Jaguar Shark Release Party! Save the World Tasting + Pairing Plus Plenty of New Beers Including Jester King.

 Sahara’s newest blog post is now live here and explores the secret life of lagers. Enjoy!

Free In-Store Tastings 6-8pm

Thursday, June 25th – TONIGHT!

Cory Rossmeissl, the rep with the best head of hair out of any brewery rep in Austin, will be back at the tasting bar dishing out free samples of their three newest releases from our favorite not-for-profit brewery based in Marble Falls. Cory also picked up three fantastic cheeses from our friends @ Henri’s Cheese Shop to pair with the beer.

The Princeps Pacis is a traditional Belgian style Tripel with a bit of spice and sweetness. It will be paired with manchego-style goat cheese from Spain. The Sanguis Barleywine is boozy and complex but a bit of brettanomyces cuts the sweetness that most barleywines posess. It will be paired with a raw cow & sheep cheese from Italy. And in a stylistic departure from most of their other beers, they recently released Verbum in Tenebris – a double chocolate milk stout with mint added. Paired with a gouda-style cow cheese from Holland. YUM.

Tuesday, June 30th

Four words: Jaguar Shark Release Party. Local brewpub Pinthouse Pizza is not only working on opening a South Austin this fall which we’re super excited about, but they’re also releasing Jaguar Shark bottles, their multiple medal-winning bourbon barrel aged dry Irish stout. They’re having a release party at the brewpub this Saturday, but we’re ridiculously lucky to be one of only 2 spots in town who will also sell the bottles. We’ll be getting 2 cases and will raffle off the right to purchase them during a bottle release event next Tuesday 6/30. Two drawings will happen – at 6:30 and 7pm. Limit 1 bottle per household, and if you’re here for both drawings you get a second raffle ticket to increase your chances. Raffle tickets are free, but obviously if you win you have to buy the bottle.

Wednesday, July 1st

Goliad Brewing has a new rep in town so we’re breaking him in with a free tasting happening Wedn 7/1. Dan Dillon will be here pouring free samples of La Bahia black hefeweizen, Redfish IPA & Golden ale.

Thursday, July 2nd

Stone Brewing rep Steve Ponsetti will be back at the tasting bar sampling out Ruination v2.0, Points Unknown IPA, Saison & HiFi + LoFi Mixtape. These are some pretty interesting beers so you’re not going to want to miss it!

New Beers This Week

Back in stock: Stone Points Unknown, Lone Pint Yellow Rose, Community Mosaic (arriving Friday).

St Bernardus Oak Aged Abt 12 – This is a must try for any Belgian beer lovers. St Bernardus makes one of the best (if not THE best) Belgian quadrupel we can get year-round in TX. This version of the same beer undergoes a 6 month aging in calvados (apple brandy) casks. Ummmmm, yes please. 11% ABV/Watou, Belgium/Ratebeer 98/Availability: very limited

Jester King Lemon & Lime and Orange & Grapefruit Provenance* – Jester King’s Provenance series features farmhouse ales that are brewed with different varieties of citrus fruit. We’ll be getting 2 varieties on Friday – the Lemon/Lime & the Orange/Grapefruit. 5.7% & 5.5% ABV respectively/Availability: limited

Jester King Commercial Suicide* – Inspired by English mild ales, this farmhouse version retains characteristics of the inspiration but uses JK’s house yeast blend to funk it up a bit. 2.9% ABV/Austin, TX/Availability: limited/*Arriving Friday

Strange Land Bishops Gate Barleywine – An abundance of malted barley gives Bishopsgate a rich complexity, starting with a floral nose and ending with a full-bodied toffee finish. These intense flavors are aged for sixty days and, if cellared, will continue to mingle and harmonize for years. 10.9% ABV/Austin, TX/No ratings yet/Availability: plenty

Texas Keeper Grafter Rosé – 93% Rome Beauty apples (American heirloom), 7% TX tempranillo grapes. Slightly effervescent, 8.6%.  notes of strawberries & cream. Fermented & aged 7 months. Clear bottle. Only 125 cases made.

