Monday, March 3, 2014
Beer Review - Rabbit Hole Brewing Company
If you have never owned your owned business, please allow me to let you in on a little secret ... overhead kills. Keeping your production costs as low as possible will allow you to have a bit more profit, and we like profit. How do small scale craft brewers keep their overhead low? By purchasing or leasing a small warehouse in an out of the way location they can spend more of their investment capital on the important components, like the brewing equipment and marketing. I cannot imagine why else the founders, Laron Cheek, Tom Anderson and Matt Morriss (brewmaster), would have chosen this boot outlet town to start their brewery other than to keep overhead as low as possible.
Justin, Texas. Yes, I have known about Justin, Texas but have never been. Why not? A better question is why would I? To buy some boots? Yeahhhhh.....no. Then lo and behold up pops a new brewery from a prairie dog hole, or rather a rabbit hole. So off we go to northern Tarrant County to what could be charitably described as the 'rustic' town of Justin and though the drive was a bit tedious, the results were worth the aggravation.
Our first impression was that we were a bit surprised that this nondescript warehouse in this nondescript town had been found by so many people ... the patio was packed. And many of the patrons were part of a bicycle club that rode twenty miles to get there to drink. And drink they did. The ride back must have been interesting with drunk bikers swerving all over the road and stopping to take a leak every 10 minutes wherever they could find a tree. But I digress. You will receive, as is typical, a glass and 4 tokens that will each get you a tasty beverage and as that they only have 3 beers, you have better like one of them well enough to have a second.
The first beer we tasted was the Mike Modano 561 Kolsch style beer. Regardless of the explosion of craft beer breweries around north Texas do not deceive yourself into thinking that fissy, pissy, watery beer does not still rule our area. The owners of these small breweries know that in order to survive they must appeal to the melon heads that still drink that swill and thus will (almost) always produce a lighter beer to fit their simple palates. Many in Texas brew a watery lager and name it a Kolsch to sound crafty, and up to this point they have never failed to disappoint me. The original Kölsch is a German style beer brewed around Cologne and unlike lagers, is warm fermented. It should be a clear, straw colored brew with medium hops and a dry finish. Most American versions of this produce it like a lager (cold fermented) which takes away a lot of the flavor and having had many, many beers of each style, American and German, I usually avoid the American version. Rabbit Hole, however, makes a dandy version that you really need to try. If you have had a Kolsch in Germany you will appreciate the craft that Rabbit Hole has shown in creating a flavorful, authentic tasting Kolsch.
How do you react when someone offers you an IPA? Does your mouth water with the anticipation of a hop bomb exploding on your tongue? Do you cringe at the thought for the same reason? But as that you are all now well versed in all of the beer styles out there, you know that the English India Pale Ale, the original of this style, is much easier to drink and much more refined. The hops do not overpower the palate but lead it along an interesting trail of complex flavors. The 10/6 English Style India Pale Ale from Rabbit Hole is a superb rendition of what you would find in England. Having sat in many an English pub and imbibing in ohhhh so many English IPA's I can tell you without hesitation that if you were to serve this 10/6 in a pub in England, few of the patrons, if any, would be able to distinguish this ale from the ones that they had been drinking for years. It is very authentic and quite delicious.
You may find this hard to believe, but over the years I have drank a lot of beer. A lot of beer. My tastes vary in my preferences from year to year and from season to season, but my very favorite beer style has never changed. Unless something new and unprecedented comes onto the market, the traditional English Brown Ale will be my 'go to' beer until the day my doctor forces me to quit drinking altogether. You all know that the brown ale is a malty, smooth thirst quencher, but what you may not know is that there are 3 recognized styles of English Brown Ale. The Mild which is lighter in body with low gravity, the Northern English Brown which is dryer, sometimes hoppier and more nutty than malty, and the Southern English Brown which is a luscious, malty ale with thicker texture and rich dark flavors. Rapture by Rabbit Hole is an excellent representation of the Southern English Ale. I would feel quite at home drinking this gem in any pub in the U.K and sitting on a dusty patio in Justin, Texas did not make it any less enjoyable.
If you are looking for something new, something unique, something that you have not tried before, this is not the brewer for you. If you are a purist, like me, that really appreciates beer that tastes as the original creators intended it to taste then my friends, we have an excellent local source. Rabbit Hole brewing does not have a 'proprietary' yeast that they use in all of their creations like most brewers do, they use the yeast that is correct for the style of beer that they are brewing. More difficult? Yes, but worth the effort. For those of you who are relatively new to the craft beer movement, these selections are a superb way for you to get to know a beer as it was originally created. You may then compare beers with the same moniker and know whether or not they are representative of the style that they are claiming to be brewed. I applaud your efforts gentlemen. We are very happy to be able to recommend that you try the beers from Rabbit Hole Brewing.
Rabbit Hole Brewing Company
608 Topeka Ave
Justin, TX 76247