There were a lot of events I was looking forward to at the beginning of Houston Beer Week, and the Gravity Beer Event at Anvil last night was at the top of the list. The dream of Kevin Floyd, Co-Owner of Anvil the idea was to have a bunch of beer's that were either completely unavailable to Texas, or one off's of local beer's that would be special and unique. None of these beers would be available on draft, instead all served in cask and either poured via gravity or Cask Engine. When we arrived at Anvil there were two types of keg's set up. The first the traditional English Firkin (a 9 imperial Gallon keg) filled with unique Texas Craft beers or a German Anstich (5.28 US Gallons) filled Franconian Lager's that until last night were unavailable in Texas. Anvil handed out a nice "Consumption Guide" with info on all the beer's listed and a little bit of info on each beer, some of which I'll use below. I'll also include tasting notes on the beer's I was able to try:
(512) Dry Hopped Two: This was (512) second anniversary beer and an imperial IPA. This was served via a Gravity Cask. I've had this beer before on draft and really enjoyed it. Last night it was great on cask, hoppy, spicy, almost creamy texture, it slaps you across the face with hops. Good carbonation (don't let anyone tell you cask beer should be flat!) some malty sweetness and mild alcohol notes. Great beer.
Jester King Dark Mild: The first cask that new Austin Area brewery Jester King has made. A traditional English Dark mild that weighs in at 3% and was dry hopped with East Kent Goldings. This beer was served on Anvil's cask Engine and one of the beer's I was most looking forward too. It poured a rich dark chestnut brown with a creamy head. Very malty, very easy drinking, but extremely flavorable. Some mild earthy hoppy notes adds to the beer without taking away from the showcase of malt flavors. A great cask ale that should be on regular rotations around town, hopefully it will be in the future.
Independence Convict Hill Stout aged with Anvil Bourbon Cherries: This was the second beer I was really looking forward to. Independence's Imperial Oatmeal Stout with Anvil's house made Bourbon cherries. This was tapped after Jester King's Mild was gone, and it took a loooonggg time, at least it was a long time for those of us eagerly waiting it, crowding around the bar, hoping that every time Kevin went to the ice box he would come out with an empty keg signaling that it was time of this beer. Well when it finally arrived none of us was left disappointed. It was served on Anvil's Cask Engine and came out black with just a hint of ruby streaks, and a thick creamy head. The nose was of roasted malts, chocolate, and maybe just a bit of bourbon. The mouth was medium bodied, lots of roasted malts, a small amount of bourbon up front and just a faint hint of cherries on the finish. Some notes of alcohol which is to be expected for a brew weighing in at just over 9%. I was surprised by how easy it drank. A really solid great beer and a wonderful collaboration between bar and brewer.
Southern Star Cocoa and Madagascar Vanilla Aged Smoked Porter: A very special version of Southern Star's Pro Am beer. Whole vanilla beans and Coco nibs were added into this cask.
The German Beers served in Anstich
Brauerie Bayer: A landbier
Ahornberger: A schwartzbier. This beer poured a rich dark black with an almost bright white head. Lots of dark roasted malts, some sweetness up front before it finishes dry. A creaminess to this lager, very good.
Braueri Beck (Trabelsdorf): Lager
Monschsambach: Unfiltered Lager
Guenther Braeu: Lager
Rightfully so Anvil has a reputation around not only Houston but the country as a top notch Cocktail bar, but last night it was definitely all about the beer. This morning via Twitter, Kevin reported that the Independence Cask was gone in 75 minutes. That's pretty good for such a high octane brew. Speaking of twitter, there were rumors going around this morning that Anvil had broken its single night sales record. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that. A beer night setting sales records at Anvil so I needed it confirmed, so I sent a message to Kevin who replied back with a hearty YES! That's pretty amazing and is one more example of how successful Houston Beer Week has been.