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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Beer Review - Gavroche

Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre Gavroche French Red Ale - 8.5% ABV

Farmhouse ales originated in northern France and what is now Belgium and were traditionally brewed in winter, then served during the summer to hard working farm hands.  Fracturing of the beer styles has led to the creation of 2 similar, but quite distinct beer styles; Saisons in Belgium and Beire de Garde in France.  Most of us are quite familiar with the saison, unfiltered, yeasty, big alcohol, but few are familiar with the French version.

Saint Sylvestre Cappel is an ancient village situated on a Roman military road between Cassel and Caestre. Its present name is not the original one. In the middle Ages it was called Hillewaerts Cappel and became Saint Sylvestre Cappel in 1538.  There was a brewery on site from before the revolution due to the presence of a fresh water spring but modern beer production was started in the 1920's.  While the Belgian version tends to be dryer and hoppier while the French version is stronger and sweeter.

The beer pours a hazy amber with a significant head that persists for a good bit.  The nose is of the German Noble Hops and toasted malts with a bit of earthy mustiness and fruit.  The flavor is lightly carmel sweet and roasted malts.  The hops in the nose are not evident in the flavor but the earthiness form the yeasts are there.  It is hard to believe that this beer has 8.5% alcohol because it is really light and really easy to drink.  I highly recommend this beer but be very, very careful because it will gently take you from 0 - drunk much faster than you expect.  I am quit anxious to try their other offerings.

Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre
121 rue de la Chapelle
St-Sylvestre-Cappel 59114

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Event Review - Christmas Beer Tasting

Idle Rich Christmas Beer Tasting

This event is rapidly becoming an annual holiday tradition with the snobs.  7 Christmas beers and a cheese tray for only $25.00.  This year's selection included a mix of old world traditions and new world flavors.  Anchor 2011 ("Smooth, not as hoppy as expected", "Dry and mellow") and Anchor 2012 ("Watery", "Nothing special), Avery Jubilation ("Hoppy as a hell", "Good ale, but not really a Christmas ale") and Sierra Celebration ("Hoppy and dry", "..tastes like a Christmas tree") represented the American holiday beers.  Delirium Noel ("Slightly sour and slightly sweet, nice balance", "I would go out of my way to find this beer), Scaldis Noel ("Dark fruits and sneaky alcohol", "Tastes like Christmas") and St. Bernardus Christmas ("Boinggg", "This is what Christmas should taste like","&*$#@ this is a good beer") representing the old world styles.

The relaxed atmosphere was created by allowing you to arrive whenever you like and to drink at your own pace.  You want to slam and dash?  No problem.  You want to hang out, sip and talk beer with the other geeks?  No problem there either. 

The most surprising discovery of the evening was the crowd, who were mostly women.  Tables full of females sipping, discussing, photographing and taking notes about what they were enjoying.  No longer is beer the realm of the grunting, sweating male.  Oh you can still find them, hanging out in parking lots swilling their fizzy, watery beers.
"Look, I drank 42 beers!" 
"What kind?" 
As that more than half of the population are women it is in the direct interest of the craft beer movement to attract and involve that ignored segment of the beer drinking market.  I was so very surprised by the demographics of the event and am so very pleased to see our better half enjoyng the evening, without my fellow knuckly draggers.  Bravo ladies.

The Idle Rich Pub
2614 McKinney Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pub Review - World of Beer

World of Beer

Once upon a time in a strange, distant land known as Florida there was a beer store.  This beer store was my joy.  Nearby you could find gleaming white beaches, swaying palm trees, and theme parks galore, but nothing gave me greater joy than spending my Friday afternoons browsing the hundreds of beers from around the world where you would create your own mix and match 6 packs to go.  Except perhaps visiting the original Hooters across the street.  There is some correlation there that I am missing, but I digress.

This store was really not much to look at ... small, less that 15' wide, with rows of coolers lining the walls on both sides.  At the door was the check out counter manned by a friendly, knowledgeable beer geek who could, and often would, chat with you for hours about your favorite beverage.  The concept was purchased by the Glazer brothers (the guys who brought you the Outback Steakhouse, and you know how wonderful that is) and taken franchised. 

The new World of Beer in Dallas bears very little resemblence to my beloved Clearwater hangout.  The new concept is quite simply a pub which unlike the original, serves food, drafts beers and about 500 bottles to be consumed in house.  The 20 or so drafts are surprisingly uninspired, but at least there was no fizzy pissy water beers on tap and no Stella which was very disappointing to the 2 twits next to me who ordered both.  And that knowledgeable beer geek behind the counter?  He also did not make the transition.  There are a few servers who know a bit about beer, but for the most part you have vacuous, indifferent servers who are happy to tell you that Kronenbourg tastes virtually identical to Chimay.  I suspect that they will learn. The biggest surprise was the clientele which I expected to be power drinkers from SMU, but I was amazed when I found myself sitting amongst grizzled beer veterens asking questions of the servers that they were completely unable to answer. 

