Monday, December 28, 2015

Karbach Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

Yeah, yeah, yeah, i realize Christmas was a few days ago, but there are still plenty of Christmas ales to be found on the shelves and enjoyed all the same.  Karbach's offering is the tasty and festive Yule Shoot Your Eye Out.  The brew pours dark with a decent head and plenty of carbonation, and smells of malts and spices.  The taste is pure winter holidays, with notes of cocoa, orange, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.  It's an easy drinker, but also weighs in at 8% ABV, so make sure you're not going anywhere.  Happy Holidays!

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Cigar City Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

I thought is should do one more beer from Tampa Bay's Cigar City Brewing, a wonderful brewery and taproom i visited last week.  It may be a little out of season, but their Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale (on nitro no less) was as amazing a pumpkin brew as i've ever had.  Creamy and thick and 9.4% ABV, the beer was a beautiful dark brownish amber with a tremendous frothy head.  It was probably one of the prettiest beers i've ever seen.  Aromas of pumpkin and nutmeg spices were prevalent and not overpowering on the tongue.  Combined with some strong alcohol notes, the Good Gourd should not be nearly as smooth as it is.  I would love to have another.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Cigar City Sugar Plum

I made a visit to Tampa Bay over the weekend to visit with an old friend, catch a football game, and of course drink some local beers.  I don't usually think of craft beer when i think of Florida, but Tampa's Cigar City Brewing totally won me over with their excellent brews and comfy, relaxed atmosphere.  While there, i was able to try a handful of different beers, all of which were great, but i think my favorite was the Sugar Plum, a winter ale brewed with coffee, chocolate, and plums.  It's hard to describe the Sugar Plum.  It's one of the most complex brews i've ever had the pleasure of imbibing.  Pouring amber with a white head and stellar lacing, the coffee and chocolate notes are heavily prevalent in the aroma.  Upon drinking, the beer hits you first with those same coffee and chocolate notes, followed by the sweetness from the plums, and finally a kind of spicy, bitter finish like you would get with a winter or Christmas ale.  Each taste got better and better.  At 7% ABV, i would have kept drinking these all night, but there were other avenues to explore, and eventually places close for the night.  I would have stayed if they'd let me.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Shannon Chocolate Stout

Another day, another beer from a new craft brewery i had never heard of before.  From the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Shannon Brewing's Chocolate Stout might just become a holiday season staple around these parts from now on.  It's a tasty brew.  Pouring dark black with a light tan head, the beer smells predominantly of roasted malts, with some cocoa and coffee notes in the mix.  Tasting mildly sweet at first, with hints of chocolate, caramel, and a general roastiness, the beer finishes more on the dry end with some light hops added to keep things grounded.  I thoroughly enjoyed drinking this wonderful stout all afternoon watching college football, and at 5.7% ABV, it's an easy drinker.  Would love to have a nitro version of this some day.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Saint Arnold Sailing Santa

The holidays are upon us, and with them a wonderful assortment of special holiday brews.  This year, Houston's Saint Arnold Brewing gives us Sailing Santa, a blend of their Christmas Ale and Elissa IPA with some added spices for extra oomph.  The two styles of beer compliment each other quite well, making for a delicious holiday treat.  The beer pours copper with a nice frothy head and smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, and hops, and the flavor is fantastic.  The Christmas spices mix pleasantly with the slightly botanical hops of the IPA, creating a beer that's warming, refreshing, complex, and different.  I loved it.  Get it while you can.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Renewal Tamarind Wheat Ale

While it doesn't fall into the normal seasonal dark brew fetish i usually employ this time of year, i simply could not pass up a new local brewer's wares, as this ongoing craft beer boom seems to be showing no signs of ending anytime in the immediate future.  And so we have 4th Tap Brewing Co-op and their Renewal Tamarind Wheat Ale.  The beer pours amber with minimal head and smells of bread, fruit, and spice.  The wheat is wholly evident in the beer's flavor with fruity sweet notes and an overall sourness that's quite pleasant.  Renewal is a late summer/early autumn brew, but seeing as i live in Texas, and it's supposed to be in the 70's this week, i'll take it anytime.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mother's Little Fracker

