Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer by Rahr and Sons Brewing

Among the things I’ve asked Santa for, there is a tin Rahr and Sons sign that I've had my eye on, but alas, my wife will not let me spend money on making her space look like a bar. The only good thing that this restriction has created is offering more money to spend on the wonderful beers this company produces. While I have not always been so kind to some of their normal production line, this company produces some of the most exceptional one offs and seasonal brews this drinker has experienced.

The newest, and perhaps my favorite of these beers I’ve experienced and loved from first sip is their recently released Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer Dark Winter Ale.

While I liked the chocolate notes that predominated the non-aged varietal, the addition of the bourbon flavors from the aging process has given the beer a range of complexity that eclipses the regular production Winter Warmer. The richness and spiciness of the bourbon accentuates the sweet cocoa aspect of the beer, making consumption a very decadent experience.

I am a bit frugal, so it takes a fair amount of internal debate for me to drop 8-9 bucks on a bomber, but the consistency and quality of Rahr and Sons special brews make it easy for me to outlay the cash.

If there was a beer that saved Christmas, this would be my contender to one up the Snow Miser.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Warmer by Rahr and Sons Brewing Co

Howdy folks, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season thus far. Christmas day is a week away, presents have been bought and wrapped, and now it’s time for the part of the holidays that I enjoy the most: inebriation. 

To begin the much needed greasing of the holiday spirit, I made a trip to Central Market, a kind of epicurean grocery market that offers some of the best variety of craft beers in the Texas market. There I picked out a few tasty beverages, including a six-pack of Rahr and Sons’ Winter Warmer, and a bomber of the same brew that has been aged in bourbon barrels.

Tonight I have selected the 12-ounce offering, and will likely compare it to the premium variation tomorrow evening.

Pouring out the contents of the bottle with an aggressive tilt, the beer settles without generating much of a head. What does form is less than a dimes thickness, and is a nice tan color.

An aroma of deep chocolate and cinnamon speaks volumes, generously suggesting the malt bomb that is about to hit the drinker’s lips. With a syrupy and velvety mouthfeel, the very pronounced flavor of cocoa indulges the taste buds. Rounding out the malt forward front end of the beverage, a nice warm, slight coffee flavor and medium full bitterness give complexity and round out a wonderful winter seasonal craft beer.

Any hard working elf would be happy to find this in their pint glass at the end of a day in drudgery under the oversight of St. Nick.


Full Moon Rye Pale Ale by Real Ale Brewing Company

Life is good knowing that I will have a job soon, and with another project making steady progress, I am not wanting for purpose and focus.  For the most part, I have decided to take this weekend easier than most, as I do not have the burdens of no employment or tile to move for a sibling, but instead a fridge full of beer that needs to be logged. 

To begin this weekend’s leisure, with a stomach full of carnitas and al pastor street tacos, it’s time for a post lunch, pre-siesta cerveza.  And what, pray tell, is on the beer menu today? It’s Real Ale Brewing Company’s Full Moon Rye Pale Ale.

As I tip the bottle over into a pint glass, a cloudy, honey colored ale with loads of active carbon dioxide pours out and forms a pretty, fluffy, and thin off-white head.

The aroma is slightly sweet and malt forward with hints of a warm, orange citrus mingled in the mix.

On the front end, there is a nice medium malt body, with the sweetness tempered by generic spice notes provided by the rye malt.  Following the balanced malt body, a slight, non-specific citrus-flavored bitterness adds additional depth to an already nuanced beverage.

Of the Real Ale Brewing Company’s selections that I’ve tried, this is the most solid and enjoyable that I have had to date, and that is saying something when all of the selections have been solid, straightforward examples of what locally produced craft beer can be.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Ale from St Arnold Brewing Co.

Well guys, with just 10 days left in the holiday season, I find myself with most of my Christmas presents purchased, several reviews still pending editing before uploading (my editor is a college professor, and is too busy correcting her students grammatical errors to address those of her husband), and a few beers to chill, consume, and review.

For the second winter/Christmas beer of the season for Intoxico to review, I have the Christmas Ale from Houston’s St Arnold Brewing Co.

The beer poured out a rich, deep, and true umber hue, with a good amount of floating sediment in the brew. I am not sure if there was an issue with the capping of this bottle, but the head formation was very minimal, in contrast to the healthy head that I recall from a bottle enjoyed earlier in the week.

