Ranger Creek Small Batch #3 and #4 and #5

June 4, 2013

Who is Number One?

I am Number Two. You are Number Six.


San Antonio’s Ranger Creek Brewing Company is a new to me brewery, but I have been impressed with their offerings so far. I have not found any of their beers on tap in the Dallas area yet, but their bottles are carried in the finer local beer emporiums. They also distill whiskey, but I have not tried that yet.


Small Batch #3 is a barleywine aged for six months in oak barrels to let it mellow a bit. At least that is what the Ranger Creek website says, but the beer I had was funky and sour and unlike any barleywine I have ever tried. To my tastebuds, it tasted more like a Belgian wild ale. That is not a bad thing, 6.5/10, but it was not as advertised.

Davy Crockett's Favorite Barrel Aged Porter

Davy Crockett’s Favorite Barrel Aged Porter

Next is Small Batch #4, a mesquite smoked porter aged for ten months in Ranger Creek’s own bourbon barrels. There is ton of vanilla and oak in the flavor, backed up by some earthy malts and just a hint of spiciness from the hops. I did not pick up much mesquite smoke, but there was so much going with this beer that it was not missed. This was remarkably smooth for a beer with a 10% ABV. I wish I had grabbed a second bottle of this to age, but such is life, 8/10.

This was Jim Bowie's favorite

This was Jim Bowie’s favorite

Small Batch #5 is an entirely different creature. It is a pecan smoked doppelbock aged in bourbon barrels for two months. There is a bit of smoke, and some vanilla and oak from the barrel aging, but there is an unexpected touch of funkiness to this beer that was quite nice. I did not enjoy this as much #4, but it was a fine drink, 7/10.


Moa Imperial Stout

March 6, 2013

I can never be certain about these things, because so much has been lost in the haze of alcohol, old age, bad TV and sleepless nights, but I believe that Moa Brewing Co.’s Imperial Stout is the first beer from New Zealand that I have drunk (Drank? Imbibed? Howzabout ‘knocked back’?). It is certainly the first beer from New Zealand that has been reviewed here at Tilting Suds. Of that, there is no question.

I never liked Split Enz, but I like this beer. Might be a time for a critical reassessment of Split Enz

I never liked Split Enz, but I like this beer. Might be a time for a critical reassessment of Split Enz

And for a first beer from New Zealand, I picked a good one. The Moa Imperial Stout is aged in Pinot Noir barrels, and the oak from the barrels is the first thing I picked up in the aroma. The beer poured an inky black with ruby highlights, with a quickly dissipating head. Normally Imperial Stouts are heavy in taste and texture, but his beer had a delicate mouthfeel, and the flavors (oak, coffee, cocoa, vanilla) were also muted, as was the 10% ABV. I did not pick up any Pinot Noir notes, but then again, I am such a wine barbarian that I cannot tell a Pinot Noir from a fucking Merlot. Let’s just say that if there were any red wine notes here at all, I missed them. Let’s also say that my first Kiwi beer adventure was an enjoyable one, 7.5/10.

Armigideon Time

March 5, 2013

Noted Friend of Tilting Suds, Mr. JK, was his usual generous self recently, sending to Texas a package of smokes, charcuterie, and a curious bottle of beer called Armageddon from a Scottish brewer called Brewmeister. Billed as the “World’s Strongest Beer” it clocks in at 65% ABV. Mr. JK described it as a marketing ploy, and to a certain extent he is right. Brewmeister probably got more mileage out of brewing the world’s strongest beer when compared to breweries who win multiple gold medals at brewing competitions. On the other hand, this appeared to be a serious brewer who took the time and care to use quality ingredients in an attempt to make a good beer. Clearly, Brewmeister wanted the notoriety of brewing the “World’s Strongest Beer” but not at the expense of sacrificing their reputation as a brewer of good beers.

A lotta people won't get no supper tonight

A lotta people won’t get no supper tonight

Even though it was only a 12 ounce bottle, I was not going to tackle this myself, so I split it with Bro-In-Law Jeff.  He had been to Scotland recently and had visited one of the BrewDog pubs, so he had some experience with the Scottish propensity for brewing high alcohol beers.  This poured a somewhat cloudy caramel brown, with absolutely no carbonation whatsoever. The first thing I noticed is that there was very little in the way of  alcohol burn. If this beer is truly 65% ABV*, Brewmeister has done a remarkable job of making it a smooth drinking tipple. The other thing I noticed is that while it was different tasting, it still very much tasted like a beer. There was a caramel sweetness to the malts along with some mild hoppy bitterness. I am going to give it a 6.5/10.

*I had some doubts about that claim while I was drinking the beer, but when I stood up and had to immediately sit back down due to being a tad lightheaded after finishing my half glass, I had no further doubts.

Catch Up Post: Beers That I Have Been Drinking

February 7, 2013

Sorry about the absence. Events conspired against me to keep me from posting as regularly as I would have liked, but crap happens from time to time. To make up for some lost time, here are some quickie reviews:

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New Angles on Old Tricks: The Classic Pale Ale

December 20, 2012

With all of these funky new beers, many of which were unimaginable even a few short years ago (and I say that as a guy with a vivid imagination when it comes to beer), I often forget that a good pale ale is one of the true treats of the beer world: delicious; low enough in alcohol to drink several without causing the world to spin, yet flavorful enough to thoroughly enjoy; and strikes the right balance of bold flavors and drinkability for a craft beer neophyte to enjoy. Few things make me happier than seeing the inroads Sierra Nevada has made with marketing its flagship Pale Ale. No matter how lame the bar is (and I have been in plenty of lame ass bars), these places will usually now carry Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale as a sop to beer snobs like me. No matter how lame the pizzeria (or now that I am in Texas, a taqueria is more likely), they usually have a few bottles of it handy, or better yet, a tap devoted to it.

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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.


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.

Anchor Brews a Christmas Beer! Who Knew?

December 15, 2012

Hey! Did you guys know that Anchor brews a Christmas Beer each and every year? And that each year they tweak the recipe so that it is just a little bit different? You all knew that already?

Alright, I knew all of that too. I have sampled this beer for more than twenty years now (going back to a time when it was damn hard to find some years in some of the places in which I lived, although finding it no longer seems to be much of an issue), and other than one year when it tasted like candied yams mixed with fake pine cones, shitty tinsel and melted down plastic Santas, it is always at least a good, if not excellent, beer.

Some Christmas Traditions - gifts wrapped in red & green; colored lights; passing out drunk under the tree - should live forever

Some Christmas Traditions – gifts wrapped in red & green; colored lights; passing out drunk under the tree – should live forever

This year’s version is…truth be told, I lost my tasting notes, but I had it in a bottle and on tap and enjoyed both. I remember thinking ‘spicy’ and ‘warming’ so figure that this has some Christmas spice flavors in it, and a nice warming sensation from the alcohol. I do not recall thinking ‘fake pine cones’ nor ‘shitty tinsel’ nor ‘melted down Santas’ so figure there was nothing nasty about it. I recall thinking ‘7’ when I had the bottle and ‘8’ when I had it on tap, so let’s average that out to a 7.5/10 and call it a day. You know you are going to get some, so what are you waiting for?

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