Tag Archives: breweries

Texas Big Beer Brewery, part 2

I found the first bottle of porter so tasty, I figured I would try the other three types of Texas Big Beer Brewery beers that were available.  Yes, even the scotch ale!  A link to all their beers is here.

I’ll start with the Working Stiff Ale.

Excellent appearance, it was tannish with some orange tint,  a smidge hazy, had plenty of rising bubbles, and had a great sturdy off white head that left a great cap and plenty of sticky lacing.

Aroma is somewhat malty with a good bit of bitterness, not a ton of overly distinct particular hops aromas, but still a notable degree of hops aroma.  The flavor follows right along, being fairly malt forward, but with a crisp and pronounced bitterness.  I like it, I don’t really want tons of mango, pine, citrus etc when I drink an ESB, I just want a good solid bitterness and a solid malt body.  This beer delivers.

The drinkability is pretty high, medium body with a crisp but bitter finish, and a little lingering dry maltiness.

I like it.  Tasty and delicious, interesting and different.  This is my second of four from this brewery, and so far I’m very happy to have another good brewery that’s pretty local.  Definitely try it.

Seriously, the working stiff is some damn fine beer.  I wrote part of this post shortly after I wrote the first one, as I wanted to try some more of their beers as soon as I could.  The working stiff was my second of Texas Big Beer’s brews, and as I finish this blog off, I’m having yet another working stiff ale!  A very fine beer indeed, especially  considering how few ESBs are out there in the US.

The Big Texas Blonde Ale was another really interesting beer.  It really does retain quite a bit of the characteristics of a blonde ale, despite the high ABV.  It’s listed as a Belgian strong pale ale on beer advocate, but it doesn’t really have the same characteristics of those beers, it’s more, well, “blonde,” with less of the pronounced yeasty and spicy flavors of Belgians, and more of the refreshing and light flavors of a blonde ale.  Hard to think of something 10.5% as light or refreshing, but that’s part of the charm of this beer, the fact that it’s somewhat of a paradox in a bottle.  I will certainly be drinking this one again too!

And finally, the Scotch ale, Renaissance Cowboy.  I am not a big fan of this style in general, Scotch ales just don’t do it for me.  However, on the recommendation of several people, I went ahead and tried it.  Excellent!  Probably the best example of this style that I’ve ever had.  There’s enough of a solid, even pronounced bitterness to balance out the sweetness and brown sugary flavors (usually Scotch ales aren’t balanced enough in this respect for my taste).  And it’s not carbonated to such a low degree that it’s nearly-flat, a flaw (IMO) that many Scotch ales have.  This one has enough carbonation to keep me interested.  I found it somewhat barleywine-like (a style I generally much prefer over Scotch ales).  So even with a style that I’m not especially fond of, Texas Big Beer kept me interested.  That’s pretty cool.

Cheers!

Texas Big Beer Brewery – Texas Crude

Stopped at a different liquor store than I usually go to, looking for a sixer or a bomber of something interesting or new.  Turns out this place had beer from a company that I haven’t heard of before, Texas Big Beer Company.  I must say that on the main page of their website, I see this, and I quote:

We are passionate about our beer. All of our beers are Big in Flavor and Style. We love High Alcohol beers, but love Flavor and Style more. We, just brew beer we love and share it.

Our Big Texas Blonde is our “Light Beer” (with tongue in cheek) The law states a light beer is light in color, so our light beer is 10.55% ABV (ROTFLMAO)

I gotta say that I like them already!

The guy behind the counter said that their store just got in four different beers from this brewery, and that they had done a tasting with all of them.  He said he liked them all, even the blonde, which is a style that he normally doesn’t care for.  I saw the blonde, the porter, the working man’s stiff ale, which is an ESB, and renaissance ale, which is a Scotch ale.  At first I had selected the Scotch ale, but that was because I couldn’t quite read the label in that lighting (I’m slowly losing my ability to read things up close, a typical effect of aging, LOL).  I decided against the scotch ale because I’m not a real big fan of scotch ales.  Had I realized that there was an ESB, I would have chosen that one for sure.  I’ll have to go back for it tomorrow.  So anyway, I picked up a bomber of the porter, which I will review shortly.

Price wise, I was more than willing to give this new brewery a shot.  They were all either $4.99 or $6.79 (or something close to that).  When you’re in the mood for a bomber of something new, these are very reasonable prices.  I’m far less likely to try a $10 or $12 bomber than I am a five or seven dollar one!  Now of course style plays a role (big stouts and IIPAs are often more expensive), but still, the price was right, so sold!

