Monday, December 26, 2016

Buffalo Bayou Mud Turtle

Christmas has come and gone.  George Michael has left us.  2016's reign of terror continues.  What better time to drink the ills and toils away?  I drank all kinds of great stuff over the Christmas holiday, but the winner would have to be the Mud Turtle from Houston's Buffalo Bayou Brewing.  A Scotch ale weighing in at 9.2% ABV, the beer pours a dark, dark brown and smells wonderfully of caramel, dark fruits, molasses, and chocolate.  The chocolate is more prevalent in the flavor of the brew, dark and rich, meshing with the caramel notes and closing with a nutty, pecan finish.  This was a perfect beer to sip on while cooking Christmas dinner.  I need another.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Goose Island Festivity Ale

It's Christmas time, so let's all drink some Christmas ales.  Festivity Ale from Chicago's Goose Island Brewery is a nice place to start.  A 7.7% brown ale doused with not-your-regular holiday spices, the beer pours a dark brown with frosty, off-white head and smells of malts, molasses, and hints of dark fruit.  The flavor is sweet, but not overly so, the caramel and dark fruit flavors meshing well with just a hint of bitterness on the back end.  Tasty.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Karbach Fifth Anniversary Quintuple IPA

First off, to address the elephant in the room, Karbach Brewing is no longer one of the good guys, as they were acquired by AB-InBev.  Coming from the ass end of Generation X, i have been preconditioned to abhor "selling out," either in art, craft, or morals.  But, i also understand that everyone just wants to get paid, so it's kind of hard to fault the guys over at Karbach.  That being said, the beer behemoth that is AB-InBev spends tons of money and lobbies hard every year to keep the smaller craft breweries around the country down, so fuck all of those guys.  Even Karbach.  I'm going to miss their brews, so i'm going out with their Fifth Anniversary Quintuple IPA.  The beer pours a dark gold with a foamy white head and smells of malt, spice, bread, and hints of molasses and citrus.  Brewed with five different malts, five varieties of hops, and five different yeasts, the beer is pretty complex, a sweet and bitter IPA that weighs in at 13% ABV.  Karbach, i'm going to miss you.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Brown Sabbath Symptom of the Universe Lager

Austin Latin psych-funk band Brownout's alter ego Brown Sabbath, a Latin psych-funk tribute to Black Sabbath, recently collaborated with the folks over at Independence Brewing to create the Symptom of the Universe, the Brown Sabbath Lager.  Naturally.  The beer pours a nice, crisp, light brown with a foamy white head and smells of malt, bread, and hints of caramel.  The flavor is heavy on the malty side, but light-bodied and easy to drink at 4.6% ABV.  This is certainly one to enjoy at a show.

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And, listen to the band's take on "Symptom of the Universe" from their new record, "Brown Sabbath Vol. II," which you can grab here, below.

Monday, November 28, 2016

3 Nations Texas X-Mas Ale

I can't find much information about the Texas X-Mas Ale from 3 Nations Brewing, but holy cow was it tasty!  From what i can ascertain on the brewery's facebook page, there appear to be two varieties of this fantastic brew, a creme brulee and coffee version and a Mexican chocolate and coffee version.  I had the latter.  Pouring a dark, dark brown, the Texas X-Mas pairs Christmas ale spices, chocolate, and coffee in a light-bodied stout.  The spice and coffee aromas are most prevalent, but give way to some chocolate notes and some very subtle hints of fruit in the flavor.  I believe it comes in around 8% ABV, and i sure hope i can find more of them.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Lakewood Punkel

With pumpkin ale season reaching its end (though Christmas ale season is beginning!), here's one last review on a tasty brew from Lakewood Brewing, the Punkel, a pumpkin spiced take on a Dunkelweizen.  What's a little different about this beer is that there is no actual pumpkin in it, the brew being inspired by the pie more so than the gourd.  Pouring a dark and malty brown, aromas and flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice abound.  The beer smells and tastes like pumpkin pie, albeit with an extra kick from its 5.5% ABV.  This is a great one to finish off the month to.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Infamous Foghorn Redhorn

Collaborations are a good thing, and not just with beer, but especially with beer.  Infamous Foghorn Redhorn is a delicious coffee amber ale created by the fine folks at Austin's Infamous Brewing and Cedar Park's Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing.  This 5.5% ABV concoction pours a murky, cloudy amber and smells of subtle spices and coffee.  The flavor is fantastic, a smooth and crisp amber ale with hints of sweetness and a very fine coffee bitterness.  Nothing overpowers.  Everything meshes beautifully.  Find these while you can.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Austin Beerworks Con Beer

