Big Texas Beer Fest II: The Revenge!

April 7, 2013

When: April 6, 2013

Where: Texas State Fairgrounds

Who: Mr. Tilting Suds, Bro-In-Law Jeff, Brief Appearance by GEB and Crew, and a Cast of Thousands

Why: Really? Seriously? There was lots and lots of beer

Outfit: I decided to pay homage to Mr. JK by wearing the Abbey T-Shirt (Front Side: FUCKING RELAX YOU ARE AT THE ABBEY; Back Side: WHEN THE GATES OF HELL ARE CLOSED, THE ABBEY WILL STILL BE ROCKING!)  he got me the last time he was in New Orleans, and the Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ fleece pants that he got me at the Dollar Store in Vermont. Much hilarity ensued.*

What the well dressed man about town wears these days

What the well dressed man about town wears these days

Improvements: Last year’s festival was awesome as noted here, but this year’s was better due to the addition of food trucks and live bands outside, and a few seats in which we could rest our weary bones.

Also, neither Bro-In-Law Jeff nor myself projectile vomited after the festival, so that is an improvement.

My only complaint, and one I cannot lay at the feet of the festival organizers as they had not control over it, was the number of spaghetti armed hipsters with tattoos. I am old enough to remember when only ex-military or ex-cons or current badasses (or some combination thereof) had tattoos, and now every bearded and bespectacled dipshit has several tattoos prominently displayed on their muscle-less arms. When I am appointed Lord Protector of the Anglosphere (and that day is coming, my friends, so best get on my good side now), my first order of business will be to require that every tattoo parlor install a 150 pound barbell and a bench. If you cannot rip off ten reps, no ink for you.

The Beer: (Note: I did not have a pen, so my note taking was spotty at best. These beers are the highlights as I remember them)

Victory Brewing Scarlet Fire: This rauchbier from the always excellent Victory Brewing was outstanding. The aroma was smoky, and the taste was the same without being overwhelming. It had a creamy mouthfeel, with just the right carbonation. This beer would be great with a huge plate of charcuterie and cheese.

La Socarrada Artisanal Beer with Rosemary and Honey: From Spain, this golden ale was excellent. The rosemary is prominent in the aroma, and the honey kicks in on the tongue. Grill some lamb, and sit outside with this beer, for a perfect spring afternoon.

Armadillo Aleworks Randallized Quakertown Stout: Denton’s own Armadillo Aleworks took their Quakertown Stout and ran it through a Randall stuffed with coffee beans, vanilla beans and cacao nibs. The result was a flavor explosion. The vanilla got a little lost in the mix, but I am not complaining at all, as this beer was really great.

Jester King Salt Lick: Brewed in collaboration with the famous Salt Lick BBQ restaurant, this had the lemon pepper attributes of a traditional saison, with some smoke and sour flavors throwing a change up. Another good one from Jester King.

Franconia Brewing Double IPA: My local brewery stepped out of their German style comfort zone, and came up with a pretty good double IPA. They are opening a new site, and will hopefully begin bottling their beers soon.

Martin House Brewing Saison: This Texas brewery is brand new. Their saison was the first beer I had, and it was a good way to start the festival. Light and refreshing, with pepper, lemon and a touch of funk to it, I can see myself drinking this all day sometime this summer.

Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel #2: Go to the link to read the interesting back story on this beer. My two cents is that with all of the flavor notes going on (sour cherry, wild yeast, chardonnay infused oak, sour bacteria, etc.), this beer was nicely balanced. I doubt I would want to drink more than one of these in an evening, but I would enjoy the hell out of the one I did drink.

Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout: This stout is brewed with sweet potatoes. I did not detect any distinct sweet potato flavor, but I did like this beer. The ‘Jefferson’ referenced in the name of the beer is neither Thomas nor George. It is Jefferson Davis. Just stop with this crap.

Hops & Grains: These guys were a revelation. I tried their Pale Mosaic IPA first, and it was wonderful. The piney hops aroma was so powerful that I thought I was back in New Jersey. I immediately got back on line to try their other beers. all of which were excellent. I spoke briefly with the brewery representative (I did not get his name, but he had a great set of mutton chop sideburns, and he complimented me on my Led Zeppelin pants, so he is obviously a man of refined taste), and he said the brewery was located near Austin, and that their beers are slowly making it to the DFW area. 

*Multiple people asked if I had the pants custom made. Many more commented on my Abbey shirt. Just as many said “Dude, those pants are awesome!” By the end of the day, if someone complimented on the pants, I made sure to point out how awesome the shirt was and vice versa. The whole was much greater than the sum of the parts.

My outfit led to the following exchange with GEB:

GEB: You wore pajama pants

Tilting Suds: No, these are Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants

GEB: Pajama Pants

Tilting Suds: Led Zep Pants…

This intellectual debate continued for upwards of thirty minutes, only to be ended when a random passerby said “It doesn’t matter if they are pajamas or Led Zep pants, they are just cool!”

Thank you, Kind Stranger, for recognising the awesomeness of the Led Zep Pants.


Just Brutal: Jester King Gotlandsdricka

December 5, 2012

I am a Jester King fanboy, but I have my limits, and Gotlandsdricka is well beyond those.  Allegedly the beer of the Vikings, you’d have to be a Viking to enjoy this stuff. This was astringent and bitter and overly fizzy with an assortment of odd burnt wood flavors that were completely unpleasant. I choked it down, but I did not enjoy it in the least, and while I understand what Jester King is trying to do with all of these styles, this one is a huge swing and a miss, 3/10.