The days are getting shorter and cooler (kind of), and my beer preferences are getting darker.  It's porter and stout season here in the Williams household, and Mother's Little Fracker American Stout from Revolver Brewing in Granbury, Texas is a delicious way to start the season.  Dark, malty, and roasty, the brew pours black with dark brown and foamy head and smells of roasted malts and hints of chocolate and coffee.  The taste is dry and bitter with some subtle dark chocolate notes and finishes with just a hint of sweetness.  Coming in at 7.5% ABV, this isn't the strongest stout you'll get your hands on, but it will do just right as a nice, little winter warmer.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Off Label Boomstick Double Black Rye Coffee IPA

No Label Brewing out of Katy, Texas periodically releases one-off batches of interesting brew concoctions on their Off Label series.  Their Boomstick Double Black Rye Coffee IPA is a mouthful, both in name and flavor.  Pouring a dark, blackish brown with a light head, the aroma of coffee and hops are immediately detectable...and they smell good.  Flavors of bread, malt, coffee, and spicy hops are abundant with some slight caramel and floral notes.  This is an interesting brew, taking bits and pieces from a whole slew of other styles to craft a veritable Frankenstein's Monster of a beer.  Somehow, all these different things work together though, and the brew is an excellent beverage to start or end an evening with.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Black Star Co-op's Agent Cooper

One of the local purveyors of beer and food that i like to visit here in Austin is the Black Star Co-op.  The food is great.  We can take the kiddo there.  And i love their brews.  Yesterday, in honor of a "Twin Peaks" marathon they decided to screen in the pub, the brewers took their excellent porter, the Recalcitrant Dockhand, and added some coffee and cherry juice to create Agent Cooper.  The beer is dark and medium bodied and smells of chocolate, malts, and the aforementioned coffee and cherry.  A swirl of chocolate and caramel notes mix swimmingly with the hints of coffee and cherry, and an all-around roastiness prevails.  This beer is awesome, and i believe just a one-off batch.  So, if you live in the Austin area, get over there and try it before it's too late.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and The Unidragon

Last week, an old friend and fellow beer enthusiast came into Austin to visit and to attend the Flying Saucer's annual Beerfeast event.  After an afternoon spent in the sun imbibing beer after beer, sample after sample, the fest was capped off with a little 14% ABV brew from Massachusetts' Clown Shoes Brewery, the lovely titled The Good, The Bad, and The Unidragon.  A Russian Imperial Stout, this beer is dark and black with a brown head and lacing that never leaves the side of the glass.  Aromas and flavors of roasted malt, some dark fruit notes, chocolate, toffee, and alcohol are abundant, but for as strong and intense as the beer is, it actually goes down quite smoothly.  Maybe a little too smoothly.  It's really an amazing beverage, and currently only available here in Texas.  We are special.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

A Pale Mosaic

I'm not sure if you would call the latest from Hops and Grain a pale ale or an IPA.  It's kind of both.  It's kind of neither.  But either way, A Pale Mosaic sure is tasty.  Pouring a nice and cloudy gold, the beer smells of wheat, pine, and hints of fruit.  The oily mosaic hops give the brew a nice body with a light bitterness on the back end, and tastes of wheat, spice, grapefruit, and more citrus notes.  It's more bitter than your standard pale ale, but not quite into the realm of IPA's, and that's okay because it is easily drinkable and has secured a place in my fridge.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout

Years and years ago, i got turned on to pumpkin ales courtesy of the very delicious, though now seemingly hard to find (in Austin anyway) version from Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Hayward, California.  Since then, i've moved on to other pumpkin concoctions from other brewers, but just found my way back to fold with the Black Pumpkin, a tasty pumpkin-tinged oatmeal stout.  (Man, a whole lotta pumpkins in that last sentence.)  The beer pours dark and thick and smells of pumpkin, spices, and roasted malts.  The flavor is creamy and roasty, with subtle chocolate notes and a whole lot of pumpkin, and at 7.5% ABV, this is a fairly easy beer to consume through the better part of a ballgame.  Gotta get my fill while the season's strong.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Oklahoma Suks