Numbers wise, the specs for this beer are as follows:

ABV: 7.00%
OG: 1.072
FG: 1.017
IBU: 59
SRM: 31.71°±

So let’s have a taste!

Appearance was something a bit more like an imperial stout than a porter, although I’m not sure how much that is really going to matter here. The color is jet black without room between any two molecules of inky blackness for light to pass through. The head was about a half a finger and was lightly brown, but didn’t last too long. There was ample lacing in thin sheets as the head went down.

The aroma was initially roasty, with a little burnt malt as an accent, and some subtle dark fruit notes. There was also some sweetness, brown sugar and molasses come to mind.

I think the taste was considerably more bold than the aroma. There’s a real nice dark malt and roasty malt component that’s up front, with side notes of coffee, chocolate, and just a tinge of burnt malt character. Sweetness is also a major component of the flavor, with a real nice brown sugar component, with a touch of blackstrap molasses as an accent. My take is that the chocolate component is more of a milk chocolate one than a dark chocolate one, and I don’t taste much of the semi-sweet baker’s chocolate flavors that I sometimes get from stouts or robust porters.

I rather like the mouthfeel. It’s not real heavy or thick, but isn’t overly watery or too thin either. The medium mouthfeel is well suited for this beer’s flavor and alcohol profile. And by the way, I really can’t taste or smell any alcohol in this beer.

My overall impression is that this is a fine porter, and having tried it, I want to try more beers from this brewery.

The bottom line is that a local brewery has produced a fine and tasty beer which is available for sale in my local area stores (at a reasonable price too!). Anytime someone can buy local beers from local breweries, it’s a good day for us all. Support local breweries and businesses. For me that means picking up another variety of Big Texas Beers next time I’m near the liquor store.  I think I’ll pick up the blonde and the working man’s stiff ESB.  I might still try the scotch ale (if I can get into the mood for a scotch ale, lol, it’s just not a style that I’m real crazy about).

Cheers to Big Texas Beers, I hope your brewery is a big success!  And Keep ’em coming, I’m always looking for new beers and new breweries!

Bigfoot Found!

It’s true!!  Bigfoot found!!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale 2013 is in my local grocery store, and I picked up a four pack.  Such an amazing brew!  This is the definition of barleywine if you ask me.  Although a bit hoppier than most barleywines, I haven’t found one that I like more.  Well, Dogfish Head Olde School is pretty damn awesome too, but that one is kind of a different beast: it’s got way more alcohol, for one thing, and isn’t comparable to bigfoot ale.  Although both brews are fantastic, this post is about Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot ale, so we’ll stick to that!

I’m going to post my original review from more than a year ago, along with my edits for this year’s vintage:

Bigfoot!

Downright gorgeous to look at, deep amber with copper notes, clear, with a great 3 finger head that lasted forever and laced the glass with sticky chunks.

More like an IPA in the nose, hops are dominant and the typical barleywine smells are secondary. Piney and even grapefruit hops are pungent. A little caramel malt and a little fruitiness provide something other than hops as a side note.

Taste is bold and again, very hoppy. Tastes more like a barleywine than it smells, but still, this one is quite a bit like a DIPA in the taste department. The hop profile is just dominant as hell, this fact cannot be hidden. Fruity and caramel malt flavors do balance out the taste more so than the smell though, and overall it’s quite nice!

The body is thick and tangy but the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. The hops even leave a bit of a bite on the aftertaste.

Honestly, this is a fine barleywine, albeit a lot hoppier and a bit different than I’m used to when I buy a barleywine. I really like this stuff. I can’t wait to see how it mellows. I’ve put a bottle away for a year, and another for two years, will re-try it again next march (and the one after that) and report back.

I really like trying new beers, and I hadn’t had this one yet. Overall I’d list it as “must try” Excellent job, SN!

Edit for 2013: once again, they nailed it.  The original review is more than a year old, but now I’ve had 5 different years of vintages, both aged, and for the more recent years, fresh.  Every time it’s just fantastic!  Gold standard of barleywines.  Monstrous hops and tons of delicious malts, one of my favorite beers anytime, from any brewery.  If I decide to try and brew a barleywine, it will be based on this!

Cheers to Sierra Nevada for 2013 Bigfoot Ale!

 

Bigfoot Found!

Freetail Brewery IPAs

Was working on a deck over on that side of town, and stopped at Freetail Brewery to see what bombers they had for takeout.  There were four bombers available, and I didn’t know what any of them were all about, nor did I have the time to read about it or discuss it with the staff.  So I picked the two IPA type beers to try later that day.