I hope that the WoB lives up to their promises of having the biggest beer selection of any bar in Dallas and also hope that they find the wisdom to provide seasonal selections, which were very scarce on our visit.  Several of the staff have great potential and were excited about learning beer, much like I was all those years ago.  I will visit WoB from time to time because I see the potential, but they will have to improve considerably to make our heavy rotation list.

World of Beer
5600 SMU Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75206

Beer Review - Blood and Honey

Revolver Brewing Blood and Honey Wheat Ale - 5.5% ABV

Granbury, Texas.  I can't say that I had a lot of confidence trying a beer from Granbury, Texas.  Small town, Granbury, and not known for having a plethora of cultural activities.  So I imagine that the beer is a typical small town beer... watery, over carbonated and under flavored.  I was wro ...... what was that?  Grant Wood is the brewmaster?  Grant Wood, master brewer from Sam Adams?  You're kidding, right?  Why would he come to Granbury to brew? *insert huge, slow shug here*

The beer pours a cloudy, golden yellow with a small, white head that doesn't persist.  The odor is slightly citrus with a bit of grain.  The first sip is huge orange and a little sweet.  The malted grains and yeast are there, but quite hidden in the background.  Acidic with a some spices .... coriander?  I found that I liked it from the very first sip.  The blood orange zest that they use provides quite an orangey blast.  The local honey from Fall Creek Farms is what provides the sweetness.  Oddly, the more I drank the funkier the taste became.  No, not some much the taste that became funky, but the effects of the acid.  The acids kept building up in the back of my throat until the effect kind of reminded me of the acidic burn you get when you consume massive quantites of beer  and it exits from the same hole you poured it down.  Delicious indeed, but I absolutely could not drink more than one at a sitting.

Revolver Brewing
5600 Matlock Road
Granbury, TX 76049

Monday, December 10, 2012

Restaurant Review - Taco Republic

Taco Republic

So there I was in Richardson a few days ago around lunch and thought that I would drop by an old haunt.  Lo and behold the restaurant was no longer there, which is not so odd in our world, but the shopping center that it was a part of was also no longer there.  Bare dirt, except for this lone outpost.  Oh boy, another taqueria.  But it was noon and I was famished so in I went.  Stand in line, order a taco, wait for you name to be shouted out, eat.  Yeah, we've seen this before. 

I ordered the 3 Taco Platter which included the Baha, a fish taco on a corn tortilla, the Tinga Chicken which is also served on a corn tortilla, and the Street taco which is brisket, french fries on a flour tortilla.

The fish on the Baha taco was grilled perfectly, tender and juicy and delicious.  TheTinga chicken, which is chicken stewed in veggies and spices, was wet, leaving a puddle on the tray.  Wonderful.  The Street taco fries were crispy McDonald's style fries in the taco with the tender brisket and a spicy cream sauce.  Dandy.  Maybe, just maybe, that tacos are like sex .... even when they are bad the are pretty damn good .... nevermind, I forgot Taco Bell *shudder*.  I don't know that I would make this a destination restaurant but next time I am in Richardson at lunch I will not hesitate to stop.

One more thing, skip the chips and salsa.  Waaaaaayy too much salt. 

Taco Republic
760 South Central Expressway
Richardson, TX 75080

Beer Review - Saison du Buff

Dogfish, Victory and Stone Breweries collaboration Saison du Buff - 7.7% ABV

Mmmmm ..... Saison.  Damn I love a good Saison.  The saison began as a pale ale brewed by farm workers for drinking in the hot summer while they worked in the field.  They often would add spices to the brew for a change of pace but you could always count on a saison to be fruity, bready, carbonnated and delicious.  Most saisons these days are tyified by bready, earthy Belgian yeasts and are subtle and fresh.

This version is also called Scarborough Faire Saison due to the addtion of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, and I could not wait to give it a taste.  'Surely', I thought, 'Surely these breweries (all of which are known for their hops) wouldn't try to overhop something as subtle as this."  I should have known better.  Parsley?  Not evident.  Sage?  No way to know.  Rosemary?  No clue.  Thyme?  Who can say?  Cascade hops?  Oh yes, yes indeed.  Why these guys would call this a saison is beyond me.  Why they would waste adding the herbs is even farther from comprehension, because unless you have a really perceptive palate you will never know that they are there.

Do you like Victory Golden Monkey?  If so you will likely enjoy this beer, but if it is a saison you are after just skip on to Saison DuPont or Boulevard Tank 7.  The overpowering hops makes this more of an IPA and a not very inspired one at that.  I really can't recommend this beer.  Cheers.