November 27, 2012

The Brü Revü – Saint Arnold Pumpkinator‏

The Saint Arnold Pumpkinator is sort of a mythical beer in Texas. It's supposed to be one of the best Texas brewed beers and the best beer by Saint Arnold, but it can be almost impossible to find. Basically the beer sells out almost the same day it is released so you can imagine how difficult it can be to find. I was somehow lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time as it was sitting on the shelves at my HEB so I had to grab one. I chose the weekend after Thanksgiving to crack it open since it was a pumpkin brew and seemed to fit the season. The Pumpkinator started as a Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9 and is different than most pumpkin beers as it is an Imperial Stout as the base beer. It poured an opaque black with very little tan head. The aroma had a distinct spiciness over a sweet maltiness that reminded me of the liqueur BnB. There were hints of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg that were straight up pumpkin pie. The taste had those same spices but much more subdued and well balanced by the dark malty imperial stout. This was definitely a unique beer and the best Pumpkin beer and best Saint Arnold brew I have had. I'm happy I had this when I did as it fits the season well. I will definitely purchase the Pumpkinator in the future if I am lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time again. 

Saint Arnold Pumpkinator‏

November 26, 2012

The Brü Revü – Green Flash Rayon Vert

The Green Flash Rayon Vert is their version of a Belgian Style Pale Ale.  According to Green Flash the Rayon Vert is a bold layering of hops finds balance from traditional malt.  Bottle conditioning with fresh ale yeast and Brettanomyces finishes the beer, adding a delightful effervescence, dryness and continually evolving character.  All I know is that it is a very unique beer that I couldn’t get enough of.  It poured a hazy gold with a substantial off white head that speaks to the delightful effervescence.  The aroma is all over the place with citrusy hops, some funky sourness, and a bit of Belgian yeast that sets you up for a dynamic flavor adventure.  The taste is all over the flavor map in a good way with the citrus and bitter hops, some sweet fruitiness, along with some funk from the Brettanomyces that is all riding the wave of the Belgian yeast.  Yes it’s all in there and it all tastes great.  The flavors are delicately and deliciously balanced on a creamy medium body with plenty of that delightful effervescence that makes this a truly unique beer.  It’s like a Funky West Coast Belgian Pale Ale, and I dig it, man.

Green Flash Rayon Vert

November 18, 2012

The Brü Revü – Real Ale Brewer’s Cut Batch 002 Black Quadrupel

Wow.  This is a great beer.  Real Ale has really made something special with their Brewer’s Cut Black Quadrupel.  The fact that you can get a local decently priced Quad in a bottle is special enough, but they made it taste phenomenal as well.  It poured a very dark hazy brown with hints of ruby red.  The aroma was dense with the signature Belgian yeast, dark fruits and sweet caramel malts.  The first taste as it hint my tongue was just a huge wow moment.  It had all the flavors of a deep rich Belgian quadrupel with the bubble gum yeast, dark fruits and spiciness to match.  Hidden behind it all was some dark chocolate undertones and the sweet caramel malts.  Definitely a lot going on in this thick and hearty brew that coated my palate with it’s creamy confection.  I still can’t believe this is locally brewed beer and readily accessible without breaking my beer budget.  I hope Real Ale takes this out of the Brewer’s Cut and makes it a regularly featured beer.  I know I would easily drink my share and I bet I am not alone.

Real Ale Brewer’s Cut Batch 002 Black Quadrupel

November 14, 2012

The Brü Revü – Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Imperial Red Ale

The Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Imperial Red Ale was my third beer from the Beer Camp series to try and given the first two I knew I was in for a great beer. This Red Ale was a dark brown copper color with a generous hop nose that had hints of grapefruit and tropical fruits.  The taste starts with a smooth roasted malt and caramel malt flavor that yields to a bitter almost burnt taste that lingers on the palate.  It starts sweet and ends bitter which was different.  The sweet malts and bitter hops were definitely at play although a bit in competition.  I enjoyed the beer but it was not my favorite of the Beer Camps so far.  We’ll see how the Oatmeal Stout goes, but I have a feeling it may steal the show.

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Imperial Red Ale

November 12, 2012

Beer Bums Meeting – November 2012 – Fruit and Veggie Beers

November was supposed to be Pumpkin beers, but the stores ran out of Pumpkin beers before our meeting. So, we added Fruit and Veggie beers to open it up a bit.  A few solid pumpkin beers were represented, and the New Belgium Frambozen was a standout.  The Billy’s Chilies beer was a tough one.  It was hard to finish my sample.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
Shiner Cheer
Twisted Pine Billy's Chilies
Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan
New Belgium Frambozen

Next Month, December – Beer Bums Christmas Party!!

