Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saint Arnold Oktoberfest

Okay so it is late August and still blazing hot here in Houston. And we all wish that it could cool down just a little bit, say down into the low 90's! However, one of the first signs of the impending fall season (other than pre-season football!!!) has arrived on shelves here and other Texas locations. It's Oktoberfest time! I actually saw Sam Adams Octoberfest in my local Spec's before I saw Saint Arnold's offering at the grocery store but my wife would have kicked me out of the house if I had brought home Sam before the Saint!

As fall approaches, I love to find as many of the special Fall brews that pop up around town. But since I like to tout the local boys as much as I can, I have to have this once first. Unlike the traditional Octoberfest beers, Saint Arnold's Oktoberfest is an ale made with Munich-style malts. This Oktoberfest pours orange/red with a light slightly tan head. The aroma is sweet, caramel and flowery. The caramel sweetness really hits you right off the bat as you taste it but it is nicely balanced with Saaz and Hallertauer hops on the way down.

There is nothing like going camping with friends as the first cold front of the season pushes through. Sitting around talking, laughing and keeping warm while sipping on an Oktoberfest is like a little bit of heaven on Earth.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Real Ale Lost Gold IPA

Real Ale has made one of my favorite beers to get on draft for years, Full Moon Rye. Based in Blanco, Texas, this brewery just celebrated their 13th anniversary and annually release their Lost Gold IPA in the summer. It is only available on draft but is not widely distributed. I've had this beer before while visiting Austin but it has recently landed in Houston and I was able to partake at the Flying Saucer.

Lost Gold is a classic American style IPA with cascade, columbus, amarillo and summit hops. With an IBU of 55 it is not extremely bitter but the hops do hit you on the nose right away. The malts do come out on the back of the tongue and balance the hops out. It ends crisply and finishes cleanly. It is a beautifully balanced beer and quite possibly the best IPA made in the state of Texas. Shame that this is a seasonal offering and not available year round.

I'd love to have a blind taste test with the various IPAs made in Texas to truly see the how each compare and contrast with each other. Maybe some place could have a tasting and/or judging of this style or some other. Just an idea......

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wow! I know it's been a while since my last post and I don't have many posts but I just found out I actually have a follower or two. I am feeling a little proud. So I believe I now have to be better about this blogging thing. So let me tell a story about last night....

Some friends at work and I have occasionally set up happy hours for random Fridays. Well, it had been a while since out last outing and we were feeling the itch. Normally we would go to the Buffalo Wild Wings which is closest to work because it was convenient for all of us. However, this time I felt like we needed to stretch our wings and try something out of the norm for everyone. So I convinced the gang to go to the Flying Saucer in Downtown Houston. Now most of these guys are the typical Mass Produced Light Lager drinkers. Knowing that, I was able to get them try some other things outside of their comfort zone.

For one it was Saint Arnold Summer Pils, for another it was Spaten Octoberfest, for still another in was Southern Star Pine Belt Pale. I felt proud that these guys were trying new things and enjoying the beers in front of them. I'll take that as progress. Even though I know that they will return to drink the Mass Produced Stuff tomorrow. I am not sure if this will happen again but I am hopeful that they take something away from this experience. Next time they are at the grocery store, if they pass up the Mass Produced stuff and ponder the craft beers sitting right next to them I will declare this a victory. is why I love beer! Everyone has different tastes and everyone can find a beer that suits them.

As for myself, I was all over the map last night: Victory Prima Pils, Full Sail Pale, Real Ale Lost Gold IPA. More on Lost Gold later. Thanks to those that discovered this blog and I will try to post a little more consistently in the future.