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.


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.


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