One day last week I was having lunch at one of my favorite watering holes and chatting with a couple of reps from one of the local beer distributers. While we were chatting about the explosion of local breweries and beer centric pubs/restaurants they let me in on a dark secret, that is really not so secret. They lamented that many of the local restaurateurs that were featuring local craft beers really have no clue about what craft beer is really about. Greed, it seems, has wormed it's way into burgeoning Dallas beer scene (gasp! say it isn't so!). The misguided jackanapes are ordering beer simply based on whether or not it is local. They are not ordering beer by brewery or by name ,,, they are just telling the distributers to bring them something local.
I fear that this misguided belief that craft beer drinkers will order beer based purely on whether or not it is local is spreading. While we have been blessed with several great local brewers who are passionate about beer and about creating great brews, there is also an insinuation of dispassionate 'businessmen' who are happily creating uninspired beers, intent on riding the craft beer popularity wave. Cobra Brewing in Lewisville seems to be one of these.
The first beer that we tried was a blond ale called Blonde Bomber 2 and is brewed using Tattnanger hops. It tasted like watery dirt. Perhaps those who believe that Stella is a good beer will like this swill, but it will never pass my lips ever again.
The second that we tried was their Happy Dazed IPA. This coppery colored beer was not bad at all. Coppery colored with a floral nose. At 70 IBU's it is not overpoweringly bitter and the bitterness that it does have is nicely balanced by a generous helping of malts. Here is where the weirdness begins. The brewmaster could not tell me what malts he used. He was not purposely avoiding answering the question to keep a secret, he really didn't remember. This IPA, while tasty enough, tastes like dozens of other IPA's with absolutely nothing about it to make it memorable. I would drink it again, but I would definitely not seek it out.
The next beer that we tried was their Anti-Venom Red Ale. It was hoppy and dry, thin and watery. The flavor was so flat and one-dimensional that I poured the beer down the sink. And make no mistakes about this; I waste very little beer. Even the folks from the local beer club sitting with us found it undrinkable.
The last beer that I tried was their seasonal Jack Froth Winter Ale. This was probably the most interesting beer that we tried but again, totally unmemorable. It was quite malty with very little in the way of hops but also thin and watery. You can pick out the molasses flavor and nutmeg and thankfully it was not overly sweet. But, this one also found it's way down the sink as that it was very, very meh.
The last straw for us was not the fault of the brewers in any way. A couple of families with several young children who were running amuck, sat next to us and allowed their untended children to pester everyone around them. When on of the mothers whipped it out and began to breast feed one of the children we decided that we were done. Before you scream at me, I am not against breastfeeding in public, but I (and everyone at our table) believe that there is a time and place for everything. A bar is not the place.
I am not going to accuse the owners of Cobra Brewing of being in the business for the wrong reasons, I will say that they should have done their homework about WHY craft beer drinkers are drinking what they drink. I would also recommend to them that they should do a bit of research and experimentation to create some unique and memorable beers and not buy recipes off of the internet. Heck, even the name of the brewery gives the impression of not being well thought out. While I do not wish to see anyone fail in the industry, I will not be one of their supporters.
Cobra Brewing Company
146 Whatley Ave
Lewisville, TX 75057