Monthly Archives: October 2012

Austin Beer Week!

Austin is amazing and has its own beer week. This year it’s from October 20th through the 28th. Every day this week has been packed with beer events at bars and breweries all around town.  Today I went to Independence Brewery in southeast Austin.

I tried two beers while I was there. The first was the Austin Amber.  I’ve had this beer before, but it was bottled (found in HEB’s beer section), and in the past I thought it was pretty good.  I have to be in the mood for an amber beer, though.  I think what I’ve discovered so far is that I’m not a big fan of super hoppy beer.  I don’t like it if it has an overly flowery or grassy flavor.  That being said, it was a bit too much for me this time. I’m not sure if it was just this batch, but it wasn’t my favorite.  It had a really nice color, though.

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Rating: 3.5/5.0 stars
Name: Austin Amber
Brewery: Independence Brewing Company
Location: Austin, Texas

Once I managed to down that one, we moved on to a more serious option: the Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout. Yep. That worked. It had a really rich flavor and was really smooth, kind of creamy. It was a little heavy, but it is an oatmeal stout, so that’s kind of expected. My friend tasted it and was definitely not her thing. She said it was more like a meal and less of a drink. I was totally okay with that.

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Rating: 4.6/5.0 stars
Name: Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout
Brewery: Independence Brewing Company
Location: Austin, Texas

Also, not entirely beer related, but there were a few food trailers there. We tried the meat pies at Boomerang’s, and they were REALLY good.

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This was their Bootlegger Steak and Cheese. I HIGHLY recommend it. Unless you’re trying to be on a low carb diet like I am… then try it anyway but pretend you didn’t. Anyway, it had steak, onions, cheese and a gravy that was made with Independence’s Bootlegger Brown Ale. Two thumbs up.

*Update:  Unfortunately this was the only event I was able to attend during Austin Beer Week.  It’s definitely something I’m going to schedule in better next year, and I definitely recommend it. There are a lot of great specials and different beers available at awesome venues around town.

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Rogness – Yogi Chai Spiced Amber

Rogness Brewing Company is quickly becoming my favorite beer company.

I was at Mohawk’s for a concert last Saturday night, and there was some beer on tap called “Yogi – Chai Spiced Amber“. I thought that Rogness’s Rogtoberfest beer was going to be on tap, but it wasn’t. So this amber beer was intriguing.

It was really good! It tasted exactly how I expected – a good amber beer that had kick of chai. It was almost like mixing the two, but not in a gross kind of way. The chai spices were really more prominent in the aftertaste.  They were not subtle, but it wasn’t overbearing.  It was an interesting beer, and if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, this is really good.

I didn’t take any photos of this beer mostly because I didn’t think of it and wasn’t anticipating trying something new that evening, and the concert we saw was amazing, but horribly, horribly sad. I’m pretty sure that band created the term ’emo’.  Mohawk’s is a great venue, though.  They don’t have a huge beer selection, but if you’re looking for a few local things on tap and some good music, your chances are pretty good here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Name: Yogi (Chai Spiced Amber)

Brewery: Rogness Brewing Company

Location: Austin, Texas

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More Beer Fest – Insomniac Coffee Stout

Best. Beer. Ever. Insomniac Coffee Stout by Uncle Billy’s Beer.

Seriously, this was by far the best beer I had at the festival. It was also the first beer I tasted when we arrived, mostly because their tent was among the first few right inside the gate, and they had the word “stout” written on a big sign. I had never heard of Uncle Billy’s before arriving at the festival, but apparently they have a barbecue joint/brewery on Barton Springs Road here in Austin (though I’ve somehow never noticed it before).

The beer was really smooth, had a great flavor, wasn’t too strong, but it wasn’t flat or boring, either. It’s brewed with coffee from a local coffee shop called Austin Java. It also wasn’t one of those super heavy dark beers that makes you want to take a nap and never eat again after you drink half a glass, which was really nice.

Rating: 5.0/5.0 stars!

Name: Insomniac Coffee Stout

Brewery:  Uncle Billy’s Beer

Location: Austin, Texas

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More Beer Fest – Black Thunder

Austin Beerworks had the best sign at the festival.

Yeah, those are skittles.

It’s the main reason why I tried their beer.  I’m a sucker for unicorns. The beer that I tried, however, was just okay. It was a dark beer, but not as heavy as I expected from a name like “Black Thunder”.   It’s  a German Schwarz, which apparently just means it’s a German dark lager.  They described it as, “If a stout and a pilsner had a lovechild.”

I drank about half of it, got bored, tossed it, and went to the next booth.  It was not very memorable.  (It probably didn’t help that I tried it towards the end of the festival…) It wasn’t undrinkable by any means, but it certainly wasn’t that great.  So, basically what I’m saying is I tried their beer, it was okay, and the only thing I remember being excited about was the sign.

