Day #359 – Real Ale Sisyphus (2011)

December 26, 2011

I realized very recently that I had not yet reviewed this beer for my blog, and it was another shocking discovery. This is one of the only mass distributed barley wine that is made regularly in Texas. I’ve had it several times before, including a vertical tasting from 2004 – 2009 (excluding 2006 where it was not produced) which was incredible. Today I have picked up a fresh bottle of the 2011 batch.

Real Ale Sisyphus (2011)


As I mentioned before this is a barley wine from Real Ale Brewing Company out of Blanco, TX. The ABV ranges anywhere from 10% to 11.5% depending on the batch, but I believe this year’s was 10. Barley Wines are usually best when aged, but often times can have desirable (albeit different) characteristics when fresh. Since I do not have a year to age this one, I’ll enjoy it tonight.

I let this warm up to room temperature before trying it.

This beer pours a very slick burnt orange color with light carbonation. The bubbles are small and thin that makes a short lasting head. That’s alright and matches the style.

The aroma has lots of woody characteristics but also a fairly large hop profile. That’s what I was talking about when I mentioned that a fresh barley wine has different characteristics. You can definitely smell the alcohol as well.

The flavor is woody, dark fruit with a hoppy bitterness and light sweetness. There is a noticeable tingle on the tongue from the raised alcohol content. This beer is certainly not for the faint of heart!


7 to go…


Day #358 – Real Ale Brewhouse Brown Ale

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!! As it’s Christmas I am spending all day with my family. This will be a quick post.

Real Ale Brewhouse Brown Ale


Brown Ale from Real Ale Brewing in Blanco, TX. 5.4% ABV.

This beer pours a reddish brown color with a foamy tan head. Almost a ruby color.

Light roasted aroma. Very light though. Some nuts and roasted malt nose.

Light watery mouthfeel. Taste is roasted malts and nuts, with a slight dryness. Has the metallic flavor of a German pilsner. This has never been one of my favorites which is probably why I have put it off for so long.


8 to go…


Day #357 – Rahr & Sons Texas Red

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas eve! Tonight I’ve got another beer from Rahr, but it was after I took a trip to Rahr and brought home an awesome present!! Check it out in the photo later on.

Rahr & Sons Texas Red


I am fairly shocked that I have not yet reviewed this beer as it is one of Rahr’s year-round offerings. I will be wrapping up several Texas beers this week that I have yet to feature on my blog. This is a Vienna Lager at 4.7% ABV.

This beer pours an amber orange color with a white foamy head. Pretty easy so far.

Aroma is biscuit malt, some small scent of nuts and lightly roasted grains.

The flavor seems to match the aroma, with roasted grains, biscuity with a clean finish. Now check out my early present!!!


9 to go…


Day #356 – Rahr & Sons Angry Santa

December 23, 2011

I’m a little bit late typing this one up because I was a little unsure about what exactly to say here. I mean, there are 10 days left in this project. 10! After these 10 days I will have accomplished my goal that I set out for 356 days ago. What will happen afterwards? Who knows. I’ll probably take a break for awhile and then might toss up a review or 2 every now and again. Or perhaps I’ll dedicate the blog to my homebrewing exploits. I know I certainly won’t commit to ANOTHER year in beer….well, I guess I shouldn’t say never.

Anyways, for these last 10 days I think it will be appropriate to feature only Texas breweries as one of the main reasons I had for starting this blog was to show consumers how many other options there are for us beer lovers in North Texas. (well, 1 beer won’t be from Texas but it’s a very special beer.) It’s been fun. On to today’s beer.

Rahr & Sons Angry Santa

Forgive my obviously ripped photo taken on my iPhone….


Is this a new beer or isn’t it? That is the question. It starts as the Winter Warmer base but then almost every spice known to man is added to this beer. These spices change the character of the beer completely so we will call this one a new beer. A specialty one though. Check out the label!! How cool is that!! Unfortunately this beer is draught only at the moment and I will be enjoying a firkin of this beer at the FW Saucer. A firkin if you recall is basically like a giant bottle conditioned homebrew. Firkins are small kegs that have a pinch of yeast added at the end to carbonate and continue to alter the character of the beer.

It appears I got the very bottom of the firkin as this beer looks pretty disgusting. It pours a muddy, and yes I mean muddy brown color with a small white type head. I can see large chunks of something floating in this beer. I’m a big fan of Rahr but I’ll be honest and say this beer looks awful. Yes I understand that I got the bottom portion of the firkin and that it’s probably not exactly fair to judge this beer by this particular sample, but this was the sample that was placed in front of me so this is what I have to go off of.

The aroma is actually quite pleasant. Lots of spice; TONS of spice in this! Cinnamon is prevalent, with all-spice and ginger also. Some citrus on the finish of the aroma. Nice.

The flavor is a tad bit harsh. There is a burn from what I can assume is the spice which doesn’t make for an easy drinker. It’s certainly flavorful, just unappealing to look at. I bet the top part of the firkin looked nothing like this. Check out the photo:


10 to go…

EDIT: I had another glass of this beer from a firkin last night and it was COMPLETELY different! You can see the immense difference in the picture below. The appearance was attractive, the spices in both the aroma and flavor were a lot mellower. Now that I’ve tried it the way it was meant to be tried I like it a lot more.



