT my favorite. Very bitter, which was on purpose…but not my style at all.

Here are some of Chuck’s purchases that are now resting peacefully in our cabinet. In case you are wondering, you are allowed 2L of Beer per person, through customs before you have to pay taxes. Although, we have heard from several people that as long as it is beer and not liquor, you can actually get away with much more than that. Just be honest with them and tell them how much you have…they most likely won’t want to tie up the line with paperwork.

 

And I can’t end my vacation posts without showing everyone the BEST CHOCOLATE EVER. THE BEST. I swear.

See that little duck shaped one? That was my absolute favorite. He’s filled with salted Caramel and crunchy cookie.The Earl Grey one’s were pretty amazing as well. We brought home quite a bit of chocolate from Pierre Marcolini. We tried all the little shops we could find, and Pierre Marcolini was far and above the best. They had very original flavors and you could tell it was great quality chocolate. Plus all the employees were super nice.

 

And finally this is one of the Palace’s….This one is actually just used as offices and a place for visiting dignitaries to stay, because the King thought it was “too small”. So now the royal family has a larger palace on the other side of Brussels. Crazy. We took a tour of the Guarantor Loan small section that was available for tours, and let me just tell you…there is NOTHING small about this place. It’s larger than Buckingham palace, and older I believe….but don’t hold me to that. Anyways, I hope you have enjoyed our little Belgium vacation re-cap! If you have any questions, or any amazing places that you have been…please let us know! We are always looking for new, fun travel experiences

 

OH! I guess I should end with the title of the post…So, on the WAY to Belgium, our plane was really nice and had little TV’s and phone chargers at each seat. When we were at the airport waiting to return, I was playing on my phone and noticed the battery was almost dead. Considering I had finished all my paper leather briefcases books, and read through every magazine already…I was banking on reading on my phone some and maybe watching a movie or two on the little TV on the way back. I never thought that maybe our return plane wouldn’t be as nice as the one we took over there…never even crossed my mind. So, all the time I could have spent charging my phone and iPad, I instead spent playing on them. When it was finally time to board, both of our phones were almost dead, and the iPad only had about 30% battery life left. As we were walking down the aisle, I immediately noticed that the first class section looked a lot like our coach section on our way, so I started to get concerned. Sure enough, we were in a crazy old plane with nothing but those little off color TVs hanging from the ceiling. No cell phone charger, no games, no private TVs with tons of movies to pick from…and I had a dead cell phone and almost dead iPad….with no magazines or books to read. I can’t sleep on planes, and neither can Chuck….that was the LONGEST 10 hours of my life. Seriously. Ugh

“What is a Sour beer exactly?”

Alright, so Cantillon! Another stop on our beer tour…and probably one of the coolest places i’ve ever been. To get here, we took QUITE the sketchy 20 min walk across town. Had I not been surrounded by my husband, big German men, and a few Army guys…I might have cried and turned around half way there (i’m a giant wimp). But we managed not to get stabbed or kidnapped, and by the time we actually arrived I was in need of something to take the edge off. I had never heard of “Geuze” or Sour beer before. I had heard of BITTER beer, and I wanted no part in that…I mean, I think we all remember the “bitter beer face” commercials. Chuck just so happens to be a little more educated in this area though, and ensured me I wasn’t going to look like an old man with no teeth if I drank this. So I felt a little less skeptical, but still curious.

Cantillon Brewery is 100 years old, and the only ACTIVE brewery in Brussels that is open to the public. In 1978, in order to preserve the name & reputation of Lambic’s, they decided to open their doors to the public and become the Brussels “geuze museum”. Here you are looking at some aging bottles of various Lambic’s. Aren’t they pretty?

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This place was pretty darn charming. I mean, look how rustic it is! This is their bottling line… nothing too fancy. Just right to get the job done. (Chuck would prefer the sentence to read: “just enough to get the job done”. If he wants to take up blogging…i’ll let him. But I’m not holding my breath. HA!) They had spider webs everywhere…kinda creeped me out since I hate spiders…but I guess when a building is 100 years old, it would be weird if it DIDNT have spiders.

I should also take a second to let you know that neither of us will be winning any photography awards in the near future. We are just trying to document experiences here…focus was the least of our worries (obviously). There you have it, you now know to lower your expectations. This little piece of equipment does something….i’m sure of it! However, i’m NOT sure exactly WHAT it does. I think I took this picture because I thought it looked old, and therefore, cool. (nevermind…I found out. It’s a pulley system that provides power to the mash tun. Thanks husband)

This is where the beer gets all stirred up. Chuck probably knows the name for this lovely, antique looking piece of equipment…but I don’t. (Well… he just told me it’s a mash tun) Basically it mashes all the grains with the water. This one is crazy old….and therefore, cool.

This is the top of the Copper Hop Boiler….and it even has fancy french words on it.

Another copper part….remember, old=cool.

