Posts Tagged ‘Texas beer’

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I know it’s been awhile since I posted a new review, but life has a way of making things difficult.  On a positive note, I just got back from a trip to Texas where I was able to sample some of the regional beers I don’t get in NorCal.  There were two from Jester King that were especially interesting. Jester King’s a small brewery in Austin that actually won an important case against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that allowed them to actually label their beers correctly.  For example: they were able to label their pale ales as such rather than as “pale beer.”  Their next move looks like challenging the state law requiring the breweries to make all sales through a distributor.

The first I tried was the Black Metal Imperial Stout.  It poured an inky black with a thick brown head.  The smell was sweet, chocolatey, and boozy.  It tasted like earthy chocolate with some roasted coffee.  The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.  Less boozy than expected.  I shared this with a couple of friends and the adventurous beer drinker enjoyed it while the beer newb was not impressed.

I’d drink it again if I had someone to share with.

St Arnold’s is a fairy small (29 employees) brewery on the north side of Houston, TX that has been in business since 1994.  They claim to be the oldest craft brewery in Texas, but in order to make that claim they must not consider the Spoetzl Brewery to be “craft.”  As I mentioned previously, the Spoetzl brewery has been open since 1909 and has brewed Shiner Bock since 1913, so St Arnold’s is already kind of on my bad list for discounting Shiner Bock as a craft beer.

This was the second beer I had in the Houston Airport during my layover last week and I was really hoping for a strong showing from this one so I could have an awesome Texas beer to brag about.  This is an American amber ale, a similar beer to an American Pale Ale but brewed with a proportion of crystal malt to give it a deeper color.   It was served on tap at the airport bar and was a clear orange/gold with about a finger of cream-colored foam.  I was really expecting a darker color from this beer; it was definitely the lightest amber I’ve encountered.  I took a good deep whiff of this beer and then had to check the patency of my nostrils to make sure I wasn’t congested.  Where’s the smell?  I got nothing on this one.  At all.  Weird.  The initial taste was light malt and citrus with a floral hop finish.  Hops are definitely the dominant flavor of this one.  Overall, it was light and bubbly.  Very drinkable especially if you like hops but don’t want to be punched in the mouth with hops by an IPA.  Not a bad beer.  Nothing amazingly special, but I’d drink it again.

Thanks for reading.  Comments are very appreciated!

Since I recently spent time in an airport in Houston, I took the opportunity to have a mug of Shiner Bock.  You see, Shiner Bock and I have some history. In beer circles, people talk about their “One Beer,” that one beer they had that made them realize there’s more to beer than Budweizer and it’s clones.  Shiner Bock is my One Beer.  I actually spent college avoiding beer.  I’d go to club 616 in Memphis and dodge frat boys who were all either spilling their cheep beer on me or trying to make out with me and their foul beer breath.  The result was that I wanted no part of the swill they overflowed with.  I decided that margaritas and vodka drinks were much more my style.  That choice served me well for years until I found myself at a party where the only adult beverage available was a keg of Shiner Bock.  The rest is history and Shiner and I have been solid friends ever since.

For those of you not from Texas, I feel some additional background about Shiner Bock is warranted.  It’s made at the little brewery in Shiner, Texas; the Spoetzl Brewery may be the oldest independent brewery in Texas.  Shiner Bock has been made there since 1913, making it one of the older craft beers in the country.  If you go into any bar in Texas, even the real dives, you’ll be able to get a Shiner Bock.  At many bars, it even approaches the market share of the big three.  Shiner Bock is a very important part of Texas culture in a way that I’m not sure people from elsewhere can really understand.

I had my Shiner on tap and served in a mug at Houston Intercontinental Airport.  It pours clear and is a golden brown, the color of strong iced tea.  It had one finger of off-white foam that dissipates quickly without leaving any lacing.  Shiner really doesn’t have much of a nose, there was a bit of a sweet malty scent, but it was pretty faint.  It’s definitely a sweeter beer with a bit of malt and a hint of hops.  It has a smooth mouthfeel, not too watery or too carbonated.

Overall, it’s not a very interesting beer to drink compared to some of the others I’ve been sampling recently, but when the alternative is a Miller Lite it’s definitely a winner.  It’s a great gateway beer for people who are bored by what the big three have to offer.  I’ll continue to drink this when I need a comfortable beer to drink while playing cards or pool when I don’t want to think about my beer.