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.


Deep Ellum IPA

December 18, 2012

I am quietly (or maybe not so quietly) becoming a big fan of one of Dallas’ newer breweries, Deep Ellum. Their beers get consistent high grades from Tilting Suds, and their IPA is going to continue that hot streak.

DSCN6489

Deep Ellum has only recently started distribution of their beers in bottles, so I do not know how far beyond Dallas their beers have made it, but they will quickly develop a sterling reputation beyond the borders of this simple blog if they continue making beers as good as this IPA, their flagship beer. Their IPA pours a bright amber, with a strong hop citrus hop aroma. That aroma is complemented by floral hops in the taste, with a nice malt back bone to tie it all together. I do not know what the ABV % is, but there is a bit of an alcohol bite to this beer, which does nothing to detract from the overall flavor profile. Another oustanding beer from Deep Ellum, 7.5/10.


My Scorecard Says ‘Home Run’: Deep Ellum Double Brown Stout

November 24, 2012

Ca$h Money should be kept in your shoes, or better yet, your socks

Dallas’ Deep Ellum Brewing Co. is a relative newcomer to the craft beer scene, but they have impressed Tilting Suds in the past, and their Double Brown Stout continues that streak of good beer. Pouring a deep rich brown, this has a light and airy mouthfeel, creamy and smooth. The initial flavors and aromas are vanilla and toffee, with a nutty aftertaste, and some dried fruits as well. Stouts can be heavy and ponderous, like a Black Sabbath bass line, but not this one. It is easily drinkable, and even at 7% ABV, I could see myself having several over the course of an evening. It is the ‘lightest’ stout I have ever had, and that is meant as a compliment. According to the Deep Ellum website, they use lager yeast instead of ale yeast, so it is technically not a stout or a porter, and they classify it as a Baltic Porter on the website, as opposed to the ‘stout’ classification on the label. That is all a bit confusing, as if they are not totally sure what they have on their hands here, and frankly, I am not sure how to classify it either, except it is a home run, not a double, 8.5/10, just an excellent beer.


New Texas Brewery: Adelbert’s Brewery Gives Us The Naked Nun Belgian Wit, And I Like It

August 9, 2012

I have never seen a naked nun, nor have I ever seen a nun that I would like to see naked. I am sure there are some who find the idea of a nun in the raw appealing, arousing even, which is why I am terrified of googling ‘naked nun’ to see what others think of this fine beer from Adelbert’s Brewery, one of Texas’ newest breweries*.

This wit poured a golden yellow, hazy from the yeast, with great lacing in the glass. It had a mild lemon peel aroma and taste, with some soft herbal  notes as well (which tasted more like sage to me rather than the coriander noted on the label, but what do I know), and just a touch of funkiness from the yeast. This is not a ground breaking wit, but it is quite nice, 6.5/10, and based on the strength of this beer, I am looking forward to drinking Adelbert’s other brews.

Tasty

*I keep saying this, but it bears repeating: Texas may not have the depth and breadth of craft brewers that the Pacific Northwest or Northern California has, but it is gaining ground and doing so quickly. It seems as if a new brewery opens in Texas every other week, and most are quite good. At this pace, Texas will soon be in the top tier of beer states.


108 Degrees In The Shade: Summer in Texas, Texas Summer Beers

August 7, 2012

Hans' Pils

Real Ale Hans’ Pils –  I do not know who Hans is, so I do not know why this beer is named for him, but he must be a good egg, as this is a fine beer, and I doubt Real Ale would name such a good beer after him if Hans were not a fine fellow. It is clean, crisp and dry, with some cracker like malts and mild lemon and black pepper hops for some balance, and a long lasting white head. I am generally not a fan of German style beers, but I do like this one, 7/10.

Rahr & Sons Summertime Wheat – I have not been impressed by Fort Worth’s Rahr & Sons in the past. Their beers have been spotty at best, and to my palate the problem seems to be quality control issues. They are inconsistent. As mentioned above, I am generally not a fan of German style beers, as I am an Anglophile to my core, and Rahr & Sons specializes in German style beers, which might be a contributing factor to my being less than impressed with their beers.

Rahr Summertime Wheat

On the other hand, I do love hefeweizens in the hot summer months, and Rahr has brewed themselves an excellent one with their Summertime Wheat. This has that nice wheat, yeast, banana, and clove flavors that is the hallmark of all hefeweizens, with just a touch of candy sweetness and orange peel bitterness. It pours golden blonde and cloudy with a fluffy head, and is subtly carbonated for a terrific mouthfeel. The carbonation also provides some terrific lacing which races up the side of the glass. If Rahr could maintain this standard of excellence across their beer roster, I would be a huge fan. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is a high point for them, 7.5/10.

Water Tower in Allen, Texas. This has nothing to do with beer. I just like the picture.


Saint Arnold Homefront India Pale Ale

June 19, 2012

Beating the heat in Texas is a fool’s errand. It simply cannot be done. It is like trying to stop Michael Jordan in his prime. That is just not going to happen. But as the sportscasters used to say, “you cannot stop Michael Jordan, you can only hope to contain him” and that is the approach I take to summer in Texas.

I concede that I am going to be hot and miserable. There is no way around it, but I am not going to let the summer defeat me. I am going to ride my bike whenever I can, I am just going to be sure to stay well hydrated. I recognize that my car is going to be pizza oven hot when I get into it, I just park in the shade whenever possible and use the window screen religiously. I understand that every pool I jump into is going to feel like plunging into a bowl of warm spit, instead of the cold, bracing, damn near heart attack inducing sensation I am used to after growing up in the northeast. And I know that the heavy IPAs I usually prefer are going to go down like sludge, so I resign myself to drinking lighter bodied beers during the dog days of summer.

Although I resign myself to drinking lighter beers in the summer, Saint Arnold’s Homefront IPA* is a damn fine india pale ale for the Texas heat due to it’s light body. The aroma is sweet oranges and flowery hops. The taste has the floral hops right up front, with some orange marmalade bittersweetness in the background. The Homefront IPA clocks in at 6.5 % ABV, which is so well hidden that I would have guessed it would have been around 5%. This is another fine addition to Saint Arnold’s lineup of beers, 8/10.

*Saint Arnold brewed this in honor of Memorial Day, and Saint Arnold is donating the profits to Operation Homefront, and organization providing emergency financial and other assistance to the families of American service members and wounded warriors.


Real Ale Devil’s Backbone

May 15, 2012

That is my favorite scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I love Nicholson’s reaction when he realizes that Chief is not crazy, and that he has an ally in his war with Nurse Ratchet, or at least a non-insane ally. Nicholson has been in so many great movies, and has had great roles in some lesser films, but I maintain that Cuckoo’s Nest is his finest moment, when a great actor, one at the top of his game, found the right character, the right script, the right director, and  a brilliant supporting cast as well. Any one thing can go wrong to make a movie a failure, but Cuckoo’s Nest is just about perfect.

Real Ale takes a stab at brewing a Tripel, and do a fine job of it. The Devil’s Backbone pours a cloudy yellow with a meringue like head. This has a sweet banana and tangerine aroma, with some herbal notes in the background. The flavor is sweet and herbal, with some clove and cardamon, and the candy sugar gives it a juicy fruit gum flavor. This is a smooth drinking beer, and like most tripels it has a deceptively high ABV (8.1%), so you need to be careful or you will be D-R-U-N-K Drunk before you realize it. You cannot drink many of these in a session, but it is a nice treat, 7.5/10.


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