Saint Arnold and Art Cars

Thursday August 6th, 2015 was IPA Day. Also commonly referred to as National IPA Day or International IPA Day, Craft Beer says

IPA Day is opportunity for all breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer.

Bars and breweries around Houston and the world set to celebrating.

Saint Arnold Brewery, being a true member of the Houston community, loves artcars.  Owner/Co-Founder Brock Wagner calls the annual Art Car Parade his favorite event in Houston. The brewery has used artcars as an advertising tool since the beginning. They have created or consigned 15 cars to date. The most recent is a fabulous 1959 Cadillac painted by Robyn Sanders.

For the recent IPA Day Saint Arnold toured a variety of local bars with collections of their cars in three different groups. The reason behind the tour was their new beer: Art Car IPA. At each bar they were offering “buy the beer, keep the glass” with both a street graffiti style logo created by local artist GONZO247 for the new beer and a new Elissa IPA logo with stylized ship’s wheel.

Their dancing card filled so quickly that Saint Arnold extended their Art Car IPA debutante to Friday evening as well. It was then that I found time to walk to one of my local purveyors of food and drink to try out the new brew. Not coincidentally perhaps, I ran into some friends and local art car (and scooter) artists.

Art scooterist Gay Barlow said, “I’m an Elissa fan. This tastes a little lighter.” The new beer is a deceptively refreshing beer, hiding the 7.2% alcohol well. Compared to their other IPA offerings (Elissa and Endeavor Double IPA) it has less malt helping it feel lighter. Lots of fruit and citrus flavors abound, but there is not too much lingering bitterness (with a reported 55 IBU).

We met Allison King, one of Saint Arnold’s local sales representatives. The sales reps often use the art cars as business cars, and she was one of the group trekking them about to different bars. She informed us that the beer isn’t generally available yet, but will be this fall in cans (after the Oktoberfest and before the Spring Bock) from their recently added canning line.

It will be available in a limited release on tap, lingering in area bars after this special Art Car Day draft-only release.

X Files: Tooms (s1 e21)

Summary: The return of Eugene Victor Tooms from episode 3.  Still creepy and slimy. The first appearance of FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, and with Cigarette Smoking Man blatantly overseeing the meeting with Scully, informing her that her work on the X Files isn’t up to expectations. Mulder presents crazy sounding evidence at Tooms’ parole hearing, and we’re off …

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Jam #1: Strawberry

So, I’ve been meaning to make some jam and the cheap strawberries littering the aisles of the supermarkets made me finally do it.  The honey I used (in place of some of the sugar) was more expensive than the fruit.  Granulated sugar would have been considerably cheaper.

I enjoy reading Food In Jars and I was eyeing her Strawberry Vanilla jam recipe, and based mine on that.

First I had to look up macerated strawberries.  Once I figured out what that meant, I got to it. Cut up the strawberries in small pieces, cover them in powdered sugar and put them in the fridge.  You don’t have to be delicate. Smashing them into the jar with a wooden spoon is encouraged.  I removed most of the white interior pith – later reading leads me to believe that might be discouraged.

macerated strawberries in quart ball jar

My strawberries were slightly underripe though fully red.  I didn’t use the whole container I bought, just filled up a quart mason jar.  It started with the juice a little under half way up the jar.  It ended almost to the top after a few hours.

Continue reading Jam #1: Strawberry

May 20 Houston

As I sit in the waiting area of the Houston Amtrak station just after 9pm, a wide variety of life is dribbling through the front door. Young, old; couples, singles; white, black, brown. A few families with kids are in the mix.

The TV blerts out programming, and overwhelms the meek voice that comes from behind a glass wall. Pirates of the Caribbean trumps Old Station Lady. The announcement was something about carry-on luggage; I’m sure I’ll need to know its content. Later.

The attendant said the train would be here about 9:30. Departure time is set for 9:50. It’s 9:25 and the double-sided heavy wood pews are filling up. At 9:27 the train pulled in. About 50 of us walk onto the pavement.

Several sleeper cars at the front, then a dining car, then a lounge car. Most of us are headed for the two coach cars at the tail of the train. They are stopped under Interstate-45 making it difficult to hear the porter checking us onto the cars.

It seems she’s placing the long distance passengers in the front car and the shorter rides in the back. Someone’s pulling a trailer alongside the train picking up garbage and luggage carts.

Someone shouts “all aboard” and soon we start to move. All the cars are two levels and I have an overview of the family members leaving the platform. One young fellow running alongside as long as he can. That’s one thing you don’t get anymore at an airport: walking your loved ones to the plane.

As we pulled west from Houston on the Sunset Limited it was almost 10:00 and they called last call at the lounge and cafe, to reopen at 6:30. So I made my way up there to check it out.

The upstairs of the lounge car is an observation car, with chairs facing outward from the train and enlarged windows. It was empty save for one guy crashed out horizontal.

I navigated the two cars back to my seat, passing some rambunctious young ones with one parent trying to corral them. There were fewer than a dozen people in the upper section I was in, all quiet save the newly acquainted senior couple immediately behind me chatting away.

The drain drops south before hitting Houston’s west loop, then heads west along Highway 59.

Next Stop: San Antonio.