A couple of weeks ago, i made it out to Mondocon III, the third annual festival of pop culture art put on by the good folks from Mondo.  Aside from all of the wonderful and awesome prints and soundtrack LPs available from a plethora of great artists, the convention also garnered up a specially made brew from Austin Beerworks, the Con Beer.  This hoppy lager comes in at 5.5% ABV, and kicks it like a lighter, smoother version of an IPA.  Aromas and flavors of citrus and hops dominate, but in a sessionable kind of way, a great beverage for these endless central Texas summers.  Mondocon is over until next year, but the remaining kegs of beer have made their way to local Alamo Drafthouses here in the Austin area.  Get to it.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Squatters Outer Darkness

It's Halloween, so it only seems right to post about a seriously evil looking brew...that comes from Utah of all places.  Squatters Craft Beers' Outer Darkness is a dark and heavy Russian Imperial Stout, pouring black as the darkest of hearts with an aromatic and foamy head.  The brew smells of roasted malt and barley with hints of molasses, chocolate, oak, and alcohol.  It's a relatively smooth beer, notes of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits meshing excellently with the oak and high alcohol (10.5%), all with a bitter bite at the end, a dark and tasty libation for an October evening.  Happy Halloween.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Blue Owl Wee Beastie

Since the explosion of craft breweries began in earnest a few years ago, many make their claim to fame by securing themselves firmly within a particular niche, be it Belgians, IPA's, and so on.  Austin's Blue Owl Brewing specializes in the sour, their collection of fine offerings ranging from tart to "i can't feel my tongue."  The brewer's fall seasonal, the Wee Beastie, a sour Wee Heavy or Scotch ale is definitely one of the more interesting beers i've had the pleasure of imbibing this Autumn.  The brew pours dark and cloudy, with sweet aromas of malt, nuts, and darker fruits permeating from the top of the glass.  It smells delicious.  As for the flavor, the maltiness and nuttiness are definitely present, but fall to the back, the sweet fruit notes at the forefront and the almost overwhelming tartness dominating it all.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  After the initial shock of just how sour the Wee Beastie is, all the other notes begin to come together nicely, creating quite a complex brew.  And, at 8% ABV, it doesn't mess around, a great post meal drink.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Deschutes The Abyss 2015 Reserve

"Like liquid God."

Last weekend was pretty beer-centric for me, a whole swirl of activity involving visiting a few local breweries with an old friend and hitting up this year's annual Beer Feast, put on by Flying Saucer.  Keeping track of all the beers i drank and sampled over Friday and Saturday proved easier than in events past (hint: write them down), but the cream of the proverbial crop had to be The Abyss 2015 Reserve barrel aged imperial stout from Deschutes Brewery (as well as the only brew i went back for seconds of).  Wow.  This yearly offering from the brewery comes in at a whopping 12.2% ABV, pours black with a dark tan head, and smells of roasted malt and chocolate with hints of vanilla, toffee, and booze.  The beer is complex with flavors of said malts and chocolate ebbing and flowing with additional notes of vanilla, licorice, molasses, and hints of the oak, bourbon, and wine barrels this thing gets aged in.  A phenomenal beer all around, i will have to be on the hunt for a 2016 edition over the coming months.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Zombie Monkie

I'll admit it.  Sometimes i make a beer purchase based solely on the name of the brew.  How was i gonna skip out on something called Zombie Monkie?  A tasty porter from Tallgrass Brewing out of Manhattan, Kansas, the beer pours dark with plenty of carbonation and a quickly dissipating tan head.  Aromas of roasted malt abound with some subtle hints of chocolate and coffee.  The beer's flavor is the same but with some slight notes of vanilla on the back end.  All in all, this 6.2% ABV brew is a pretty standard and tasty porter, and great beverage to have on the patio as the nights grow cooler.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin beer season is in full bloom, with a smattering of offerings available from many a brewer.  Breckenridge Brewery's Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte pairs all of the wonderful pumpkin spice flavors with a coffee stout, essentially making an alcoholic version of that seasonal coffee so many people freak out about.  And they do a pretty good job of it.  Pouring a thick and velvety black with a foamy white head (hooray nitrogen!), the stout looks fantastic and smells of roasted malts, coffee beans, and hints of nutmeg, clove, and pumpkin.  The beer is very smooth and easy to drink, subtle notes of the aforementioned nutmeg, clove, and pumpkin, as well as some hints of vanilla meshing wonderfully with the malt and coffee flavors.  All in all, it's a very drinkable beer, and at 5.5% ABV, feel free to have a few...just don't drive later you dummies.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Austin Beerworks Montecore Oktoberfest