An aroma of pine hops was foremost on the nose, with just a slight malt backend.

As suggested by the nose, a wonderful depth of hop bitterness was on the front of the palate, exhibiting pine notes accented with a lemon zest essence. Rounding out this medium bodied beer was a malt backend that carried some slight brown sugar flavor, cutting the hop forward bitterness.

All in all, this was a decent, well-produced ale that I will always keep an eye out for on the shelves when the holidays start to invade daily life. 

Shiner Holiday Cheer by the Spoetzl Brewery

Well guys, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and with the holidays coming at us like a shotgun of dread and disappointment, I felt it was a good time to get back into the swing of things on Intoxico. As the days get longer, and the nights colder, intoxication is a much needed facilitator to spending more time with extended family, and thus more time with everybody’s friend, alcohol. You can’t have the Christmas Spirit without the Spirit!

To begin the season, and to get back into the habit of review intoxicants, I will begin with one of the first seasonal beers to hit the shelves here in Texas since Oktoberfest left town, Shiner’s Holiday Cheer by our friends at the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX.

This beer, augmented with pecans and peaches during the brewing process per its label, pours out a clear, light amber color that seems tinted towards the red side of the spectrum. The light brown head starts out frothy and impressive, but quickly dissipates to only the faint memory of co2 buildup.

The aroma of the freshly poured beer is more fruit forward than of any malts or hops, reminiscent of strawberry soda or syrup.

As the nose suggested, the first sip is very sweet, with aggressive peach and strawberry like flavoring overpowering any generic beer or ale flavors. On the backend a not very pleasant nuttiness develops on the back of an acrid bitterness that leaves a bit much to be desired.

While I do like the brewers in Shiner to explore new brewing frontiers, I feel they have some issues with taking this enthusiasm and turning it into an enjoyable, well crafted beer.  They seem more interested in generating a marketing tool than brewing a good and unique, well-crafted product.


Texas Red Amber Lager by Rahr and Sons

Hello boys and girls.

Sorry for the prolonged hiatus from reviewing intoxicants, but given the schedule I have been carrying since October, the distraction of hockey and life, and a funk that has had a hold of me for the past several months, addressing the website has been put on the backburners. Consider this post the application of the pot on the mid range.  Down the pipe we have a few winter beers, and maybe the start of some whiskey reviews.

For the time being, seeing as I have my first Saturday in a while without the wife in tow, I have decided to take the free time to enjoy a beer or two, starting with Rahr and Sons’ Texas Red Amber Lager.

The beer pours out a nice, rich amber hue, and forms a quite impressive and hearty off white head. Despite an almost erotic beginning, the crown dies from about the width of a finger to that of a dime.

I am not sure why this is, but the regular production line from this brewery always has an odor that I would describe as wet or green grain, and this amber beer is no exception. In addition to this Rahr calling card, there is a nice malt forward nose, greeted and balance with a slight hop backend. 

As to be expected by the nose, the malt profile of the beer is upfront on the palate, but is followed by a sourness and bitterness that is not a favorite of this beer drinker. By about midway through the beer, this tang does subside to reveal a middle of the road amber beer that displays some decent caramel and cinnamon notes, but fails to hit the mark of the great or exceptional beer that this brewery produces in a number of seasonal and bomber offerings.

In short, while I believe in the products that this brewery releases, this offering feels forced onto the shelves next to much better representations of the brown and amber ale/lager style. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

St Arnold Brewing Co Elissa IPA

Well, another day is in the can, and another beer is needed to wash away the fatigue of a day spent in toil.

As my mother prepares one of my favorite meals, chicken fried steak, I have decided to pop the cap of another Texas brewed beer, Elissa IPA from our friends at the Saint Arnold Brewery, located in the parking lot known as Houston, TX.

The cap, while a twist off, wins at a feat of strength, and I must either give the beer up to the ages, or pull out a bottle opener to get at its contents. Once freed from its container, the beer displays its burnt-orange body, and slightly off-white head that dissipates without much fight.

Intermingled with the smell of hot grease from the kitchen, the nose is nice and hoppy, with a subtle floral presence.