Day #355 – Eskes Brew Pub & Eatery

December 22, 2011

I’m still in Taos, NM and stumbled upon a nice little brewpub in town called Eskes Brewery & Eatery.


This place is very small with all their brewing equipment in the basement. The night I was there a 2 man band was playing. Very folky. Here’s a few highlights of what I tried.


Eskes Brew Pub & Eatery

Eskes Blonde Betty

Blonde Ale


Tap at the pub. Pours a clear golden yellow color. Light white head. Aroma is crisp, grainy, light citrus. Bit of hop nose. Flavor is dry and grainy with a slight soapy flavor. Finishes dry and soapy.

Eskes Artist Ale

Bitter – 4%

(forgot the picture apparently!)

Tap at the pub. Pours a cloudy golden banana color with a light layer of bubbles. Aroma is fairly light. Some yeasty notes with berry fruit. Not much there. Flavor is light, semi sweet and watery. Hop bitterness comes through on the finish in a big way.

Eskes Mesa Pale Ale

American Pale Ale – 5.5%


Tap at the pub. Pours a lightly hazy copper orange color. Light head. Aroma is light, some hops and bitterness on the nose. Flavor is dry hops, banana sweetness, and hop bitterness on the finish. Not bad.

Eskes Why Rye

Specialty Grain – 5%


Tap at the pub. Pours a clear copper to amber color with a foamy white head. Aroma is light spicy hops and rye chips. Flavor is dry, bready and rye on the finish. Flavor has a pretty decent backbone with just the touch of sweetness.

Eskes Holiday Cheer

Spice Beer – 5.2%


Tap at the pub. Pours a clear dark orange to ruddy color. Light ring of head. Aroma has a small bit of spice and ginger. Not overpowering. Flavor is a fair mix of spice, sweet notes, ginger and a bit of cinnamon. Easy finish. Yeah this is good.

Eskes Oat Cole Porter

Porter – 5%


Tap at the pub. Pours a dark brown color that shows ruby hues when held to the light. Light ring of beige colored head. Aroma is very chocolatey, roasted malts and dark sweet sugar. Flavor is dark malts, big roast, light bakers chocolate and perhaps a hint of coffee? Has a pseudo sweetener finish. Still, the best beer from them I’ve had so far.

Eskes Taos Green Chile Beer

Vegetable Beer – 4%


Tap at the pub. This beer pours a clear light yellow to straw color. Has a very small amount of white head. Very little. Aroma is sweet, grainy, with maybe a bit of spice. Hard to pick out on the aroma. Flavor is dry grains, a touch of popcorn with the chili spice and heat on the finish. I’m pretty sure there might be a touch of diacetyl in this but the spice covers up a lot.



Day #354 – Santa Fe Dirty Blonde

December 21, 2011

I’m on vacation! Right now I am on a ski trip to Taos, New Mexico. I was hoping to find a few local beers that I hadn’t seen before and I was in luck!


After a hard morning of skiing, I stopped in the lodge cafe and stumbled across this beer from Santa Fe Brewing Company.

Santa Fe Dirty Blonde

You won’t need a second guess to figure out where this brewery is based out of. I’ve reviewed a few things from them that we get in Texas but this beer is apparently either very new or draught only as I’ve never seen it or heard of it before now. It is a blonde ale at 4.2% ABV.

Tap at the Sipapu Ski Lodge. This beer pours a super light straw color with a fairly foamy head. Lots of carbonation. I am already not liking what I am seeing here as this appears to be a super light beer similar to what the macro breweries push.

Aroma is straight corn and metal. Not very aromatic. I’m afraid I won’t like this already.

Yup. Flavor is the same as the aroma. Corn, metal, and bitterness. For a craft beer, this is too close to macro. Looks like they wanted to have a BudMillerCoors substitute and they have it. To each their own I suppose.




Day #353 – Jester King Boxers Revenge Farmhouse Provision Ale

December 20, 2011

Day 6 and the final day of my Jester King feature. I saved the best for last, of course. Would you expect anything otherwise?

Jester King Boxers Revenge Farmhouse Provision Ale

I feel like this beer is the special one to Jester King. It is their most loved son. I could be wrong but I just get that impression…perhaps that’s why it is still un-released upon the world?

This beer is classified as a Saison. It is barrel-aged and has some wild yeast in it, called Brettanomyces. This is a strain of bacteria/yeast that often cause tart notes in a beer, but Brett is one of the lesser intense ones. Sometimes I have difficulties with drinking beers that are super sour, so hopefully this one won’t be. I have been looking forward to this beer most of all. ABV 9%.

This beer is actually rather clear. Surprising seeing as the previous 5 beers from JK have been super cloudy and yeasty. This one is a clear orangish-red. Light amount of bubbles.

Aroma is pretty woody, sweet, lightly tart with the farmhouse yeast and funky notes shining through.

Flavor is sweet and tart at the same time. Yeasty notes and fruity. There is almost a chap-stick type flavor. Not a bad one but almost soapy. Finishes smooth and oaky. Very tasty.