November 9, 2012

The Brü Revü – Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Imperial Pilsner

I'm not sure what makes a beer an Imperial Pilsner, but I do know that the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Imperial Pilsner is sensational. The beer poured a bright gold with a strong citrus hop aroma. The first taste blew me away. The Imperial Pilsner had a huge grapefruit flavor that was unexpected but right in my wheelhouse. The grapefruit hoppiness really emphasized the traditional pilsner flavors and ratcheted them up a notch. I guess this is what makes it an imperial pilsner! I couldn't put this beer down and Sierra Nevada should consider putting this into their regular rotation. Simply fantastic.

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Imperial Pilsner

November 6, 2012

The Brü Revü – Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Floral IPA‏

The Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp is a unique competition that allows beer enthusiasts and home brewers a chance to get a VIP trip to the Sierra Nevada brewery and the opportunity to brainstorm and create a unique beer for limited production. Sierra Nevada then chooses four of those beers to release in a limited 12 pack. I have a lot of respect for Sierra Nevada so I was looking forward to this year’s Beer Camp release. I chose the Floral IPA to try first. The bottle says it is a traditional IPA style with the intense aroma of whole cone hop flowers with aromatic natural rose hips and petals for complex aromas and unexpected flavors. The brew poured a golden amber with a decent head. The signature Sierra Nevada hop aroma was evidently present as I poured. There was also a very floral hop aroma that justified the name. The taste had a strong hop bitterness that was thin on the front but quickly coated my tongue and palate. It had a strong floral hop profile that didn't veer to the citrus side but straight ahead floral with a slight pine hop. It had a light to medium mouthfeel which made it easy to drink. The Floral IPA was definitely unique but very tasty and showed the craft of Sierra Nevada. It was a great introduction the the 2012 Beer Camp set of beer and has me looking forward to the rest.

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Floral IPA

November 4, 2012

Pint Glass Nights - November 2012

Misc. pint glass nights around Austin for November.  Buy the beer, keep the glass.

Gingerman – Mondays, at 6 PM
Nov 05 Schneider
Nov 12 Chimay
Nov 19   Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Nov 26 Thirsty Planet

The Tavern – Tuesdays
Check their facebook page for glass updates

Zax Pints and Plates – Wednesdays, at 6 PM
Nov 07 St. Feuillien Speciale
Nov 14 St. Arnold Pumpkinator
Nov 21   Schmaltz/Terrapin Collaboration
Nov 28 Stone Cali-Belgique

Flying Saucer  - Wednesdays, at 7 PM
Nov 07 TBD
Nov 14 Chimay
Nov 21   Turkey Day
Nov 28 Rahr & Sons Stemware

Draught House – Wednesdays
Check their twitter page for glass updates

Red's Porch – Thursdays, at 5 PM
Check their events page for glass updates

November 1, 2012

The Brü Revü – (512) Brewing Company 4th Anniversary Party

Last weekend I attended the 4th Anniversary party of (512) Brewing which is easily my favorite Austin Brewery. Their IPA and Pecan Porter are my go to beers as they are readily available, inexpensive, and always excellent quality. I have been to numerous (512) open houses and anniversaries and have never been disappointed. Although the lines were long they moved fast and those industrious enough could find a quick way to grab a refill. There was a stellar lineup of (512) brews and I left completely satisfied. If you can't tell by the below reviews, I really love their beers!

Here's a quick list of what I sampled:

(512) TWO - Their Double IPA and I love this beer. I have had it many times and it always impresses me. Deep hop flavor with citrus notes and dank hops. Their IPA is one of my all time favorites and their TWO is even better. I just wish it was available more often.  Good way to start the day.

(512) Tripel - This was the first time tasting their Tripel although I have been wanting to try it since their 3rd Anniversary. Maybe a little on the sweet side, but nonetheless it was another solid brew from (512). Of course I have an affection for tripels so I'm easy to please on that front.

(512) FOUR - An English Strong Ale. I don't drink this style much if at all, but this was really good. A subtle bitterness and plenty of toffee malt. Not sure of the ABV but I didn't taste any alcohol. Very solid and highly drinkable. 

(512) Cascabel Cream Stout - Holy smokes was this a fantastic Stout. I didn't know what to expect but I was floored. Great deep and rich chocolate stout with just enough of the subtle heat from the cascabel chili peppers to really make this a dynamic brew. It definitely lived up to the hype. Fantastic.

(512) Pecan Porter on Nitro - This takes the already pitch perfect Pecan Porter and infuses it with nitrogen rather than the normal carbon dioxide to replicate the smooth and creamy mouthfeel of traditional cask beers. Think of your creamy Guinness and you can imagine the yummy goodness of this beer. It's the best way to have this pint of perfection as it is silky smooth and simply wonderful.

(512) Wild Bear - Wild Bear is a “wild fermentation” of their Bruin which is aged for 10 months in oak barrels with Brettanomyces yeast and Pediococcus bacteria cultures.  Another first for me and this was definitely unique for (512). Loads of cherries, sour and funk that was tasty with some woody oakiness as well. Would have liked to have had it before the Stout and Porter but still good. I could easily have this one again and would like to give it a proper tasting. All in all a good end to the Anniversary party for me.