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.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Buffalo Butt by Rahr and Sons

Happy Labor Day weekend,

Today, as my wife and mother hit the craft store sales, I am enjoying the quiet of a Sunday afternoon with a beer. To kick off the month of September, and the beginning of a Texas beer-centric month for this blog, I have the amber lager Buffalo Butt from Fort Worth’s own Rahr and Sons Brewing Company.

Pouring the contents of the “longhorn” (as opposed to longneck) bottle into a pint glass, the reddish nut-brown beverage does not form any real head to mention, but the surface does slightly boil with bubbles of CO2.

An aroma of bread and yeast is prominent with slight malt undertones as I gear up for the first taste.

Taking the first sip of the lager there is a light to medium, dry body with warm caramel maltiness. On the backend of the mouthful an unpleasant sourness develops reminiscent of acrid lemon zest.

Combining the beverage’s mild and somewhat monotone flavor with the distasteful after flavor I am disappointed that this beer did not have more to offer, as my expectations were high based on the beers enjoyed at the Rahr and Sons brewery tour last week. I can only hope that this is the exception and not the rule.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Monte Pascoal Cigars' Corona

When it comes to non-Cuban tobacco, I find that I overwhelmingly prefer cigars with blends of tobacco from Brazil.  I was quite excited when I fumbled upon Monte Pascoal Cigars, which produces Brazilian Puros.

After acquiring a few of the coronas, which measure 5 5/8 inches with a 42-ring gauge, I allowed them to rest a few days before clipping the first stick.

Appearing to be one of the best rolled cigars I’ve had in a while, the cap of the dark stogie came of easily and clean. Taking a pre-light draw, there was a nice light earthy essence that was sweet and had hints of cedar and cinnamon.

Putting flame to the foot, an initial flavor of sweet leather is prominent. Drawing through the nose a wonderful pepper flavor develops, and is somewhat reminiscent of Cuban tobacco.

An inch into the smoking experience the leather notes subside and wood notes begin to take hold. The spice notes start to turn as well at this point, bringing out a nice subtle sweetness.

Fischer sleeps as I enjoy
this cigar and hunt for a job.

By the midway point of the smoking experience a slight metallic undertone begins to develop as the woodiness drives on, and a resurgence of spiciness begins.

With the metallic taste abated, the final third of this wonderful puro ends with the same wood and leather notes that made the whole cigar a sublime treat, and will become a regular part of my cigar rotation.
Happy Smoking!

Sorry For The Typos #3

Hey readers,

Hope all is well with you all. Today marks the one-month mark since I uprooted my life from Atlanta and moved back to my childhood home in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. It has been a bit of a challenge regarding some personal matters that needed to be addressed, as well as dealing with the boredom and frustration that comes from being unemployed. Luckily, I have few wants that are not being met by the grace of God, my wife Haley, and my family. 

At most I could only wish for the privacy of being in my own residence, having my own stuff and a kitchen available for home brewing, and a little bit more cash to spend on beer and tobacco. Oh, and I could wish for the summer to end. This summer will be the hottest on record ever for North Texas, and it looks like we will have at least another month of 90-degree highs before signs of fall begin to show.

For the website, expect to see a larger focus on the craft beers of the Lone Star State. While I will likely continue to switch things up with reviews of beer from local and national breweries, the month of September will be heavy in the review of Texas brewed goodness. Currently I have 3 beers from the Real Ale Brewing Company, 4 or 5 Shiner varieties from the Spoetzl Brewery, and a seasonal bomber from Rahr and Sons chilling out in my fridge, ready to be reviewed, and that promises to be just the start.

Currently I am trying to generate enough revenue from the website to garnish a day trip to Austin at the end of September for the Texas Craft Beer Fest for a DD and myself. If you’re interested in hearing content from the festival, please donate a buck or two to the PayPal account linked in the sidebar, or buy something via the advertisers on the site.

Cigar reviews and other cigar content will likely begin to taper off in October, and be replaced by content about pipe tobacco, and likely result in more videos being uploaded on my YouTube channel.

As always please feel free to share your comments here, on twitter, or on the Facebook page for this blog. I want to know what does and does not work from your perspective.   

Thank you for continuing to read and respond to my thoughts on intoxicants and intoxication.

Whataburger's Green Chili Double

Good morning readers.

When I left for Atlanta in 2005, one thing I missed most from my home state was the fast food chain Whataburger, native to Texas, and available in only 6 other states. To make a long story short, since moving back to the Lone Star State I have had an abundance of this restaurant’s fare, and I am far from having my fill.

This morning, after reading a press release for their new menu option of the Green Chili Double, I decided I was not in the mood for typical breakfast fare, and in fact was craving a hamburger from this fine establishment. Furthermore, I would opt not to get my normal Double Double with jalapenos and bacon (which is also a wonderful breakfast item if the mood hits you) in lieu of the “limited time” offering.

When I got the burger home, it seemed less impressive and somewhat diminutive from what I was expecting. My wife pointed out that this burger was not adorned with toppings, and contained no other additions than the beef, cheese, and a pepper mélange as advertised.

Still a tad off put, I took my first bite into the burger, and was greeted with more flavor than the sandwich’s exterior would suggest.  The combination of the Monterey Jack cheese and roasted chilies added a wonderful creaminess to the base Whataburger flavor that I am used to and expect. The peppers also add a nice brightness and sharpness to the eating experience.

My only real criticism of the flavor is that it wasn’t quite spicy enough for me, but I was expecting that even before ordering the combo meal. I tend to like food that will bring me to tears, but this was a wonderfully full flavored burger without excessive heat. I am sure that if Whataburger were to add this to their regular menu, people like my wife would be ordering it regularly as it offers a great pepper flavor without the obtrusive heat signature.

On a final note, the perfect beverage pairing for this meal is not a rare wine selection or craft brewed beer, but Dr. Pepper. I can’t tell you why, but despite the fact I rarely drink it at any other time, this beverage and food pairing are not to be bested.

 When done please dispose of this blog post properly. 
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