Some Beer Resources

This post is a bit out of the ordinary for me, but I thought his might be helpful to some folks. I recently found a few beer related websites that have been extremely helpful and interesting. I’m a little late to jump on the bandwagon, but I thought I’d share them anyway.

1. Taplister
2. Untapped

SXSW is going on in Austin right now, so the whole town is a bit crazy. However, if you want to get away from the insanity downtown and are looking for a decent beer, Taplister might be your best friend. The website is set up to help you find beer and bars. If there’s a certain beer you want, just type it in, along with your zip code, and it will find the nearest place that has it on tap. The same thing applies with bars — do you have the urge to throw all your work on the floor at the office at 2pm and crawl over to a dive bar? Me too. And this site will find that bar for you. There’s an iPhone app available, but apparently not one for Android yet.

Also, a lot of bars will have all their beer on tap listed on Taplister, so you can check it out before you get there. That is particularly helpful at two popular venues — The Draught House and Hopfields. The Draught House often has really long lines, and it’s impossible to see all their beers from the end of the line on a busy night. Hopfields has a menu that’s impossible to read, however cool it may look, so having it all listed on this website is very helpful. The site is also handy when you’re looking for a new beer by a local brewery.

As for Untapped, I’m not as familiar with it, and I just signed up. It’s more of a social networking site linked to beer. However, it’s a great place to keep track of the beers you’re drinking and how much you liked (or disliked) them. Basically, if I didn’t want to write this blog, I’d use Untapped instead. ūüôā It seems to be extremely helpful in sorting through beer and finding your favorites. They also have an app for both Android and iPhone.

I’m sure there are other resources out there, and if anyone has any recommendations, let me know!

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Nefarious, Indeed.

A few weeks ago we had our weekly Pint Night at a place called Hopfields. ¬†The name reminds me of New Braunfels, in that I never know where the ‘s’ goes (Braunfels, Braunsfel… Hopsfield, Hopsfields, you get the point). ¬†I stopped calling it by its real name, and I’ve been secretly calling it “Hipsterfield.” It’s actually a pretty swanky, slightly romantic and quirky bar and restaurant, and it would be a great date night place. It was a not so great Pint Night place. ¬†It just wasn’t what we expected at all. ¬†We’re a bunch of folks who usually go to a pub and get a little loud by the end of the evening. ¬†This night was no exception, unfortunately. ¬†But that’s a completely different story and blog.

Regardless, the beer selection was great!  Unfortunately their beer menu was nearly impossible to read, especially under candlelight:

Hopfields beer menu

Luckily they use this nifty app called Taplister. ¬†I’ll post about this site/app soon in more detail, but basically it lists all the beers they have on tap with short descriptions. ¬†I ended up not using it, however, because when I arrived, one of the guys had just ordered something and he said to try it. ¬†So I did, and I immediately decided I should drink that. ¬†I discovered that it was appropriately named¬†Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter. ¬†It’s quite a bit different than the milk stouts I’ve been drinking lately, and with a name like “nefarious,” how could I resist? ¬†This beer was very, very dark, extremely strong, and it hits you surprisingly fast. ¬†I had one beer, and that was more than enough for me. It was pretty smooth, though not quite as thick and creamy as a milk stout. It definitely had a kick. Oh, and when I mentioned it being strong, the ABV is 8%. ¬†So, it had a big kick.

Their website says that it has a “strong bitter chocolate with a hint of coffee” flavor. ¬†I could definitely taste the coffee more so than the chocolate, and it was a bit bitter. But overall, it was a really good beer, and I’ll probably order it again, though probably not at Hipsterfield.

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Name: Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter
Brewery: Ska Brewing
Location: Durango, Colorado

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New Amazing Thing!

Just a quick post for this afternoon… A friend found this and sent it to me. IT’S AWESOME. You should check it out. I’m going to get one.

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I’m going to have more updates later this week, so check back soon!

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Pint Night and Two Reviews!

Some friends recently decided that there was something vital missing in all of our lives: a weekly meeting that involved friends and lots of beer.  Thus began Pint Night. The plan was to meet at a different bar each week, try new beer, have some laughs, make some great friends, and have some fun.  Best. Idea. Ever.

The first week we met up at The Draught House Pub & Brewery.  We went on a particularly busy night, and the line was a bit ridiculous.  The place is also very small inside, but it has a great patio-type area with plenty of places to rest your beer of choice.  It was rather cold outside that night, but there are heaters outside, which helped a lot.  Those tiny details aside, everything was great!

I saw a cappuccino stout on the menu and asked about it once I got to the bar.  They were already out of it, but the bartender recommended a coffee stout from a different brewery (I unfortunately did not catch the name), but it was VERY good.  The bartenders here seem to be very knowledgeable and helpful.  There are also at least 70 different beers available at any given time.  So this is the place in Austin to go to if you want a variety or want to try something new.

This week’s Pint Night took place at Easy Tiger¬†on 6th Street. ¬†I like the atmosphere of this place. ¬†There are two levels to this place. ¬†On the main floor (which is level with 6th Street), they have a tiny bakery with pretzels and different kinds of bread. Downstairs is the pub. They also have a nice¬†outdoor¬†area, but it’s nicer when it’s not freezing outside. ¬†They have a decent selection of beers, and there was also this strange contraption ¬†sitting proudly in the middle of the bar:

Pint Nights and Beer Blog Photos

I’m still not entirely positive how this all works, but this thing is called Randall the Enamel Animal. ¬†It is an “organoleptic hop transducer module” which sounds like something from a Doctor Who episode.¬†You hook it up to the tap, fill it with stuff (in this case it appears to be more hops), and it basically filters the beer through that stuff as it’s being poured.¬†Personally, that sounds terrible. I’m not a fan of super hoppy beers. The grassy flavor just doesn’t do it for me. The other guys were super excited about it, though, and they definitely were a fan of the beer.

The beer I chose: Left Hand Milk Stout

Pint Nights and Beer Blog Photos

I’ve had this beer before. ¬†It’s GREAT! It’s really smooth, kind of creamy, a little sweet, has a nice full flavor, but it’s not too strong. It’s also very drinkable. ¬†It isn’t extremely thick or heavy. ¬†I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4.7/5.0 stars

Name: Left Hand Milk Stout

Brewery:  Left Hand Brewing Company

Location: Longmont, Colorado

**Also worth noting is the beer cheese at Easy Tiger. ¬†IT’S AMAZING. They have great pretzels and pretty good sausage, too. ¬†I think everyone left quite happy.

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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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