June 4, 2013
Who is Number One?
I am Number Two. You are Number Six.
I AM NOT A NUMBER! I AM A FREE MAN!
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
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
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.
May 30, 2012
It is remarkable the extent to which craft beers have become mainstreamed. Even just a few years ago, I would have looked at a barrel aged beer as akin to Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster: I had heard of them, and would have been open to their actual existence, but I would have demanded strict proof before being convinced. Now, they are so normal, that if a bar does not have at least one barrel aged beer on the menu, I scoff at their puny selection, and when my brother in law showed me this bottle, I shrugged and said “looks good, let’s give it a try”.
I should not be so blasé about these beers. The Great Divide Eighteenth Anniversary Oak Aged Double India Pale Ale might be a mouthful to say, but it also has a mouthful of flavor. Lots of caramel malts, with woody vanilla flavors from the oak, and tons of floral and orange peel hops, all of which are needed to stand up to the 10% ABV. This is a remarkably smooth beer considering how much is going on the flavor profile. It is a sipping beer, and a fine one at that, 7.5/10.
May 14, 2012
This is a tasty mo’fo’.
The Boulevard Rye on Rye is part of Boulevard’s Smokestack Series. The ale is brewed with rye, and then partially aged in rye whiskey barrels, giving rise to the name, but I bet you all figured that out already. This poured a beautiful ruby color with amber highlights with a nice tannish head. The aroma was lovely, with spiciness from the rye offset by the vanilla from the barrel aging. Those aromas carried over to the flavor, along with some dark dried fruit notes, oak, dark malts and a nice boozy quality that to me tasted more like bourbon than rye whiskey. The Rye on Rye is a whopping 11% ABV, so this is a sipping beer, and a fine one at that, 8.5/10.
April 26, 2012
I’d make some ‘Black Ops’ crack about securing this bottle in a Mission Impossible style raid, complete with scuba diving, spelunking, skydiving, and jaywalking, but the truth is that GEB called me a few weeks before Christmas to say she was in a beer store and they had some Brooklyn Black Ops and should she get some for her Dad for Christmas and I shouted “YES! OH! GOD! FOR THE LOVE ALL THAT IS HOLY! GOD! YES!” She somehow got the impression that I was a tad excited that Black Ops had made it down to Texas so she grabbed me a bottle as well.
According to the label, this is a Russian Imperial Stout which was aged in bourbon barrels for several months. It was bottled flat and refermented in the bottle using champagne yeast. The vanilla and oak aroma from the bourbon barrel is immediately apparent. The aroma is almost overwhelming, but the flavors are surprisingly muted, with some chocolate and coffee as well. It has a light and crisp mouthfeel which I attribute to the champagne yeast refermentation. This has over 11% ABV but there is no alcohol burn at all. The Black Ops is what a Black Velvet should taste like. The only downside to this beer is that GEB did not get me more than one bottle, but I am glad she got me the one, 9/10.
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 »
December 27, 2011
Mr. JK is quite the generous soul. Mr. JK was being his usual generous and jolly self during Christmas 2010 when he gave Tilting Suds an oak whiskey barrel and some ‘raw’ spirits to age in the barrel. I barreled the whiskey just before Christmas, 2010. The liquor was clear when I poured it in the barrel; It was also as smooth as jet fuel. On New Year’s Eve, 2010, I poured off a bit to sample it. It had taken on some color but was still harsh firewater, nearly undrinkable. I sampled it again on Saint Patrick’s Day and Independence Day. Each successive sample took on more color and flavor, but the firewater aspect hardly mellowed at all. I decided that I would leave the whiskey in the barrel until after Thanksgiving to give it time to cool off, so to speak. This was a tactical error on my part. While my plan to mellow the whiskey was a sound one, what I did not count on was the Angels being so parched that their share would drain nearly the entire barrel. After just under a year in the barrel, between evaporation and the oak absorbing the liquid, what started as 1500 ml of whiskey* was reduced to this: Read the rest of this entry »
December 10, 2011
There are great beasts wandering the wilderness, not all of whom have been photographed, catalogued, vivisected, dissected, DNA mapped and whatever else it is that scientists do with animals. There is so much we do not know. Oh, sure, the aliens who visit regularly have probably gleaned all sorts of information from the anal probes performed on these undiscovered creatures (Do you really believe that the aliens only perform anal probes on Harvard Professors? I think not) but the aliens rarely, if ever, share the results of their experiments with us. We have much to learn.
As a rugged outdoorsman*, extreme adventurer**, and acolyte of Teddy Roosevelt***, I have spent months at a time in the wild unmapped corners of the globe, and have had close encounters with a variety of cryptozoological phenomenon. There was the time I was fly fishing on Lake Champlain and hooked Champ but was unable to land the beast. Growing up in New Jersey, the Jersey Devil was a regular visitor to our backyard, stopping to swim in our pool, before taking off for the flight to the Pine Barrens. I have had several recent encounters with the Chupacabra while out walking my dogs, and the less said about my experience with the Mothman, the better.
It is in the field of Sasquatch studies that I have been most successful. On a recent trip to the Himalayas, I encountered the Yeti. More importantly, I encountered two distinct kinds of Yeti. Read the rest of this entry »