I was fortunate enough to hit up this year's Texas Craft Brewers Festival on Saturday for an afternoon without kids, plenty of sunshine (and some rain), and a slew of great beers from all over the state.  It's kind of hard to pick a favorite, as i had a lot of good stuff and i have a penchant for forgetting what i've imbibed as i'm not writing anything down, though No Label's Off Label Peanut Butter Chocolate Time and Big Bend's Marfa Light are close contenders.  But, being as it's that time of year, and it was my first taste of the day, i'm going to give it up to Montecore, a collaborative marzen-style (Oktoberfest) brew from Austin Beerworks and local beer garden Easy Tiger.  The 6% ABV beer was crisp and gold and clear with light aromas of malt and Bavarian hops, and was smooth and tasty, said malt and hops running down the palette like a cool elixir on a hot central Texas autumn day.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Boulevard Funky Pumpkin

Finally a beer for fans of pumpkin ales and sour brews, Boulevard Brewing's Funky Pumpkin is a style unto itself, a wholly original concoction that surprised me as to how much i enjoyed it.  On paper, a sour pumpkin ale probably sounds like a terrible idea, but in practice, it totally works.  Funky Pumpkin pours a hazy gold with a light and dissipating white head and smells of bread and light spices with a tiny hint of pumpkin.  The 5.8% ABV beer is crisp and medium-bodied, sour, but not overly so with very subtle flavors of pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and yeast, all in a tart little package.  Definitely one of the more interesting beers i've tried in a while, but tasty all the same.  Fans of pumpkin beers or sours should give it a whirl.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Southern Star Oktoberfest

Last week i mentioned how much i love the fall beer season, when pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest brews pop up all over the place, just waiting to wet the palette.  And Southern Star Brewery out of Conroe, Texas has a delicious, canned take on a beer celebration standard.  Their Oktoberfest pours a darkish amber with a quickly dissipating head, aromas of malt and hints of sweetness on the nose.  The flavor is a lovely mix of said roasted malts, nuts, and hints of molasses, all in a 6.3% ABV package.  I love fall beers!

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Ballast Point Pumpkin Down

Fall is just around the corner, and you know what that means.  It means the battle for autumnal superiority begins between pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest brews.  I for one refuse to pick sides, as i love them both dearly, and will surely be writing about some of each over the next couple months.  So let's get started.  First up is a pretty tasty brew i'd never had before from the always dependable Ballast Point Brewing Company out of San Diego.  Pumpkin Down is a Scottish ale brewed with pumpkins and a very mild amount of spices to craft a delicious, but not overpowering pumpkin ale.  The beer pours a dark amber with minimal head and smells of toffee, malt, and pumpkin of course.  There are also some very subtle hints of cinnamon or nutmeg in the mix.  The flavors of roast pumpkin are very prevalent, but they compliment well with the toffee and caramel flavors from the Scotch ale, and the spices never come in too strong.  All in all, this is fine pumpkin brew, and comes in at 5.8% ABV.  Fall is here (kind of).

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Rogue Honey Kolsch

One of the best things about summertime is all of the kolsch brews that come out from breweries all over the country.  Over the weekend, i tried out a delicious take from Oregon's Rogue Ales, their sparkly and refreshing Honey Kolsch.  The beer pours a light, transparent gold with a fizzy and bubbly head, subtle aromas of bread and floral notes hitting the nose.  Light and crisp at 5% ABV, the beer is mildly sweet, the honey notes complimenting the hints of bread and slight bitterness well.  This is a great summer beer, and certainly one to take a few sips of before the weather (eventually) begins to cool.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Who You Callin' Wussie Pilsner

The fine folks over at Stone's Arrogant Brewing division have used their know-how and arrogance to craft German-style pilsner...and it's a damn fine one too.  The wonderfully named Who You Callin' Wussie Pilsner comes in tallboy six-packs, just as God intended, and clocks in at 5.8% ABV.  The brew pours a light, crisp gold with a white and frothy head and smells of grassy, floral hops with hints of bread and lemon.  Tasting like a strong and classic pilsner, the beer finishes crisp and dry with some lingering hoppy spiciness on the tongue, and perfectly compliments a day at the ballpark or an evening cooling off after mowing the lawn.

