I was mighty impressed with the craft beers in the People’s Republic of Texas, on what was my first visit to the country. One the best brews was one of the last I sampled. Having just topped up my ring-burner supplies in Austin’s Tears of Joy hot sauce shop, I joined my amigos at the Iron Cactus, on Austin’s famous 6th St for my good ole Tex Mex food before heading home.
The guacamole was the best I’ve ever had, the fried fish tacos really hit the spot and, to top it all, the ‘Fuego’ Jalapeno Pilsner proved the perfect accompaniment.
Brewed by the Texan Twisted X Brewing Company, Fuego is a beautifully balanced Pilsner with enough Jalapeno heat to make it interesting but not so much that it takes away from the complex hop flavours. I loved it’s subtlety, but if heat is your thing you could always spice it up with some Anal Angst or Brand New Asshole hot sauce from Tears of Joy!
Here’s brilliantly twisted Texan, Bill Callahan with …. America ………..
Another day, another classic ‘merkin brew. Anchor Brewing have some real history and experience behind them, mastering the noble art of brewing since 1896. Based in San Francisco, they have a fine range of beers and after sampling this one, I’ll definitely be seeking out some more.
Not as punchy as many American craft ales, this beer is more subtle and nuanced. There are honey hues and aromas, with a slight hint of brandy barrels on the nose. The barrels are evident in the taste too, with undertones of wooded Chardonnay and raisins. Really quite yum. Just be careful when ordering ‘two Anchors’ ………… you could always use sign language.
Time to weigh anchor, here’s Dreadzone with ‘Captain Dread’ ………
Based in the aptly-named Downington, Pennsylvania, the Victory Brewing Company have been doing the business since 1996. I chanced upon their ‘Hop Devil’ whilst on a brief visit to Lennox Head. I don’t think any beer deserves to be left on the shelf, so I grabbed the last bottle. After drinking it, I wished there had been a six-pack.
I expect a bit of bite from an American IPA and Hop Devil doesn’t disappoint. The aroma is yeasty and there’s deep, rich hop flavours. I taste hints of blackcurrant and Navel Orange rind. Brewed using whole hop flowers and not pellets the result is complex and rewarding. The devil is in the detail.
I was going to include a pun about Beelzebubbles …….. but decided against it.
Portland-based Bridgeport Brewing is celebrating 30 years of ‘Beervana’. The Oregon brewers have a fine stable of brews but this is the first I’ve come across. With most American IPA’s the “I” stands for “Intense” and Hop Czar is no exception.
‘All Hail The King’ boasts the bottle and this Imperial India Pale Ale lives up its royal billing. This is a feisty American IPA with bags of hops, bittersweet green-apple crumble with hints of citrus rind and a zesty finish. It was great for a winter barbecue and a perfect accompaniment to my homemade burger with mayo, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, picked beetroot, red-onion chutney and melted cheese, topped with The Chilli Factory’s ‘Turbo Supercharge – Extreme Hot Habnero Paste’. Not for the faint-hearted
Here’s beer-lovin’ Frank Black with ‘Czar’ …………… well, he looks like he’s beer-lovin’
All work and no play ……………… The Beer Hunter has been hunting.
What a rare treat and what a rare ale. This limited edition ale is very hard to find in Australia. In fact it is so limited in its Australian edition that I’ve drunk the only one. Munroe’s Fredonian is a hand crafted, American style pale ale from the little-known Munroe Brewery in Sarasota, Florida and boy, it’s a beauty.
Head brewer and founder, Alan Munroe hand delivered this little gem. It travels well and arrived in perfect condition. A deep reddish amber in colour, it has floral aroma, plenty of fizz and holds its head well. A good balance of citrus and hops give it a full, well-rounded flavour and the dry hopping towards the end of the brewing process gives it a lip-smacking bitter finish.
I give it 5 bunny ears and can’t wait for the 2015 vintage. Goes well with a Cornish Pasty ……………. Muy Buena!
