Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
|Image credit: Spoetzl Brewing Company|
Being two years removed from any experience with this beer, this article began as many do, with a fresh taste and a bit of research. The latter, focused both on prevailing critical and public opinion, has led the mind down a particular path.
Along those lines, one imagines that when the brewers at Shiner discuss their summer seasonal, the dialog has a sort of Tales of Two Cities theme. You know the famous line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." What other conclusion can be drawn, considering the wide-ranging opinions to be found on any of the popular online rating sites. A five here, a four there, a two, a one, a one-half. What gives? Is this a good beer, or a bad one? As they say, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.
Maybe the problem is that Ruby Redbird tastes more like ginger "ale" than ginger "beer". The mystery of the missing grapefruit no doubt influences that impression, but beyond that the spice is not subtle, the carbonation is lively, and the body is light. Granted, this concoction has a little more kick than Canada Dry, but pour it blindly and see how many people notice a difference.
Taking all that into account, it's hard not to see some level of appeal. It's brisk, with a soda-like body and consistency, and if you like ginger it has it in spades. Judge it as a beer and it's a tough sell, but judge it as a summertime beverage and you might be onto something.
Hey, it's better than a shandy.
*Originally published on Examiner.com.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
|Image credit: Martin House Brewing Company.|
If brand imagery influences the kinds of beer we drink, the Imperial Texan from Martin House should be successful from the start. It's got an eye-catching label (what with its blazing red color), it's "imperial" (trendy buzz word), and it's Texan (regional references are always a winner). Oh, and let's not forget about the picture. If the sight of two Texas cowboys locked in a duel doesn't have you asking the barkeep to "draw" you a pint, I'm not sure what will. Yes, I know what you're thinking. Not to worry, the beer is good too.
By now you've probably guessed that the Imperial Texan is an imperial red. That being said, comparisons to Peticolas' Velvet Hammer are inevitable. Yet, for all practical purposes these are two completely different beers. Whereas the Hammer imperializes an American-style red ale by boosting equally the flavor contributions of malt, hops and alcohol, the Texan takes direct aim at the Brewers Association (BA) style guidelines with its across the board hop intensity. One is balanced, one brazen, and taken together they demonstrate the range of interpretations one might see in a single style.
Looking at the Texan more closely, aromas center on the sharp scent of pine needles, tree sap and fresh herbal tones. It's hop-forward and assertively bitter, with a moderate caramel maltiness forming the basis of its medium-full body. Some might like a little more heft in the latter, but go too far and it might start to have an American strong ale-type feel.
Referring back to its title, calling this brew a Texan will elicit certain expectations, but this is a beer that appears to live up to its name. It's big and brash, and is the latest in a string of local brews that exemplify the willingness of new brewers to come out of the gate swinging. There is a fun bit of irony, though, in one of the brewery's core values. Intending to remain "unbound by tradition", they promise to not be "stymied by existing categorical guidelines." The thing is, judging by the BA definition of an imperial red, the Imperial Texan is about as representative as you can get.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
*Originally published on Examiner.com.
Monday, April 15, 2013
|Image credit: Stone Brewing Company|
Stone has announced their 2013 Imperial Russian Stout (IRS), whose release will coincide with the latest entry in their "Odd Beers for Odd Years" series, an espresso-infused version of IRS brewed with locally-sourced coffee beans.
In addition to product information and cellaring advice contained below, visit the IRS website for tasting notes by Brewmaster Mitch Steele, and suggested food pairings by "Dr." Bill Sysak.
Per the official Press Release:
"Stone Imperial Russian Stout is one of the highest rated Stone beers, having earned a 100 overall score on Ratebeer.com and a 97 “world-class” score on BeerAdvocate.com. The recipe was created by Stone Co-founder and President Steve Wagner in 2000 and has changed little from the first brew, which utilizes four malt varieties and Warrior hops. The beer pours black with pronounced cocoa and coffee aromas. The chocolate and java notes carry through onto the palate, along with fruitiness and hints of anise. The beer is smooth and finishes with a slightly bitter hoppy taste.
The 2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout is an augmented version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout brewed with espresso beans from San Diego’s Ryan Bros. Coffee. Like the classic version, the beer pours black and emits strong coffee and chocolate aromas. Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele notes, “The addition of espresso beans in the brewhouse and post-fermentation enhances the coffee flavors that are naturally found in the classic version, but also enhance the perception of chocolate. The fruity, yeasty and hoppy flavors found in the classic version are more diminished.” The Ryan Bros. espresso roast is a blend of Indonesian and Central and South American coffee beans roasted and blended together to produce a bold, robust flavor with hints of citrus and berries.
Both beers are ready to enjoy now, but are also ideal for cellaring over the span of several months or several years. Over time, the stout will continue to develop deeper, rounder coffee, chocolate and dark fruit flavors as the hop aroma and bitterness subside."
Saturday, April 13, 2013
|Image Credit: Cloud 9 Charities|
(click to enlarge)
The Best Little Brewfest in Texas is a Craft Beer Festival held at the infield garage of Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth - the ideal venue for anyone who loves craft beer.
Our Brewfest exists to provide an opportunity to sample and learn about a variety of craft beer from Texas while making a HUGE impact in our local community supporting [the] Alzheimer’s Association and Teen Suicide Prevention. [Fully] 100% of the proceeds from this event will be donated to these two wonderful organizations.
More than 50 craft breweries from all over Texas will be present with 100+ handcrafted brews to serve thousands of beer lovers at this event. Special releases, firkins, “one-offs” and new seasonal brews will be highlighted.
Our focus is on craft beer and making a difference. There is more than sampling involved. The Best Little Brewfest in Texas features live music, beer-friendly vendors, memorabilia, and an assortment of food for purchase.
The VIP section is limited to 500 guests and includes snacks, premium beer, fast entry, convenient parking and more.
Sponsorships are available and volunteers are needed!
Friday, April 12, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
|Image credit: All logos property of their respective brewing companies.|
A side effect this growth is that the amount of news and information associated with area breweries grows greater by the day. Some of this fits well within the Examiner environment, but some of it does not. Press releases I receive being a prime example of something that falls into this category.
Given that, developing this site affords me a way to disseminate information that I otherwise wasn't able to. Things like a list of active breweries, brewpubs and projects in development are more easily managed in this format, and hopefully easier to find since such items will have a direct link installed on the splash page.
Other than that, I've mostly just decided I need my own little space in the world. The level of ad intrusion on Examiner is not lost on me, and there may well come a day when I decide it's simply too much to bear. Should that happen, my pen will need a new pad of paper. Up to now "Beer in Big D" has been nothing more than a side project, but now it gives me a convenient place to land.
Plano Craft Beer Examiner