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Monday, August 15, 2016


Two of my favorite things in Austin are the beers from Jester King and BBQ from Franklin...and lo and behold, the two collaborated on a beer earlier this year.  The Figlet is a 6.2% ABV farmhouse ale refermented with smoked Texas figs caramelized with heat and cold smoked at Franklin Barbecue.  The beer pours a nice amber and smells slightly bready and sweet with subtle hints of smoke and fig.  Fairly light bodied, the beer is sweet, the smoke and fig flavors playing well with the brew's overall sourness, the result of the wild yeasts the brewers at Jester King are so fond of.  It's different and it's tasty and i actually bought this bottle earlier this year and forgot about it in the back of my refrigerator until Saturday.  Kids man.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Strange Land Austinite Pilz

It's summer.  And here in central Texas, we've reached the unbearably hot stretch we have to contend with every August.  Hot.  Humid.  Sticky.  Miserable.  And so we drink beer.  It's what we have to do.  I recently tried to beat the heat with the recent Austinite Pilz.  Strange Land Brewery's proclaimed "postmodern take" on the pilsner is quite unlike any i've had before.  The beer pours a hazy gold with a nice frothy head, and carried aromas of bread and tart.  At first taste, the beer is almost citrus sweet and lightish bodied, but then it finishes a little more bitter on the back end.  In a lot of ways it had some wit characteristics to it, like some mad beer scientist combined a wit and a pilsner, and that's just fine with me.  This very sessionable 5% ABV brew did the trick on a hot summer day.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Bourbon Street Rye Pale Ale

I'm pretty much going to be favorable towards anything aged in a bourbon barrel.  And for the longest time, breweries pretty much stuck to stouts and porters when choosing to age them in old liquor barrels.  Of late, i've noticed a upsurge in a wide variety of styles being aged this way...and i'm totally for it.  Abita Brewery out of Louisiana offers up their delicious Bourbon Street Rye Pale Ale, itself aged in small batch whiskey barrels to give it that extra oomph.  Pouring light brown, the brew smells kind of earthy, a mix of bread, dark sugars, and light alcohol.  The flavor is kind of nutty sweet with hints of vanilla and bourbon and just a smidge of citrus.  I really enjoyed this 9.5% ABV beer, and found myself somewhat disappointed when i had none left to drink.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Last Stand BPA

Continuing in the recent tradition of Austin area breweries popping up all over the place, and my ignorance of said breweries until i happen upon their wares at the grocery store, over the weekend i tried the delicious BPA (Belgian Pale Ale) from Last Stand Brewing.  Pouring a beautiful gold with a bubbly white head, the beer smells lightly of fruit and spice, with hints of banana in particular.  The flavor is initially, subtly sweet, with a mild alcohol undercurrent on the back end, and a lovely mix of fruit and bitter hops to round the whole thing out.  And as far as an 8.9% ABV brew goes, this one is quite refreshing, a great summer evening beer to sip outside as the sun slowly sets.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Kentucky Peach Barrel Wheat Ale

Very often when i'm shopping for beer, either at the grocery store, or a corner store, or liquor store, or just a place that specializes in craft brews, i'll encounter a brewery rep giving out samples of their wares.  This is always a good thing, and every so often, i'll be swayed to take some home with me.  Such was the case on Saturday at Hamricks Market in Cedar Park, Texas, when i was won over by the Kentucky Peach Barrel Wheat Ale from Alltech Lexington Brewing, a delicious wheat beer brewed with peaches and then aged in bourbon barrels.  Pouring a crisp golden hue with a white and bubbly head, the beer certainly lives up to its namesake, the peach aromas being at the forefront, along with some hints of bread, spice, and bourbon.  The flavor is very similar to the smell, an earthy mix of bread, peach, oak, and bourbon...and somehow it works.  And it proved to be a lovely 8% ABV libation to wind down with on a Saturday night.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Liberty Lunch IPA