Rating: 2.75/5.0 stars

Name:  Black Thunder

Brewery: Austin Beerworks

Location: Austin, Texas

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Texas Craft Beer Festival – Rogtoberfest

Rogness Brewing Company is a local brewery that I really, really like. They have some great beers and some really nice folks who run the place, too. Their “Rogtoberfest” beer was my second favorite at the beer festival.

It was very smooth and not too heavy, but it wasn’t really light or too crisp, either. It was actually the second beer I tasted at the festival. The first beer I had was a coffee stout, so I was very surprised that this didn’t seem shocking after something really rich and dark.  It was really mellow and nothing too crazy, which was nice.

I looked at their website about this beer, and it says that this beer is the first commercially produced Oktoberfest to use “Smaragd hops”.  Because I’m still very new to this, I have no idea what that means, but that sounds interesting. I’ve tried to do a tiny bit of research, and  apparently it’s a relatively new kind of hops that was developed in Germany, but I didn’t find out many details.  If anyone out there has any sort of input on this, please let me know.  I’m curious.

Anyway, this is definitely a beer I’m going to look for the next time I’m out.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Name:  Rogtoberfest

Brewery: Rogness Brewing Company

Location: Austin, Texas

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Texas Craft Beer Festival

On Saturday I went to the Texas Craft Beer Festival in Austin, Texas.  The set up was pretty interesting.  They gave us a small tasting cup (4 oz.) with six tickets, each beer costing one ticket (unless stated otherwise on their giant signs above their tents — more on the signs later).  It made for an interesting afternoon.  Because I tried five or six different beers, I’m going to review each one this week, starting with my absolute least favorite: Commercial Suicide.

There was only one beer at the festival that I absolutely hated. HATED.  I didn’t even drink it.  I actually poured it out.  And nobody stopped me.

After a bit of research, I realized that I had tried a different beer from this same brewery in the past and also hated that one. The beer at the festival was called Commercial Suicide.    The company is called Jester King Craft Brewery.  I LOVE their style and their beer names.  And I fall for that every time.  They’re clearly not the brewery for me, though.

The Commercial Suicide is a darker beer (not quite DARK but darker than an amber) that is supposed to be a traditional ale with a few twists… but it’s sour.  I didn’t know there was such thing as sour beer until discussing this particular drink with some friends and friends of friends. I had previously tried the Black Metal (which is a farmhouse imperial stout), and I thought a very similar thought.  Something just seemed… well… off. It was really strong, kind of tangy and sour, and just generally unappealing. I’m not sure if this beer was supposed to taste this way or if I’m not a fan of it.  Either way, not good.

Rating: 0.5/5.0 stars (it gets half a star for the name)

Name: Commercial Suicide

Brewery: Jester King Craft Brewery

Location: Austin, Texas

 

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The Infamous Pumpkin Beer

It’s now autumn (YEA!) and with that comes everything pumpkin. A lot of beer companies have their Oktoberfest specials out and a lot of fall-inspired seasonal flavors, and I love it! Everything about autumn makes me incredibly happy – the cooler weather, the crispness in the air, the slight breeze in the evening, sweaters, crunching of leaves when you walk across the yard, and most of all, pumpkins everywhere!

So that brings us to pumpkin beer. I’ve always been a fence sitter about pumpkin beer. Every year I buy some, all excited about fall, and it’s never a good experience. My mother decided to try some recently, and she is not a beer drinker at all… which means I acquired the remaining bottles. Let’s be honest here, pumpkin beer isn’t for someone who casually decides, “Arbor Mist isn’t doing it for me. I should try something different. Oh, look! Pumpkin beer!”

I decided to try this beer during the night of the presidential debate. I needed to drink a lot – and quickly – to survive that 90 minutes, but in that time, I decided that I (surprisingly) liked this pumpkin beer.

This pumpkin ale has a nice amber color. It’s fairly light and mild. It’s not too pumpkin-y. I’ve had a few in the past that were too overbearing. It’s pretty much exactly what I expected and would want in a pumpkin beer. This one has a rather spicy, pumpkin-y aftertaste. It’s a bit lighter than my usual preference and has a slight crisp, citrus flavor, but it’s not too bad.

Rating: 3.5/5.0 Stars

Name: “America’s Original Pumpkin Ale”

Brewery: Buffalo Bill’s Brewery

Location: Seattle, Washington

P.S. I also decided while stomping around in my kitchen in bunny slippers and every warm article of clothing I own (50 degrees in Austin, Texas is freezing), that I should make some chili. So added some of this beer to it, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ll add an update later with the verdict.

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