Avery Lilikoi Kepolo – A new 4 pack can from Avery, this will be a great beer for the warmer days that are now upon us. A Belgian-style witbier with spices & passion fruit added for a spicy & slightly tart finish. 5.6% ABV/Boulder, CO/Ratebeer 98/Availability: limited

North Coast Puck Petite Saison – Originally brewed as 25th anniversary beer, Puck petite saison is a sessionable 4% ABV using pils and wheat malts. It’s fermented using the same yeast strain as the Le Merle Saison for a dry & spicy finish. 4% ABV/Fort Bragg, CA/Ratebeer 85/Availability: decent

Deep Ellum Easy Peasy Session IPA – Deep Ellum out of Dallas is getting in the session IPA game with their Easy Peasy session IPA brewed with tangerine and lemon peel for a very citrusy & thirst-quenching brew. 5.2% ABV/Dallas, TX/No ratings yet/Availability: decent

Founders Double Trouble – Founders’ popular Imperial IPA is back in 4 packs, with 86 IBUs and an aggressive hop profile backed up a beefy malt backbone. 9.4% ABV/Grand Rapids, MI/Ratebeer 99/Availability: limited

Upslope Thai IPA – Uplsope’s fan favorite summer seasonal is back: brewed with Belgian wit yeast strain but is hopped like an American IPA. The kicker is they add seven Asian-inspired spices for a truly unique beer. 6.5% ABV/Boulder, CO/Ratebeer 91/Availability: limited

Texian Liberty Brett IPA – I can’t find a ton of info online about this one, but I do know it’s a brettanomyces IPA in 22 oz bombers!

Community Razzy* – The Razzy starts its life as Community’s gold medal winning witbier. After primary fermentation they add natural raspberry puree during secondary fermentation for a slightly sweet & gently spicy ale. 5.5% ABV/Dallas, TX/No ratings yet/Availability: plenty/*Arriving Friday

Community Sundial Session IPA* – Centennial, Simco & Amarillo combine for a nice hoppy flavor & aroma but in only a 4.5% brew. 6 pack cans for your poolside drinking pleasure. 4.5% ABV/Dallas, TX/No ratings yet/Availability: plenty/*Arriving Friday

Free Weekend Tastings, 6-8pm

Friday

Texas Keeper Grafter Series Rosé Cider

Clown Shoes Date Night Saison

Deep Ellum Easy Peasy IPA

North Coast Brother Thelonious

Saturday

Upslope Thai White IPA

North Coast Puck Petite Saison

5 Stones Norma Jeane

Real Ale Anniversary XIV Baltic Porter

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Awesome New Beers!

Sahara’s newest blog post is now live here and explores the secret life of lagers. Enjoy!

Free In-Store Tastings 6-8pm

Thursday, June 18th – TONIGHT!

New Cedar Creek rep Shannon will be in the house pouring free samples of some year-round favorites, Dankasaurus IPA and Lawn Ranger Cream Ale, plus their Fisticuffs Barley Wine seasonal.

Tuesday, June 23rd

Ballast Point has traditionally been known for their very hop-forward centered beers but recently have really branched out to make some interesting things. We’ll be tasting the brand new Grunion Pale Ale in addition to Even Keel, their session IPA, Longfin Lager & Piper Down, a very malt-forward scotch ale.

Wednesday, June 24th

International Man of Mystery Frank Mancuso will be back at the tasting bar pouring free samples of some summertime St Arnold favorites. Their Summer Pils is an easy drinking poolside beer. Icon Green is a hefeweizen dry hopped with amarillo hops. And Boiler Room is a tart Berliner Weisse – a sour wheat beer. Plus we’ll have one or two other goodies for sampling!

Thursday, June 25th

Cory Rossmeissl, the rep with the best head of hair out of any brewery rep in Austin, will be back at the tasting bar dishing out free samples of the three newest releases from our favorite not-for-profit brewery based in Marble Falls.