I moved to Austin in the summer of 1997, and thus am fortunate enough to have fond memories of the now defunct music venue Liberty Lunch.  The place was fun, awesome, and so quintessentially Austin, that of course it was forced to shut down in July of 1999 to make way for development (i.e. condos and upscale retail).  In those two years i was able to see amazing shows from Blur, Sunny Day Real Estate, and more, the venue cementing itself as a hallowed landmark for those who remember it (see also Raul's Club, the original Emo's, the original Antone's, and so on).  I sure miss it.  And apparently i'm not alone.  The folks over at Independence Brewery here in Austin just released a new IPA named after the beloved club, with its can artwork paying homage, the most recent in a series of Austin-themed cans from the brewer.  And it's tasty too.  The beer pours amber with a nice off-white head, and smells of citrus and pine.  An easily drinkable IPA, flavors of pine and tropical citrus combine well with hints of honey and some earthier spices to make a crisp, delicious, 5.5% ABV brew that just slides off that palate.  Yum.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Galveston Island Brewing Causeway Kolsch

I make it a point to try and hit up a brewery pretty much everywhere i go.  Doing the whole family trip thing last week, i was able to spend a little bit of time at Galveston Island Brewing on the Texas coast.  The place was laid back, the taproom nice and friendly, some playground equipment outside by their patio area, and a family style bathroom (my wife was stoked about that one)...and the beer was pretty decent too.  After a flight of various brews, and being that it was a hot and humid summer day, i went back for more of the Causeway Kolsch (that's the one on the left).  The beer poured a light gold with some subtle aromas of malts and spices, and was light and refreshing, neither the malts nor the spices from the German hops overstating anything.  All in all, a very easy drinker and perfect for the beach.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Raspberry Temptress Imperial Milk Stout

A few weeks ago, i tried the Temptress Imperial Milk Stout from Lakewood Brewing, and really enjoyed the hell out of it.  In my heart of hearts, i am a dark beer kind of guy, though the summer heat here in central Texas certainly tries its best to push me in the other direction.  But, when it's late at night, the sun down, and the air cooling ever so slightly, i'm still wont to pour myself a strong stout and relax for a little while.  And Lakewood's Temptress hit the spot.  So, i was very happy to find out that the brewery offers up seasonal variations of this wonderful imperial milk stout with their Seduction Series, which brings us to the Raspberry Temptress, a sweet and strong delicious brew to stare at the moon and stars to.  The beer pours a dark black with a foamy, light tan head, and smells of chocolate, malts, raspberries, and some hints of vanilla.  The raspberries and chocolate are at the forefront, a medium bodied brew, with those hints vanilla here and there, and ending with a sweet finish on the back end.  And the 9.1% ABV hits you just right in the center of your chest.  Skip dessert and have one of these instead.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Circle Archetype Historical IPA

Now this is an impressive brew, from creation to consumption.  Circle Brewery's Archetype Historical IPA is a beer four years in the making, going through several trial runs in an attempt to create a kind of beer that would have been imbibed 300 years ago, brewed in the UK and then shipped by sea to India.  Go here for a rundown of the whole process.  And all that work was definitely not in vain.  The beer poured clear and crisp, a light gold with a fairly frothy head.  Slight earthy aromas abound, with some really subtle hints of lemon, and the flavor was not what i was expecting.  Either through the recreated British malts used in brewing, or the secondary fermentation in the brett-carrying barrels, the beer does not taste like the kind of IPA i'm generally used to.  That being said, West Coast IPA's tend to dominate that market, with their hops in the forefront.  The Archetype really dialed back the hoppiness with much more balance with the malt, creating something that, to me, felt and tasted much more like an ESB.  Either way, it was a delicious, 7.5% brew that i certainly will be revisiting all summer long.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sam's Daily American Cream Ale

It gets hot here in Central Texas, and sometimes you just need a beer to beat the heat.  Sam's Daily, an American Cream Ale from Houston's Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. will do just that.  The brew pours gold with a frothy head and smells simply of hops and malt.  As far as flavor goes, the beer tastes like something you'd drink on a June day at the ball park, or resting on a lawn chair after a long afternoon of yard work.  Sam's Daily is a sessionable brew, but at 5.8% ABV, it will still let you know it's there.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Live Oak Pilz

I actually wrote about Live Oak Brewery's Live Oak Pilz way back in 2012 (read here), and as it stands, it's still my favorite pilsner.  Nothing new to report there.  Somehow though, i failed to realize that the brewery started canning a couple of its mainstays earlier this year, the phenomenal Pilz included.  I used to have to go out to bars to get this brew, or at the very least, fill a growler somewhere.  Looking forward to drinking this delicious, 4.7% ABV beer in the backyard all summer long.  Hooray!