This is the “cooling tun”…the niftiest part of this whole shindig. As the wort cools on this lovely copper pan, it collects natural yeast and bacteria from the air! It can hold up to 7500L of wort. The wort cools off, and all the little ambient yeasts along seo company with several other identified & unidentified (yikes!) yeasts get all comfy in the wort and give the lambic it’s special characteristics. Because of this special yeast delivery system they have Canadian Online Pharmacy going here….these beers can not be reproduced anywhere else in the world. In other words, there’s no place to buy “the germs that are landing on the wort at cantillon”… although there was a rumor that other brewers would try to come by in vans with the windows open to try and “catch” some of the cantillon yeast. HA! As a result of their questionable yeast catching practices…lambic breweries are not as sterile as your normal brewery. Bacteria and spider webs all add to the delicious end product

{side note: Brettanomyces bruxelensis, for all you beer knerds, can be injected into home brews to produce lambic like flavors}

This is the room where they keep the aged spiders hops. You will notice the light coming in from the side….THAT would be from the holes in the ceiling. Old= cool.

Ahh…see? Holes in the roof! Airflow and natural flavoring…all from one convenient place.

And here we have some aging barrels. The average Lambic is aged 1-3 years…FYI.

Once it’s all finished getting funky…they put their old traditional lambics into shiny new kegs! Too bad you can’t get one of these back on the plane!

…and of course plenty gets bottled as well.

Here, this lovely lady is pouring a Kreik. Kreik is a lambic made of sour cherries…annnd it’s pretty much delicious. Not sweet at all though.

A little info for you….

Lambic= 2/3 malted barley, 1/3 malted wheat. Spontaneously fermented (via those unidentified flying bacterias), aged in oak, and bottled for refermentation. *All fruit flavored lambic’s involve mascerated fruit left in the oak casks, and young lambics are added to supply sugar for fermentation. No sugar is left after refermentation, and that is what causes the flavor to be sour, NOT bitter. BIG difference. There are many different flavors possible.

Geuze= a carefully considered blend of lambics with different ages and tastes.

Here is Jean Van Roy (in the allagash shirt)…very euro looking guy. He’s a fourth generation owner/brewmaster at Cantillon.

And here is Caesar (our guide) explaining the differences between the Geuze and the Kreik.

I loved both of the kreik and the geuze right from the start. However, several other people in our group definitely were NOT fans. I guess it’s an acquired taste? I just acquired it very quickly. :) I found the sourness to be refreshing, and not at all off putting. People who like wine though, were a bit thrown off I think. This is definitely something you should go out and try for yourself.

Cheers! Up next….random beers from the rest of our trip.

Zwanze Day 2012

Since we are about to talk about Cantillon, we would be remiss if we didn’t let you know that THIS Saturday (Dec. 1, 2012) is Zwanze Day 2012!!!!

We took this picture AT Cantillon back in September…these lovely little barrels are holding a special Rhubarb Lambic.

Basically, Zwanze day is a day where a handful of bars around the globe are sent kegs of the Cantillon Zwanze vintage 2012, and it will all be tapped at the same time. You can’t buy this lambic anywhere…so the only way to taste it is to attend a Zwanze day tapping. Check out the link below to see where the tapping nearest you is taking place. For us, unfortunately the closest is New Orleans…so unless we decide to take a crazy trip Friday night…we won’t be getting in on this :(

http://cantillon.be/br/3_21

“This bar is HOW old?” (Beligum, Pt. 2)

Au Bon Vieux Temps

 (in english “The Good Old Days”)

This was the first bar we went to on our beer tour…and it happens to also be the oldest bar in Brussels. Its proximity to Grand Place had me a little skeptical, but once inside it was pretty clear that this wasn’t a “tourist trap”. The bar doesn’t have THAT many options, and sure isn’t going to be where you find the more rare beers. But if an authentic 1600′s pub experience is something on your bucket list…then by all means, don’t miss this place.

In operation since 1695, the bar has some amazing wood working and stained glass. It is also very quite, so it was a great place to have some conversation with the rest of our small beer tour group! Have I mentioned how much I loved this beer tour?!?! The group was small (about 12 people), and we met a couple from Australia, one from Ohio, some hilarious German guys, a guy from Chicago, and some other guys from London. Ok, so anyways…as this was our first stop, we all chose different beers to get started with, and Caesar (our guide) told us the history behind Belgian beer and a little about each one we chose.