The light mouth feel of the beer carries a less pronounced bitterness than the nose lead me to believe, but is still floral on the front end of this medium-bodied ale. On the backend, a nice honey like maltiness develops, as well as an orange essence that adds a delightful finish to the beer.

Overall this is a nice IPA that offers more to the malt-centric than to hop heads, bringing a strong and rich sweetness to a style of beer currently being pushed to the extremes of palatability in bitterness by other brewers. This beer is easy for me to suggest to the hop weary macro beer drinker.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale

Hey readers, I hope everyone has been doing well during my hiatus. Over the past four weeks I have been busy learning the ins and outs of mortgage servicing for a job in Bank of America’s mortgage department, and I have often found myself too braindead to keep things up on the ole blog.

Now that I have gotten into something of a routine though, the day-to-day struggle is getting to be less taxing, and I have found the energy to punch out a review as opposed to get numbingly drunk and falling asleep.

To get back into the swing of things, I have picked up a brewery new to my taste buds, Southern Star Brewery. Hailing from Conroe, Texas, this is one of the few small breweries in the state to can, as opposed to bottle, their beer offerings.  The beer is their Pine Belt Pale Ale.

The beer, being poured from a 16-ounce can, comes out a cloudy, nearly opaque, umber color. Atop the beverage a very formidable, frothy, off-white head forms. The head, while exceeding the limits of the pint glass, keeps its body and avoids falling over the side of my pint glass.

Taking a healthy whiff off the top of the head, slightly brushing my nose against the foamy goodness, the aroma of hops, primarily of grapefruit, mingles with a subtle malty note of caramel.

Sufficiently enticed by both the appealing smell and appearance, I take a healthy first sip of the pale ale. Flavors of slightly toasted sugar and pine hops frolic in balance across my tongue. As the sweet malt body subsides, it is replaced by a warm, mild bitterness on the backend, both in medium body.

While I would characterize the flavor as good, but not great, this beer has one of the most rich and creamy mouth impressions I have ever enjoying in an ale not coming from the tap, and without a nitrous widget in the can or bottle.

Southern Star has brewed a beer that, despite my “meh” response to the flavor, being neither impressed nor dissuaded, still is a beer that exhibits all the elements of a beer that has been crafted from good, quality ingredients, and a skilled brewmaster.

I am a little disappointed that I did not fall in love with the beer, but I will easily buy another sample from their offerings with the anticipation that it will be brewed with equally enough care and pride.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shiner Old Time Ale by the Spoetzl Brewing Company

Well, it’s the last day of September, but by the time this gets posted it will probably be the second weekend of October or so.

The past couple weeks have been a little hectic as I am preparing to start another job in customer service, and have been wavering in and out of confidence for this project, and another that I started in the beginning of the month.

While asking myself whether or not this project, Intoxico, is viable and a worthwhile use of my time, the fact that despite pulling back in the amount of updating I have broke personal records. In September I have exceeded the most views in a single day (243), my personal record for unique page views in a month (2290), and exceeded a total lifetime page views at over 8,000.  Now I know that this is just a drop in the pan for most blogs, but given my past history, things should continue to exceed these markers. Hopefully these small but compounding victories result in more success in my modest goals for this blog.

Tonight, after planning a bit of “session” drinking, I reached for what I thought was one beer, but pulled out instead a bottle of “Shiner Old-Time Alt”, from the Spoetzl Brewery.  Because this is the last bottle I have on hand of the stuff, I decided that I needed to write up a review, despite the backlog of reviews still pending review by my editor.

Pouring the beer into the prerequisite Shiner Bock pint glass, the beer was a nice true copper color, with a slightly cloudy body.  A substantial head formed then died down to about half a finger, but held strong throughout the consumption of the ale.

On top of a bready aroma, sweet caramel malt and light pine hop scents are present.

Enjoying the first mouthful of this Alt, it had a mouth feel that suggested the beverage could be chewed. The thick feeling beverage coated my mouth with the flavor of sweet, slightly burnt sugar, followed by a rush of generic hop bitterness that became more developed and pronounced in relation to the quantity consumed.

Seconded probably only by the “Kosmos Reserve”, this would have to be one of my favorite offerings from the brewery in Shiner, Tx.