The Princeps Pacis is a traditional Belgian style Tripel with a bit of spice and sweetness. Their new Belgian quadrupel will be released just in advance of the tasting. And in a stylistic departure from most of their other beers, they recently released Verbum in Tenebris – a double chocolate milk stout with mint added. Cory will also be bringing small cheese samples that will pair with the beers.

New Beers This Week

Back in stock:  Rogue Sriracha Stout, Oasis Meta Modern!, Independence Red Bud!

Odell Barrel Thief * – Barrel Thief is an Imperial IPA that was stolen from the brewhouse and stashed away in medium toast, new American oak barrels. The brew features a notorious tropical fruit hop character that tangles with hints of vanilla, dried fruit, and toasted nut from its time served in the barrel. 9.4% ABV/Fort Collins, CO/Beer Advocate 89/*Arriving Friday/Availability: very limited

Avery Insula Multos* – Strong sour beer aged in fresh Bourbon barrels for around 9 months and fermented with a small amount of cherries. Originally inspired by the flavors of the Manhattan cocktail. 9.7% ABV/Boulder, CO/Ratebeer 98/Availability: limited

Avery Fortuna* – Batch #28 in the Avery barrel-aged series, this one is a sour ale aged in tequila barrels with lime zest & salt. 8.1% ABV/Boulder, CO/Ratebeer 97/*Arriving Friday/Availability: limited

Avery Raspberry Sour* – Sour ale with raspberries added and then aged in oak barrels. Luscious ripe red raspberries are elegantly intertwined with a bountiful amount of lactic acidity and delicate barrel nuances to cultivate this stunning sour ale. 7.2% ABV/Boulder, CO/Ratebeer 99/*Arriving Friday/Availability: very limited

Stone Saison – Stone’s take on a saison using fresh ingredients from their farm in Southern California. They add lemon zest, lemon thyme and lavender for a refreshing but very dry summer seasonal. 6% ABV/Escondido, CA/Ratebeer 85/Availability: decent

Stevens Point Wee Heavy Scotch Ale – This Wee Heavy 120 Shilling Scotch Ale boasts a deep copper hue that gives way to a rich full mouthfeel with bold malt flavor and sweet notes of toffee and caramel. 6.5% ABV/Stevens Point, WI/No ratings yet/Availability: decent

Ducato Brett Peat Daydream – One of the most complex and interesting beers you’ll ever try. It’s a blend of three different beers: a peated barley wine, a rauch marzen (smoked beer) partially aged in scotch whisky barrels, and brettanomyces sour ale aged 6 months. What!?!  7% ABV/Italy/Ratebeer 92/Availability: decent

Hops & Grain Greenhouse #22* – Back again! This time the hops are Jarrylo, Centennial & Citra. 7.7% ABV/Austin, TX/Availability: plenty/*Arriving Friday

Martin House Cellarman’s Reserve IPA – Martin House’s rotating single hop series is back again, this time with Equinox hops. Only 2 row and munich malts are used to balance out the hops. 7% ABV/Fort Worth, TX/No ratings yet/Availability: plenty

Martin House Bockslider – The official beer of the rock band the Toadies! That is not made up. The Toadies are from Fort Worth, and this is the 2nd collaboration beer with the band. A malty & caramel bock with very low hop profile. 5.6% ABV/Fort Worth, TX/No ratings yet/Availability: decent

Free Weekend Tastings, 6-8pm

Friday

Martin House Cellarman’s Reserve IPA

Four Corners Heart O’Texas

Strangeland Entire Porter

Seattle Cider Citrus Cider

Saturday

Hops & Grain Greenhouse Batch #22

Martin House Bockslider

Seattle Cider Basil Mint Cider

Lagunitas Censored

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Sahara’s Blog #5: Lager? I Barley Know Her!

In the world of beer, there exists an ever-expanding set of styles, whose boundaries and descriptions evolve and change with every year. Yet, no matter how much these styles shift, they will always fall into one of two broad categories.

