Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beer Love

Last night I ventured out to a Tweetup for #beericecream at FreeTail Brewing. I figured it would kill 3 birds with one stone. 

1) I had not yet been to FreeTail

2) I have been meaning to get out and mingle with San Antonio people

3) um, beer ice cream? yes!

The beer ice cream was yummy, and so was the Broken Promise Pale Ale. My only disappointment for the night was that they did not have an IPA on tap. They have one that's brewing, but it wasn't quite ready - I will have to make a trip back for Phantom of the Hopera :) 

It was also fun to meet up with fun locals and put faces to twitter handles. While twitter, blogging, and social media are all just geeky hobbies of mine, I am amazed with the proliferation of Social Media based jobs in the local area. San Antonio has become very technology forward. It's nice to see these amazing tools used by talented folks who are not part of the nerd-core. No offense to my nerdy blog and twitter followers - I am still one of you and you will always hold a place near and dear in my heart. Fem Dev Forever!

In other beer-related news, my plate if officially on the wall at The Flying Saucer. The grand unveiling will take place on Sunday with a fantastic beer party. I am so looking forward to celebrating this accomplishment.

Yes that is Luna (Sailor Moon) peeking out :) If they read the paperwork right, my plate will have my twitter handle on it and will be the first "@" on the wall!

It took me ten months to drink my way through 200 different beers. As a previous non-beer drinker, it was no easy accomplishment. But through the process I have learned to appreciate the variety and options that beer has to offer.

I'm a huge fan of beer pairings and have a few menus planned for future beer-events.

I am now 12 beers into a second plate. While I am no longer facebooking the images of the beers, spamming my friends with every tasting note, or keeping myself tied to a date - I plan to continue the enjoyment of beer and what it brings to my palate. 

In honor of my upcoming plate unveiling, Here's my list of the Top 10 Beers that make up that plate. (If you'd like to see all 200 - check out the "Beer Knurd" photo Album on Facebook)

The picture is a little fuzzy - as beer 17/200 I had not quite mastered my lighting or dual phone wielding flash technique. The picture does not do this beer justice. A beautiful strong pale ale - great for spring and summer. And it's local! The guys at Real Ale are crazy fun to visit.

Named for the scenic ridge that runs between Blanco and Wimberley, Devil's Backbone is a Belgian-style tripel

Czech Saaz hops and Belgian yeast give this ale its distinctive flavor and aroma. Candy sugar made in-house at the brewery adds strength without increasing heaviness. The result is a deceptively strong, pale golden ale. 8.1% ABV

The bottle alone won me over on this one. Who can resist cute foil elephants? And as good as it tastes, it's a must try! I'm a huge fan of Belgians, and this one is a great example of spicy greatness.

The beer uses three different yeasts and is packaged in a bottle that is painted to resemble cologne ceramics. The label exemplifies different phases of the production of "Delirium Tremens" and that the "Pink Elephant" was up and ready to conquer the world. The drink is well known for its high alcohol content, a whopping 8.5% ABV

When making the way through the menu at the saucer, you will see that they have a nice selection of "big" beers. at 25.5 ounces, be prepared to share or have a designated driver.

Local 1 pours a strong gold with a large, lingering, whipped cream-like head, and some noticeable carbonation that goes away after time. Pleasant earthy fruitiness followed by spicy, herbal hops and a slight alcohol warmth. Although listed as a Belgian strong or a "strong saison," it's not overly complex. The taste gives way to more complexity, with distinct fruits (pears, apples, green grapes?), more spices (cloves for sure, pepper, etc.), and a much needed and well done bitterness. 9.0% ABV

A rich, robust porter with a dry finish. Brewed with organic fair trade coffee from Katz Coffee Roasters.

I got ahold of this one the day they tapped the first keg and I was instantly won over. The smooth flavor and robust coffee taste is perfection. I smile looking at this photo knowing that I went out that same night to buy up every 6pack in town I could get my hands on. 

The only downside to this beer, or any seasonal beer, is that once you've consumed your stash, you will have to wait for the season to return. This beer is worth rationing :)


Pours a hazy brown color with slightly purple highlights and a one-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of spicy wheat with good amounts of brown-sugar coated fruits - mostly raisins, plums, and dates but also with good amounts of banana. Tastes similar to how it smells with a crisp ending.

8.0% ABV

This beer was the beginning of my love for IPAs and all things hoppy

Definite bite up front with very tart dry fruit. Creamy smooth texture with just the right balance of carbonation. Nice hop burn at the end and a nice presence of alcohol to remind you of the abv.
This beer was also the beginning of my love affair with Avery beers.


No, it's not a repeat - it's the same beer with a different twist - it's Cask Conditioned Ale
Typically keg and bottled beers are either sterile-filtered or pasteurised or both, but beer destined for cask is simply 'racked' (poured) into the cask in its natural state. Finings are placed in the cask to assist 'dropping' the yeast giving a clear beer. Extra hops and priming sugar may also be added. The cask is sealed and sent off to the pub. In this state it is like a bottle-conditioned beer and, like bottle-conditioned beers, the beer will continue to develop for a certain period of time. 
The result is it makes an already spectacular beer even more amazing! 8.5% ABV

It's  refreshing to mix it up with a nice Brown Ale once in a while. Especially when it’s a big-ass, malty-sweet version from Lagunitas

Wilco Tango Foxtrot does not disappoint as a malty, robust "jobless recovery ale". Not too sweet and not too thick.

I have spent a great deal of time with Lagunitas at home - their line of craft brews is always amazing and yum. I just wish the Saucer had carried more of their great works so I could have had them as part of my 200.

7.83% ABV

This beer is a hop lovers dream come true. Nice hop aroma with grassy notes, a little bit of pine.  Nothing is too overpowering. The hops are very well balanced with a nice pine and grass flavor coming through. There is also a very subtle sweetness on the finish.

Extremely drinkable.

There is something about the pure grassy taste of hops that is just pure heaven - this beer captures that essence perfectly.
6.1% ABV

So I know.. you're thinking what is so special about Abita Turbo Dog? Well let me explain. I knew my number one beer had to be an Abita. Why? Well for that answer I would need a whole other blog post about New Orleans trips with Xtine and beer pairing dinners with Chef Jason Dady.

Abita Turbodog is a dark brown ale brewed with Willamette hops and a combination of British pale, crystal and chocolate malts. This combination gives Turbodog its rich body and color and a sweet chocolate-toffee like flavor.

Turbo Dog has been a staple at my house for years. It's always available and pairs well with meats. I love meat, and I love this beer.
 6.13% ABV

The only Abita beer I love more would be the Strawberry Harvest Lager, but the Saucer didn't carry that. I did however purchase 3 cases to last for the summer as it's the perfect "poolside" beer for the Texas heat.

My entire family loves Abita (thanks to their root beer). If you need an easy beer pairing - Abita is the way to go. They only make great beer. Restoration Pale Ale, Amber, AndyGator, Abbey Ale, sigh.. All good!


Anonymous said...

Great post. I think you hit the nail on the head with describing this emerging local Social Media community.

The Waspy Redhead said...

Congratulations on your plate! I've been working on it for a while and I'm only 100 beers in. I need to get serious and set myself a deadline.