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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926. Ten Fidy

926. Ten Fidy

Jadyn and I went to The Publick House on December 17th. I had an Allagash Interlude, a Haansens Oude Geueze, and a can of Ten Fidy. The food and beer were good, as usual.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Can, 12 oz.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.5 | Smell: 3.5 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.5 | Drinkability: 4.0

Overall: 4.05

Pours a viscous, deep, opaque black. Topped by a half-inch, dark brown head that fades to a film, leaving good lace. The aroma is fairly light overall. Roasted malt aromas, chocolate, dark fruit, and a hint of molasses.

Sweet and chocolate tinged malts upfront. The center is dominated by dark fruit, with notes of raisins and prunes, over a sharp molasses and boozy backbone. There's a nice roasted bitterness in the finish, as well as an alcoholic spiciness. Thick and full-bodied, with prickly carbonation.

Maybe it's been awhile since I had a RIS, but this seems a bit sweeter than most. Still a good beer, and a great dessert beer.

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925. Jack D'Or

925. Jack D'Or

I have to thank Jadyn for alerting me to the existence of this beer. It's brewed by the husband of a woman who works on her floor. I missed out on the free beer that she got to sample at work, so we picked up a bottle when we saw it at the Whole Foods on River St.

The bottle and website refer to this beer as a "Saison Americain". The description suggests that this is a hoppy saison, which is perhaps oversimplifying things, but it's close enough to accurate to give a quick, snapshot view of this brew. For more information, here's an interview with the brewer.

The label is a bit whimsical, so rather than describe it I'll quote from the website:
The creature on the label is Jack D'Or himself, conceived and drawn by Dann. Far away in a small clearing in the woods of New England, ankle deep in the mash tun, he contemplates and perhaps even conjures a batch of beer. For those of you who are new to this, Jack is a grain of malted barley, but more than that: he is the unifying force behind all of the Pretty Things.
We let this warm for a bit, and served it in our tulip glasses. It went nicely with the eggplant stew that Jadyn made for dinner.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project
Alcohol: 6.40%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.5 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.0| Drinkability: 5.0

Overall: 4.2

Pours a cloudy, amber golden, and is topped by a thick, sudsy, white head. The head fades to a film with soapy bubbles that cling to the sides of the glass. Really, a very appealing looking beer. Upon pouring, fruity notes of bananas are immediately evident. When in the glass the banana and other fruit aromas are present in the background, overpowered by notes of pepper, citrus, and herbal, leafy hops.

Lightly sweet malts upfront mingle with a sweet, banana fruitiness, and some mild yeast flavors. Met by a nice peppery spice, and a significant citric and grassy hop bitterness in the finish. Light-bodied, with prickly carbonation and an appealing dryness give this beer a very refreshing quality.

Refreshing. It's spicy and hoppy, but balanced by a nice sweetness that doesn't overpower. I could have had a few more of these.

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