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Monday, May 16, 2016

The Temptress Imperial Milk Stout

I love me some stouts, especially the strong ones, regardless of the time of day or the season or the weather or whatever.  I keep branching out to try new kinds of beers, but i always come back stouts...the lifeblood.  Lakewood Brewing out of Garland, Texas (greater Dallas area) has a strong and tasty offering that i tried for the first time over the weekend, their full-bodied and delicious imperial milk stout, The Temptress.  The beer pours dark, dark black with brown head and smells of malt, chocolate, vanilla, and some alcohol notes.  The flavor is a mix of the aromas, the malt, chocolate, and vanilla pairing with each other perfectly, the sugars making their presence known, and the 9.1% ABV giving you that warm feeling in your chest.  I want to drink this while eating good cheese.  All in all, I really enjoyed this brew and will have to grab some more, though i also have a version brewed with raspberries waiting for me in my fridge too.  More on that delight at a later date.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter 2016

One of my favorite limited beers from the last few years has been the Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter from Houston's Karbach Brewing.  Each year, the brewery does a subtle variation on this imperial porter, and each year, i tend to love it.  Living in Austin, they can also be kind of hard to come by.  They sell out around town pretty quickly, and then they're gone.  I was fortunate enough to snag two bombers this year, the variation this time around being the addition of chocolate.  It's delicious.  The full bodied brew pours a dark black with a good tannish head and smells of coffee, chocolate, and the always lovely bourbon.  The flavor is rich, swirls of chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and malt mixing wonderfully in an 11% ABV dream.  It looks like the Jaguar Shark i'm saving for next year has a buddy now.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Jaguar Shark

I was pretty bummed out this weekend when Levitation (formerly known as the Austin Psych Fest) was cancelled due to bad weather.  I missed out on a ton of great bands...too many to dwell on here, but needless to say, a cloud hung over my 3-day weekend for the duration.  All that being said, i did get some pretty bitchin consolation prizes out of the deal.  I got to hang out with an old buddy who was also here for the fest, my amazing wife scored two tickets to one of the unbelievably difficult to get into makeup shows that the festival organizers were able to put together at various venues around town, and i scored a couple of bottles of the limited and elusive Jaguar Shark, a bourbon barrel aged, imperial dry Irish stout from Pinthouse Pizza, their second(?) ever bottle release.  And it's a tasty one.  Pouring dark black with a tan head, this 10.7% ABV masterpiece smells of bourbon and oak, a heavy brew that dwells on the tongue with notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of heat from said bourbon.  It's a dry and sharp wonder, and i'm totally aging one of those bottles for a year at home.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Here Comes the Sun

It's getting hotter here, and as nice as it is to pick up your sessionable kind of brews for the weekend, sometimes you needs something that's easy to drink, but has a bit more of punch too.  Karbach's Here Comes the Sun is a strong and tasty Belgian style Tripel, pouring a hazy gold with aromas of bread, fruit, and spice.  The beer is crisp with a lot of floral notes on the tongue, as well as some hints of fruit, coriander, and the ever present Belgian yeast.  And it clocks in at 8.5% ABV, making it much stronger than your average daytime drinker, but it is a tasty one, and perfect for dusk and sunsets.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Stone 2016 Imperial Russian Stout

With all of the craft breweries and that have sprouted up over the last half decade and all of the lovely brews all of those startups have offered us in that time, it's nice to go back and visit one of the original independents every now and then.  Stone Brewing has been giving us excellent beers for years, and their latest limited release Russian Imperial Stout is about as tasty as they come.  Pouring black with a brownish tan head, this thick, 10.8% ABV brew smells of coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and roasty malts.  The flavor is heavy on roastiness, but still smooth even with its high alcohol content, the coffee and chocolate notes easing everything down in a delicious swirl.  This is a damn good beer.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Freetail Rye Wit

As it begins to get warm and muggy around here, my beer tastes get decidedly lighter, at least during the daylight hours, and the Rye Wit from San Antonio's Freetail Brewing is a fantastic selection for your daytime drinking.  The Belgian style Wit pours a hazy, wheaty gold and smells of bread, coriander, and orange.  Crisp, light-bodied, and steadily drinkable at 4.2% ABV, flavors of citrus, bread, and spice abound, making for a delicious thirst quencher for a warm spring day.  Yum.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Zilker Coffee Milk Stout

