Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rogue Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale

I've always been a fan of Rogue Beer's. Some may be off, but there's no denying that they make some pretty interesting beers. Among their many beers they have a three part series that's an homage to Food Network's Iron Chef Morimoto. The beers within the series are an Imperial Pilsner, a Soba ale, and the one I picked up recently at Spec's, a Black Obi Soba Ale. The beer is brewed with roasted buckwheat hence the name Black Obi Soba Ale. Soba are Japanese Buckwheat noodles (an Obi is a Japanese Sash, or the strips of cloth that wrap around martial arts uniforms).
The Beer: Pours a very dark brown almost black. The nose is malty, with strong hints of soba noodle soup, raisins and a bit of hops. The mouth is mild, slightly bitter, tastes a lot like a black lager. A fruity taste, fruity yeast. Its very interesting, but there's an off putting burnt taste. It goes beyond the nuttiness I would expect (and accept) from the roasted buckwheat, its more prevalent. An ok interesting beer, but not something I'd reach for again. This one gets a C+ from me. The folks over at BA don't necessarily agree.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Updates to some Texas Breweries

Its been a while so I thought I'd post an update on how the new and upcoming Texas Breweries are doing.
- First 512 Brewery out of Austin is getting ever closer to brewing. Their boilers are getting connected, and they feel like they are only a couple of weeks away from starting brewing. There first beer will be the (512) IPA, not sure how it will be packaged or if it will be tap only). We shall see SOON.

- Second news from relatively local Conroe based Southern Star Brewing. They've started brewing!!!!!! The Pine Belt Pale Ale is in the tank, they expect it to take 3 weeks and state that the local folks should start seeing it around the end of March. I'm EXTREMELY excited about this as its the first new beer from a new brewery in a few years. I've said it before I'll say it again, its an exciting time to be a drinker of local beer in Texas.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2008 Anchor Old Foghorn

Yes, yes yes...time for another Barleywine! One of my favorite styles, from a brewery that makes some pretty outstanding seasonals. As with their Christmas beer 'Our Special Ale' Anchor really helped to introduced this style when their barleywine was first brewed in 1976.
The Beer: The beer weighs in at 8.8% which is not the most potent of barleywines. It pours a dee rich brown with a thin taupe head. Malty raisins, figs, caramel with a hint of hops. The mouth is VERY malty, not really any alcohol flavors here. Raisins, figs, prunes and other dark dried fruits, concentrated flavors and a bit of cherry. A bit of hop bitterness at the finish but hops is definitely subdued. This beer is very nice, thoroughly enjoyable, now if I only had a cold winter night to sit and enjoy it instead of the warm February weather of Houston. This one gets an A- from me. The folks over at BA like it as well.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sam Adams, more than a Patriot

Well at least the owner of Sam Adams, Jim Koch is. Friday, Jim Koch announced a 'Hop Sharing program' that calls for Boston Beer Co to sell 20,000 pounds of their own hops to other craft breweries. At cost. This is not some way for a big brewery to make a buck at a smaller competitors expense. Instead, this is a grand example of how close knit the craft brewing community really is. Jim Koch gets a bad rap from a lot of different folks, but he deserves a standing ovation for this program. So next time your out and about lift a glass of Sam Adam's best and toast to Mr. Koch. Then go grab a local micro brew, because who knows you may be able to drink that beer because of this program.