If the last few weeks are any indication, i'm probably going to be one sad dude on Saturday afternoon, hanging my head in defeat...yet again...because my football team likes to make me upset.  That being said, never ever ever give up.  Every year, Independence Brewery here in Austin puts out a limited amount of Oklahoma Suks beer, a cleverly disguised version of their classic Austin Amber.  The beer pours a nice amber and smells of hops and spices.  There's just a hint of caramel in the flavor of this easily sessionable 4.8% ABV brew.  If you're here in Austin, the surrounding area, or Houston or Dallas, grab some of these up quick before they're all gone...and then use them to celebrate victory this Saturday.  Or wash away your tears.  Hook 'Em!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Off Label Nightmare on 1st Street Imperial Pumpkin Ale

There are a lot of beer snobs out there that turn their noses up at pumpkin ales.  I am not one of those beer snobs.  I love pumpkin ales...of all kind...of any kind.  And over the last few years, they have begun to sprout up in the fall like weeds, brewery after brewery creating their own pumpkin concoctions.  Magnificent.  No Label Brewing out of Katy, Texas just released one of my new favorites on their small batch, Off Label series, an imperial pumpkin ale called Nightmare on 1st Street.  The brew pours a dark amber and smells malts, molasses, spices, guessed it...pumpkin.  Flavors of malt, cinnamon and clove, caramel, guessed it again...pumpkin spices compliment each other swimmingly in this 9.27% ABV brew.  Get it while you can.  Yum.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Strange Land Brewery Atholl Brose Scotch Ale

I'm in the process of moving, and let me tell you, it sucks a big one.  At least i've got beer to get me through the aches and pains i keep racking up.  Strange Land Brewery is one of the latest providers of liquid heaven to open its doors in the Austin area, and from what i've been able to try thus far, they know what they're doing.  The Atholl Brose Scotch Ale is a strong and tasty dark brew to put an end to an evening with.  Pouring a dark brown with off-white head, this 8.9% ABV beer smells oats, malt, and whiskey.  The oat and whiskey flavors are very present with hints of honey to liven things up.  I would love one of these after i finish packing some stuff up tonight.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Real Ale Black Quad

Since i started writing this blog and drinking a slew of different beers every week, one of my all time favorites was the Brewer's Cut Black Quadruple from Real Ale, a one-off batch from about three years ago.  I have pined for its return ever since i drank my last one, sometime in April of 2013 at a baby shower before my son was born, and it has returned...this time in bomber form.  Now a regular rotation brew, this 10.5% ABV wonder pours a dark brown and smells of malts, molasses, dark fruits, and heaven.  The flavor is complex, spicy and fruity with just the right kind of dry finish.  Easily one of my favorite beers ever, i am beyond stoked to have it in my fridge again...only BIGGER.  Hooray!

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

KCCO White Wheat

One of the lovely things that happens when you write about beer on the internet is that you will sometimes get messages from like-minded people on social media with recommendations and discoveries and such.  Recently, i was encouraged to try the KCCO Black Lager from Austin's Resignation Brewery...which for whatever reason or another, i have not gotten around to doing so yet, but i did get a chance to try their KCCO White Wheat, and it's a perfect summertime brew.  This 5% ABV beer pours a hazy gold and smells of wheat and honey.  The flavor is full of the same wheat and honey notes, but with some added citrus and orange.  And it's damn refreshing.

