Thursday, June 25, 2009

A "wild" spin on a popular beer

Victory Brewing put a "wild" spin on their popular Hop Devil IPA by fermenting a batch with 100% Brettanomyces yeast. The result is a mixture of the traditional pine and citrus flavours of an IPA with sour and tart flavours from the Brett. These are two relatively strong flavour profiles that were combined and I found there was sometimes too much competition among the flavours for my attention. It would be interesting to see how this beer changes with age though. Certainly worth trying and I'd probably pick it up again sometime.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Perfect Sommer Bier?

I grilled up some sausages on Saturday and figured it was the perfect time to try the new Shiner Smokehouse. According to their website, its a Helles-style lager brewed with pale malt that's been smoked with native mesquite at the brewery. I certainly wasn't expecting the strong smoky and bacon flavours of a rauchebier, but there was virtually no smokiness in the flavour at all. I had been hoping that the mesquite characteristics would come through as that would pair well with Texas barbecue. As the beer warmed, I could start to detect a faint smokiness in the very end of the finish (or I convinced myself there was one), but only if I was really trying to taste for it. If served "ice cold" as the label suggests, there would be no flavour at all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New delights from Spec's

I popped into my local Spec's on Saturday to check out what was new and I picked up a whole basket of goodies:

Ommegang - Witte
Victory - Wild Devil
Stone - Imperial Russian Stout
Lagunitas - 2009 Correction Ale
Pike - Monk's Uncle
Shiner - Smokehause

I'm pretty sure I've had the Witte before, but the rest should be new to me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June Tour & Tasting Day at Independence Brewing

Some photos from the June Tour & Tasting Day at Independence Brewing in Austin.

Most people seemed to have learned that beer tickets are now only handed out between 1 ~ 2 pm as there was really only a few stragglers who showed up way past the cutoff time.

Its pretty common for people to bring lawn chairs, food and umbrellas, but this was the first time I had seen people who brought tents. Very smart though, as there's really no shade except for along the very front of the building and inside the brewery can often get pretty warm during the summer.

The next Tour & Tasting day will be on Saturday, July 4th.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Session #28: Think/Drink Globally

I've been following The Session (a designated day each month to blog about a particular beer related topic) on other blogs, but never really felt compelled to participate. However, this month's topic hosted by Brian Yaeger of Red, White and Brew got me a little excited. The assignment is to write about the farthest brewery (including brewpubs) you have visited and specifically the best beer you had there. Well, I just couldn't pass up the chance to write about my visit to the brewery that's not only the furthest away that I've visited, but also one of my favourites: Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon or simply Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, Belgium.

As most beer enthusiasts will know, the Cantillon Brewery is well known for brewing authentic Lambic style beers in the same location using the same methods since 1900. When they say "nearly nothing has changed during the last century", they really mean it! Walking through the brewery is like being transported back in time.

I was the first person to arrive for a tour that day (what's wrong with drinking a lambic for breakfast?) and wandered through the brewery alone on the self-guided tour. Afterwards, I was offered a glass of their Gueuze by one of the brewers I had seen shovelling out a fermenter. Now, not everyone can appreciate the funky sourness of a Gueuze style of beer. I've heard the flavour and aroma compared to some pretty sick stuff by first-time tasters. I admit, it is an acquired taste. However, if you are able to get past that initial sourness, you can start to appreciate the other subtle flavours that the beer contains. And, since the process involves blending beers of different ages, no two batches of Gueuze will ever taste the same.

If in Brussels (or close to Brussels or if you can even just find Brussels on a map), I highly recommend dropping by the brewery and taking the tour. The experience of standing in a 100+ year old family-owned brewery and sharing a beer with the brewer himself is hard to describe.

The topic for The Session #29 is Will Travel For Beer and will be hosted at Beer By Bart.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sam Adams Imperial Stout

The Sam Adams Imperial Stout is the second beer from their Imperial Series that I've tried. It certainly looked like it could be good when I poured it into the glass. Dark as the inside of a cow with a thick and creamy head on top. Unfortunately, the taste didn't live up to the expectations created by it's visual appeal. It started off with some sweet coffee and mocha flavours which then collapsed into a bitter and almost tart finish. The high alcohol was too noticeable and gave it a metallic or solvent flavour. It's too bad, I had high hopes for this one after the first disappointment.

I'm not sure I'm even up for trying the Double Bock which is the third and last beer in the series.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A dog but no duck

We had to make a trip to Austin and back on Sunday and our dog Ginger and I were left with a few hours to kill before heading back home. Fortunately, Austin is a very dog-friendly city, so its not very hard to find a pub or restaurant that allows dogs on the patio. I chose the apply named Dog and Duck Pub just north of downtown. I was informed by the bartender that both dogs and ducks are indeed allowed on the patio (and yes, someone has actually brought a duck). Their patio is heavily shaded and quiet, so it was the perfect place to enjoy a pint with the dog before heading back to Houston.