Two days later, we finished the job early, so we went to Freetail for lunch and a couple of beers.  I saw that there was a third IPA in bombers for takeout, so I picked that one up too.  I guess it’s Freetail “IPA week” for me!  I’ll post the review of Soul Doubt IPA below.

The other two IPAs I picked up:

Velocihoptor (what a great name for an IPA!).

Buffalo Hump 1840 Belgian IPA

In addition, I had another round of Spirulina Wit, a delicious rye witbier with spirulina added to give it a wonderful and deliciously strange green color!  At 3.9% ABV, it’s damn easy to drink, and I could easily have several of these in a sitting.

I also tried Uglie Ollie Stout, a delicious dry Irish stout that’s full bodied, but only 4.1% ABV.  These two brews made a nice lunch (along with some delicious pizza from their food menu).

I am going to try to make it there this Saturday for the “battle of the wits” where they’ll have various varieties of their witbier for your drinking pleasure!

Cheers to Freetail!

 Soul Doubt IPA

Pours a nice amber to copper color, mostly clear, with a creamy head that left about a 1/4″ sheet of dense foam capped on top the whole way down, leaving sheets of nice sticky resinous lacing.

The aroma doesn’t blow me out of the water, by any means. It’s somewhat subdued, but I get Cara-Munich malt first, then some herbal, earthy hops.

Flavors much follow the aroma, but they stand out more, and leave me wondering why I don’t make it out to freetail more often! The Cara-Munich and aromatic malts (along with whatever crystal malts they used) make a great base, and an unusual one for an IPA. I like the innovation! It’s well hopped, but balanced very well with the moderate ABV and bold malty backbone. There’s a little citrus, but I am getting mostly heavily earthy and lightly floral or grassy hop flavors.

This IPA is very unusual, and very likeable. Just don’t expect to be getting a standard west coast 47 lbs of hops per five gallons type of IPA. This beer is well crafted and delicious, but it’s not Pliny the Younger or Heady Topper.

Cheers to Freetail brewery for this brew!

Real Ale Brewing Company, Blanco Texas

I’ve been steadily trying different beers from Real Ale Brewing Company (often referred to by beer geeks as RABC).   So far, I’ve found they make great beer!  In fact I’ve liked every beer I’ve tried from them, and hope to try more!

This brewery is right up there with America’s top craft breweries in their quality of beer.  They make flavorful beers, often plentifully hopped, and even seem to be setting a few trends (like with their four-squared, a blonde ale ramped up with lots of extra hops and more malts).

Their Brewer’s Cut series has been interesting.  The latest two are Altbier and Blonde Barleywine.  I really like the Altbier, it’s plentifully malty with enough hops for balance, making a really enjoyable Altbier (not a style we see a lot of). The blonde barleywine is a strange one, but it’s quite enjoyable if you’re a barleywine drinker (don’t think it’s a blonde ale, it’s over 9%!).  Kind of like a barleywine mixed with a blonde ale, but mostly it’s still a barleywine.  I applaud them for trying new and different things!

Here are some other of their past Brewer’s Cut projects:

I particularly liked the Signature Hop Pale Ale, and the Imperial Red.  I wish they’d just make the Signature Hop Pale Ale a regular offering, or at the very least, a seasonal.  Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Value-wise I’ve found their beers to be spot-on.  The prices are reasonable and the quality high.  This is real American craft beer, not some Podunk bunch of amateurs.

Their annual anniversary party was quite large, and I appreciate the free beers I got from them!  More importantly, I appreciate being able to get high quality, reasonably priced craft beer that’s made locally.

Stuff I’d like to see from them, should they be so inclined to brew it…

  • Double IPA
  • American Stout or Milk Stout (about 6% ABV)
  • Sessionable “Bitter” or “ESB”
  • Anything fruity

Anyway, don’t be afraid to try some RABC brews, they’re delicious!

Altbier

 

Pike Brewing XXXXX Stout

All those x’s should give me some really oddball hits on this blog, LOL!

But we’re talking about Pike Brewery’s XXXXX Extra stout, a very delicious beer that’s in my glass right now!  Sorry to disappoint if your search engine was searching for something else!

This is about the third or fourth of Pike’s brews that I’ve tried.  I keep trying them because they are good beers.  I really like this one, it’s (perhaps) the best of the Pike beers I’ve tried so far.  Albeit that’s not a lot of beers, but I just discovered them, and plan to try more of their beers soon!

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout

Black as night with a good tannish-brown head and good lacing.

Aroma is roasty and a little burnt with nice coffee and chocolate notes.

