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Spoiler Alert!

A handy infographic guide to the shelf life of fruit.

For you to casually dismiss the 100,000 men and women employed directly by the craft beer industry as bandwagoneers is an insult to one of America's last true homegrown industries. At a time when it seems that anyone can be outsourced, craft beer provides this country and the entire world with a product and a vision that is supremely and uniquely American.

Somehow I doubt you'd be so quick to dismiss the American automotive industry with such fervor, shunning the resurgence of Ford for your heroes who drive foreign-owned vehicles.

And let's be clear, much like our auto industry, this is a resurgent and growing industry. In the midst of over a half a decade of economic downturn, craft beer has continued to grow year over year. In fact, even as overall beer sales in the U.S. decline, craft beer continues to post growth in both volume and sales dollars. And we're even exporting our growth: In 2011, the volume of American craft beer exported to international markets rose significantly for the 9th consecutive year.

The Napoletano-style pizzas at Pizaro's are the best in town.
Katharine Shilcutt
The Napoletano-style pizzas at Pizaro's are the best in town.
The new beer (and wine) garden at Lucille's opens this week.
Courtesy of Lucille's
The new beer (and wine) garden at Lucille's opens this week.

While we as a country look to re-imagine and redefine how we will grow and flourish in the future, the brewers, employees and even the patrons of these small businesses across our country are ahead of the curve. Their foresight, their determination and their sweat equity has built — over the course of the past 30-plus years — a solid economic platform that injects much-needed jobs and sorely-needed stimulus into communities throughout America.

So while your hero may be sitting somewhere ordering Bud Light, my heroes work at places like Real Ale Brewing in Blanco, Texas, Sierra Nevada in Chico, California, and at hundreds of other American breweries and brewpubs across our country. They deserve every bit of your respect and admiration — not the implication that any of them are "conniving executives," and certainly not your unwarranted, misplaced scorn.

Signed,

Joshua Justice

American Craft Beer Drinker
_____________________

RESTAURANT NEWS

Openings & Closings
Restaurants within restaurants and second locations abound.

By Katharine Shilcutt

Two anticipated restaurant openings are headed our way — and the two spots couldn't be more different from one another.

First up is U.S. Smith's BBQ, Beer and Garden from chef Christopher Williams of Lucille's, which opens on Thursday, November 29. Although Williams just opened his Southern-goes-mod Museum District restaurant a few months ago, he's ready to expand Lucille's repertoire with the addition of this second restaurant-within-a-restaurant out back.

Behind the old cottage that houses Lucille's, Williams has added a barbecue pit that is large enough to smoke a whole pig, a bar and picnic-style tables with built-in ice troughs. Surrounding the patio area is a backyard garden where Williams currently grows herbs and vegetables in raised beds for the restaurant. The name U.S. Smith — like Lucille's — comes from Williams' own heritage.

"U.S. Smith was my great-grandfather," Williams says. "He owned a butcher shop, barbecue restaurant and a country store in Fort Worth, Texas." Williams claims that "from 1935 through 1955, he was also the reigning barbecue artisan of his day." U.S. Smith's BBQ, Beer and Garden will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On every other Sunday, Williams will host a neighborhood cookout.

The second opening is yet another restaurant-within-a-restaurant: The Pass — you know, the other part of The Pass & Provisions, the Montrose restaurant owned and run by Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan — is opening on Tuesday, November 27.

The Pass is envisioned as being similar to a chef's table in an upscale restaurant, where Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan promise to create "an authentic experience for each customer while placing emphasis on the process behind transitioning food to plate." The food at The Pass will be quite separate from that at the more casual Provisions — so don't expect pizzas and sandwiches — and will have only one seating per night, so that diners get the full experience of what a press release is calling "the local and global inspiration and experience of each chef and behind every dish."

The vacated space that once held Vida Sexy Tex-Mex will now become a second outpost of popular Heights seafood restaurant Liberty Kitchen. The new location will be called Liberty Kitchen Bar & Oysterette and expects to open this coming spring.

In other new locations news, a second Jimmy Changas has opened up in League City. If the crowds at the first Jimmy Changas in Pearland are any indication, prepare for this Tex-Mex chain from the owners of Gringos and Bullritos to take over the world someday — or at least Texas.

Korean favorite Seoul House Restaurant has closed, according to B4-U-Eat. The Korean restaurant was somewhat out of place in Vietnamese-and-Chinese dominated Chinatown but always seemed to do well nevertheless. We'll miss the bulgogi and galbi at the little spot we named Best Korean Restaurant back in 2007, but Koreatown over in Spring Branch has no shortage of Korean barbecue to ease the pain.

Finally, in chef shuffles, Eater Houston reports that two chefs have parted ways with their big-name restaurants: Kevin Bryant, the executive chef at The Capitol at St. Germain, has left to take up the chef de cuisine reins at L'Olivier. And chef de cuisine Jose Hernandez has left Triniti; in his place, Greg Lowry has been promoted to executive chef Ryan Hildebrand's righthand man.

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