Monday, April 3, 2017

My 2017 Big Texas tasting card

Image credits: Brewvolution, Avery Brewing, Tupps Brewery, Four Bullets Brewery, Independence Brewing Co.

Sitting down to sort through this year's inventory of offerings at Big Texas Beer Fest (BTBF), my attention was drawn to one thing in particular - 500 beers. The beer list was of a similar magnitude in 2016, which means that remarkable tally has now sustained for two years in a row.

What's also maintained is the quality among the selections available. Whether you be a barrel head, hop head, sour head, or someone simply looking to harpoon a few whales, there were (and always have been) more than enough choices to satisfy all manner of craft beer craving.

For me, though, my approach to BTBF and other like events has never wavered. Show me what's new and what's different, for I navigate the amber waters of a festival on an endless voyage of discovery. As for what I uncovered on this most recent journey, a favored foursome and a few honorable mentions are noted below.


Avery Apricot Sour: Soon to be on local shelves as a bomber-based year-round product, Avery's Apricot Sour was my favorite beer of the day. A veritable orchard of apricots saturates the senses, with the sweetness of the fruit finding a near perfect balance with the beer's level of lactic sourness.

Four Bullets Box Cars Black Porter: What it is - a smooth, easy-drinking English-style porter with light roast and a hint of chocolate. What it isn't - barrel-aged, infused or inoculated in any way, shape or form. In other words, Box Cars is simple and stylistic, and sometimes it's nice to find some calm amidst the storm.

Independence Illustrated Man: Solid, approachable sour with a burst of berry fruit flavor and a moderately tart finish. And, on top of that, I can't help but love the fact that the beer's name and can design are inspired by a favorite book from my favorite author, Ray Bradbury.

Tupps Saison: The title doesn't tell the whole story, for this is no ordinary saison. It's big, it's bold, it's peppery...and it's good. It's also a "super saison," according to the BJCP style guidelines. That's because Tupps Saison has an ABV of 9.4%, though the phrase is also fitting considering how the beer presents on the palate.

Also notable: 3 Nations Mango Smash IPA, Armadillo Ale Works Royal Champ, Big Bend Total Commitment, Good Neighbor M'Rye Ah, Lakewood Grand Allowance, On Rotation Irish Coffee Milk Stout, Rabbit Hole School of Bock.

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