In honour of the first Fredonians, here’s Texas with ‘I Don’t Want A Lover’
Strauss calls this a ‘seasonal ale’ and it certainly has a winter feel to it. It’s a deep reddish brown and only very lightly carbonated. There’s caramel and rich, Christmas cake flavours. I’d prefer it with a bit more fizz, or maybe in a pint glass in front of roaring fire.
Here’s Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds with ‘Red Right Hand’ ………….
I’ve come to expect a lot from American pale ales and IPA’s and certainly wasn’t disappointed with this one from the Rochester, NY-based Dundee Brewery.
After a hard day replacing the front deck, this IPA went down a treat. Such complexity in the flavours, dried fruit and caramelised sugars mixed with a subtle bitterness with a hint of malt whisky (or perhaps that was the 6% abv coming through). In fact, it reminded me of a Dundee Cake, whether this was psychosomatic because of the name, I don’t know, but I certainly wanted another slice when I’d finished the first. Have your cake …… and eat it.
Here’s Dundee band, The Associates, with the great ‘going out’ anthem ‘Party Fears Two’. There was a time when we all tried to dance like this …………
No one really does American style pale ales like the Americans. A few years ago I would have disputed the fact that Americans could even make beer. Sierra Nevada started brewing in 1980, and on the strength of this Pale Ale, I’d say they’re pretty good at it.
This is a real beaut of a pale, deep gold in colour, with fruit and caramel on the nose. There’s great citrus rind and grapefruit flavours and as it warms, wonderful caramelised sugar undertones. Well worth a 6-pack next time you’re at the drive -thru liquor store.
Here’s Lou Reed with ‘Last Great American Whale’ dedicated to all the anti-CSG protesters out at Bentley and other places around the world, looking out for the environment. Get the message. Spread the word.
Another pale ale inspired by surf culture, this beer is named after a style of longboard rather than a species of duck. If anyone knows how to brew an American style pale ale, it’s the Americans. The San Diego based Karl Strauss’s Brewing Company has made an award -winning ale of character and depth.
I drank this one straight from the bottle so I’m afraid the colour escaped me. ‘Pintail’ has a strong floral hop aroma backed up by a complex flavour of citrus rind, perhaps a hint of sea salt and a dry hoppy finish. I found it the perfect accompaniment to the fresh Ballina rock oysters I had as a prelude to dinner on Saturday night. At 5.3% it’s strong enough to keep you honest and tasty enough to get you back for more. Ride this one all the way to the shore.
Be careful what you wish for. Two days of wishy washy lager had lulled me into a false sense of security and so I wasn’t ready for the ‘slap-in-the-face-with-a-wet-fish taste of the ‘Big Eye’. This IPA certainly put the ‘balls’ in Ballast Point. None of your stone fruit here, just pure citrus rind and pith. Bitter with hint of burnt toffee and sea salt, it has real bite and was perfectly matched with the Moroccan chicken tagine I knocked up, with preserved lemons.
After a bit of research I find, “Ballast Point is the result of Jack White and Yuseff Churney following their dream of high quality, craft beers. Handcrafted and bottled in San Diego, California , the Big Eye India Pale Ale is a beer for those who love their beers with high hop content. High in natural bitterness courtesy of the American Columbus and Centennial hops, the Big Eye is a perfect accompaniment to a whole range of spicy foods.” (http://danmurphys.com.au/product/DM_721628/ballast-point-big-eye-india-pale-ale) “Big Eye has an IBU (International Bitterness Units) value of 85, which is high for American-Style India Pale Ale beers, meaning it is bitter for its style” (http://beer.findthebest.com).
At a whopping 7%, it’s not for the faint-hearted or dyed-in-the-wool lager drinkers Big Eye is quite a catch, hook one today.
Jack White would be too obvious, so here’s Big Country with ‘Chance’