(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 »


Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest

July 19, 2010

Another winner from the good folks at Sierra Nevada.  Using hops from New Zealand, the Southern Hemisphere Harvest is a big citrus and pine hop bomb, more of a sipping IPA rather than a chugging beer.  To be honest, the flavor is so intense that finishing the bottle by myself was not quite challenging, but not exactly easy either.  The fluffy two fingered head stuck around to the bottom of the glass, and the creamy mouthfeel and bubbly carbonation helped bring out the malty aftertaste.  It only clocks in at 6.7 % ABV.  Given the intense flavors, that ABV might have been higher.  I am giving this an 8/10.


Butternuts Brewing Snapperhead IPA

May 4, 2010

In my quest to make amends for my internet idiocy concerning canned beer, I am seeking out any and all craft beer in cans out there.  The Butternut Snapperhead IPA came highly recommended by someone with serious beer bona fides but I found it disappointing.

The beer pours a pale orange with a slight head that hangs around to the bottom of the glass.  The aroma has some citrus to it, but it also has a soapy smell to it, and it is just off.  Not as off as the taste, which is more sweet than bitter, and the bitterness is astringent and off-putting.  I may have picked up a six from a bad batch, but I am not going back to this beer to find out, and I certainly cannot recommend that anyone else give it a try either, 4.0/10, and the Snapperhead IPA is being bumped up a half point because I like the packaging.


Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye and Racer 5 India Pale Ale

April 30, 2010

California’s Bear Republic Brewing has pretty good distribution in North Jersey, so it is easy to find and sample their beers.  In fact, their distribution is so widespread, and Bear Republic beers are so easy to find, that I was positive I had reviewed one of their beers on Tilting Suds already, but I either cannot find the review, or beer has finally addled my mind to the point where I am recalling phantom reviews.

The Racer 5 India Pale Ale is a typical West Coast IPA, plenty of hops balanced nicely by the malts.  The initial aroma is some grapefruit and pine from the hops and some bread from the malts, with the hops taking over in the taste.  The 7.0% ABV is not noticeable at all.  This is a very good IPA, 7.5/10.

The Hop Rod Rye is a different creature altogether.  Brewed with rye malts, this beer pours a clear mahogany with a slight head which is retained to the bottom of the glass.  The rye malts bring an earthy spiciness to the nose and the tongue, and the piney hops explode out of the glass.  The rye malts and the hoppy bitterness try to outdo each other, almost like they are dueling to the death, and there is a mild brown sugar flavor that ties all of these flavors together.  The 8.0% ABV is buried underneath all of these competing flavors, and is only noticeable when the glass is considerably warmed.  The Hop Rod Rye is outstanding, 8.5/10.

As Bear Republic’s beers are so widely available, I have a tendency to skip them when I am making my selection in favor of beers that are obscure and/or beers with limited releases.  That is a big mistake on my part, as Bear Republic is doing God’s work when it comes to brewing.


Left Hand Warrior IPA

April 29, 2010

The picture is probably not clear enough to see this, but the label reads “Brewed Only Once A Year With Colorado Fresh Hops.”  Limited brewing schedule? Check! Unique hops profile? Check! Less than six bucks for the bomber bottle? Check!  There was no way I was going to pass over this one.  Put a cork on this bottle and one of those wire thingamajigs to keep it in place, and I would have bought out the store’s supply.

And it is a good thing I did not skip this one.  The Left Hand Brewing Warrior IPA is excellent.  It poured amber and clear.  The caramel malts are prominent in the nose and the taste, and the piney and orange zest hops are somewhat muted for an IPA, but this comes together nicely, and the hops amp up on the aftertaste.  The Warrior IPA has a creamy mouth feel to it.  I am going to grab  another bottle of this for the weekend, and if you see any, I suggest you do the same, 7.5/10.


More Beer in Cans

April 28, 2010

After my recent dipshittery concerning canned beer, I have made an effort to seek out other examples of craft beer in cans as a sort of penance.*  I have picked up a few over the past couple of weeks, and give them the once over here.

The Phoenix Pale Ale from Pennsylvania’s Sly Fox was a tasty concoction.  The toffee malts are balanced by the mild hops, with the hops a bit stronger on the tongue than in the aroma.  This poured a beautiful clear amber, with a frothy but quickly dissipating head.  There is no ‘WOW’ factor with this beer, but it is smooth and flavorful, and at 5.1% ABV, you can knock back a few.  It has earned a spot at the back of the rotation, 6.5/10.

SF Beer, JC Backdrop

San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing Company is not well known on the East Coast, but that should change soon as I am seeing their beers pop up in stores here more frequently.  The Brew Free or Die IPA is smooth and mild, not too hoppy for a West Coast IPA, and the smoothness masks the 7.0% ABV.  The hoppiness has a fruity aftertaste.  Again, there is no ‘WOW’ factor with this beer, but it is another good one, 6.5/10.

Sweet Jeebus, this one knocked me on my ass.  This was my last beer of the recent session with Mr. JK, and knocking back a beer with an 8.7% ABV when you are already pickled is not a smart idea.  Drinking this was like getting cold cocked by Mike Tyson in his prime.  I had another one for review purposes a few days later, and can report that the Oskar Gordon Ale is a fine beer.  Hoppy and malty at the same time, the aroma and the taste are resinous, with a chewy mouth feel.  You cannot drink many of these in a sitting, but the ones you do drink are enjoyable, 7.5/10.

*-Bless me, Father, for I have sinned

What are your sins, my son?

-I made a misleading statement on the internet about canned beer

Say three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys, and drink three canned beers


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