Winter Beers from Texas: Saint Arnold Winter Stout and Rahr & Sons Bourbon Barrel Winter Warmer Ale

February 18, 2011

It is Seventy-One Degrees here in the Sun’s Anvil, so naturally I am drinking the last of the winter beers.  One of the pleasant surprises of living in Texas is the vibrant and growing brewing industry, and Saint Arnold is certainly one of the better brewers here in Texas.  Their Winter Stout is a prime example of why Saint Arnold is held in such high esteem.  It pours black with some ruby highlights, and has a smokey coffee aroma.  There is smoke and chocolate when you first taste it, followed by some espresso in the aftertaste.  Nicely balanced, not heavy at all, and at 5.6% ABV, the Saint Arnold Winter Stout is an excellent session beer for a cold winter night, 8/10.  I enjoyed this beer on the three cold winter nights we had here in Texas this past winter.

I keep hearing good things about Rahr & Sons, a Fort Worth based brewer, and their beers keep disappointing me.  The Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer continues the disappointing trend.  It pours a dark brown with some chocolate malt, vanilla and oak in the aroma and the flavor, and some mild spiciness as well.  It is just a bit thin tasting, and the 8.5% ABV overwhelms any subtlety to the flavor profile.  Not a bad beer by any means, but I was hoping for something a little better, considering how much I usually enjoy barrel aged beers, 6/10.


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