Saint Arnold Divine Reserve No. 10

November 6, 2010

Each year, Houston’s outstanding brewery, the venerable Saint Arnold, produces a special limited edition beer called the Divine Reserve. The beer is a different brew every year, a barleywine this year, and I have been told that it sells out quickly.  The release date this year was November 2.  I have discovered a few good beer emporiums in the area, and I thought that as long as I got to at least one of them by the end of the 2nd, I would be able to snag myself at least a six pack.  No problem, right?

Problem.

I hit my favorite local beer emporium, and the Chinaman tells me that he closed his waiting list in September.  Fuck.  I go to my next favorite place, and they tell me that their three cases were gone by noon.  Double Fuck.

I hit supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations.  Saint Arnold? Divine what? Beer?  Sounds sorta blasphemous to me, Sonny, and where yall from with that funny way of talking you got? Triple Fuck.

As I am swinging home, I pass the brand new Whole Foods that opened the day before.  I figure if I can’t get myself some Divine Reserve, I can at least get some goat cheese, olives and ciabatta and maybe some red wine to knock back as I watch the election returns, and as I am gathering my provisions, I stumble into their beer section.  Saint Arnold IPA? Check. Saint Arnold Brown? Check.  Saint Arnold Amber? Check. Saint Arnold Christmas Ale? Check. Saint Arnold Divine Reserve?  Nope. Quadruple Fuck.

As I am leaving the beer aisle, an older woman asks me if I have found everything I am looking for, because if I have not, her son, who is standing right over there, is the beer manager for this Whole Foods, and he can help me find it.

<play it cool, Mr. Tilting Suds, play it cool>

Her son comes over and says hello, and we chat a bit.  I tell Mom that while I am a man of limited means, I will do everything in my power to make her son the superstar of this store.  We all laugh at my charming witticism, and we talk about the fire at Rahr Brewing and how Austin’s Real Ale Brewing Company makes some excellent beers and you know, Shiner has some surprisingly good beers. I am doing a song and dance routine, showing the depth and breadth of my knowledge, such as it is, all the while buttering up Mom with the old Tilting Suds charm, and those of you who know me, know how effective that charm offensive can be.

“So,” I ask, “do you have any Divine Reserve?”

“No, I don’t.” Quintuple Fuck.

“Ah, too bad,” says I.

“But I am getting a case in tonight, come back tomorrow, I’ll set aside a six for you.”

I swear on the souls of my ancestors that I did not do my Victory Jig until I was out in the parking lot.

This is heavy on the booze.*  It is listed at just under 12% ABV, but my guess is that it is quite a bit higher considering the way my tongue was numb on my first sip.  It has some nice cherry and dried fruit flavors, some nutty hoppiness along with some caramel, smoke and spice, but the alcohol is dominant, especially as it warms a bit.  This is a good beer now, 7/10, but it is a bit too ‘hot,’ and if it ages a bit and mellows, it will probably be a great beer.  I have five bottles left.  One is earmarked for a beer blogging novelist in NYC, and my plan is to cellar the other four and come back to them in a year.

Ah, who the hell am I kidding? Six months at best.

I am so full of shit, it will all be gone by Thanksgiving.

*GEB sent me text the other night asking if the Divine Reserve was stronger than a regular beer because she had three of them and was “drunkity drunk drunk drunk.”


Franconia Brewing Company

October 28, 2010

So I meet this woman online, we chat a bit,and agree to meet at the Octoberfest Street Fair held in McKinney, about a dozen miles up the road from here.  This is our first time meeting in person, and as soon as I see her I immediately know that this relationship is not going anywhere.  When it comes to women’s looks, I am as deep as a rain puddle.  I know they say that beauty is only skin deep, but skin deep is all I really  care about.  It is not as if I am going to vivisect any of my dates. Read the rest of this entry »


(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.


Beer in the Sun’s Anvil

September 24, 2010

I have been in Texas for a few weeks now, and the one thing I cannot adjust to is the heat.   T.E. Lawrence and his band of Merry Arab Pranksters may have crossed the Sun’s Anvil to attack Aqaba by land, but the Mexicans who work construction here in the summer think A’Lawrence and those Arabs are a bunch of candy asses for hiding from the sun during the day.  It is the end of September, shortly after 10 a.m., and it is over 90 degrees, and no one here thinks that is odd.  It is just the way it is. Read the rest of this entry »


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