Friday, June 23, 2023

Temple a town with Czech lagers you can count on

A number of Czech lagers are available at Tanglefoot Brewing
in Temple (Photo © Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

Czech lagers date back hundreds of years, but lately it seems like they've been trending locally. Considering there are nearly 200,000 Czech-Americans living in Texas (according to Wikipedia, the largest number in any state), it's a little surprising the country's brewing traditions have yet to enjoy a greater presence beyond Bohemian pilsners.

Well, if Andy Martinec has anything to say about it, these types of beers will gain more of a foothold in the future. In the spring of 2021, Martinec chose to use his own Czech heritage as an inspiration for opening Tanglefoot Brewing in Temple.

Now, foothold was a purposeful choice of words. Temple, you see, was called Tanglefoot during a period when saloons were abundant in the late 1800s. The name derives from a scene described on the "City of Temple" historical marker where "the combination of muddy streets and liquor made walking rather difficult at times."

Nowadays, though, Tanglefoot represents a brand of clean, crisp and easy-drinking Czech lagers emerging from a somewhat unassuming little spot nestled in a Temple neighborhood.

On recent visits, four Tanglefoot beers identified by strength in degrees Plato (or Balling) have been pouring in the taproom. Recipes have ranged from Czech pale lagers (in 10° and 12° strength), to a 13° TmavĂ© dark lager, and a 14° Czech amber lager.

My personal favorite has been the lightest offering, 10°, a beer whose flavor profile epitomizes the idea of beer being a glass of liquid bread. Up to now, it and other Tanglefoot products have been exclusive to the brewery, either on tap or in six-packs of cans to go. That said, any homebrewers wanting to take a stab at 10° can find a scaled-down recipe on Tanglefoot's website.

As for potential distribution, Tanglefoot did roll out its first keg to an outside account earlier this month, but that locale was in Temple as well. What that means is, beer drinkers seeking something a bit more stylistic and straightforward might want to contemplate a stop in Temple for Czech beers, before a "Stop" for Czech pastries, the next time they find themselves riding north through Central Texas.

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