Brew Free or Die IPA by 21st Amendment Brewing

By the time you read this, several days will have passed due to my editor, aka my wife, has left me to visit her aunt, uncle, and brother in Oklahoma. In her absence, my brother and I are trying to repair a fuel line in my Toyota econo-box which required that I spend seventy bucks on a piece of rubber and plastic about 12 inches long.

In order to cut the pain of being without cash and a car, today I decided to break open the last can of a group of sample beers from the 21st Amendment Brewery, their “Brew Free or Die IPA”.

Popping the top off the always interesting and well-designed cans from this brewery, the beer poured a crisp and clear orange hued beer that danced with the bubbles of active carbonation. About a nickel’s width head formed, and retained for the length of the beer’s consumption.

The nose is warm, and bright with the aroma of grapefruit and perfume like hops.

As the light, somewhat refreshing beer hits my palate, a medium-bodied grapefruit forward flavor is experienced. Unlike a lot of American brewed IPAs, there is not an all-out assault of bitterness on the drinker’s tongue, but more of a background suggestion is created by a mild malt backend that brings out some orange-like character in the beverage.

While the bitterness does develop a bit more as the beer is consumed, 21st Amendment Brewery has created a very well balanced and crafted beer. This IPA easily has a place in my top 10 list, and would also be very approachable for the American macro lager drinker that is reaching out to discover real beer. 

Rahr and Sons Visionary Ale

I hope everyone had an excellent weekend, or at least a better weekend than myself. While moving to Texas has been full of very stressful and tiring ordeals and struggles, the benefit of being closer to my brother and sister-in-law has been a welcoming refuge from my woes.

As well as being like-minded in subjects of relationships with other family members, and life in general, they both enjoy the pursuit of good food and beer. This literal and figurative thirst often results in a trip to Central Market in Fort Worth.

Alongside a mind-boggling selection of epicurean foods and wines, Central Market has consistently been more expansive in their selection of craft beer than any liquor store I have yet to visit in the state. On one of our weekly trips I recently picked up another bomber from Rahr and Sons, “Visionary Ale”, expecting good things from prior experiences with this local brewery.

Pouring the contents out, a nice, rich and dark brown ale forms a thick, tan head that dissipates to about a dime’s width after a minute or two, but retains a nice cloud like appearance.

The aroma coming off the freshly dispensed beer is malt forward, being sweet and perfumed with a hint of chocolate. 

Like the nose, the tongue is treated with a blend of warm malt flavors. A nice nutty body that is exceptional on its own is given addition depth and complexity by the presence of a medium bodied chocolate essence. On the backend of the drinking experience slight coffee notes and subsequent coffee like bitterness keeps the beverage interesting throughout the 20 ounces of craft brewed goodness.

This beer is a combination of wonderful flavors in a medium-bodied package with a light and refreshing mouthfeel, and continues to earn the respect that this young brewery has developed in its regular production, and especially in its bombers/seasonal/special offerings. 

Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment Brewery

When it comes to beers infused with fruit flavoring, I can’t say I have been the biggest fan. Despite the fact that the practice has enjoyed a long and celebrated life, at least in an intellectual manner, I feel beer should be comprised of water, malts and hops. Perhaps a hold out from my Germanic lineage is hiding in my brain forcing me to recite the Reinheitsgebot laws, or perhaps it’s just snobbery, but I am apprehensive when trying a beer that diverts from those ingredients.

So, when I got some beer mail that included a can of San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery’s “Hell or High Watermelon”, a wheat beer that is infused with watermelon flavoring and juice, I waffled on reviewing it. But, for better or worse, when I opened the fridge for some refreshment, it was staring me in the eye from its wonderfully designed can.

With the gauntlet thrown, I picked the can up and brought it back to my office for a moment of truth.

The beer poured out a nice straw color, slightly cloudy, but mostly clear, and alive with a lot of carbonation. Perhaps I was a bit reserved with the pour, but the head creation was minimal, and retention was non-existent.

The nose was malty, and had a mild, inviting watermelon essence.

So I looked at the beer a little longer, and built my confidence for the first sip.

What greeted me, much to my surprise, was a wonderfully refreshing, just sweet enough, watermelon flavor reminiscent of a Jolly Rancher. There was a slight bitterness on the backend that brought out some of the wheat of the beer which added additional depth.

