I have a few Texas based beer reviews left to do before I can say that I am totally done with the state. This beer comes from Real Ale Brewing Company out of Blanco, Texas which is about an hour north of San Antonio. I am a bit confused about the beer though, as the packaging said it was made by Real Ale, but everything on the internet points to the Alamo Beer Company as the creator of the beer. Any help on figuring that bit out would be appreciated.
Alamo Golden Ale pours a straw to golden color, as expected. It is crystal clear and has a nice soapy white head. The nose has a slight malt sweetness and a hint of biscuit as well. There is a slight hop end but nothing overpowering. With a beer titled “Golden Ale” I didn’t expect a lot on the nose of flavor, but there were things that you could gather from both areas.
The taste is sweet and slightly fruity. There is also a bit of lemon in there as well. The back-end of the beer is very crisp and has a nice biscuity aftertaste. This beer isn’t throwing flavor at you, but it has some delicate flavors that work well in it. It sounds weird to say what I am about to type, but the carbonation adds a ton to this beer. It was just perfect for the beer. I don’t know what it was, but the carbonation made this beer tremendously enjoyable.
Alamo Golden Ale is super drinkable. It is on the light end with everything, so a seasoned craft beer drinker might not fall in love, but I enjoyed it. It is a great beer for a hot summer day, like those in Texas. I actually drank this beer while sitting under a covered porch of a 100+ day in Lubbock, and it hit the spot. The bottle and packaging have the following two things to say about the beer; “brewed with a fiercely independent spirit” and that it has a “smooth, almost velvety finish.” All I know is that it hits the spot on a hot day. Continue reading →
As I have said several times we recently moved from Texas back to the east coast. When we got to Texas, a year ago, I started reading Brewing Up a Business by Sam Calagione, the owner of Dogfish Head. About two weeks after I got into the book I lost it. I thought I lost it at work and the lost and found was empty so I counted the book in the MIA column. When we were moving I pulled out the dresser, and my book showed up. Awesome.
I just finished the book up this week and I thought I would share my review with you. First off, let me say that I really liked the book. The book tells the tale of how Sam started his brewery from brewpub, to the wonderful “power house” that it is now. I am interested in starting my own brewpub, so I found several parts of the book particularly interesting.
Another thing to know about this book, it isn’t really about beer. I love Dogfish Head as much as the next guy, but this book is more business oriented, which the title should tell you. Sam tells you about this business, why he did things the way he did, problems that they encountered, about the personality of the company, about about being an effective leader.
My favorite two parts of this entire book were when Sam talked about the creation of the moto for Dogfish Head and the leadership aspect of owning a business. Dogfish Head does what it does because they have a focused mission; Off-centered beers for off-centered people. They know that they are not hitting all of the market, and that is OK. Sam takes responsibility for mistakes that were made and offers solutions for business owners so that they do not do the same.
There are parts of the book that gets repetitive, but they are in there for a reason. Sam is showing how important that aspect is to his business. The most important thing to take away from this book is that Sam believes in his idea. As an entrepreneur you need to be willing to take risks and believe in what you are doing 100%. Sam shows that he did and still does in this book. It is an interesting read if you are thinking about starting you own company or want to see how a unique craft brewing came to being.
We have another summer beer to review today. This one comes from the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver, Colorado. This is another wheat style summer ale as well. Wheat lends itself to summer beers because wheat adds some unique flavors that work really well in a lighter beer. Summer Bright Ale comes in at a nice 4.5% which makes it very sessionable as well.
The beer pours with a thin white head and is slightly cloudy. The cloudiness is expected because of the wheat malt, but I would of expected a larger and more long lasting head. Wheat adds natural proteins to the beer that promote head retention. Generally wheat beers have big heads and many beers will have a slight bit of wheat malt in them to just promote a good head. Golden or straw is where I would place the color on the beer.
The nose has some slight biscuit with some malt. There was some bitterness, but no a normal hop bitterness that you usually get on a beer. Overall there isn’t a lot happening on the nose of the beer. The taste is a bit nondescript. There is not much malt or hops. There is some slight lemon or citrus in there, but not a ton. The finish of the beer is probably my favorite part of it. It is nice and bready which is a flavor that I like to have in a beer.
The mouthfeel is light and watery. This is a drinkable summer beer. It is light and not packed with flavor, but it is super sessionable and a foot into the craft beer world. I would recommend that you drink this beer cold as well. Unlike a lot of craft beers, this one doesn’t really open up to anything new when warm. It is much more refreshing cold as well. If you like lighter beers that don’t have a ton of flavor but are still considered craft beer this one is for you. Also, if you are looking to get into the craft beer world, this is an easy beer to tackle and would be enjoyable for you. Continue reading →
I recently discovered that there is a homebrew store about ten minutes away from my new apartment. Score. This place just keeps getting better and better. I brewed a Belgian Blonde Ale yesterday which should come in around 4.5-5% abv. It is under the style guidelines, but they are meant to be guidelines, not the end all be all of what a beer should be. It is the first beer that I have brewed in about six months.
I will get the recipe and everything along those lines up on the site soon, but I just wanted to share the joy of homebrewing again. Isn’t that a book? I did run into a few problems while brewing. The biggest one is that the mash tun that I recently built (the last one had to go into the trash becasue it would not fit into the car on the move from Texas) leaked a lot. I know how to fix it, the problem is finding the parts. This particular cooler that I got has a one inch hole in it. From my past two mash tuns, they are typically 3/4 of an inch or smaller. What really sucks is that one inch fittings are tough to find and even tougher to make fit into such a small space. I will get it figured out soon enough.
The beer is happily bubbling away right now and I hope it will be ready to drink my the second week of next month. Hooray for getting back to homebrewing. I missed it.
If you haven’t noticed, I am a bit of a beer geek. Watching me shop for beer, writing/running this site, and a number of other things make this “news” very apparent. Because of my geekiness I tend to look at the two largest beer rating sites from time to time; Rate Beer and Beer Advocate. On these sites I don’t really tend to read the reviews because people tend to be really harsh on beers for no apparent reason or taste things that I can’t. Needless to say they are not helpful in that respect.
Even though I don’t read the reviews, I do look at the top beer lists. Rate Beer’s is simply titled the “Top 50 Beers” while Beer Advocates goes as far as to call it the “Top Beers on Planet Earth.” The two sites do largely agree on the good beers. What I find interesting is that most of the beers at Imperial Stouts. I don’t know why, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of love for other styles. Sure you get the Belgian beers in there and the occasional Double IPA, but Imperial Stouts take the cake.
While they are wonderful, why is it that “experienced” craft beer drinkers gravitate to the big beers? I must be missing a good segment of website traffic because I tend to stay away from the big beers. It is not becasue I don’t like them but I like so many different styles that I rarely grab the big guys. I am just wondering why the Imperial Stouts have become the beer style of the beer rating sites. Anyone have any ideas?