927-929. The Dancing Bear

Despite receiving several inches of snow overnight, my flight from Boston to Austin on Saturday December 20th was only delayed 45 minutes. My mom and sister picked me up from the airport, and a quick drive into downtown Austin landed us at Stubb's Bar-B-Q for lunch. I had my first Shiner of the trip, which admittedly isn't a great beer, but for me it's a nice Texas "comfort beer."

I arrived in Waco, ate dinner with my family and then joined Win for beer at The Dancing Bear. I was disappointed to see that they still haven't gotten their permit for brewing, and according to Win's sources they may have given up, at least for now. When I'm in Texas I try to stick to Texas beers that I can't get in the Boston area, this mostly means beer from Real Ale, Liveoak, and Spoetzl, though it does include the occasional beer from New Belgium or other breweries whose distribution range doesn't extend to Massachusetts.

927. Live Oak Primus Weizenbock

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Live Oak Brewery
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: Weizenbock, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.5 | Drinkability: 4.0

Overall: 4.05

Live Oak consistently produces solid beers, though none are as transcendent as their Hefeweizen. This beer was no exception.

This beer pours a very cloudy brow, and is topped by a thick, beige head that fades to a film leaving sheets of lace. Classic notes of clove and banana in the aroma with undertones of sugary malts, dark fruit, and a hint of acidity.

Sweet, dark malts quickly give way to banana fruitiness and clove spiciness. The sweetness and spice are nicely offset by a mildly roasty backbone with a light alcoholic spice in the finish. Smooth, creamy and medium bodied.

An extremely solid beer. I thought the mild roasty characters added a lot.

928. Dunkel Roggenbier

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Real Ale Brewing Company
Alcohol: 5.20%
Serving: Tap
Style: Roggenbier, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 3.5 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability: 4.0

Overall: 3.9

Real Ale Brewing is another good, Texas, craft brewery. I hadn't seen their Dunkel Roggenbier before, which is one of their fall seasonal beers.

Pours a hazy copper. The bright, white head fades to a patchy film. Citrus and apricot fruitiness are most evident, with a bready, pale maltiness underneath.

Bready and toasty malts lend a light sweetness. Apricot and citrus notes become evident in the center. There's a mild, resiny, hop bite and a light bitterness in the finish. Light-bodied, enough carbonation to keep things from feeling watery. There's a nice dry character in the finish.

Tasty, balanced with a good variety of flavors.

929. Snowbound Winter Ale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Left Hand Brewing Company
Alcohol: 8.60%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: Winter Warmer, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 3.5 | Smell:3.5 | Taste: 2.0 | Mouthfeel: 3.5 | Drinkability: 1.5

Overall: 2.7

This beer is a clear, amber-garnet brown. Topped by a half-inch, beige head that fades to a film leaving pin-prick spots of lace. Malty and spicy on the nose: ginger, honey, caramel and dark fruit.

Honey sweetness upfront, moving quickly into a very spicy center. Cinnamon, clove and ginger are very strong, and overpower everything else. There's a light bitterness in the finish. Full-bodied, highly carbonated.

The use of spices in this beer is really heavy handed. They're overpowering and too strong to be pleasant.

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