2 O'Clock Tasting
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company

Not every brewery relies on age-old family secrets to make their beers. Rahr & Sons Brewing Company, however, stands out as one of those fine gems in the brewing world that has managed to make great, modern craft beer out of a family tradition. The Rahr family first entered the brewing world in 1847 after immigrating from Rhineland, Germany to the United States and starting the Rahr Malting Company, today one of the largest brewing suppliers in the country. In 2004, though, one of the Rahr boys decided he wanted to craft his own brews and started his own operation in Fort Worth, Texas.

This week we had the honor of trying some of these delightfully dark beers, which we could tell were steeped in the tradition of great brewing. From their most popular lager to newer, seasonal brews, we brought the full German/Texan/Rahr experience to our Brooklyn office to give their beers a swig.

  1. Ugly Pug

    5.0% ABV

    At first glance, the dark, reddish-purple color and lovely coffee foam rim of this beer gave off the appearance of freshly brewed coffee! Appearances were deceiving here, however, as the Ugly Pug's meaty, bone-broth smell immediately took us away to the backyard barbecues of childhood. The smoked meat aroma preceded a light, smokey flavor that contained hints of coffee and chocolate. The combined sense memory was potent, evoking a simple, comforting day spent with family and man's best friend.

  2. Drahthaar Double IPA

    9.2% ABV

    Drahthaar has one heckuva name and the prettiest face we've ever seen (for a beer, anyway). If there was a beauty pageant for beers, this hop-lover's dream would certainly take the crown with its lovely copper glow and glistening sheen - a pretty (alcoholic) penny. It was already crowned, however, by a foamy, milk-butter head, which persisted admirably. Its candied scent combined with a sweet, boozy taste made it a thick, yet well-balanced, treat. We'd recommend pairing this beautiful brew with a romantic steak dinner.

  3. 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout

    9.0% ABV

    This beer was created by Rahr & Sons for their 11th anniversary as a thank you to all the beer drinkers that supported them throughout the years (so if you're one of those, nice job, keep up the good work)! Deep gratitude could be seen in the sudsy, sandy head and opaque, espresso hue of this warm & inviting stout. The scent exploded with decadent chocolate and coconut macaroon leaving us in a dessert mood, but thankfully, the beer wasn't too sweet. Rather than pure sweetness, this brew delivered a delicious chocolate liquor bitterness that simply left us wanting more. If you're looking to indulge, this would be a great way to do it.

  4. Blonde Lager

    5% ABV

    This bright and golden lager was as lovely as a warm, breezy day at the start of summer. The clean apple and floral scent went harmoniously well with its pale gold appearance, topped with a plethora of tiny bubbles and eggshell colored foam. On the tongue, this brew had a well-rounded maltiness that stayed refreshing, a lively addition to any summer picnic lunch. The light, crisp taste of this beer was perfectly thirst-quenching, like a glass of lemonade after some time in the sun.

  5. Stormcloud

    6.8 % ABV

    Stormcloud is an appropriate IPA to drink after the storm clouds have all melted away. To the our tasters, Stormcloud looked a little less like its namesake and more like the hazy, burnt sunset after the sky has cleared. That subversion continued in the nose, with a sweet (but ultimately misleading) aroma. After that, the salty ocean bite on the tongue was a light bitter punch. The flavors soon mellowed, however, blending nicely with the light maltiness to create a smooth yet nuanced beer. Don't anticipate the strong hoppy punch of your typical IPA, though - this brew's reminiscent of calmer seas.

  6. Oktoberfest

    7.0% ABV

    This is the classic Oktoberfest. The candied-orange appearance and off-white head brought us back to the crisp of fall, with pumpkins and cider to boot. It smelled of sweet crème brûlée, like the freshly roasted caramel on top of flan. Like a Werther's Original slowly melting in our mouth, a thick, malty, toffee-candy taste coated our palettes. We could almost hear the crunching of the leaves and sounds of apple pickers as we sipped this beer. The ABV felt a bit high for an Oktoberfest, resulting in some boozy heat, but overall, this beer is delicious and certainly representative of the style.