Lagers and Ales.

The distinction lies in the type of yeast used in the brewing process, and the temperature at which the beer is fermented.

Ales are top-fermenting, at warmer temperatures. Lagers are bottom-fermenting, and ferment at colder temperatures. There are a few hybrid beers that live between these two worlds. A Kolsch, for example, is brewed with a lager yeast at ale temperatures.

Most of the beer we drink today would be considered an ale. The warmer temperatures at which ales ferment allows the esters and the phenols produced by the yeast to really sing, introducing into the beer flavors like clove, banana, strawberry, and orange pith, and many, many more.

The road to civilization was paved by grain. When humans realized that they could cultivate grain as a stable food source, they began the move away from nomadic societies to permanent settlements. With grain, of course, comes beer.

The first beers ever brewed were ales.

Because ale yeast strains exist abundantly in nature and they brew at a wider temperature range, they were likely first produced accidentally, and were easily reproduced from there by harvesting yeast from the bubbling foam floating on top of a fermenting beer. Ancient brewers had no concept of yeast, but by starting new batches of beer from this yeast-rich foam, they were unwittingly cultivating the first yeast strains.

Humans have been brewing beer for thousands of years. In ancient Babylon, people worshiped the goddess Ninkasi, the mother of beer. One of the earliest recovered works of poetry is the Hymn to Ninkasi, which is both a prayer and a recipe for an ale.

Today, ales come in a vast array of styles, from the boldly phenolic Belgian Trappist ales to dank and resinous American IPAs to bitter and chocolatey Russian Imperial Stouts.

What many people don’t realize is that lagers come in an enormous range of styles as well, in spite of the fact that their inception is a comparatively recent one.

In the Bavarian region of Germany, monks, in an effort to make their abbeys self-sustaining, began brewing beer. During the summer months, they would store their beer in ice caves, which caused the yeast to settle to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. This was the birth of the first lagers. In fact, the German word for storing is lager.

Lagers continued to be brewed in Germany, and because of their popularity, lager brewing spread to the surrounding regions of Scandinavia and Bohemia. However, in spite of their rise in prevalence, the lager yeast strain was not fully understood until the late 19th Century.

With industrialization came the ability to mass-produce beer. There was only one problem, and it was a big one: Quality control.

Louis Pasteur had developed techniques to assist winemakers in producing consistent products, and it seemed a natural next step to take on the problems of commercially brewing beer. Through his work, he was able to develop a method of isolating brewing yeast from other wild yeast.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, Emil Hansen of the Carlsberg brewery was finally able to isolate the lager yeast strain itself.

Simultaneously, English malters were refining their kilning techniques, enabling them to produce lighter malts than had previously been possible.

This led to the crafting of beers like the Munich Helles and the Bohemian Pilsner—light, crisp beers that were thirst-quenching, nutritious, and low in alcohol. In other words, the perfect working man’s beverage.

Beer was a massive source of revenue in Europe. It still is. The rising popularity of these light lagers made ale producers very unhappy. In fact, for a brief period, German law prohibited the brewing of bottom-fermenting beers, but the law was repealed when brewers succumbed to the shift in tide; pale lagers were here to stay.

And this brings us to item #1 in our basket of six:

Hans’ Pils

Real Ale Brewing Co.

Blanco, TX

5.3%

In 1839, the people of the Czech city of Pilsen founded Měšťanský pivovar Plzeň: The Citizens’ Brewery of Pilsen. This brewery was later to become Pilsner Urquell, and it was there that, using revolutionary brewing techniques, brewer Joseph Groll brewed the first true Pilsner in 1842. These beers were aged in large open barrels, and housed in cold cellars underneath the brewery. Until the invention of refrigeration, all lagers were brewed in a similar manner, making the brewing of lagers contingent upon season and climate.

