The Days Are Getting Longer and The Beers Are Getting Lighter

May 22, 2012

It gets hot in Texas. And once it gets hot in Texas, it stays hot. There is no break from the heat at night. It is as hot at midnight as it is at noon. And it stays hot for a long time, 10, 20, 30, even 40 days straight of over 100 degree temperatures is not unusual. Even now, in the middle of May, it will be over 90 degrees by the end of the week.

Fighting heat like this requires special beers. You want to drink something cold, so you need a beer that has the flavor profile to stand up in a chilled glass, but you don’t want something too heavy tasting or complex. You will want to drink a few beers over the course of the hot sumer afternoon, so you need a beer with a slightly lower ABV. There is nothing worse than passing out drunk and shirtless in the backyard and roasting in the summer sun, or so I have been told.

The Sierra Nevada Summerfest is a light and crisp pilsner. It pours clear and slightly fizzy. The taste is slightly sweet from the malts, with mildly herbal and lemony hops. It clocks in at 5.0 % ABV, so you can have a few while you laze around in the backyard.  It is good enough to drink, but nothing to rave about, 6/10.

The Saint Arnold Weedwacker is THE summer beer for me. This beer started out as part of Saint Arnold’s Movable Yeast experiment (SA would use different yeasts in their standard beers to see the difference that yeast plays in the flavor) that proved to be so popular that it has become a regular beer for them. Saint Arnold takes their Fancy Lawnmower, a German Kolsch, and uses hefeweizen yeast for the fermentation. It pours a nice cloudy orange yellow, with a slight head and vigorous lacing up the side of the glass. There are those banana and clove aroma and flavors you expect from a hefeweizen, along with a  touch of honey. It also has less than 5% ABV, so chug away.  This is the beer I reach for when the weather turns brutal, 7.5/10.

BONUS TEXAS WILDLIFE VIDEO:

This snake was in the backyard, and was probably there for awhile. It is a water moccasin, about two feet long, and approximately two years old. And the guy in the video with the bare feet kicking the pickle bucket containing the venomous and agitated snake? Yeah, that’d be me.

BONUS TEXAS WILDLIFE PHOTO:

Tarantula in a jar

That is a Tarantula in a jar. It was captured by a neighbor in his front yard. It is curled up in this photo, but when spread out, it was about six inches across.


The Seventh Day of Christmas: Santo from Saint Arnold

December 20, 2011

Clearly not a Christmas beer, just based on the Day of the Dead label design, but I am including it here because I have only recently tried it, and if you look closely at the photo, there is a small Christmas tree visible in the background. The Santo is Saint Arnold’s version of a German Kolsch, and hews quite close to that traditional style. Saint Arnold says it is darker than a traditional kolsch and I suppose that is true, but the profile (malty, light bodied, mild floral hops) is 100% Kolsch. While I liked it, I am not a huge fan of German style beers, but if you are, you will probably enjoy it more than I did, 6.5/10.

The First Day of Christmas

The Second Day of Christmas

The Third Day of Christmas

The Fourth Day of Christmas


Real Ale Lost Gold IPA & Saint Arnold Weedwacker

July 4, 2011

Real Ale has become one of my favorite brewers and anyone who can get their hands on this beer will understand why: The Lost Gold is a damn fine IPA, pouring a cloudy orange with a nice head.  The hops smell and taste of grapefruit, and are balanced by the breadlike malts.  This is not a gamechanger IPA, not a hop bomb like some West Coast IPAs, not a classic that you should move heaven and earth to get, but it is a very drinkable example of the style, 7/10, and  another rock solid offering from Real Ale, and one which I will happily drink year round.

As the Saint Arnold website says, Saint Arnold’s Weedwacker is sort of a Hefeweizen, but not quite.  Saint Arnold takes their Fancy Lawnmower, which is a Kolsch, and pitches Hefeweizen yeast, rather than ale yeast.  The yeast gives it that distinctive banana and clove flavor that is the hallmark of the Hefeweizen, and it is cloudy too, but it is hoppier than any Hefeweizen I have had. It is crisp and refreshing, a great beer for a scorching summer day.  I am not really a fan of the Fancy Lawnmower, but I love the Weedwacker, 7.5/10.


(512) Brewing Company, Live Oak Brewing Company and St. Arnold Brewing Company

October 22, 2010

I met GEB the other night at the Ginger Man in Plano for a few beers, some idle chit chat, and some darts.  No pictures* in this post because I left my camera at home.  GEB knows I am a beer dork, having seen this blog, but I decided to play it somewhat cool and not take photos of every damn beer I drank, hold the glass up to the light to gauge the color, and stick my schnozz deep into the pint to catch the aroma, all the while scribbling notes.  We will have to see whether that was the smart play.

I had never had any beers from Austin’s (512) Brewing Company, so I was pumped to see a couple of their brews on the menu.  I tried their IPA first, and it was quite nice, not too assertively hopped, but with enough flowery hops and sweet malts to make this a balanced and easy drinking beer, with enough orange peel and grapefruit in the aftertaste to make it interesting.  This is one I could drink all night long, 7.5/10.

The (512) Pecan Porter was a nice enough porter, with plenty of coffee in the nose and on the tongue, nice creamy mouthfeel, and a touch of smokiness, but I could not find any pecan flavor in it at all.  It was good, just not what I had expected, 6/10.

I had never even heard of Live Oak Brewing Company, another Austin based brewery, so I jumped on their Liberation IPA.  It was sort of mellow on the bitterness, and had some nice toffee undertones, with a sticky mouthfeel.  Another one that I could knock back all night, 7.5/10.

I also tried the cask conditioned Saint Arnold‘s Weedwhacker, their version of a Kolsch style beer, but fermented with hefeweizen yeast.  It poured a hazy yellowish orange, with some mild spiciness and banana flavors.  It was light and refreshing, and yes, I know it is the end of October, but Texas is still damn hot, so light and refreshing is ok.  The Weedwhacker is a good one, 7.5/10.

*Did I say “no pictures”?  No pictures of beer, but here is a photo of a spider I took recently.  Texas is the home of some funky big-ass spiders.  This creature, tentatively identified as a Banana Spider, was the size of my hand.

Here is a photo of the coolest car I have seen since I don’t know when:

Want to see his gear shift? Of course you do:

Yep, that is a Bud Light Tap Handle.  While I do not approve of the owner’s choice in beers, I do appreciate his mindset.


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