Eventually i will get around to that black lager.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Big Bend Hefeweizen

Man, it's been hot outside lately.  It is August in central Texas after all, and a sure cure for the sweaty blues is a nice, refreshing hefeweizen.  So, why not imbibe one brewed out in the mountainous desert of West Texas from young upstart Big Bend Brewing?  The Big Bend Hefeweizen pours a light, hazy gold and gives off aromas of wheat and citrus.  The beer is subtly sweet with some hints of breadiness, and crazy easy to drink.  Weighing in at 5.6% ABV, it's certainly a sessionable beer, but lets you know it's there.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Austin Eastciders Texas Honey Cider

Hey!  That's not a beer!  Shaking it up a little bit this week with fantastic local cider from Austin Eastciders.  I'm not normally a cider drinker, but i grabbed Texas Honey Cider on a whim at dinner the other night and found it to be a perfect complimentary beverage for a hot summer night.  Pairing some subtle sweetness with a dry bite and 5% ABV, this hard cider is ridiculously easy to drink.  If they had had these around 25 years ago before i developed my beer palette, i'd have been in trouble.  And now, while it's not something i would drink on a daily basis, it's nice to change things up every now and then.  Have one with your next outdoor meal.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Forbidden Lavender

I like breweries that really put themselves out there by taking chances with odd or tweaked ideas.  Katy, Texas's No Label Brewing's seasonal offering this summer is a Belgian-style witbier brewed with lavender instead of coriander, and it's a slightly off-kilter, subtle, and wonderful beer for this time of year.  Pouring a nice, clear gold with a white, bubbly head, the beer smells of wheat with hints of honey and vanilla...and of course lavender.  The flavor is similar.  The lavender never overpowers, but it certainly lets you know it's there.  All in all, this is a great summer beer to sip on the porch while the sun goes down.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Real Ale Gose

Not sure why this pic came out so dark.
This summer, i've noticed that several brewers are offering their own take on the Gose.  A Gose-style beer is a specialty brew that was originally made in northern regions of Germany.  It's a sour wheat beer that has notes of coriander and a unique saltiness caused by the water used locally from that region.  The Real Ale Gose from the awesome folks at Real Ale is a central Texas take, adding lime juice into the mix to make a tart and tasty, one of a kind brew.  The beer pours a wheaty gold and smells of bread, yeast, and citrus.  Sour and salty, the lime and salt shine, but the wheat and yeasty notes keep it grounded.  This is an awesome beer for these hot, summer days, and at 4.4% ABV, it's highly sessionable.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

New English Brewing Zumbar

There's really not much i like better than ending the day with a dark, heavy beer, sitting back on the sofa and watching a movie or reading a book.  The kid's asleep.  The dog naps next to me.  It's a lovely time.  And so, we have what is probably the last beer i'll be writing about from my trip to San Diego earlier in the summer, New English Brewing Co's Zumbar, a delicious chocolate coffee imperial stout.  The beer pours dark with a thick, tan head, aromas of chocolate and coffee permeating the air.  The chocolate flavor hits first with a subtle sweetness that is immediately followed by the coffee notes along with some malts and bitterness.  It's fantastic, and at 9.3% ABV, it does not mess around.  I wish i had one to drink tonight.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb!

Way back in the good old days, when i was still on vacation, my mix of Southern California beers was interrupted by a powerful little brew out of Oklahoma.  Prairie Artisan Ales' Bomb! is a beast of a beer.  Coming in at 13% ABV, this imperial stout aims to put hair on your chest.  The beer pours a dark, midnight black and smells of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and malt.  The flavor combines those aromatic elements nicely, but throws in some ancho chile peppers to liven things up a bit.  The subtle heat from the peppers mixes well with the coffee and chocolate flavors and creates a pretty unique tasting beer, though it is definitely of the post-meal variety.  Skip desert and have a Bomb! instead.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Mission Brewery Blonde Ale

It's summer.  It's hot.  I spent part of my day yesterday mowing and edging my lawn.  At midday, i was a filthy, sweaty mess, a heap of wet and dusty clothes and reddening skin.  I sure could have used a Blonde Ale from San Diego's Mission Brewery to cool me back down.  The beer is a Kolsch-style ale, pouring a nice and light gold with a dry, crisp body.  Aromas and flavors of fruits and spices prevail prevail in this perfect summertime beverage.  I've said before that nothing beats a Kolsch on a hot summer day, and it turns out i'm absolutely right.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Back in Black Black IPA

