|Image credits: Cobra Brewing Co., Lone Star Taps & Caps.|
Amongst the myriad of new beers coming out for North Texas Beer Week is one you might miss without a trip to the northern side of the Metroplex. On tap now at Lone Star Taps & Caps (T &C), All Eyes on Me is a collaborative effort between the shop and the neighboring Cobra Brewing Co. of Lewisville. It's a Russian imperial stout brewed with toasted coconut, which T&C co-founder Rick Ali says is inspired by the work of a hip-hop legend.
Tupac Shakur released the album All Eyez on Me in 1996, at a time when, Ali proclaims, the artist "was the best at what he did and a game-changer in his profession." The beer, he explains, "is an ode to that and how we (at T&C) are proud to be a part of the Texas craft beer scene after having been at the forefront of the movement for the last 10 years." And, like Tupac, Ali continues, "we are always trying to push beyond the norm." To get a sense of what he means, simply swap the themes of thug life and crime in the album's title track to craft beer and dedication to the industry.
Ali has wanted to collaborate with a brewery for some time. The partnership with Cobra was a no brainer, in his mind, because he believes they tend to brew the types of beers he and many of his customers like to drink. "Dawn of the Dank, Kitchen Sink, Spring Cleaning and Barrel Aged Klurichan are beers that have all that I want," says Ali. "Each is well-balanced with great aroma and a high ABV that is hidden well."
|All Eyes on Me (© Brian Brown/Beer In Big D).|
Brewing a Russian imperial stout was another easy decision, since it's one of Ali's favorite styles and one he drinks year-round. As for the added ingredient, coconut is a favorite food of his as well, so to him it was a must-have addition. Ali even arose at an early hour to help out on brew day, something that was naturally set to the soundtrack of Tupac's inspirational song.
In terms of tasting notes, my impressions are that the coconut is more of a subtle player in All Eyes on Me, though it does lend a little bit of lingering sweetness to the aftertaste. Otherwise the beer is rich and roasty, with a bitter finish reminiscent of a high-cacao chocolate bar. It's an all-too-easy drinker considering its strength, with a medium body and virtually no hint of the 9.92% ABV.
All Eyes on Me is a good beer, and one that furthers my belief that founders Neil MacCuish and Bill Shaw have found their groove at the brewery in Lewisville. In addition to the heftier beers Ali mentions above, lighter offerings like the hazelnut-infused Donut Dunker have proven to be solid efforts as well. Given that, if it's been a while since you've visited Cobra, it might be worth your time to give them a second look.
As for this batch of All Eyes on Me, enough was made to fill only five half-barrel kegs, so it will only be available for a limited time. Should the beer prove to be popular, Ali hopes he and MacCuish can continue to develop the recipe, perhaps offering different variants with other ingredients in the future.