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.


Spread The Word: Other Beer Bloggers Who Are Fighting the Good Fight

October 4, 2012

Sexier than a photo of Marilyn Monroe making out with Brigitte Bardot 

Back of the Ferry: Bladdamasta and his band of bloggers weigh in from Sydney with their take on the Australian beer scene. As most of my readers are American, most of us will never try the beers they write about, short of taking a trip to Australia for a week or three of drunken wanderings, but don’t let that stop all of you from checking out the blog on a regular basis. You learn all sorts of stuff about cricket and rugby and arcane bits of Aussie culture, and the photos of the beer, usually taken from the back end of a commuter ferry with the Sydney Opera House in the background, or taken on some impossibly beautiful beach, make for the best beerporn on the internet. Lately these Australian Merry Pranksters have gained some access to some of the better American brews, and their take on our beer makes for fascinating reading.

Beer Samizdat: Speaking of Merry Pranksters, Jay in San Francisco has established a little fiefdom in a corner of the web, at various times blogging about music, books, politics, movies, sports and beer. I first encountered him on his Agony Shorthand blog, which as I recall was all music, all the time. He stopped updating that blog and has since then opened and closed blogs dealing with music, politics, books, beer, sports, etc. I think there was even a short lived movie blog in there at one point. The one topic that he regularly returns to is beer, and Beer Samizdat is his latest beercentric blog (he also currently has a general interest blog (The Hedonist Jive) and a music tumblr (Dynamite Hemorrhage)). Being in Northern California, Jay has ready access to some of the best breweries in the country, and he has also developed a nationwide trading network, which nets him tasty treats from all points on the map. He is an impeccably honest reviewer, one of the few to say that when it comes to Pliny The Elder, the emperor has no clothes. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but I like that he is willing to call ’em as he sees ’em.

You Stay Hoppy Austin: More than just a blog, You Stay Hoppy Austin is one man’s attempt to be a central clearing house for all Austin beer news. Not being in Austin, I am not in a position to judge how well that goal is filled, but as a supporter of the ever growing Texas craft beer scene, it is a must read for me.

The Vice Blog: The proprietor of the Vice Blog, Aaron, is focused on writing novels, so he does not update this blog as often as he used to, but this blog is still one of the funniest reads you will find, and is well worth poking around in for a few hours. I am ever mindful of Aaron’s admonition that Most Beer Blogs Suck and do my best to keep Tilting Suds above the Mendoza Line of Beer Blog Suckitude.

It’s a Fucking Beer: Pithy reviews of beer, which get more entertaining the less he likes the beer. The blog name says it all.


That Time of Year Again: I Don’t Like Pumpkin Beer and I Don’t Care Who Knows It

September 30, 2012

Ugh, I will never learn. I don’t like pumpkin beers that try to taste like a liquid pumpkin pie. I never have and I never will, yet every year someone tempts me with their pumpkin offering, and like the beer sucker that I am, I try it, and then throw my hands up in disgust and say “I don’t like pumpkin beers that try to taste like liquid pumpkin beer.”

This year it is Sam Adams with their Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Beer. Not just a single pumpkin, but DOUBLE pumpkin…what the hell was I thinking?

As soon as I opened this bottle, and got hit with that allspice and cinnamon and nutmeg and brown sugar aroma, I knew this was not going to end well for me. The flavor was similar to the aroma, just a bit more muddled. On the plus side, it was sort of bland and thin tasting for a beer with ‘double’ in the name, but that is about all I can say for it. Those of you who like pumpkin pie beers may like this, but for those who do not, stay away, 4.5/10.

I will be back next year, with another installment of The Pumpkin Beer Chronicles.

The label is sort of cool at least


Beach Blanket Bingo! Frankie and Key West Southernmost Wheat and Annette and Orange Blossom Pilsner!

September 5, 2012

Labor Day has come and gone, so I can no longer wear White Bucks nor drink Gin & Tonics, but the Autumnal Equinox has not yet arrived so I can still review summer beers. Hey, I don’t make these rules. If you have a problem, write to Emily Post.

To Have and Have Not

Florida is not exactly a hot bed of beer culture. There are precious few brewers. There are not even many beercentric bars, at least in the Fort Lauderdale area. Cigar City is Florida’s best known brewer, but my experience with them has been hit and miss. Despite this, I am always on the prowl for beers I have not tried, and I like to drink local when I can, so finding myself in Florida for an extended stay I have been exploring.

The Southernmost Wheat from Florida Beer Co. is a Belgian style witbier. It has a nice coriander aroma and flavor, with some musty funkiness from the yeast. The Florida ‘twist’ on this beer is the addition of key lime juice to the brewing process. The key lime juice introduces a nice tartness to the flavor, very muted, but it is there in the background, along with some mango flavors and some rich bread flavors from the wheat malt. I had some trepidation about this beer when I read about the key lime juice, but it was quite pleasant, as the acidity of the key lime juice helps to cut the sweetness, 6/10.

The Orange Blossom Pilsner is apparently brewed by Orange Blossom Pilsner LLC, a brewery so new they do not have a proper website yet. It is brewed with orange blossom honey, and the honey and orange aromas and flavors are prominent, with some floral hops as well. Unfortunately, there is not much else going on with this beer. It is a bit too sweet and fruity for my palate, so I will not be going back to it, 5/10, but it might serve as an introductory beer to someone who is unfamiliar with craft beer.

Well, I’m going down to Florida
Get some sand in my shoes
Or maybe California
Get some sand in my shoes


Summer’s Here and The Time is Right for Drinking in The Streets: Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Victory Prima Pils

August 21, 2012

What a drag it is getting old…

Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues is a crisp pilsner, slightly fruity smelling, mildly herbal and grassy tasting, with a pale yellow color and a quickly dissipating foamy white head. It pours crystal clear, and has a mild lemon zest flavor, with an aftertaste of mildly toasted grains. This is not a hop bomb, but no pilsners can make that claim. I popped this open after a run in the Florida sun and enjoyed this refreshing beer immensely, 7.5/10.

Prima Pils from the always excellent Victory Brewing is a bit different from the usual pilsner. Remember when I said that no pilsners can claim to be hop bombs? The Prima Pils almost makes a liar of me, as it is more aggressively hopped than is the norm for a pilsner. Beer purists probably object to this, because it fails to adhere to the standards set forth by the Great Beer Council of 1512, but I am ok with it. The flavor starts off mild and herbal before the grapefruit zest and black pepper hops kick in on the back end. I am not saying this a hop bomb beer, but it is certainly a hop bomb pilsner, making the Prima Pils a pilsner for IPA lovers. The 5.3% ABV is low enough to make this a good session beer. This is not the standard to compare other pilsners to, as it quite different, but it is delicious, 7.5/10.

Keely Smith’s Favorite Beer


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.


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