While we drank our first beer, we also passed around a bottle of the infamous westvleteren. Actually, Chuck and I have a few of these in our cabinet right now, aging for a special occasion. This particular beer is VERY rare, as it is made by a monastery that does not make beer all the time. They actually only make it when they NEED the money to fix something, and as such…they do not distribute. In order to get this one, you have to make the trek by car and pick up a case all on your own. Now, of course you can get it “black market”, but you will definitely pay a premium… and won’t be helping the monks out that much. BUT, if you can find it in a beer shop in Brussels and don’t feel like taking a chance that the monks felt like selling beer that day, go ahead! :)

My first beer of choice was Westmalle Tripel. This is a Trappist beer…which means it is brewed inside the walls of an actual Trappist monastery. There are several beers/breweries that claim to make “abby” beers….but there are actually only 8 active Trappist breweries that can carry the “authentic Trappist logo”. Of the 8, 6 are in Belgium (the other two are in The Netherlands and Austria). So, all that to tell you…this beer is PRETTY pricey in the states. But in Belgium, it will only set you back 4.5Euro (however, it was free on my tour)! I really enjoy this beer because it has a great belgian yeast flavor with a little bit of a lemon/citrus finish. Its VERY easy to drink…and dangerous since it’s 9.5%ABV.

Chuck had the Trappistes Rochefort 8 as his first beer of the tour. This is another Authentic Trappist beer. Actually you can see the official logo in the bottom corner of the label (little hexagon? shape). These come in 6, 8, and 10…all age well and can be cellared for up to 5 years. The 8 has a great malty, caramel sweetness, nutty yeast and hints of plum and dates…it’s perfectly balanced and has an excellent complex flavor. This is another strong beer at 9.2%, and yet you don’t notice it at all! Very drinkable.

Here is a little peek at the bar menu. What you DON’T see here is the price of water…I learned REAL quick that my water habit would cause me to go broke in Belgium. You are hard pressed to find 25cL of water for less that 5Euro…and Chuck and I drink A LOT of water. No kidding, we probably spent about 25-30Euro per day on water alone…and I was rationing. I don’t know how people in Europe have functioning kidneys…but I digress.

As I mentioned before, our Belgium trip will take a few posts to properly cover…and then we will get on with all the local stuff! Since I have a job, I seem to only be able to manage one post a night. I hope to get a few extras up over the weekend when I have more time. But for now, I will leave you with a picture of Cantillon…that’s what’s up next!

 

 

 

 

 

“Where IS Belgium anyways?”

Once upon a time….we decided to take a flight. A 10 hour (13 if you count the layover) flight. A 10 hour flight, in coach seats….allllllll the way to Belgium. “Why in the world are you going to Belgium?” ,”What in the world are you going to do there?”, “Where IS Belgium All Sarongs anyways? I would just go to France”…we got alll kinds of questions from friends and family. But since you are here, on this page about beer…I assume you probably know trade show display rentals EXACTLY why we decided to spend our 1 year wedding anniversary in Belgium. If you don’t, i’ll go ahead and let you in on the secret. Beer. Our anniversary JUST so happened to fall smack dab in the middle of Belgian Beer Weekend. So, off to Brussels we went

Here’s a map. For those of you interested in the details, we stayed at Sofitel Le Louise. Highly recommend it…assuming you are ok with them putting a 1600Euro HOLD on your credit card, even though you have already paid for your entire stay plus breakfast. We were NOT ok with it…and after a little persuading and some tears (on my part…not Chuck’s), they kindly reduced the charges to 200Euro. Still crazy, but livable.

Once we finally convinced the hotel that we were not poor college kids, we were able to relax and get out in the city a bit. I know this is a website about beer…and i’ll get to that. But I just thought you might want to see what else Belgium has to offer. For instance, there are bikes! Rentable bikes, that you return to random bike centers. Pretty nifty.

Moving on…here is a little glance at the beer festival going on in Grand Place. It was PACKED. The line to buy tickets was about 3 hours, and an additional 2 hours to get your tokens….not to mention you would then have to fight your way into a booth and stand in line for a beer. Upon further inspection of the vendor list, we decided to forego this lovely little time waster, and find our belgian beer experiences the old fashioned way.

We went to a bar. This Kwak was my first beer in Belgium…and let me tell you, it’s a LOT better there than it is here. I’m sure the atmosphere helps…and the free little bowls of mixed nuts they bring.

The next day we did something I HIGHLY reccomend if you are ever in a foreign city. We went on a bike tour. Not just ANY bike tour though…it was a bike and beer tour! 60Euro each, and we had a full day of site seeing, drinking, and even some lunch! It was the best money we spent, and we got to see the city in a way we never would have otherwise. Our tour guide Caesar was extremely knowledgable, hilarious, and loved beer. What more could you ask for! Visit http://www.brusselsbiketours.com/ if you are headed there and want to book the best! (not paid for this or anything, we just really thought he was great!)

I will need to break this up into a few posts to fully cover all the awesomeness that is Belgium…so lets consider this the end of Part 1. We will pick up in Beligum’s oldest bar….stay tuned!

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Hello world!

This is a brand new little blog! Here we will be archiving our beer related experiences and expertise for you guys to enjoy! Please leave comments, suggestions, and your own personal stories! We are excited to use this space to expand our reach in the craft brewing community and make some new friends along the way!