Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hops And Grain "The One They Call Zoe" Pale Lager

Days off for myself are usually distilled into a balance of work and play. I like to spend my mornings toiling with laundry, working on illustrations, and chipping away at whatever projects I might have had to put on the back burners. One crutch modern people have with doing most tasks though is that of electricity. 

While it is true humans have lived eons without the ease of electric living, currently we have built our domiciles on the assumption that it will always be available for us to consume. This hubris leads us into situations that once power is denied us, our ability to complete chores becomes quite limited. As inconvenient as this is, it does also allow an opportunity to sit back and reflect.

With a cold front moving across North Texas, I pulled a beer from the chill chest and walked out onto my apartment’s small patio. The beer du jour is a can of Austin’s Hops And Grain pale lager “The One They Call Zoe.”

Dispensing the ale from its aluminum vessel into my pint glass, a quite beautiful beer is exposed.  As the tangerine hued ale pours against the sides of the pint glass a plume of carbonation fervently builds. A perfect head forms, never appearing too weak or thin, and never builds too aggressively, building to at most a finger’s thickness, and during consumption never dissipating to anything less than half a finger.   It is a head with presence and fortitude, one that laces the sides of my glass with aggression.

As pretty a beer it is, its aroma is an enticing perfume for the craft beer drinker with a hop forward nose. Pine and grapefruit mingle atop a yeasty, bread-like foundation.

The first sip of Zoe, as best described by my wife, is like drinking a grapefruit soda. While offering a sweet body, a mildly bitter citrus and pine brightness and bitterness bring wonderful balance and ease of drinkability.

The brewer’s skill has created a “Goldilocks” ale, threading a needle of flavor. Sweet malts sing, but it’s not too sweet. Hops are unmistakable, but bitterness is restrained.  

The beer’s packaging describes itself as affable,  and given its insanely well balance flavor profile, and wet mouthfeel, it is undoubtedly so. This is a beer that can be enjoyed in quantity, on its own, or paired with just about any beer worthy meal.


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