Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beer Review - Good Gourd

Cigar City Brewing Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale - 8.5% ABV

So earlier in the year we took a trip to Tampa, Florida to taste the offerings brewed by the Cigar City Brewing Company.  I have to say that at that time we were a bit less than impressed, but that may be because we were short on time and tried to taste as many beers as we could.  Which beers did we try?  Why their best selling mass market beers of course, and as with any brewery, for some reason, their best selling beers are typically the most underflavored because as we all know, the best selling beer in America is Bud Light.  And we wouldn't want to shock the tastebuds of those who guzzle buckets of that swill, would we?

So our old friend Travis Kruger, their marketing and sales guru, challenged us to try some of their specialty beers.  So off we went to Tampa to give them a second chance and I am forced to admit that I may have been hasty in my earlier judgement. 
The Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a delightful seasonal that I so much wish was available in Texas.  I may be ... no, strike that ... it is definitely the finest seasonal ale that I tried this fall.  The beer pours a cloudy orange-gold with a fluffy white head.  The smell is of malts, pumpkin, nutmeg and gingerbread.  Mmmmm .... yummy.  The flavor?  Thanksgiving in a bottle that tastes every bit as good as it smells.  The malts, pumpkin and nutmeg are all there, vanilla, caramel and sweet bread make it a liquid dessert.  Balanced, complex and magnificent.  Bravo gentlemen.

I will suggest to you that later this winter, when you are tired of freezing your buns off, take a trip to the Florida sunshine and stop in Cigar City and have a few .... dozen ..... beers.

Cigar City Brewing
3924 W Spruce Street, Suite A
Tampa, Florida 33607

Beer Review - Sierra Nevada Harvest

Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Pale Ale - 6.7% ABV

One of the last of the fall season ales for this year and a beautiful addition it is.  Sierra Nevada is on of the original craft brewers in America.  In a time when Michelobe was considered a premium beer, these guys burst our of Chico, California in 1980ish with beer with FLAVOR.  "Flavor"? we asked, "Who ever heard of a beer with flavor"?  So then we tried it and were floored.  "Holy Shit!  We LOVE flavor"! we exclaimed, "Give us more"!  And so the craft beer movement began and has steamrolled in to the giant that it is today.

Created in 1996, Harvest Ale features Cascade and Centennial hops from the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. These hops are harvested and shipped as “wet” un-dried hops—the same day they are picked—to the brewery in Chico where they are dumped immediately in to the brewing kettles.  Those fresh oils and resins are what give the Harvest Ale the wonderfully fresh flavor, 110 pound of the stuff per batch in fact.  You smell the hops, you taste the hops and you love the beer, that is how it works.

You will be hard pressed to find a fresher, cleaner tasting beer.  This on comes in limited quantities so grab some while you can.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
1075 East 20th Street
Chico, CA 95928

Beer Review - Nefarious 10 Pin

Ska Brewing Company Nefarious 10 Pin Porter - 8% ABV

Soon, very soon, we will start bitching about the cold weather.  We will grouch about having Christmas shoved down our throats for 2 months.  We will complain about the inches we are adding to our waists over celebrating the aforementioned holiday.  But not me, no sir, because I know that the winter beers are arriving, and I so dearly love those massive doses flavors.  Blues killers are what they are.  The winter porters, the Christmas ales, the spiced lagers ... ah, I can almost taste them now.  But WAIT!  I can taste them now! 

Ska Brewing Company was founded in 1995ish by a couple of underage stoners in Durango, Colorado who loved to drink beer and listen to ska music.  Hey, if you can't buy beer legally you may as well brew your own, right?  Their culture of loud music, strong beers and good times is something with which I can find little fault.  I also can find few faults with their beers.

The 10 Pin Porter is not just a porter .... no, no, no mon ... it is an Imperial porter.  What does that mean exactly?  It means that you are going to get a face full of flavor.  Originally, imperial stouts were beers brewed in Enland intended for the Imperial Russian Court and generally meant that the beer was going to be a top of the line luxury beer.  In American brewing circles it generally means big and bold.  And this beer is just that with BIG malts and BIG hops.

The color is just what you expect of a porter, dark brown/black color and lightly carbonated . Huge nose of roasted malts, chocolate and the burn of alcohol.  The flavor is wonderfully balanced with malts, yeasts, coffee, dark fruits, chocolate and caramel sweetness.  To be sure the hops are there, but not overpowering.  Dandy, dandy beer.

Ska Brewing Company
225 Girard Street
Durango, Colorado

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beer Review - Ommegang Rare Vos

Ommegang Rare Vos Amber Ale - 6.5% ABV


Do you know what that was?  That was a beergasm.  A beergasm caused by a delightful, superb, magnificent amber ale created by the evil geniuses at Ommegang.  The ale is named after a cool little bar in Brussels that  is the starting point for bicycle and pigeon races and if you drink enough you may try one of their horse steaks.  No, I don't think that the bicyclists race the pigeons, but that may be fun to watch after drinking several of these beers.

This nectar of the gods is called a Brabant style ale by Ommegang which is an ancient method of brewing using top fermentation and wild yeasts which usually cause the beers to have a sour note.  Sorry, but I didn't get that much.  The color is a slightly cloudy coppery gold with a head that persists for quite a while.  The smell is of malt, bread, yeast and a hint of the spices used in the brewing process.  Oh, so smooth, with enough carbonation to keep your tongue interested.  Lovely, lovely flavor with the malts in the front, bananas and apricots right behind.  Hints of the cloves and spices rule the background along with a bit of citrus bite.  It is not at all sweet meaning that you could drink several (if you first rob a bank or are a trust fund brat) without ruining your palate.  Fantastic beer and if you were to look in my refridgerator right now, you will find several lurking about (no to your left, right behind the milk).

The judges at the GABF were right to award this dandy brew a bronze medal, but you be your own judge and try it, you may find a new favorite beer here.  Now excuse me while I go clean up this mess.

Brewery Ommegang
656 County Highway 33
Cooperstown NY 13326-9248