Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pumpkin Ale, Buffalo Bill Brewery

I've been wanting to taste a pumpkin ale for quite a while now. I'm salivating in anticipation for Saint Arnold's Pumpkinator, but I thought I ought to "break in" my taste buds to the palate first. So here goes Buffalo Bill.

Eyes: Golden, tawny, almost copper. The head held for a moment and fizzled out quietly.

Nose: Obviously the first thing I smell is pumpkin, though it makes me think more of pumpkin loaf. The flavor profile for "pumpkin spice" always makes me think of Chai, so I pick up on that as well.

Mouth: The mouth-feel is almost creamy, very smooth. Is it pretentious to say it tastes like autumn? I hope not, because that is the most accurate thing I can say. Truly, it makes me think of warm pumpkin bread and a Chai latte on a cool morning... except, you know, it's beer. It is vaguely reminiscent of an amber, though not as much punch on the palate. You definitely get the spices on the back of your tongue, which is really nice for the finish.

The Buffalo Bill site is under construction, but their Facebook site is up and running.
Overall I recommend this, and it makes me even more anxious to try Pumpkinator. Who doesn't love a good craft seasonal?

PS: Don't mind my LSU coozie in the back, there. Tigers kicked butt, so why shouldn't I use it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lazy days and upcoming events

The downside to having a blog like this is that I feel like every new beer I try is an assignment. The past two nights I've gotten to try delicious beers that were completely new to me, but I felt guilty for not taking tasting notes. I've decided I am allowed some lazy days of just enjoying this drink that i love; some day I will go back and record my thoughts on these brews:

Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Buffalo Bayou Brewing (Buff Brew) 1836

For now all you need to know is that they are both yummy!

Also, I heard this morning about an awesome event going on at Central Market for the next two weeks: Expand Your Brewniverse! Two full weeks of beer: cooking with beer, pairing food with beer, samples and lectures from across the country, at least. Our Central Market isn't exactly a stone's throw away, but it isn't far. Perhaps we can make a trip out there for Saturday brunch; we always love the live music on weekends, anyway.

Check out the calendar of events on their site.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Widmer Brothers Brewing: Citra Blonde Summer Brew

It looks like I caught this seasonal beer on its way out; their site lists its availability as April to August. Good timing!

Eyes: Honey-colored, light pour. The head fizzled out quickly, so I'm anticipating a crisp sip.

Nose: Something about the nose makes me think of mead. I have only had mead once, and I hated it (long time ago, who knows what I'd think now). I always think of it alongside a quote from Neil Gaiman's "American Gods". To paraphrase, it is described as tasting like honey once it's been pissed out. It doesn't sound like a good thing that I'm connecting that to this brew, but the smell is a little more pleasant. Something herbal in the scent as well, which might be what I'm connecting.

Sidebar: My favorite thing with beer (and even more so, wine) is to taste it and think, "Oh, what is that taste? I know it, I know it, oh... OH, toasted marshmallow!" or whatever fill-in-the-blank of flavor. It is fun, and I happen to be pretty good at it. Hubby studies wine and knows leagues more than I do - the man knows his grapes - but sometimes he will ask me to taste something for him because he can't quite place a flavor. I almost always get it. ;-)

Mouth: My aha moment for this palate was basil. It makes me think of lemons and basil. Which, in turn, makes me want a glass of Buffalo Bayou Brewing "Wit da eff", but that is for another time. The mouth-feel is crisp and thin, very refreshing. This is a great summer seasonal and would be perfectly matched with dipping your legs in the pool while noshing on grilled corn or some fresh bruschetta.

I did a little research and went to the site where they list their beers: HOLY CRAP do I need to visit Portland! Check out these amazing options. I will definitely keep my eyes open for this brewery again.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Catching Up / Houston Breweries

I wanted to fill people in on the goings-on in my life, at least those that relate somehow to beer.

Our son was born on March 20, 2012. He is an amazing blessing to us both. Without adding details, I stopped nursing at around three-and-a-half months; I was sad, but as a nice parting gift, I can now try new beers without worry or obsessive-compulsive timing.

I get to take a business trip in September to Sao Paolo, Brazil - WOOHOO - so I'm excited to try the local cervejas. Hopefully while I'm there I will be able to jot down some tasting notes.

We've got our DR12 bombers nestled into our wine chiller for the long haul. Ideally, I'd love to drink it on our ten year anniversary, which would mean it had aged just over five years. We'll see if it lasts that long (not holding my breath).

We got to go see a Sugarland Skeeters game recently, which meant a perfect excuse to visit Flying Saucer Sugarland (with the Saint Arnolds crew). I didn't think to take tasting notes, but I know I tried Moose Drool (which was smooth and malty) and the 15th Anniversary from Real Ale (which was yummy but VERY STRONG).

Also, thanks to our local beer supporter, Rockwell Tavern, I got to sample the 16th Anniversary doppelbock from Real Ale, as well as Wit da eff from Buffalo Bayou Brewing, a new craft brewery in Houston. I love that there are so many craft breweries nearby, and I hate that we have only toured/visited one. Having a baby cuts into our already limited free time on weekends. ;-)

Saint Arnold: Near Minute Maid park; short tour; great drinking hall; great, diverse beers
Southern Star: Conroe area; offering happiness in cans, like the delicious Bombshell Blonde; MUST VISIT
No Label: Katy; I know very little, but I know I've sampled and enjoyed a few; MUST VISIT
Karbach: 610 and Mangum; I love that they exist, but so far none of their brews tickle my fancy
Buffalo Brewing: their site isn't fully functional, so I know almost nothing, except that they make very creative, bold, delicious beers; MUST VISIT

UPDATE: My Brazil trip was cancelled/postponed. Boohoo. Maybe another time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Saint Arnold: Divine Reserve 12

Oh Saint Arnold, how I love thee. Let me count the ways... well, I would count to 12, but this is the first one I've actually had the opportunity to enjoy.

Eye: The shade of red reminds me of a red panda. A very warm color. Absolutely no head or foam.

Nose: MALTY! Oh, the glorious malts on the nose are strong but mellow, very round. There is also something roasted in the aroma.

Mouth: I was actually surprised by the sharp edge on the palate, but I'm sure it is thanks to the high alcohol content (10%). There is a nice, rich depth. The flavor profile reminds me of the Oktoberfest style, which is my favorite style. There is a slightly orange zest flavor as well. This beer is recommended to age, and I think that will really mellow it out. We've got a few bottles, so I'm looking forward to enjoying them over an extended period of time.

Friday, July 20, 2012


For anyone searching for craft beers in their area of the world, I present Tap Lister.

And allow me to show you, in a nutshell, why I love Rockwell Tavern:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saint Arnold: Winter Stout

Hubs came home from work tonight excited to show me a treat he found at the store: Saint Arnold Winter Stout. "I didn't even know they were making this!" He poured it and I kept hearing him say, "Oh yeah, look at this." I must admit, it is a thing of beauty. I don't generally like stouts, but things change, right? I decided to try a few sips.

This opaque, espresso colored beer has a toffee-colored head that leaves no lacing behind. The aroma floats coffee, burnt sugar and smoke under your nose (Hubs described it as charred, "like charcoal", and I kind of agree, though I smelled more wood smoke).

I always think a beer that looks like that will have a creamy mouth-feel, but it is light and smooth on the tongue. Something about the taste reminds me of the taste in my mouth after smoking a pipe, though I wouldn't compare the flavor to tobacco. There are definite notes of earthiness as well.

I don't love the stout palette, so I don't imagine this is one I will drink often; I'd want a few sips, max. I do feel confident recommending it to those who appreciate a rich stout.