If i'm honest with myself, there really does not seem to be any style of beer that i just don't like.  Sure, there are some that are not my favorite...which is really just a nice way of saying i'd rather not drink them, and there are certainly some i favor more than others, but it really all just comes down to my mood.  That said, i love me some IPA's, and all the wonderful variations of said style.  Back in Black is a black IPA from 21st Amendment Brewery, a collision of styles and flavors that i thought worked together fantastically.  The beer pours a nice black with a tan head and smells of orange and citrus, but with some detectable coffee notes.  The flavor brings together the citrus and some grapefruit notes with roasted malts and some light caramel, the whole thing finishing dry and not overly hoppy, and at 4.9% ABV, it's an easy drinker.  Have one with a friend.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Mike Hess Claritas Kolsch

Summertime usually means Kolsch-style brews for me, and this summer is no different.  Since loading up on California beers back in June, i was provided with a bevy of different ones to sample.  San Diego's Mike Hess Brewing's offering was their Claritas Kolsch, a light-bodied, golden nectar with aromas of citrus and fruit and flavors of said fruit notes with some sweet malts and spicy hops.  Perfect and refreshing for a hot day spent outside by the pool, or porch, or BBQ, and so on.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2015

I was in San Diego.  Of course i was going to drink some beer from Stone Brewing.  I'd be stupid not to.  Anyway, cheers to their 2015 Classic Release Imperial Russian Stout, a thick-bodied and tasty beer that's as black as my dark soul.  Midnight black with a tan head, the beer smells and tastes of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and dark fruit with some nice and subtle hop notes to spice things up just a tad.  As thick and heavy as the brew is, and with it's 10.6% ABV, this one's a post-dinner treat, a night-ender sitting on the porch with your friends.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Hell Or High Watermelon

Oh, the summer days and the beers inspired by them.  Of the too-numerous-to-count-them-all beers i drank while in San Diego a couple of weeks ago, Hell Or High Watermelon, a wheat beer from 21st Amendment Brewery out of San Francisco, just felt like the sort of brew to sip all day long on a lawn chair in the front yard.  To put it really simply, it's like a good hefeweizen...but with watermelon.  Said watermelon does not overpower the beer though.  The beer pours a straw color with minimal head, and smells of wheat, yeast, citrus, and watermelon.  The taste is the same, the watermelon mixing quite nicely with the light breadiness, creating a crisp and refreshing anytime kind of beer.  Unless you don't like watermelon.  In which case, skip this one you weirdo.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Coronado Golden California Pilsner

So, last week i was able to take a much needed vacation, hitting up San Diego with my wife and son and two of my oldest friends and their families.  As is wont to occur during times like these, quite a lot of beer was imbibed, enough to keep me stocked in material for this blog for the next few weeks.  First up is the Coronado Golden California Pilsner from Coronado Brewing Company, located on the island of Coronado, just off the coast of San Diego.  The beer pours gold, with a light haze and quickly dissipating white head.  Aromas of wheat, bread, and some hop spices are immediately evident and can be detected in the flavor as well.  And boy is the beer crisp and refreshing, awesome for a day at the beach.  All in all, this is a great Czech-style pilsner, and i'm wishing i could get it here in Austin.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

903 Sasquatch Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout

The other night, i was fortunate enough to try the Sasquatch Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout from 903 Brewers out of Sherman, Texas.  The name got me.  The style got me.  The 10% ABV of the beer got me.  The Sasquatch pours a dark, oily black with a nice brownish-tan head, immediately giving off aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, and some hints of coffee.  The taste is similar with a sweet and heavy finish.  This is an awesome beer to finish an evening with.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Circle Devil's Envy

