texas

Land of the free, home of the brave and enormous amounts of CRAFT BEER!

Being back in the good ole state of Texas has been a little more than I expected it to be.   Living overseas is eye-opening among a million other things but when it comes to feeling at home, family, friends and craft beer, nothing compares to America!  The weather has been pretty fantastic and I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Austin, TX and Houston as well.  Spent some great afternoons at the park or on a hike in the sun with my brother and his pretty lady and the pup Bea.  We relax, watch all the dogs play and sip on delicious craft brews over-looking the city skyline.  Those are the great days.  

During our past fews days of enjoying the feel-good weather I got to try some local brews to Austin like Austin Beerworks seasonal IPA, Heavy Machinery.  Easy breezy beer and love the fact they are canned.  Great for a hike day or dog park and they are discrete so no need for a coozie ;)  Rates at a 97 on Ratebeer, pick one up!  Another great Austin craft brew I had a few times was Stash IPA by Independence Brewing.  I personally enjoyed the quite hoppy taste!  Packs a punch with 4 different hops added 7 times!  We also had Austin Amber ale and Convict Hill which is an oatmeal stout.  Both great and both from Independence Brewing.  What else have we tried....hmmm.  Had it before but my brother had some Hopadillo IPA's by Karbach waiting for me when I arrived.  He also had a Ballast Point Sculpin and to that I brought him a Ballast Point Victory at Sea.  Ballast Point is ON POINT.  Always enjoy their beers.  We both really liked the Victory at Sea, first time trying.  A porter with coffee and vanilla, YES PLEASE!  It really was a great beer!  I like to call it a breakfast brew.  Oh and another one I picked up for us to taste was Clown Shoes Crunkle Sam.  This one is an American Barley Wine.  Delicious!  Love me some barley wines!  They don't mess around and Ratebeer has it at a 98.  This beer is apparently "retired" so I guess I got lucky to see it on the shelf.  I liked the breweries description and seemed fitting for my return to America...

"We brewed Crunkle Sam, an American Barleywine Ale dry hopped with Citra hops, to celebrate America. America, we love you: thank you for allowing Clown Shoes to set off a few fireworks in the craft beer world."

Going to the liquor shops around town, particularly Spec's is overwhelming coming from living overseas for so long.  I stand there looking at all the beers not knowing where to begin.  So many good choices and so many I have yet to try.  It has only just begun!  

Whaahaahaa!  Get out and try some local brews to your hometown!  

Cheers!

BREWDOG Pub Hopping - BEER FOR PUNKS

My first BrewDog brew was the Punk IPA years ago, like 2007 or 2008.  I was not a fan at the time.  Don't think I drank BrewDog for a while after that.  Roughly two years ago I discoverd Fussa Base Liquor in Japan and they had just started selling a nice selection of American craft beer as well as from other countries.  They had several BrewDog (brewed in Scotland) beer's to choose from so I gave it another shot.  Very pleasantly surprised with their brews.  It also had to do with my craft beer palate being much more advanced and into tasting a much larger variety.  Jackhammer (which I have posted about before) became one of our "go-to" IPA's.  Hardcore IPA was another we would grab just to have on hand at the house.  A couple of mine and Louis's other faves they had were Mix Tape 8 and for a short time, the collaboration brew with Oskar Blues, Shipwrecker Circus. That was an awesome barley wine at a nice 10.5%!!!  Wish they would make that treat again!  

Anyway, we have since then watched every episode of Brew Dogs and really seek out their brews.  They aren't afraid to try new things and they do get crazy with it, it's greatness!  Now that we are living in the UK we have gone to a few of the BrewDog bars...London locations were, Shepherd's Bush, Camden and Shoreditch.  In Scotland we popped in the Edinburgh bar and recently stopped in the bar in Nottingham.  They are such fun bars to go to!  Oh and little did we know there was a damn BrewDog bar in Roppongi, Japan.  Only found out after we got to England.  Shit!

Shepherd's Bush was our first try while in London for the weekend.  We had to go seeing as we love their beer, they have guest beer and their menu said Texas Style BBQ.  Not sure if it was the fact we had been walking around all day or that we had downed a couple not so light brews but the damn bbq was outstanding.  We got a plate with all the meats and a couple of sides and screw the utensils, we ate animal style and it was so damn good.  Some of the best BBQ I have ever had.  This location seemed to be a popular spot, it got very packed.  We went back a couple months later and same thing, get their early and grab your seat for the night!  Good times! 