Friday, February 15, 2008

St. Peter's IPA

Ever since St. Peter's started being sold in Texas I've looked out for their brews, and while not all of them were the greatest ever they're solid beers. Unfortunately for the past year or so, all they've had is the Porter, Cream Stout and Pale Ale at my local Spec's. So I was happily surprised when I saw their IPA at Spec's this past weekend. Needless to say I picked a bottle up.
The Beer: It pours an Orange Amber color with a thick foamy head. The nose is earthy, pine needles. The mouth is smooth, light pale malts, hoppy, earthy, grapefruity. Yup this is really hoppy, especially as it warms up. Some coppery notes start to come out, before the grapefruit flavors really take over. All in all another solid effort that I give a strong B. Here's what the folks at BA say.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sam Adams Double Bock

I've been interested in picking up this beer ever since The Session #11's and its theme of Dopplebock. I thought I'd give this one a try as I didn't see anyone that had. Sam Adams website describes this seasonal beer as an intensely malty lager. Sounds good to me.
The Beer: The beer weighs in at a robust 8.8 % and pours a rich deep copper brown with a quarter inch taupe colored head. The nose is sweet, raisiny, figgish even, with copious malts, yeasts and a bit of sourness. The mouth is extremely malty with notes of sweet dark raisins, cherry, sourdough bread. The alcohol is there, but not too much. The beer is intresting to be sure, but there may be to much rich cloyingly malty sweetness and sourdough cherry for my taste. With its extremely strong maltiness and almost cloying sweetness I'm not sure I could have more than one of these in a sitting. A good beer to be sure, one I give a B. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Monday, February 11, 2008

An Update on Texas Breweries

Yes I know that Texas is well behind when it comes to craft brewing. Compared to smaller states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California we have an incredibly small amount of craft breweries in the state. In fact if you want to see a list, scroll over to the right side of the page and you can see the minimal amount of breweries we have. Fortunately that list is growing, slowly but surely.
- First an update from one that I've been tracking, Southern Star Brewing out of Conroe. Unfortunately, they've had some delays in getting their first batch of Pine Belt Pale Ale brewing. Hopefully the delay won't be too long and they can get cranking later this month.

- There is a new craft beer makers in San Antonio expected to open this Summer. A brewpub called Freeetail Brewing, and will focus "on creating exciting, innovative and unique world class beers and wood-fired gourmet pizzas." Sounds very nice, and something I'm excited about as I think its one thing that Houston is really missing. Heck San Antonio has two, all we have is BJ's and the insipid Tow Row's. When oh when will Houston get an independent Brew pub?

- Lastly there is a new brewery that's going to open up in Austin called (512) Brewing. They're making process, their facility is built and they've gotten some of their equipment, but no word on when they're planning on opening up. Something we'll all have to keep an eye on.

Still far behind other states, but its still an exciting time to be a craft beer drinker in Texas where drinking local is getting better and easier.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

2008 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot

As I mentioned earlier this week, I wasn't able to participate in this month's session, however, always appreciating a good barley wine, I figured I would write up what I had planned to post anyways. The beer I chose was a popular one, but one that suprisingly I had never had before this year. Luckily I bought a few so I'm going to attempt to cellar some and taste them in the next few years.
The Beer: This is the 25th year that Sierra Nevada has made this barley wine which is pretty amazing when you think about the history of craft beer. This one weighs in at 9.6% pours a dark brown with a thin white head. Massive hops on the nose, floral and citrusy notes. Underneath that though there's some bready malty notes. The taste is HOPPY of course, piney, it surrounds the tongue, with a thick mouthfeel. Underlying these hops though is a taste of rich malts, bready and yeasty notes. A smooth beer, with a small amount of alcohol burn (the only real negative comment I have on this beer). Each sip of the beer is a 'JOLT' of hops and gets better and better as the beer warms. This one gets a good B+ from me.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Session Notes

Unfortunately, due to some uncontrollable events, I was unable to participate in the last Session. I really wanted to because I was excited about the theme of Barley Wine. However, if your interested in how it turned out, head over to the Brew Site for the official round up. Since I didn't get to post my contribution to the Session, I may do that later this week.

Now for the announcement of the next Session, number 13, and in this case I think its a lucky number. The host this month is Chris O'Brien at Beer Activist, and the theme this month is to publish a post on organic beer. I like this idea, as it can be any style of beer, its just got to be organic. I already have an idea of what I'll do.