Is this the beer for me? No, not really, but for those that like beers infused with flavoring, this was a nice, refreshing, unique experiment that adds a little something different to the evolution of beer.  I would highly recommend this beverage to those drinkers that prefer beer augmentation.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hoptober By New Belgium Brewing Company

(This post was written on 9/20/2011)

Hola readers,
Hope everyone has had a tolerable Tuesday.

Today I have enjoyed getting my oil changed, my hair cut, and congratulating my lovely wife on her new job as an adjunct professor at a local community college.

This good news is completed by tonight’s first preseason game for the Dallas Stars, and after the first period they have bested Montreal 3 to nil. So the only thing that can act as the cherry on top of this day is to enjoy a fine beer, and that’s just what I have done.

Diverting from my creation and celebration of Tex-toberfest, I have pulled out a bottle of Colorado’s New Belgium’s Hoptober.

Filling the pint glass du jour, the ale pours a lovely, golden straw color. The beer is very clear, exhibiting only a very slight cloudiness, and forms a nice, frothy, off-white head.

A bready nose mingles with a wonderful grapefruit aroma. This citrus essence carries over as the forward flavor of the beer. With the medium bodied, hop-forward flavor, bitterness is kept surprisingly at bay, while no real distinct maltiness really develops throughout the beverage.

Taking into account a nice lacing and a decent, medium-to-medium full body, this is a good beer verging on excellent. Enough is here to be enjoyed by a hop head, with tempered bitterness to make the beer approachable by drinkers less inclined to sample an ale with the same flavor profile paired with sharper bitterness on the palate.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Oktoberfest by Real Ale Brewing Company

While I usually do not do multiple beer reviews in an evening, given the several hours since I drank the Rahr and Sons Oktoberfest, I decided to make my little office a virtual biergarten in celebration of Tex-toberfest. After enjoying my One-Quarter-German-American wife’s take on Korean Beef, and reading on German drinking games, I decided another liquid Oktoberfest offering was in line.

Limited on the Texas brewed Oktoberfest marketed offerings I had on hand, I ended up opening a bottle of Real Ale Brewing Company’s own take on the Marzen style beer.

With a semi-aggressive pour the cloudy, burnt umber lager formed a moderate amount of off-white head that subsided to about a quarter-finger’s width.

The mild aroma of bready malt is present, with a slight generic spice on the backend of the nose.

A medium bodied bitterness greets the palate on the front end, reminiscent of a generic, mild flavored, citrus zest. As flavor moves across the tongue, a slightly sweet caramel flavor develops with hints of nutmeg bringing out warmth in the tasting profile.

Real Ales contribution to Oktoberfest offerings is a decent beer, however it is nothing so special that I would look forward to this seasonal release. 

Oktoberfest by Rahr and Sons

Well, yesterday was the official beginning of Oktoberfest in Munich, so today Intoxico will begin its official recognition of Tex-toberfest. 

Tex-toberfest celebrates Texas brewed Oktoberfest beers offered by Texas Breweries in recognition of Bavaria’s Oktoberfest, and also reflects the Germanic immigrants that made up a substantial part of the population of this territory before it was a part of the United States.

To begin this made up observation, Intoxico is proud to review Rahr and Sons Oktoberfest.

Already having tipped a few of these longnecks back last Sunday with my brother, I was really looking forward to this post. Atypical with the experience I had previously with this beer, this pour failed to generate the aggressive head that I was expecting.

Head formation aside, the beer poured a wonderfully rich amber color, exhibiting a ton of carbonation in the form of bubbles, and a slightly cloudy body.

Greeted by an aroma of syrupy, caramel malts, and a slight citrus backend, the flavor sings the joys of maltose goodness. Being the malt-hydrogen bomb that this beer is, the tongue is bathed in a slightly viscous, sugary coating of bright caramel flavor on the front end. As the barrage of sweetness sweeps over the palate no bitterness is generated, but a warm toasted caramel tang rounds out and gives the beer a wonderful depth.

While I wouldn’t call this beer very complex, it is a very good, strait forward example of why malt flavors shouldn’t be seen only as a base for other flavorings. In an industry that is leaning more and more towards hop forward beers, Rahr and Sons Brewing has crafted an American beer that celebrates rich malted grain over the more commonly lauded botanicals. 