Shepherd's Bush

Shepherd's Bush

Tasters

Tasters

 Shoreditch and Camden were the next locations we hit up between those two trips.  Not as packed but we did go during the day.  Day pints are the best!  

In October we drove up to Scotland for a few days.  I really wanted to get us up to Aberdeen to see the brewery but couldn't on this trip.  It will happen ;) Scotland is AMAZING by the way.  Would love to go back and see more.  Our first night there we walked over to the Edinburgh BrewDog bar.  It was great fun!  Tried some of the Russian doll brews, ended up buying the pack of them with a glass before we left Scotland.  Met some brothers from Norway and introduced them to several craft brews.  Needless to say it was a little slow start the next morning.  Loved it!

Most recently popped into the Nottingham bar when we drove up for the day just to see what the town was all about.  Another great place, lots of shopping and very tasty sounding restaurants.  Seemed to have quite the variety about town for food.  The BrewDog bar was kind of tucked away in what seems to be an up and coming area.  They have gaming consoles set up on the side wall with old school box TVs to play and all kinds of board games and what not to shoot the shit with friends and really just enjoy your time hanging.  Love that!  Would definitely like to go back for a day of shopping and day pints!

I rather enjoy hitting up the BrewDog bars.  Great atmosphere at all of them, friendly and knowledgeable staff, good food, games and of course AWESOME BREWS!  If you are ever around the areas look them up and see if you can find one nearby.  They are growing so chances are good you will find one.

Cheers!

Mix Tape 8 & Centennial IPA

Mix Tape 8 from Brewdog is one of my favorite beers!  It is such a complex brew, or in the words of the head brewer Stewart Bowman, "fucking complex!"  You can definitely tell it was aged in whisky barrels.  Outstanding to say the least!  Ratebeer agrees rating it an overall 99 at an ABV of 14.5%.  I don't know what a 12oz bottle of this costs in the states but living in Japan and now England I pay around $15 a bottle, worth every penny!  Please pic one up and try if you see it.  For a full description click here.

9.jpg

The next one I had tonight was Founder's Centennial IPA.  Tried this one on tap at the local pub/restaurant in town and was delighted.  Had a nice hoppy but citrus flavor.  Great floral aroma.  This IPA rated a 99 as well on Ratebeer.com with an ABV of 7.2%.  Another good IPA to have on hand for a relaxing pint after a long day on the job.

Wanna give a shout out to no label brewing in Katy, TX.  Awesome place to go sample some of their brews.  Picnic tables, food trucks, cigar stand, live music etc.  Great set up and you will absolutely have a great time hanging with friends, shootin' the shit.  FYI, their Don Jalapeno Ale is so damn tasty!  Wow!  Wow!

Definitely relaxed after having both, although we shared the Mix Tape 8.  I highly recommend both of these great beers!  

Cheers!

Monday! Celebrate with a brew!

No reason to be grim on a Monday when you can come home and relax with a tasty brew-ha!  Sitting outside on a cool, crisp evening with a Sherlenkerla Urbock at 6.5%.  This is a German Smoked, dark in color, smooth and amazing flavors kind of beer.

Tasted this one at our beer store while filling a growler of Stone IPA and well, we grabbed a growler of it as well.  I loved the smokiness of it!  I still can't put my finger on what food it tastes like but it's great!  Ok it doesn't taste exactly like a food but that smoky flavor and taste on the end really reminds me of something I've eaten or smelled on the pit.  Some people shy away from beers that might have a foodie flavor like jalapeño or hatch chili but man oh man, my experiences with those have been awesome!!!  Caldera Brewing makes and amazing roasted hatch chili beer that is to die for!  No Label in Katy, TX has or had a jalapeño beer I tried this summer that was ever so good.  Just have to try them.  This one today though is great and perfect for the season.  

Have you tried it? If so, thoughts?!

Cheers!





Ok so I think I figured out sorta what the flavor or smell of this beer reminds me of.  It is those damn bacon crackers I had when I was a kid.  Anyone remember these?!