At least the label is cool

At least the label is cool


Jester King Wytchmaker Redux and WILD! (And A Bonus Review of the Farmhouse Black Metal Stout!)

May 16, 2012

Don’t see much difference between these two bottles, do you? The bottle on the left is the regular Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA (my 2011 Beer of the Year!). The bottle on the right is the Wytchmaker Farmhouse Rye IPA.

The only difference between the two is the Farmhouse Rye IPA uses farmhouse yeast in place of the regular ale yeast. This gives it a slightly sour and funky flavor. It pours a little cloudier, and the aroma is just a touch funkier, with a touch of sourness added to the flavor. The difference is subtle, but nice. I don’t think it makes it a better beer, and it is not substantially different either, but it is still damn good, 9.5/10.

The Farmhouse version is a little cloudier, a little funkier, but just as tasty.

BONUS REVIEW!: The Farmhouse Black Metal is an improvement over the already excellent Black Metal Stout. The sourness from the farmhouse yeasts adds another flavor dimension and rounds out the dark chocolate, dried fruit, anise and dark brown sugar flavors.  Again, any differences between the two beers is subtle, but liked the farmhouse version a touch more. I gave the regular Black Metal Stout a score of 8.5, but the farmhouse version gets a 9/10.


Jester King – Mikkeller Beer Geek Rodeo

May 1, 2012

I tried the Beer Geek Rodeo at the Big Texas Beer Fest and and I am pretty sure I loved it. I am not positive because I sampled it at the end of the day, when I was drunk, tired, and overwhelmed by all of the beer I had consumed up to that point. Also, as anyone who is a regular reader of this blog has concluded, I am a Jester King fan boy, and taking into account my state of inebriation, I would have given Bud Light Lime high marks if it had been handed to me by the Jester King folks.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying this in a more or less sober state so I could give it a proper review. I was right to love it when I was good and pickled at the Beer fest.  The Beer Geek Rodeo is a collaboration with Mikkeller, their second such collaboration. It is an oatmeal stout brewed with Vietnamese coffee and chipotle peppers, so it combines several of my favorite things: breakfast, beer, coffee, and hot peppers. It pours a deep opaque brown with some ruby highlights, and as you can see from the photo, has a nice tan head. The oatmeal gives this beer a chewy and velvety mouthfeel. The coffee is subtle, more of a background note. Most coffee stouts punch you in the mouth with coffee flavor, but not this one. The chipotle peppers add a smokiness to the flavor. I did not pick up much heat from the peppers at first, but as the glass warmed, the spiciness picked up a bit. The smoke and heat from the chipotle peppers do a nice job of masking any burn from the 10.1 % ABV. This is definitely a beer for beer geeks, and while I prefer the term ‘beer dork’, I can roll with beer geek too, especially when the beer is this good, 9/10.


Jester King Le Petit Prince

April 26, 2012

Isn't that just the prettiest thing you have ever seen?

Le Petit Prince is another fine offering from the good folks at Jester King. It is light, crisp and refreshing, a perfect beer for the coming brutal days of the Texas summer. Although it is light, the beer is hoppy and fruity, with a rustic farmhouse flavor, and a flowery finish from the hops. At 2.9% ABV, Le Petit Prince would be the ideal session beer, except it is a bit too pricey to drink all day. Although not cost effective as a session beer, it is still a fine drink, 7.5/10.

Does anyone else remember this television adaptation of The Little Prince from the Seventies? I was completely creeped out by the kid who played the Prince, to the point where I was glad the little weirdo died at the end.

Gene Wilder is great in this, but he is always great. Think about the run he had in the sixties and seventies: Bonnie & Clyde, The Producers,  Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak, and Stir Crazy. Even when the movies may not have been the best, he was always great in them.


Big Texas Beer Festival, Dallas, April 14

April 16, 2012

Beer Festival Rules:

1. Pace yourself so that you can enjoy all the beers that you will be sampling.

2. Drink plenty of water.

3. Take regular food breaks. Read the rest of this entry »


Jester King Noble King Hoppy Farmhouse Ale

March 5, 2012

Yet another outstanding beer from Jester King, The Noble King Hoppy Farmhouse Ale tastes of green apples, clear spring days, freshly cut grass and Magnolia trees in bloom. Actually, a day like that would be awful for me, as I’d be laid up sneezing and coughing and my eyes would be red, itchy and alternating between dried out and watery, but I imagine that a day like that would be great if I did not get hay fever, and this beer is as great as a day like that should be. What the hell, let’s add some unicorns and wood nymphs to the mix while we are at it, because this beer is that good.

It is a hazy orange amber color, with a fluffy head, and some aggressive lacing running up the side of the glass. The Noble King is very hop forward, with the farmhouse yeast bringing a wild earthiness to the aroma and the taste. This finishes dry and crisp, with a tart fruity aftertaste and a velvety mouthfeel. Excellent beer, 8.5/10. I know Texas is rarely mentioned as a hot spot of the American Craft Beer Culture, but I consider myself lucky to be able to drink the beers of the mighty Jester King.


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