I know it's spring, and it's getting warmer, and i'm supposed to be drinking my beer accordingly, focusing on IPA's and pales, hefes, helles, and lagers, but i love the dark stuff, so enter the Coffee Milk Stout from Zilker Brewing in Austin.  The brew pours dark and black with an off-brown head and smells of coffee, cream, malts, and hints of chocolate.  Flavors of burnt sugar and roasted malt swirl with coffee and chocolate notes in a smooth and creamy brew.  Wait for the sun to go down and then enjoy one or two of these 5.9% ABV stouts.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Dankosaurus IPA

It's springtime, so i guess that means it's IPA season...or so i've been led to believe in the past.  Kicking it off with one of my new favorites is the Dankosaurus IPA from Cedar Creek Brewing.  The brew, which i was first able to give a whirl last October at Flying Saucer's Beerfeast, is a 6.8% IPA, pouring a hazy gold with plenty of head and aromas of citrus, pine, hops, and spices prevailing.  The beer is hop-forward like the west coast IPA's that inspired it, but dialed back just a bit to make it super drinkable.  Flavors of grapefruit, pine, and citrus are at the forefront, with just enough bitterness to give the beer a crisp finish.  It's a smooth brew for an IPA and a great beer to enjoy in the Texas heat.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Bourbon Barrel Suburban Ninja

I closed out my Spring Break, my vacation, my SXSW week of music with a relatively quiet (i have a two-year old, so quiet is always relative) afternoon visit to Cedar Park's Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.  Since moving to the suburbs last year, one of the things that made it bearable was the influx of craft beer related businesses opening in the area, Red Horn being my favorite.  The atmosphere is awesome, they let you bring kids, the staff are all incredible nice, and their beer is fantastic.  To end my vacation yesterday on a pleasant note, i enjoyed a pour of the Bourbon Barrel Suburban Ninja, an imperial stout aged bourbon barrels, and a tasty 12% ABV brew.  The beer pours black and smells of chocolate, coffee, toffee, and alcohol.  The flavor is amazingly smooth, a warming brew with hints of cocoa, coffee, malts, vanilla, and some subtle spices.  Being that yesterday was windy and chilly, it was a great beer to drink outside, the warmness of the brew moving down my throat and into my chest.  I will have to get back soon for another.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Hop Brownie Brown Ale

Dig on that pacifier in the background.
Beer brewers certainly do get creative when concocting their wares, with a seemingly endless array of hybrid and specialty brews at the ready for your taste buds.  Austin's Independence Brewing offered up an interesting and tasty beer back over the holidays that i'm just now getting around to writing about.  The Hop Brownie Brown Ale is essentially what happens when stoner meets brewer, a brown ale brewed with chocolate malts, cocoa powder, and some dank hops to create what is basically a beer version of a pot brownie.  It is surprisingly delicious, the chocolates and hops playing off each other, vying for your attention and dorm room memories.  Pouring a nice brown (go figure) with off white head, the beer smells of cocoa, malt, and spice, with the aforementioned chocolate and dank hops at the forefront as far as flavor goes, though there are some subtle hints of citrus and toffee in the mix too.  At 6.13% ABV (i guess making it 4.20% would have been too on the nose), the brew is great for a late afternoon wind down.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

903 Land of Milk and Honey Stout

One would never know it was a stout if not for it being labeled on the can, but The Land of Milk and Honey Stout from 903 Brewers out of Sherman, Texas is an interesting and tasty little beer.  Copper colored and medium bodied, the brew looks and feels more like an ale, with lighter malts making for a more subdued flavor.  The beer smells of honey and malts, those same notes hitting the tongue with additional hints of caramel.  It's sweet, but not overly sweet, with a crisp finish, a very strange, but delicious stout.

