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Texas Beer Trippin’

May 28, 2010

Not quite halfway through my vacation, and have had a variety of brews from two Texas breweries.  I have yet to sample anything from the apparently elusive Southern Star Brewery.  However, Real Ale and Shiner have come through with a couple surprisingly good beers.  Upon my arrival, my brother-in-law brought over a sixer of Fireman’s #4 from Real Ale.  It’s a refreshing blonde ale, but really not all that spectacular.  It’s supposedly made with Crystal hops, yet the hop character could use a little boost from a dry hopping.  Perhaps Bullion or Amarillo.  It was a long trip, with a layover in Phoenix.  I was beat and it was hot.  A lighter ale hit the spot.

Continuing on the Real Ale trend, I picked up the variety six pack from them, containing their pale, pale rye, and brown ales.  Both the pale and the pale rye were a bit on the crisp side.  Too much carbonation?  Could it be the hops selected?  Neither really hit the spot.  But their brown ale was excellent!  Malty, with a bit of sweetness on the back end.  Of their year-round brews, this one is their best offering.

Of course, a trip to Texas is not complete with a taste of Shiner Bock.  Shiner is a regional, yet massed-produced beer.  It’s Bock is their flagship beer, and it heads and shoulders above other mass-produced beers.  While good, it’s not stellar.  I’ve often referred to it as “my cheap beer.”  But Shiner is no one-trick pony.  Some of their beers leave much to be desired, such as their hefeweizen.  Bavarian it is not.  Their seasonals are something of a different story.  At Christmas, they have an ale brewed with pecans, and it is really good.  On this trip, I’ve had their Sommer Bier:  a Helles style beer made from barley smoked over Mesquite wood.  This is a Texas-style Rauchbier.  The smokiness is just above subtle, and complements the beer well.  All I need is some Fischer’s smoked German sausage to go with it.

Shiner also has an anniversary series.  This year, the 101 (for 101 years of brewing) is a Czech style pilsner.  It was nice, light, refreshing.  Only saaz hops make it into this beer, true to the classic style.

As I head north to Dallas on Monday, I’ll be seeking out the offerings from Southern Star.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010 1:00 pm

    I hope you find some Southern Star. My wife and I have been reading up on Texas and have decided it would be in our top five places to live. I only wish they had more reasonable brewery startup laws and systems!

    • Big Tex permalink
      June 1, 2010 2:32 pm

      I’m in Dallas now, and my brother-in-law confirms all three Southern Star varieties that are available in stores is indeed available at a store near his home. I shall not be thwarted!

      In other news, my mother, Coors Light drinker that she is, likes a true pilsner. She tried the Shiner 101 and enjoyed it very much. She also had Ziegenbock, and approved of it as well. The downside is that Ziegenbock is an Anheuser-Busch product, but it really doesn’t taste like one. Not great, not really that good, but it works in a pinch. It qualifies as my mother’s first “dark” beer that she actually likes. Beer-vangelism.

      Texas is nice. It’s been hot, but it’s nice. Overall, the people are great. BBQ is out of this world, and the market is really wide open for the craft brewer.

      • Big Tex permalink
        June 7, 2010 2:08 pm

        Found the Pale and the Stout from Southern Star. They carry the blonde but were sold out. On the other hand, had some Gubna too. Hoo-boy!

  2. Don permalink
    June 7, 2010 1:02 pm

    Good to hear things are going well, and the beer hunt has been successful! Enjoy what’s left of your vacation, and look forward to more blogism upon your return.

  3. June 12, 2010 9:38 am

    My good friend moved from Jersey to the ‘Metroplex’. He’s been there for about 20 years now and you should hear his mutated Jersey/Texas accent! Too funny! Texas, (the DFW area anyway) is waaaaay too hat for my taste. The times I was there visiting, I thought I was going to melt!

    Anyway, I should get him to send me some of this Southern Star you speak of. Sounds like good beer!

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