Another day, another beer tasting from a city currently much warmer than ours: we took a trip in our tastebuds to a place with warmer temperatures, and excellent beer. Austin Beerworks is just a sampling of the great beer coming out of Texas.
Austin Beerworks, which began brewing in 2011, is the only brewery in Austin to produce canned-only beer, following its neighbors to the north, like Oskar Blues. Not only are the cans better for the environment, but they also protect Austin Beerworks' four beer styles cool and tasty. (And you know, it does get pretty hot in Austin.) These four brewers are dedicated to making great beer, and making Austin into a great beer destination -- mission accomplished. .
We were excited to bring back Austin Beerworks' four beers back to New York with us, four beer that represent a bit of a return to the classic styles we love. Our thoughts:
5.3% ABV (Or, as Austin Beerworks notes: "three before you start trying that annoying accent"
The first thought that came to mind after we poured: this looked like the champagne of beers. No, not in that Miller Lite appearance, but bright, sunny yellow, with fine carbonation. We immediately picked up a wet, dewey smell that's reminiscent of a wet sidewalk from this German-style pilsner. It's clear that this is a beer not meant to be drank in our current temperatures, but blazing hot Austin temperatures (the brewery states that when the temperature rises, "this beer will be your best friend"). It imparted a straw, fresh-cut-grass taste with the perfect amount of hops for a bright, crisp finish.
5.3% ABV ("four before you break out that Mick Jagger impression")
Black Thunder is clearly the answer for stout and porter lovers living in too-hot temperatures. Rather than a thick and creamy stout, Black Thunder (a German Schwarz) looks more like a root beer or Coca-Cola poured into a glass, very clear and nicely carbonated. You first get some bread and toast aromas, that end with hints of unexpected spices; we picked up hints of licorice (borderline absinthe), tobacco, black tea, and smoke. While the aroma starts out strong, the beer finishes with a clean, dark chocolate finish that's slightly smoky and bitter. It ends crisp and dry, making it the ultimate dark beer for hot weather.
5.0% ABV ("four before you get the urge to climb things")
The extra pale ale Peacemaker is like the big brother to the Pearl Snap -- it's just as straw-like and grassy as Pearl Snap, but even lighter and more balanced. The color of straw, the first aromas are reminiscent of baby corn and hay. Corn dominates the first sip, and ends with a slightly yeasty taste. It's not at all bitter (the brewery notes it's as bitter as Conan O'Brian, take that how you will), but very light and refreshing. We can see why Austin Beerworks calls this the "gateway" beer.
6.4% ABV ("three before you start hugging the elderly")
The American IPA really is a "hop rainbow": using Summit, Columbus, Centennial, and Amarillo hops, Fire Eagle imparts lots of fruity yet peppery aromas. The Summit hops give the beer sharp finish, with just a touch of a pungent, almost garlicky taste. Nevertheless, it's still a refreshing take on a bold, hoppy IPA.