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Full Moon Rye Pale Ale by Real Ale Brewing Company

Life is good knowing that I will have a job soon, and with another project making steady progress, I am not wanting for purpose and focus.  For the most part, I have decided to take this weekend easier than most, as I do not have the burdens of no employment and tile to move for a sibling, but instead a fridge full of beer that needs to be logged.  

To begin this weekend’s leisure, with a stomach full of carnitas and al pastor street tacos, it’s time for a post lunch, pre-siesta cervaza.  And what, pray tell, is on the beer menu today? It’s Real Ale Brewing Company’s Full Moon Rye Pale Ale.

As I tip the bottle over into a pint glass, a cloudy, honey colored ale with loads of active carbon dioxide pours out, and forms a pretty, fluffy, and thin off-white head.

The aroma is slightly sweet and malt forward with hints of a warm, orange citrus mingled in the mix.

On the front end, there is a nice medium malt body that the sweetness is tempered by generic spice notes provided by the rye malt.  Following the balanced malt body, a slight, non-specific citrus flavored bitterness adds additional depth to an already nuanced beverage.

Of the Real Ale Brewing Company’s selections that I’ve tried, this is the most solid and enjoyable that I have had to date, and that is saying something when all of the selections have been solid, straightforward examples of what locally produced craft beer can be.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back In Black by 21st Amendment Brewery

I hope everyone is doing well. Myself? Thanks for asking!

I am doing quite well. Today I went to an interview and left with a job, and shortly after walking in the door from that interview I got a phone call from another employer telling me I have a job if I want it. It does put me in a slight pickle, but a pickle I would welcome any day.

To celebrate, along with a few favorite beers currently chilling to enjoy later, I picked out a non-Texas brewery’s beer to enjoy, 21st Amendment’s Back in Black, an American IPA brewed with dark malts, also referred to as a black IPA.

Popping the top off of the wonderfully illustrated can (displaying Paul Revere riding on a motorcycle) a hiss is heard and toffee colored foam bubbled up, exciting the part of my soul that thirsts for good craft beer. The beer poured a true black, and while the toffee like head was impressive, it died shortly after pouring.

The nose was more malty than hoppy, being sweet and bready, but a decent amount of floral notes were also present.

Before taking note of any specific flavor the beer might have imparted, the mouthfeel was the first thing I noticed, being rich and creamy as it ran across my tongue and down my esophagus.

Tasting the black elixir, I was amazed at both a great deal of balance between the malts and hops, while both components where medium full in profile. As I would recognize a nice, full bitter floral presence, a sweet, slightly burnt caramel flavor would fight for dominance on my palate.

Everything about this beer, from the lacing to the dynamic flavor profile, is evidence of a brewery concerned with the product they deliver.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Pecker Wrecker by Rahr and Sons


I hope everyone had an eventful week. For myself, it was longer than most have been recently. I had a few phone interviews, began learning XHTML and CSS to develop a new website, and started trying to get my graphic design “hat” back on after spending my youth gearing up for a degree in the arts and promptly allowing those skills to hibernate after graduation.

To top off the end of the long week, I am enjoying a bomber of Rahr and Sons Pecker Wrecker, marketed as a limited release Imperial Pilsner. 

When poured into my fashionable Rahr and Sons pint glass, obtained at a recent brewery tour, the beer was slow to form a head, but developed a nice finger’s width crown. The beverage beneath was a light copper color, and slightly cloudy.

Expecting something more hop forward, the nose was surprisingly malty, typical of the other Rahr beers I’ve had, with a bready aroma and only slight citrus notes.

The flavor of the beer was perhaps one of the most well crafted and balanced beers I have had to date as a beer drinker. While I was anticipating a hop bomb, the malt sweetness really carried this beer, offering an excellent balance to first grapefruit and then tangerine like hop flavor.  Through the skill of the brewmaster, full hop flavor is delivered with a medium bitterness, offering a truly wonderful drinking experience.

I believe that any Texan who seeks to enjoy the fruits of local craft brewed beer would be at a loss not to have a sample of this pilsner. The combination of a nice, wet mouthfeel, sexy lacing on the pint glass, and full, yet poised flavor is easy for me to recommend. 

Lone Star Beer by Pabst Brewing Co

In Texas there is a pride that comes from being in the largest state in the continental United States.  Personally, I’ve never really understood it, but I would be lying if I tried to suggest that it wasn’t something I had ever personally felt, or made the argument for.