The first Pilsners were brewed primarily with Czech Saaz hops. As the style migrated to Germany, the hop varieties used shifted to German noble hops. The bitterness derived from hops is called an IBU—International Bitterness Unit. The IBU range for German Pilsners (25-45) is much broader than the range of Czech Pilsners (35-45).

Real Ale’s Hans’ Pils (named for the brewery’s dog) clocks in at a rowdy 50 IBUs, and features German Tettnang hops, which are earthly and herbaceous, with biscuit notes from the use of pale German malts.   

Where the Helles Summer

Southern Tier

Lakewood, NY

4.6%

As a response to the rising popularity of Bohemian Pilsners, German brewers began using similar revolutionary malting techniques to brew their own indigenous pale lager: The Munich Helles. “Hell” is the German word for “light”, which is a nod to the bright golden hue of this beer. Compared to Pilsners, the Helles has a much softer hop profile and is malt-forward—bready and crisp with a round mouthfeel.

The Helles was first brewed by Spaten in 1894, and though it ultimately lost the popularity contest to Pilsners, it is still a classic, beloved style.

Where the Helles Summer is a seasonal beer from Southern Tier, brewed with three traditional noble hop varieties.

Urbock

Aecht Schlenterla Rauchbier

Bamberg, Germany

6.5%

Before the days of refined kilning techniques, malts were dried over open flames. This imparted a smokiness into the beer. In Bamberg, nestled in the heart of Franconia, this method was refined over the centuries, beginning the tradition of what we now call Rauchbiers, “rauch” being the German word for smoke.

Aecht Schlenterla brews Rauchbiers in a very traditional method, roasting their malts in-house over a raw flame, then lagering them in ancient stone cellars underneath the brewery.

The name Urbock comes from the German words “ur”—original, and “bock”—strong.

Celebrator

Ayinger

Aying, Germany

6.7%

Doppelbocks were first brewed by German monks, as a means of sustenance during months of fasting. For this reason, it earned the nickname “liquid bread”. The name literally means “double-strong”, and the beer itself is a stronger, sweeter, darker version of the Bavarian Bockbier. The first commercial example of a Doppelbock was the Salvator, brewed by Paulaner. The Paulaner monks had already been brewing this thick, hearty beer for centuries before it was ever produced commercially. Because it was so delicious, so filling, and so high in alcohol, the monks felt too indulgent drinking it, and so they shipped a barrel of it to Rome so that the pope could judge whether or not it was appropriate for them to consume during fasting. On the journey, the beer soured, and by the time it reached the pope, it was barely drinkable, and the pope deemed it an acceptable holy beverage—nothing even remotely indulgent about it!

Today, nearly all commercial Doppelbocks are given the suffix –ator, as an homage to the original Salvator. Hence, Celebrator.

Eisbock

Kulmbacher

Kulmbach, Germany

9.2%

Much in the way some dessert wines are produced from grapes that have frozen and whose sugars have concentrated, Eisbocks are very strong, sweet lagers brewed by lagering beer in very cold conditions, at the end of the fermentation process, and then draining the beer off of the ice crystals that form, producing a concentrated beer. Kulmbacher produced the original Eisbock at the turn of the last century. According to legend, a brewer’s apprentice left two barrels of Bockbier out in the cold, and they became encased in ice and snow. The next spring, when the snow thawed, the barrels were discovered. Both had burst, but underneath a thick layer of ice was concentrated liquid beer.

Austin Beerworks

Black Thunder

Austin, TX

5.3%

Schwarzbier, literally “black beer”, is a dark German-style lager, brewed since the 16th Century. As the German Beer Institute says, “Schwarzbier is to lager what Stout or Porter is to ale”. It is brewed with a lager yeast, and darker, roastier malts.

Black Thunder is brewed primarily with German noble hops, with the exception of the Czech Saaz hop. Its malt base owes its smooth finish to debittered black malts.

Barley kernels come sheathed in a highly tannic husk. During malting, these tannins are extracted, resulting in bitterness. To debitter the barley, the husk is removed before malting, producing a malt that is dark but not harsh.

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