Thursday, July 18, 2013
10 powerhouse craft beers you should be drinking
You never know until you try.
Every other week, our thirsty special contributor Tina Danze highlights a lesser-known beer in her "Beer Buzz" column. Check out these 10 beers Tina loved recently, then get to sippin'!
1. No Label Brewing Co. Ridgeback Ale (Katy, Texas): "This nicely balanced ale has a malty backbone and a little hops bite on the back end. Fruit and vanilla notes lend some complexity. The ale started out as a home brew made by co-founder Brian Royo; he says his original idea was to make an Irish red ale, but it morphed into an amber brown ale that he liked."
2. Pedernales Classic Hefe-Weizen (Fredericksburg): "This year-round release from 1-year-old Pedernales Brewing Co. is newly available in Dallas. It’s a medium-light beer with a good dose of the classic banana and clove flavors unique to hefeweizen, thanks to the strain of yeast used. It’s crisp and dry, with just the right amount of floral hops to balance the fruity flavors. This is a great representation of the classic hefeweizen style."
3. Hop Trapp from Dallas’ Lakewood Brewing Co.: "This delicious local beer is the perfect IPA for people who don’t like hyper-hopped American IPAs. It’s made with European hops and a Belgian-style yeast. It’s a complex brew, with rich malt, crisp citrus and spicy coriander flavors. A judicious amount of bitter hops lends balance without overpowering the other flavors."
4. Saint Arnold Endeavour IPA (Houston): "An outstanding IPA, bursting with piney-citrusy hops. The hops’ bitterness isn’t overwhelming, though, as it’s nicely balanced by a creamy, bready malt sweetness. Peach notes and an earthy character lend complexity. Although it has a noticeably high alcohol content (8.9 percent), it’s smooth and easy to drink, with a dry, hoppy finish."
5. Real Ale Four Squared (Blanco, Texas): "The beer is a full-flavored mutation of Real Ale’s popular Fireman’s No. 4 blond ale. Meddlesome Moth beer director Mark Quenette says that Four not only has a heavier malt profile than the Fireman’s No. 4, but it also has a heavy citrus hop flavor and aroma as well — but without the characteristic hop bitterness, thanks to a technique known as dry hopping."
6. Dallas Blonde from Deep Ellum Brewing Co.: "American blond ale; these are light, mildly malty ales with light to medium hop bitterness. Some may be similar in style to a lager or a German-style Kolsch."
7. Kona Brewing Co. Pipeline Porter (Hawaii): "American porter; inspired by the classic English porter. American versions of this dark, malty beer are often made with the addition of smoked malts, chocolate, coffee or more hops."
8. Real Ale Brewers' Cut Imperial Red Ale (Blanco, Texas): " Red Ale/American Amber; this category covers ales that are lighter than dark ales, but aren’t pale ale or brown ales. The color can range from amber to dark red. These are often very well-balanced ales with pronounced malt flavors. Hops levels can range from heavy to mild, so there’s a lot of variation in style between brewers."
9. Lakewood Brewing Co.'s The Temptress Imperial Milk Stout (Dallas): "The Temptress is a delicious, year-round offering that’s perfect for the holidays. It’s rich and smooth, with lots of chocolate, roasted malt and burnt-sugar flavors, and dried fig notes. At 9 percent ABV, it’s high in alcohol — even for a milk stout — but the potency is well-hidden. The addition of lactose lends a lovely creaminess, and the low carbonation makes it smooth and easy to drink."
10. Magic Hat Heart of Darkness (Vermont): "This easy-drinking winter seasonal has a lot of character without being too heavy. It’s a medium-bodied stout, with roasted, malty, bittersweet flavors of dark chocolate, burnt toffee and coffee, with hints of nuts and cola. It’s nicely balanced — not too sweet, with a faintly bitter finish. This is a good choice to keep on hand for holiday guests or to include in a beer assortment for parties."