Generally the end of May keeps me in lighter fare, pales and hefes and whatnot.  But the gloom and doom brought on this weekend by the torrential downpours and constant thunder and lightning has me thinking a little darker instead.  Devil's Envy from Circle Brewing is a pretty tasty different take on their Envy amber beer.  The beer has been aged in whiskey barrels making it a little darker and a lot tastier.  Pouring a dark amber with minimal head, Devil's Envy smells of bread, whiskey, and oak, and those whiskey and oak flavors prevail.  At only 4.8% ABV, the heavy alcohol flavor can kind of throw you off, but the beer is light bodied and delicious.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Independence Red Bud Berliner Weisse

As springtime continues its transition into summertime, my beer palette often begins to seek out lighter, sweeter, more sessionable brews to while away my hours to, the days longer and the beers colder.  Austin's Independence Brewing has a pretty tart and tasty Berliner Weisse beer on the market called Red Bud, presumably named for the lakeside dog park here in town.  The brew pours a light, clear gold with a nice white head, and smells of lemon, citrus, and bread.  The beer is tart and sour, with the citrusy lemon flavor at the forefront and some notes of yeasty breadiness on the back end.  It's like having a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day, but it's a beer.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Presidio La Bahia Black Hefeweizen

A few weeks ago when i overdid out at Austin's Untapped Festival, i managed to try quite a few beers, many of which i no longer remember, hence the "overdid" aspect of that weekend.  While i'm a little angry at myself for that, one of the brews i do remember is the delicious Presidio La Bahia Black Hefeweizen from Goliad Brewing down in southeast Texas.  It's the perfect beer for a hot day.  Pouring a dark amber, the beer smells of bananas, citrus, and clove.  The flavor is pretty sweet, but not overpowering, with some hefty banana notes and some maltiness to round the whole thing out.  I was pretty stoked to find some bottles here in Austin.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

1836 Copper Ale

Houston's Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. scores with their 1836 Copper Ale, a serendipitous blend of styles in a tasty penny-colored beer.  The beer smells of yeast and hops with some bread and spice notes hitting the nose instantly.  The crisp body highlights flavors of caramel and toffee, and orange and citrus that work together in harmony creating a brew that is easily drinkable, but also complex.  A total spring/summer beer, i look forward to drinking this at many an upcoming barbecue.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Real Ale Brewer's Cut #17 - Helles

I have been on Real Ale beers like a fat kid on a cupcake lately.  But, who can blame me when their output is just so damn good?  The latest in their Brewer's Cut series is a Helles, a light and tasty German style beer that's an excellent drink for a warm Spring day.  The beer pours a light gold with a white, foamy head and smells of malt and bread.  The taste is fairly bready, but with some spicy hop notes in the mix and a mild sweetness.  This is a post-yard work kind of brew.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Real Ale Real Heavy Scotch Ale

Blanco's Real Ale have seemingly been all about the high-alcohol brews of late with the recent release of three different heavy hitters in bomber form.  One of these is their Real Heavy Scotch Ale, a 9.7% ABV brew that uses English malts and hops to fine perfection.  The beer pours a dark brown with a light head and smells of molasses and toffee with some fruit and alcohol notes.  Toffee is the predominant flavor of the brew, but there are some nice hoppy notes that keep the beer from getting too terribly sweet.  It's a lovely way to unwind after a long day.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Rapture Fusion Brown Ale

Last week, i was able to try a beer from a brewery i had not heard of yet, Rabbit Hole Brewing out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Their Rapture Fusion Brown Ale is a delicious beer, a brown ale that's malty and roasty but with a citrus and hops bite.  Pouring a dark brown, the beer smells of malts and hops that are evident to the tongue as well.  Some bready notes are there as well.  What surprised me most was citrus and spice, giving the beer a way different character than your regular brown ale.  Nice stuff.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Real Ale Commissar Russian Imperial Stout