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Epic Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout

I grew up in west Texas, a place where there certainly seemed to be a lot of Baptists, some them big and bad even, but i can assure you that none of them were as delicious as Epic Brewing's Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout.  The bourbon barrel-aged brew pours thick and black with a minimal tan head, but some nice lacing.  Aromas and flavors of cocoa, coffee, toffee, malt, and bourbon abound, and at 11.9% ABV, it is not to be trifled with.  This beer is a definite day-ender, meant to be sipped and enjoyed while winding it all down for the night.  Yum.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Ghost Eye Oatmeal Stout

A couple of years ago, the folks over at Real Ale brewed a collaborative beer with the guys from the Austin metal band The Sword.  It was tasty.  And now it looks like they're at it again, this time around with an oatmeal stout.  The Ghost Eye Oatmeal Stout derives its name from a track on the band's latest album, "High Country."  The beer pours a dark blackish brown with a minimal head, and is light bodied than what you might expect.  Aromas of grain and chocolate with hints of coffee are present, and the flavor is similar and very smooth.  This is an easy drinker for sure, with a 6.5% ABV content, and probably pairs well with almost anything you can throw at it.  Listen to the song the beer is named for below.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Community Barrel-Aged Legion

It's been a busy 10 days.  I became a dad again, and combined with all the day to day bull one has to take care of and the joy and struggle (mostly joy) of raising a toddler, i haven't had a lot of time to drink any beer.  So, when i get to sneak one in, i've got to make it count.  And at 11.6% ABV, the Barrel-Aged Legion from Community Beer Co. certainly does just that.  A dark and tasty Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels, the beer pours black with a brownish tan head, and smells of roasty malts and notes of coffee, cocoa, and vanilla.  Those aspects are also present in the taste, mixing deliciously with hints of dark fruit and bourbon.  This is a complex brew, a wonderful slow sipper that's smooth and finishes with just the right amount of bitterness.  Well done.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Smuttynose Scotch Ale

There are a lot of evenings where i wind down with a tasty scotch ale, and why wouldn't i?  Malty, slightly sweet, slightly smoky, and generally higher on the alcohol end, it's a great way to end a long day.  The Scotch Ale from Smuttynose Brewing out of Hampton, New Hampshire is as smooth as they come.  Pouring a dark, reddish brown with little head, the brew smells of malt and hints of cocoa.  The flavor is not overly sweet, a smooth and lightly smoky ale with light notes of chocolate and alcohol (8.2% ABV) that's really easy to drink.  Well done.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Karbach Three Legged Lab Imperial Stout

We're in Texas.  Of course we take our imperial stouts in a can.  And of course we drink too many of them and wake up the next day with a headache.  A dark and tasty 9.2% ABV wonder, the Three Legged Lab from Houston's Karbach Brewing is a lovely late night libation.  Pouring an inky black with minimal brown head, the beer smells of malts, alcohol, coffee, and some dark chocolate notes.  The beer's flavor is slightly bitter, the coffee notes weighing in first, but finishes rather smoothly with just a hint of sweetness.  Karbach has yet to disappoint me.  Everything they release is worth a taste at the very least.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Solid Rock Trinity Vanilla Milk Stout

As my stout affinity continues through these winter months, i keep searching and keep finding a new variety to choose from.  Solid Rock Brewing, out of Spicewood, Texas, offers up a tasty and easy drinker with their Trinity Vanilla Milk Stout.  Pouring a dark, brownish black with minimal head, this stout smells of malts, cream, and vanilla.  The flavor is akin to most milk stouts on the market, creamy and malty with some cocoa and coffee notes, but with hints of vanilla throughout.  Sweet, but not too sweet, and hanging in there at 5% ABV, it's a lovely brew for a chilly weekend afternoon.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Calavera Mexican Imperial Stout

It's actually been cold here in Austin the last couple of days, and that means stout weather at my house.  And while i don't normally associate Mexico with stouts, enter the Calavera Mexican Imperial Stout from Tlalnepantla, Mexico.  This 9% ABV libation pours a dark black with brownish head, and smells of malts, dark fruit notes, vanilla, and an all around roastiness.  Flavors of malt, coffee, toffee, and chocolate make for a pretty standard imperial stout, but the vanilla notes in the mix really make the whole thing pop.  It's definitely worth a taste if you're looking for something new.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Real Ale Phoenixx Winter Ale

I am a fan of winter ales, the blend of malts, hops, and spices the perfect libation for a chilly day.  Real Ale's Phoenixx Winter Ale is a spicier, seasonal take on a tradition ESB (English Strong Bitter), and it is a tasty concoction indeed.  Pouring a reddish amber, the beer smells of hops with some notes of toffee in the mix.  The flavor is a swirl of toffee, caramel, malt, spice, and hops set to 7.2% ABV, but pretty smooth nonetheless.  This was a great beer to sip on all day at Christmas, and i expect it to endure the rest of the winter.

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