While a part of me will fight for the glory of this state, another part cringes whenever I think of how I differ from the majority of Texans. As an example I have absolutely no love of football, but when my wife roots for the Sooners, I have to back the Longhorns. I am passionate for my love of President Lyndon Johnson, but hate most other Texan politicians with an equal passion. I am no fan of country music, but western swing is perhaps one of my favorite musical genres.

To bring this back to beer, another contradiction in myself is that while I am passionate about craft and local beer, I am not above drinking an adjunct lager. While they are lacking in every aspect of what makes beer wonderful, they can be refreshing, and as long as they are forgettable and not foul, perfectly fine to drink when no better options are available. 

This evening I decided to indulge in a six pack of Lone Star Beer, brewed by Pabst, sacrificing coolness for novelty (and for someone who calls himself Pope Crisco, cool is not my stock in trade.)

The color is as piss yellow as any other macro lager, the nose holds no distinctive notes other than being sufficiently macro beer-like, and it tastes like corn, rice, and water. There is nothing separating this bland lager from any other Bud-Miller-Coors branded beverage.

In other words this is perfect for just about any Cowboys fan that doesn’t have the sense to just get PBR or Miller High Life, both which have minimally more flavor and are roughly half the cost of other adjunct lagers including Lone Star Beer. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rio Blanco Pale Ale by Real Ale Brewing Company

A guy could get used to the temperatures that North Texas is enjoying currently. With lows in the 50s and high in the 80s, it’s pleasurable enough to sit on the patio with a beer and not be tempted to down it without reflection.

Today was a decent day filled with hunting the elusive job, learning a bit of HTML, and getting aquatinted with non-Adobe graphic programs. All of that graphic design can make a guy thirsty, so at the cocktail hour, I found myself with a bottle of Real Ale Brewing Company’s Rio Blanco Pale Ale.

With the sun beginning to set on Grand Prairie, I emptied the bottle of beer into my pint glass. A wonderful light copper beverage with a cumulous like head formed. The two-finger level of froth settled to about half its original size, and stayed a good finger thick through most of the beverage’s consumption. Adding to the beautiful pour, a torrent of active carbonation rushed to the beer’s surface.

An aroma wafted to my nostrils of malt with a touch of hop citrus. To define it in the most universal terms, it was reminiscent of macro lagers, but with a much greater depth.

As the beer washed across my tongue a wonderful medium bodied apricot-like flavor developed with crisp hop bitterness and slight floral notes on the back end of the palate. The beer was a wonderful play between the two extremes of sweet and bitter, making a complex beverage with depth, while retaining drinkability.

Being a beer crafted with not only an aesthetic beauty, but also depth and complexity in flavor, Real Ale’s Rio Blanco is a wonderful example of Texas breweries’ abilities to brew awesome beer.


Shiner Hefeweizen by the Spoetzl Brewing Company

Today has been a wonderful day in North Texas. With temps running in the mid 80s it is downright pleasant compared to the 105ish we have seen for the past three to four months. If anything deserves a beer, this is definitely it.

As it feels summer is on the way out, it is time to start weeding out the lighter lagers and ales to make room for the dark, malty beers of fall and winter. After a bit of deliberation, from the back of the fridge came a couple bottles of Shiner’s Hefeweizen from the Spoetzl Brewing Company.

Pouring out into a 20oz imperial pint glass, the 12 ounces of beer formed a thick head that threatened to exceed the volume of the glass, but stopped just short of making a mess on my desk.  As impressive as it formed, sadly the head did not last but only about twice as long as it took to form on top of the pale tangerine beer.  True to the style, the beer was rich with cloudy yeast sediment and active carbonation.

The nose had a mild, bready, yeast forward aroma with very slight citrus aspects.

Taking a drink, my mouth was filled with a nice wet mouthfeel and a generic flavor of citrus with a light spice, giving the beverage a clean, refreshing and slightly tart finish.

The body and flavor, being tart and crisp, reminded me more of one of my homemade apple ciders than any home brewed or commercial hefe or wit beer that I can recall drinking recently, and I suspect it’s due to the use of a lager yeast as opposed to an ale stain.

It is a good, decent beer, but not one I see myself drinking often due to a desire to have a stronger banana presence, and more balance in the citrus aspects of the style.

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