The springtime usually puts me in the mood for lighter beers or IPA's, but i just had to make an exception for the always dependable folks at Real Ale and their Commissar Russian Imperial Stout.  Weighing in at 9.8% ABV, this big boy does not mess around.  The beer pours a dark black with a good and foamy tan head.  Aromas of roasted malts, some dark fruit notes, and hints of spice.  The beer is roasty and full bodied, the malts, subtle fruit, and hints of coffee and chocolate hitting at first taste with a nice and bitter backend.  The Commissar is definitely a sipper, but i really enjoyed it.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Ol' Oi Barrel-Aged Sour Brown Ale

Sometimes i feel like i'm the only one, but i love a good sour beer every now and then.  Austin's Jester King Brewery often seem to be the master purveyors of that kind of thing.  While visiting the brewery a couple of weeks ago, i tried their Ol' Oi Barrel-Aged Sour Brown Ale...and loved it.  The brew comes in at 6.3% ABV, and uses a variety of wild yeasts and souring bacteria to give it its kick.  It pours a lovely brown with a light tan head and smells of wheat and spices.  To me, you can practically smell the sour on it.  Aside from the prevailing strong sour notes of the beer, their are also hints of bread, citrus, and some subtle malts.  All in all, this is a great beer if you dig on the sour.  And i do.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tacoma Brewery Crawl 2015!!!

John and me outside of Wingman Brewers
A little over two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to escape all responsibility and obligation for a cool 48 hours and spend a weekend in Tacoma, Washington, hanging out with two of my oldest friends, hitting a few local breweries, and drinking way too much beer.  I never wanted it to end.  All that being said, and to avoid getting all mushy about my buddies, let’s get on to the brews!


Puget Sound Porter
Harmon Brewery & Eatery
After a morning jaunt to the car museum in Tacoma (which was awesome by the way), our first brewery of the day was Harmon Brewery & Eatery, a brewpub where we loaded up on greasy, delicious food and wetted our whistles on their straightforward selection of brews.  No frills here, just good beer.  My flight consisted of five beers, the Mt Takhoma Blonde Ale, Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale, Brown’s Point ESB, Point Defiance IPA, and the Puget Sound Porter, my favorite of the bunch…so much so that I had to get another pint just to be sure.

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Beer flight at Wingman Brewers
Wingman Brewers
With our bellies full, we headed to Wingman Brewers, a facility that felt the most like a brewery to me, as there was an industrial feel to the whole thing.  This joint was probably my favorite of the afternoon, and my flight consisted of the P-51 Porter, Big Baby Flat Top Imperial Stout, Maple Hazelnut Big Baby Flat Top Imperial Stout, Doppelbock, Ace IPA, and a guest tap featuring the Salted Caramel Stout from Portland’s Breakside Brewery.  Everything here was high-flavor, high-hops, high-alcohol, and I easily could have spent all afternoon just sipping away.  My favorite beer from Wingman was probably their Ace IPA, though that Salted Caramel Stout on the guest tap was absolutely delicious…a beer I could drink all night.

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Beer flight at Odd Otter Brewing
Odd Otter Brewing
And then we got to Odd Otter…and that’s where things got interesting…and kind of drunk.  This brewery likes to experiment, and some of their concoctions seem off the wall, but taste fantastic, and they’re like nothing else.  My flight consisted of the Coconut Chai Porter, Poppa Otter’s Bacon Breakfast Stout, Momma Otter’s Pancake Porter, Jolly Otter ESB, Otter Nonsense IPA, and the Ottermellon Hefeweizen.  I also managed to get a taste of their Bacchus Blonde, a blonde ale aged in pinot noir barrels.  My favorite of the bunch was probably the Jolly Otter ESB, but that may just be because my taste buds were fried, and it was the simplest.  Anyway, the Odd Otter is a very cool place…you should go.

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Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.
As things were getting hazy by the time we hit our fourth and last brewery (though we had originally intended to do one more), I decided to lay off the beer flights and just settle for a good pint instead.  Pacific’s fine selection actually made my decision kind of difficult, but seeing as I had spent most of the day imbibing the darker stuff, I went for the Grit City Porter, a dark full-bodied brew that went down way smoother than it had any right to.  The taproom was bright, airy, and friendly, and…maybe we should have started here.  Also, this is where my phone died, so no pictures.