Flavor follows through with the nose, maybe with a touche of anise (but it’s subtle).  The chocolate and coffee are a bit more pronounced, leaving a slightly cappuccino effect for the imbiber.

Body is full, thick, rich, and leaves a wonderful slightly roasted, slightly burnt aftertaste that I really enjoy in a stout.

Definitely recommended.  I’ll for sure buy this one again.  It wasn’t even very expensive, so it’s a great value (I can’t remember the exact price, but it was very reasonable).  A very nice stout you should definitely try if you’re a stout lover.

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout

Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter

A truly Texas beer, Ranger Creek MSP is a tasty one that’s in m glass right now!!

Black as night with a monster head that would hardly go away enough to pour the rest of the bottle.

Very smoky, dominated by smoke at every step.  Tastes like a Texas BBQ.  Quite a nice roasty/burnt component, more like a stout than a porter if you ask me.  Some other more subtle flavors and aromas, like coffee, chocolate, and very dark fruits (figs, dates, raisins).

Body is thick and very full, with a pretty heavily smoky aftertaste.

This one is truly the taste of Texas.  Quite enjoyable, especially recommended for fans of smoky beers.

Freetail Brewery

Freetail Brewing in San Antonio Texas is a wonderful spot for beer lovers.  They have about 10-11 different beers on tap at all times, plus usually a cask of something tasty.  They serve food and have TVs and such, and the food is quite tasty, especially the pizza.  They now have 22oz bombers for take-out too!

Today I’m having a nice lunch and trying their St Patrick’s day special: Spirulina Witbier.

Well this was a St Patrick’s Day special here, I could tell immediately when I saw the color: GREEN.  Nicely green too, slightly cloudy, had a decent head and left great lacing behind.

Had a typically witbier aroma, wheaty and spicy with cloves and yeast.  Flavor followed suit in spades, if I didn’t see the color it would be hard to tell this was a specialty brew and not just a delicious witbier.
Body was light and very drinkable, I dare to say it’s the perfect St Patty’s beer (especially with the low ABV, 3.9%, so you could pound many of them and still remain standing!).

Always recommend a trip to Freetail for their great beers, this one is no exception.

Oh, and amazingly The Mars Volta was playing on the overhead music!  That’s friggin’ awesome!!

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Having a bomber of Dead Guy Ale from Rogue Ales.

This is a maibock/helles bock, not a style that I typically drink a lot of.  Part of that might be because there just aren’t that many examples of this style out there.  However, from reading my blog you can see more IPAs, stouts, and pale ales.  This isn’t my favorite style, but I mean to give Dead Guy its due.

Pours a really nice coppery color, mostly clear, with a very good two finger head that lasted and left pretty good lacing.

Aroma is pleasant and pretty heavy on the malt side, as expected.  There’s a good bready malt character, plenty of caramel malt, and some fruitiness.  However, there’s also a good hops presence.

The aroma carries over into the flavor, but with enhanced qualities.  I really like the way the hops are forward in this one, something that’s not typical in any way of a maibock.  The caramel malt, fruitiness, and bready characters form a solid and delicious base, from which the hoppiness just adds character.  With perle and saaz hops, they must have used a lot of hops!  Very nice!

The body is medium and a bit warming, with a lingering spicy hop aftertaste.

There’s nothing typical of this beer.  It’s pretty darn good stuff if you like the helles bock style.  And the bombers are great for re-use in homebrewing! Definitely give it a try.

Great Divide OAK AGED Yeti!

Well I’ve already reviewed regular Yeti Imperial Stout, and now I’ve got a nice fat bomber of OAK AGED Yeti.

Rating 100/99 on ratebeer and 95 on beer advocate, this is certainly a top-dog Russian Imperial Stout.

The appearance is great, used diesel motor oil black with a massive brown, lasting head and monster lacing.

The aroma is very nice.  There’s a plentiful supply of roasted, toasted, and burnt malt flavors.  Notes of coffee, chocolate and tobacco accent the nose.  There’s a touch of woodiness from the oak too.

Taste wise this one is tremendous, and mostly follows the nose.  The roasted and burnt grain flavors are up front, followed by a nice coffee/chocolate flavor.  I still detect a little tobacco like flavor in there too, like a fine cigar.  The oak aging is more apparent in the flavor and accents the rest of this delicious beer wonderfully.

The body is tremendous!  Super thick and incredibly rich and full bodied, with pretty well hidden alcohol.

What a great beer!   I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Russian Imperial Stouts or oak aged beers.

Cheers to Great Divide!

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