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Ace IPA insignia
And after that we were done.  Well, not actually done, as we went to grab some dinner, and then went to some place called Dorky’s…where I had another Ace IPA!  And then there was the Sunday morning drinking before heading to the airport, but that’s another story.

So, get to Tacoma.  They have beer there.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kol' Beer

With all the wonderful breweries in and around the Austin area, and growing everyday, i'm kind of amazed that i somehow managed to never have a Kol' Beer from South Austin Brewery until last week.  Man, i was missing out.  The Kol' Beer is a delicious Kolsch ale using European noble hops and German malts that drinks like an easy, refreshing lager...absolutely perfect for the long Austin summer days...or those Austin spring days that feel like summer days.  Coming in at 5% ABV in a sixer of tall boys (and with a guitar pick included in every pack), i cannot recommend this beer enough.  I think i may have found this summer's go to brew.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Silver City Imperial Stout

Yesterday i got back from an all too fast weekend trip to Tacoma to hang out with some old friends and hit up a slew of breweries (more on all of that at a later date).  My final libation came in the form of a 9.9% ABV Imperial Stout from Silver City Brewery out of Silverdale, Washington.  The beer is dark black with a brown and tan head, a thick and full bodied stout that smells like chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, nuts, malts, and maybe some hints of molasses.  The taste is pretty complex, a mix of said aromas with some bitterness and bourbony-like notes on the back end.  This brew is fantastic...and i drank a bottle of it at nine in the morning...What?  We were about to head to the airport.  I love this beer.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Independence Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout

Hitting up an old favorite this time around.  Independence Brewing used to be my go-to-local-brewer before the veritable craft brew explosion of the last few years, and regardless of my wandering taste buds and a whole new plethora of competition, they still manage to crank out some tasty brews.  The Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout pours dark black with a decent foamy, off-white head.  The beer smells of malts, coffee, chocolate, and oats.  The taste is similar, but with some added bitter roasted notes to round the whole thing out.  This is a great 8% ABV stout, and it was nice to go visiting an old friend.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Silly Sour Ale

Coming from the brew minds and yeasts of Belgium, the Silly Sour Ale from Brasserie de Silly is a tasty little sour ale to get those juices flowing.  Pouring a lovely copper with a solid, but fairly quickly dissipating head, the beer smells of flowers, malts, and wheat.  The taste is tart, but not overly so, the sourness working with the subtle sweeter flavors and caramel notes.  At 5.5% ABV, this is a great party beer for those looking for something more unique.  Hooray Belgium!

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Monday, February 16, 2015

New Belgium Portage

Colorado's New Belgium Brewery is one of those brewers who have never blown me away, but have also never made anything that i didn't like.  They are about as dependable a brewery as you're liable to get, and so, on that train of thought, the New Belgium Portage, a dark and smooth porter, is a pretty tasty beer that's as dependable a representation of a porter style as you're likely to taste.  The beer pours dark with a moderate tan head and smells of malts, chocolate, and vanilla.  The flavor is similar, but with some added nuttiness and some hints of coffee.  The Portage is simple and classic, a traditional porter with no added frills or exotic flavors.  It's really easy to drink too and makes a great chilly weather companion.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #15

Houston's Saint Arnold Brewing Company will occasionally put out small, one-off batches of different kinds of beers they are tinkering with.  These batches are called the Divine Reserve, and number 15 in the series was released a couple of weeks ago, this one being a tasty and smooth Russian Imperial Stout that weighs in at 10.1% ABV.  The beer is dark and black with a tannish head and smells of spices, molasses, and dark fruits.  Those dark fruits are very evident in the brew's flavor, added in with some maltiness and some notes of toffee, chocolate, and subtle hop spices.  This beer is delicious, and its limited nature makes it a pretty hard brew to find before it's all gone.  Lucky me, the corner store near my house has had it in stock the last three times i've been there...but screw you.  Go find your own.

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